And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, Editor Emeritus

... that I had occasion Sunday to travel through several miles of Allamakee and Clayton counties, and was very impressed by the corn and soybean fields I saw. The tall, dark green corn was tasseling in many fields, with receptive ear silks awaiting. Most soybeans had canopied and thus fields showed solid dark green.
In all, the crops look excellent. But I was reminded of the story about the Iowa State University agronomist who was invited to appraise farm crops one year. “Well, I have good news and bad news,” he said. “The good news is that the corn and bean fields look like they could produce a record crop. But that’s also the bad news, because a record crop will mean lower prices for corn and beans!”
A radio announcer this morning hauled out the old cliche that with hot nights, “you can hear the corn grow.” Judging by the fields I saw, it’s been noisy in the country a lot this year.
Speaking of farm situations, it is interesting to see the battle between the administration’s Environmental Protection Agency and farm organizations. Projected rules would seem to give the EPA the power to nationalize farming practices, much as the administration already has nationalized medical, financial, insurance and automotive industries.
There used to be a saying that if someone spit into the Upper Iowa River upstream, two days later the river would be at flood stage at the Galena Bridge. Under the proposed EPA rules, the spitter might face a fine.
Speaking of the administration... well, Shakespeare wrote something to the effect that he who steals my purse, steals trash, but he who steals my name steals the very heart of me. But the snarkiness which seeped into me after 36 years of dealing with the public at its best and worst prompts me to comment on the name of the current press secretary for the administration, Josh Earnest. Doesn’t that sort of rank up there with the dentist, Dr. Payne, or the famous law firm of Dewey, Cheatem and Howe?
Anyway, when the press secretary searched around and finally came up with the word “tranquility” when describing the president’s successes in world affairs, the similarity jumped at me. He said the president was responsible for the “tranquility” that exists, which begged the question of where in the ever lovin’ blue eyed world are things tranquil?
Surely, someone in the press corps must have been thinking what I was thinking. “Surely you are joshing? Are you being earnest?”
Admittedly, it’s tough speaking without benefit of script or teleprompter. A Fox reporter this morning was talking about the size of some of the tunnels the Israelis are finding in Gaza. He mentioned the width in inches, then added that “some of them are up to half a foot long.” One suspects he meant half a mile.
And finally, with all the new Latinos to be educated in the nation’s schools, there will certainly be need for more “English as a second language” teachers. A difficult job considering the vagaries of the English language, which continue sometimes to confound even those of us born in the USA. Thought about that this morning when listening to a sports show describing leagues, like the Big Ten, which has twelve members, and the big 12, which has ten members. Care to try to explain that to a nine-year-old Honduran soccer player?

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