Feb 23, 2009

Retired Rancher 'Old Man Snopes' Can't Believe His 'No Good Son' Almost Ate The Whole Darn Herd!

Although he should be basking in his golden years after decades of hard work raising cattle in the Palouse, Jethro Snopes, patriarch of the Snopes clan of Lamont, was thrown in to a controversy that could, if left unchecked, unravel his dynastic ambitions and allow 50 years of hard work to be discarded like so many sparerib bones at the devil's own barbecue. "Well, the wife and I were enjoying the twilight of our lives in the one place we really love - the world class resort and spa - Dollywood - in Pigeon Forge, TN". said patriarch Snopes from a payphone at the 7-11 outside the "Grand Old Opera. "These should be the best of times! The wife still can't believe she saw Conway Twitty in the Piggly-Wiggly grocery store the other day. (All of the big name country stars shop at Piggly-Wiggly because of their extensive chewing tobacco selection and the 27 varieties of flavored pork rinds). So, when I got the call that the once proud herd I bequeathed to the only son dumb enough to stay and work the ranch had been whittled down to just a handful of animals, I just hit the roof. I started screaming and hollering - and the poor wife, bless her heart, thought I had seen Dolly herself and went running to get the camera and almost ran out into the street in her house coat and slippers, for Pete's sake!. (out of politeness he left out the part about the little pink curlers covering her unnaturally red hair) It was pure pandemonium!!" he said with brave understatement.

"Well, you do the best you can when it comes to raising kids, but there is really only so much you have to work with" said Poppa Snopes. "That boy of mine was nothing but a disappointment. I can't remember which one was a bigger milestone, getting a driver's license or no longer wetting the bed. It was just unfortunate that they both happened in the same year - it is better for self esteem if those major events are separated by a few years, in my opinion" said the patriarch. "So when we decided to leave the Palouse to immerse ourselves in the height of culture and class and move to Pigeon Forge, I gave that idiot son of mine specific instructions on the care and feeding of the herd. I even wrote it down!. I mean come on - what more could I do?" he whined. "What I want to know is how do you go from over 500 cows to just a handful in under 4 years? I mean, was the ranch invaded by barbarians or something? I just don't understand! I have heard of eating the seed corn before - but this takes that bad decision-making to a whole new level!" he seethed with a genuine look of consternation on his weather-beaten yet kindly face.

"I knew the wife let him watch too much TV as a kid. That stupid box just filled his head with high-fluting ideas and a big bunch of nonsense - and look where he is today!" he said distractedly while swiveling his head to look at a man who held a general likeness to Johnny Cash. "Well, at least I got enough to retire on. I coddled that boy for too long - he is just going to have to get himself out of this mess on his own. I just hope he can control his appetite until then - or at least try eating chicken or fish a couple of times a week. That boy's arteries must be as clogged as the Los Angeles freeway system after an earthquake" said Snopes, Sr. with a general tone of fatherly concern and what passes for love on the wind swept reaches of the Palouse.

Feb 19, 2009

Area Rancher Is Almost Positive That He Had More Cows Than That

After emerging from the house after a long three-day weekend, local rancher Buzz Snopes, heir to the once promising yet decidedly mediocre Snope's cattle concern, was shocked and dismayed to discover that he owned far fewer cows than previously thought. "What the heck?" What the.....? What happened to my once proud herd?" Snopes said after frantically looking behind the garage and in the small tool shed for any stragglers. "If this is all I got, then I am, in all fairness, no longer a rancher but am sadly in the 'guy that only has a few cows' category" he said regrettably. "And does this mean that they will kick me out of the Grange and/or make me sit in the back pew of the church with all those other unfortunate 'no cow' people? Just what the heck does this mean, really?" he asked inquisitively. "Have I inadvertently crossed some unseen social barrier that I was unaware of?"

Ex-rancher Snopes, an avid TV watcher, left his sprawling herd late Friday (after spending an inordinately long time in the 'tack room' where the hooch his wife doesn't know about is hidden - although there is no evidence of any actual imbibing) and went indoors to watch the entire 72 hour" Gunsmoke" marathon on TNT that highlights the golden years of the less than 'Wild West' and because of his fondness for Miss Kitty, the show's unfortunate trollop with a heart of gold. "Well, when the wife told me about the TV marathon, she mistakenly said it was for 'Bonanza' so I was all excited about seeing that lost episode where the Chinese cook, Hop Sing, finally loses it after years of subtle abuse and second class status (and little actual character development and growth) and turns all "Kung Fu" on the whole family until that bumbling blowhard "Hoss" had to finally sit on him to calm him down. That surprisingly graceful flying kick to 'Little Joe's' breadbasket while shouting obscenities in some foreign language was really impressive (those words were assumed to be obscenities - although no one is really sure given that no one speaks whatever language he was shouting as he went berserk), although the follow-up karate chops to the neck and shoulders as "Little Joe" lay crumpled over gasping for air and making gurgling sounds were kind of an overkill, in my humble opinion." said the rancher.

