| TSLN.com

Lee Pitts: My Best Idea Yet

I've tried everything to make a living in the cow business. I bought expensive replacement heifers when the grass was green and the price was high only to have to sell them for beef eight months later when the grass and the market both dried up. I tried the registered business but the paperwork drove my wife nuts and four different breed associations invited me to quit due to the genetic damage I was doing to their breed. I even tried the hunting and taxidermy business but the only wildlife on the place is squirrels and you'd be surprised how few interior decorators see the beauty in a dead squirrel hung on a wall. But now I think I really have found a way to make money in the cow business: Lee's Everlasting Pastures Cow Spa, Hoof Salon and Memory Garden.

Currently one of the hottest business concepts is the spa business which gave me my latest and greatest idea yet. No, I'm not thinking about sending my wife to a spa, after all, who'd be left at home to do all the work? Here's my latest get-rich-scheme. We all have old and loyal cows who stood quietly in the squeeze chute, never got sick, didn't tinkle on the hay, always calved during daylight hours without any assistance and never failed to bring a heavy calf to the weaning pen. But in the twilight of their lives how did we reward their years of service? We loaded them up, hauled them to the sales yard and sold them to ruthless cow buyers.

I don't know about you but I always felt guilty doing this. So, to ease your guilty conscious, and help me make some money for a change, why not send your worn out cows to Lee's Everlasting Pastures, Hoof Salon and Memory Garden. For only $300 per month per cow, you can send those favorite toothless mommas to my place where they can sleep in late, drink spring water and eat hay so good it's usually reserved for Holsteins and horses. For the first time in their boring lives they won't have to sleep on hard ground nor will they be chased by horny bulls, barked at by pain-in-the-patoot Border Collies or harassed by wolves. There will be no snotty-nosed-calves tugging at their flanks either.

On their first day at the spa all cows will be deloused, dewormed, treated to a cleansing foot bath and be misted with fragrant fly spray. Optional treatments for your favorite cows include seaweed body wraps and feedlot mud facials. Cows can spend the day lazing around the hay shed or standing in pond water to rid themselves of pesky heel flies. There will be stretching, cow yoga and bovine pilates and what cow doesn't dream of an exfoliation by prickly pear cactus that will open their pores for a delightful eucalyptus oil body rub applied by my wife twice a day?

Our staff of scissor-hand-like clipper pros was recruited from only the best steer jockeys at Denver and they will comb, clip, and fluff the tails of your VIP cows. At great expense we've also employed Holstein hoof trimmers who will sand, paint and apply Swarovsky crystals to their hooves. And every cow will go home with their very own photograph standing in front of a banner heisted from the Fort Worth stock show so that for at least once in their lives your special cows will know what it feels like to be a Grand Champion.

There will be moo-tivational speakers to help your extra special cows get in touch with their inner bovineness and celebrity guest chefs Baxter Black and Mad Jack Hanks will barbecue psychodelic mushrooms for your cows while they chew their cud around a bonfire xof burning tires.

Should one of your old cows pass away while a guest at our spa you can rest easy knowing she'll be treated with dignity while being buried in our Everlasting Pastures Memorial Garden with a black draped backhoe. For an additional fee we can even arrange for a short non-denominational service by pastor Pitts.

Lee's Everlasting Pastures Cow Spa, Hoof Salon and Memory Garden was rated the number one cow spa in America by the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and The Ozona Stockman, Tri State Livestock News and Gulf Coast Cattleman.

Lee Pitts: Save The Ice Cube

I have lived for most of my life within 10 miles of San Luis Obispo, CA, or SLO as it's known. Normally I hate cities, long lines and traffic jams so I tend to stay away from places with stoplights, but as towns go, SLO isn't so bad. In 2010 National Geographic proclaimed SLO "the happiest town in America" while at the same time it was also named the third best place to live in the country. I wouldn't argue with that but the town is also known for some pretty kooky stuff.

