Gopher Feet Suite

Here’s a rich and surprising comment from yesterday’s conversation about animals and crime.

Vicky is right – some townships pay a bounty. At least they did as recently as 2009.
And PlainJane is also right – this is gruesome. I’m sure it has not gone unnoticed by bucktoothed bards.

The prairie’s wide and low and flat
and rich, so things may grow.
It nourishes all plants above
And critters down below.

The ones who dig feel safe at home
In tunnels that they make.
But terror runs throughout the loam
Surrounding Silver Lake.

The bucktooth Gophers rototill
Through tree roots, soft and sticky.
But when they want a secret thrill
They softly whisper “Vicky”!

She frightens everything submerged.
“A child,” they say. “Petite.”
“But watch your back when you’ve emerged.
She’ll chop off all your feet!”

A shudder shook a gopher guard
On duty by the shore.
“She killed a dozen in my yard
And then came back for more. “

Her legend, scary and profound,
among the gophers grows.
They say she’s known to carry ‘round
A bag filled up with toes!

How could a child take such delight
In sport that is so gory?
Some people say she’s not quite right.
But that’s another story.

For in the village square each day
She’s greeted with applause
They give her praise and hand her pay
When Vicky gives them paws.

What nuisance should government pay a bounty to reduce?

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130 thoughts on “Gopher Feet Suite”

  1. Excellent Dale! Love the rhyme of applause with paws.

    I’m thinking that I would be glad to be rid of a few co-workers this week. Tiresome but I’m not sure I could approve of chopping their feet off!

    AND, completely OT – I went onto Kemps website this morning to see if maybe they might actually announce the Ice Cream winner, but it looks like they’ve extended the voting for 2 more days Beth-Ann…what’s up with that?

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    1. Kemps extended the voting through Friday to compensate for the dysfunctional voting on the Facebook page. I think they wanted me to have an Al Franken experience by delaying the results :)
      Good news-Baboons can still vote for Mini Donut Ice Cream at http://www.kempsnextflavor.com/

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      1. Everybody should have asked me… I figured a way around the dysfunction on the second day! if you opened up the description on any of the ice creams that appeared on the top of the screen, there was a “Next” button that you could click on until you got to Mini Donuts and could place your vote! Over and over again!

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        1. Even I figured it out, but I guess the Kemps Cows had problem pushing the arrows with their hooves :)

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  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I just keep imagining all those poor gophers limping around on stumps. Are there gopher prostheses? Now there is a market for an enterprising entrepeneur.

    I would like a bounty to reduce the opinionators and loud mouths on Cable TV–Nancy Grace, Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olberman. Alot of reality TV shows require culling, too.

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  3. Just thought of a few more. Sarah Palin, Perez Hilton, Donald Trump and anyone named Kardashian (did I spell that correctly?)

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  4. a bounty on ms bachmann
    somehow it just seems right
    to think her actions daily
    and plot to snare at night

    shes moving now because it seems
    they redistricted the place
    that she called home in district 6
    where there is an opponent she cant face

    i cant believe shed go uproot
    leave her husbands business swimmin
    where he helps men adjust their bents
    and start pursuing women

    she knows the facts she speaks of
    from the note pads tat she carries
    the words escape her lipsticked lips
    bout who we all should marry

    and god and gays and mexicans
    and taxes we should deny
    and fight freedom for your rights
    unless its choice you cry

    but what is there to bounty?
    for waht part are we payin
    it surley would be her almost
    nonexistant brain

    eyelashes? hairdo? off with her head
    it matters little really
    anything will do just fine
    its the result thats so appealing

    but careful what you wish for
    when you think youve done the trick
    jesse ventura may return
    and that would make me sick

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  5. I am leaving on a long and emotionally complicated weekend trip in a few hours, so I don’t have much time to write. I respectfully object to the premise of the question (which is wittily expressed in Dale’s superb poem). I don’t think it is smart or effective to punish “nuisances” with bounties.

