Sep 29, 2009

Rancher Scientists & Theoreticians Contemplate Metaphysical Possibilities Of A "One Cow Herd"

Stretching the very social and philosophical fabric of the Palouse itself, an esoteric team of local researchers is exploring the farthest reaches of the time tested and often-overused concept of 'the herd' and is attempting to expand the very frontiers of ranching and ranch life as we now know it. With recent discoveries related to DNA and the unlimited possibilities, both past and future, contained within the genetic make-up of any given cow, the question arises - do you indeed need more than one cow to make up a group, or herd, if you will - or does the DNA coding potential inherent in all cows make this distinction meaningless and outdated - a figment of our past where 'more meant better' in an absolute sense. "Oh, for Pete's sake! What in 'tarnation' are they talking about and why am I being forced to listen to this drivel?" bellowed Jed Bodine, 56, a local rancher, while glaring menacingly at his wife who dragged him to the 'intellectual event' to 'broaden his horizons a little'. "If you have one cow - that is called 'a cow'. If you have 2 cows that is called a 'couple of cows'. If you have 3-7 cows - that can be called 'several cows' or maybe a 'starter herd'. Any grouping of more than 7 cows can safely be called a dadburn herd!" he said, making way too many hand gestures to prove his point. "Now, granted, some people will argue over the actual size of a 'real herd' - or a 'worthy herd' - and general agreement seems to indicate that you cannot get a reserved pew in the local cow church unless you have over 500 head of cattle, but any grouping of over 7 cows is, by definition, a herd. End of subject!" he stammered. "How much do you want to bet our tax dollars are funding this nonsense? That money would be much better spent on farm subsidies where farmers get paid for not growing crops. At least that would do some good for society - in these parts, anyway!" he concluded indignantly, drawing enthusiastic 'head nods' from a knot of assembled farmers gathered close by! Thankfully, local sheep farmers feel no compunction to 'redefine' the ancient concept of 'the flock', and just hope that this is a relatively warm winter so the upcoming lambing season is productive and enjoyable to work in without all that snow and ice that makes it no fun to go outside and tend the sheep.

Sep 24, 2009

Lamont Institutes 'First In The Nation' Neighborhood Watch Program Staffed Exclusively By Parrots

In a bold (and shockingly inexpensive!) move designed to tamp down on future potential crime and foster inter-species cooperation and understanding, the 2nd smallest Town in the state unveiled the latest in 'low-tech' security monitoring protocols - the 'Parrot on a Perch' program. Starting Friday, the parrots will be strategically placed throughout the town, mostly at key intersections (if Lamont has any of those!) but they also have the flexibility to be placed right outside troublesome residences, if necessary. "Well, Lamont is a sleepy place for the most part, but we have our moments!" said the ever-resourceful (and outrageously penny-pinching!) mayor. "We have that segment of the population that cries out for attention by driving back and forth while glaring at their neighbors for no particular reason - we have the angry malcontents who just like being unhappy and, of course, we have the occasional speeder and/or rabble-rouser prowling the darkness with selfish, unhealthy motivations and mischief in their hearts. All of these behaviors, we feel, can be effectively dealt with by witty, sardonic quips and clever rejoinders from a cadre of parrots placed throughout the town. I mean, who wants to be 'dissed' for bad behavior by a bird, for Pete's sake? How humiliating!!! Plus, the cost of the whole darn thing is just slightly more than mere 'chicken feed" he gushed, once again demonstrating a shocking degree of callousness or ignorance in regard to the feathered members of the animal kingdom!

The parrots, supplied to the Town by the highly efficient and forward-looking 'Erika' of Century West Engineering fame, are a highly trained and professional covey or flock or whatever it is that parrots are called when they group together (since this is cow country, we feel most comfortable with the term 'herd') - are currently going thru extensive language training and are being taught the essentials of personal (hand-to-hand just doesn't seem right!!!) combat (mostly to ward off overly curious housecats and the occasional wayward coyote) and are being drilled in the latest crowd control expressions. These expressions, tested by the nation's mother-in-laws and the U.S. Army's Psychological Warfare units on the battlefields of Afghanistan, are carefully crafted to inflict maximum personal humiliation and reproach. They include "Hey, cheer up, prune face", "Slow it down there, bird brain", and of course the all purpose "Hey buddy, I can see that your mom dresses you, but are you sure she let's you out this late at night?". The parrots are also being extensively trained to never remember any statement that includes the word "Mayor" - since that endless stream of invective from the citizenry would obviously fill up their somewhat limited memory banks in a matter of days - thus driving out the expressions necessary for crowd control and public safety. When asked, the "American Association of Parrots" expressed guarded optimism and gratitude for the role that these largely misunderstood birds will play in protecting the town, and only hope that these heroic crime-fighters will be given heated perches when the weather dips down to -20 degrees, as it seems to do each year. They were also kind enough to send 'parrot parkas' and dinosaur-like, claw-shaped gloves for the bird's comfort and protection. (at no charge, thank goodness!)

