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Thursday, July 21, 2005 ISSUE #372
 

Engineers, free food and a Cowboy holiday

# 372, July 21, 2005

TAMPA, Fla: The news down here, besides the heat and John Roberts being nominated for Supreme Court, is turn signals. Florida has a new law that says you have to signal when you change lanes.

From now on, they'll fine you a hundred dollars if you don't turn on your signal. No word yet on the penalty for the even bigger problem in Florida, which is leaving it on.

Agricultural engineers and biological engineers are meeting here this week. Now, you may not know about the work of these engineers, but you sure know the benefits. Their organization, called ASABE, has almost 10,000 members in a hundred countries, and for almost a hundred years they have been working to make our supply of food more abundant, safer, and cheaper no matter where you live.

At the same time, they protect our water and air from pollution, and help farmers and ranchers improve the soil so folks a hundred years from now can still have an ample supply. Naturally, there's plenty of scientists and others contributing, from the ones developing new seeds, to the food processors and folks working in grocery stores.

All these people together are making so much progress that our young folks in 20 or 30 years will expect food to be like music is today, just download it for free. They'll figure out a way to get on the internet, log on and download their daily nourishment from PigglyWiggly.com, and store it, not on an Ipod but through a tube directly into their veins. That way they eliminate the inconvenience of shopping for groceries and even the trouble of chomping, chewing, and digesting. They'll have to take up gum chewing to exercise their jaw bones.

Food's nearly free already, compared to what it was 100 years ago. It's kinda like the little doodads you see advertised as "free", where you just pay small charge of $6.95 for shipping and handling. With food, you pay for shipping and handling, and then the shippers and handlers pay a small percentage to the farmers to cover the cost of producing the raw materials they're shipping and handling.

The Tampa Tribune says Florida will pay more for hurricane insurance. Home owners up north say they are tired of subsidizing the cost of folks rebuilding their houses on the beach every time a hurricane hits. Of course there's tornados, but not so often, and floods, but these northerners say they don't intentionally build a half-million dollar house on a river bank.

It's hot in Tampa, but even hotter in the our southwestern states. And farmers from Texas to the Great Lakes are still suffering from drought. Of course those folks are accustomed to some inconvenience and are optimistic they'll eventually get rain to relieve them.

Say, here's some good news, and it was a long time coming. From now on, July 23 will be celebrated as the National Day for the American Cowboy. So put on your boots and Stetson hat, build a campfire, and sing some cowboy songs by the moonlight. Even if you don't have a horse, and you've never roped a Longhorn steer, it'll give you a thrill because there's a little bit of cowboy in all of us.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"TAMPA, Fla.: One thing about farmers' relief: It can't last long, for the farmers ain't got much more to be relieved of.
(signed) A farmer that knows,
               Cocklebur Rogers"
(DT #167, Feb. 11, 1927)

"Farmers are learning that the relief they get from the sky beats what they get from Washington." DT #2445, June 4, 1934

"There is not a better day in the world to be spent than with a lot of wise old cowmen around (a campfire with) barbecued beef, black coffee and good (re-fried) beans." DT #2430, May 17, 1934


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