Ear to the Ground

Out Front, October 1997


Ear to the Ground


1981
"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

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1982
"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

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1985
"It was awful lonely up there."
— Self-professed mountain man Dan Nichols, explaining why he and his father, Don, kidnapped Montana biathlete Kari Swenson

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1988
"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

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1989
"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

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1991
"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

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1993
"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

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Illustrations by Mark Matcho

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