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Singing to a Turkey on American Idol

    Of course Americans aren't actually talking this morning about the war, or Washington corruption, or the economy, but rather about the young Montana cowboy named Garrett (or maybe "Garet") who, until he auditioned for American Idol, had only sung to his turkey.

    Quick summary: The kid lives in a town with a population of 4. Which is to say, his family lives in the middle of nowhere. He rides horses, herds cattle, and sings to his turkey. Actually, he has a bunch of turkeys, but apparently only one of them is really interested in Garrett's crooning. The lad has a fine but untrained singing voice (the judges encouraged him to get lessons, which Garrett indicated would be as likely as suddenly discovering that an Abercrombie & Fitch had opened on the far side of the barn). The whole family, several generations, made the drive to Denver for the audition, looking pretty much like they came out of the womb wearing cowboy hats. Garrett was so nervous when he confronted Simon, Paula and Randy that he could barely speak, and just mumbled something to the effect of, "I've only sung for a turkey." When he passed, and made it to the next round, he jumped around like a buckin' bronco.

   It was pretty great television, but slightly disturbing. And not just because of the very small but not infinitesimal possibility that Garrett is a professional actor from Beverly Hills and the whole thing is a hoax, with rented cows and turkeys, filmed on a backlot. No, what's worrisome is that Garrett is, in every sense, an innocent. He's the last innocent American. He has never been on a plane. He apparently has never been hardly anywhere beyond his ranch. Now he is going to be introduced to the broader American culture -- through American Idol! Hangin' with Simon, Randy and Paula! He's going straight from the absurd to the ridiculous. Can't we transition the lad more gently, like let him spend a few weeks in a cul-de-sac in Orange County before throwing him headlong into Hollywood? Otherwise the kid is going to wind up thinking that this is a nation populated solely by cows, turkeys and celebrities. Let's expose him to some human beings.

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 19, 2006; 10:09 AM ET
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Next: Three More Years?


Multi-Kit day!

Posted by: Alpha | January 19, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

So long as no turkey KISSING goes on, it's all good. (cf. the story, appropriately enough FROM Turkey, of the little girl who contracted bird flu from kissing sick chickens. A sad tale. Also a bad idea.).

Posted by: Huntsman | January 19, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If you post to three different Achenkits in half an hour, is that considered multi-tasking?

I heard that Annie Proulx (sp.?) is writing a story about Garrett and his turkey, and it will be turned into a sensitive but challenging Ang Lee movie called "Gobbleback Mountain."

But maybe that was just one of those Hollywood rumors.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Within a year, he'll be engaged to Nicole Ritchie. Within 13 months, the engagement will be off. Worried that he's slipping from celebworld, the only reality he knows other than the ranch -- and gosh isn't it glitzy? -- he'll rush into production a slapdash script about his hard knocks life in Montana. A CGI turkey co-stars, and the hapless producer can't help but veer into hints of a Brokeback Mountain plotline, though nothing happens (whew). But the movie bombs, and Garrett is destroyed, destined to be a bitter ranch owner who believes the world screwed him out of his true calling. It's just like the guy in that Tom Petty song. You know, Johnny Depp played him in the video. Except there was a girl and not a turkey.

Posted by: Patrick | January 19, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

What is this American idol thing of which you speak?

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Before we beat Joel up too badly about his taste in television, I suggest that there is a chance, just a chance, that he might not have total say over what programs are being viewed in Casa d' Achenbach.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I smell a remake of "Being There" in the offing.

I would add that Paula seems oddly attraced to him (and will get more pronounced with the "hands off" policies now in place), and after this season's over will go through him like Sherman through Georgia.


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Yup, Joel, a few weeks at the end of a cul-de-sac in Orange County ought to do it for young Garrett! (How well our family knows Orange County and the desecration of California there from overbuilding.) Sis attended UC Irvine when the Irvine Ranch really still was--for al intents and purposes--still a working ranch. Now those ranch hills are covered with wall-to-wall subdivisions.

Nothing ought to pollute the young man faster than the "keeping up with the Jones" attitude of the residents and the Joneses are a very pricey proposition at best. Next thing you know, ol Garrett'll be headin' up to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Hey, he can even see the Matterhorn at Disneyland (probably not as beautiful as the mountains of Montana), but I bet he won't find nary a real growing berry at Knotts Berry Farm.

Since young Garrett's never been on a plane, flying into John Wayne International Airport ought to be a treat. Heck, he can even take a tour of Balboa Island and from there see the old Wayne McMansion. Ought to make the young cowboy feel right at home on the range.

Prices for single-family re-sale homes rose 0.8% from the month before to $670,000, a year-over-year gain of 16.5%. Condo prices were up 2.3% from the month before to $450,000, a yearly gain of 16.9%. The median price for new homes rose 1.5% to $706,000, off 1.4% from last November.

As well as purchasing real estate in Northern California, the senior Irvine joined several partners in purchasing three major land grants south of Los Angeles. By the time of his death in 1886, the state was more settled; the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads had reached Los Angeles, and a real estate boom was flourishing. Upon his death, Irvine left his son James [Irvine Jr.] a valuable legacy in the midst of Southern California: about 110,000 acres of prime ranch land--almost a third of present-day Orange County.

