Welcome to "Life in Bozeman," your not-entirely-accurate source of news and features from Bozeman, Montana.

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this week's feature:


Quiche-Threatening Rampage Caused by ODP, say doctors

by Mary "HyperConsumer" Engel

BOZEMAN, MONTANA -- A Bozeman man's merchandise-mutilating rampage through Costco last week was caused by a condition called ODP, or Oxygen Deprivation Psychosis, say local doctors.

The disorder affects some 80 to 90 percent of Bozeman residents and is brought on by prolonged exposure to the oxygen-depleted air of high altitudes, according to experts, though a much milder form is overwhelmingly the norm compared to the extreme type demonstrated by the Bozeman man who charged through the store last Sunday. Typically, symptoms include the annoying but harmless tendency to be phony in social settings or a benign propensity for real estate value exaggeration.

In extreme cases, however, it can lead to outbursts like last week's assault on merchandise at Costco. The man, 49-year-old David Reg Davenport, charged through the store last Sunday, pulling lids off the 5-gallon drums of soy sauce, firing tacquito missiles down the aisles and poking his fingers through the cellophane covering the 36-pack hamburger patty trays.

At one point, he shoved shoppers away from their oversize, overloaded shopping carts, beseeching them "Forsake thine evil ways! Return these bloated quantities to their rightful shelves, and repent!"

During the 30-minute siege, he was also heard to shout such admonishments as, "Forgo the 100-count potato boats, I beg of you!" and "Stop and atone for your foolishness, people, or your soul will not last as long as the 25-pound sack of tater tots!"

Shoppers and employees looked on in stunned silence throughout most of the rampage, apparently shocked into inaction against the intruder and fearful of leaving their overburdened shopping carts unattended.

His final attack went too far, though, say shoppers who finally snapped out of their overconsumptive daze when a horrified shopper screamed, "He's got the mini-quiches!"

Seven customers then descended upon Davenport as he threatened to unleash cartons of the beloved tiny tarts down the frozen foods row, stopping what could have been the country's worst case of quiche mutilation on record. Police arrived soon afterward and subdued Davenport, who even while being handcuffed continued to mumble about overindulgence, fear and the 54-roll toilet tissue pack.

Bozeman residents were quick to initially diagnose the incident as BBB, or Big Box Backlash, another ailment that has plagued the area recently, most notably among long-time residents and members of the City Commission. However, doctors and experts say this is almost certainly a case of ODP and that the location of the psychotic episode is pure coincidence.

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Animal activists protest canine airbag promotion

by Mary "Pants on Fire" Engel

BOZEMAN, Montana -- In 1998, a fledging animal shelter called Your Eternal Life Pets opened here to provide another place for abandoned or unwanted animals. Their mission was to provide a safehouse for stray animals without a time-imposed kill date for those not claimed or adopted. This "no-kill" policy brought them instant approval and widespread kudos from animal lovers and activists. However, a new promotion at the shelter now makes them a target of the very groups that sang their praises so loudly.

While the no-kill policy was popular in animal-mad Bozeman, it almost immediately created overcrowding that has overwhelmed YELP's small building. With dogs and cats literally stacked up everywhere, it was clear that a new approach was needed to spur new adoptions.

The Canine Airbag Program was born.

The premise is simple: YELP has repositioned the role of the animals at their shelter from that of companion to utilitarian protector. The promotion touts the benefits of driving with a small- to medium-sized dog (or, presumably, a large cat) on one's lap. In the event of an accident, according to recent YELP advertisements, the pet will cushion the impact of the crash, in much the same way as an airbag would in newer and higher-priced vehicles.

"We see it as a win-win," said YELP Marketing Director Garrett Grimley. "The animals get a home, people get the safety benefit of an airbag without the usual dangers associated with factory-installed airbags."

Horrified animal activists blocked the way to the shelter earlier this week as would-be adoptive families attempted to access the YELP parking lot in their late-model safety-deficient vehicles.

"How can they call it a no-kill shelter, when they're practically putting these pets directly into harm's way with this irresponsible promotion?" demanded one of the activists, Harry O. Millman.

But YELP officials are standing behind their idea, saying it is still a much more humane and practical solution to the pet overcrowding problem than the methods traditional shelters employ.

"Look, car accidents aren't even as common as you think," said Grimley. "Besides, pets LOVE to ride in the car, especially right in the driver's seat. So even if there is a wreck, their final moments would have been spent blissfully."

Animal rights activists say this will be the death of Your Eternal Life, and point out that the valley's Humane Society has already instituted a no-kill policy that is "responsible and legitimate."

"The Humane Society is doing it the right way, without resorting to the ridiculous shenanigans of YELP," said Millman.

Yet as of this week, the parking lot remained full at YELP, and the shelter's animal cages emptied.

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Man blames wife's "insane hairdo" for his infidelty

by Mary "Overreaction" Engel

BOZEMAN, Montana -- Popular local businessman Carl Ricco, whose standing in the community was rocked last week by allegations of adulterous affairs, gained sympathy from the community when he explained that his infidelity was an inevitable response to his wife's hairstyle.

He claimed that while his desire was to be a faithful husband and provider, he was driven away by a hairdo he described as "insane."

"It's all wiry and kinky, and it has this bizarre little flip at the bottom," explained Ricco. "I just can't bond with that."

A tearful Gwen Ricco contended that her unusual coif was neither intentional nor her fault, and that in fact she deserves credit for her tenacity in dealing with a handicap that is sorely misunderstood by the general population.

"I wasn't blessed with long Marcia Brady hair," she lamented, "and the emotional distress has been almost debilitating at times. It's been years of one humiliation after another. Can you imagine how I felt when that Dorothy Hamill style happened? And now this!"