SLO was the first city in America to ban smoking in bars and paper and plastic bags in grocery stores. In March it was one of the first cities in America to ban drinking straws in restaurants. If your average over-worked restaurant server who is working two jobs and depending on good tips from persnickety customers to make ends meet, gives you a straw without you first asking for one, he or she could face a penalty of $1,000 and six months in jail. There are actually straw cops staking out restaurants trying to nab the vile straw givers who are terrorizing America. Restaurants can't even substitute plastic straws with paper ones because that might entail cutting down a few extra trees every year, not to mention an outbreak of the much-dreaded soggy straw syndrome (SSS).

The bloated left-coast politicians say the plastic from straws pollutes the environment but if they're so worried about that why isn't California's own Nancy Pelosi put in jail for all the work plastic surgeons have wasted on her?

Personally, I don't think the straw ordinance goes far enough. Why stop with just the straws? How about all the parsley that gets wasted on restaurant plates every year? Is there a single soul in America who eats the stuff and yet why isn't there a garnish gestapo? And how about paper napkins? How many more innocent trees have to die just so you can wipe the mustard off your ugly mug? That's what shirt sleeves are for. If we'd just outlaw all the greasy chicken being served we could save entire forests.

The list of items wasted in restaurants is longer than the menu at Jack In The Box. We could turn the Mojave Desert green with all the water that's served but never drunk and do you really need that after-dinner mint at Olive Garden or the Waverly Wafers in the cracker basket at your favorite steak house? And don't get me started on wasted pickles.

I haven't even mentioned the thing that needs saving the most: ice cubes. How many more must die a slow, agonizing death in the bottom of a drink glass? Are you so deaf that you can't hear their screams? Every year there's enough ice melted in all the Big Gulps to provide the ice for every hockey rink in North America. Ice crunchers like myself should be locked up for ten years before they destroy any more cubes. And talk about climate change! Researchers at the Institute for Junk Science in Hollywood, California, say there's enough ice wasted every year in the bottom of drink cups to create ten icebergs bigger than the one that doomed the Titanic. Their melting is causing the temperature of the planet to plummet by two degrees every year! That's why not a single polar bear was spotted in Hollywood last year, according to Professor Alec Baldwin.

So I say, "Save The Ice Cube!" We can start by demanding that dying ice cubes be rehabilitated by refreezing them. And women's groups should be knitting little tiny sweaters for the disappearing cubes so they don't freeze to death. It's the least we can do.

I beg every small town, municipality and giant city in America, to follow SLO's example and save the straws, save the garnish, save the napkins and for goodness sakes, save the cubes. Why must they suffer a single second more? You can help by sending your tax deductible contributions to Save The Ice Cube (STIC) in care of my bank where I'll stick it somewhere the IRS will never find it. Don't let the little disappearing buggers suffer a single second more or they could soon end up on the Endangered Species List.

Lee Pitts: Everybody Looks Better In A Cowboy Hat

When I taught myself how to engrave silver conchas I practiced on coins. Most of it was foreign coinage but occasionally I'd practice on U.S. coins. And yes, it's legal as long as a person doesn't try to defraud anyone. Turning nickels into quarters would be a good example. This is why little kids who squish pennies on railroad tracks aren't arrested and thrown in the slammer.

Back when homeless people were called "hobos" some tramps used nails to engrave on buffalo nickels and produced remarkable art they'd then trade for a meal. Today such coins are called "hobo nickels" and they can be quite beautiful and very valuable.

While the hobo artists turned the faces on nickels into remarkable likenesses of Marylin Monroe, clowns, skeletons, cats and self-portraits, I turned my nickels into cowboy coinage. You should see the look on people when I hand them one of my coins with the head of a horse where Abraham Lincoln (penny), Thomas Jefferson (nickel), FDR, (dime) or George Washignton (quarter) should be. My favorite coins to engrave on are newer dimes because they haven't been made of real silver since 1964 and if you scratch one your mark will turn to copper and you can get remarkable two-tone effects.

In the course of turning George Washington and his cronies into cowboys I made a rather remarkable discovery: all I had to do was engrave a cowboy hat on all the former Presidents and every single one looked much more handsome. This was especially true of Abraham Lincoln who, let's be honest, had a face that could keep the crows out of 100 acres of corn.

I was mesmerized by how much better people look in cowboy hats. I gathered up all my wife's magazines and drew cowboy hats on everyone from Queen Elizabeth to the entire Kardashian clan and they all looked better. Even Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Nancy Pelosi, who both need extra large shopping carts when they shop in the beauty-aid aisle of a drugstore, looked better. And if that isn't conclusive proof that everyone looks better in a cowboy hat I don't know what is.

