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Lee Pitts: How Sick Is She?

One of the things that a good cowman has to have, besides a good banker, is an early detection system for determining when an animal is sick. This is important so you can take corrective measures either with medicine or by fixing something that's mechanically wrong, like a broken appendage or a cow that's got a pomegranate stuck in her throat. (This was common when I used to feed grocery store produce waste.)

Being a cow mechanic is not like being an auto technician because you can't hook a cow up to a diagnostic computer. Nor can you ask it questions like an MD can. Being a cow diagnostician is one of the tasks I really enjoy and in all modesty, I'm quite good at it. For instance, it didn't take me but three sightings to determine that the reason a certain cow wasn't eating was because one of her horns was growing into the side of her face.

My secret to success is I developed my own five point scoring system to indicate just how sick an animal is.

#5- This is a cow that walks freely, chews her cud, has no cloudy eyes or snotty nose, runs to the feed truck, tries to kill your dog and charges your horse for no apparent reason. In the sorting alley she hunts you down like a heat seeking missile. Somebody's health is in danger here but it's not the cow's. The cow is so ornery even the bugs, viruses and bacteria can't stand her. In other words, she's a healthy, normal cow.

#4- This is what separates the real cow diagnosticians from the cow quacks. When you're out checking on cows she's the one off by herself, lying on her haunches and reluctant to move. When you feed she doesn't run to the truck and in your presence she'll act wheezy, cough and display audible bowel complaints. A novice cowman might think she's sick and take her to the sick pen and spend lots of money on drugs for her. But this cow is not sick. She's a bovine hypochondriac that enjoys being sick. The reason she doesn't run to the feed truck is she wants breakfast in bed and she knows you'll bring it to her. Remember back in grade school when you wanted to lay around all day instead of going to school so when your mom wasn't looking you took the thermometer she stuck in your mouth over an open flame on the stove so you'd have a high temperature? This is what a #4 hypochondriac cow does. Well, sort of.

#3- This cow comes to the feed truck but not enthusiastically and eats and chews her cud slower than her herdmates. By listening to her breathing you can tell her metabolism has slowed down. She may constantly swish her tail, kick her stomach or arch her back. The question is, is she puny because she's sick or because she's 15 years old and doesn't have any teeth?

#2- Now we're talking emergency room sick. The cow can barely move, her eyes are clouded over, she has dull hair, an emaciated appearance, droopy ears and she plays with her food instead of eating it. The sweat droplets on her muzzle indicate a high temperature. She's acting all crazy like, running all over the place and bumping into things like she may have gotten bit by a rabid skunk. You figure this is serious and she could be $500 worth of sick! Naturally, you attempt to guide her in the direction of the nearest squeeze chute but she resists and repeatedly tries to escape. Two hours later she and your bedraggled horse limp into the corral. It's a self-fulfilling diagnosis, if she wasn't sick before you startled jostling her around, she most certainly is now.

#1- The cow refuses to get up and hasn't pooped in five days. She pays you hardly any attention when you approach, her eyes are real cloudy, her ears are droopy, there's little sign of a response to external stimuli and she's hardly eaten a bite of the food you brought to her. She smells kinda funny too. You're thinking it might be time to call the vet as flies and buzzards circle her body but it's already too late because your cow is dead.

Lee Pitts: A rare bird

The closest town to mine is a well known bird sanctuary and once a year "birders" migrate to the big bird bash where they fill up the hotels, dine in local restaurants and put a smile on the face of the fine feathered folks at the local Chamber of Commerce. Believe it or not, 20 percent of Americans are proud to call themselves bird watchers and they annually spend in excess of 36 BILLION dollars to add to their "Life Lists" of birds they've seen.

There are thousands of rural towns in this country struggling right now and they could sure use the cash derived from such birdbrained activities. The problem is that most towns just don't have the birds for it. Oh sure, they might have their share of lemmings, pigeons and jail birds, but that's just the city council, and I really doubt rich people from the east would pay to see them. So I asked myself, what do rural towns have that are vanishing everywhere else that folks would flock to see?"

Cowboys, that's what!

