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VoiceOver: Home of stalagmites and hairy crimson fruit

Stalagmite or upside-down icicle? You decide, by leaving a comment below.

Good afternoon and welcome to VoiceOver, Summit County’s only column with an ice stalagmite growing in its backyard.

Dozens of VoiceOver Readers: “Get out! An ice stalagmite? First of all, are you sure you know the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite?”

VO: Yep, we’re sure. We looked it up, and not just on Wikipedia, but in our trusty, ancient, leather-bound Merriam Webster’s dictionary. Had to blow the dust off the cover, but it was fun browsing through the pages. Not too many interesting words in the vicinity of stalagmite and stalactite, but we did learn about staghorn sumac, a plant with “velvety pubescent branches” and “hairy crimson fruit.”

DOVOR: “Hmmm, sounds interesting. Is the fruit edible?”

VO: Oh, gee, now you’ve stumped us. It didn’t say in the dictionary and we don’t have time to do more research right now, but we’ll put it on our to-do list for the next few days. But as a general rule, we tend to stay away from hairy crimson fruit.

DOVOR: “OK, but don’t forget. Inquiring minds want to know. And by the way, based on the picture, we think what you’ve got there is an upside-down icicle rather than a stalagmite. I you want to get technical about it, a stalagmite needs to have some sort of calcite component to it. At least that’s what we vaguely remember from our geology lessons way back in the day.”

VO: Well, you can call it whatever you want, we’re going with stalagmite. It’s pretty impressive, really. It’s been growing a few inches every day, with little drips of water coming down out of a dryer vent. We’re hoping it gets big enough to where we can practice some of our ice-climbing moves pretty soon.

And all this talk of ice made us remember how nice it feels to warm our  hands under an air dryer when we’re skiing. We recently made some turns up A-Basin and stopped in at the Black Mountain Lodge for a short break.

We were super-impressed by the dryers. We took off our mittens and put our hands under the nozzle and just about had our shoulders dislocated. Those things are powerful. It was like standing behind the jet engine of a 747.

We also recently discovered a cool hand dryer at the Dillon Smashburger. The nice folks at the burger emporium invited some social media-savvy folks over to sample a new regional menu they’re unveiling in January. We got to meet the chain’s founder and owner, who was really friendly and even took the kids into the kitchen to show them how the burgers get “smashed,” which is what makes them extra-special crispy when they come out of the kitchen.

The chief culinary officer was also there, personally delivering those tasty new menu items, including a killer Colorado Burger with green chiles, an all-beef angus hot dog and batter-fried green-chile rings.

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the chili-cheese fries, smothered with pork-based green chili, and, of course, cheese. These were pretty much the best chili-cheese fries we’ve ever tasted, and we know our chili-cheese fries.

Anyway, a few of the kids on-hand for the event came racing out of the bathroom at one point during dinner, all excited, to tell us they found “the coolest dryers ever.”

Sure enough, when we went to check it out, we found a newfangled machine that blows air from two sides, so you can just pass your hands through and get both the palms and the back of your hands dried at the same time. What’ll they think of next?

Which brings us to the age-old debate of paper towels versus blow dryers. We know everybody has their preference in this area, but as an independent news source, we have a problem coming down firmly on the side of hot air. Paper towels are super-wasteful. Just think how often you go into a bathroom and find the wastebasket completely overflowing with paper towels.

Plus, the darn contraptions never seem to work properly. The roll either jams up, or starts to spew out miles of unwanted paper … All this leads to unnecessary aggro behavior, manifested by the fact that people get frustrated and literally pull the paper-towel dispensers off the wall.

Better to be soothed by the whooshing white noise of a well-functioning blow dryer, we say.

But what do you think? Paper or air? Leave your comments below, or jot them down on a paper towel and stick ‘em in the U.S. Mail, along with a letter to Santa. We’ll make sure it gets to the right people.

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One Response

  1. Here’s one way teachers help students remember which are stalagmites and which are stalactites: Stalagmites have a g in the middle, and they’re attached to the ground. Stalactites have a c in the middle and are attached to the ceiling.

    Paper or air? Six of one, half dozen of the other.

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