    A television show I’ve been enjoying is “Dogs in the City,” a show about a dog trainer in New York City who does emergency house calls to rescue people who have misbehaving dogs. Over and over, “bad” dogs turn out to be good dogs that misbehave because of ineffective and self-defeating management by their owners (who, oddly enough, often turn out to be ravishingly beautiful women who film well). Justin, the trainer, keeps teaching his clients that it doesn’t work to hack on a dog that is doing undesirable things (almost always in reaction to cues from the owners). What works is to teach the dog to do desirable things and then to reward those. Yes, yes, yes! And of course, the same is true for humans.

    It is foolish and pointless to punish young people for doing things that we don’t like. How much wiser and more humane it is to give them a positive role and then reward them for doing good things. This is a conviction that comes from the depths of my soul and relates to a whole outlook on life (including what is different about right- and left-wing politics). The two nicest kids I’ve met in a long time are sherrilee’s teenager and mig’s s&h, and I don’t think those kids got such sweet souls through negativity.

    We cannot build the kind of society I want to live in by rewarding lopped-off gopher feet. The bounties I believe in are the bountiful outpourings of loving hearts.

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      1. When I worked at the flyfishing shop along the Brule, the owner’s father would sometimes sit around and make smart cracks to customers. When a customer stepped in our shop to ask, “So what’s happening on the Brule?” Gil would look at him with astonishment and say, “You haven’t HEARD? You haven’t heard about the Brule? The whole damn thing is running downhill and into Lake Superior!!!!” The customer would panic for a few moments before remembering that the “whole damn thing” has been running into Superior for the last 11,000 years. So . . . thanks for the nice thoughts, PJ. The Brule does “await,” even if it is spilling into Lake Superior.

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        1. Hope you have a good weekend, Steve, despite the heat we’re expecting. You’ve fished so many sites/rivers/lakes that I imagine every return trip is layered with memories of trips past. Enjoy!

          OT, but at our family cabin we have a facsimile of the biggest fish my dad ever caught. It’s a silhouette on newsprint of a huge northern outlined with glued-on mosquitoes. (Please excuse this awkward sentence but I’m late for work). Bill was in the boat with Dad and netted the beast. He says The Fish was “Jaws” personified. The mythic Fish was caught in 1989 and the picture is still on our wall. My dad was a fisherman to the core, our “Old Man and the Lake”.

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        2. Some of the mosquitoes have fallen off over the years but we keep gluing on more and bigger ones to preserve the sacred outline. Some people, when they look up close and see the mosquito carcasses, are grossed out, but it’s a family heirloom and will stay there till all falls to dust.

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    1. I have seen that dog show you mentioned, Steve. I like the show, but I wonder if it tells the whole story. Can they really get those dogs to behave well every time and how long will it take to get the dogs to do what they are training them to do? I think the methods shown on that show are good but not always easily implemented I haven’t spent much time watching that show. Maybe they have shown situations where there were problems with getting the training done.

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      1. Every show on TV is edited, Jim, and I’m sure time constraints make them edit “Dogs in the City” in ways that exaggerate how easy it is to solve canine misbeharior. That said, I’ve watched enough of this show to believe that Justin Silver is incredibly effective. Of course, it is really the people who need to be trained. The dog is going to get with the program if Justin can just get the owner to start doing things right.

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        1. Yes, but it is easy to say that it is the people that need to be trained. It is not always so easy for the people to do what the trainer tells them to do. I even think that the trainer of the people may not always have it right and we need to hear about the problems of the people who are asked to do the training.

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      2. I haven’t seen the show but it sounds quite a bit like the Dog Whisperer. Cesar always says it’s always the humans!

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  6. People ridding loud motorcycles–their pedals.
    People who are very heavily-scented–their noses
    Tailgaters–their right foot,
    I would say designers of addictive time-wasting computer games, except one is my son.
    Too nice a day out to think of more.

