By Bill Sniffin, publisher
President Joe Biden’s enduring fiasco in Afghanistan. Bears raising heck in Wyoming. There is so much to write about and so little time.
Deadlines approach and all I need is 750 words. As Mark Twain said, “I would write it shorter if I had more time.” One of my favorite writers is Stephen King, who called the editing process of shortening your own stories “killing off your little children.”
So here I am. Nobody wants to read about the stress I feel facing the deadline pressure of a weekly column.
One veteran columnist wrote that “writing a regular column is easy. You just sit down in front of the keyboard and wait for the blood to start running down the side of your head.”
Today, I am feeling sorry for myself. I have been writing columns for over 50 years. I think Jim Hicks might have the record with his “Sagebrush Sven” column in the Buffalo Bulletin – probably 60-plus years.
There may be a few others in Wyoming who have written a column for over 50 years but I am hesitant to name them. I actually think I have been writing my column longer than Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) Barron and the recently retired Sally Ann Shurmur, both of the Casper Star-Tribune.
People who read my column ask me “How on earth do you manage to get one of these written every week?” Or for that matter, 51 years in Wyoming, six years in western Iowa, and two years in eastern Iowa? I think that might add up to 59 years, but, alas, who is counting except me?
Sorry folks, now that I’m done with my whining, I promise this thumbsucker column might get a little more interesting.
So, my first column item here is about a bear. Columnist Dave Simpson recently wrote about a beer-drinking bear.
This story is better. Promise.
This story begins with a unique part of the four-year curriculum at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander — a three-week wilderness course taken by all freshmen just before starting college.
The wilderness trip is a spiritual experience where these young people from all over the country (students come from 38 different states) bond with others and attend religious services with the two priests who tag along.
The Catholic faith involves communion with wine and bread. The bread is served as small hosts. This is where this story gets interesting.
Seems while the students were off climbing a mountain, a bear broke into the priests’ tent, drank all the wine and gobbled up all the hosts.
Later, when a ranger was asked if he thought the guilty party was a brown bear, a black bear, or a grizzly bear, he allegedly replied:
“Hard to tell. But I am pretty sure it was a Catholic bear.”
Second, as publisher of the Cowboy State Daily, I get to take credit for the great work done by editors Jimmy Orr and Jim Angell plus great writing by Ellen Fike, Wendy Corr, and Jen Kocher. And I will continue to burst my buttons over the product this staff is putting out each day.
More than 40 items are sent out to our 17,400 subscribers each day for free. Another 400,000 folks check our web site each month, and we have about 25,000 friends on Facebook. These are pretty amazing numbers for an outfit that is not yet three years old. Don’t just watch us grow, join us! Go to cowboystatedaily.com to sign up.
Third, I need to clarify that although in a recent column I said I agreed with President Joe Biden on getting out of Afghanistan, I must ask who in their right mind would agree with how he is doing it? This disaster will be his legacy and will haunt him forever.
I believe in the good work being done by an outfit called Openthebooks.com. This online money auditing site is very accurate in exposing wasteful government spending.
They recently published the following about what we left behind in Afghanistan:
• 75,000 war vehicles including light and medium tactical vehicles, Humvees, mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles, and armored personnel carriers. The nearly 1,000 mine resistant vehicles cost up to $767,000 each.
• 208 airplanes and helicopters, including 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft. The A-29s cost $21.3 million each. Black Hawk helicopters were also captured – each costing up to $21 million.
• 600,000 rifles, machine guns, shotguns, and howitzers were transferred to Afghan security forces. And 25,000 grenade launchers and 2,500 howitzers – the modern-day cannon.
Gads, what a waste. Amazing.