Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Indy presents Greensky Bluegrass

Posted on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 1:30 PM


The concerts just keep on coming. In addition to this month's sold-out Youth Lagoon show, and next month's big Head and the Heart/Blitzen Trapper concert, the Indy is proud to present an evening with Greensky Bluegrass.

For those not familiar with this Michigan-based quintet, it's a little different. Rolling Stone called the band "hardly strictly bluegrass and, yet, they're representing the genre for a whole new generation." In the same effusive article, the band described its preferred audience.

"We like fun, rowdy, energetic crowds who drink a lot and scream a lot," mandolinist Paul Hoffman told the magazine.

That certainly sounds like something Missoula can provide.

Check out the live video below for more. And if you're interested in being a part of the action, here's what you need to know:

Greensky Bluegrass
Wednesday, Oct. 24
Top Hat, 9 p.m.
$15/$12 in advance
Tickets on sale Friday, Aug. 3, at Ear Candy Music or online through Stonefly Productions

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An appreciation of an apology

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Mayor John Engen ended up in the headlines for all the wrong reasons back in May.

That's when the Missoulian reported on how city and University of Montana officials handled the initial sexual assault investigations on campus, and reported that Engen reprimanded Geoff Curtis, a Missoula police officer who sent a critical email to UM officials on his own time and from his personal email account. A day after that story appeared, Engen did something uncommon for an elected official: he apologized and said he'd overreacted.

That apology caught the attention of Mark Funkhouser, a former Kansas City mayor and the director of the Governing Institute. Funkhouser focused on Engen's mea culpa in a recent column about why politicians rarely say, "My bad."

Funkhouser admits that plenty of times while he was in office he wanted to say "It was just a screw up," but advisers insisted he not. Instead, he "went about semi-denying and semi-making up some lame explanation/excuse for what happened," as is often the case in politics.

For Missoula residents, the most interesting part of the column comes when Funkhouser talks with Engen about the aftermath of the apology:

When an elected official admits an error in judgment, he or she generally gets ripped bloody — with or without the obligatory apology — and learns not to do that again. So what happened to Mayor Engen? He says he was surprised by the reaction he got from local folks: They thanked him. I asked him whether admitting mistakes would make him seem less competent, and he responded that "I'd rather be an honest bumbling fool than a coward who's full of bull." And then he made an interesting comment. He said that "while we're transparent, sometimes we're not open" and that openness was the key to honest conversation and problem-solving.

The Governing Institute is affiliated with Governing magazine and "aims to advance better government through research, decision support and executive education to help public sector leaders govern more effectively." Funkhouser offers regular analysis for the magazine in a column titled, "Bring on the Funk."

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

This week, we learn why it's so hard to get some french fries in London during the Olympics.

Curses, Foiled Again
At least five people in Arizona face charges for operating an illegal horse track, where up to 300 people would pay $10 to attend the three-horse, 200-yard races. Illegal betting was rampant, according to Mark Brnovich, director of the Arizona Gaming Department. The track at Pantoji operated in full view of Interstate 10, had its own website, distributed posters advertising weekend races and posted videos on YouTube. Gaming agents raided the track after learning about it from nearby residents who complained because of the noise, dust and traffic. (KTVK-TV and Associated Press)

Authorities arrested Richard Homer Smith, 56, who they said stuffed $53 worth of meat down his pants and darted from a supermarket in Oakland Park, Fla. While driving off, he stopped to remove his license plate and threw it away. Sheriff’s investigators recovered it and used it to identify Smith as their suspect. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Limp Olympics
The company that was awarded a $442 million contract to provide security for the London Olympic Games admitted, mere weeks before the event, that it couldn’t provide the required number of guards it agreed to, requiring the government to deploy some 3,500 British troops to make up the difference. G4S, billed as the world’s biggest security firm, agreed to cover the cost of the deployment, putting its loss at up to $78 million. G4S boss Nick Buckles apologized for the company’s failure, explaining, “It’s a very complex process.” Addressing charges that some of the recruits the firm did provide couldn’t speak English, Buckles said it was a “difficult question to answer.” (Associated Press)

Olympics organizers banned all 800 food retailers at 40 venues from serving french fries to spectators because of “sponsorship obligations with McDonald’s.” The lone exception, the edict stated, is if the fries are served with fish, as in fish and chips. In addition, in deference to Olympics sponsor Visa, all ATMs that accept rival cards were ordered closed, and all food and souvenir concessions were told to accept only Visa cards. (Britain’s Daily Mail)