A California pioneer

Following in the footsteps of his father, James Irvine saw promise in land. During his father's life, the Irvine Rancho San Joaquin, as it was called, was used primarily for raising sheep. James Irvine saw in the grass- and cactus-covered land a vast opportunity for cultivation. He became one of the first of those who called themselves "growers" rather than "farmers," for they engaged in large-scale enterprises that would later become known as agribusiness.

In believing in the fertility of the land and experimenting with new methods of cultivation, Irvine took huge risks. As his granddaughter, Kathryn Wheeler, later said, "He built it from sagebrush. Sheep and cattle were sold for their hides to complete diversified farming. He drilled water wells and a canal and had practically every field crop that was possible." In 1898, he incorporated the ranch holdings under The Irvine Company. By 1910, the Irvine Ranch was recognized as the state's most productive farm and its largest producer of beans and barley. As of 1930, the Ranch's crops ranged from beans to oranges, from cauliflower to grapes, from barley to papayas.

By January 1999, the City of Irvine had a population of 134,000 and a total area of 43 square miles. Future plans, however, call for a population of over 200,000 on 46.7 square miles by the year 2020.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Great. Next think, the guy will want a megayacht,

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

YES!!! Return of the American Idol Kits, which validate my love of worthless TV. If Joel watches it, so can I. I don't have to be ashamed anymore, watching it in the dark with the volume turned all the way down!

Posted by: jw | January 19, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

While you were gone, some of the Boodlers mentioned Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain." Reader, I think, said it had great cinematography. mostlylurking said the ending made her cry.

We finally saw the movie late Monday afternoon (our attempts to view it on its opening weekend here were futile, as both theaters where it was showing were sold out--as we sadly realized, driving from the art house theater to the large megaplex at the Quarry), only to come home halfway through the Golden Globes to see it sweep the Hollywood Foreign Press's various categories of awards.

Funny that Archer, Texas's Larry McMurtry had a hand in the script, but Houstonian Dennis Quaid couldn't be decent in introducing it at the Golden Globes--earning a "Hiss" from our local paper's media critic just a day or two ago.

And even stranger that the film was pulled from a megaplex in Salt Lake City while you were gone, Mudge.,1249,635176966,00.html

Someday, we'll have a good discussion of the theme of "Brokeback Mountain" and stop dancing around its edges.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Well I hope Garrett follows young Lucas Black's (Sling Blade, Ghosts of Mississippi, All the Pretty Horses)lead and eschews the Hollywood scene. Born and raised in Speake, Alabama, Black prefers to remain in his hometown. Despite accolades for his genuine and charming performances, Black avoids the limelight (you never hear of his buying pink diamonds for a fiancee of the month or dancing on nightclub tabletops with silly rich girls). His dream is to become a professional fisherman.

And except for his acquisition of multiple wives, Billy Bob hasn't gone hollywood either. (I worry about BB; if he doesn't settle down, he'll end up an old man still chasing skirts while everyone else is playing with their grandchildren).

Posted by: Nani | January 19, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I see Heath Ledger playing Garrett. He's the oldest son of a handsome widower who builds rickety furniture when he's not running his South Carolina plantation, and although it is in fact a plantation located in the Deep South, in the very heart of 18th century cotton-growing and slave-owning country, the plantation owner does NOT in fact own any slaves, which wouldn't be politically correct, although there are in fact numerous persons of apparent African-American descent apparently working in what appear to be plantation-type menial labor, but it is of course possible that these African-American persons work for the handsome plantation owner and receive union wages, full workman's comp and medical benefits, Social Security, etc., are permitted to democratically elect their own shop steweards and other union representatives. Who actually picks the cotton isn't clear, but it isn't an essential plot point anyway. When an apparent foreign power (or perhaps a not-so-foreign power that only appears to actually BE foreign) moves into the region where Garrett's father's farm is located. Garrett and his pet turkey (Levi? Bruce? Wattle? Petey? Have writers submit possible names for fowl) decide to run away from the plantation to fight the invaders. During a battle, Garrett and the turkey discover a deep emotional feeling for each other, but realize if they tell the other soldiers and/or barnyard fowl, they will be mocked and ostracized. Meanwhile, Garrett's handsome father decides to put on a skirt and paint his face blue, all the better to terrorize the foreign invaders. With the help of a funny but psychopathic Irish sidekick, the skirt-wearing plantation owner manages to defeat the foreign invaders at Stirling Bridge. Then the plntation owner gets drunk, and is next seen wandering through the desert on a donkey. Just short of death, he comes upon an isolated town full of more psychopathic but humorous folks, and the mayor of this town is (get this!) a woman (memo to casting: see if Beyonce Knowles is available; if not, try Halle Berrie. Get Tina Turner as fallback.) The town is powered by an underground plant that uses stinky methan imported from Titan. Work out details later.

