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Tuesday notes

Feb 4, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck

Thanks, groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil must have sharper eyes than the human inhabitants of his city. Sunday morning was foggy and overcast in the small town in Pennsylvania where Phil the groundhog gives his winter weather prediction every Feb. 2.

As happens more often than not, Phil "saw his shadow," which in Groundhog Day lore means six more weeks of winter weather. Phil tends to be a pessimistic rodent. In the past 25 years, he's only predicted an early spring seven times, and never two years in a row.

So far he's right on the nose, at least locally.

Broncos saddled

From the looks of it, the Denver Broncos must have forgotten the Super Bowl was being played Sunday. Maybe they thought they were suiting up for Picture Day. Peyton Manning & Co. looked as if they had just rolled out of bed, while the Seattle Seahawks were absolute world beaters.

There were lots of predictions flying around in the days before the game, but nobody predicted a Seattle rout. From the first play of the game it was clear the Broncos didn't have it.

This will rank as one of the more-unexpected games in Super Bowl history -- not because the Seahawks won, but because the mighty Broncos weren't even competitive.

Legislature previews

The Wyoming Legislature convenes next week for its 20-day budget session. Lawmakers will be in session for the rest of February and into early March.

Ranger staff members have been in contact with Fremont County's legislators, and we will begin a series of budget session previews this week. We've asked all the lawmakers to address the same basic set of questions before branching out into ideas, issues and legislation specific to them.

We appreciate their cooperation ahead of time and encourage them to be available from time to time during the session to brief us on issues of local importance.

Winter Carnival continues

It's good to see Riverton getting out and about to take part in some Wild West Winter Carnival activities. Saturday -- the biggest single day of events on the schedule -- dawned snowy, which kept participation down early in the day, but by midday there was a good contingent of ice sculptors, and the assorted activities in the park picked up after a slow start. The dinner crowd for the WWWC Crab Crack was sizable, and we at The Ranger enjoyed staging another medallion treasure hunt.

This week brings the fun of the quick-draw art auction Friday night at the Elks club, the WWWC Quiltfest organized by the Wyoming Star Quilters Guild of Riverton on Saturday and Sunday in the Fremont Center at the fairgrounds, and the WWWC gala is Saturday at Bar 10.

Ambulance director

A couple of readers made comments recently to the effect that a recent Ranger editorial claimed the Fremont County Commission hired a new county ambulance department director from outside the department because there wasn't anyone on the current staff qualified for the post.

We said no such thing. The point being made was, given the divide within the department over budgeting matters, the previous department director, and the question of whether to convert the EMS field response team to a largely professional force or continue with a mostly volunteer setup, that it wasn't surprising the commission looked to an outsider who had not been involved in the internal disagreements.

That's far different from saying no one locally is qualified for the job. As is often the case in comments such as these, the two people making the complaint acknowledged they had not actually read the editorial. That makes it harder to take the complaints seriously, but in case anyone who did read the piece is confused, here is your clarification.

Hoffman

A word about Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Academy Award-winning actor who died over the weekend of what looks to be a drug overdose. There was nothing he couldn't do, and he did it all well. If there are any doubts, weigh the Oscar-winning performance he gave as the effeminate author Truman Capote in "Capote" in 2005 against his portrayal of disgruntled big league baseball manager Art Howe in "Moneyball," another Oscar-nominated movie, in 2011. Truman Capote and Art Howe hardly could be more different as human beings, but Hoffman was utterly believable in both parts.

And if you ever need to laugh, watch Hoffman as the self-important stage actor who is Ben Stiller's friend in "Along Came Polly" (2004), a mostly forgettable comedy which, nevertheless, does include the scene in which Hoffman and Stiller play two-on-two basketball against a couple of strangers on a Saturday morning.

If you've seen it, the words "Rain dance!" need no explanation. If you haven't, it's worth the rental or YouTube search. No matter the role or the movie, Philip Seymour Hoffman delivered. Every time.

Here's to a good week.

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