Laugh tracks in the dust

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                What in the world is the world coming to — a place where boys ain’t boys, girls ain’t girls, men ain’t men and women ain’t women? Apparently so in Lincoln, Neb., (Of all places. I’d have suspected California or New York.) where the schools are encouraging teachers to call students by “gender-neutral” terms. One of the suggested terms is Purple Penguins.

Good grief! Purple Penguins! How about Beefy Bovines? Nope, that suggests obesity. Or, Porky Porcupines? Nope, obesity again, plus the oak trees might be offended. Perhaps Furry Felines? Nope, those hairless Mexican cats might bring a lawsuit. How about Brown Blackbirds? Rejected! Much too racial for school children. (Whoops! I’m not sure the term “children” is neutral-enuf to be acceptable.)

If this avant guard trend catches on world-wide for all species, we’re gonna have chaos and the world will be a hungry place without bulls and cows, boars and sows, rams and ewes, roosters and hens. And what will the cowboys and cowgirls, er … I mean CowPenguins ride without stallions and mares. Sorry, but cows are female so CowPenguins won’t work. Darned if I can think of an acceptable term to describe folks who ride horses and work bovines.

Gosh, even most plants aren’t gender-neutral. So, I guess the wise educators in Lincoln would have us all eating what? Algae? Soylent? Who knows?

The stupidity of political correctness has reached a critical level. Let’s all hope it never reaches critical mass and stays confined to the brilliant Purple Penguin educators of Lincoln, Neb.

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For the first time in more than 15 years, I worked (a little bit) at a farm show last weekend at the Ozark Fall Farmfest in Springfield, Mo. I wuz back amongst the folks where I cut my column writing teeth and many of the oldsters in the crowd remembered our early days together. And, thankfully, some of them even told me column-worthy true stories.

The best one wuz about an ol’ Missouri feller who wuz feeding a bunch of steers and heifers. One day, he hung up his Carhartt jacket on a post and forgot it. When he realized what he’d done, he went back for his jacket, but it wuz no where to be found. So, he figgered it had blown off the post and been trampled in the mud and manure of the feedlot.

Wrong! A few days later one of the heifers went off feed and had every indication that she wuz in labor trying to have a calf. The situation required the attention of the local veterinarian who decided a C-section wuz in order.

Surprise! When he opened up that heifer, it wuz one of her stomachs that had the problem and it turned out to be a wadded-up Carhartt jacket. She’d eaten the whole thing. The vet extracted the jacket, sewed the heifer up, and she recovered from her gastronomical adventure. But the best part of the story is that the farmer took the jacket home, washed it, and continued to wear it.

***

Another feller said that in the course of keeping peace in his family, he agreed to take in a pet cat that a family member could no longer keep in a big city apartment. This wuz an act of family devotion because the feller dislikes cats in the first place, and especially cats acclimated to living in a comfy home.

In a matter of days, the newly-rural cat developed a yen for a nightly excursion to investigate the great outdoors. To get attention, the cat would go to the sliding screen door and meow loudly and scratch the screen until the feller let it out.

Then, just about the time he got settled back into his bed, the cat would decide it had seen enuf of the outdoors and would meow loudly and scratch on the screen to be let back into the house.

Several weeks of this nightly routine wore the feller’s patience thin and he decided to teach the cat a lesson. So that night he brought his electric cattle prod into the house and when the cat decided to prowl for the night, the feller slid the screen door open just a bit and, when the cat started outside, he “stanchioned” its head between the screen door and the door jamb and applied the hot-shot a couple of times before he opened the screen and let the cat outside.

The feller said he never saw that cat again and he truthfully told the family member and previous cat owner that he’d let the cat out one night and it never came back.

“I didn’t lie, but I didn’t tell the whole truth either. I think I over-charged its battery,” he grinned.

***

We’ve had quite a change in the weather. Yesterday it wuz sunny and 80 degrees and today it’s rainy and in the 50s. Next thing to happen is a frost, I guess, and then fall will be here for sure.

Another indication of fall is the baseball playoffs. I can hardly believe that the Kansas City Royals, a team I’ve faithfully followed since the 1950s, is in the playoffs again. They need to win eight more game to be world champions, but I’m happy for them just to be playing in the post season.

I’ll close will these few wise words about fall from Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi. He said, “We cling to our own point of view, as thought everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” Those words are especially pertinent to an opinionated person like me. Have a good ‘un.

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