Buy A Blogger


bribe-000.jpgDid you ever wonder if what you read is all true, partly true, sort of true, not true, or bought and paid for? Some blogs are egocentric, some blatantly commercial, and some masquerade as news but are really just P.R. They are bought and paid for by commercial interests and the praise that they get in return.

Tour companies, travel agents, journalists, and others with an audience all are in a position to trade favors with interested parties – it may be tit for tat, or advertising, or just plain scam. But believe me it goes on and is not reported to the client, reader, patron, or believing citizen.

One classic example from our little town should serve as an example of how this works. The West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce recently had an article in the local “newspaper” and begged for money to bribe “independent voices” “to get the word out.”

This quote should give you some idea of the perquisites that are given to these “independent voices:”

“There are some days at the Chamber of Commerce where we seem to spend a majority of the day on our knees begging for donations in order to assist travel writers, major media and tour operators. Donations of rooms, meals, tours, food, gift items, bags and bows, even bottles of water make a huge difference in our ability to have these folks come to West Yellowstone-they are independent voices for us to “get the word out” about what a great destination we are.


In a small community like West Yellowstone, our Chamber Marketing budget is small and already allocated. So, when unexpected groups of tour operators, magazine or newspaper writers, photographers, web travel writers, radio talk show hosts, or television producers call and ask for help in setting up their trips. In turn, in order to take advantage of these opportunities for West Yellowstone, we have to reach out to you, our community.”

The list of “Independent Voices” is extensive:


  • Kurt Repanshek, Travel Arts syndicated writer writing about West Yellowstone as the “best gateway to Yellowstone.”
  • David Sason writing an article on Montana meeting sites with a focus on West Yellowstone.
  • Utah freelance writers working on a November/December article for Salt Lake Magazine about winter vacations in West Yellowstone.
  • Carol Calicchio with, the most popular travel planning website in California.
  • Steve Cannon with KIDK-Channel 3 exploring the Painted Buffalo Project.
  • Sam Dalton with who will be creating a web page about winter activities for boomer travelers.
  • Steve Pastorino with Fodor’s Travel Guide.
  • Eric Peterson with Frommer’s Montana and Wyoming Guidebook.
  • Eric and Sue Hansen, representing Oregon-based newspapers and Northwest Travel magazine, writing about birding and our birding trails.
  • Salt Lake City-based Western Leisure with a Chinese FAM tour including eight tour operators from the largest tour companies in mainland China.
  • Terry Mansfield with who is creating a web site with downloadable radio spots about West Yellowstone.
  • A German journalist & a photographer representing Markische Allgemeine Zeitung, a large daily German newspaper.

Now then, with all this mutual back-scratching going on I wonder if what I read in, and hear from these commercial blogs, travel guides, TV stations, travel magazines, and tours is a product of journalism or just plain hype?

In the interest of full and honest disclosure, I have not received a bottle of water, free room, complimentary bicycle, free meal, discounted film, complimentary Internet connection, or any bribe or other compensation from the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce. Would that the entities above would disclose how much baksheesh they received.

At least I know that my site visitors are smart enough to take with a grain of salt anything that they read in a travel magazine or commercial blog.

Semper Fi, Redux


I hope this works. I’m sweltering in the hopper-laden meadows of Slough Creek. This post should appear at noon on July 4, 2007. I’ll find out when I get back. Have a safe and joyous celebration of our independence.


skyblu tribute

It Was Grant – Dufus!

GOOD REVIEW RUINED BY MISTAKEtroosevelt2-hunting-buddies.jpg

Why does GADLING think that Teddy did it? In a very positive review of the ‘new’ National Parks Traveler, (which is well worth a visit,) Erik Olsen says:

We should all thank Teddy Roosevelt for having the foresight all those years ago to set off Yellowstone as a place that would be protected from development and where all Americans (and others) would be welcome3 to enjoy.

usgrant.gifWell, girlfriend, you can thank Teddy for going to Yellowstone after it was created by congress and signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant, if you want to.

Teddy went to the park to shoot game, catch and eat fish, enjoy the company of his elite buddies, and coincidentally got roped into laying the cornerstone of an entry arch that he probably knew nothing about.

I don’t intend to add to the myths about Teddy. But I would like to say that it’s important to keep your history straight when talking about the “crown jewels of our national heritage.”