Meanwhile, Garrett and the turkey, realizing their forbidden love can never be openly expressed in the bestiary-phobic world of the Denver suburbs in the 17th and 21st centuries, "break up" and each marries a female within his own species. Garrett marries Paula Abdul, but it is only a shallow "marriage" of convenience, and when he brags how he's been putting the wood to Paul--if you know what I mean--no one believes him anyway. The turkey, meanwhile, has a brief affair with Simon, then realizes it is only a rebound kinda thing. In quick succession he goes through a series of meaningless affairs with an especially attractive Rhode Island Red chicken named Silvia (who thinks she can "convert" him), a pheasant, and finally a sociopathic osprey (memo to casting: get Glenn Close for the voice), before finally marrying an ocellated wild turkey from the Quintana Roo region of the Yucatan. Once a year in mid-November, though, the turkey and Garrett get together for a weeklong "Thanksgiving" get-together camping trip in the Black Forest, accompanied by Garrett's younger brother, Matt Damon.

I think it all ends tragically, but I'm still working on it. I know Garrett's father gets torn and quartered, and Matt decides to go back to college and get his degree in advanced mathematics, but I haven't worked out the rest of it yet.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

For innocence turned upside down, you may want to view the very tough-to-watch film "Mysterious Skin."

Based on a novel by Scott Heim, Gregg Araki's "Mysterious Skin" tells the parallel stories of two boys growing up in a small town in Kansas in the 1980's and early 90's.

One, Brian Lackey (played first by George Webster and then in his late teenage years by Brady Corbet), believes that the nightmares and nosebleeds that afflict him throughout adolescence are results of an alien abduction that occurred in the summer of 1981, when he was a shy, frail 8-year-old.

That same summer, Neil McCormick (Chase Ellison, and later, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was molested by his Little League coach (Bill Sage).

Its subject matter may be grim -- Mr. Araki addresses Neil's early and later sexual experiences with unflinching candor -- but "Mysterious Skin" is infused with remarkable tenderness and beauty. It is the work of a onetime bad boy who has grown up without losing his ardent sympathy for the wildness of youth.

It's also one of the best movies so far this year. -- A. O. Scott, The New York Times

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, Are you drinking Nyquil instead of coffee?

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

But Nani, the seductive allure of the "Hollywood" lifestyle is the notion that one can chase both grandchildren and nubile young nymphs. Although both will probably require frequent naps.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

As a public service, the text of Annie Proulx's story, "Brokeback Mountain:"

And in gratitude to Ms. Proulx, here's a link where you can buy the book:

Posted by: Reader | January 19, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

This is where you have to count on roots and the power of family.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, I think 'Mudge is drinking BOTH.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking,"
Said his wifey dear;
"Now that all is peaceful and calm,
The boys will soon be back on the farm;"
Mister Reuben, started wink-ing,
And slowly rubbed his chin;
He pulled his chair up close to mother,
And he asked her with a grin:

How 'ya gonna keep 'em, down on the farm,
After they've seen Pa-ree?
How 'ya gonna keep 'em away from Broad-way;
Jazzin' a-'round',
And paintin' the town?
How 'ya gonna keep 'em away from harm?
That's a mistery;
They'll never want to see a rake or plow,
And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow?
How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm,
After they've seen Paree?

Verse 2:

"Reuben, Reuben, You're mistaken,"
Said his wifey dear;
"Once a farmer, always a jay,
And farmers always stick to the hay;"
"Mother Reuben, I'm not fakin',
Tho' you may think it strange;
But wine and women play the mischief,
With a boy who's loose with change:"

How 'ya gonna keep 'em, down on the farm,
After they've seen Pa-ree?
How 'ya gonna keep 'em away from Broad-way;
Jazzin' a-'round',
And paintin' the town?
How 'ya gonna keep 'em away from harm?
That's a mistery;
They'll never want to see a rake or plow,
And who the deuce can parleyvous a cow?
How 'ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm,
After they've seen Paree?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 19, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I think that's the second time this song has made an appearance.

Posted by: jw | January 19, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey--Annie Proulx lives in my state, Wyoming, in a small, private rural community not far from the campus of the University of Wyoming. Ah, yes...we've got "book larnin'" here. You effete easterns haven't got it all.

In other ways you don't get it either, so smugly nursing your Starbucks in the ambience of your elite city. (Been there/ done that.)
The first time we heard Annie speak about writing was in the large gallery of our biggest art museum, the Nicolaysen Museum, a huge, multiple use , remodeled building updated and donated to the community by a well-to-do early ranching/sheep owning family. (Imagine!) Few compaints were generated in the local paper after an Andy Warhol retrospective ---the shoes, Marilyn,soup cans, portraits of Che, Mao, etc. etc.
That Proulx reading/discussion is permanently etched in my was the evening of 9/10.
Now circulating here on internet is a tight, closup shot, profiles of Cheney and Bush in western hats facing opposite directions, superimposed on inmages of the Brokeback stars', with a banner underneath advertising "Dumb---k Mountain."
We had here until his retirement the next to last released Iranian hostage, hired for the journalism department at the college where I taught. Though it was not easy for him to do, in several forums he told the public details of their time there; often their captors spoke excellent, unaccented English. They, the group of hostages, began to greet one captor courteously as "Az-oh-lee," which they explained in great detail was a new expression of ultimate respect...he was delighted to learn that. Never did realize it was a fancier pronunciation of "ass...."
So give us a break,guys...don't be "Az-oh-lees." Dont' get quite so turned-on at your own erudition.