Sep 23, 2009

Local Toddler/House Pets Forced To Feign Death As Visiting Uncle Contemplates Second Helping Of Now Infamous '3-Bean Chili'

In a slight variation on the age old adage ‘Out of the mouths of babes flows wisdom’, an area toddler and her natural allies, the dog and cat, did everything possible given their less-than developed communication potential to warn the world of the impending catastrophe of their ‘uncouth’ uncle partaking in yet another obscenely huge helping of 3-bean chili, late Tuesday. When none of the adults present would pay the least amount of attention to their dire yet inarticulate warnings, the trio had no choice but to resort to what is by any standard ‘the last resort’- feigned death in order to draw attention to themselves so that disastrous gastronomic circumstances could be avoided.

“Well, my husband's brother, 'Uncle Tony' just happened to drop in unexpectedly and said he would be glad to stay for 3-4 days” said Erma Snopes, a local ranch wife. “Whenever he calls in advance, we always have time to rush around and schedule elective surgery or one of us has time to fall off the barn roof or something so that his stay seems less than opportune at the time or whatever – so he just started showing up right about dinnertime – suitcase in hand – so we had no choice but to say ‘yes’ to an extended stay. It just so happens that the cursed stars were all aligned against us on this particular night – he showed up and, thru sheer random chance, we were having a dinner entree that should never be allowed to be in the same room with my husband’s brother. My husband is bad enough – but his brother is worse, believe it or not! I just felt like we were being cosmically punished somehow – but what could we do?” she said. “But then my daughter and the pets began dropping like flies as ‘Uncle Tony’ began reaching for the serving spoon in the chili, and that gave me the opportunity to facilitate his hasty retreat to an area hotel in Sprague. What a Godsend! (except for that unfortunate hotel staff!!) Needless to say, all three of those little heroes got a big bowl of ice cream that night!” she beamed. “I have been blessed with a loving, supportive family and I am very thankful!” said the humble mother/wife/pet owner.

Sep 21, 2009

Local Rancher Contemplates Leaving Ranching After 'Hippie Craze" Sweeps Thru Herd

In a clash of cultures that is as old as time itself, a local rancher is faced with some hard decisions about his future and the future of his herd after the latest in a series of inevitable social trends has gripped the cattle of the Palouse. "Well, I am just about ready to give the whole thing up and retire to Dollywood once and for all" said Festus Festoon, a local rancher of 46 years. "I remember a time when men were men and cows were cows - but this dern world has gotten so crazy and the social pressures have become so bizarre that I have to ask myself 'Is it even worth it anymore?'. I mean, come on!!" said Festoon. "It was kind of cute when the herd went thru that whole 'Civil War Reenactment' phase or when my cattle decided to go back to the primitive, pre-domestication 'caveman' period - but this whole 'retro-hippie' thing just seems un-American to me somehow. It all just seems to have gotten out of hand!" he said. "I mean, thankfully we have been spared that whole 'Hip-Hop' craze that swept thru the herds of Iowa and Nebraska and I am glad we avoided that highly ironic 'Urban Cowboy' nonsense that paralyzed large portions of the South - but a man has to draw the line somewhere, and I ain't sure this whole un-American hippie cow thing is just not as bad. I can just see my name in the paper after some big 'loco-weed' bust and my whole dern ranch being littered with "Make Pork, Not War" signs or whatever' he said sadly. "I am just too old to deal with this sort of thing. I just can't help but feel that the whole country is in one big mess, that's all.

Sep 20, 2009

Local Rancher Forced To Tidy Up Around Obstinate, Stubbornly Immovable Cow

A local rancher, Jeb Bodine, while grudgingly preparing his ranch for a long-postponed and decidedly unwelcome visit from his mother-in-law and her new 'significant other' (a man some years younger than herself and who is obviously using her to get access to her extensive selection of heavy farm equipment and hay storage facilities - or so the family gossip goes) was forced to direct his push mower around an unusually obstinate cow who, for whatever reason, has taken up a bold, brave protest position in his front yard and refuses to move until her demands (whatever they are!) are met. (needless to say, the use of the Weed-Eater seemed unnecessarily provocative and thus out of the question, given the delicate circumstances!) "Well, as if the visit from my mother-in-law is not enough to lower my naturally gloomy, rancher-like spirits, now I have to put up with some sort of 'cow protest' or 'passive resistance movement' or whatever this is supposed to be right in the middle of my dern front yard, for Pete's sake!!" said the flummoxed rancher.