There are many advantages of "cowboying" over "birding". Cowboys are more colorful, interesting and they don't bomb you from above, if you know what I mean? You don't need expensive binoculars, spotting scopes or cameras and unlike bird watching, you can watch for cowboys in the air conditioned comfort of a mall, bar or airport. Like birds, the cowboy species you'll see will vary by where they're from, and are identifiable by the shape of their hats, their saddle rigging and the sounds they produce. In Nevada you'll see the black booted buckaroo, in Texas it's the red-necked cow puncher, and in California you might catch a fleeting glance of a silver-saddled vaquero.

To watch cowboys all you do is find a bench on Main Street and start watching. You can do it anywhere, although cowboy watching might be a little slow in Santa Monica or New York City. Even if you did spot one wearing colorful plumage in their hat and silver tips on their boots, it's probably just a hair dresser.

Species of cowboys include dudes, rodeo and drugstore cowboys, along with the much rarer working varieties. Subspecies include team ropers, stove-up old cowboys who had to resort to sheepherding, corn farmers who would run from a uterine prolapse, Harley riders who look like they could bulldog a steer from their bike and politicians who wear boots in states like New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming where the cowboy vote can swing an election.

Spotting the genuine article is not as easy as spotting someone in a hat and boots and walking like their legs were wrapped around a barrel. It could be a Sheriff, lawyer, or line dancer. The drugstore species wears the right clothes and can be spotted watching rodeos but wouldn't know the difference between a Hereford and a heifer. They are not to be confused with the multimillionaire absentee owner who flies in once a year like a migrating goose, honking and generally making a mess of things.

Rodeo cowboys are easy to spot because they sleep in the same trailer they haul their horse in. If you see a cowboy walking into a jewelry store, bank or a Mercedes dealership, it's a cow buyer, not a buckaroo. Speaking of bankers and cow buyers, the dead giveaway they aren't cowboys is that real cowboys wouldn't be caught dead roosting in a vegetarian restaurant.

You'll know right away if you spot a working cowboy because he'll be driving a broken down pickup and have silver on his spurs. But his kids are barefoot. The working cowboy has small feet, is missing at least one digit, has a white forehead but the rest of his face is sunburnt and is as rough as rawhide. Skin cancer is a common blemish and there is usually a ring on the back pocket left by a can of Copenhagen. Speaking of rings… cowboys are usually monogamous mates but can often be see seen alone and without a band around their ring finger. All because their last wife wanted to live in a house with indoor plumbing and heat she didn't have to chop first. Imagine that.

So good luck. If you see one, congratulations! A real cowboy these days is a rare bird indeed.

Lee Pitts: Making The Change

It's come to my attention that lately there's been an influx of dairymen into the cattle business due to low milk prices. For many, making "The Change" has brought great joy because some dairymen felt there always was a cowboy or cowgirl hiding inside a dairyman's body. But for others, making "The Change" has been more difficult because it involves a complete makeover in the way they look, talk and walk. In some extremely difficult cases it may even involve hormone therapy or a shrink. This essay will serve as a cowboy's guide on how to make "The Change" without all the publicity that Bruce Jenner, or whatever his name is, created.

The first step to becoming a cattleman is an operation to amputate an appendage you will no longer need. Your ATV should be surgically removed from your butt and in its place a horse should be attached. This can be a difficult transition but remember, a horse is like a Holstein: it eats, sleeps, and will come when you rattle a bucket. Once you are attached to your horse remember, never get off. Other heavy equipment should also be removed from your former life including the skid loader, hay baler and feed truck. These have no place on a cattle ranch.

The biggest change will occur in your appearance. First, lose the footwear. Trade in your knee-high rubber boots for a good pair of sturdy cowboy boots. Toss the ball cap you got from the semen salesman and replace it with a cowboy hat. You should wear a long sleeve shirt that is tucked into your jeans at all times and no tee-shirts with stupid udder jokes on them.

Just as Bruce did when he made "The Change", you'll need a new name. Most dairymen actually go by the name on their birth certificate but we don't do that. Get yourself a nickname like Bowlegs, Buster, Wishbone, Gloomy, Leatherlip, Post Hole, Slim (must weigh at least 285), Horse Face, Bean Belly, Tex, Thunder Butt or One Thumb. You do know how to rope don't you?