Posted by: thereIsaidit! | January 19, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

It's no wonder, then, that Proulx has not garnered the adoration that Wyoming's political elite heaped upon Gretel Ehrlich, when her Solace of Open Spaces was published in 1985. Ehrlich portrayed the cowboy as a shy, inarticulate being who contributed to the redemption and healing she found in Wyoming's beauty and solitude. Then-Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan quoted her in speeches, named her to the state museum board and passed out copies of her essay collection.

This is the cowboy image that packs in the tourists. But it's an image shaped and marketed by economic interests. A recent ad in the University of Wyoming Alumni states: "When you live in Wyoming, why travel anywhere else? Others circle the globe to vacation in our very own backyard."

There's another reality: Wyoming tops the charts in drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, youth homicides and suicides, and shows up last in economic growth charts. When it comes to capturing the real Wyoming, Proulx is way ahead of the competition. But almost certainly, her literary awards - she won a Pulitzer Prize for The Shipping News - will all come from out of state.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse


I also enjoyed Ms. Proulx's excellent book, The Shipping News, which was made into a fairly good movie. In that novel she demonstrates a deep understanding of the culture of Newfoundland. Apparently, she is some kind of genius for empathizing with other people, aside from being a very down-to-earth person herself.

Proulx trivia: Before she started publishing fiction, Proulx wrote a book called "Plan and Make Your Own Fences & Gates, Walkways, Walls & Drives."

What a woman...

Posted by: Reader | January 19, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Just finished reading the Proulx story -- d--n fine piece of writing (no cuss words allowed, Joel said). Especially liked the descriptions of weather. Must have shocked the bejeezus out of the locals in Wyoming, though.

Funny you should mention the Iranian hostages. My wife is distantly related to one of them, and I've met him twice, at family functions. None of us in the family (to my knowledge, anyway) ever talks to him about The Experience, though of course I'd like to do so if it didn't bother him too much. Unfortunately, I don't know him well enough to even be a judge of that question. But I've often thought I'd like to open a couple of Coronas and sit down on the dock and just have a friendly one-on-one chat with him about it all. Probably the last thing he'd want to do, of course.

On the cruise ship, in the elevator one afternoon, we ran into an older couple, and the man was wearing a blazer patch we recognized, of the Navy. We got to chatting in the corridor when we got off the elevator, and for 20 minutes (while his wife stood by patiently, if proudly), he described to us his military career as the CIC (combat information center) and radar officer of the destroyer USS Izard (DD 589) and her WWII career at Okinawa, Kwajalein, Truk and Iwo Jima.

Probably the single best 20 minutes of the entire 11-day cruise.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | January 19, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

As for this AI guy, I dont watch the show. But I know plenty of people who do and think Bo Brice was jipped. And I am sorry this new guy sings to his turkey. Not sure if one can respond beyond that. As for his over exposure to the real world, let's hope he leaves the turkey at home. People ain't going to understand that.

As for Brokeback Mountain, I am not sure what all the fuss is about gay cowboys. Is this is a new concept? I am sure it's one of those instances of a "don't ask don't tell" creedo.

BTW, was there a lurker week?

Posted by: FWIW | January 19, 2006 1:48 PM | Report abuse

What bothers me most is that AI pre-empted my own personal crappy Fox show, "House". Because I love Hugh Laurie, I've boycotted AI for the remainder of the season.

Posted by: amo | January 19, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

yes, there was a lurker week--but nobody showed up. Reason: lurkers are part of he rich and highly developed inellectual fabric and knowledgebase of this blog. So much so that are no longer outsiders.

They enrich the experience, such as it is, of colloquy with the sorry people who camp on this blog all day. [All the lonely people, where do they come from?] I feel sorry for them. But sometimes, ya gotta lurk and jerk to make their day. Some of the group, when they are lonely, which seems frequently, write the longest, most boring posts, that are swelled to doublewide size by the inclusion of pithy and pissy quotes and lyrics and other inputs. But if ya gotta lurk, this is the place.

Posted by: mostlyjerking | January 19, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I was most taken with the AI closer for Denver - the transgendered & outspoken Zachary. I wonder where we might be seeing him/her again-

Posted by: Kit | January 19, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

right on this blog. I think he/she is already present, usig the handle scotty or something.

Posted by: omnigasm | January 19, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

You missed Duke vs NC State for that???

Posted by: Joe D. | January 19, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I will now attempt to determine if I can care any less about who "wins" in American Idol. One moment, please.

I'm very sorry. I've failed. Please continue.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Time to start a version of AI on this blog, call it Blog Idol or AIdol. The winner is the person with the post that is most characteristic of the weighted average blog post, in terms of lines, #words, #quotes, reflection of the elitism or effetism, erotomegality, political correctness, antiBushness, and common interest index. Some geek can do the programming for all this.
In any case, the Blog Idol is selected once a month at a random moment.

