Men To Match Our Molehills
July 18th, 2011

Is it too early to start thinking about how best to memorialize those fearless GOP legislators who, when asked to do the work for which they are so handsomely paid, steadfastly refused to do it?

Oh sure, we could add them to those old Mount Rushmore guys, but why? It cost the taxpayers a pretty penny to chisel out those profiles, and it’s only going to cost more money should we add more. If we just look around, I’ll bet we could find some suitable, ready-made rock formations. Take, for instance, The Old Man of the Mountain, the granite outcropping that for centuries stood sentinel over the Franconia Notch in New Hampshire. That is, until the wee hours of May 3, 2003, when the Old Man’s chin succumbed to gravity and tumbled to the ground.

Seems to me the now chinless Old Man, were it to be fitted with thick spectacles, would be a fitting monument to Senator Mitch McConnell.

John Boehner? Well, there are several granite cliffs in the soon-to-privatized Yosemite National Park, many with waterfalls. Think of the possibilities!

Michele Bachmann? Well, cliffs do indeed spring to mind, but in my opinion a cave would be more appropriate. Why? Well, because caves are home to bats.

Here in Utah we have a number of anthropomorphic outcroppings, pinnacles, and geologic formations—most of which, alas, have already been spoken for. I’m told there’s a Great Stone Face down in Millard County that resembles Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church. In fact, as I sit here typing this, I’m looking at my Great Stone Face coffee mug. Does the rock face resemble Joseph Smith in profile? Well, Smith did have a prominent proboscis.


Speaking of big noses, there’s a conglomerate boulder out on the east shore of the Great Salt Lake that bears a striking resemblance to Spiro Agnew. At least, that was my impression when I first saw it back in 1971. I decided to take a photo and recruited a pair of longhaired hitchhikers to lend scale. (Longhaired hitchhikers at the time were more common than jackrabbits, and you could be sure that no Republican motorist would ever stop to pick one of them up.)

Shortly after the picture was published, I got a lot of complaints from readers in Tooele County who were upset that I had mislabeled a beloved landmark known locally as Burmester’s Nose. I also fielded an inquiry from Mr. Agnew’s press secretary.

“Is there really a rock in Utah that resembles the vice president?” she asked. She was heartbroken to hear about this Burmester fellow, whoever he was. But I think we all owe Mr. B. and his big nose an enormous debt of gratitude. If not for him, we’d probably be stuck with The Spiro T. Agnew National Monument.

-Richard Menzies