In making "The Change" you simply must change the group of folks you have coffee with in the morning. Oh, I forgot, you've probably never gathered with your buddies at the cafe two hours before sunup because you were always busy yanking on udders. Say goodbye to the AI technician and the Farm Advisor and spend less time with the veterinarian. It's all right to see the vet once a year for preg checking, and if you simply must call one out for a C-section, but we don't see them everyday like you used to do. Real cattlemen hang out with order buyers, bull peddlers, supplement salesmen, cattle haulers, and auction market field men. So sell your gomer bull, get a real dog and find a banker who doesn't know how to count cows. Cattlewomen don't shop at Nordstroms or go to the hairdresser once a week either.

To make "The Change" you'll need to acquire an all new vocabulary. We don't talk about things like macro-economics, quotas or debt-to-income ratio. Sure, we know what EPDs are but we don't brag about it. Mostly we talk about two things: the state of your grass and how much rain you got in the last storm. That's about it.

Making "The Change" means you'll have an all new outlook on life and you're whole body will feel different. You'll start to feel more pessimistic, you'll grunt more and instead of buying the best hay money can buy you'll begin to consider alternatives like post-Halloween pumpkins, deformed carrots and cardboard. Your belly will start to bulge more and you're face will get sunburnt for the first time since college. (If you wanted to stay indoors you should have become a greenhouse grunt or hog barn janitor because real cowboys work outside.) Speaking of hogs, they have no place on a real cow ranch and neither do chickens. We eat beef and drink whiskey and do not, I repeat, DO NOT hand us the wine list.

So go ahead, tear down the milking parlor, sell the semen tank, say goodbye to milk checks and repeat after me: "I will no longer be associated with dimwitted dairy cows or be held a prisoner to lactation ever again."

Lee Pitts: The Cowboy Arts

I'm proud to say that I was a vocational student, even though the rest of my high school looked down on us and we were quarantined far from the regular campus. Teachers and school administrators weren't used to straight A students and the smartest kid in the class learning to weld and one even suggested to my mom that my smarts would be wasted by taking agriculture. He suggested I'd make a "wonderful lawyer." If there is such a thing.

I've always been a shop rat and taking ag class meant you got to take an hour of shop every day. I've always enjoyed fixing things in our home, for neighbors, antique dealers and even museums and to me a perfect day is spending all day and evening tinkering in my shop. I've collected thousands of tools used for carpentry, welding, soldering, carving, leatherworking, engraving, jewelry making, airbrushing, embossing, tinsmithing, upholstery, blacksmithing, and engine repair. I even have some dental and orthopedic surgery tools so if you need a tooth pulled or a bone set, I'm your guy. (If you don't mind anesthesia by one of my over 100 hammers.)

I've gone through phases of what I liked to do best. I started out by wielding wrenches back when cars came straight from the factory with a sick engine or cranky transmission. When they started putting computers in cars I lost interest and switched my allegiance to wood carving and woodwork. That phase lasted until I realized a guy that's overly medicated probably shouldn't be using a table saw. I'm lucky to have survived that phase with all my fingers intact. I've always loved to weld and one summer in the oilfields I was a pipeline welder's assistant. He discouraged my taking up the profession because he said all welders became cranky old men. I listened to his advice but became one anyway. A cranky old man, that is.

Then I found the perfect hobby: leatherworking. It satisfies two of my biggest urgings, I get to pound on things and it requires lots of tools. Some of them are wicked looking things like round knives and head knives and they took a long time to master, but here's my secret to surviving the learning phase: Super Glue. It's better than a bandaid for cuts.

I love working with leather because you can burn it, stamp it, dye it and airbrush it without all the sawdust of woodworking, and without burning your house down with a welding torch. I can make a belt in a day or two that a friend will wear for a lifetime. So far my best creations are a miniature saddle that sold for $50,000 at a charity auction for my friend Joan Hardy's Small Miracles Foundation, and a photo album I made for the Junior Hereford Association that sold at the Nuggett auction for $18,000 and ended up in my friend John Ascuaga's hands. So, thus far I'm averaging about $34,000 per item just in case you wanted me to make you something.

