Offensive Montanans; a stubborn turkey; landlubber remembrance

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.


When you’re called out for smearing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on social media as a “hoe,” you ought to apologize. But after Montana Rep. Kerry White, R, an advisor to Montana Republican Gov.-elect Greg Gianforte, called Joe Biden and Kamala Harris “Joe and hoe,” he  tried to paint himself as the victim, according to the Great Falls Tribune: “So much hate that someone actually photoshopped an inappropriate post … and claimed I was the person who posted it. Don’t know who this person is or their motivation but I will pray for them.” Later, he claimed he was “misinterpreted”: “Hoe,” he insisted, was merely shorthand for “someone who had dug in or become entrenched.” White concluded with a classic non-apology apology: “If that offended anybody, I am sorry.”

Over Thanksgiving, we learned about a turkey’s stubborn will to live. Wishbone, a giant, 47-pound turkey in Teton County, Wyoming, was caught in a blizzard and buried under four feet of snow. “We really thought maybe the coyotes got him because we looked everywhere, couldn’t find him,” rancher Laurie Ward said. Five days later, Ward’s grandson, Chase, heard noise coming from under a bank of snow near the turkey pen. Chase investigated and witnessed a “miracle”: “Boom! His head popped out right from the hole.” Wishbone was alive and well, reported Billings Q2 News, though slimmer than before. There’s more good news: Chase’s grandmother decided “after all that trauma, we can’t eat him now.”

Two women “caught” two years ago speaking Spanish in northern Montana recently won an undisclosed cash settlement from the federal government. Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez said that a Border Patrol agent violated their constitutional rights by detaining them for almost an hour outside a store in the small town of Havre. When Suda, who videotaped part of the encounter, asked Paul O’Neil, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, why, he replied: “Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is unheard of up here.” According to the Associated Press, the women were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. They sued, Suda explained, because they needed to “stand up to the government, because speaking Spanish is not a reason to be racially profiled and harassed. … I am proud to be bilingual. … No one else should ever have to go through this again.” Unfortunately, backlash over the lawsuit has forced the two women to leave town, according to Time magazine.

The Cowboy State is basically just a large rectangle with a small population, but it does exist, right? Not according to the online forum Reddit, where r/Wyomingdoesnotexist has 24,000 members — almost twice as many as the subreddit dedicated to the actual state, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide. One entry in the online Urban Dictionary even claims that if people try to drive into Wyoming, they “will find themselves mysteriously transported to Canada, confused and sans clothing.” Site moderator Wyatt Brisbane, 21, said the theory sprang from an “epiphany” he had in high school, about a big state with very few human inhabitants — “Wyoming, lowest in population last in the alphabet, lowest of all the lists. … It’s not real, it’s all a big conspiracy.”

Before we forget 2020, we need to pause to remember the November day in 1970, when a rotting, 45-foot-long beached whale was dynamited on the Oregon coast near the town of Florence. The legendary fail was preserved, thanks to on-the-scene KATU TV reporter Paul Linnman. It’s worth watching to see how good intentions can result in blobs of blubber spewing from the sky.  Before the blast, Linnman interviewed a Transportation Department worker, who assured viewers that the half-ton of dynamite would “disintegrate” the decomposing whale, while squads of seagulls would gobble up the smaller bits. “I’m confident that it will work,” he said. Instead, the boom was followed by an astonishing amount of large airborne clumps and 100 observers running for cover. Linnman clearly relished the aftermath, calling “landlubber newsmen landblubber newsmen,” and marveling that the explosion “blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.” In honor of the occasion, Florence has named its new park “Exploding Whale Memorial Park.” Columnist Dave Barry, interviewed on the 50th anniversary, called it “the most wonderful event in the history of the universe,” adding, “It’s a tribute to what humans can accomplish when they have a dead whale and a lot of dynamite.”

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