Timeless Beauty
A hundred women, ages 74 to 97, competed in the first “Miss Holocaust Survivor” beauty pageant in Haifa, Israel. Winner Hava Hershkovitz, 79, called the victory “her revenge, showing how despite the horrors her family went through, her beauty and personality have endured,” pageant organizer Shimon Sabag said, pointing out, “People don’t have to see the Holocaust survivors mainly as a group of wheelchair-bound victims.” Hershkovitz won a family weekend at a resort, and all contestants were awarded electronic distress buttons. (Reuters)

Afterlife Episodes
The owner of the Robinson Funeral Home in Easley, S.C., is adding a Starbucks Coffee shop. Chris Robinson, who owns the fourth-generation funeral and crematory, said the store will be open to the public as well as mourners but promised it won’t be a distraction from services. “You walk in the front, and it’s off to the side,” he said. “It’s not like it’s right up front.” (Spartansburg’s WSPA-TV)

The monks at St. Joseph Abbey, located near Covington, La., won the right to sell its handmade wooden caskets after a federal judge ruled that a Louisiana law giving funeral director exclusive rights to sell caskets is unconstitutional. “It would be like saying you have to become a podiatrist in order to sell shoes,” said attorney Jeff Rowes, who represents the monks. “It just doesn’t make sense.” (AARP Bulletin)

Four-year-old Carson Dean Cheney was visiting a cemetery in Park City, Utah, with his family when he went behind a tombstone and poked his head out trying to make other children smile for a photograph. The 6-foot-tall tombstone toppled and killed the lad. (Associated Press)

What, “Bangkok” Not Suggestive Enough?
After Ikea opened its fifth-largest superstore in Bangkok, the Swedish furniture chain learned that several of its products’ names had sexual connotations when transliterated into Thailand’s cursive alphabet. The embarrassed retail giant hired locals to scrutinize product names, in some cases changing a vowel sound or a consonant to prevent unforunate misunderstandings. “Ikea was actually in a very fortunate position in the context of Thailand in the sense of because there’s a transliteration issue you have the ability to make some adjustments,” Carleton University marketing professor Robin Ritchie explained. “That’s not the case when you’re talking about using roman characters in a new environment.” Ritchie cited as an example an Ikea work bench sold in Canada called Fartfull. (Toronto Star)

Second-Amendment Follies
An 18-year-old boy accidentally shot himself in the head during a webcam chat, believing he was handling an unloaded gun. “His manhood or his ego was challenged, and he said something along the lines of, ‘I’ll show you,’” Capt. John Gallagher said. “He thought he was clowning around, trying to shock the other party on the Internet site.” (Philadelphia Daily News)

When three women who worked for Kansas attorney Jeremiah Johnson filed a civil suit accusing him of planting cell phones underneath their desks to look up their skirts, Johnson counter-sued, claiming the women didn’t have the right to delete images they found in his phone. A federal judge dismissed his claim. (Kansas City’s WDAF-TV)

Breakthroughs of the Week
New Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines require businesses to allow miniature horses on their premises as guide animals for the disabled and to limit the height of slope on miniature golf holes to “not steeper than 1:48 at the start of play.” Also, any new or altered rides at amusement parks must provide at least one seat for a person in a wheelchair.
Miniature horses were suggested as alternatives to dogs for individuals with allergies or “for those whose religious beliefs preclude the use of dogs,” the rules note but add that a business owner can deny admission to a miniature horse that isn’t housebroken. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) offered an amendment, which passed the House of Representatives, banning funding to implement the miniature-horse provision and wrote an editorial opposing the rule titled “Horses in the Dining Room?” (Cybercast News Service)

Hoping to reduce the number of drunk men driving, drinking establishments in three Michigan counties installed state-issued talking urinal deodorizer cakes that remind men to call a cab or a friend for a ride home. “We want to turn some heads and get people talking,” Michael L. Prince, director of the state Office of Highway Safety and Planning, said of the motion-activated messages, without mentioning any provisions to discourage urinating women from driving drunk. (Detroit Free Press)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chaos in the land of Disney, Romney's shadow years, My Little Pony (and other alternative news links)

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 7:30 AM

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

Chaos in the Land of Disney
What's happening in Anaheim? If you haven't heard, there have been protests after police killed 24-year-old Santa Ana resident Manuel Diaz and 21-year-old Joel Acevedo. OC Weekly aims to move past the national media's storylines of "racist cops and oppressed Latinos" with a look at how the city reached such a boiling point.

It's not the police, but rather the lack of city leadership that has allowed a once-proud city to decay, to create the tense situation Anaheim is in today. Actually, scratch that: There has been city leadership, one so deluded it set the conditions that allowed Anaheim's long, hot summer to finally explode.

Presidential candidates and the past
November is getting closer, so expect more and more presidential profiles. The Boston Phoenix looks at Mitt Romney's "Shadow Years," otherwise known as the time he left Bain Capital to run the Winter Olympics between 1999 and 2002. The Phoenix has a long history of covering Romney, of course, from his time as Massachusetts governor.

