Aug 27, 2009

Area Parrot Owner Gets Feathers All Ruffled Over Too Much 'Cow Talk'

An area woman, Erika "Doe", (her real name is being withheld to protect her against the inevitable rancher backlash for what amounts to 'cow heresy' in these parts) is at her wit's end after enduring what is, by all accounts, 'way too many conversations about cows, for Pete's sake!' Although she considers herself to be an animal lover in general and enjoys a good medium-rare steak like any normal red-blooded American, Mrs. Doe (not her real name) just feels it is high time to 'draw the line' when it comes to talking about cows day-in and day-out for decades on end. "Well, first off - cows are boring and there is just not enough new and exciting things going on with them to warrant the endless hours of daily conversation about the dumb yet surprisingly tasty beasts' said the always feisty (and controversial!!) Erika. "Living in the Palouse, you would think that the common cow was the only animal that made it off of Noah's ark and that every aspect of meaningful human existence somehow intersects at the herd level - or even worse - with individual cows. I mean come on! Let's broaden our animal repertoire already!" she stammered. "Cows are okay, but they are nothing when compared against even a below-average parrot."

Although parrots are not indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and have feet so ugly that they look like something that was left on the cutting room floor of the movie 'Jurassic Park' because they are too horrifying for the average movie-goer to look at (bird feet in general are eerily 'reptilian' in appearance - thus giving rise to speculation that birds in general and parrots in particular are in fact an advanced raiding party in the larger plan for the dinosaurs to re-conquer the earth and put mammals in there place where they belong). "Sure, my parrot's feet look like something that only Stephen King could dream up when he was in his prime, but if you look past that and just take the birds as a whole - they are pretty amazing! Did you know that the African Gray parrot has the intelligence of the average 5 year-old child? And they can talk!!! All cows ever do is look stupid, drool and make funny noises from the wrong end!" she said. "What is so exciting about that?" she bellowed. "Just once I would like to have someone talk to me about something besides a dadburn cow! If people around here would realize that there is more than one kind of animal in the world, maybe that might spur interest into other areas of human growth and enrichment. We have to start somewhere - so why not with the amazing parrot? Plus, they come in dazzling colors and can pretty much repeat anything you say - which can be a mixed blessing, if you know what I mean. I remember casually remarking on a neighbor's new hairstyle one day and the darn bird repeated the less-than flattering reference for a good nine months. That was a little embarrassing!" she said. "When my neighbor came over and the bird would repeat my poorly chosen words, I would have to fib and say that he picked it up from watching the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' on DVD or something. That was more than a little awkward, to say the least" she concluded remorsefully.

Aug 24, 2009

Local Herd Becomes Even More Jittery After Faint BBQ Smell Wafts Over Pasture

As if they didn't have enough to worry about already given that this is the time of year when large numbers of their herd-mates 'disappear' into big cattle trucks, never to be seen again - members of a local herd exchanged worried, knowing glances and instinctively grouped closer together after the faint yet unmistakable smell of the BBQ grill came wafting over the herd - as if the very winds themselves were conspiring to unnerve an already skittish and easily panicked large-prey species into a long-overdue, out-of-control stampede or something.

"Well, I was at Wal-Mart seeing if there were any new gun magazines when I became momentarily disoriented and ended up in the meat section where some of the most beautiful ribs you ever laid eyes on just reached out to my inner-carnivore and pleaded with me to take them home - like a siren-song for high cholesterol beckoning me onto the rocks of a triple bypass or something" said Jed Flum, a local rancher. "I mean, given that I have to look at the business end of those darn cattle from dawn to dusk - you would think I would get a hankering for chicken or fish - but no sir, that just ain't the case. I'm a beef man, thru and thru" he said, desperately trying to dislodge a particularly cantankerous piece of 'sparerib' stuck between his one remaining lower tooth and dental bridge with his tongue. "So, the minute I walked into the house, I hollered at the wife to fry up some potatoes cause we were going to dine like kings" he said. "How was I to know that it would send the herd into a case of the jitters? And since when do cows have good noses? All this time and I never knew cows had good noses. Ain't that funny? Cows can smell!!! Well, I'll be derned! Will wonders never cease?" he said to no one in particular while still working at that lodged piece of meat with his surprisingly ineffective yet obviously committed tongue.

