High Country Zoo Special Edition - Apr. 1

  • Ten million years later, Old Faithful still performs, thanks to Pzizzer's sponsorship

    Courtesy National Park Circus
  • Chi-wah-wah tufted desert mole rat

    Sarah Gilman
  • Say-moo

    Diane Sylvain
  • Bearing both male and female flowers, the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) has bristle-like stinging hairs, which are long, hollow cells

    Diane Sylvain
 

HOOTLINES

MONTOMING

Rep. Rambo proposes more corporate sponsorship

Last fall, Rep. Richard Rambo, R-Calif., proposed that to help balance the federal budget, the National Park Circus should sell corporate naming rights for its visitor centers and trails (HCN, 9/31/05).

Now, Rambo has expanded his plan to allow corporations to purchase naming rights for natural features, including cliffs and lakes. Reaction from park officials has been positive: "Financially, corporations help parks achieve a level of excellence they couldn’t reach on their own," says Cap Italistpyg, chief of the National Park Circus’ Federal-Corporate Partnership Development Office.

Italistpyg promises the ads will be "done in the same tasteful way museums do it," adding that Pzizzer Corporation has already signed up to buy a "Brought to you by Viager" sign for Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser.

            —Polly Styrene

THE MESS

BLM hastens permit processing — with meth

The federal Bureau of Land Ravagement recently announced that it will cut processing time for oil and gas drilling permits to just 30 days. Overwhelmed by the new requirement, already-overworked field offices have borrowed a card from the industry’s deck. BLM spokeswoman Celia Bodacious announced today that methamphetamine will be handed out in controlled doses to employees who process drill permits to help them work more quickly.

The announcement unleashed a firestorm of controversy resembling a pit bull on speed. But Bodacious assured critics that the program will ensure profits for both energy producers and meth manufacturers, who have outpaced chainsaw-carving artists and beef-jerky sellers as the rural West's number-one cottage industry.

She scoffed at the notion that BLM bureaucrats may become toothless, scabby-faced addicts hanging around gas rigs looking for a hit. "This will be solely for occupational use," Bodacious says. "We’ll administer doses only during office hours, between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily. We have to do what we can to keep up with the demand for cheap energy, and coffee just doesn’t cut it anymore."

            Spurge Burdock

BOOK REVIEWS

A Million Little Stupid Species, by C.M. Lye. Fighting addictions to alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine that make him annoyingly self-absorbed and testy, the author hikes through the California Desert seeking rare and vulnerable animals and plants. Then he stomps on them and feels much better.

Memoirs of a Grazer, by Angus Holstein. Readers follow the life of Say-moo, a milk cow, from her traumatic origins as an orphaned calf at a corporate dairy to her triumphant transformation into a prize-winning milker. At the hands of The Farmer, Say-moo becomes skilled in the elegant art of the cream ceremony.

THE LATEST BOMB

In Montana, Gov. Brian Spritzer, D, cautioned the press that his pithy words of Western wisdom are not meant to endear him to Democrats loath to support Hillarious Clintlock as the Democratic nominee for president. "That duck won’t dance. A horse in the house is better than one a’roaming," he said to reporter Paul Laramie. "I’m as happy in my current job as a hound dog gnawing the skull of a bison, or something equally bovine," he added.

President George W. Bash announced that he is sending U.S. troops to "immediately invade, secure and subdue the dangerous terrorist haven of Anwar." A few congressional Democrats have nervously pointed out that there is no such country, hinting the president may have it confused with ANWR — the oil- and gas-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Undaunted, Bash plans to forge ahead: "If we don’t drill them over there, we’ll have to drill them over here."

            Farley Fackless

 

CORRECKSHUNS

Alert readers have pointed out an error in Bruce O’Losis’ story "Terrible Things Are Happening Everywhere" (HCN, every goddamn issue). "Gone to Hell In a Handbasket" is not an official designation under the Endangered Species Act. The ESA recognizes three categories: Threatened, Endangered, and Not Dead Yet But Don’t Hold Your Breath. We apologize for the worldwide panic and accidental deaths that resulted from our story entitled "BIRD FLU CATASTROPHE OBLITERATES NEW MEXICO!!!!!" The story should have read "Bird flew, cats up tree; get good rates at the new Texaco." This is the last time we take a story from an untried freelancer in a remote town with a bad cell phone connection.