Guns, wolves, and graves



Raffle prizes run the gamut, but in Tucson recently, one particular offering seemed oddly off-kilter, to say the least. To raise money for the Pima County Republicans, party members aimed to sell 125 raffle tickets for $10 each, with the lucky winner receiving a Glock pistol -- "the same brand of gun used in a Tucson parking lot to shoot Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six people waiting to meet her," reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Brian Miller, former president of the Republican group, commented dryly, "The people running the Pima County GOP right now aren't exactly known for their ability to feel the political pulse."


Wolves, it turns out, can be surprisingly easy to kill. All Stan Burt of Boise had to do, he told the Idaho Statesman, was drive to a spot where he thought a pack was roaming and howl. "A whole chorus erupted," he said, and a few minutes later, at least eight wolves "were milling around and looking for the source of the howling." He shot one at 75 yards, and was somewhat disconcerted when the wolves didn't seem alarmed by the noise. A few seconds later, he shot a second wolf about 30 yards from the first one; then when the remaining wolves retreated, Burt said he used a predator call that mimics a rabbit to lure them back. "If I would have had five wolf tags, I probably could have killed five wolves." Burt is apparently the first person to kill two wolves in a single day; he'll get a full-body mount made from one wolf and a rug from the hide of the other.


Bob Welch wrote the perfect opening to an unusual story: "The 90-year-old woman was talking to the executive director of a Portland cemetery about her, uh, future." The woman didn't want to be cremated and she didn't want to be buried in a coffin -- she wanted to be "composted." "Natural burial" is the preferred term, says the Eugene Register-Guard, but it's not easy to find a cemetery that will let you go to ground without a lot of froufrou. Although more and more cemeteries are looking into natural burial, only a few now offer it, including Portland's own River View Cemetery, run by David Noble. There, a body might be put into a biodegradable casket, "perhaps something woven or made of bamboo or willow branches or sea grass. Compost might be packed around it to speed the breakdown process." Noble estimates that in a decade, natural burial will be a regular part of the cemetery business, which leads Welch to conclude: "In a trend inspired by eco-conscious baby boomers, you might say it represents a generation's final back-to-the-land movement."

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