Aug 16, 2009

Local Cat Can't Help But Notice Large Number Of Flattering "Feline" References In Old Testament

A local cat's self image was boosted considerably late Tuesday after becoming aware of the decidedly positive role that the fellow members of his largely misunderstood species played in the 'Greatest Book Ever Written' - and took particular satisfaction when those positive biblical portrayals were compared against those of his arch rival and natural competitor for human affection - the dog. The seemingly unassuming house cat, Samson, age 4, although not a regular church-goer, none-the-less recognized the inherent wisdom of "The Good Book" and was just thankful that his owner, 'that guy with the can-opener' (AKA - Wilber Festoon) is spending an increasing amount of time reading such an obviously insightful, well-reasoned, inherently intuitive, historically-balanced, divinely-inspired and 'species-accurate' book of wisdom.

"Well, as the world goes to hell-in-a-hand-basket and disturbing trends seem to manifest themselves just about every day, I have found myself drawn more and more to the comfort of the bible" said Wilber Festoon, a local dog and cat owner and purported 'miracle worker' with the seemingly impossibly complicated 'can-opener'. "I like to read aloud, and when I stumbled onto those parts about "The Lion of Judah" I was briefly yet quite rudely interrupted by what was apparently 'loud, obnoxious purring' coming from the back of the sofa where my darn cat likes to sleep when he is not sleeping someplace else" said the annoyingly obtuse Festoon. "Sure, I got a bit of a mixed reaction when David proved his courage before fighting Goliath by recounting that time he vanquished a lion (the part about the bear was more than understandable!) with his bare hands while guarding the sheep, but the very fact that this future King of Israel's courage was positively measured by overcoming such a worthy adversary seemed to the cat to more than make up for the fate of that individual distant relative - who was probably well-past his prime, anyway - although the bible remains mute on this particular point, however" he said. "Samson tried to act like he was not listening - you know, acting like he was cat-napping and all of that, but when I got to that part about not feeding scraps to the dogs when the children are present or whatever, I saw him cock a well-tuned ear in my general direction, as if he was enthusiastically waiting for some outrageous and long-overdue misfortune to befall that ancient, biblical, shamelessly begging mooch of a dog (yes, I refrained from saying mooch of a pooch!! What willpower!) in addition to the measly withholding of some lousy biblical table scraps. Although the cat would have also preferred if that expression about 'casting pearls' would have been exclusively directed towards dogs and not those often picked-upon swine, all in all he feels that the overall portrayal of his fellow felines (and the less-than flattering one of his continually slobbering canine adversary!) more than makes up for any minor editorial quibbling that might be in order.

Aug 12, 2009

Town Women Mourn One-Year Anniversary Of Road Project Completion

Amidst a sea of black clothing coupled with no shortage a genuine anguish and tears (just a few of them of the crocodile variety - mostly from the husbands!), the women of the Town marked the one year anniversary of when the engineers and construction crews left Lamont for the last time, thus ending what was deemed by many to be the highlight of the Town's 100 year history - the now famous (or infamous) "Beefcake Bonanza" that corresponded with the road construction itself. The Town, the proud recipient of a generous grant from the outrageously well-managed and efficient Transportation Improvement Board (TIB) that paved a large portion of the 2nd smallest town in the State, was inundated with engineers and construction workers for months, thus increasing the use of certain adjectives like 'hot' and 'dreamy' and revitalizing old, tired exclamations like "Oh laa laa!!", and "Oh, lawd have mercy!!". (usually said while fanning oneself vigorously)

