April Fools

  • April Fools Map

    Diane Sylvain
  • Cartoon of HCN book about Hairy Trotter

    Diane Sylvain

Shrub takes on pesky species

By Helen Wheels

Wasps, head lice and roaches to be annihilated

President Gorge W. Shrub, determined to show that "we take nature as seriously as nurture," said yesterday that his administration will exterminate all species that might possibly, some day, qualify for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

"As long as we're at war, we might as well destroy all our enemies," the president told a press conference. The administration will start with the so-called "Insects of Evil" - wasps, head lice, roaches - but soon go after pine trees, butterflies and other species with larger constituencies.

Defensive Secretary Ronald Dumsfeld has volunteered to head the Pre-emptive Strike Endangered Species Task Force and plans to start bombing by early summer.

The usually quick-to-become-crabby Keenon Tickling, of the Center for BioAdversity in Tucson, Ariz., said his group was neutral on the administration's proposal.

"This isn't our bailiwick. We just hope it will be done humanely. Nickel and diming species to death with drill rigs and clear-cut logging is cruel. We hate it when species linger. But once the critters are gone, they're gone. You don't see us filing lawsuits about passenger pigeons or pterodactyls."

But Sierra Clubbed and Addabone officials were unhappy with the "compassionate conservative" decision to take out other species one by one, until only man was left. Even the normally slow-to-anger Nature Preservancy said through a spokeshuman: "This is definitely a trend we will be watching."

The writer plagiarizes and makes stuff up from her roving Airstream.


  • The Interior Department, www. dotti. gov.



New books about the West

by Clay Foot

Hoping to reach a new generation of readers, High Country News has launched a series of books, with the first title, High Country News and the Sorcerer's Grazing Allotment. Enter the exciting world of young Hogwild student and future HCN intern Hairy Trotter, who battles the evil Lord WaldeMart for the powerful Cowpie of Doom. Future titles in the series will include HCN and the Prisoner of Doomed Consensus Meetings, and HCN and the Golden Future of Very Large Research Fund Donations.

Other new books:

  • Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Vulture. Bankrupt Montana ranchers, 130 years later, saddle up for a big cattle drive, taking their herds back to Texas.
  • Andrew Garcia, Tough Trip to the Fridge. In a sequel, the former mountain man discovers the pleasures of lying on his couch.
  • Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Cases. Wyomingites, former New Yorkers and their horses find meaning in six-packs of Bud during a bitterly cold winter.
  • Rick Bass, They're Destroying Nature! Right Now! In My Backyard! And I Demand That You Read About It! Contemplative essays.
  • Thomas Michael Power, Eat up that Scenery. An economist argues that preserving pristine resources will provide a "new" Western economy. He includes his recipe for mock meatloaf made with pine needles and dried huckleberries.
  • John Smith, editor, Deconstructing That Bad Boy, Edward Abbey. A collection of essays by English professors that the irascible novelist would have gagged at reading, then used for target practice.
  • Louis L'Amour, The Undiscovered Manuscripts. Rough drafts of Hondo, Sackett and Too Tough to Brand in which the heroes, eschewing gunfights, pen contemplative essays honoring the natural beauty that surrounds them.
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Stirrups. A rewrite of Hondo, using longer sentences and bigger words, and told from the horse's perspective.
  • John Nichols, The Milagro Set Skirmishes. Quaint and plucky Hispanic tenant farmers take on moneyed interests filming a Robert Redford movie at a local acequia.
  • Pete Fromm, Indian Creek Ranchettes Chronicles. The author's account of a long, cold winter he spent alone in a Bitterroot Valley subdivision.
  • John McPhee, Encounters with the Archbrew-ed. An ardent environmentalist, a dam-builder, a miner, and a real estate developer consider the merits of pilsners and stouts in a series of bull sessions on horseback at a trendy microbrewery in Missoula.


Fees: Don't even think about it

by Ly Bell

Rufus and Petunia Feldspar were shocked recently when two burly National Park Service police arrived at their modest home in suburban Salt Lake City with a bill for $1,634.

In 1992, the couple had told economists from the University of College University that it warmed their hearts to know that Alaska's Denali National Park existed. When pressed for details, they said it was "worth $817" to each of them to have that park exist.

Nothing happened until the Park Service, having recently decided to ramp up its Fee Demo program, subpoenaed the professors' raw data and learned who responded to the surveys.

"From now on, a person who thinks about a national park - about its trees, its lakes, its streams - will be subject to a $10 fee," said an agency spokesman.

"If they think about Grand Canyon, it will be a $15 fee because that park is so crowded. We're using market pricing to encourage them to think about less crowded parks, like Great Basin National Park."

The spokesperson said the agency doesn't expect collecting to be a problem. "We'll send them a questionnaire. They'll check off the parks they thought about, and send us a check."

Free market proponent Rudy O'Foole of the Thorough Institute hailed the measure: "You can teach old federal dogs new tricks."

He also saw it as a sign that deregulation and free-market thinking have recovered from the blow dealt them by the collapse of Enron.


by Missy Quote

Gov. Jody March stole the show at Montana's annual Chamber of Commerce banquet. The governor's lap dance for industry drew more applause than an inspired reading of the Endangered Species Act by Ima Salmon, activist for Earth Libation Front (HCN, 7/12/67).

"Keep the party going" seems to be the post-Olympic Games motto of Utah's One Church in Salt Lake City (HCN, 1/1/11). Church officials announced last week the opening of "Jello Shots," a downtown watering hole serving 3.2 vodka and a variety of exotic Jello flavors, such as grape and tangerine.

Sadly, Yucca Mountain opponent Rocky Goodmoney, mayordomo of Las Vegas, is no more (HCN, 6/9/69). The tough-talking politico, who called the federal Energy secretary "a butthead," promised to halt the first truckload of nuclear waste by lying down on the pavement. Yelling, "Let's roll!" the driver of the first truck flattened Mr. Goodmoney.

Pharmaceutical giant Squab announced it was closing 65 percent of its factories and moving West (HCN, 6/21/75). Wastewater at the region's municipal plants measures so high in concentrated pesticides and hormones that a company spokesman has said, "We'll just skip the middleman and bottle directly from rivers."

Snowgobile Corp. has announced an innovative model designed expressly for opportunistic hunters (HCN, 0/33/47). It's the machine-gun mounted snowmobile dubbed "Knock 'em Dead." While environmentalists cried foul, 'bilers say this new machine will be perfect for places like Yellowstone National Park.

Farmers, wildlife advocates, fishermen and tribal members fighting over scarce water in Oregon's Klamath Basin must attend kindergarten, says a federal judge (HCN, 2/31/05). "These folks have forgotten how to share," says U.S. District Judge Hal E. Legal. "We're sending them back to brush up on the basics."

Idaho Sen. Larry Crank, R, issued a press release March 25 denying a story that the Western branch of the Office of Disinformation is based in his Boise office. "That is so not true," he said.

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