Had the Rocky Mountain Arsenal produced a 2001 version of the slick, award-winning wildlife calendar that it's published since the late 1980s, it would have been appropriate to feature a different sarin gas bomblet every month instead of the usual pictures of deer, foxes and eagles. After all, over the past three months, workers at the former chemical-compound-cum-wildlife-refuge have discovered enough of the bomblets to stockpile pinup pictures through August.
But the facility isn't printing a calendar this year -- not because of excessive sarin problems, but because of a shortage of funding. "That was a decision that was made early last year," says Shawna Buskirk of MGA Communications, which represents Shell Oil Company -- one of the main entities involved in the cleanup, along with the U.S. Army. "It was a Shell Oil Company-only funded project. We are transitioning the Army to handling more and more of the expenses, so we decided to discontinue funding of the calendar."
And the Army isn't likely to pick up the tab for 2002, either: In 1991 the Army was criticized for giving $15,000 -- about half the total cost of producing 25,000 calendars at that time -- of taxpayer money slated for the cleanup to the calendar project. After that, Shell picked up the entire cost for subsequent calendars, which it has given away as a goodwill gesture to arsenal neighbors, environmental groups that participated in wildlife refuge work, and other community groups.
Buskirk has no way of finding out how much last year's calendars cost, she says, nor is she interested in trying: "I really don't know too much about the history of it."
The wild West Wing:You won't need a calendar to find out when Family Firstdebuts (possibly in mid-March). The new live-action sitcom, from South Park legends and ex-Colorado hipsters Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is sure to get plenty of attention since it will parody the George W. Bush household -- and the boys have been saying they will portray Dubya's twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, as two hot babes who are always close to consummating lesbian love acts. The show, still set to air on Comedy Central despite the bad boys' promise that it will be less tasteful than South Park, hasn't been cast yet. We can only hope that Parker and Stone will pick someone extra special to play another ex-Coloradan, George's brother, Neil, who hasn't been seen much around these parts since the Silverado S&L scandal of the 1980s -- but whose fashion-model daughter, Lauren, is another major hottie.