Green Acres Back in March, I wrote about how potential newcomers to Seattle ought to consider moving to less expensive, wholesome, middle-American places where they could enjoy some of Seattle's virtues but on the cheap. One suggestion: North Dakota, a state that is losing so much population that lawmakers are considering paying people to move there. I mean, folks, this beats high taxes, gridlock, and $800,000 bungalows, right? Well, there have been further developments that make Mossback incredibly bullish on NDak as the new Seattle. Microsoft, for one, is staffing up in Fargo and expanding the campus there. They say a $50,000 job in Fargo is equivalent to a $62,000 job in Seattle. That is cash in your pocket. But high-tech jobs isn't all. As you prepare for your annual trip to Hempfest this summer in Seattle to hear celebrities like Rick Steves and Norm Stamper talk about legalizing pot, remember that things are much much more progressive in North Dakota, which is the first state to legalize the growing of industrial hemp, the miracle crop that can provide the raw material for everything from "Dakota" dresses to milk! So, get thee to the Peace Garden State, the low-cost, high-tech Woodstock of the 21st century. Note: If Fargo is just too far, consider life on a Microsoft server farm in Quincy, Wash., with enough electrical power to make it the "Klondike" of the Internet era. It's not North Dakota, but it's centrally located and every second Saturday in September is Farmer Consumer-Awareness Day! Scooter Liberation I recently wrote about the ups and downs of the Las Vegas monorail, a project that inspired Seattle rail buffs. The gutsy Las Vegans, though, didn't chicken out like we did. They actually built their boondoggle, and now it's losing high-roller money. Impressive. The Vegas monorail's purpose is to whisk gamblers up and down the busy, gridlocked Las Vegas Strip, but, despite trying to lure passengers with showgirls, they have been outdone by entrepreneurs who did not fail to under-estimate the narcissistic laziness of American tourists. The hot new mode of travel on the strip? Healthy, able-bodied people are renting scooters for the disabled. Yes, those little electronic contraptions that handicapped, obese, and elderly people use to get around. The cost is a mere $40 per day, and young people just love 'em. The appeal? According to an Associated Press story, 27-year-old Simon Lezama said, "It was all the walking, and now I can drink and drive, be responsible and save my feet." Plus the hotels and casinos can't kick you out because that would be discrimination. Why do Vegas? Five words: Lazy drunks in electric wheelchairs. Of course, we shouldn't be shocked. You can rent anything in Vegas, including an AK-47 or an Uzi – with lead-free ammo for your health! Yeah, electric scooters and eco-friendly bullets – Vegas is so Al Gore! Bad news for bears Da bears are everywhere. I wrote about the problem last week, after a driver on Interstate 90 near North Bend broad-sided and killed a black bear. Since that story, two more bears in the Puget Sound megalopolis were shot and killed – one near a school in Lacey, the other while roving around Yelm. No word on whether the latter one was looking for a 35,000-year-old entity from Lemuria. On the good-news side: The bear that swam across Puget Sound from Maury Island and had been wandering around South King County was tranquilized and captured by wildlife officers who used honey and muffins (not Krispy Kreme donuts) to trap him near the HQ of Weyerhaeuser, the tree-cutting company. Wouldn't want any wildlife to disturb the natural setting of Weyerhaeuser, would we? With that kind of bait, they might have trapped Weyerhaeuser's entire human resources department. During his travels, the bear was nicknamed Columbus, presumably because he liked to explore. I don't think there is any evidence that he was a genocidal maniac, but he was willing to cross a big body of saltwater to get pastries, not unlike most ferry commuters.