"Well, this is a dark day, that is all there is to it" said an unnamed housewife and budding beefcake connoisseur. "One year ago I actually had a reason to drag myself out of bed (normally around 4:00 AM to allow the requisite 3-4 hours (minimum!!!) of personal preparation time before construction work got underway in earnest!) so I could embrace another day and enjoy the wonders of nature" she sniffed. "I remember placing bets with myself over which dreamy engineer I would get to see that day and wondered if it would be hot enough so that the concrete guys would have to go shirtless. Oh, why did it have to end? Why does life have to be so cruel? Why can't that Mayor get off his lazy duff and get more grant money in here? The only reason I voted for Obama was because I thought that (ironically named!!) stimulus package would increase the chance of getting another major project in Lamont. Don't tell me I wasted my vote! Don't tell me I bought that $1,200 telephoto zoom lens for nothing!" she bellowed, yanking at her own hair with both hands. "Now all I've got to look at is my husband of 22 years, Bert. Oh, that is just so wrong. Oh, I have never felt so alone! Surely there is some sort of grant we could get. We'll take anything!!!"

Although thankful for the new roads and the decreased dust that goes along with actual pavement, a number of Town husbands also expressed remorse over the departure of Century West Engineering and the other construction professionals. "Well, all I remember were the really cool earth movers and stuff - that and the fact that my wife was too busy gawking to nag at me for the whole summer" said the now infamous 'Bert'. "I just remember her taking a lot of walks in clothes that went out of fashion right about the time the Beatles broke up - and her telling me to 'shush' as I walked in the room as she was peeking out the window for the 50th time that day - like any noise I made might somehow obstruct her view! The whole thing was crazy. Peaceful for a change, but crazy. I am not sure our marriage was ever better!" he said cheerfully. "Plus, those big machines were really cool. I'd give a kidney just to drive one of 'em! And my spleen, too - whatever that is!"

Aug 10, 2009

Shock Poll: 79% Of Area Ranchers Unprepared For Potential Zombie Cow Attack

Although often heard bragging that they are prepared for just about everything man and nature can throw at them, a recent survey uncovered the uncomfortable truth that a vast majority of the tightly knit (some would say inbred) local community of livestock professionals (the few families that actually own cattle can be numbered on one hand and are more closely related by decades of inter-marriage than the royal families of Europe two centuries ago!) admit that they are basically unprepared for the obvious threat of their herds transforming themselves into a marauding band of stampeding undead - hell-bent on madness and mayhem throughout the region. What is commonly known within rancher circles as 'Condition Z' or "Hell on the Hoof', although not unprecedented, is historically-speaking relatively rare in the Palouse so local ranchers have, by and large, placed its perceived threat level somewhere below having an actual Democrat elected to office from this district - thus leaving area farms and ranches dangerously exposed to the zombie menace while doing nothing tangible to protect the region from the scourge of the Democratic party which in many ways could be much, much worse!

"Well, of course we are well aware of the threat from some sort of demonic bovine zombie transformation - I mean it happened to 'Old Man Snopes' back in 1966 (oddly, 'Old Man Snopes', age 72, was even called 'Old Man Snopes' 43 years ago although no one is exactly sure why)- but with so many other things on my plate (whittling, Gun Smoke reruns, leafing thru gun magazines, unsuccessfully trying to outsmart those coyotes, etc), I had to place this very real but less than immediate threat in the same 'future action item' pile as getting the kids braces for their teeth and taking the wife on that honeymoon (a romantic get-away weekend to beautiful Steptoe!) I promised her 22 years ago" said Buster Bodine, 57 - a local rancher. "I mean, it is a good idea to prepare for that eventuality and all, but with everything else I have going - there are just not enough hours in the day, I guess" he said sheepishly while glancing nervously at his suddenly pensive herd. "Sure, some of the cows have been acting a little squirrelly lately, but it is darn hard to tell the difference between a normal cow and one of those dang zombie cows - given that they both just lope around listlessly all day long making guttural mooing noises while drooling all over the place, for Pete's sake. I don't know how many times I pulled the whole dern family into the basement to hunker down until the zombie craziness ran its course only to realize 12-24 hours later that it was just another false alarm. That can be kind of embarrassing" he quipped. "And the kids miss enough school as it is with all them new-fangled illnesses and conditions made up by the drug companies to sell their latest product(s) without me pulling them into the basement every other day for some desperate last ditch stand against the 4-legged undead or whatever" he concluded reasonably, demonstrating once again why ranchers make such good and loving dads. "Kids need to be kids and they need their fancy book learning - even if their teeth are as crooked as a ragged, blown-down picket fence after an unusually nasty winter storm!" reflected the loving, gap-toothed father who steadfastly refuses to make the same mistakes as his less-than-stellar parents - except when it comes to getting the kids teeth fixed - or so it would appear, given that the youngest just turned 17 last month.