I even went to the store and bought some magazines for men and drew cowboy hats on all the males which were surprisingly few and far between because most male magazines are filled with photos of guns, trucks and naked women. Everyone from Snoop Dogg to Miss January looked better in a cowboy hat. And I hope this isn't blasphemous but may I say that even the Pope looked better in a Stetson.

Try it for yourself. Get yourself a Sharpie® and some magazines and start drawing hats on everyone. If you can't draw, cut out the picture of a cowboy hat and put it atop everybody and you too will see that everyone looks better in a cowboy hat. It really is an amazing transformation. Although I must warn you to be careful because, speaking from experience, some wives get a little touchy when you defile their Vogue, Family Circle or Good Housekeeping. But they'll get over it. Eventually.

I remember a few years back when the entire U.S. Olympic team was outfitted by Ralph Lauren and every athlete wore a cowboy hat in the opening and closing ceremonies. I don't remember the medal count that year but I clearly recall that we easily won the award for "best dressed" and it was all because of the cowboy hats. I think it would make a great advertising program for Stetson, Resistol or some other hat company to put one of their hats on photos of high profile people. If they did so they could extend their market beyond just selling hats to cowboys, truck drivers and country western singers.

Speaking of country western singers, can we please lose the earrings and pony tails guys? Willie Nelson can get away with it but can you imagine Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford or George Strait wearing an earring? Although I don't think anyone looks better in a cowboy hat than George Strait, I still can't get the image out of my mind of him wearing a pony tail in that movie he made. Guys, take it from me, we'd look a lot more manly if fewer of us were wearing earrings, tattoos and pony tails and more were wearing cowboy hats.

Lee Pitts: Name Your Poison

Today's lesson is about poisonous plants, dangerous delectables and fatal feedstuffs. I'm talking nightshade, lupine, milkweed, and the poison used to kill Socrates: hemlock. Water hemlock is said to look a lot like parsnips and a human can die in half an hour just by licking the blade of the knife used to cut a hemlock root. That's why I avoid all feedstuffs that look like vegetables!

Some plants are poisonous only in huge doses. A 500 pound calf would have to eat one and a half pounds of cocklebur seed to die. The preferred plant for cows considering suicide is locoweed, but a bovine has to become addicted to it and eat it for two to three weeks to go nuts, or develop what cow coroners call "wet brain". (Also known as Congressperson brain.)

An old cowboy once told me to just remember that most poisonous plants are yellow and have three leaves; "Three leaves stay clear, 5 leaves no fear." I've never had a cow die from eating a poisonous plant but that doesn't mean there aren't some really dangerous feedstuffs a cow can consume. Here's my list of the worst:

Floral Arrangements: Although I've never engaged in the practice, I understand there are some men who buy their wives, girlfriends, or both, arrangements of flowers at a place called a "florist". If you're a cattlemen you have a good excuse for not buying such things. One time a neighbor threw an old flower arrangement over her back fence and one of my cows ate it and got really sick. Although we could never prove it, the vet and I believe it was the delphiniums.

Alfalfa: I'll never forget the time I saw two dozen bloated carcasses by the side of the road and a rancher sitting on top of one of them bawling his eyes out. He had drug them there to make it easier for the tallow man to put them in his truck. The cows died from instant gasification, you might say. I heard later that the rancher thought a change of pasture was just what the cows needed but the next day there was another batch of dead cows. Prussic acid has killed more cows than your vet and Mad Cow put together.

Hay: Ranchers routinely throw their net worth out of the back end of the feed truck and every flake they throw is one dollar not saved for retirement, or spent on a romantic vacation with the wife. Putting up hay is a leading cause of exhaustion, accidents and divorce. This is why when they hear of an approaching fire most ranchers, instead of saving their herd, their family, or their barb wire collection, will scream, "Save the haystack."