"Anyway! So, when I sat down in front of the TV with my jumbo bag of pork rinds and a big glass of lukewarm buttermilk and realized it was, in fact, a 'Gunsmoke' marathon, my disappointment was short lived because I have always appreciated the quiet dignity and poise that "Miss Kitty" maintained as she struggled in her role as a woman of strict moral fiber in the world's oldest profession. What a contradiction! What talent!!!" he beamed thoughtfully. "I could fall hard for a woman like that!" he mumbled - experiencing a rare moment of self-actualization as he glanced up at the house with guilt and regret for 'what might have been'.

"So, when I went outside after 72 hours of Hollywood inspired fluff (without a single cow patty in sight, by the way!!) and took a look at my once proud herd, it is no overstatement to say I was a little taken aback. I know we have been eating a lot of beef lately, but this is ridiculous! I knew I should have never bought that fancy new BBQ grill off that doggone shopping channel but that English sounding guy seemed so sincere and caring!! But on a happy note, I never could stand cows in the first place and the only reason I am even here is that out of all of my brothers I got the lowest test scores, so being the family dullard I stayed on the ranch as my smarter, more social brothers went off into the world to seek fame and fortune" he said. "And now that the old man retired and moved down South with Ma to be closer to "Dollywood" and the "Grand Old Opera" and I no longer have to live up to his impossible standards, I guess there is nothing holding me here other than a complete and total lack of skills outside of handling large livestock, that is. And who wants to be a rancher after that whole "Brokeback Mountain' fiasco, anyway? That kind of ruined it for a lot of us." said Snopes. "Well, there is nothing to do about it now. I wonder if 'Big Valley" is on yet. I could use a little Hollywood inspired ranching advice to see me thru this rough patch" he said optimistically.

Feb 18, 2009

Local Farmer Just Wishes Area Birds Would "Shut Up, Already!"

Although Spring is still officially any number of weeks away, The Town of Lamont has been inundated with an unusually large number of happy, chipper, energetic birds that seemed to materialize out of nowhere and who, according to some, are making "one heck of a burdensome racket, for Pete's sake!". The birds, a diverse and impressive mixture that would make even a jaded Audubon Society veteran perk up and take notice, are just happy to be in the lush surroundings of Lamont and are thankful to be no longer freezing their "beaks off" after what was, by all standards, a very cold winter indeed.

'Well, the wife and I appreciate nature as much as the next farmer/rancher family who view all living things as a means to an end in making a living, but do those darn birds have to be so happy and boisterous at 4:30 AM?" said Clem Bodine, an area farmer/rancher. "I mean come on. I remember what it was like to be young and frisky and to feel the unbridled promise of a new Spring coursing thru my veins like boiling lava from one of them fancy volcanoes in Hawaii that I always promised the wife I would take her to if she always kept the barn good and clean but somehow never got around to. The wife even kids me about my friskiness to this day, although I am not sure that is a good thing, come to think of it. But I don't remember having to make so much gosh-darn awful racket about it!" said Bodine.

"Being farmers, we don't see the cost benefit of having cats, heck, we barely had kids for that same reason - given the cost of food and all, but almost free labor is almost free labor - especially after we taught them to hunt and gather herbs and roots and to pretty much live off the land - but having a gaggle of cats would sure come in handy right about now. But I just can't justify the unwarranted expense of feeding them when all I want is a little peace and quiet. My Federal farm subsidies for not planting anything only go so far! I work hard for that money" he moaned. "Too bad roving packs of cats don't migrate at the same time as the birds - like wolves following the caribou herds. Then I would not have to feed them and I could be done with the birds, too. Life is filled with much unfairness" he said. When asked of her views on the subject, the blushing bride, Betsy Bodine, had no comment because she said you can't never trust them reporter types and if they had any manners they would call before coming over so she could have put on her Sunday best.

