The poop on poop, and the lowdown in Hightower 

As the saying goes, compost happens, and you too can join the movement. On April 1 and 2 (and again on May 6 and 7) the Seventh Annual Manure Sale hits the streets, as it were, sponsored by the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD). MUD will be delivering wheelbarrows full of the well-composed llama and horse manure (at $10 a poop) to Missoula area gardeners, planters and other local activists interested in beating the rush on Election Year 2000. All proceeds from the manure sale will go to support the many fine community programs operated by MUD, such as the Northside Community Gardens, the North Missoula Tool Library, the coffee ground composting program, the MUD demonstration site, and other feats of ingenuity that teach us all how to turn our otherwise useless crap into valuable prizes.

Did you know … The llama is one of the world’s oldest beasts of burden, having been domesticated in the Andean highlands of Peru some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. According to the International Lama Registry (and no, the one “L” does not signify one hump as opposed to two) the llama is a member of the camelid family, which also includes the alpaca, the endangered vicuña, and, of course, the camel. Llamas can live up to 30 years, are highly intelligent, sure-footed, easy to care for and good around children but don’t like to be left alone. Like frat boys on spring break, they tend to spit when provoked, to establish their pecking order or to dissuade unwanted suitors. And, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there’s even a naked dancing llama running for president in November. So why the all the llama lowdown? Hey, some people really like to know their sh…, uh, compost.

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On the radio, you’ve heard his sloe-flavored voice decrying the ills of corporate greed. In print, you’ve read his diatribes about kickbacks, corruption, and the closed-door boardroom shenanigans that shape our nation’s politics. And in book store windows lately, you’ve seen his pearl-toothed, pearl-hatted face laid out in a mosaic of covers from his latest book, If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates. Now, all you members of the advance guard, you can press the flesh with a real, self-styled subversive, because Jim Hightower is coming to town.

On Friday, March 31, Texas’ biggest blowhard since Molly Ivins will make an appearance in the Garden City to deliver the keynote speech for this year’s Missoula Community Progressive Awards Ceremony, brought to you by The New Party. Sure, his talk will be a long sermon to the converted, but still, it’s gonna be a doozy. For you see, in his latest tome, Hightower sets aside quite a few pages for a glass-bottom boat tour of the exotic scene that is Missoula politics, taking pains to point out resident progressives like union rep Secky Fascione (described by Hightower as “about as feisty an organizer as you’d ever hope to meet”) and Councilmember Jim McGrath (painted as the Chamber of Commerce’s Public Enemy No. 1).

If an evening of bombast and buffet sounds like fun to you, join the fray this Friday at 6 p.m. at the Orchard Homes Country Life Center on Third Street. Tickets are $25. Call Mark Schofield at 549-8995.

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