Randy Barfalot

Posted by: Message for CT | January 19, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

One of my bloodlines is of the Shepards of Westfield, Mass. I have provided a link for the most famous of the clan, Maj-Gen. William Shepard, confidante of George Washington, whose statue is prominently displayed at the center of town today. Maj.-Gen. William Shepard is not my antecedent, but is on the family tree.

Is there a family link of the Shepards of Westfield, Mass., to Matthew Shepard, slain in Wyoming? There is at this one website:

Am I related to Matthew Shepard? Possibly. I don't know at this point if there is a distant blood connection between us both, but in my genealogy research nothing surprises me anymore. What I *do know* is that hate crimes must stop.

Oct. 12 - FORT COLLINS - Five days after his skull was smashed with a gun butt and he was left to die on a rough-hewn fence, Matthew Shepard died early Monday in a hospital room surrounded by his family. Shepard's heart failed at 12:53 a.m. as he lay comatose and on life support at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, said Rulon Stacey, hospital president.

Before the savage attack in Laramie that ultimately killed Shepard, the University of Wyoming student's last words to his parents had been, "I love you," Stacey said during an emotional news conference at 4:30 a.m. Shepard's mother, Judy, said after her 21-year-old son's death: "Go home, give your kids a hug and don't let a day go by without telling them you love them."

The nation's attention has focused on Shepard and on the ruthless assault that many people - from gay-rights advocates to President Clinton - have called a hate crime motivated by the victim's homosexuality. Shortly after his death, it was clear that Shepard's case would be increasingly politicized: Before sunrise, the governor of Wyoming and gay activists, among others, were scheduling news conferences to debate the need for hate-crime laws.

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm deeply offended that people would pollute what should have been a discussion about something pure and wholesome with comments about something so perverse it could only be the work of the devil.

Posted by: jw | January 19, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a lurker and I really hope I do not compose long and boring posts. That would be horrid!

My reasons for lurking are just that lurking.

Posted by: FWIW | January 19, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, stop talking about that American Idol trash!

Posted by: yuk yuk | January 19, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

meow....calm down ya'll...

Posted by: FWIW | January 19, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

hey, lurking is the greatest.


Posted by: msg forFWIW | January 19, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

hey, this is why I lurk.


Posted by: msg for mo'fo | January 19, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Thu Jan 19, 3:26 AM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's Konica Minolta, one of the world's leading photographic equipment makers, said it would stop making all cameras

The announcement comes less than a week after Nikon unveiled plans to stop selling most of its film cameras

Posted by: George Eastman | January 19, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I haven't been called effete since the Nixon administration was in office! Just out of curiousity (I haven't been to Wyoming in years), I checked out the Casper Star-Tribune online blogs to see what's jumping in Cheneyland. Thought I might be able to call somebody a Neanderthal hinterlander or some such gratuitous crack. Sure enough, the good old Star-Trib site has four blogs going. One for teens (not my demographic), and three for local high school and college sports. Opportunities for gratuitous cracks- nil. But I did find a fair number of Starbuck's locations, four in Cheyenne alone!

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 19, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey, good news:

New Horizons left for Pluto today.

Rove's plan to reestablish contact with The Homeworld is underway (Rove is not from Pluto, but from Charon, natch).


Posted by: bc | January 19, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

this just in: New Horizons is experiencing a glitch and is expected to crash into the moon in about 8 hours.

Posted by: omnigoof | January 19, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Just kidding.

Posted by: omnigoof | January 19, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Did DeLay succeed in his play to put Abramoff on the probe to Pluto?

See? I keep my dumb, boring posts nice and short.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"plan." I meant plan.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of George Eastman...
K-guy, Wyoming is beautiful. On my mother's side of the family, my cousin's daughter is the marketing manager for Cheyenne Frontier Days, history below:

In 1897, Cheyenne was a dusty rail town at the edge of a great, high-plains desert, struggling to hold on to its place on the map. The cattle industry hadn't recovered from the disastrous winter of 1886-1887, the national economy still reeled after the panic of 1893, and business opportunities were scarce. The young, energetic, and civic-minded new Mayor, William. M. Schnitger, had been looking for some activity to drum up business.

Late in August, Frederick W. Angier, a Traveling Passenger Agent for the Union Pacific Railroad Company, came to Cheyenne with a business in mind. His "business" was to urge towns along the rail line to have a festival or a fair, and thus become a destination for an excursion train. Angier shared his idea with Colonel E.A. Slack, the editor of the leading newspaper, the Cheyenne Daily Sun-Leader, who became the first volunteer for Frontier Days.

Many aspects of Frontier Days have changed since 1897, however the foundation remains the same: volunteerism, civic participation, visitors beyond counting, everyone in a festive spirit, and the stellar rodeo. From the early years, Frontier Days has drawn famous personalities to the rodeo groups: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performed for a cheering crowd of 6,000 at the 1898 event. George Eastman of Kodak fame stopped by and commented, "We should have a moving picture of this!" In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt came through town in late May and a special rodeo was staged for him. The word of the glory of Cheyenne Frontier Daysâ„¢ spread worldwide. In recent history, Cheyenne Frontier Daysâ„¢ has been a favorite spot for Hollywood stars that want to be a part of the true "Wild West."

