Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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

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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The Rockies Today, Dec. 16

Posted By on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Headwaters News.

American Bird Conservancy asks for uniform wind-farm guidelines
On Wednesday, the American Bird Conservancy petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to create uniform systems of siting and permitting wind farms to protect birds, citing the increase in wind turbines more than 200 feet tall from 950 in 2003 to nearly 80,000 in 2010.
Los Angeles Times; Dec. 16

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

"An outright war" on wolves

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 10:10 AM

A recent editorial by J. William Gibson, a sociology professor at Cal State Long Beach, has touched another nerve in the never-ending wolf debate. The editorial, which originally appeared last week in the Los Angeles Times, includes some strong language that has already garnered equally strong responses.

Here's one example from Gibson's editorial, about why the reintroduction of wolves was controversial:

Part of the reason was the increase, particularly in Idaho and Montana, in paramilitary militia advocates, with their masculine ideal of man as warrior who should fight the hated federal government, by armed force if necessary. They were outraged by what they saw as federal interference in the region spurred by environmentalists, and their ideas found a willing reception among ranchers, who view wolves as a threat to their livestock — even though they ranch on federal land — and hunters, who don't want the wolves reducing the big game population.

Gibson also connects Sen. Max Baucus' excitement over a new drone aircraft to the possibility of it one day shooting wolves from the sky.

Thrilled at the testing of a drone aircraft manufactured in Montana, Baucus declared: "Our troops rely on this type of technology every day, and there is an enormous future potential in border security, agriculture and wildlife and predator management." A manufacturer's representative claimed his company's drone "can tell the difference between a wolf and a coyote." Pilotless drone aircraft used by the CIA and the Air Force to target and kill alleged terrorists now appear to be real options to track and kill "enemy" wolves.

Read the whole editorial at the LA Times.

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Finals week flash mobs

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 8:45 AM

It's finals week at the University of Montana, and that means the natives are ready to wreak havoc on the poor souls trying to study in the Mansfield Library.

The following two videos show wildly different takes on what a flash mob is and how it's executed, but they're equally entertaining if you've got the time to watch.

The first happened yesterday and takes f...o...r....e....v....e....r to get going. This proves to be a good thing. For one, you can watch it materialize over time (hint: keep an eye on the folks coming through the front door talking on their cell phones.) Second, you get to watch the poor kid at the first computer terminal slowly realize something is happening over his shoulder and proceed to nervously watch for the next five minutes. Lastly, notice how many people, unlike the dude at the computer terminal, are completely unaffected by the mounting commotion. Girl crying? See ya.

The second happened during last year's finals and included approximately 7,000 students. This also proves to be a good thing. Unlike the first video, there appears to be no plan after the first couple minutes and everyone just jumps/dances around. It makes for excellent people watching. Also, the large crowd clearly rattles some of the more studious folks in the library, including one guy in red who can't get out of there quick enough. Lastly, a bigger crowd means more cameras—this video has much better editing and cinematography.

Quite a contrast. Also, the potential for an end-of-semester tradition.

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