Weekly Comments: Rain in all the Wrong Places

# 321, May 28, 2004

COLUMBUS: Big news in Columbus today. No rain.

Just when Mayor Coleman was preparing to proclaim a holiday for breaking Noah’s record (in days of rain, not amount) why the sun broke through and about blinded us. Not only did it shine today, it didn’t set till almost 9 o’clock. Here, we had all been turning in about 7:30 out of habit.

We can joke about rain here, because it ain’t done much harm. But down on that island of Haiti and Dominican Republic, floods have killed hundreds and washed out whole towns and villages. Lots of folks were so poor they didn’t have anything, and now they got even less.

Out West, folks are praying for rain and can’t understand why it’s all landing hundreds of miles to the east.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on Memorial Day)

“Lincoln made a wonderful speech one time: “That this Nation under God, shall have a new Birth of Freedom, and that Government of the People, by the People, for the People, shall not perish from this earth.”
Now, every time a Politician gets in a speech, he digs up this Gettysburg quotation. He recites it every Decoration day and practices the opposite the other 364 days.
Now Lincoln meant well, but he only succeeded in supplying an applause line for every political speaker who was stuck for a finish.
In our Decoration Day speech-making Mr. Taft
 [former President and current Chief Justice] spoke at some unveiling of a monument in Cincinnati. He made an alibi for the Supreme Court. I don’t know what prompted him to tell the dead what the Court was doing, unless it was some man who had died of old age waiting for a decision from that August body.” WA #26, June 10, 1923

“Another Decoration Day passed and Mr. Abraham Lincoln’s 300-word Gettysburg Address was not dethroned. I would try and imitate its brevity if nothing else. Of course, Lincoln had the advantage; he had no foreign policy message to put over. He didn’t even have a foreign policy. That’s why he is still Lincoln.
Yours for shorter and better speeches, Will”
 DT #268, May 31, 1927

Weekly Comments: Hogs and Lawyers battle in Missouri

# 320, May 19, 2004

KANSAS CITY, MO: All I know is what I read in the Kansas City Star or see for myself from the seat of an airplane. I flew here for a meeting of engineers from a dozen of the finest agriculture colleges in the Midwest. These folks solve a lot of important problems, but Missouri came up with a tough one.

According to the newspaper, some big lawyers recently discovered that hogs smell. That’s hardly news because farmers have known for years about this unpleasant odor, but it ain’t the hogs fault. And if you asked a hog for his opinion, you might find he’s not exactly thrilled with your aroma either, especially if you’re a big lawyer.

Well these big attorneys, including Robert Kennedy, Jr. of New York, are suing Premium Standard Farms because hogs stink. They are seeking compensation, get this, for every man, woman and child in Missouri that lives within 10 miles of a hog. Now, either Missouri is producing a particularly malodorous breed of hogs, or the folks living there have extremely talented noses to be able to pick out a hog at 10 miles based purely on odor.

There’s about a million hogs in Missouri, and they say each one is equal to two and a half people in their ability to produce “waste”, as it is referred to in polite company. Hog waste gets spread on farm fields where it fertilizes the corn that in turn gets fed to another batch of pigs. It’s what environmentalists refer to as recycling, and sometimes it stinks.

Now, on the other hand, the waste from the two and a half people, if they live in a city, why after it’s flushed they have no idea where it goes. And often they don’t care as long as it doesn’t come back to them. Just treat it a little and send it on downstream.

One of these lawyers said, “We’re going to sue every one of them until we have civilized this industry.” Well, in this argument between Missouri hogs and New York lawyers, I’m not too sure but what the hog isn’t the more civilized of the two.

The Premium Standard farmers are talking about filing a class action suit of their own. The suit will request compensation for anyone in Missouri who lives within 10 miles of a lawyer.

But these attorneys are good folks at heart, and I figure the hogs will accept a compromise and agree to reform if the lawyers do.

There’s news out here besides hogs. Fifty years ago the Supreme Court desegregated the schools of Topeka, Kansas, and the rest of the country. Then last week a judge in Kansas closed all the schools in Kansas, come September. Ironical.

In India, Mrs. Gandhi got elected in a big upset, then turned the whole situation over to a Harvard man. John Kerry and the Democrats are pondering the same scheme here, but it’s not likely a Yale man would get elected here then step aside for a Harvard grad. Mr. Kerry may delay accepting the nomination till October to mull over his possible choices.

Have you bought gas lately? I invested in a tank of gas yesterday. At $2.10 a gallon it sure feels like an investment. And you know, at the same station, a gallon of water in those little bottles was $7.50. Those folks working to design an engine to run on water might want to rethink it.

I’ve been told engineers in Illinois have figured how to get an engine to run on hog manure. No kidding. Looks like Missouri may miss out on a gold rush of the future. By the time hog manure is ready to replace crude oil, Missouri lawyers will have trained every hog in the state to practice constipation.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“What [Secretary of Agriculture Henry] Wallace is trying to do is to teach the farmer corn acreage control and the hogs birth control, and one is just as hard to make understand it as the other.” DT #2200, Aug. 22, 1933

“Well, all I know is just what I see in the Papers. Out here around Kansas and Missouri and back around Chicago there has only been two things. That is trying to see Queen Marie [of Rumania], and attending conferences to help the Farmer. I followed Marie into Kansas City. Her and President Coolidge were there the same day… Why there will always be Presidents coming in and out of Kansas City. It’s a Railroad center. They have to change somewhere….
Kansas City has got to live off what is done in the livestock and better farming line. They haven’t got a chance ever making a dime out of all the Kings and Queens you could herd into the stockyards. They don’t mean any more than a political speech.”
 WA #207, Nov. 28, 1926

Weekly Comments: Photos leave Will speechless, almost

# 319, May 11, 2004

COLUMBUS: I have been in a fair number of photos in my time, and my friends know I’ve snapped quite a few Kodaks. So I’m sorta fond of picture takers. But this week you kinda wish the photographer, instead of snapping pictures, had used his camera to smash someone over the head.

Our President apologized on television and said those photos from the Iraq prison were “abhorrent and disgusting”. Next thing you know, those terrorists said right back to him, “that’s nothing, we’ll show you some pictures that are REALLY abhorrent and disgusting.”

Just about everything that could be said about those photos of Abu Ghraib prisoners has been said, over and over and over. So I won’t contribute to the confusion of either side.

But when it comes to that al-Qaida executioner in the video with the machete, there’s one thing I have not heard, but I venture it’s true…he was experienced at his trade. He had executed others before, and my guess is most of them were women and girls. And they were all Muslim. So any argument he only committed the murder because his Iraqi terrorist friends were photographed in a few scenes somewhat worse than a college fraternity hazing just don’t hold water.

I didn’t intend to make what our better writers humorously call a “transition”, but I do want to say something about Water. Bottled water. I read in the newspaper or saw on television, maybe both, that we are spending $8 Billion on bottled water. Now if the New York Times had reported that our federal government was spending $8 billion on those little bottles we would all march on Washington and demand that Congress put a stop to the waste and fraud. But no, it’s not the government doing the spending, it’s us. And most of the time it’s for the same city water you use to refill your flush toilet, wash your car and irrigate the lawn. Same water, different package.

You know, if you buy enough water in those little bottles to fill a barrel, why paying $40 a barrel for oil shipped half way around the world won’t seem like such a bad deal. I joke about folks trading their big SUVs for a horse, but gas at $2 a gallon is a bargain when you start watering your horse at $1 a bottle.

Now I might be a bit more lenient on you big water spenders if I was in on it. See, if you give me a third of this water market, like the Coca Cola company has today, I’ll be right up there too, encouraging you to avoid the sins and contamination of water from your kitchen faucet and office water cooler. Why, some of those pipes have been delivering clean water for fifty years, so there’s no telling what germs and bacteria might be lurking in there waiting to attack your taste buds.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

(Don’t read too much into this quote, at least the first half. It is a bit out of context, and Will was referring to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria…)

“I am a peace man. I haven’t got any use for wars and there is no more humor in ’em than there is reason for ’em.” DT 1674, Dec. 4, 1931