Death, Taxes and Holidays

These are the days when people affix GPS tracking devices to publicly displayed Baby Jesuses and when holiday DUI checkpoints get outed on Twitter. In some ways, it feels like we’ve gotten smarter or classier, or that we’ve at least purchased the means to fake it. That said, we’ve got a criminal re-gifting a bathrobe that he yanked off his assault victim.

1) The wrong gift

In a story that takes bad decisions and meanness to ionospheric levels, King County deputies arrested a robbery and assault suspect after he had the cojones to give his mother a stolen, bloodstained bathrobe for Christmas. A neighbor of the victim (who was robbed, beaten and run over after he tried to stop his car from being stolen) called police to report a bloodied, naked man crawling around outside. His robe, described as a “very distinctive” green garment that featured a large, exotic cat, had been taken. The mean, tasteless suspect then showed up at his grandmother’s house dirty and covered with blood, and told the woman he’d just “stomped” someone. In a continuing act of complete stupidity, he then gave the very distinctive robe to his mother, who managed to spill the beans when cops interviewed her. “The bathrobe was recovered and positively identified by the victim’s wife as the one he was wearing the night he was assaulted,” a sheriff’s spokesman said.

2) A reminder to travel light

A man carrying a carefully wrapped holiday present was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport several years back. Why? Because he was more than likely the biggest idiot in the Western Hemisphere for thinking that commercial airlines are a viable means for transporting illegal materials. Airport officials who do things, like — I don’t know — scan and examine the things people carry on planes opened the gift to find 23 pounds of marijuana. That got police to thinking and it led them to a Fountain Valley home, where they arrested two more ridiculously stupid suspects and confiscated nine pounds of cocaine and $17,000 in cash.

3) Even better than Mr. Hankey

Coming in on some surveys as the 10th all-time ranking “South Park” episode and topping out the Christmas episodes for the long-running series, “Woodland Critter Christmas” features a confused Stan and some new friends in the form of devil-worshiping forest creatures. “South Park” aficionados go so far as to rate the episode above Season One’s holiday classic, in which we are introduced to Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo; and Season Three’s “Merry F&*#ing Christmas.” And yes, Virginia, there is a South Park, Colorado.

News of the weird from around the Mountain West - Holiday edition

4) Add this to your hangover

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, for which Mountain Gazette leans mightily for all manner of information, New Year’s Day is statistically your worst day of the year for getting your car stolen (and Thanksgiving logs the most DUIs). And we’re guessing New Year’s Day is also the top day for simply not knowing where the hell your car is. Anyway, in 2009, 2,760 cars were reported stolen on Jan. 1 in the U.S., with 2,325 on Halloween and July 4 and Memorial Day tied at 2,207. Coincidence? We think not. Anyway, if you live in the Western U.S., you’ve got a bigger chance of your car getting stolen, according to the Insurance Information Institute. California runs away with the stats, with Modesto ranking No. 1. Oddly enough, Las Vegas comes in at No. 2, with Albuquerque at No. 7, Phoenix at 8, Yakima at 9, and Tucson in 10th place. Arizona comes in at No. 4 among states, with Washington at No. 6.

5) We’re seriously not worthy

According to AOL Travel, if you live in the Mountain West, you aren’t anywhere near a tasteful and worthy holiday light display. New York City tops the list, followed by New Orleans. Las Vegas comes in at No. 5, and while it abuts mountains and is frequently included in Cartographic digressions, Vegas always has light displays. So we’re disqualifying it and checking out instead. Here, we found domestic light designs in Phoenix and Cave Creek, Arizona, and a phallus in Kent, Washington, that took top rankings as Most Likely to Be Seen From Outer Space.

6) Seriously Not Worthy Part 2

When it comes to our willingness to part with our money for holiday gifts, the denizens of the Mountain West once again come up short. For reasons we do not completely understand, the folks in Raleigh, N.C., spent $1,269 apiece over the 2009 holidays, coming out at No. 1. An exception to the Mountain West, Scottsdale came in at No. 4, with $1,118 per person. And the Scottsdale young adults (18-25) managed to outspend their way to the No. 1 position in that age group, beating out the young adults in second-place Arlington, Virginia, by $200 apiece.

7) Not In Our Town

The national Not In Our Town anti-hate movement was born in Billings in 1993, when a year of pathetic and racist BS came to a head. It was a Montana Cold Night when someone hurled a brick through a six-year-old boy’s window, where he had placed the family’s Hanukkah menorah. The town came together to say Not In Our Town (for example, the Billings Gazette printed menorahs for people to put in their windows, and nearly 10,000 people participated), which inspired communities across the country take similar stands against intolerance. The movement became a national PBS project.

Tara Flanagan splits her time between Boulder and Breckenridge, where she works as an equine massage therapist. Her blog, “Out There,” can be found at