Mason County News
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011 • Posted October 5, 2011

Several years ago a fellow sent me a newspaper clipping, which he had cut right out of a newspaper somewhere, with scissors or something. It was a story about some guy in Colorado (I think it was Colorado) who had invented what he called a ‘giant gopher sucking vacuum.’ I remember writing a column about it, so I could probably find the details in my computer somewhere. But that would be almost like research, which is almost like work, so I’ll pass.The important thing is that ‘giant gopher sucking vacuum’ would make a great name for a rock band, about a bajillion times better than ‘electric light orchestra.’ Nobody wants to listen to an orchestra. Nobody cool, anyway.But when Patrick Wentworth recently sent me a story written by Josh Huntsman for The Spectrum, which is evidently a Utah newspaper, I was reminded of the giant gopher sucking vacuum. Which is apparantly what the people in Cedar City need right now, more even than they need a rock band. Cedar City is overrun with prairie dogs.Now, the giant gopher sucking vacuum is a huge vacuum, and what it does is it sucks gophers, and probably other little critters, right out of their holes in the ground. Maybe you could have guessed that just from the name, giant gopher sucking vacuum, but I figure it’s best to be clear on stuff like that, because I get mail from people you wouldn’t believe. If I left the explanation out I would hear from someone who would ask all kinds of questions, primarily, “What is a giant gopher sucking vacuum? And what does it do? Huh?”You may think I’m making these people up. I am not. I once wrote a story in which I said that when people climbed Mt. Everest, their friends could drive up the road to the top and pick them up. I got a letter from a fellow who wanted to point out to me that I was WRONG, there was NO ROAD to the top of Mt. Everest. And you know, I checked, and the guy was RIGHT. But he was off his MEDICATION.Another time I wrote that I had shot down the Red Baron during the first Gulf War. A fellow from a nearby town wrote and asked me how I did that since, in the same column, I mentioned that I was not a pilot. Note that he did not tell me the Red Baron, Manfred von Richthofen, was killed during WWI, or that he would have been about a hundred years old during the first Gulf War, if he was still alive. So I told him I shot down the Red Baron with an M16. And he was OK with that.Anyway, from this story Patrick sent me, I found out that the folks in Cedar City have formed a new organization called PETPO, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners. PETPO would definitely not make a good name for a rock band, but I think this group should have been formed a long time ago. And I’ll tell you why.The EPA. That’s why.The Environmental Protection Agency started out with a noble cause, and for a long time it did good things, like cleaning up rivers and getting rid of Suzanne Summers, and stuff like that. It was formed in 1970, and was actually Richard Nixon’s idea, and was probably a better idea than Spiro Agnew, but there you go.Now, of course, the EPA has grown to 18,000 full-time employees, and has gotten way too big for its britches. It harrasses regular folks trying to make a living, pushes insane legislation like the Dust Act that will go into effect in 2012, and protects animals that should be shot. And as far as I can tell it’s doing nothing about the likes of Justin Beeber or Kayne West.PETPO is hoping to raise awareness that there are more prairie dogs than you can shake an EPA employee at, and protecting them is stupid, and the USFWS should relocate them or something if they don’t want them killed. Which would be possible with the giant gopher sucking vacuum. Not that PETPO mentioned the giant gopher sucking vacuum. I’m just saying.Now, I’m not advocating relocation, because it’s a lot more fun just to shoot the little blighters. I think the Utah Fish & Wildlife people should put a bounty on them, maybe give away a free pair of Mormon underwear for each prairie dog turned in or something. Matter of fact, I was in Utah recently, and it’s beautiful country, so I might be persuaded to go back and pop a few dogs myself, with a little incentive.While they’re at it they should pass a law that makes it legal to door ding EPA employees’ cars in parking lots, and play loud music when you drive by their houses, and stuff like that. Harrassment goes both ways, you know.Or better yet, maybe they could pass a law that, in order to work for the EPA, you would have to prove you can tie your own shoes and zip your own pants. The agency would fall apart overnight.But that wouldn’t work, either. If they did that, all those unemployed EPA people would have more time to write me letters . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who KNOWS it’s the ESA that protects prairie dogs, and not the EPA. And he thinks that should be abolished, too. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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