Aug 8, 2009

The Enigmatic "Critter" Surpasses Both Dogs and Cats As Town's Most Common Pet

In support of the principle that "slow and steady wins the race", the lowly 'critter' has worked itself up from obscurity into being the most common and popular pet (in terms of percentage of ownership) in the 2nd smallest Town in the State. "Well, we don't have the slightest idea what these animals are, but they must be pretty cute and sweet if a seemingly normal town would take them on as pets!" said Wilber Wilkins, an animal expert at BSU. "In America, it is very common for dog and cat varieties to dominate the affections of the average citizen, so when I read in the Journal of Abnormal Sociology that a little town in the Palouse had gone 'hog wild' over such a poorly defined and largely misunderstood animal that doesn't even have a proper name for all I know, unless I stayed home from college that day nursing a hangover when that topic was discussed, I was intrigued, to say the least" he said with an air of smug ivory-towerishness. "So, long story short, I went to have a look for myself and, sure enough, there were critters all over the Town of Lamont! And they had adapted to fill almost every niche imaginable. In fact, there was one woman who was convinced that her 'dog' was half wiener dog and half Chihuahua - when in fact, DNA tests reveal that it was pure 'critter', whatever the heck that is" said the puzzled Ph.D.

"Well, whether she is half wiener dog and half Chihuahua or just a pure bred 'critter', I don't care!!! I love my Honey Bear, even if there is a 99% chance that she belongs to a largely unknown and potentially sinister sub-group of the animal kingdom" said Ann Tootsmeyer, an area 'critter' owner. "I always did think it was odd that the thing yapped all the time and tended to 'spring' all over the place when it ran, as opposed to bounding like a dog does, but I thought that was just because she was so long and was the runt and all. If I would have known she was not a dog but was, in fact, just a 'critter', I am not sure I would have paid the $20 for her. $15, maybe. But probably not $20. But that is water under the bridge now!! I own a 'critter' and I am not ashamed!!!" said Tootsmeyer with seemingly genuine bravado.

Aug 5, 2009

Local Grumbler Thankful For Yellow Jacket Infestation After Disappointing Mosquito Year Due To Town's Excellent Eradication Measures

Rebecca Blat, the Town's premier grumbler, griper and overall general 'pain-in-the-tush', was relieved late Thursday when she ventured into her yard to move the sprinklers and saw dozens of yellow jackets milling around the moisture and buzzing menacingly for no apparent reason. "Well, it is about time I have some aspect of the insect world to complain to the Town about!" said the grumbler extraordinaire with obvious glee. "Every year I so look forward to the mosquitoes attacking the town so I can transfer my own personal unhappiness onto others and blame all my problems on the blood-sucking fiends that the Town has historically not been able to do anything about - but this year Lamont brought in that mosquito busting team from Tekoa (Kynda Browning and John Sypher) and pretty much wiped them out - thus stealing my soapbox out from under me! I had almost three months with nothing substantial to focus my obviously abundant negativity on! Griping about my husband only goes so far! It was a living hell!" she said. "Imagine my discomfort at being able to take casual strolls on our fantastic new sidewalks (courtesy of the TIB!!!) or to go sit out on our lawn furniture without that rewarding feeling of knowing that about 1/3rd of my blood was going to be siphoned off so that I could tell everyone I know what a terrible town I live in. It was very insensitive of Lamont to kill those poor mosquitoes. What did they ever do to the Mayor and Town Council, anyway?" she concluded.

