Heard around the West
by Betsy Marston
THE WEST Hunting is
coming to the Internet.
A Texas entrepreneur plans to
offer online hunting that isn’t virtual — it will have
real impact. John Underwood, an auto body estimator, wants to
import exotic animals, including wild pigs, Barbary sheep and
Indian blackbuck antelopes, to his 330-acre ranch. There,
he’ll set up Web cams connected to the trigger of a .22
caliber rifle. All viewers have to do, says the unenthusiastic
Earth Island Journal, is pay a fee, and then it’s "ready,
"Sir, step away from the helicopter,"
message a California man received after he made two emergency
helicopter landings near Bishop, Calif., during one of the worst
snowstorms of the winter. Pilot Pascal Brandys refused to wait: He
took off from Mammoth Airport in the midst of swirling snow and
fog, but was forced down almost immediately onto the center divider
of U.S. 395, reports the Inyo Register News.
Brandys then tried to lift off as soon as the fog lifted a bit,
only to get forced down again by poor visibility. This time, he
landed the helicopter on a shoulder of the same highway. The police
officer who ordered the pilot not to take off a third time said he
almost missed seeing the aircraft because of the blowing snow.
There were no injuries, said reporter Jon Klusmire, "except for the
bruised ego of the pilot."
WASHINGTON What if you had a water
leak of monstrous proportions
and didn’t know it?
You might rip through 1.4 million gallons of water and owe the city
more than $10,000. That’s what happened to homeowner Leslie
Schofield in Bellevue, Wash. The leak sprang from an outside hose
running to a boat dock, reports The Seattle
. The city says it expects full payment.
OREGON It sounds effete and may even
look like froufrou
on the necks of hikers and boaters,
but a group called Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, based in Eagle
Point, Ore., insists that the best outdoors gear is a silk
neckerchief. Though silk is pricey, it’s versatile; it mops
up perspiration, cleans eyeglasses or camera lenses, blocks frigid
air or pesky mosquitoes, can bandage a wound or sling a splint,
covers the face to keep out dust, and — in a pinch —
you can always blow your nose on it. Silk handkerchiefs: not just
for cowboys anymore.
In its annual "Get Out of Town!" feature,
tells a bunch of people to do just
that. Targets of the paper’s sarcastic advice include an
"overpaid" broadcaster, a tanning joint calling itself the Bada
Bing that "cooks your skin into cancer," the ersatz-Italian Olive
Garden chain, and homeowners who share a tendency to install
outdoor lights so bright they make everything look like a Hollywood
set. Tucson is hailed all over the country for its Dark Skies
Ordinance, says the alternative paper, so why do people "light up
their yards like the all-night parking lots of the 24-hour
grocery?" Those folks should "shift on those high beams and get out
THE NATION Writer
Ray Bradbury isn’t shy about going out on a limb
the winter issue of Green Car Journal.
author of Fahrenheit 451
says, "During the next five or six or
seven years, we’re going to be forced to look at the
automobile and freeways because they’re not working. The
traffic is going to freeze, and only when it’s frozen will
people decide to change their habits." Bradbury, who notes that he
has never learned to drive — he leaves that chore to his
wife, because "women are better drivers than men" — predicts
that 100 years from now, "the car will just disappear."
COLORADO Don’t mess with the
A three-foot-tall statue of Buddha was taken from
the patio of Honga’s Restaurant in Telluride a year ago, but
now it’s back, having brought nothing but bad karma to the
three thieves. The men confessed that once the statue was ensconced
in their Denver home, things began to go wrong, such as a serious
mold spreading throughout the house. "They hoped to reverse the bad
karma by returning the purloined item," reports the
Marston is editor of Writers on the Range, a service of
High Country News in Paonia, Colorado. Tips of
Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared in the
column, Heard around the West.
© High Country News