Feb 14, 2009

Town of Lamont Gripped By Turmoil Over Movie Choice For Family Movie Night

Although seemingly impossible, the social fabric of the Town of Lamont was stretched even further this week (without actually breaking) after it was learned that the Valentine's Day movie being put on for free in the Town (with free hotdogs, popcorn and drinks, too - every second Saturday of the month - 6:30 PM - Community Center) has, in fact, something to do with a young boy saving chimps or something and is not, as originally understood, a new 'Planet of the Apes" type flick with tons of action scenes and gratuitous, inter-species violence.

"Oh, the humanity! I can't believe what I am hearing!" bellowed the Mayor who believes that all 'Chick Flicks" are part of a greater communist conspiracy to soften the nation and make it ripe for overthrow. "Although this is not an actual 'town function' but is put on by Ruth Simpson and other 'Friends of Lamont'; as an elected official I still have a stake in making sure this small part of the country does not become a refuge for 'tree huggers', 'peaceniks' and people who wear berets and that sort of thing" said the Mayor - who thought the movie "Terminator II" was a borderline love story. "So, we are showing some movie about a boy saving chimps and finding a mother's love??? Oh, that is just so wrong! What are the other Mayors going to say when they hear about this? How will I hold my head up at the next Homeland Security Threat Analysis Round Table? Oh, the humiliation!" he whined.

"Well, I think it will be cute" said an unnamed woman who is likely to have her trash cans 'over looked' on the next garbage pick-up day. "What is wrong with a touching bible-centric story about saving animals, finding love within the family and coming of age under difficult circumstances?" she droned on endlessly. "Maybe that is what this country needs more of - instead of war and guts and aliens hell-bent on our destruction. Give peace and love a chance!" she concluded naively, totally ignoring the outrageous threats, both foreign and domestic, that face this once proud nation while shamelessly glossing over the very real chance of a rip in the space/time continuum that could allow disgusting man/apes to rule us with an iron hand until we outsmart them in the final 15 minutes.

Although the Town has no formal jurisdiction over this event, certain "Friends of Lamont" are keeping the original, touching, tear-inspiring movie under lock and key after rumors spread that the Mayor, for the good of the town and, indeed, the good of the nation, was determined to clandestinely slip another movie in its place before the show started - thus slowing this nation's gradual slide into moral decay. "Well, I heard that he was calling around looking for an original "Planet of the Apes" DVD and even tried to get his hands on the movies "Independence Day" or any one of the "Alien" series. So, we deemed it prudent to lock the thing up until show time. You just never know" said an organizer who is bringing her mother and 4 neighborhood kids from Sprague. "It is Valentine's Day, so having a sweet, touching movie just feels right to me, that's all. I'm really excited" she said foolishly with that vacant "Stepford Wife' look in her overly glossy eyes.

Feb 11, 2009

Local Groundhog Sees Shadow - Predicting Great Engineering Year For Town Of Lamont

In a cherished Lamont tradition that stretches back into our glorious past at least a few years, the now-famous local groundhog, Lamontawney Phil, when coming out of his hole or nook or subterranean chamber or whatever it is that rodents sleep in during the winter, did indeed see the desired shadow that portends another great infrastructure improvement year for the Town of Lamont. "Well, needless to say this is a big deal for us. As many towns shed their traditions like so many snakes discard last year's skin, Lamont might be considered, for lack of a better expression, a bunch of sentimental softies!" said the teary-eyed Mayor between sniffles. "So, time honored events like Groundhog Day mean a lot to us. Needless to say, as we waited in the cold for our groundhog "Phil" to make his appearance (our esteemed Councilman Dale Windsor only had to beat on the ground outside his hole two or three times with his shovel to rouse the lazy thing), it was with a mixture of hope, apprehension and a feeling that we were witnessing something bigger than ourselves."

"So, when 'Lamontawney Phil' came out of his hole and did indeed see the shadow of Dennis Fuller, President of Century West Engineering, (the official Town engineering firm) and good friend to the Town, (everyone knows that that whole 'seeing his own shadow thing' is fake - just like professional wrestling) we just knew that our chances were good to get a grant or some of that Federal stimulus money in the next six weeks" said the Mayor. "I don't know what it is about Dennis or his dadburn shadow, but whenever he is around good things just seem to happen. That stupid groundhog has been right every year since we started keeping records! First we got the water grant, then the road grant - and now who knows" he said.