Vegetables: Although there were nine wires on the fence between a rancher's cows and his neighbor's carrot and lettuce fields, the hungry herd broke through and trampled and consumed 40 acres of lettuce and carrots on a $25 per carton lettuce market. Like most vegetarians, the cows were clammy, pasty looking, aloof, smelly, and sickly afterwards. They got the Trotsky Two Step and their cow pies glowed an iridescent orange. The legal settlement was so huge the rancher couldn't even look at a salad bar without upchucking.

Corn: Cheap corn is one of the most dangerous plants in the world. In order to "capture extra profits" that economists opine about, it causes farmer/ranchers to feed their corn to their cattle instead of just taking their lumps and selling the corn and the calves. A farmer friend once told me he would have lost less money if on the day he put his calves in his own makeshift feedlot every one of them would have dropped dead.

Green Grass: Easily the most dangerous plant known to man. It has ruined more ranchers than trich or the BLM. The symptoms of grass fever are a constant smile on the face of cattlemen, an outbreak of new trucks and the sight of ranchers treating their wives to lunch at the sale yard coffee shop. Green grass fever disrupts the cognitive process and regular function of brain cells and causes ranchers to pay crazy prices for old, barren, toothless cows. The prognosis is bad and the sufferer should be quarantined until the market crashes or the brain synapses start firing again.

Lee Pitts: Slow Moving Traffic

If all the cars in the world were placed end to end… they'd probably be behind a slow moving cattle truck.

Everyone is in such a hurry these days they don't have time to waste behind a Gooseneck filled with cattle. So they pass with no visibility or lay on their horns, as if that's going to speed things up. They'll risk their lives hurrying themselves to death so that they can get to their final destination earlier. And when I say "final" I mean final!

I prefer a less hurried pace. I hate life in the fast lane with everyone crowding, shoving, pushing and running over each other. We live in a fast paced world where we brag about the speed of our Internet service and agonize over which would be faster, the escalator or the elevator? Everyone is so stressed out and in such a hurry that I heard of one housewife who quickly loaded her dirty plates and dishes in the microwave before rushing out the door only to discover upon her return that a microwave is not a dishwasher. We have a frenetic friend who loaded her three month old baby in the baby carrier and then went off and left it and the baby sitting on the kitchen table.

I'll never forget my first ranch job out of college when the owner wanted me to take the bobtail cattle truck and bring back a load of feed from the mill. No problem, I'm the son of a long-haul trucker and I know my way around a set of gears. But I was surprised he trusted me that much and that he didn't want to tag along, but I quickly discovered the reason when I tried to navigate the two lane road around windy curves with steep grades and descents. I was soon being followed by a long line of cars and everyone had one hand on their horn.

The average driver will honk a horn 15,250 times in their life and many of the drivers behind me that day were using up half their quota. I'd have given anything for a bumper sticker that said, "Keep honking. I'm reloading."

I subscribe to the theory that you should never drive faster than your age and If I recall correctly I was about 21 at the time. The speed limit in 1905 was 20 miles per hour and I think that was the year the truck I was driving was made. I considered driving in reverse up the steep grades because the reverse was geared lower and would probably have been faster. I was going so slow algae had time to grown on the tire treads.

I pulled over every chance I got but still every sports car or SUV that whizzed by me had a one finger salute thrust out the window. I was embarrassed and couldn't say I blamed them because I had no right to slow them down. But what was I to do, disobey orders from the boss and get fired from my job that paid a whopping $600 a month? There was simply no other way to get to my destination.

Anyone who has driven a tractor on the asphalt or stopped traffic to drive sheep or cattle across a road has experienced the same hatred as I did that day. We ought to form our own victim's group, get ourselves a high priced lawyer and sue someone.

One wonders why all those irritated folks were all in such a big hurry anyway. If it was work, a doctor's appointment or an IRS audit, what was the rush? I remember theorizing that perhaps they were all in such a hurry because they had to use the restroom facilities ten miles distant, but I came to the conclusion that all of their bladders couldn't have been that bad. I think it's all just part of the human condition that says anyone who is going slower than you is a hayseed moron and anyone driving faster is a reckless maniac who is, "Going to get us all killed!"

It must have been especially humiliating and galling that day for all the high-speed drivers who flipped me off when I passed them in the slow lane when we all ended up at the same signal light together.