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  7. For those who asked yesterday-I am still at large. I had rather the wrong end of the stick with my letter from the State revenue department. It seems they had received a PAYMENT which they had credited to my record of $1.9K, and were demanding I file the return that went with it. What this meant is that somewhere, some poor soul was getting a letter demanding the payment they owed, which had wrongly been credited to me!

    Imagine if you will, and I am not making this up: I went through a short phone queue, spoke to exactly one very pleasant gentleman who found the problem very quickly and had it figured out in less than 5 minutes. He also offered to send me a hard copy to verify that all is as it should be (yes, I want that). I stand in awe.

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    1. Glad to hear it, mig. I hadn’t relished the idea of having to participate in a jailbreak, though for you, I would have done it…..I think!

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        1. Tropical punch (toss it at the guards to confuse them…(it might be the only way a “punch” would get thrown in this crowd).

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    2. Our company had man conversations with the state revenue folks and they were always polite, patient listeners who solved the issue or answered our questions clearly. Helpful folks we found there.
      The IRS was good too, just took so long to get to the right person.

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  8. Q: How do you know you’ve been reading this blog too long? A: When the first response to today’s question that pops into your brain is “Tea Party Republicans,” and you’re pretty sure a similar response is likely from several baboons. What I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have, is the eloquence of tim’s response. Nicely done, tim.

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  9. I’ve noticed that self-appointed authorities (invariably male), from clerics to politicians to news commentators to garden-variety cranks, when they are particularly full of themselves, tend to speak with one of their bony forefingers upraised. I’d like to see those presumptive digits collected (and maybe displayed, with labels), please.

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  10. the choices are endless these days
    of bountyable focus
    with all the aholes in the limelight
    and their endless hocus pocus

    but what is it we pay for
    is the question that we ponder
    leave them to roam the planet earth
    without which part while they wander

    it should be representative
    of the crime they have committed
    so maybe all we need to do
    is take their tounge and split it

    the snakes are out there thats for sure
    the list is overflowing
    politics is absolutely one place
    that i wont be going

    local national on the news
    they learn to partyspeak
    they point at issues party issued
    the truth is something that they tweak

    say it loud and often
    and in mass to make it true
    obamas born in africa
    and how bout rybaks doo?

    cantor, boehner,mcconnell,romney
    in place of bush and rove
    the ship is moving without thought
    in the direction that they drove

    there is no room for thinking
    just stop the other side
    get on board the bulldozing
    tea party driven ride

    i vote for lips to be the thing
    we cash out at bounty stations
    but im not sure even that would stop
    the hateful speech and proclaimations

    maybe if we spelled it out that to run
    you must be castrated
    its required that you have no balls
    in this world they have created

    just say what they direct you
    refer to john mccain
    or recent guys that come to mind
    are good old cryin boehn … er

    republican uuneuchs all unite
    the cause is worth the loss
    of thinking soul and open thought
    we are driven by the cause

    god is 35%
    then taxes,gays and guns
    they think they lead america
    but theyre the sorry ones

    the third reich got the vote in deutchlad
    in 1935
    proud moments when the polls led policy
    with no jews left alive

    you can lead a voter to water
    and you can kinda make him drink
    if you ask if he likes taxes
    does he need to stop and think?

    but bounties are todays fine topic
    and discussion shall pursue
    i bet we all think of some stuff
    that would be good to do

    and people who we love to hate
    because they are just wrong
    and at the days end holly
    will find the perfect song

    ah baboon trail is just the place
    to begin the day
    with poems and thoughts and smiles and snorts
    in that baboon way

    id feel a little guilty
    when i got paid for body parts
    but bounties like tea parties
    leave no room for hearts

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  11. Fireworks and firecrackers after 10pm on any summer night that is not July 4th. Also 3am thunderstorms. Both wake up my dog and make him nervous and crazy, resulting in less sleep for me. Also loud road construction that starts at 7:05 am (though I can appreciate that they want to get the tough stuff done before the heat of the day sets in, it is a nuisance to listen to house-rattling banging before I’m out of my jammies).

