The California straw law |

The California straw law

Sometimes I’ve just got to shake my head in wonderment at the legislative antics of the great state of California. For instance, if I’m to believe what I read and hear on the news, in some cities in the Golden State you can get fined $3,000 and go to jail for simply handing out a plastic drinking straw. The fine and penalty is as large as for some gun-related criminal offenses.

So, first I did a little research and found out that plastic straws are a less-than-miniscule .02 percent (two one-hundredths of one percent) of all the plastic manufactured. If true, on face value, California’s legislative panic over plastic straw use would seem a bit extreme.

For me personally, I’d be happy to substitute a paper drinking straw for a plastic one. But, I’d hate to get thrown in the pokey and fined $3,000 simply for giving someone a plastic straw.

If Californians are so bound and determined to make their state a perfectly unadulterated environment by the use of taxes, fines and imprisonment, I’ve got a few suggestions. What should the penalties be for sneezing germs into the environment? I’d say $500 and overnight in the hoosegow is appropriate.

What should the penalties be for a bladder malfunction in the ocean when you see a great white shark while surfing? Oh, my! That has global water quality consequences so I’d suggest a $750 fine and 10 days of community service in Juarez, Mexico.

What should the penalties be for spreading dangerous germs by spitting on the sidewalk? That, too, has global pandemic implications if the wrong germs are spread. I’d suggest that a $1,000 fine and having to spend a week in the company of Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters is a just penance for such an egregious affront to the environment and global health.

I think there’s hardly any end to the creative ways California could raise money to support its efforts to become the “Danger Free State.”


I don’t know what’s happening to the weather pattern here in the heart of the Flint Hills. For instance, I’m writing this column on July 26 and the purple martin flock at Damphewmore Acres left about a week ago. That is two to three weeks earlier than any year before this one.

Also, the mourning doves are congregating in the evenings just like they normally do before migrating south. And, the barn swallows are gathering on the electric lines like they’re getting prepared to migrate. Those birds may hang around until September, like normal, but they sure aren’t acting normal now.

Two days ago the temperature dropped from 100 degrees or more nearly every day down to the mid-80s every day for the next week. This morning it was 59 degrees when I drank my cup of coffee on the deck. I certainly appreciate the cooler, drier weather because our Chase County Fair starts in a couple of days, but it is still not normal to have a cool week at the end of July.

The drought continues unabated and more and more corn is being harvested for silage, rather than for grain.


As I mentioned, our county fair starts soon and I usually have a good selection of garden veggies to enter. This year, the only tomatoes of sufficient quality for exhibition are some yellow small tomatoes and, perhaps, one variety of Roma tomatoes. I’ll probably have two or three varieties of peppers worthy of entering.

I dug one row of early potatoes and that wuz a big disappointment — mostly vines and few potatoes. The late potatoes aren’t ready to dig yet.


I had a few seconds of excitement while gathering the eggs from the hen flock last week. It wuz nearly dark when I reached into a nest and felt something definitely not an egg. In fact, it felt a lot like ….. SNAKE! Needless to say, it didn’t take me long to let go of the serpent. I ran to get a garden hoe, but the few seconds it took allowed the black snake to escape scott free. I must have scared it, too, because I haven’t seen hide, hair or scale of it since.


The horse racing syndicate on Giant Clawsway is complete. The stakeholders include Nick Mairz, breeder and owner; his two granddaughters, Sweet P. Nutt and Bea A. Winner; Avery Ware, Willie Wynn, Betson Wagers and yours truly.

Giant Clawsway is currently at his first trainer, ol’ Gettys A. Tension. In mid-August he goes to Murchison, Texas, to get more pre-race schooling from ol’ Trey Nimm. If the colt holds together and eventually gets to the race track, he’ll be trained and handled by ol’ Ray Simm.

That’s the team. Hope to see you at the Kentucky Derby in two years.


Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the rural church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence and distance.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member and prominent farmer, of being an alcoholic after she saw his new fancy pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank, (and several others), that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing! Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny. He simply said nothing. Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his fancy pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home … and left it there all night.


That’s a fine story with a moral to it. Here’s your words of wisdom for the week: Health experts advise that walking every day adds minutes to your life. Those valuable minutes saved enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional five months in an assisted living facility at $7,000 per month.

Think about that and have a good ‘un. ❖

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