Subscription Preview

To read the full article, you must log in or subscribe. Enter your email address:

Portlandia, Utah?


Perhaps you saw the Portlandia episode where an animal-loving couple, upset about a dog tied up outside a chi-chi restaurant, searches for its owner, tries to feed it upscale goodies like mussels, then finally releases the dog, much to the owners' dismay. That's sort of what happened in Salt Lake City, Utah, not long ago. Sort of. The Deseret News reports that Steve Wescott, from Washington, was walking cross-country with his goat, LeeRoy Brown, when he stopped at a bar in Salt Lake City to get dinner. He tied LeeRoy up outside because, presumably, goats aren't served at that establishment. When a concerned citizen called animal control officers, they hauled LeeRoy away. Wescott tried to avert the animal's arrest, but ultimately had to pay $50 to bail out his buddy. Maybe the officers had a premonition about the dangers of goats: Just a month later in Cache County, Utah, a goat, aptly named Voldemort, attacked a paperboy, head-butting him off his bike and chasing him up a tree, where he stayed for so long his parents reported him missing. According to various reports, Voldemort is a fainting goat -- a breed whose muscles freeze up for 10 seconds when it panics -- but that peculiar trait didn't prevent him from waging his one-goat campaign against invading paperboys.


It's hard not to say, "I told you so." When the state of Colorado deemed it legal to carry a concealed weapon on a college campus, University of Colorado officials had doubts about the idea. CU students -- usually under the influence of alcohol or other substances -- have been known to do some wild things, including: beating a raccoon to death with a machete, baseball bat and hockey stick; rioting for no apparent reason; and attacking fellow fraternity members from a motor scooter with bear spray. (That backfired; the spray blew back at them and caused them to crash.) Adding guns seems unnecessary, especially given the students' demonstrated ingenuity in finding other objects to gratify violent urges. When the courts overturned CU's gun ban, however, it had to let profs and students carry firearms, even in class. That, um, also backfired in November, when a college staffer accidentally shot a colleague while showing off her small, permitted .22 Magnum. The injury was minor, and the victim is reportedly fine. But the incident did reignite the debate over allowing concealed weapons on campus.

From our friends

Dinosaur fans

THANKS for splendid, challenging, exciting work, from two dinosaurs among your countless fans.

-- Brad and Zita Hosmer

HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor