Do you think it’s hot where you live? For the past week I was in Las Vegas (115 F) for the National Speakers Association (NSA) convention, then to West Texas (95 F) to check out crops, cattle, canyons, and a stretch of Will Rogers Highway.
You know, I’ve reported before on the annual NSA convention. I’ve attended most since 1995. Last year it had to be virtual. Last week we had about a third of our usual attendance. For most it was our first in-person conference since March 2020. Being a convention of professional speakers, naturally we have great speakers on the main stage. All had great tips for us to improve our speaking business. One tip always makes me chuckle. Here I am, impersonating the great Will Rogers, and I’m told to “Be yourself, be authentic.”
Since the Pandemic hit, Caesar’s Palace had hosted only one convention before ours. A waiter told me he was working there 16 months ago. The staff had served lunch to 5000 people and were setting up for their evening banquet. The manager said, “Stop. We’re shut down.” Can you imagine being one of those employees? Or one of the 5000 attendees from around the world? How will everyone get rescheduled flights out of Vegas? Do you remember, we were told to stay home for just two weeks to flatten the curve? Sure.
Sixty-five weeks later, Las Vegas is just now opening up. But they opened with a flourish. Airplanes arriving are full. Every seat at the gambling tables at Harrah’s was occupied. Restaurants had a 45-minute wait for a table.
On Tuesday I flew to Lubbock, Texas, to visit a cousin, who is a retired Faculty member at Texas Tech University. I spent some time on the campus visiting “my” statue (see photo). Of course, I stopped at the Buddy Holly Museum. You wouldn’t believe how many country singers and music writers are from West Texas.
But mostly we drove around West Texas. Visited Post, Shallowater, Tulia, Happy, Hart, Hereford, Idalou, Floydada, Plainview, Dimmitt, the Palo Duro Canyon and Amarillo. Did you know historic U.S. Route 66 goes through Amarillo? Route 66 runs from Chicago through St. Louis, Claremore, OK, Flagstaff, AZ, and ends at the Pacific Coast near Santa Monica. Partly because it ran through Claremore (Will Rogers’ home area) and ended near his California 180-acre ranch, Rt. 66 was also known as the Will Rogers Highway. Also known as the Mother Road, it opened in 1926 and was decommissioned in 1985 because Interstates and other modern highways are safer and faster. About 85 percent of the historic route is still drivable.
Hereford, Texas, proclaims itself the “Beef Capital of the World.” When it comes to beef cows, calves, feedlots and anything related to cattle, Texas is the #1 state. West Texas produces about a fourth of all the cotton in the country. (Other major crops include corn, milo, alfalfa and wheat.) You may be surprised to know that the waste product from ginning cotton and cotton seed are great feed for cattle. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, but the person who figured out that “gin trash” and cotton seed are nutritious for cattle ranks right up there with the woman in Buffalo who discovered how to get people to pay for (almost) worthless chicken wings.
In this flat country, I saw more wind turbines than ever in my life. And in the same fields, dozens of oilwell pumpjacks operating. Imagine that. Old dependable fossil fuel and new energy from the same acres. But it was odd; even with a strong breeze, most of those modern windmills were barely turning. With everybody running air-conditioners they should have been going full speed.
A lot of people are moving to Texas, especially from California. About the only ones who have left the state are the Democrat Legislators. Now I would never pretend to advise a legislator. But flying to Washington on a party plane might not be the best choice. Suppose instead, they had driven to the Mexican border. They could have spread out from Brownsville to El Paso (of course only where there are gaps in the 30-foot wall), and crossed the Rio Grande to be safely in Mexico. They could have partnered with the cartels to get introduced to the hordes of immigrants before they crossed the river, and given each one a photo ID and a voter registration card. With 50,000 immigrants a week, that should get ‘em more voters than extending early voting by a few days. And getting more voters is why they left Texas in the first place.
Remember what Speaker Pelosi said about Obamacare, in 2010, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer topped her this weekend. He announced (paraphrased), “On Wednesday we’ll vote on Infrastructure. We have to pass the bill, then we’ll write it.”
The Biden Administration invited the United Nations to investigate racial policies in America. In their usual wisdom, the UN will send investigators from China, Venezuela and Russia. We already know what their report will say: It’s a terrible place to work and live for anyone who is not white. President Biden will skim over the report and ask his staff, “Haven’t we had over a million people come across our southern border in six months? We need to double that rate. And if they find out how racist we are, they’ll stop coming. We must keep that report secret!”
Now don’t be surprised if those UN investigators ask for asylum and to be sent to Texas.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“If they just get more folks to working, there is no way to stop this country. Just quit listening to the politicians… Roosevelt ain’t going to ruin the country. The Constitution will remain as is.” WA #655, July 14, 1935
“Every gag I tell must be based on truth. No matter how much I may exaggerate it, it must have a certain amount of truth.” WA #65, March 9, 1924
“(Headed to) Las Vegas and the Boulder Dam. Water costs more than gold in this West.” DT #1899, Sept. 5, 1932
“(I’m) on board the train at Amarillo, Texas, where the biggest oil fields in the World are.” DT #77, Nov. 8, 1926