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, I think "play" works just as well.

Posted by: omnigood | January 19, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Gretel Erlich came to Wyoming from the east somewhere to recover/hide out after the man in her life died suddenly of a fast-progressing form of cancer. She ended up working on a Northern Wyo. sheep ranch. Later married a local rancher, marriage didn't last long after her being struck by lightning, she sez, out in the open one day. That led to another marriage (and another book) to the California doctor who treated her for the lightning-strike. More books, one about Iceland,i believe, global warming. Natives here paid little attention to it. her writing is highly regarded in some circles.
Wyoming is continually judged, assessed, dismissed by various outlanders, and overrun now by rich types from everywhere else (no state income tax here, so they list it as their main residence) who are eating up the landscape near Jackson, Wyoming and the Tetons. We--speaking collectively now--give them their very own memorable western scenario (in town X ) in which to star. Let them hunt, camp a few days with guides, ride horses into the wilderness and later when their antelope sausage and jerky arrive in a carton carried underarm by the UPS driver, they must surely wonder where did $10,000 go...

Annie Proulx is very private about her comings and goings, occasionally attends a museum opening reception, does participate in Wyoming's gathering of the nation-wide "reading for hunger" held in cities around the US; this helps support shelters and relief agencies. She seldom gives interviews, is a real world traveler with many commissioned articles, one of which she read part of here, right before 9/11.
Statistics? We are the state with the least population, but that is rapidly changing. No lie, the auditors can barely count the money; we have a surplus of more than a billion (with a b) dollars. Oil and methane and all the supporting workers imported are grabbing huge slices of land; we export the largest amount of coal, as the leading producer, followed by West Virginia.Ours is open pit mining, sorry to say.
We appear to lead everybody in all categories of meth and other drug use, underweight premature babies, etc. etc., mostly because the state give numbers rather than percentages.
My first trip east as a teen, to Maryland and other surrounding states, gave me a kind of claustrophobia. I felt chlorophylled to death by all the greenery pressing up against the windows. We like long vistas. To each hs/her own, eh...

Posted by: thereIsaidit | January 19, 2006 3:29 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo, I know what Wyoming looks like, some of it anyway. Tetons, Yellowstone, Snake River, Cody, Laramie, Flaming Gorge, Casper. I'm just a little put off by generalizations like:

"Ah, yes...we've got "book larnin'" here. You effete easterns haven't got it all.
In other ways you don't get it either, so smugly nursing your Starbucks in the ambience of your elite city. (Been there/ done that.)"

from folks who live in beneficiary states, states which receive more federal dollars than they pay in taxes. If thereIsaidit is happy to live in Wyoming, that's great. The only thing I'm not loving here is being characterised as smug, effete, and a coffee drinker (can't stand the stuff) while my tax dollars are paving Wyoming highways and subsidizing Wyoming schools.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | January 19, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I have never made it through an episode of American Idol. I can't watch it for the same reason I hate most talk radio. I don't enjoy seeing someone humiliated. I really hope this Garret fellow doesn't become a laughing stock.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Aren't there herds of wild horses running free (hooray!) in Wyoming?

kurosawaguy, I hope my video Roshaman arrives before Joel does K'Guy Movie Week so I weigh in on that film and read your and Curmudgeon's comments. It seems I've seen it - long long ago. It was filmed in black and white and with sub-titles, right? There was a forest scene, a lovely young woman being approached by a man on horseback, then two men fighting, then memory fades. Anyway, that should be a fun week.

Posted by: Nani | January 19, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

RD Padouk. I'm with you. Last Tuesday was the first and last time I'll watch AI. What's entertaining about humiliating, hurting feelings and dashing dreams. mo could weigh in on how difficult auditions are, how badly you want to succeed and how much the rejection (even if done gently) hurts. The old Ted Mack Amateur Hour had uniquely talented and untalented performers. Both were treated with respect, both were entertaining (sometimes a bad performance is so bad it's good), and no one got hurt.

Posted by: Nani | January 19, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Nani, I wish I had a "Nani" like you. That said, I suspect you may be too optimistic about the K'guy movie week. Do you really think Joel can control the contents of his own blog? Sure, he likes to think he is in control, sweet misguided idealist that he is. But deep down he must surely realize that he is not. Given that he has three daughters, I imagine this feeling is not entirely new.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

okay, what's up with the Post Blog no longer allowing comments?

Deb Howell once again made an ass out of herself, well over 100 people pointed out that Deb Howell was once again making an ass out of herself, and Powers-That-Be shut down comments, and delete all the comments that have been made previously on the entire subject of Howell and what a lying piece of **** she is.

obviously, comments are still working, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this...

so, Joel, I'd like to suggest that you make Howell a "kit", because if you don't its not unlikely that your blog comment sections are gonna be hijacked by the anti-Howell contingent...

Posted by: paul lukasiak | January 19, 2006 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Mmmm boy, personal attacks and threats! NOW we're cooking with gas!

