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Tuesday, December 04, 2001 ISSUE #208

LOUISVILLE: If you thought the Kentucky Derby was the only big shindig held in this river town, followed by 51 weeks of solitude and quiet reflection over a mint julep, you're in for a surprise. Why, just in the last month the FFA held a convention here of 45,000 of America's brightest, down-to-earth high school youngsters, Colin Powell stopped by for a speech, and this week the Kentucky Farm Bureau and Automobile Dealers are convening.

Mark Victor Hanson is here speaking to the Dealers and I'm speaking to the Farmers. They're meeting in the same hotel, and we're trying to keep 'em separated. The farmer can't even afford a bicycle, so he don't need the temptation of zero interest on a new pickup.

This morning at breakfast I had a unique honor... I filled in for a Senator. Yes, Mitch McConnell was planning to be here, but Congress is still in session so he stayed in Washington. (This morning they were debating Election Reform. That'll take a while to resolve, at least twenty years.)

I may be able to match him on the humor, but compared to a Senator, I'm sorely handicapped in my ability to inspire and motivate. I don't have the same access to the US Treasury that he does.

Since he couldn't be here in person, he announced earlier that he got $5 million for the College of Agriculture, for 'em to do more grand and glorious things to help the farmer. The University will use some of that money to find a crop the farmers can grow instead of burley tobacco. It ain't easy locating one with the same income, and is legal.

Five million is a lot of money. But, you know something... if that Senator Jeffords up in Vermont hadn't switched sides last May, he could have got 'em ten.

In Afghanistan they switch sides in the middle of the battle, here they do it in the middle of the Senate chambers

Tomorrow is a big day in the Senate. Strom Thurmond turns 99. It's probably a state holiday in South Carolina. The Senate will bake a cake for him. With 99 candles, each of the other Senators can keep one as a souvenir. They won't ask him to blow 'em all out, the risk would be too great. Not of a heart attack, but rather of triggering the smoke alarm. Congress don't need another excuse to vacate the Capitol.

You know, Mark Victor Hanson and his partner Jack Canfield are responsible for more books than anyone, except for that woman over in England. They've written a Chicken Soup book for almost every conceivable audience, from English-speaking taxicab drivers to substitute school teachers. But there's one I haven't seen yet...Chicken Soup for the Poor Farmer's Soul. The poor farmer don't have a soul... well, he's got one, but it's mortgaged.

I forgot to ask Mark what he was planning to talk on today. He'll probably try to persuade 'em to include a Chicken Soup book in every glove compartment.

No, there'll be no cracks from me about Used Car Salesmen's souls.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:

"I have seen today some of the most beautiful stock farms in America. I don't think there is another place in this country quite like the blue grass region around Lexington. These old guys here, with their fine horses that we read about every Summer in all the big races, they got some great horses here. And they know how to scramble a bran mash for a horse, and a corn mash for a human that just about excels any hospitality in America." DT #140, Jan. 15, 1927

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