"But on a serious note, I want to know which town employee left the darn hose out on the new sidewalk (the sidewalk was also done by Century West) and did such a terrible job of cutting the grass in the park. Heads will roll!!" he said peevishly. "And wouldn't you know that that dumb groundhog would make a beeline straight for an outward sign of our town's dysfunction when it was picture time - like last year when he got his picture taken by that garbage can that blew over in the park? Coincidence? I think NOT!!! It just makes us look bad! On some level I can't help but feel that that stupid rodent hates me. Why couldn't he stand by the new flagpole or our new picnic table? Maybe he is upset over that whole shovel banging thing - who knows - but sleeping past 10:00 AM on a workday just seems a little excessive to me! Its not like it is still hibernation season or anything. Rodents!! You just can't trust them - unless they are predicting exciting new engineering opportunities based on a huge influx of Federal dollars, that is" he said.

Feb 9, 2009

Local Rancher Dismayed To Learn New Prize Bull Just Wants Meaningful Relationship With "That Special Gal" - Thus Rejecting Herd At Large

In a major setback to his herd revitalization plans, an area rancher was discouraged by the realization that his new prize bull, costing well in excess of $22,000 (not including transportation fees), although of excellent lineage and possessing the physical qualities deemed ideal for the Palouse, scores high on the "sentimentality scale" and feels that casual relationships with any old heifer fall well outside his comfort zone and would prefer a setup similar to the hit TV show "The Bachelor" before making any commitments that could lead to the inevitable emotional attachments so common in the animal world.

"Oh, for Pete's sake!! What next?" bellowed the rancher while shaking his fist wildly at the sky. "First, my daughter comes home from college with blue hair, a nose ring and probably any number of tattoos for all I know, the wife is on some yoga kick and feels that feeding the family tofu 4-5 times a week can lead to inner peace and harmony, the cat has taken up using my bathroom slippers as a litter box and now this!!!" he whined. "Who ever heard of a bull who wants to fall in love? That's just wrong! Next thing you know I will be pumping Frank Sinatra music out into the pasture and placing mood candles on the salt lick!! I feel like I am the victim of some kind of voodoo curse or hex or something. It is all so unbelievable!" he exclaimed. "Old Man Jenkins just got a new bull - why can't this sort of thing happen to him and not me? Oh, why is it always me?"

Sadly, the only solutions the rancher has received for this vexing problem came from his loving wife and daughter. The daughter, a literature major at UW, feels that this is a natural by-product of post-industrial turmoil and global warming and suggests adding some 'illegal herbs' to the bull's food (she can talk to her supplier back on campus) while the wife keeps sneaking out at odd hours to clandestinely mix tofu into the feed box in the corral where the bull spends a majority of his time. "I feel I am losing touch with reality here. I really do" mumbled the rancher. "Why does stuff like this always seem to happen to me? Oh, why me?"

Feb 7, 2009

Local Mayor Faces Own Worst Fears In Showdown With Giant Man

A local Mayor, long renowned for his diminutive stature and natural ability to walk under things without bumping his head, was thrown into a situation where he was forced to interact with a person who, by Lamont standards, was "a dadburn giant of a man!!". "Well, we were all honored to have Mike McCarty, acting Executive Director of the AWC (Assoc. of Washington Cities) come to our humble berg for a 'meet and greet" said the vertically and horizontally challenged Mayor. "The AWC is one of those organizations that make managing a town like Lamont so much easier, and we are thankful for them and, of course, were very pleased to be able to put a name with a face. So, when I heard a noise at the door and got up to see if that was him arriving from Olympia, one can imagine my surprise when this huge mountain of a man came crouching thru the door and towered above me like Doom itself. It was like I had been transported into Gulliver's Travels and I was the Mayor of the Lilliputians!!" he said.

"So, in order to mask the almost comical differences in stature I quickly made introductions and lead him to his chair so that he could sit down and I could thus avoid the comparative chuckles, snorts and snickers from the assembled council members and clerk/treasurer. I did receive one knowing sideways glance from Ruth Simpson that signified her recognition of the obvious size disparity (Ruth's keen observation skills are oftentimes even appreciated), but a swift kick under the table kept her from pursuing that unfortunate subject matter any further. I mean, Mike was so nice and well spoken and professional, a real pleasure to talk to - and I found myself almost forgetting that we were so physically different that an outside observer would be forgiven for thinking we were from entirely different species. It was like putting a pug next to a Great Dane, for Pete's sake! I mean come on. I was swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool there - make no mistake about it. Let's be honest here. I drank one heck of a lot of milk as a kid, but for some reason I was just programmed to have the body dimensions of Danny DeVito, I guess" he said dejectedly. "So, being a few inches taller than your dad is not all that important, after all!"