For years I was too embarrassed by my work to stamp my name on it and hopefully most of it found new life as doggy chew toys. My biggest problem is I live in California and the state has outlawed all the old dyes and finishes that look so good. I'm left with making Indian "teas" out of strong coffee and rusty nails. And wouldn't you know it, just as soon as I mastered the art of carving flowers, oak leaves and scrolls, fads changed and bling, geometric designs and roughout saddles are all the rage. I can non-tool a saddle as good as anyone.

I got so tired of buying silver conches to put on my leatherwork that I took up silversmithing and engraving next. The biggest problems with it are silver is costlier than leather or wood and it's real easy to slip and put a hole through your hand while engraving. My engraving is really unbelievable when you consider I'm legally blind.

I read recently that some schools can't offer shop class because there aren't enough qualified teachers. Kids are graduating without ever having used a hammer. If the boats ever stop arriving from China there may come a time in this country when we'll once again need folks who know how to make things and there won't be any left.

Lee Pitts: The Devil’s Hat Band

As far as I am concerned, Joseph Glidden was the most miserable SOB that ever breathed a breath. I curse his memory every October 27th because that's the day Joseph got the first ever patent for barbed wire.

Joseph Glidden is known as "The Father of Barb Wire" which to me is like being known as "The Father of Leukemia" or "The Father of Hitler." It is simply something that I would not aspire to be. But Glidden was quite proud of it, so much so that he kept on "improving" his invention. He started out innocently enough with a wire he called "Glidden's Barely Barbed" but he regressed quickly and towards the end of his miserable life he came up with "Glidden's Hog Wire with Rusty Extra Long Barbs."

The life of the common cowboy has been immortalized in song and the golden screen but the cowboy is always portrayed in a romantic light, breaking wild horses, turning a stampede, or serenading a herd going up the trail to Abilene. Hah! I am here to tell you that the average old cowboy living on Social Security in an old age home spent far more time stringing a piece of Devil's Hat Band whose sole purpose was to inflict pain and ruin shirts than he ever did singing under the stars to a bunch of steers. And any cowboy worth his spurs has the scars to prove it. Look at any sun burnt, crippled up old cowboy and amidst the wrinkled skin, pitted like a cratered moon, you will see the scars. The old wire cuts are worn proudly like a badge of honor.

There are something like 1,400 kinds of barb wire and some brain dead people are actually collecting it, as if it was art or something. (I only have 200 pieces in my collection.) I wrote a story one time about a rancher near Henrietta, Texas, who has three rolls of "Brinkerhoff Twisted" sitting in his shop and the poor old coot thinks he's wealthy. He's leaving the rusty wire to his grandkids and it says so in his will!

It's amazing to see some of the types of wire these demented inventors came up with. At a barb wire show I recently attended I saw one version that was nothing more than serrated steak knives welded together. The English on the other hand were much more humane, their version was simply smooth. Now it's the Japanese who are on the cutting edge of barb wire technology and if you want to put a little spark in your otherwise dreary marriage try stretching a mile or two of the Japanese version with your spouse. You'll be hauled into divorce court before you get a third wire stretched.

What my wife and I do is get a smooth digging bar and shove it through the middle of the roll. This allows us to unwind the roll of wire as we walk. The only problem is that my wife is afraid of having the roll of barbs slide too far to her side of the bar so she raises her end which of course means as the roll unwinds it takes the hide off my hand. And of course she is wearing the only decent pair of gloves.

When we approach the corner post to stretch the wire and tie it off my wife goes and hides in the pickup so she won't get hit when the wire whiplashes. The next step is to actually stretch the wire with another invention of Joseph Glidden's, the wire stretcher, which of course has not been improved upon since Glidden invented it over 100 years ago. When this doesn't work, the stretcher is thrown aside and the wire is passed through the claw of the hammer. Using the hammer as a prybar and my knee as a third hand I am then able to secure the wire to the post with another terrible Japanese invention: the slippery shooting staple.

