Dear Ed: I noticed that you wrote about some of the craziest happenings of 2011 in your column last week.
Did you leave anything out that you wish you had mentioned? — Ingomar Dave
Dear ID: Thanks for asking. The answer is yes. In retrospect, I can’t believe I didn’t mention the fellow who chased a squirrel in Ballantine, trying to stab the rodent with a switchblade.
For many months after that incident, I couldn’t shake the image of Billings police officers, mounted on Segways, chasing a man with a switchblade, chasing a squirrel.
Dear Ed: I see where a Billings couple won $1 million in the lottery. What would you do if you won a million bucks? — Curious George
Dear CG: You know how some people threaten to leave the country if their candidate loses an election?
I would never move for that reason, but if I had a million bucks I might move to a small island in the Pacific until the election was over. Regardless of who won, I would return on Nov. 7.
Dear Ed: How come you haven’t written anything about the Iowa caucuses and the parade of Republican candidates? — Political Junkie
Dear PJ: The answer to this is related to the answer I gave above.
You know how it’s said that few people on their deathbeds ever wish they had spent more time at work?
Well, some people do, and some for good reason.
But I don’t think anyone has ever said on his deathbed that he wished he had spent more time following a presidential primary.
Dear Ed: Why, after all those predictions of another long, brutal winter, are we enjoying temperatures in the high 50s in January in Eastern Montana? — Walt the Weather Watcher
Dear WWW: It turns out to have been a simple confusion of terms. When long-term forecasters were throwing darts at possible scenarios for this winter, they thought they hit the sticky note reading “La Niña,” a weather pattern in which colder-than-normal ocean currents near South America result in cold, snowy winters in our neck of the woods.
In fact, the sticky note in question read “La Ninja,” which refers to a pattern of abnormally warm waters around Japan, which raises temperatures and effectively blocks precipitation from falling all across the northwestern United States, except for Red Lodge.
Dear Ed: Are you sure there’s nothing you want to say about the field of Republican presidential candidates? — PJ Again
Dear PJA: As a matter of fact, I was wondering if anyone else had noticed how much Ron Paul looks like the late Pat Paulsen, the “Laugh In” comedian who ran for president, starting in 1968, even more times than Ron Paul.
Incidentally, Paulsen uttered one of the best statements ever made by a presidential candidate: “All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”
Dear Ed: Have you ever met a presidential candidate? — Political Buff
Dear PB: Just one, the late Merrill K. Riddick of Philipsburg, who ran for president in 1976, 1980 and 1984, campaigning exclusively by Greyhound bus.
I used to see him now and then when I rode the bus from Anaconda to Missoula. He had his own party, the Magneto-hydrodynamics-Puritan Epic-Prohibition Party.
If Merrill were still alive and still running for president, I would gladly cover the election much more extensively.
Dear Ed: Do you have any predictions for 2012? — Cosa Nostradamus
Dear CN: I see strong prices for winter wheat, spring oil and summer beans. I see floods, forest fires, hail, drought and at least one falling boulder.
I predict that a Mayan named Ralph will die on Dec. 21, fulfilling prophecies. I predict that the strangest crime of the year in Billings will involve a ferret.
Dear Ed: What do you think you’ll say on your deathbed? — Xavier in Laurel
Dear XL: “I wish I had won more $1 million lotteries.”