"Back when my dad had the ranch and before all my smarter, more socially adept brothers moved away to begin their happy, fulfilling lives in places that actually have libraries and grocery stores, the cows back then had the decency to give some inkling as to why they were unhappy and what they were protesting about - but not now!" said Jeb. "I went out there as soon as the wife told me that we had a 'little problem', fresh flowers in hand, and tried to get to the bottom of the discontent - but the flowers went uneaten and the cow just refused to budge. She just sat there, staring at me with those big, accusing, cow-brown eyes - mute as a statue and twice as stubborn! How am I supposed to set things right if I don't even have any idea what the problem is or what I did wrong? I am used to that sort of treatment from the wife, but when I get it from my cattle, that is when it really hurts! I even sprinkled a trail of fresh alfalfa all the way out to the barn but the cow just refused to move. Actually, I had several cows start eating at the alfalfa trail from the wrong end, working their way towards the house so I may have just compounded my problem, doggone it!!! I feel so guilty and I don't even know what the grievance is all about. What did I do wrong?" he bellowed.

Although left in limbo as to the reason for the brewing discontent that could very well undermine the very foundation of the rancher/herd relationship itself, Jeb feels certain that as soon as the cow gets one look at his frightful mother-in-law and hears her 'fingernails-on-the-chalkboard' like screeching that seems to flow from her in one unbelievably painful, seemingly endless torrent and/or when the heifer gets a good look at that shifty, no-good, stringy 'bean-pole' of a parasite/suitor that has his sights set on replacing his wife's father (who was quietly removed to a 'private psychiatric institution' several years back after being caught up in one too many 'protest stampedes' put on by the herd to draw attention to the shocking state of bovine rights in modern America!!), that all desire for continued protest will cease and the cow, having made her point, will gladly return to the herd where she belongs and he can finally finish up the yard once and for all!! (Which, on a positive note, should allow him to be out of the house for a good 3-4 hours during the unfortunate visit that should only last a day or two (if there was any justice in the world!) but that will more than likely stretch out to as long as a week - if Jeb's wife has her obviously self-serving, shockingly insensitive, un-team-player-like way!!)

Sep 17, 2009

Twelve Cows Suspended From Herd After Barn Clearing Brawl

In a shocking display of bad sportsmanship and 'conduct unbecoming a cow', 12 of the most grievous offenders of a 'mid-barn' scuffle were suspended from the herd until further notice after going berserk and trashing the place late Tuesday. Although the cows can appeal this ruling at the next regularly scheduled 'Rancher Board of Appeals" session held in late September - their status and domicile will remain uncertain until a more formal ruling can be rendered. The uncontrolled melee (caught in vivid detail on the newly installed and surprisingly entertaining 'Barn-Cam") was sparked, according to security experts, after one of the new, upstart bulls tried to butt into line at the saltlick, thus discarding decades of precedence tied to seniority and status within the herd. "Well, things were just as peaceful as you please when one of them new bulls began feeling his oats or something and figured it was high time to take on the long-established pecking order of the herd" said Flem Snopes, the unfortunate rancher. "Well, cows are a peaceful large-prey species for the most part, so the elders of the herd just assumed that the young whippersnapper made a mistake or was just not paying attention or something and gently tried nudging him back into line where he rightfully belonged. That is when all "H.E. Double-Toothpicks' broke loose!!" said the mortified and embarrassed rancher.

"When some of the younger bulls (and sadly, any number of young, supposedly 'lady-like' heifers!) saw the young bull being relegated to second class status, their bovine sense of fairness and fair play kicked in and they naturally went to the young hero's defense. The older, wiser cows, startled by the sudden onslaught, immediately formed a defensive circle and began head-butting any young cow dumb enough to get within head-butting range" he said. "Well, it didn't take long for the whole dern mess to just devolve into an "every cow for himself" ruckus and pretty much everything in the whole doggone place that was not nailed to the wall got stomped flat! I just can't tell you how disappointed I am with all of them. They should know better than that!!" said Snopes, shaking his head with well-appointed angst and disappointment. "I just hope they use this time to reflect on their un-herd-like behavior and to the bad name and black eye they have given to the sport of ranching" he concluded sadly. "They only hurt themselves when they do this" said the paternal, sage-like rancher while kicking himself (figuratively) for not following his father's advice and raising sheep like all the really smart, savvy, suave, sophisticated, cool and hip ranchers in the Palouse.