I've called barbed wire many things in my life but the collectors use nicer terms like L.P Judson's Notched Ribbon, Window Wire, Corsicana Clip, and English Entanglement Wire. Normally I would find such names humorous except that at this very moment I am attempting to disengage my arm from a strand of the much dreaded Japanese Revenge.

Lee Pitts: Soymanella Poisoning

I don't know about you but I became a little irritated when I read that two of the three largest meat processors have made sizable investments in upstarts that produce fake meat. So, in addition to all the other things we have to worry about, now we have to be concerned that somebody might be slipping us a seaweed burger or a tofu steak. As a public service I've made a list of ways to tell if you are about to eat, or have eaten, fake meat.

• Right after dinner there is a run on mouthwash, Pepto Bismol and Tic Tacs.

• After your husband or child hid the fake meat in the bottom of the kitchen flower pot when you weren't looking, the plant's leaves turn brown and the flowers all fall on the floor.

• As with safe sex, when fake meat is suspected, everyone at the table starts practicing safe eating habits and using lots of condiments.

• When your spouse puts a "garden" or "farm burger" on the grill Aunt Jemima, Jenny Craig and Marie Callender all hold their noses.

• None of the food is the right color. The lettuce and bell peppers are red and the meat is a congealed green or nauseating yellow. (Sounds like two new potential Crayola® colors.)

• If the fake meat is put in the refrigerator instead of the garbage disposal where it belongs, the milk goes bad, the eggs turn rotten, the butter container decomposes and leaves a big grease spot behind, beer cans swell and pop their tops. While next door in the freezer compartment the ice cream becomes uneatable. (Something I thought impossible.)

• The dog no longer begs at the table and the cat left for good.

• A rat staggers from the kitchen and keels over dead.

• When the fake meat is taken out of the freezer to thaw both the smoke alarm and the carbon monoxide early detection warning device start screeching.

• At a family reunion barbecue a teenage vegetarian girl throws a "farm burger" on the grill and buzzards start circling overhead.

• The man of the house comes home from work, takes one sniff of what's cooking in the kitchen and insists on treating his wife by taking her out to dinner. (Henceforth, whenever the smart wife wants to go out to eat all she has to do is open a package of fake meat.)

• After eating a study diet of fake meat suddenly all your coworkers have opted out of your carpool. They cancel meetings with you and spray your cubicle with extra-strong cinnamon spice room deodorizer.

• The appliance repairman says it's the first time he's ever seen ulcers on a garbage disposal. Two days later the FDA quarantines your home because the ulcers have spread to your cookware.

• It's 30 degrees below outside but all the windows in the house are open for some fresh air.

• Someone from the Environmental Protection Agency knocks on your door and informs you that satellites have identified your kitchen as a hot spot that is causing global warming.

• A baby nursing on its vegetarian mother says its first words: "Please, lay off the fake meat. It's giving me gas."

• You go out to eat with friends at a new restaurant called The Skull and Bones and your server, Rainbow, informs you the special is bird's nest soup, sweet and sour garden enchiladas, baked pears in a Tofurkey gravy with broccoli milk shakes for dessert. Is it any wonder there are dead flies, termites and spiders everywhere you look? The next day the entire family suffers from "flu-like" symptoms.

• You're told fake meat will open up an all new world to you and sure enough, after eating some you get the Aztec two-step, the Delhi Belly and the Hong Kong Trotskies. And you haven't even left your house.

• The hog died.

• Prayers are offered AFTER the meal.

Lee Pitts: The Backyard Conservancy

Attention wealthy widows, leftover 1960 hippies, greedy multi-national corporations with a guilt complex and other politically correct people with too much time and money on their hands…

First of all a word of congratulations on helping us lock up the entire western United States. Thanks to your efforts all the forests and grasslands will now be managed by the same people who brought you the EPA, IRS, BLM and the Congress of these United States.