Lee Pitts: Don’t Eat The Bait

The Cigarette Act of 1965 required labels on packages to warn consumers about the dangers of smoking. Although, if people who inhaled smoke all that smoke didn't realize it was unhealthy I doubt they were smart enough to read the labels to begin with. That being said, I think we need similar labels on fake meat to warn folks about the dangers of eating it. Here are some warnings I'd like to see on packages of lab meat, rat stem cell burgers and eco wieners.

WARNING! The Surgeon General warns these bunsen burner burgers are not for internal or external use and may cause mouth ulcers and broken teeth. In fact, eating the packaging material would be far better for you than gagging down this fake meat.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! The contents may contain extract of steer juice as a flavor enhancer, otherwise this fake meat would taste just as bad as it smells.

ATTENTION TEENAGERS: Eating this fake meat has been found to destroy brain cells in juvenile delinquents. It is addictive and causes euphoric ecstasy and nauseogenic hallucinations.

CAUTION: These counterfeit wieners cause cancer in lab rats. In fact, after the government mandated that rat and mouse bait manufacturers get rid of all the good stuff in their products this is the only commodity left on the market strong enough to kill mice, rats and other rodents.

CHOKING HAZARD! If you insist on eating this chemical concoction prior to consumption make sure there is someone present who knows the Heimlich maneuver.

DANGER! This fake meat contains squished rutabaga brains. Enjoy your meal!

CDC NOTIFICATION! Store in tightly closed container to eliminate cross contamination. If eaten, take container with you to hospital when you get food poisoning so the Center for Disease Control will know what bacterial strain or poison they are dealing with.

SEX DETERRENT! Not intended for prophylactic purposes, although if you eat this fake meat regularly it will make you uglier than a mud fence and therefore act as a birth control device.

ALERT! Contents of this package may be used as wallpaper remover, swimming pool acid, rust removal or paint thinner. It will disfigure furniture and should be used by trained personnel only.

PRAYERS NEEDED!! If ingested call 911, get down on knees and pray they arrive in time.

BEWARE!! This lab meat contains 100 percent dioxysodiummetatriethyledistillae of mice livers. Aside from being one heck of a Scrabble word that's about the only thing it's good for, other than being a good stink bait for catfish, of course.

RED FLAG ADVISORY! This fake meat will stain and burn holes in your clothes. Can you imagine what it's doing to your innards? Highly flammable! Don't barbecue or hold over an open flame. Has been used to set backfires and hot-shoe horses. Not intended for use for a weed killer in California or Massachusetts but will kill Russian thistle like nobody's business. Not recommended for rehabbing vegetarians.

COAST GUARD NOTICE! Contents are not to be used as a flotation device.

ATTENTION: Side effects may include dropsy, chronic fatigue, blindness, bad breath, high blood pressure, kidney stones, hectic fever, constipation, booming flatulence, diarrhea, cerebral softening and ulcerated credit card balances. For good health NEVER spend your salary on celery.

IMPORTANT! Not intended for use as ear plugs or knee pads although may be highly effective in warning off muggers even better than pepper spray. Do not allow contents to come in contact with skin. In a lab setting it has caused brain defects in newborn spider monkeys.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Wear safety goggles at all times. Read all directions on container and DO NOT operate heavy machinery if you've never operated it before. Not dishwasher safe. Not safe around pets. Product will be hot after heating. After eating go outside for some fresh air. Your fellow diners will appreciate it.

Lee Pitts: A Losing Battle

We've turned the corner on beef consumption and it's back on the rise after more than a decade of falling like a sack of hammers. I attribute beef's decline to the plethora of diets urging folks to skip the meat in favor of melba toast, coffee enemas and colonic cleansings.

Sometimes it seems like half the world is starving to death while the other half is on a diet. It is estimated that 80 percent of ten year old girls in this country are on some sort of diet. And they have so many to choose from. There's the diets named after places where no one is fat, like the Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Scarsdale and South Beach diets. A lot of good the Scarsdale diet did its inventor, Herman Tarnower, whose so called "friend" lost 185 pounds of lover when she murdered Herman, probably because he made her eat too many pineapple chunks with cottage cheese and kept telling her how fat she was. We also had the no-white-food diet, eat only when hungry diet, the milk diet, and the drinking man's diet, which consisted of martinis and whipped cream. Actually, the drinking man's diet has been with us for centuries because in 1087 William the Conqueror only consumed alcohol in order to lose weight. Forever after he was known as William the Drunk.