After successfully suppressing his completely natural yet overwhelming feelings of genetic inadequacy and making sure he did not slide his hand in his shirt like that other really short guy Napoleon used to do (and after making a mental note to never invade Russia), the Mayor avoided what could have been a "Waterloo moment" by not running from the room to warn the townsfolk of the potential danger of having a giant running loose and unchecked in Lamont on a Saturday morning and/or looking for 5 round rocks like his shrimpy role model David did when confronted with his own Goliath. "All in all it was an A+ of a meeting. Our positive views of the AWC were only enhanced by the professional demeanor of Mike McCarty - and I feel that we were able to share our differing perspectives of our respective organizations. The state of the Town is strong - and with partners like the AWC it is also bright!" he stammered clumsily in a vain attempt to distract from the insurmountable yet outrageous dissimilarities in stature and bearing and to pull the subject back to safer emotional ground from which to contemplate the unfairness of it all and to seek the embracing refuge of "what might have been" had the twisting double helix of Fate combined in a slightly different pattern all those years ago.

Feb 6, 2009

Local Man Can't Understand What All The Fuss Is About, For Pete's Sake!!

A local resident reports being amazed, befuddled, perplexed and 'down-right flummoxed' over all the hubbub that seems to be swirling in the town for no apparent reason. "Well, you would think a dadburn fox just took up residence in the chicken coop the way these hens are running around squawking and flapping their wings and carrying on! I ain't never seen anything like it - at least not since last winter!" said the man who prides himself on his internal reserve and keen sense of social perspective. "I mean, I don't know if the long winter has just kept people's natural need for drama all bottled up and with the slightly warmer temperatures they now feel the uncontrollable urge to make up for lost time or what. It seems like every time I venture outside it appears that the whole town is just 'a-twitter' about one thing or another. Its very disconcerting" he said. Although I do not, in fact, have any idea what the whole ruckus is about, it just seems like there are real and more pressing issues in the world and time and energy might be better spent focusing on them" he said. "Can't we all just get along?"

"Well, human beings are really a mess when you get right down to it" said Dr. Mary Fletcher, an area psychoanalyst. "The human experience is a strange blend of self obsession and a herd mentality. When you combine these two volatile and seemingly mutually exclusive components into a small town setting, the result can reach the absurd very quickly" she said. "What I advise my patients to do is to cut down on Oprah and the Jerry Springer Show, get as much exercise as possible and always remember that your rights end where another person's nose begins. Sadly, I lose a lot of patients that way, but I have to be true to myself, doggone it!" Upon further analysis, it appears that no one in the whole town can remember what they were upset about in the first place - but they know that it was important and well worth the investment of time, however, and anyone who disagrees with them is a 'no good so-and-so'."

Feb 4, 2009

Local Man Can't Believe Area Rancher Can't Smell That

In a rare atmosphere of compromise and reconciliation, two (2) area men finally agreed to disagree over whether the air quality at an area ranch was reminiscent of the nightmarish stench of the very pits of hell itself or was a good bit better after that last rain that came thru. "Oh, for the love of every thing good! It was horrible. Oh, the humanity!" said the man who spends little time on an actual working ranch. "The last time my senses were so viciously assaulted like that was when the wife asked me to grab the keys out of her purse and I accidentally hit the button on her pepper spray and had to take almost the whole week off from work" said the man. "When I got to the ranch and stepped out of my car to walk up to the door, I received the full sensory assault and was momentarily immobilized. It was all so sudden and confusing" he said earnestly. "So, when my eyes cleared and I was able to tamp down my natural desire to flee the scene on foot in a blind panic, I half expected to see the ground littered with the unfortunate bodies of dead birds that, thru no fault of their own, happened to stray into the airspace of what is obviously a very inhospitable place for any living thing besides a cow" he whined. (no birds were harmed in the making of this blog) "Oh, the wife has been nagging me to adopt a more vegetarian approach to my diet which I have resisted just on principle alone, but after this I am not sure what I will have to do" he said. "If I give in on something like this, the next thing you know she will be picking out my clothes and dragging me to the opera or something" he said sagely. When asked for comment, the rancher expressed surprise and befuddlement and his only comment before heading back out to the barn was "What? I don't smell anything". (Thanks for helping to spread the word about Lamont, Karen!)

