Ear to the Ground

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Out Front, October 1997

Ear to the Ground

"You folks will quickly understand why I bring so much controversy and flak. I don't like to paddle and I don't like to walk."
— James Watt, speaking to a gathering of park concessioners


"I didn't choose hedgehogs. I had hedgehogs thrust upon me."
— Major Adrian Coles, president of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, on his unusual avocation


"It was awful lonely up there."
— Self-professed mountain man Dan Nichols, explaining why he and his father, Don, kidnapped Montana biathlete Kari Swenson


"The caribou love it. They rub up against it and they have babies. There are more caribou in Alaska than you can shake a stick at."
— Vice-President George Bush, in defense of the Alaska Pipeline


"I think we owe it to the mountain not to continually harass it."
— Sir Edmund Hillary, calling for a five-year moratorium on expeditions to Mount Everest


"This is not a disaster, it is merely a change. The area won't have disappeared, it will just be underwater. Where you now have cows, you'll have fish."
— U.S. diplomat J. R. Spradley, speaking on the effects of global warming to the Bangladesh delegation at a United Nations climate conference


"Let's say we discover an extraterrestrial being. The first thing to be determined is, Are you human? Then we ask, Did you have a fall? If the answer is yes, then we ask, Were you redeemed? Then we embark on a debate about whether the Savior ... can be fully God and fully human and fully, well, whatever they are."
— Reverend George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, speculating on what church policy might be if the Vatican's six-foot-diameter mirror telescope should detect intelligent life on other planets


Illustrations by Mark Matcho

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