Sep 13, 2009

Local Dog Becomes Considerably Less Social After Being Given Beef Rib Bone

A local dog, Honey, age 2, underwent a radical personality change late Sunday after being given what experts describe as "a rib bone with one heck of a lot of meat still left on it". The normally sweet and docile dog took less than a second (after formally receiving the unusual treat from the familiar hand of her owner) to lock the former cow part in her jaws (slathering fangs appears to be too strong of a description) and 'run' to the dubious protection/safety provided by the somewhat exposed and vulnerable living room chair. From this battle-tested redoubt that has served her well in the past, the dog, or so it would appear, had every intention of defending her prize against both man and beast (especially those darn, overly-curious housecats!!!). "Well, I can't remember a time when she acted like that - except when she sees that council member that she hates for no particular reason" said Ruth Stimpson (not her real name), a local animal lover. "Right after I gave it to her and she made what was, for her, a 'mad dash' to safety (sadly, this dog is so lazy that its actual speed was clocked at only slightly faster than that of the Great American Tortoise on a casual stroll) - one of my cats came up to see what all the fuss was about and got a quite rude and overly hostile reaction. I can't believe all that noise came out of my little wiener dog! It was all quite unnecessary!"

The dog, now that she was in possession of the ultimate canine windfall, just wanted to be left alone for 3-4 hours, for Pete's sake, and later retreated to the bedroom closet where all approaches could be easily monitored and her low pitched growling had a satisfying and 'force multiplying' echo effect on any potential interlopers. "Well, I don't like her going in my closet because she has what one might call a 'shoe fetish' and seems to be able to pick the nice, expensive shoes from my older ones to chew on" said Stimpson. "But there ain't no way I am going in there to roust her out. NO WAY!! For the next several hours that dog is liable to be a crazed menace!!" she said. "Who would have guessed that a simple beef bone would turn the whole 'dern' household upside down? She is surely not acting like the 'little lady' I raised her to be!!" she said with a decidedly disappointed tone.

Sep 10, 2009

Town's Biggest Gossip Moves To Larger Town With Even Greater Gossip Potential

(Post-Publication Editorial Note: This story does not refer to any actual Lamont resident, relative, visitor or mother-in-law, living or dead, that has lived in Lamont or visited our humble Town or even driven down Highway 23 in the last 75 years. Any attempt to ascribe these attributes to any individual associated with the Town is misplaced. Please don't read this blog trying to find fault with it or your neighbors. There are enough real problems in the world without people spending valuable energy looking for something to be unhappy about and/or looking for something to stir your neighbors up about. Rather than reading this blog and getting upset, might I suggest that you volunteer at a food bank or help widows and orphans or something. Do something good - you will feel better! That good advice is courtesy of the Lamont Blog!!! Thank you!

In some perverse twist on the American Dream, a local gossip and outrageous trouble-maker decided to embrace her very real and thankfully somewhat rare (population-wise) potential by moving from the 2nd smallest town in the State to a location that, thru sheer numbers alone, will allow her to inflict even more stunning levels of human pettiness and irrational cattiness on her unsuspecting neighbors. "Well, I have lived in Lamont for over a decade and have pretty much exhausted every conceivable avenue for small-minded gossip and poisonous truth-twisting" said Burtha Brittle, a local alpha-gossip and self-described ‘miserable human being’. "In the last several years, I realized that the lengths I had to go to get equally small-minded citizens all riled up over imaginary situations was becoming far-fetched - even for me. I mean, just from a personal standpoint, and my standards are pretty low, even I was ashamed by some of the lengths I had to go to to cause unnecessary disruptions and unpleasantness" said the jaded gossip with genuine frustration. "I should not have to try that hard to make the world an uglier, more miserable place!!! I just need to live in a town where everyone has not heard my same old line of nonsense and where if I get my stories confused people won't be familiar enough with my pattern to correct me in mid-sentence. That can be annoying!! I just need new horizons to explore and new people to vex" she said. “I just have so much unpleasantness bottled up inside me it is a shame to devote it all to one town” she said while standing next to the loaded moving truck - drawing enthusiastic cheers and any number of 'high fives' from those within earshot.

For their part, the Town is eagerly waiting for the official determination that Mrs. Brittle is gone for good (rumor has it that she moved someplace out west where she came from in the first place after a tornado or something wiped out her previous lair/haunt/wicked fake-gingerbread cottage) and all the normal people in town will then boil out into the park in their long-unused ruby slippers carrying their tiny (and yappy) terriers (and the occasional wiener dog!) to have a BBQ or something and to thank the Good Lord for loving the Town enough to remove an unpleasant element once and for all. Now we can all really say “There is no place like home. There is no place like home. There is no place like Lamont, WA in the good old USA!!!" As of this writing, there is still some stuff in her yard so she might not be officially 'moved' yet, although hopes grow stronger by the day. (Side note: And we have the shofars to thank, too!)