Just because we have locked up and shut down the entire western part of our great country doesn't mean we have put an end to the trashing of our planet. It has come to our attention that environmental destruction on a monumental scale is occurring right in our own backyards. Yes, our own backyards. We cannot continue to let this happen so we have joined together several for-profit lawyers masquerading as environmental groups to form The Backyard Conservancy. Members of this organization shall henceforth be known as NIMBY's (Not In My BackYard) and the goal shall be to buy up all the backyards in this country that are now privately owned. After all, we can no longer permit private citizens to own their backyards.

Why should backyards be any different than ranch lands, farm ground or forests? And shouldn't urban dwellers be forced, coerced and strong-armed into living by the same set of absurd rules as farmers and ranchers are? I'm sure all those city dudes who complain about how everything ranchers, farmers, loggers, roustabouts and miners do is ruining the world will be more than happy to contribute their own backyards to the cause.

A few long-haired, communist professors at liberal eastern universities who we've funded with billions in grant money have come to the conclusion that deforestation practices such as clipping hedges, mowing lawns and trimming trees may be destroying the ozone layer. They have estimated that the smoke created by toxic backyard chicken barbecues alone will destroy the earth's ozone layer in just 400 million zillion years.

Were you aware that in watering their lawns alone urban Americans are wasting enough water to feed the world's hungry? And for what, so that they can have green grass! We NIMBY's like grass as well as anybody (maybe more) but it is our goal to buy up all the backyards and replant them in real grass. The kind we can smoke.

Many groups are now responding to our urgent call. Several wildlife organizations are concerned about the endangered species that are being summarily destroyed in backyards across the country including the Geomys bursarius (gopher) and the El grosso maggotosa (house fly). By sending your money to the Backyard Conservancy you can help eliminate the fly swatter, insect repellent, D-Con and gopher traps. It is our goal to repopulate this country's backyards with spotted owls, sucker fish, wolves, Koala bears, howling monkeys, wild pigs, polar bears, mountain goats and penguins. We've been assured by life-long bureaucrats at the Interior Department in Washington DC that the wolves will stay where they are put and won't molest or bother the Koalas, pigs, goats, or penguins.

Already many groups outside the mainstream environmental movement have joined us. The animal rights' organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has become an honorary NIMBY due to their concerns that dogs and cats are being held captive in inadequate housing in backyards all across the USA.

The atrocities occurring in America's backyards are endless. We must put an end to swimming pools that replace wetlands and doggie doo that contaminates the ground water. We must clean up visual pollutants sitting in backyards across this country such as rusty swing sets, fishing boats and broken bicycles.

The time has come for NIMBY's to UNITE. Don't delay, send in your tax deductible donation TODAY so that we can start buying up and conserving backyards across America TOMORROW. The first 100 idiots who respond to this clarion call will receive a "Not In My Backyard" shopping bag made from recycled crab grass.

Lee Pitts: Social Insecurity

m November 17, 2017 was a BIG day in our lives. It's a day my wife and I have been working towards since we were teenagers. It's the day we signed up for Social Insecurity.

I've paid into Social Insecurity since I was 16 years old and now I'm… well, let's just say I'm 462 years old in dog years. We debated on when to take it. The spry 62 year olds argue, "We want to get some before it goes broke." Then there are those like me who waited until full retirement age who didn't want to be limited on how much money we could make. Besides, I don't know how many years I have until I take that trip in the long, black Cadillac with no back seat. I already know I'm over the hill, I just don't know many years I have until I'm under it. I gave serious consideration to waiting until I was 70 because then I could get three grand a month! But I wouldn't know what to do with such riches so I took it at 66.

We had three options for signing up: we could do it online, on the phone or in person. I signed up for Medicare online and my wife did it over the phone and it was all a nightmare, so we decided to sign up with a real person. They tell you to bring your Social Insecurity card, marriage license and birth certificate which prompted a nationwide search for documents I haven't laid my eyes on in 40 years. When we finally found my Social Insecurity card it was so old and delicate it was ready to instantaneously combust.

One of the signs you're ready for Social Insecurity is you get lost trying to find the right building. The last time I saw this particular piece of ground it was a cow pasture. Another sign is while you're waiting in line outside the building a guard comes out and offers you a chair.

