Heard around the West


Apre-ski style in Aspen, Colo., can lurch widely, from rhinestone cowboys and "meppies" - mountain preppies - to gold-toned glitterati and "grunge puppies," reports the Aspen Times, but what do (presumably) ordinary people on the street really find to be fashion faux pas?

Some examples:

"Those goofy, furry little boots. What's up with that?"

"Plastic surgery that doesn't make a bit of difference."

"Men in fur."

"I love nothing more than to see little dogs attack those small furry boots."

"Guys who shave their heads. You know, that creepy white supremacist look."

"The fact that the whole down-coat duct-tape thing has gone away."

"Men in suits. A man in a suit in Aspen is never up to any good."

In other Aspen news, the ski resort remains king of the hill when it comes to the price of a lift ticket for skiing down mostly public land. The $59 price is a 5.3 percent increase over last season's bite of $56, reports the Denver Post, but a ski company spokesperson said, "It keeps down the crowds."

Over at the giant Vail ski area, ski honchos were "absolutely angered" by one of those endlessly morphing Absolut vodka ads. This one featured a bottle wrapped in a cast and tagged "Absolut Vail." "Outrageous," said Adam Aron, the resort's boss. Some of the ads have been pulled, in part because of the recent ski-related deaths of Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono. The cast on the liquor bottle is covered with handwritten comments such as, "I feel your pain."

Mysteriously emerging from the Internet recently came a note from "the trees': StoP tHE LoGGing oR wE WiLl coNtInUE to Kill oNe CeleBriTY Each WEeK. TheRe ARe nO SkIing "accIdenTS."

"Someone" taped all of the Simpsons television series just so he or she could identify exactly what Bart Simpson writes on a blackboard during the opening credits, says J.B. Wallmo, former ski patroller and now a sculptor in Loveland, Colo. "Goldfish don't bounce" is on that list; here are more resolutions from rebellious Bart:

"I will not carve gods."

"I will not spank others."

"I saw nothing unusual in the teachers' lounge."

"Mud is not one of the four food groups."

"No one is interested in my underpants."

"I am not deliciously saucy."

"The pledge of allegiance does not end with 'Hail, Satan.' "

"I will not celebrate meaningless milestones."

"Five days is not too long to wait for a gun."

"I will not bring sheep to class."

In Missoula, Mont., recently, a couple of dozen hunters dined on three cougar roasts at a banquet sponsored by an outfitter. The Missoula Independent said the cougar meat resembled turkey mixed with ham and was so tasty one man said it made him want to "roast his house cat."

In Wyoming, the Fund for Animals tried to lure rural youngsters away from hunting by promising a $1,000 bike to the first kid who gave up shooting an elk in a special season. None of the kids who drew permits gave up their hunt, reports Colorado columnist Ellen Miller, who adds: "Bless their little hearts."

The editor of a Delta, Colo., four-wheeler newsletter called The Thunder Clap, heard a panel of environmentalists talk about roads in forests, and he didn't like much of what they said. The quotes below are taken outrageously out of context but give an accurate sense of Bill Sutton's editorial:

"It was apparent that the Green Environmental Advocates (GAGs) were trying on a new strategy. They, to a man (person?) played the "illusion of reasonableness' trump card often and repeatedly. They even stooped to saying that "There is not one person in this room who wants to see ATVs eliminated from using the public lands." They, doncha know, just LOVE ATVs and really, really want us to have an enjoyable ATV experience ... they would like nothing more than to persuade us that they want to be our friends, and convince us that they understand our needs, and they, in their infinite elitist wisdom will make proper allowances for us. Who the hell do these people think they are? ... I gotta tell you, the attitude of these people makes me physically ILL! They present this goody-goody appearance and use their rehearsed benevolent charisma to a fault."

Now that some four-wheeler guys have heard the "Green Environmental Advocates," will the GAGs get to talk at a four-wheelers gathering? Sutton writes, "You can come to our meeting over my dead ATV."

Phoenix, Ariz., has a problem, and it isn't a lack of golf courses. It's so much dirt in the air that the city and surrounding suburbs can't meet federal clean air standards. One solution - a vacuum cleaner fleet - sucked up enough pollution to reduce particulates by 6.4 percent, reports the Arizona Republic. But the hoovering hasn't been sufficient; the area's mayors are asking for a five-year extension to the 2001 deadline for clean air.

Heard around the West invites readers to get involved in the column. Send any tidbits that merit sharing - small-town newspaper clips, personal anecdotes, relevant bumpersticker slogans. The definition remains loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or betsym@hcn.org.