Cattle Ball Call

    In Dallas it became an “A” list invite, and it was so much fun (read: raised so darn much money) it was duplicated in at least two other states. It is the Cattle Baron’s Ball (though some in West Michigan are referring to it as the “Cattleman’s Ball”), and it will become the Cattle Baron’s Ball West Michigan Aug. 22.

    Thank James Dunlap, president of Huntington Bank West Michigan, who became roped up in the Dallas event and has successfully established the American Cancer Society fundraiser in cities to which he was transferred — including Grand Rapids. Here, Carol VanAndel pulled on her boots to lasso volunteers and details, and Leslie Tassell offered his estate for the August hoedown.

    The Texas-size ball needs Texas-size donors — and the right “duds” for a Texas-style event. Oh, woe. There being few Texas-style outfitters in Grand Rapids called for an event all its own: a Texas-size trunk show providing invited guests plenty of choices for the big event in August. Leigh’s, Fitzgerald’s, Millbrook Tack & Trailer and Meijer sent their buyers out into the world to load the trunks, and then unloaded them last week Thursday at Meadowview Farms, a privately owned property whose owners love and teach western-style riding and polo.

    The “A” list trunk show was a Class A event onto itself, raising wagonloads of money for the ACS. Evidently the buyers caught infectious enthusiasm from the organizers, because the latter group, while staving off pre-show jitters, raved about the “finds.”

    Pamela Pietryga described the “fantastic” pale blue and butter-color suede jackets Leigh’s offered over silk dresses; some “really, really great” men’s suede shirts and jackets from Fitzgerald’s and “just fantastic orange and yellow ‘barrel racing’ shirts from Millbrook.” Meijer “has every kind of denim and incredible accessories. We keep going back over there to pick out more…”

    They counted on a less traditional group of models along with the pros to pull it off: Kellogg’s CEO George Franklin (“See, this really includes all of West Michigan.”); Chuck and Stella Royce, and Fred Meijer, who took special delight in modeling with his granddaughter, Kendall. Don’cha know/ ya best know, Meijer’s entire outfit(s) was purchased at Meijer. (And he’ll test you next week.)

    As one might expect, Dixie Chicks music was banned, and may be again come August, unless they get a formal pardon/reprieve from George W.

    **We heard about the photo shoot put together by Grand Action as the new DeVos Place convention center nears completion. The group, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, received photos of GRMAYOR inside one of those gigantic, underground, cement sewer/water “pipes.” We just can’t resist this shot: Will they find him in Grand Haven, and if so, will he be picked up, sent out to sea, or raise the hackles of lakeshore residents once sore about GR sewage hitting their beach?

    **Rumor has it that recent graduates of the Western Michigan University and Michigan State University student riot fraternities now gather to toast the town at Tacky Bob’s, err… Tiki Bob’s in downtown GR.

    **Earth In What Balance? These are the issues that occupy retired Steelcase Chairman Peter Wege, author of “Economocology.”

    Historians often speak of the Wright Brothers as ushering in the Age of Flight. Well, yes and no. Let’s just say the Wrights kick-started the new age when the luxury ocean liner business was hitting its stride and travel by rail was a steadily expanding industry.

    We mention this in connection with the recent local symposium on “The Next Industrial Niche: Alternative Energy,” an apparently exciting discussion about the emerging industry of preventing pollution and global warming. But appearing recently are several obscure scientific reports that cause one to pause.

    The May 6 issue of the Wall Street Journal, for instance, reported a discovery by an Indian climetologist, Veerhabhadran Ramanathan.

    VR, we’ll call him, thinks the 800-pound global warming gorilla could be a 2-mile thick, continent-sized brown cloud composed not of industrial soot but fires from Asia, where open burning is critical to everything from family meals to cottage industry.

    Second, something quite unexpected may be happening. The Canadian Ice Service, Reuters, CNN and the London Free Press all reported that during the past winter, Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie froze over from shore-to-shore. Raising this point is the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change — — which says it did some digging that disclosed this to be the first winter in 30 years that all three lakes froze over.


    Well, the center (which appears to be an avid opponent of the Kyoto Treaty) also calls attention to scientific papers published early this year in Science and Nature magazines, which report fish behavior in the north Pacific and north Atlantic Oceans that indicates cooler times are coming. Could earth be cooling?

    There’s real reason now to doubt the popular political assumption of industrially induced global warming. Writing in March from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliaunas claim that a survey of scientific literature shows that the 20th century was neither the warmest century nor the century with the most extreme weather of the past 1,000 years. They found that while 20th century temperatures are much higher than in the Little Ice Age of the 13th through 19th centuries, they also are cooler than during the Medieval Warm Period.

    That was 800 to 1300 A.D., well before GM, power plants and auto-generated CO2.

    Al Gore, call your office. 

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