MONTANA DISPATCH: Hi everybody, or should I say, Hello you, to keep the syntax in agreement with the actual number of readers of this blog.

Here I am, a long, long way from the kind of tortured conformism among US college types that produces phenomena like the one Andrew Sullivan discusses here. Way out here in western Montana, the big, big issue dividing the local townsfolk is the surprise decision by the local school board to adopt a citizen's proposal to teach the theory of "intelligent design" in the local schools as an alternative to evolution. Got themselves some nationaly publicity.

The one cop in town is a reformed boozer (rumored to be making some sweet property deals on foreclosures with the help of friends in the local town hall) who is nationally known for handing out more tickets and DUIs per capita than any in the nation. He once ticketed David Letterman as he motored through town. Once in a while Dave will still mention that on his show, or so I'm told.

Today I read that Washington D.C. has five times as many people as the whole of Montana. The state sports one member of the House of Representatives. The southwest in particular is the kind of place where the natural silence drowns out the harsh overtones that people bring with them whereever they may be.

As for me, every morning I look out my back window and watch a bunch of elk slop through the snow across a meadow 80 yards away and think, "hmm. A long way from Prague 6, I am." I was staring out the window this afternoon and suddenly realized five deer were checking me out from behind a tree 20 feet away. Very pretty animals. The place where I stay is situated a few miles outside of town, and there is so much wildlife around here that the elk, deer and moose are common even at the edge of town. I'm taking my camera soon and going moose viewing. Never seen one before in the wild.

Steve | 03:24 |