On the other side of the ballot, Dave Cieslewicz, the former mayor of Madison, Wisc., looks at the shaping of Barack Obama in a story for Isthmus. More specifically, he looks at the new book by Madison native David Maraniss, Barack Obama: The Story, and its focus on Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

Everyone loves ponies
Orlando Weekly attends the ninth annual My Little Pony Fair and Convention, and finds that it's filled with adults who not only love the children's cartoon series, but dress the part.

Dealing with life back home
Many Americans would consider the ex-Marine profiled in Baltimore City Paper's "Street Soldier" a hero for the work he did in Iraq. Many would also consider him a criminal for the work he does now that he’s back home. Specifically, he deals drugs, and does so in the same efficiency and focus he learned during his two tours of duty.

Musicians act stupid, too
Dave Hernandez, formerly of the Shins, recounts for The Stranger some of his most embarrassing moments in front of a few of the music industry's most famous people. It's good. You'll notice cameos by Trent Reznor, Slipknot, Ian MacKaye, David Lovering of the Pixies and Rick Rubin "draped in a white yogi toga robe wrap sort of thing."

One ugly cat. Or dog. I can't really tell
Eugene Weekly did its annual pet issue and, while I don't normally flip through such things, I had a hard time escaping the image of its winner for "Ugliest." Amy the Angry Reindeer is also worth mentioning.

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Summer vacation

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 7:20 AM

For those of you wondering, Mountain West News, which provides our regular Rockies Today news links, is on vacation. The feature will return Monday, Aug. 13.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Rockies Today, July 25

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Yellowstone NP's winter-use proposal questioned at Wyoming meeting
At a meeting on Yellowstone National Park's proposed winter-use plan held on July 16 in Jackson, Jon Catton of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition asked park officials how they reached the conclusion that seven snowmobiles had the same effect in the park as one snowcoach, and park officials acknowledged that the analysis was not contained within the supplemental impact statement, but would be included in the final document.
Jackson Hole News and Guide; July 25

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Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 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 your personal chart, the planet Uranus symbolizes those special talents you have that are especially useful to other people. Which aspects of your soulful beauty are potentially of greatest service to the world? How can you express your uniqueness in ways that activate your most profound generosity? If you learn the answers to these questions, you will make great progress toward solving the riddle that Uranus poses. I’m happy to report that the coming years will provide you with excellent opportunities to get to the bottom of this mystery. And now would be a good time to launch a concerted effort.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Indy presents The Head and the Heart — now with Blitzen Trapper, too

Posted on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

You already know the Indy is presenting The Head and the Heart Sept. 19 as part of the paper's ongoing 21st birthday celebration.

Here's something you may not know: Blitzen Trapper has been added to the bill.

Blitzen Trapper is no stranger to these parts. The Portland roots rock band most recently opened for Wilco and has headlined other local venues over the years. Their 2008 release, Furr, put the quintet on the map, with the title track ranking as Rolling Stone's fourth best single of the year. Their latest is American Goldwing.

Check below for a video of the band playing live, and look right here for the updated show info:

The Head and the Heart
with special guest Blitzen Trapper
plus Bryan John Appleby
Wednesday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $22 advance; $24 day of show.
On sale now at Rockin Rudy's or ticketfly.com

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The Rockies Today, July 24

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Interior Secretary: Delisting of Yellowstone grizzlies possible by 2014
In May, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressing his concerns about managing an ever-increasing population of grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park, and last week Salazar responded, indicating that he believed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would soon complete its court-ordered evaluation of how a decline in whitebark pine seeds, an important food source for the bears, would affect the population and that the bears would likely be delisted by 2014.
Flathead Beacon (AP); July 24

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Could Gary Johnson matter in Montana presidential race?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

It's been hard to muster up much excitement about the 2012 presidential election in Montana. Mitt Romney is expected to win the state's three electoral votes and the Obama campaign, unlike 2008 against John McCain, is not putting up a huge fight.

But a different story line is emerging, and it involves Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson. The former two-term New Mexico governor is polling higher than expected in key Mountain West states, and could play a role in November's election. From Politico:

In an interview with POLITICO reporters Tuesday, Johnson laid out the “libertarian-leaning states” where he expects to do best: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.

Johnson's numbers are much better in New Mexico (13 percent), Colorado (7) and Arizona (9) than Montana, where he's hovering at or below 1 percent, according to Public Policy Polling. It'd be easy to write him off as a non-factor in Big Sky Country, until you notice some other numbers: like that Montana voters agree with Johnson more than any other candidate on key issues in the 2012 election.

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