The sprinkler is on. How do you describe the sprinkler's sound? Hiss, maybe, as in "the hissing of summer lawns" (thanks Joni Mitchell). It sounds like summer, especially in this dry climate. We've had only a trace of rain this month. No snow, either, although there is still plenty of September left for that. I remember driving I-80 to the Salt Lake City Book Festival during a first-day-of-fall blizzard, WYDOT closing the road behind me. It snowed on us one Sept. 15 as we moved into our house. Sept. 11, 2014 -- eight inches of wet snow in Casper, all melted by evening. Moisture -- we'll take what we can get.
Rep. Allen Jaggi wrote an op-ed for today's paper. The headline: "Keep an eye on the money." This is one Republican legislator's response to Republican Gov. Mead's idea that the state, faced with declining energy revenues, should dip into its $2 billion rainy day fund. Jaggi doesn't like that idea, although he never takes a swipe at the Gov. He does take a swipe at the Game and Fish Department which is having a tough time living within its means as license fees decline (20,000 fewer, according to Jaggi). That figure is really amazing when you think about Wyoming's reputation as a hunting destination. Rep. Jaggi mentions that higher-end state employees make from $80,000-$200,000 per year (P.S.: I'm nowhere near that level). He also mentions that "we have the biggest state government per capita of any other state" and bemoans the "rapid growth of our state agencies." But he also points out that a Wyoming family of four gets $27,000 in state services and only pays $3,200. The minerals industry makes up the shortfall in this state with no income tax. He seems to be arguing that as mineral revenues go down, so should state services. And what happens to families with a special-needs child who can't get help from the Department of Family Services? One can only conclude that Wyoming Republicans don't care.
I didn't watch this week's Republican debates. I'm still recovering from the first round.
My daughter Annie and I visited the fifth annual Zombiefest yesterday. Actually, she wanted some lunch (brains!) and I wanted to visit the adjacent farmer's market (pears!). Annie settled for a chicken kabob sandwich from the Kabob Truck while I munched on plums from Jeffrey Farms in Palisade, Colo. Zombies wandered the downtown plaza. Many of them pushed children in strollers. The crowd was more my daughter's age than mine, which is terrific. No casualties were reported, although a pair of old Army Jeeps (Zombie Hunters!) were adorned with skeletons. One of the films being screened at the Atlas Theatre was the original "The Hills Have Eyes." It featured Michael Berryman as Pluto, who attended the Zombiefest. He also was one of R.P. McMurphy's fellow residents of the asylum in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."
In Ken Kesey's novel, narrator Chief Bromden remembers the nursery rhyme that his grandmother once sang to him:
Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,Perhaps this is will be the voice mail message that Wyomingites seeking mental health services will hear should Republicans have their way with the budget.
Apple seed and apple thorn,
Wire, briar, limber lock,
Three geese in a flock,
One flew East,
One flew West,
And one flew over the cuckoo's nest.