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      1. Even my daughter’s noisy room air conditioner does not block out the road construction. I live in the city, I expect noise. I’d just rather not hear BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM and its associated window rattling (really – windows, stuff in cabinets, even stuff in our dishwasher, rattling) at 7am. I’m only asking for another hour of peace.

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        1. I know it’s harder on you all that are closer, but every hour that they work is one less hour until the bridge is open again. It hasn’t been too bad but last night I had to get from my house to Blue Cross Animal Hospital in 11 minutes (they were closing the doors at 7:30 and I had to fling myself on their mercy for some dog meds). I REALLY missed the bridge then.

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        2. I remind myself that the earlier they work, the sooner I get my road and bridge back (Grandma, several of daughter’s friends, art class, girl scout troop meetings, and several other things are all north of the bridge – it’s more than a minor inconvenience for us not to have it). But really, 7:05? They can’t wait on the noisy, banging work until at least 8am? There is nothing else that can be worked on that is quieter for the first hour of their work day?

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        3. if your doors and windows are rattling the damage done to the foundation of your house should be examined. if there are issues you want to be at the fornt of the pack not the tail end. my office partner had hislyndale lake experience pay off big for hime with exactly the same deal when his foundation was discovered to be dierupted. (mpr’s concern with the light rail tracks going in out front)

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  12. Good morning. How about a bounty on loud lawn equipment? I’m thinking of those loud leaf blowers. Any one who disables a leaf blower and brings in a part off the leaf blower that is needed operate it should get a reward. Of course, there might be a backlash with some people forming groups who support the right to bear leaf blowers.

    I would also like a bounty on loud motorcycles. You would get a reward if you brought in the exhaust system of a motorcycle that had no muffler or a fake muffler that didn’t work. A guy I knew said he told the a policeman his neighbor’s motorcycle was too loud, but the policeman said there was muffler on the motorcycle. However, it turned out that what looked like a muffler was a completely hollow body of a muffler that did nothing to reduce the loud sound of the engine. I think most of the motorcycles I see and hear have fake mufflers.

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    1. oh the lawn equipment! I have no documentation, but I am pretty sure that my neighbors have a chart they sign up on to be certain that that noise is staggered continuously during the weekend. Couldn’t they all just do it at once and have done with it?

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    2. Totally agree here. I hate those noisy leaf blowers. I remember when a guy across the street went from a rake to a noisy leaf blower – kind of like 10 lawn mowers all going at once (or maybe a motorcycle or two). He told me it was so much easier to get the lawn raked, but it took him HOURS to get it done. Hated that thing.

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    3. I wish the police wold ticket then, as they can, but they are so many things for them to deal with. I have allodynia, which means my central nervous system turns loud noise into pain, but also other sensory input, such as smells, touch, bright lights, chemicals. You could say I am too sensitive on this issue, but that would be insensitive.
      Last Sunday in church, when I did not shake hands, which I never do, I 120 lb woman grabbed my hand and chewed out while shaking it hard and twisting it with both hands. She put me right down on my knees and was not bothered in the least that she did.

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      1. The police should give tickets to those people on motorcycles that are too loud. Apparently many people who ride motorcycles think that it is fun to ride a very loud motorcycle and I guess they think we should think it is a sound we should like. They are in violation of the law.

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      2. imagine that a thoughtless person. it is amazing at all the people who never have a thought at all. they wake up, bolt through the day ruffling feathers as they go and model this behavior as the way it ought to be to their children as normal behavior. it is sad that no one ever took the time to teach them to think butio would guess it goes back a couple generations a as well as forward. i hear george romney didnt have a clue either.

