Saturday, December 06, 2008

Do you remember Dave Barry?

Dave was a humor columnist for the Miami Herald, but was syndicated and in papers across the country. A couple of his trademark phrases were: “An alert reader sent me this report . . .” and “I am not making this up!”

Typically he would write about things like exploding toilets, fish that rained from the sky, and similar “extreme” topics; extending them to ridiculous levels and making me laugh out loud with great regularity.

When I saw the article excerpted below in my local paper this morning, I knew it was JUST the kind of thing Dave would have been able to use as fodder for one of his columns. You can Google “AP” or the writer’s name and find the entire article if you like (or click THIS LINK:)

Dec 5, 6:27 PM EST

Farmers target EPA report they say might tax cows

By BOB JOHNSON Associated Press Writer

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- For farmers, this stinks: Belching and gaseous cows and hogs could start costing them money if the federal government decides to charge fees for air-polluting animals.

Farmers so far are turning their noses up at the notion, which they contend is a possible consequence of an Environmental Protection Agency report after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases from motor vehicles amounts to air pollution.

"This is one of the most ridiculous things the federal government has tried to do," said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, an outspoken opponent of the fees.

Now, Dave Barry would have focused on the flatulence issue. That was just his style! He probably would have written something like this:

An alert reader in Victoria, TX sent me an AP article in which is reported that an EPA study may result in a tax on flatulent farm animals. (I am NOT making this up.)

The claim is that the “emissions” of these animals should be considered a pollutant (no question there—in my mind, at least), and may contribute to Global Warming.

The article wasn’t clear if the contribution to warming came from the content of these emissions or the temperature of them. I suppose more study is needed on that issue, but I don’t think I’ll volunteer to help in the effort.

I question whether the emissions would be considered “greenhouse gasses” or not. I’ve been inside greenhouses before, and they never smelled particularly like cow flatulence. Well, except the ones that used cow manure for fertilizer.

Pigs and chickens were also mentioned as contributors to the flatulence problem and possibly subject to the proposed tax.

Now we all know that the EPA must have conducted scientific research to determine these findings, but one wonders just how they went about measuring the content and the quantity of flatulence produced by these animals. I picture white-coated scientists hovering around the back ends of cows, holding measuring devices designed to capture and analyze . . . well . . . gas. (The scientists holding the devices, not the cows.)

But doesn’t that sort of thing depend on diet? I know it does with me! You know; beans and cabbage? Isn't it the same with cows and pigs? I wonder if their studies concluded whether grass in cows produced the same quantity and quality of emissions as, maybe, slops in hogs?

And why do you suppose they limited their study to farm animals? Do they think that dogs and cats don’t produce digestive tract emissions?

I used to have a bulldog that could out-produce any other animal I know of when it came to flatulence. And he always chose to produce it, in copious quantities, when he was in the middle of the family as we all watched a movie on TV. That dog could clear a room in seconds flat! If the EPA ever found out about him, I’d likely have to pay a huge tax for pollution.

Farmers were quoted as saying that the whole effort to tax these animals smelled. You could almost say they felt the EPA was being chickensh__ about the whole business. The EPA’s response was that they never really proposed a specific tax, so the whole affair is bullsh__.

Further reports are almost certainly forthcoming. I’ll be waiting with bated breath (and a clothespin on my nose) to bring you any additional word on the subject.

(Actually Dave would have done a much better job with a topic like this, but I lack his flair for the absurd.)


jan said...

Dave Barry is alive and well and doing a daily blog. From columnist to blogger, a true success story.

Nankin said...

Talk about a waste of the tax payer's money. I wonder if you would need a college degree to test the farm animale for flatulance.

This reminds me of a stupid woman in Iowa (I think) who was offended by the destended udders of milk cows and wanted dairy farmers to put skirts on the cows so her daughter wouldn't be subjected to such a traumatic sight. I'm not making this up.

kenju said...

Uh-oh. If they're going to tax gas, I'm in BIG trouble.

Christina said...

LOL!!! I loooove Dave Barry - he is hysterical.

Jack K. said...

Dave would do it differently, but maybe not that much better.

Do you think this is an attempt by the current administration to "fuel" the economy by creating jobs?


Hale McKay said...

I think everyone is missing the point - the government obviously sees this tax as a ....

...are you ready for this? ....

"Cash cow."

I see everyone ling up with a vast array of weapons... (like in the movie "Airplane" to calm the hysterical woman)... to do me bodily harm.


You are right on. This is exactly Dave Barry material.

For the record you did a find job of emulating his style.

(Thanks for that joke - yes I've heard it before, but it merits a resurrection.)