Once inside we all sat in a classroom surrounded by kiosks with big numbers on them. When I looked around all I saw was a bunch of old and decrepit individuals with silver in their hair and gold in their teeth. "These folks are really old," I told my wife.

"Probably younger than we are," she sighed.

When our number was called my wife woke me from my catnap and we sat next to a piece of bullet proof glass with a hole in it to talk into. The woman on the other side said real loud, "CAN YOU HEAR ME MR. PITTS?" Only Miss Smarty Pants didn't say Pitts but instead put a T in front of itts. I corrected her three times because everyone could hear and it was getting embarrassing. From then on Smarty Pants just called me Mr. Methuselah.

After going to all that work looking for our personal papers Smarty Pants never asked to see them, instead she asked us a bunch of tough questions to prove our identity. The one about my mom's maiden name stumped me as did the one, "Where were you married?"

I answered, "On the grass in the backyard of my mother-in-law's house."

Smarty Pants frowned and shook her head.

She also asked for our cell phone number and when I told her we didn't have one she looked at us like we were aliens or dinosaurs. She announced on the PA, "Hey guys, the folks in window 7 don't have a cell phone." Everyone in the joint let out a big guffaw.

We ended up with more money than we anticipated so we decided to celebrate and dine out but it was ten in the morning and too soon for the early bird geezer's special. Totally out of character, we splurged anyway. We told our waiter about the big day and he brought us a piece of free cake with a big candle in it to celebrate and said, "If you need help blowing it out just let me know and I'll get help."

Afterwards we went home and took a long nap.

Sure enough, a week later I got a letter from Social Insecurity filled with errors that said based on that information I was ineligible.

I knew all along the whole Ponzi scheme was too good to be true.

Lee Pitts: Ladycrats and Republimans

World War III isn't going to be between the United States and Russia or the Mideast, it's going to be between men and women. And it won't be fought with guns and bombs because women are too smart for that. Instead they'll try to starve us to death because they know that although men can feed 300 hundred cows or 50,000 steers every day, we can't even fix our own lunch.

The biggest battles will be fought in Congress and courtrooms, boardrooms and bedrooms and the only political parties will be the Ladycrats and the Republimans. The first volley in this war was fired by Michelle Obama at a Chicago battlefield where she called men "self-righteous" and "entitled." She also said men are babied and women have to protect them.

Men, those are fighting words!

I don't know why women suddenly hate men but I blame the women's magazines who have been engaged in a propaganda campaign against men for years. I know this because I wait in a lot of doctor's offices and when I want to read something while I wait the mandatory hour and a half all I can find are women's magazines. There's never a Sports Illustrated or Popular Mechanics to be found. So I'm forced to read women's magazines with stories about retaining water and how all women's problems begin with men: MENtal illness, MENopuase, and MENstrul cramps. That's why instead of cars and sports men are now into spas, vegan diets, ear jewelry, psychoanalysis, zen gardens, sissy salads, man purses, cleansings, pied a terries (whatever that is) and manicures. (Which should be called womanicures.)

Facebook isn't helping either.

The male/female relationship used to be a beautiful thing: a hard working and fairly decent guy would see a pretty gal at the gas station, he'd say something corny, she'd laugh and before you know it they are married with three kids. Men put women on a pedestal, mowed the lawn and brought home enough money to live on. If my wife wanted to work outside the home for 30 years that was all right with me. We could use the dough. I thought it was a great formula and it certainly worked for us, but now traditional marriage is a thing of the past, 26 year old guys are still living with mother and so-called men in the bedroom are like lions and tigers… they only come around at breeding time.

Women are trying to soften up their foe by turning males into a bunch of sissy poetry professors. For as long as I can remember women insisted they preferred the strong and silent type but now men are finding out it's only because they thought we were listening to them. (Men, just fake it if you have to.) Today's woman would rather live with another female or a dog than they would a man and every time I hear about a male mass murderer or a nasty movie producer I can't say as I blame them. But there have to be some good guys left besides me that are handsome, charming, wealthy, witty, virtuous, sensitive and strong, don't there?