After all, Mr. Olsen worked for the Department of the Interior, and should know his history. Especially about the establishment of our National Parks. I guess it’s excusable; certainly “Teddy did it all” – in legend if not fact.


griles.jpgSpeaking of the Department of the Interior: former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles had his plea sentence doubled to 10 months by the judge when he continued his arrogant ways in court. You can read about the interaction in the courtroom HERE. I’m pleased to see that my advice was heeded.

Now we’ll see if he serves the time or gets to play footsie with his buddies in the recreation industry. I’m not usually interested in these kinds of political shenanigans, but in this case it’s somehow interesting.


iphoney.jpgI’m not going to get an iPhone. As cute as it is, and as useful as it may be, it’s just not worth $6,000 for a two year contract. Maybe you can afford the price tag, but that $6,000 will buy a lot of good Cabernet, a trip to Goleta, some new flies, and a new benchrest rifle – with some left over!

Wired has posted a spreadsheet about the costs associated with the new gadget. You can read all about it HERE and at the Apple site, HERE.

Tag You’re It


Here are my picks for the Thinking Blogger Award:

  1. Jim Macdonald: Compiles the Yellowstone Newspaper, blogs about Yellowstone in The Magic of Yellowstone, discusses philosophical underpinnings of anti-authoritarianism and how it relates to park administration, and maintains a discussion forum – among other wonders of the blogsphere.
  2. Small Dead Animals: insights from Canada, pertinent to all of us.
  3. verbena-19: another bucketful of insight from Canada, social justice, environment, civil liberties, environmental awareness – great stuff – [old site, new site.]
  4. Wild Wilderness Blog: well researched perspectives about the threats to our public lands and the ever present push to make a buck.
  5. CUSS: irreverent, tawdry, base, uncouth, true, real, and what all of us are really thinking – but not saying!

Well, that’s it. There are certainly others worthy of the tag, but these are the guys that I read and these are the ones that make me think. Visit them and let me know. Comments are always open.
The rules are: Congratulations, you won a

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging.The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

I’d Never Thunk It


.. The early morning email brought me a present from the Wildlife Alive blog. The official tag for the thinking blogger award is in the comments of my last post. thinkingbloggerskyblu.jpgI’m more than flattered because this blog is primarily for me and the staff. It is a group of truncated and segmented threads of my musings – hardly a “think piece.” Thanks to Wildlife Alive for even reading the posts.

.. There are several blogs that I feel deserve the tag, and I’ll post them in the next day or so. I just love the idea of a “peer review” of blogs.

.. Then to my surprise, while checking my Word Press links and statistics, I find that this string of words and phrases is #82 and moving on up. movin-on-up.jpgI need to plug the guys at Word Press for their constant attention to the platform and their unyielding search for excellence. I would especially like to thank Matt and Mark for stumbling through my convoluted code and fixing problems that I have encountered created – bless you both.

.. This is a good time to let you know about things in the works. There is unified bibliography about the winter access problems in Yellowstone. This will include not just the pertinent air and sound quality studies, but will provide resources about the visitor experience, Yellowstone planning, increased fees, wildlife concerns, and the long range climate outlook. Diverse as it sounds, it is all of a single fabric.

.. There is also an exposition of factors in park management that mitigate against concern for the parks and for the public’s desires. This includes a bibliography about the decisions most recently made in the “Big-Draw” parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Denali, etc.

A Note For Mom


happy-moms-day.gifThank God for mothers. Mom arrived yesterday, and today we’re going to be tourists in Yellowstone National Park. No machines, no gadgets, no research, just a ride in the park and some gentle pleasure enjoying the views.

I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow or the next day. I promise to take my camera, and I promise to be nice.

We hope to see a moose. They are less visible than wolves or bison, or eagles, or just about anything other than cougars and wolverines.

DAMN, – a day late as usual!


basd1.jpgJust to let you know that I completely forgot!

But it was on my mind. Yesterday produced two almost exactly the same posts.

1.) “This One Goes Out To All The Ladies,” in GRIST. By Kate Sheppard.

2.) “Blog Against Sexism Day,” in TAKING PLACE.

fish-eggs.jpgOne topic that was / is  amazingly visible in the many posts that I read was that “Sex & Sexism sells.”

It is one of those ultimate truisms that will not fall to rational argument. And it works for both genders, and in most cultures.

I believe it’s true, and in the spirit of the day, (yesterday,) here’s my contribution.

I just love caviar!

Let’s see if this sells this post.

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