Most of the diets were dreamed up by doctors who had something to sell and wanted to appear on Oprah. (She purchased Weight Watchers not long ago, probably to get the wholesale price on Weight Watchers cream puffs.) There were diet books by Robert Atkins, The Doctor's Weight Loss Book by Dr. Irwin Stillman, and the No Breakfast Plan by Dr. Edward Hooker Dewey. Some people got seriously rich from fat, like Jennie Craig, and the people behind Nutri-Systems and Metrecal, which was all the rage when I was a kid. And in 1961 Royal Crown Cola introduced the first diet soft drink, Diet Rite, which started a flood of diet drinks. I had an uncle who was hooked on Diet Rite and he offered me a taste one time. That was over 50 years ago and I still haven't got the bad taste out of my mouth.

There's a long history of folks creating new food in order to get rich. In the 1830s Reverand Sylvester Graham said being fat made people full of lust and so he invented Graham Crackers as a solution. The Good Reverand was known as "Dr. Sawdust" after that. When Dr. Harvey Kellogg became a Doctor at the Battle Creek Sanatorium in Michigan he pushed a vegetarian diet and invented granola and toasted flakes of grain to help patients lose weight. We now refer to them as Corn Flakes and the company as Kelloggs. Dr. James Salisbury created a concoction of minced meat and water to help people lose weight, thus giving us the Salisbury Steak.

There were diet gadgets too, like the fork that lit up when too much food was on it, a headband that filled your brain with negative thoughts about food when you sat down to eat, and a suit you filled with crushed ice which was supposed to burn calories by increasing metabolism.

Some of the diets the quacks came up with were deadly. In 1976 Dr. Robert Linn invented "The Last Chance Diet" and for many who drank his protein drinks it was. There were 58 deaths associated with the drink before it was pulled from shelves. In the 1980s The Cambridge Diet, so named because a Cambridge professor heartily endorsed it, was a pyramid scheme that caused at least 30 people to have heart attacks.

Although I don't need to lose any weight I have considered writing a diet book as a way to get rich. Among the titles I've toyed with are: "The Prison Diet: Living on bread and water on death row while waiting for Old Sparky to warm up; The Beer Diet: how to lose weight by switching from craft beer to Coors Light; The Bangladesh Diet: Go live there for two months. And my favorite: The Mob Diet. Two Chicago hit men will come to your house, beat you up so your jaws have to be wired shut and you'll have to drink out of a straw for six months.

Lee Pitts: I Don’t Brake For Cows

I don't know why my friend Joan sent me Allen Swift's obituary, other than the fact he was the oldest living owner of a vehicle that had been purchased new. I suspect it's because she thought I held that title because I drove a truck that's so old it didn't have a heated steering wheel, although it did have a heated seat whenever I ate beans for breakfast. Even though my truck dated back to 1985, I'm a piker compared to Mr. Swift who owned his 1928 Rolls Royce for 82 years and drove it until the day he died at 102 years of age. (I could say something sarcastic here about the safety of 100 year old drivers but I don't want to offend my target audience.)

Mr. Swift got his Rolls Royce as a graduation present and drove it around the world several times. (I tried that in my old truck but it always died when it got sea water in its muffler.) I paid $14,000 for my 1985 three quarter ton, long bed, Chevy pickup and it too was in immaculate condition except for a door made entirely from Bondo and alfalfa that grew through the seat covers. I think it would qualify as the oldest ranch truck owned by the original owner that could still go zero to sixty in three months.

I've always said that life is a series of dogs, horses, trucks and spouses and in my 66 years I've had 14 dogs, one lovable horse, one wonderful wife and five pickups. Sadly, only the wife is still with us.

So, we recently went to look at new trucks and I didn't have sticker shock… I had sticker heart attack. When they told me the truck I liked would cost $65,000 they had to use the defibrillator paddles on me the car agency kept handy to bring cheapskates like me back to life. When they said the sales tax would be $5,000 and the total price was double what I paid for my first house, I called Homeland Security and turned them in for using weapons of math destruction.

