Columns » Ranger Rich

Adding to the city's reputation

Ranger Rich



I was in the Houston airport last week, returning from a trip to Mexico with my wife and a group of other friends. It was a great vacation, except for one person who was obnoxious, drank two bottles of tequila every day, showered once the entire week and thought it was hilarious to fart loudly in restaurants and shout, "Whoooo! Must be a live duck in the kitchen."

My wife's still not talking to me.

Anyway, we were waiting to board a flight to Colorado Springs with about 100 others, most of whom, you'd guess, were returning home to our village. Frankly, it looked like a gathering of adults who routinely become lost in Wal-Mart and have to ask for help finding their way out. A sub-group appeared to be heading to a cast reunion of the 1970s TV show Hee Haw.

What I'm trying to say is that Colorado Springs is, well, not exactly Paris. Or even Wichita. We are, largely, an array of people who still collect Beanie Babies. We believe there are two primary types of clothing: Carhartt and ill-fitting denim. We talk excitedly about the new chef at Applebee's. Our mayor looks like he played football without a helmet. Or a team. Our most prominent citizen is an angry, anti-social, dopey-looking slumlord named Doug. We watch Entertainment Tonight for the latest Charlie Sheen news the way other people watched the moon landing in 1969.

And today, I've found our king.

He's retired Air Force Col. Gregory Hollister and he's a "birther," spending his days and nights trying to prove that the president of the United States was born in a hut in Kenya, in the back of an ox cart in Indonesia or any place other than America, so we can oust him from office.

The president, as you might have heard, must be born in the U.S. (Footnote: Republicans are trying to amend the Constitution so that our next president must also look like a slutty LensCrafters model.)

Which leads to the obvious question: Was this Hollister guy really in the Air Force? The answer is yes. Although records indicate the only cockpit he was allowed in was the bomber anchored in cement at the Air Force Academy. (Somehow, he still managed to eject himself 14 times.)

Here's what Col. Einstein, I mean Hollister, apparently did: He got a Social Security number believed to be that of President Barack Obama, then accessed a Social Security database that allows employers to verify information from job applicants. A disclaimer warns that using the system under false pretenses violates federal law.

Hollister has said that he's doing all of this — the U.S. Supreme Court refused in January to hear his legal challenge to Obama's citizenship — because as a retired officer he could be recalled to active duty at any moment and needs to know that the commander-in-chief is in office legally.

So, as he sits at home with one hand on the phone in case he is called upon to save the world, which is pretty likely, Hollister passes the time by trying to oust Obama. In an interview with the Gazette, Hollister said he hasn't broken any laws.

"I was very meticulous and made sure everything I did was compliant with the law," the former Air Force officer told the former newspaper.

Hollister's work seems, however, to have accomplished one thing. The website said Hollister's efforts "apparently caused the federal record of President Obama's address with the Selective Service to be altered to show that he lives in Colorado Springs, CO."

Call me a dreamer, but I'm thinking having Obama living here might be just the thing we need to get our public swimming pools reopened.

Oh, and I tried to speak with Hollister for several days. His wife called back Monday afternoon and told me to knock it off. "He really doesn't want to talk to anybody about this because it wasn't supposed to go public in the first place," she said.

Then Gregory Hollister faxed a statement to the Indy for "Rich Toskas" saying, basically, that no government official on any level has contacted him to ask about his anti-Obama nonsense. But he's still not taking calls.

Because when you get the president's Social Security number and use it to manipulate a database to get his draft registration information, what you don't want is to have people calling your house and violating your privacy.

Especially when you've just gotten all 936 of your Beanie Babies all lined up for Play Night.

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