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

This is why I get so annoyed at trolls. This is a fun place. It's also fragile. I don't want it to vanish.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet those were all filled with nothing but friendly banter and interesting discourse.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

An Anti-Howell Contingent! I can see them now, storming the gates, brandishing torches and hay rakes. Scary movie, kids.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Help me...

I have now been drawn in by the allure of American Idol. I don't know why; I can't explain it. Maybe Joel writing about it last year made it OK in my mind. Whatever it is, I can't stop watching.

That said, this afternoon I came home and "watched" last night's episode on my Tivo by using the 30-second-skip button and moving quickly through the gut-wrenchingly worst humiliations. I probably watched about 12 minutes of show that way and loved what I saw (the "best 16-year-old I've ever heard" was Simon's comment for one fabulous teen girl).

I also had the benefit of having already read Joel's take on the Turkey Boy, so I didn't have to go there too much. Of course, if they've done an up-close-and-personal video then you know the person gets to "go to Hollywood."

But I still can't believe that with all those people auditioning, they can't come up with anyone more talented than who they have crowned "American Idol" so far. I've seen too many Broadway shows and even community or high school theatre to think that the four Idols so far are the best performers they could find. Maybe that's why I keep watching, hoping, for a real talent to show up.

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

If you google "Paul Lukasiak" you will see that he spends his time, if not making a living, by sponsoring blogues meant to disparage others.

That said, welcome, Paul. You are needed here to puncture some of the self-infatuated bloated egoes, including those in transit and on vacation.

In the 1930's leftists cried, "Arm the unemployed." Now, it's arm the opinionated bloggers, better known as "bombers."


Posted by: To my colleagues | January 19, 2006 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Complete non sequitur, but apparetnly Joe Gibbs is the coaching Godfather

Posted by: TDC | January 19, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

To Paul Lukasiak,

Hey, guy. Welcome. BTW, no need to use asterisks. No matter the word, spell it out. We can take it.

Bring it on, big fella.

Memo to RDP: the fragility of this blog won't be taxed. The 10 people who claim it as their own, however, need to make more room.

Posted by: An American in Myanmar | January 19, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

If years from now historians try to pinpoint the beginning of the tensions that led to the East-West civil war, I hope they miss my and Curmudgeon's posts here that somehow turned a Kit about a singing kid from Montana into a Kaboodle about Wyoming and urban v. rural tensions. Sorry.

Posted by: Patrick | January 19, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

One last bloated self important desperate call for attention and otherwise indication of my low place in the universe comment before I go home to my assigned spot in the suburban wasteland of Northern Virginia.

I am a relative newcomer to the blog, and have been welcomed enthusiastically. The lesson seems to be that we welcome all who are civil and have a modest sense of humor.

And, oh yeah, they should probably also be fans of Joel Achenbach.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Ve also welcome people who are unremittingly verbose and pedantic. = Opportunity. Signed:

Posted by: For Monsieur RDP | January 19, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

There's always room over here at the bar. And there's that area over there, where the semicolons hang out. They're always wishing for company.

Omni -- yeah, play woulda worked just fine, come to think of it.

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The Post Blog comments section was turned off because some posters were naughty. They used bad words, personal attacks, and poor sentence construction.

Achenbloggers, like Boy Scouts, are friendly, courteous, helpful, and, uh, thrifty. Our standards are at least as high of those of the Post Blog.

Just a reminder, my dear colleagues.

Posted by: CowTown | January 19, 2006 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Cowtown writes:
"An Anti-Howell Contingent! I can see them now, storming the gates, brandishing torches and hay rakes. Scary movie, kids."

Cowtown, you make me laugh. I am much reminded of the Peasants Revolt of 1381:

During the next few days, the different bands of rebels from Essex and Kent were joined by some of London's poor, and they set about attacking political targets in the city. They burned down the Savoy Palace [our family manor], which was the home of John of Gaunt - Richard II's uncle, and probably the most powerful magnate in the realm. They set fire to the Treasurer's Highbury Manor, opened prisons and destroyed legal records.

In St Albans, the local townsmen drained the Abbot's fishpond, killed his game, sacked the houses of his officials and burned the charters that gave him his manorial rights. In Bury St Edmunds, the Prior was tried and beheaded by rebels. In Cambridge, peasants and townsmen damaged parts of the University, burned its archives and drew up a document that formally handed over the University's privileges to the town. In Norfolk, a large band of rebels forced the city authorities of Norwich to open the gates and then took over the castle, while rebel detachments plundered parts of the surrounding area.

The targets that the peasants attacked, plus the demands that they made to the King, show the pressures they faced at the time. The immediate cause of the revolt was the unprecedented amount of taxation the peasantry faced from the Government. The poll tax of 1380 was three times higher than that of the previous year and, unlike its predecessor, taxed rich and poor at the same rate. Hence, it was very unpopular with the peasantry.

Raise my taxes [shut down blog comments]--I'll show you!

Posted by: Loomis | January 19, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely loved the movie' The Shipping News" and the book is on my must read list. But the movie, once seen is one of those I find more and more in it every time I watch it.

Posted by: dr | January 19, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

CT, you forgot "always ready"...

No, wait, that's the Coast Guard...