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      3. You are reminding me of an announcement we had in church concerning that, Clyde. We must have had several members who suffered as you do. We also usually have an announcement during cold and flu season, that if people greet you with their own hands clasped, it is a signal that they do not wish to shake. Not sure it would get through to this particular lady, but might be worth a mention to the pastor.

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        1. I avoid shaking hands in all situations, which is very awkward. I was thinking of writing a guest blog on that topic. I was in a large church, with lots of unused room at worship, that declared a scent free-section for people like me. It got filled with people who would say how glad they were for the section. I would tell them they had on scents from their shampoo and soap and etc. A woman got huffy with me, so I just gave up. We left the church for that reason and another big reason. The building itself bothered me too. I have only found one person who bothers me in our current church.

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  13. Morning–

    I posted late yesterday that many of the townships around here still pay a bounty for pocket gopher feet. $2 / pair is average. In my township we joke they must have our township brand on the feet to be eligible.
    And lets not forget the Viola Gopher Count; going strong at 138 years!
    http://www.gophercount.com/
    It’s just up the road from me in the town of Viola in Viola Township on Viola Road.

    A brief lesson: Pocket Gophers make the large mounds of dirt. These mounds are hard on farm machinery if you get too many. There is a bounty on streaky gophers too but it’s less. I’ve never seen anyone bring in a pair of streaky feet.
    Raccoons are a nuisance to farming too. Coons can knock flat a patch of corn bigger than your house. And then they’ll move 20 feet down the field and take out another patch. Not to mention they’ll bite you in the crotch when you least expect it!
    A bounty on the raccoons!

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    1. I always figured that is where the tails on the fake coonskin hats come from. Hat is fake fur, tail is the real deal.

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    2. i had raccoon issues when i first moved in here by the river and then the racoons realized this is the house of the dogs and they moved elsewhere, i would think a ine of german shepard scarecrows would do the trick. just place them on every hilltop and put a couple real ones out there just to keep it interesting. instead of guarding the shhep they can do the corn. much less problematic.

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      1. When I was up at Cragun’s this year, the geese were out patrolling a big bit of lawn by the lake. This is prime real estate for things like weddings and such that happen at Cragun’s (there was one slated to happen on the day in question). One of the gals working in the dining room told me they let the geese stay until the goslings are hatched and of reasonable size. Then they get out a contingent of faux dogs to place around the lawn to shoo the geese away (geese, as you probably know, are not nice…and they leave a lot of goose poo).

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        1. I have fun encounters with geese on bike trails by lakes and ponds. I do mean fun. They try to stare me down. Sometimes one or two run away right in front of me for a few yards.Then after I have crawled by them they chase me with great bravado.

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        2. diazinon is an effective insecticide that was made illeagal not because it is a bad chemical but because golf course superintendents would not stop putting it on a doses of 2000% of the recommended application in order to kill the geese and get them to stop leaving the droppings. when used at the correct dose it is a good chemical. i thought maybe we should make golf course superintendents illegal and if we found someone doing their job we could put out a bounty on their golf balls.

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        3. One technique for keeping geese away from a pond or lakeshore that is used by people is to allow a section of vegetation to grow around the lake instead of mowing it short. The geese prefer the short mowed grass. Instinctively, they know that they can see a predator coming if they are out in the open. Observe them and you will see that it is true. They dislike going into the tall vegetation. The tall vegetation also becomes a kind of filter for the lake, keeping nutrients from running off the ground into the water, which helps to keep the water clean and clear.

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      1. And mice and rats run up pants legs if you do not tie them shut. Very dangerous to have a panicked rodent there.

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        1. The world is a verrrrrryyy strange place. 5 hours and 35 minutes with ferrets in your pants – nobody should want a world record that badly!

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        2. What did the beetle say when it hit the windshield? “I won’t have the guts to do that again!”

          What did the coal miner say after winning the ferret-legging contest? “I won’t have the balls to do THAT again!”