Several reputable area hair stylists declared her hair "hopeless" after repeated applications of chemicals, heat and styling aids to no avail.

Neighbors said that the while the Riccos seemed to be normal, Mrs. Ricco's hairstyle contributed to her "stressed-out" appearance. At least one neighbor commented that it does not truly reflect her nature.

"I thought she seemed personable and friendly, or at least I think so. Her hair is kind of distracting, so I'm not sure," reported Lewinda Smith, a neighbor for 8 years.

Ricco's alleged girlfriend declined to be interviewed for this article, however, sources say she sports long lustrous auburn tresses, and has a distinct fondness for hair-twirling.

Her marriage destroyed, Mrs. Ricco said she intends to relocate to California, where she expects to be received with greater tolerance and understanding.

In an unrelated case, Mrs. Ricco plans to sue a former employer for discrimination based on her hairstyle.


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Adorable puppies become "miserable hounds"

By Mary "Scoop" Engel


BOZEMAN, Montana -- When Margaret Pratt adopted two cocker spaniel mix puppies from the Gallatin Valley Humane Society last month, she envisioned cute games of fetch and evenings at home with the cuddly pooches. And at first, that's exactly what she got, and she and her family believed they'd completed their American dream.

But now, a month later, her dreams have hit the rocks. Pratt's puppies have succumbed to a baffling medical condition in which cuteness seems to evaporate nearly overnight. Characterized by stubbornness, insolence and the inability to understand English, the malady often precipitates violent outbursts and bickering in pet owners.

And sadly, it is far more common than once thought.

Pratt says her life has been turned upside down since the condition struck her puppies. Standing on her front porch, gazing out at the Bridger Mountains, Pratt said tearfully, "I didn't think it could happen here."

Last week when she discovered that all four legs of her coffee table had been chewed down to the size of toothpicks, Pratt was so provoked that she chased the dogs around her house for nearly an hour with a rolled-up newspaper. Her colorful curses and shouts of "come back here, you miserable hounds!" were heard up to half a mile away.

Similar incidents around the world have puzzled scientists for thousands of years. Most of the research currently underway focuses on a genetic flaw that scientists describe as a "time bomb." Apparently this hidden gene, which exists in nearly all breeds, causes a sudden and often irreversible transformation in which even the cutest puppy becomes an idiotic or annoying dog.

Yet scientists are unable to isolate this gene, nor to determine its origin. Related studies focus on a similar condition in cats, in which once-playful and engaging kittens become standoffish, haughty and judgmental.



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Man breaks record with 20 years of midlife crisis

by Mary "Scuttlebutt" Engel

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Back in 1980, Norv Snyder was 40 years old and on the verge of dumping his second wife and bailing out of his corporate advertising job in Chicago. He had just bought an all-terrain vehicle which he liked to drive at excessive speeds around his backyard and his suburban cul-de-sac. Over a single four-month period, he'd collected 28 new hunting rifles and 16 fishing rods. Then, after purchasing a dozen or so books about meditation, he'd summoned bulldozers to his home to convert his yard into a traditional Japanese garden, with the expectation that the change would facilitate self-discovery, as well as announce his new enlightenment to the neighbors.

Snyder's wife Bess, along with a few friends and co-workers, generally chalked it up to midlife crisis, calling it a "phase."

But the phase didn't end. Snyder proceeded with the divorce, left his job and devoted his days to writing personal essays in longhand in dozens of notebooks.

After briefly dating several teenagers, he married a 22-year-old woman and fled to Montana, a place where some say time stands still.

For Snyder, however, time marched on. The change of venue and the acquisition of a younger model wife didn't cure whatever was ailing him, nor did the fleet of new cars and trucks in the driveway of the Rocky Mountain dream ranchette. The marriage soon dissolved. But Snyder continued his attempts to defy time through overspending, posturing, skirt chasing, and frequent applications of styling gel on his thinning hair.

Now, twenty years after it began, Snyder's immature behavior continues, breaking the former Montana state record of 19 years of midlife crisis.

Bragging openly that "I've never dated a woman over the age of 35," Snyder continues to pursue numerous young women.

As the self-promoting self-styled playboy pushes 60, he has redoubled his efforts to deny the inevitability of aging. Recent purchases include over a dozen guitars and a new HumVee he has christened "The Love Machine." Though already the new King of Crisis, Snyder shows no signs of letting up, as evidenced by his recent ear piercing.

Experts agree that Snyder exhibits typical, though excessive, hallmarks of a midlife crisis. Snyder himself, however, vehemently disagrees, stating, "I have never owned a Harley, or any motorcycle at all, for that matter! Besides, how can this be midlife? I look and feel 29!"

Former record holder and Bozeman resident John Peterson, now 72, had the longest-known midlife crisis in Montana until 1990, when he conclusively demonstrated acceptance of his aging by appearing in public wearing bermuda shorts, black socks and dress shoes. Reached at home today for comment, Peterson said the title remains rightfully his, stating that Snyder is not a Montana native and that part of the purported record was set out of state.

"I'll be glad to relinquish the title when a worthy challenger comes on the scene," said Peterson with a snort. Yet he says he would never want to return to what he termed "those crazy times."

"It was fun at first, but then it got to be too much like work," he said. "My days are peaceful and serene now."

Peterson even hinted at the possibility of pursuing another sort of record, saluting the departing Life in Bozeman news crew with an upraised fist and a shout of "GEEZER PRIDE!"



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DISCLAIMER: This column is designed and written for the express and sole purpose of entertainment. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. In no way should any of these stories be taken seriously or personally.