Feb 3, 2009

Local Cow Disheartened To Learn Much Prized "Gang Tattoo" Is Just Rancher's Brand For Easy Identification

In a disturbing realization that not only undermines years of self-identity and a sense of belonging to 'something bigger than himself', a local cow's self concept was laid low after he realized that rather than belonging to a renegade group of 'homeboys' known as the "Hooves", he was in fact just one small cog in the much larger American food distribution system. Another painful aspect of this realization was also highlighted by the fact that, rather than a mark of rebellion and freedom, this once proud and highly cherished symbol on his hip, in reality, means that he will at some point be baked, barbecued, sauteed or stir fried by strangers who don't appreciate the struggles he has endured on behalf of his 'herd" - and that he is just a pawn of 'the man', after all.

"Well, this pulling the rug out from under his self perception like that has to be damaging on so many levels" said Sue Martin, an area animal behaviorist. "First off, belonging to the group has been important to cows for many years - especially in the presence of predators. There is a natural growth of gang loyalties and a suspicion of outsiders and 'cows of a different color', if you will. But to realize that your whole social structure is one big farce and that the only reason for his existence is to be served up on 'the man's' table and that all of his hopes and dreams of respect and freedom are all just vapors is a hard blow to take. To realize that your life has no independent purpose is a hard pill to swallow, but on some level it is one that we all must face at some point, I assume" she said.

Local Agricultural Chemical Salesman Secretly Hopes For Massive Parasite Infestation This Spring

Festus Martin, the local chemical rep for a well-known chemical company specializing in servicing the livestock industry, is secretly hoping for unusual sun spot activity, planetary alignment, a long dormant Indian curse or whatever it is that makes some years considerably more miserable for cattle and sheep in regard to overwhelming numbers of blood sucking parasites. "Well, although on the surface the casual observer might attribute my blatant desire for a biblical plague-like disaster to beset my customers on account of my new boat payment, but in reality I just have an over developed need for acceptance and know that if nature would just throw me a bone here I would be one of the most popular people in the Palouse - maybe even Eastern Washington - at least until October or November" he said. "Sure, it can get a little discouraging to have these farmers and ranchers audibly groan when I saunter up to their table at the coffee shop or act like they are changing the CD in the CD player when I sidle up to their car as they wait for their wife outside Kathy's grocery store. Is asking for a little respect and acceptance every now and then too much to expect? Opportunistic salesmen need love too, don't they? It is not like I am the darn parasite, after all."

Lamontshire Terrier (AKA Norwich Terrier) Now The Official Town Dog

In a bold move sure to leave beagle and Labrador owners wringing their hands in envy and consternation, the Town of Lamont has officially decreed that the cute, feisty, somewhat yappy breed best known for its obvious visual similarity to those "Teddy Bear-looking-things" in the Star Wars movies is now the standard that all other dogs in Town will be judged against. Although often regrettably called the "Norwich Terrier" by snooty, upper crust English types who use cigarette holders, hold their pinkies out when they drink tea and use the word 'darling' all the time (not to mention breeders or anyone who knows anything about dogs), this rough and tumble breed, the Lamontshire Terrier, is well renowned for their affectionate personalities, their propensity for getting stuck in tight spaces (that more often than not require human intervention) as they search for such illusive and wily prey as the common field mouse (an all too common yet unfortunate fixture in the less refined segments of our bustling metropolis) and for their long standing grudge against a vast majority of the world's bird population.

"Well, every town needs a standard to rally around, and being chronic underachievers, we all decided that we needed a town dog - but contrary to our usual pattern, we did not pick some mongrel mix - but decided to go upscale and choose a dog with such fine qualities as loyalty, spunk, friendliness and a strong team/pack orientation" said the Mayor who only owns cats. "Although many think that we are over reaching by choosing such a refined and prestigious breed, we figured that if we were going to reach for the stars, this was a good place to start. As my grandma always said, 'If you need 5 but want 7 - always ask for 10 or 11" he rambled for no obvious reason. "This was not done to make the Blue Tick hound enthusiasts or the Pomeranian proponents feel crushing levels of inadequacy, but if one does not set the bar high, how are we to grow and expand our horizons?" he said. Although not official, rumor has it that the common "black-eyed pea" is on the short list for the "Official Town Legume" - although the 'chick pea' lobby is laying the groundwork for a startling reversal of conventional wisdom and the status quo.