"Well, like the mosquitoes, the yellow jackets are a natural part of the vibrant ecosystem that is Eastern Washington" said Erika Logsdon, Lamont's highly efficient and insightful town historian and 'bug expert'. "As with many aspects of life, things come in cycles, and this is the normal, typical, run-of-the-mill cycle when yellow jackets emerge and provide their contribution to the larger pattern that is called 'Nature'. They are just doing what they are designed by our Creator to do and are not here to vex any single individual or family and I feel pretty certain that they would be shocked to learn that there are actual humans that place so much personal significance on their yearly activity. They are just doing what yellow jackets do, whatever that is. It is not some big conspiracy. They are bugs, for Pete's sake!" she said indignantly.

Although North America has approximately 17 different varieties of 'yellow jackets', 12 of which inhabit the Inland Northwest, the Lamont variety is largely 'non-aggressive' and likes to be left alone, but view lawn sprinklers as some sort of '6-legged' water park or something and tend to congregate where fresh water is present. As of this writing, no confirmed human/yellow jacket incidents have been reported and this peaceful coexistence is expected to continue until yet another cycle kicks in, known in some circles as 'winter', which normally drives the yellow jackets below ground until they emerge next year, usually right about this time.

Aug 3, 2009

"It's Hot!" Says Local Man Without His Usual Outrageous Exaggeration Or Unnecessary Hyperbole

A local farmer/rancher, Chester Bodine, best known for saying 100 words when only 3-4 are needed, got right to the point when describing the weather, late Tuesday. Although known for concocting some of the biggest whoppers and elaborate 'tall tales' in the Town of Lamont's history and wasting untold 1000's of man-hours of the citizen's time in the process, Mr. Bodine, 54, proved once again that brevity is the well-spring of wisdom when his only rejoinder to his succinct and Spartan analysis of the local weather was to add the illuminating insight 'it's dang hot!'.

Although actual temperatures in the Town of Lamont have hovered right around 100 degrees for days on end, the heat is largely of the much preferred 'dry variety' - thus facilitating evaporation and allowing the body's natural cooling system to work at peak efficiency - assuming fluid intake remains at near record levels. "Well, like the man said, 'it's hot!'", said Festus Martin, a local amateur meteorologist and aspiring concert pianist (to say nothing of being a farmer/rancher!). "It's a doggone good thing that Lamont has some of the best dadburn water in the whole dagnab State, for Pete's sake. It almost makes restoring internal fluid equilibrium a real joy. Just the other day, that stupid bull I should have put on the cull list several years ago got a hankering to go traipsing thru Erma Bodine's garden and decided to have a late afternoon snack on those roses she is so proud of but that everyone thinks look like something that would grow out of the rubble of some bombed out building or something - so I had to get myself up off the couch, leave an excellent re-run of "Gun Smoke" and go fetch the thing. By the time I had managed to subdue the rebellious bovine and got him back to the barn (and after a stern lecture on the importance of respecting other people's property) I had worked up one towering thirst" said Festus. So, I did what 'my pappy' did before me, I sauntered over to the sink, turned on the tap (thus experiencing 82 psi of pressure first hand) and just plunged my head under there, mouth open, just a-gulpin' for all I was worth. When I emerged from the 'Noah-like deluge' about a half hour later, I was just as refreshed and spunky as a bummer lamb in a room full of recently lamb-less ewes!" he said, confusingly mixing animal metaphors. "Say what you want about the Town of Lamont, but we do have the best doggone drinking water in the State" he gushed, hoping to cut the interview short so he could make a much-needed pit stop at the 'little boy's room' before what is currently a dull ache becomes a raging tidal wave of pain and discomfort. - all due to the over-indulgence in a wonderful natural resource brought to the Town by the fine folks at Century West Engineering, the USDA, CDBG, et al..

For his part, the Town pontificator, Chester Bodine, is beating the heat by staying indoors, leafing thru gun magazines and whittling. Periodically he will call someone he knows who does not have Caller-ID to tell them about the 40 pound robin he just saw in the yard or to recount how his mothers toe-nails were so thick when he was a kid that she had to use the hedge clippers to trim them just to get her size 14 (men's!) dress shoes on so she could go to the local church. (sadly, this story is actually true!) Thankfully, temperatures will be dropping back into the 80's by mid-week so things should be returning to normal in Lamont - if such a set of circumstances has ever actually existed in the 2nd smallest Town in the State, that is.