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Tag Archives: Missoula

Politics + Spring + Butte = Montana Democrats’ Prom

The Montana Democratic Party's Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner in Butte Saturday night. Photos by Anne Medley

On Saturday I attended that time-honored American spring ritual: the prom. Granted, I'm ten years too old for the real thing. But the beauty of this particular prom is that the older you are, the cooler you are—because this was the Montana Democrats’ version of prom, the annual Mansfield-Metcalf dinner in Butte. This prom featured coiffed mullets, shiny curls, and stiff Stetsons. Diamonds set off battered-looking bolo ties. Ballgowns swished next to Wranglers, and minks sat next to Carhartt coats—usually on different people, too. My take on the night's theme: “sequins and denim.” As Hillary Clinton said in her speech at the dinner on Saturday night, the only party to rival Butte’s infamous Saint Paddy’s Day is the Democratic Party. And, boy, was she ever right.

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Bob Wire’s Sentimental Breakdown


The eternal struggle for bands who thrive when stumbling around on stage is to capture the energy and vibe of the live show on tape, package it up and deliver it. I don’t know whether or not Bob Wire made an effort to do that, but intentionally or not he pulled it off. Sentimental Breakdown, Wire’s second release since going solo, is everything a kick-up-your-heels-and-yee-haw country roadhouse show is all about, minus the bad breath and beer stains.

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The Skinny on Streamside Setbacks in Western Montana


Would you set up a tent on an empty highway? Paul Hansen, a former University of Montana professor, asked this question at a February streamside setbacks workshop in Kalispell. Though the answer may be a simple one for many folks, a similar question has generated extensive public comment across several western Montana counties: would you build a house in the flood plain? Hansen reminded Flathead County residents that just because you might not see cars coming when your tent goes up doesn’t mean you won’t get run over when the traffic starts. And the same holds true for building a house right on the banks of a beautiful creek or river: though that land is dry at the time, streams tend to roam over time, which might include a wet side-trip right into your living room.

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My Climate Scientist is Smarter Than Your Climate Scientist


I happen to believe global warming is real, not just as something that naturally occurs as our planet hurtles through space over the course of billions of years (yes, I said billions), but also as a process being expedited by our own hell-bent-on-consumption lifestyle. It doesn’t take a scientist, or a Google search, to figure out that as “the global economy” brings more eager mouths to suck at the swollen teat of consumption, stuff is going to get burned through that much quicker. Just look out your window. If you happen to live in a place that more and more people think looks like a great place to be – as we do here in Montana – you can watch, like one of those time lapse movies, the views and resources and access rights get gobbled up faster than we can say, “the last best place!”

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Bookworms Unite!


I love to read, and writers intrigue me far more than rock stars. Of all the passions I have embraced in my life, reading has always been the one I never surrendered. I was hooked from the moment I learned how it all worked. Some years I’ve read more than others, and my tastes have evolved, but I’ve never had stretches where I stopped reading altogether. I’m guessing it comes from my mom, because she reads all the time too. My dad isn’t a book reader; I don’t think I’ve ever seen him read anything that wasn’t a newspaper, the crossword puzzle dictionary, the J.C. Whitney catalog or a Chilton auto repair manual. That’s fine. I can quote Thoreau, he can rebuild trucks and tractors and hot water heaters. You tell me who has the more valuable skill set.

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Hooks in the Water of Missoula’s Murky Dating Pool

It's been a while, Missoula. I haven't been writing columns because...well, because all the best topics are off-limits unless I want to alienate my friends, lose my job, and move far outside the city limits. The thing about Missoula is that even with a pseudonym as clever as mine, I'm about as anonymous as a pink elephant sitting at the Old Post bar. So I have to be careful, thoughtful, strategic about the column's content. Also, I've just been lazy with my daily 12 minutes of free time. But here's the short update: dating is just as exhausting and entertaining as ever. They don't tell you in all those romance novels and Hollywood flicks that integrating new, unknown single males into your life takes a helluva lot of time and energy. Luckily, I've started taking Vitamin B to up my energy supply during these dark, dark days before winter solstice. (I'm considering switching to high-grade cocaine to power through the holiday party season, though.) The longer dating update involves a recent discovery that most of us single Missoulians seem to have several “hooks in the water.” Monogamy is apparently out of fashion this season.

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Night Driving with Dick Dorworth

No hurry, Mr. Plow Driver, we ain't goin' nowhere soon!

How do you kill time on an airplane planted on the tarmac, snow blowing and swirling outside, in the wee hours of the morning? The most amusing event was when some older fellow walked up into first class, looked around with his hands on his hips for a couple moments, and then turned to return to the back of the plane without saying a word. He did not pass quietly: clearing the third row, which is where I just happened to be seated, he unleashed a fuselage-rattling fart that did not go unnoticed by any of us in the vicinity. "I think he just fired a shot across our bow," I remarked, and the giddiness of the hour made it a lot funnier than it may have otherwise been.

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Ants In My Pants For Saturn’s Return


When I moved here I was young. Carefree. And completely uninterested in conversations where my older friends talked about things like recurring joint injuries, ticking biologic clocks, and “Saturn Returns.” When these topics came up, I just drank another beer, hiked faster, and celebrated being 22 and fully in control of my planets. But now I’m 27, the tendons in my knees require lots of ice, and I’m not sure what the hell Saturn is doing. In fact, it’s quite possible that my Pluto's in full retrograde and Venus has fled to check out a new galaxy. All I know for sure is (cosmologically speaking): I’ve got ants in my pants.

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Going to Grandpa’s Wedding


I just got back from Grandpa’s wedding. Not a sentence you read every day, huh? Grandpa’s hot stuff, especially in the over-70 crowd. Doesn’t look a day over 62, and active to boot. He and his lovely new wife are off to Timbuktu for their honeymoon—they’ll be riding camels across the desert in Mali to an African music festival. I’ll be in Missoula, pretending my office chair is a camel and my keyboard is a tribal drum. Grandpa’s wedding has given me new-found hope that I, too, can find a love-of-my-life and ride to Timbuktu. Plus, I returned from San Diego to full-throttle fall, the season that makes a woman yearn for extra body heat—preferably from a man who’s bringing her lots of freshly-killed game. So watch out, Missoula: I’m on a mission. Again. Because next time one of my grandparents gets married I’m bound and determined to have my own special someone to foxtrot with.

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Fancy Footwork: Insights from Bozeman’s Dancing Guy

Let's face it: teenagers no longer flock to weekly Cotillion classes. The old-fashioned “dinner and dancing” date is now only a romantic myth heard around campfires. In fact, many folks run rapidly for the bathroom when they hear mention of taking a spin on the dance floor. In this day and age, dating involves juggling text-messages, emails, and special ring-tones instead of meeting for a night filled with the subtle flirtations of partners dancing cheek to cheek. But I’d like to argue that we should bring back the romance. Dancing is one of my top three favorite activities (right up there with eating and beer-drinking). I’ve found over the years that partner dancing--swing, salsa, two-step, and (everyone’s favorite) polka--is even more exhilarating than just gettin’ down w’ my bad self by my own self. Plus, it’s a good way to meet guys and do a quick check on whether there’s any of that lovely chemistry. My most recent dancing partner, who I’ll creatively call Dancing Guy, lives in Bozeman. Turns out that he’s not only insightful about swing flips and tango ochos, he’s also got some interesting perspectives on how dancing relates to male-female interactions off the dance floor. Check out this email exchange a few weeks ago between myself (BS, of course) and DG.

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