There are only a few manly professions left from which we can draft our army for this war. Volunteering will be farmers, ranchers, welders, heavy equipment operators, oilfield roustabouts, pumpers and drillers, roofers, fishermen, soldiers, firemen, machinists, septic tank drivers and lumbermen. (Both of them.) I used to think automotive mechanics would be with us but I recently met a mechanic with a pony tail, earrings, and fingernails painted black. (Although, it could have just been grease.) I thought truck drivers would join us too but the last time I ate at the truck stop I saw a long hauler get out of his cab wearing pedal pushers. How appropriate! The trucker ate at a table instead of the counter and ordered a quiche! What's worse, the truck stop had it!

My fellow males, the time has come to man up and win this war. Buy a Harley, kill your own food, play poker every Thursday, pee on some tires, belch when you want, forget a birthday or anniversary, throw all your shoes away except for two pair and for heaven's sake, start acting like a man because it drives women crazy! The future of MANkind depends on it.

Lee Pitts: In Theory

I used to have this theory, now debunked, that postulated that if you added up the IQ of a person with the IQ of their dog the total would be exactly the same in every case. For example, if you add up the IQ of a sheepherder with that of their Border Collie the total would be the same as if you added up the IQ of a smart lady and her Pekingnese purse dog or Dandie Dinmont. A breed, by the way, that missed the meeting where brains were handed out. If the Border Collie is the Albert Einstein of the dog world then the Dandy Dinmont is Curly of Three Stooges fame.

I developed this theory mostly because my highly intelligent grandmother had the dumbest dog on earth, a Chihuahua that bit me above eye when I was a kid. My theory was debunked however when my smart friends Shanny and Dustin started breeding Border Collies.

One of the problems with my theory was I could not put an accurate number on the IQ of dogs. About the closest thing we have for an IQ test for dogs was developed by Stanley Cohen who wrote the book, "The Intelligence of Dogs". In trying to quantify the intelligence of dogs Stanley found he only had to repeat a command five times and 95 percent of the smartest dogs would get the message. But with the dumbest dogs he had to repeat a command 80 to 100 times and even then only 25 percent of the stupid dogs would get the message. Interestingly, I've performed the same test on teenagers and got the same results.

After further experimentation I found that my theory works on some species but not on others. For example, it works with dairymen and their cows because dairymen are highly intelligent, yet the cattle they raise are dumber than a doorknob. Holsteins don't recognize their own offspring at birth and their life consists of making the same walk to the same spot in the same milking parlor two or three times a day and they do this without protest or variation until they have nothing left to give and are sent to the butcher.

Compare their boring lives to that of PRCA or PBR bucking bulls who live like rock stars, eat the best food, stay in the best accommodations and see the world and all they have to do is buck eight seconds every few days. Talk about smart cattle! Yet the folks who own them are smart too. I can only deduce that my theory doesn't hold true with beef cattle. Without starting a breed war, I'd say the smartest cattle I've ever raised were five purebred Brahma bulls I raised from calves. I swear, they knew what I was going to do before I did. If there was a MENSA for cattle it would be filled with Brahma cattle. According to my theory Brahma breeders should be dumber than a watermelon but I've found them to be amongst the smartest of us all.

My theory also falls apart when you consider the renegade cattle of the southwest who are able to hide from cowboys every year come roundup time. Talk about sneaky smart! If they had fingers they could beat me in a game of chess or checkers. Almost invariably these southwest mavericks have a little Brahma or Longhorn blood, two of the brainer breeds of cattle. Theoretically, that means the cattlemen who own them should be dumber than a post but that's definitely not the case. Anyone who can make a living and thrive in America's great southwest has to be highly intelligent to even survive, let alone prosper. Going all the way back to Charles Goodnight, John Chisum and Oliver Loving the southwest has always been home to intelligent cattle and cattlemen.

I'm not too proud to admit that my earlier theory was incorrect. After further testing by hanging around Holsteins and renegade cattle that may only see a human once a year and that's from long distance, I've developed a new theory. This one, I think, will hold up better to increased scrutiny. Lee's New Theory of Intelligence simply states… "The more a human or animal is exposed to human contact the dumber they get."

I think you'll find this holds true for cattle, New Yorkers, sheep, movie stars and Congresspersons.