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Be Prepared, by Tom Lehrer

Be prepared! That's the Boy Scouts' marching song,
Be prepared! As through life you march along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor pretty well.
Don't write naughty words on walls if you can't spell.

Be prepared! To hide that pack of cigarettes.
Don't make book if you cannot cover bets.
Keep those reefers hidden where you're sure that they will not be found,
And be careful not to smoke them when the scoutmaster's around,**
For he only will insist that they be shared ... be prepared!

Be prepared! That's the Boy Scouts' solemn creed,
Be prepared! And be clean in word and deed.
Don't solicit for your sister, that's not nice,
Unless you get a good percentage of her price.

Be prepared! And be careful not to do
Your good deeds when there's no one watching you.
If you're looking for adventure of a new and different kind,
And you come across a Girl Scout who is similarly inclined,
Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared. Be prepared!

Posted by: Bayou Self | January 19, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify the point by RD, no one has to be a fan of JA to post on this blog. You can loathe JA. You merely have to be a fan of Paul Lynde.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 19, 2006 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Point well taken. But doesn't everybody love Paul Lynde? I mean, he was the definitive Templeton the Rat. This Sutherland guy is such a total poseur. Heck, he can't even do the laugh right.

Posted by: RD Padouk | January 19, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Charles Nelson Reilly... "Match Game" would just NOT have been the same without him.

Then again, the old "Hollywood Squares" DID lean on Paul a lot.

Posted by: Scottynuke | January 19, 2006 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow is Jan. 20. I'll be posting on the significance of the date, just fyi.

Posted by: Achenbach | January 19, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse

So comments still work here? I can write that I think Deborah Howell is a whore for the Republican Party and the Washington Post is too thin skinned to survive on the Internet?

Posted by: Testing | January 19, 2006 8:10 PM | Report abuse

summer any place else. Since the elevation is 5880 it stays cool.

The mountain sheep/bighorn, and elk come down by the road to eat the alfalfa that they put out to help them through the snow early may...

they all disappear before the tourists show up....I've walked within a few feet of the bighorn outside of yellowstone....inside it's $1,500 fine to be within 300 feet of a wild animal...

Cody is at the east entrance of Yellowstone and you can be backpacking on a flyfishing trip with lamas or horses...

Posted by: Cody WY is nice in what would be | January 19, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Trivia Question...

Who was the very first center square on Hollywood Squares?

Nope. Not Paul Lynde. It was Ernest Borgnine.

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Which leads me to one of the best palindromes ever:

E. Borgnine drags dad's gardening robe.

Posted by: TBG | January 19, 2006 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Got me on that one, TBG.

The program AI, though, reminds me of the "Newlyweds" or "Miss America".
I have always felt really embarassed for these people. I think that media is taking advantage of our lovely simple folk. There's something wonderful about ingenuous people- and they need protection. (Orange County, is a big no for that poor turkey guy.) Posting off, from Eureka, CA.

PS: Loomis, the crabs are FINALLY coming in! We've been under a "they're too small" moritorium. I say one/crabs and zero/humans!
Thank you all for many hours of community entertainment!

Posted by: pear | January 20, 2006 2:34 AM | Report abuse

I love paul lynd and tom lehrer both. poisoning pidgeons in the park is one of tom's best songs. And Paul was sooo openly gay on bewitched im surprised he was so popular. (not gay but dont care if you are). Has everyone seen the remake of bewitched with will farrel? The guy from the daily show did a fantastic immitation of paul lynde.

Posted by: lurking in ohio | January 20, 2006 3:23 AM | Report abuse

New Horizons is on its way to the next-to-last unecxplored planet in the solar system, and the best that can manage is an AP story (plus some boodle mentions, of course). I'm very disappointed.

Posted by: ScienceTim | January 20, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

If the world were a better place, someone other than GW Bush would have been POTUS for exactly one year today.

At least Powell had enough of conscience to vote with his feet.


Posted by: bc | January 20, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "At least Powell had enough of a conscience to vote with his feet."

Nuts. I really liked that sentence, too.


Posted by: bc | January 20, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

For decades, if not longer, America will hang its head in shame that George W. Bush was president.

He will go down in history with Buchanan and Harding -- perhaps even worse than they.

Posted by: candide | January 20, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

There was a DeLurking Week earlier this month, but I don't think anyone on the boodle was aware of it. You can trace it back to the founder from my blog entry defending lurkers.

I think we would be better off if a few of the regular posters were lurkers instead, but out of diplomatic tact, I will not name names. I am sure a few think the same of me. My variation of Mom's Rule Rule of Niceness: If you don't have anything interesting to say, we will wait until you do.

Posted by: yellojkt | January 20, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

This is the first time I have been here. Wonderful posting. I nearly spit my coffee on the screen. Someone should have warned me!

Posted by: BillBo | January 21, 2006 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I am from Wyoming and am offened by this blog and posts. Sorry that our culture and way of life is different from all of yours...but in my opinion is better than any of you could ever imagine. The common curtiosy here exceeds anywhere I have ever visited and I would never trade living here for the world. So go ahead and poke fun, but in the end you are the the ones that are uncultured.

Posted by: Cierra Woolsey | January 25, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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