Since I literally drive my vehicles till their wheels fall off, it had been 33 years since I'd last bought a truck. I was amazed by all the wonderful new features such as cruise control, heated mirrors, rear window defoggers and keyless entry. My 1985 Chevy truck had keyless entry too but that was just because thieves had broken a wind wing. Remember those?

I was puzzled by one feature on the new trucks and that was the braille on the steering wheel. I'll admit, I haven't been to town for awhile but are we now allowing the blind to drive? I also wondered about features called Sirius/XM and Bluetooth, which sounded to me like the truck needed deworming. But I had to admit, I liked the TV screen in the dashboard. The only time my old truck had a TV in the cab was when we bought a new one at Costco and hauled it home inside the truck because the rear end was filled with toilet paper, dog food and soda pop.

Sadly, I finally had to retire my old truck because it was leaking oil worse than the Exxon Valdez and if I filled both tanks with cheap gas when I drove down Main Street it backfired like an artillery barrage and folks on the sidewalk were ducking and diving for cover.

My old truck didn't have air conditioning because neither window would roll down and the only "entertainment center" it had was a radio that only received one station: Static 101FM. It had a heater but it was unusable because a calf called Squirty lived up to his name when we put him in the cab to warm him up, so if you turned on the heater you were blasted with the nauseating smell of sour milk. It didn't have brakes either so if I wanted to stop I had to hit something cheap. There were no trees on the place but if I ran into fence posts it meant more repair work for the wife. That meant that in an emergency I had to brush up against an old cow to stop. I believe this is where the term 'cow-punching' originated.

Lee Pitts: He/She Cowpeoples

If I may be permitted to do so, I'd like to come to the defense of one of my favorite places on earth: the wonderful state of Wyoming.

The busy-bodies with nothing better to do, who always go around looking for something to be offended by, have now targeted the University of Wyoming in particular, and The Cowboy Sate in general. You may not be aware of this but universities don't just compete on the gridiron, they compete year round in trying to attract the best and brightest students to attend their college. Part of that effort in Wyoming included coming up with a new a catchy slogan that might snare a future President, an NFL quarterback or a Rhodes scholar. Naturally, I loved their new slogan: "The world needs more cowboys."

Oh, but you should have heard the critics, left wingers, women's libbers and liberal professors cry! They said the phrase is racist, does not make potential students feel welcome and is sexist. They were quick to portray Wyoming as some backwater hick state that needs to enter the 21st century. I say these professors should study their history. If they did so they'd learn that Wyoming was the first state in the nation to give women the right to vote, serve on juries or hold public office. Along with Texas, Wyoming was the first state to have a lady governor. And they did it decades before the hip and cool states on both coasts that produce most women's libbers. Wyoming's motto was "Equal rights" long before Martin Luther King had a dream.

Critics also called the phrase racist because the word "cowboy" would offend Indians. If those bellering critics went to any Indian reservation in the southwest they'd see a lively cowboy culture. A listing of the top team ropers in the country includes many Indian names and Indian rodeos on the Fourth of July are a staple of reservation life. I've known many Indians who aspired to one day be called "World Champion Cowboy." So I don't see Indians going on the warpath over the university's new slogan.

The same critics who hate the University of Wyoming's new slogan are the same folks who contend the state's official logo, a rider on a bucking bronc, is sexist and racist. They must have better eyes than I do because from my vantage point I can't tell the race or the sex of the person on the bucking bronc.

They are just looking at it through the Hollywood prism that has brainwashed us all into thinking that the American cowboy was a white male heathen who went around beating animals. Again they should study their history. In the 1870s, one in six cowboys in Texas was black and one third of the cowboys who went up the trail were either black or Hispanic. But their books or movies never told us that, did they? So who's being "non-inclusive?" The truth is, cowboys come from every race, sex and background and the only qualifications to be a cowboy are courage, a strong work ethic, the ability to out-think a cow and to always put women on a pedestal.

This is just one more stupid example of political correctness and women's libbers trying to turn us all into the same sex. Let's be honest, they hate the word "cowboy" because it contains the word "boy" and because boys eventually turn into men. Not only do they want to rid the future of men, they want to rid the past as well. The problem becomes, what should we replace the word "boy" or "man" with? Cowfolk, cowcitizens, bovinepeoples or how about cow Homo sapiens? No, the latter might offend the HGBTQ community.