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  14. My farming friends say that there are substitutes for gopher feet that can be substituted for income inflation. Good thing folks around here haven’t ask that they be branded.

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      1. Gophers come in brands? Is one Monsanto?
        We are supposedly the only state that has ever had a bounty on its state symbol. A couple of states have declared their state flower and a noxious weed.

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  15. Getting close to departure time. I have concerns about spending two days in a canoe on a river with rapids, me in my present limited condition. If the canoe flips, I’m not sure how I will be able to respond. But then it came to me. I’m thinking of having my ashes dumped in the Brule when my life’s trip is over. If I drown in the Brule this weekend, I’ll just be cutting out the middleman. :)

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    1. Have a good trip, Steve. I hope the people who are going with you will be careful and you wouldn’t have any problems. I really don’t want you to cut out the middleman.

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      1. The “people” with me will be Tom, a man with a terrible history of going on wild drunken binges. He claims he hasn’t touched a drop since the last time I saw him, 14 years ago. He got massively drunk that night and disappeared in his car in the middle of the night, abandoning his guests (my family and me) at his lodge. I was furious with him because he terrified my daughter so much that night. Later I reconciled with Tom. His gift to Molly was such a shocking example of addiction that she never touched a drop or smoked a toke in high school, for which I have thanked Tom.

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    2. enjoy, be careful and if you drown, flip the camera up on shore first so we have a copy of the weekend prior to your demise

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  16. Can we lop off the smart phones from any marketer who makes up a word, over-uses any buzzword, or unnecessarily shortens or abbreviates any word or phrase? Is that Going Too Far?

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      1. Heh – I shall let text-speak slide. However, if you choose to incentivize me to create an impactful mock for the ROP, I shall swat you on the nose and then stomp on your Blackberry (or iPhone). Twice.

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        1. I could leverage the impactfulness to create a customer-centric look and feel, if that would provide the needful visuals for your “mercy.” ;)

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        2. A phrase I just overheard, “are you diluting the values by aggregating them?…” Good thing I know they’re talking about actual data that does have numeric values….

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        1. Well now, metaphors (especially sports metaphors) are a whole different ballgame. We need to make an end-run around that to hit really hit it out of the park – after we have our scrum to talk through who the players are…

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  17. I have to say something, don’t I? Dale, I feel honored! What an amazing poem inspired by my recollection of my childhood!
    Ben, you did a really good job of explaining why pocket gophers are a nuisance. Most of ours were in an orchard.
    At the risk of being gory, I will say that the trap killed the gopher, and that if you checked your traps every day they were not smelly yet when you found them. And then (because my parents were geniuses (or is that genii?) I learned to cut the feet off with a pruning shears and put them in a jar in the freezer. The township officer who paid the bounties liked that a lot, because I was the only kid who bicycled to his place with unsmelly feet.
    I have enjoyed all your suggestions for bounties…

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    1. My cousins kept their gohper feet in the freezer until they had enough to justify a trip to town.

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    2. Yep, either freezer or I heard a jar w/ salt in it; dried them out.
      If it’s a stinky bag, we’re more apt to just take the kids word for it how many are in there…
      Actually, the only time I ever tipped a wagon over it was in a wood chuck hole. There should be a bounty on wood chucks for the mounds of dirt and open holes they’ll leave.

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    3. I’m just imagining your mom – anyone’s mom – coming upon a jar (or baggie) of these little feet in the freezer while looking for something quick for supper…

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      1. It was my mom’s idea. She told me where to put them in the freezer, and we labeled the jar. I think this was before baggies.

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  18. I would like a bounty on adults who not only chew gum but snap and pop it. Also, anyone who uses chewing tobacco.

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  19. I’m thinking about the three yappy little dogs across the street who sometimes get all bothered about something at 6:45 in the morning… but I guess I’m not ready to “bounty” them yet, I like their owner. Will keep thinking.

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