I thought "cowpersons" might work but it contains the word "sons", so it's out. I got it… the University of Wyoming's new slogan ought to be, "The world needs more he/she cow peoples." Catchy, don't you think? That ought to satisfy the women. Whoops, I just noticed I shouldn't use the word "women" because it contains the word "men". Perhaps we should just use the word "female" when referring to people with xx chromosomes, except the word "female" has the word "male" in it.

Man, ridding the world of males is hard and is going to take a lot more work than I initially thought.

Lee Pitts: Papered People

There's a distinct difference between commercial cattlemen and those who raise registered cattle. The biggest contrast is purebred people dress differently and use after shave. Go to a fancy hotel at the same time purebred breeders are holding their annual convention and you won't know if you're at a Fortune 500 shareholders meeting, a banker's confab, a slot tournament or a gambler's anonymous retreat. If you go to a cowboy convention you'll know it immediately when you're locked up in a hotel elevator and detect a musty, cowy smell.

Purebred breeders are less apt to wear cowboy hats. Either they have enough hair to go hatless or they wear a ball cap with the name of a famous bull you never heard of sewn on it. While some breeders can look good in a cowboy hat you rarely see a Stetson in photos of the Angus Board of Directors. I can only assume they have a dress code. Purebred breeders can also be recognized by their feet. Often they wear wingtips, soft shoes or footwear more often seen on a yacht. Purebred sale managers especially seem to eschew cowboy hats and boots.

Registered breeders are more into technology and keep records on their cell phones, whereas a commercial cattlemen keeps his info in a tally book, on a market card or a barn door. Papered people write with a pen, regular ranchers with a pencil. Registered breeders LOVE data and use a spreadsheet to find their best cattle. Regular ranchers can tell just by looking. Purebred people often look like they're talking to themselves but they're just talking to someone called Bluetooth. (I don't know who this Bluetooth person is.) Purebred cattlemen usually tweet, have the newest I phone with an irritating ring tone, and a Facebook page. Commercial cattlemen have an old flip phone that doesn't work WELL because it's been dropped down one too many times.

Purebred people drive newer Yukons, Tahoes or Expeditions that they write off and use for showing guests their herd. Regular ranchers more often drive a Dodge Ram, Chevy 1500 or F 250. The year of their truck coincides with the last good market. Purebred breeders drive golf carts while unregistered ranchers drive ATV's and Quarter Horses. A rope dangles from their saddle. If a purebred breeder catches his hired-hand roping the registered stock he'll soon be unemployed.

Registered cattle travel in aluminum trailers with a top, while paperless cows ride in steel trailers the color of rust. Registered cattle are run through a hydraulic chute several times a year that is under a roof. Commercial cattle are afforded no such luxury. Come branding time paperless cattle are double hocked and drug to a fire. A registered man wouldn't think of treating his precious calves with such disrespect. In the tack room on a registered ranch you'll find show sticks, semen tanks and halters for breaking cattle, but on a commercial ranch the only halters are for horses.

Here's a useful tip: ear tags can be used to sort purebreds from more common cattle. The purebreds will always have at least two ear tags, usually three, with one containing a computer chip. If commercial cattle have an ear tag it was probably once used to deter flies but is long past its expiration date. Commercial cattlemen sell their cattle by the pound at the sale barn or on the video while purebred breeders have two sales a year: a bull sale and a separate female sale where they sell embryos, semen and one eighth interest in donor cows. The only time an unregistered animal is divided up into fractions is when the hired hand is given half-a-beef in lieu of salary.

Purebred breeders usually have a lucrative other business, are more apt to pick up a check at a restaurant and can talk for hours about one thing; their cattle. They send their kids to Stanford or Texas A & M, while commercial ranch kids go to Sul Ross, TCU or Montana State. At a purebred outfit there's a big sign at the ranch entrance while the only guests welcome on a commercial ranch already know how to get there. Regular ranchers don't talk much but if they do say anything it's about one of two things: their grass or how empty their range gauge is.