Pavlov’s Dogs

By Rep. Krayton Kerns DVM

Regarding animal behavior, the nature versus nurture question remains unanswered.  Recent national headlines, combined with happenings in my veterinary clinic, demonstrate the variation between and within the species.  Consider this:

Case #1:  Wednesday afternoon, a young boy was leash walking his aged Labrador in Laurel’s Thompson Park when a Pit Bull exploded from nowhere and attacked the

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Change of Seasons

By Rep. Krayton Kerns, DVM

Mid-June is my favorite season because calving, branding, bull-testing, snow-plowing, and planting seasons have all passed.  Spring rains have made the hills vibrant green and irrigating season is weeks away.

Life is as good as it gets but, changing from winter to spring pales compared to the glorious exit from Montana’s most foul, detestable, disgusting season of

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Brotherly Love

My west coast grandsons – Will, the instigator, and Wes, the victim – are the oldest and youngest of my mini-Warners. Photo courtesy of Wes and Will’s not-so-protective mother, my daughter, Chelsie Warner.

By Rep. Krayton Kerns DVM

Ponder this: had Cain not killed Abel, but only walloped him hard enough to necessitate a few stitches, would God still have banished

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Fourth Child Syndrome

By Rep. Krayton Kerns, DVM

According to the CDC, the birthrate in America’s 15 to 44-year-olds has plummeted to its lowest level since records began in 1909.  Indoctrination experts are blaming uncertain economic times and concern for the future as the cause.  They are wrong.

Progressive policies have destroyed the family by replacing God and fathers with government programs such as SNAP,

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Real Jobs Versus Snow Jobs

In the early ‘70s, the snow job called global warming had not be invented, so weather was nonpartisan and just viewed as weather.  For example, winter blizzards rendering roads too hazardous for school busses were good, as they allowed my brothers and I to stay home and hunt coyotes on snow machines. Today’s snowflakers do not realize how much government

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Life Will Never be the Same

My mother was born a city kid in Hysham, Montana.  She moved to Sheridan, Wyoming where she met, and later married, her high school sweetheart – the proverbial rich rancher from nearby Parkman.  They spent a few years in California while my father completed his obligations to the United States Navy.  Upon his discharge, an eastern Montana ranch became their

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The Awakening

Because I am a country kid, the Holy Spirit fills my heart with optimism as I watch the sun rise on a spring morning.  The birds are singing, grass is growing, every draw is running water, and baby calves are bucking in the warm sunshine.  God truly blessed me when He made me a Montana cowboy.  It’s not possible for

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Plan B

As a veterinarian, my day is predictably unpredictable, and Wednesday was a doozy.  It began with Boots, a five-year-old English Shepherd who earns his living in a feedlot.  He was salivating profusely and could eat dog food, but was unable to swallow water.   Boots can get cranky, so we sedated him, looked down his throat and snapped skull x-rays before

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Never Forget

Perhaps I am late to this party, but Tuesday evening I discovered a disconcerting change.  The next morning, while running with friends, I mentioned my observation. World history teacher, Lisa, said she noticed my discovery several years earlier.  Later that morning, coworkers at my veterinary clinic, plus cowboys helping me fertility test bulls that afternoon, all agreed the change I

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Frozen

As a kid, profanity was forbidden and especially so in front of Mom. I suffered a language learning disability, so during my early years, my breath smelled like Zest or Lava, depending on the vulgarity of my lip-slip. Back then, Mom did not realize that feeding me soap was damaging my self-esteem, but I have forgiven her. I vividly remember

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Know your target…

Knowing your target is a fundamental rule of gun safety, and there are numerous equally important corollaries based on this principle. Firing wildly into the sky certainly violates this rule, yet this is exactly what leftists are doing to disguise their true target. This quickly brings me to my point.

If you think the ‘March for Our Lives’ protest in D.C.

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American Exceptionalism…

As it is Easter and this is a political column, I will mix religion with politics… controversial subjects best not avoided, and here is why. Political beliefs affect how you spend your time on earth, while your religious beliefs affect how you spend your time in eternity. Both are biggies and deserve discussion, so here we go.

In Romans 13.7, the

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The Tow Strap Experience

 

Because I am frugal, I have parked my pickup and converted the trophy wife’s old car into my ambulatory unit. Clients accustomed to my three-quarter ton are surprised when a smoking, ’05 BMW zips into their corrals. By smoking, I do not mean flashy or fast, but smoking as if on fire because, after 230,000 miles, the old girl has

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Fearing the Unknown…

When I was a kid, our Lake Creek Cow Camp was burglarized, and the perpetrators made off with canned goods, lanterns, sleeping bags, and the butter dish. There was nothing of value in any of our mountain camps, so premium-quality deadbolts and padlocks only guaranteed broken windows. Weenie locks worked best. As a deterrent, my uncle humorously suggested tacking a

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Master Wordsmithing

It was 23 below this morning, and thankfully, my field surgery schedule was blank. Decades back, I was surgically re-plumbing a water belly steer in 40-below temperatures because the farmer’s truck would not start. Every time I reached my bloody hands into the surgical tray, a mix of instruments would freeze instantly to my fingers. Dumping water into the tray

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The Trophy Wife 3.0

New readers in new markets mistakenly think “trophy wife” is a demeaning term. It is not, here being why: When I turned 16 and had access to the family station wagon, I figured I needed a girlfriend. I put the same effort into picking a homecoming date as ranchers do when selecting replacement heifers, so after studying the honor roll

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Unpublished Obituary

Millennials remember the moment they moved out of their parents’ basement, but the truly epic event of their adulting journey occurs the day they discover they will not live forever. Some morning in their forties, they flip open the newspaper and oddly find themselves focusing on the obituary column rather than the sports page. Over time, this becomes a habit,

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More Than a Dream

America’s founders risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for a dream. In a world previously controlled by kings, it was truly exceptional to think our Creator endowed each of us with the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It took eight years and the blood of 25,000 patriots for the dream called America to take

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Sitting in the Shade

One of my favorite Western prints is Gary Carter’s springtime branding scene. In the foreground, safely away from sweating ropers and wrestlers, the artist placed a cowboy seated in the shade of a brace post, enjoying a sweet slice of watermelon. The print is titled, “Hiring You Was Like Three Good Men Leaving.” It makes me chuckle, as this scene

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Sh**holes, Sh**storms, and Sh**lists

Alice, my sister-in-law, is visually challenged without her glasses. This became an issue the day she lost her spectacles down the outhouse hole at our Lodge Grass Cow Camp. Her backup pair was in the valley, so she elected to hop in the pickup and blindly creep off the Big Horns rather than blindly dig through decades of drover droppings.

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The Department of Redundancy Department

I began writing this column early in the winter of 2006, so this marks my 12th year of weekly deadlines. There are times when I face a blank laptop screen completely void of interesting stories or topics. This is one of those times. When I re-read previous writings, I worry they sound dangerously redundant, a concern bouncing around my mind

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Resolve to reject fraud

Rational people view politicians with distrust because everything they do is choreographed to sway voters. Because I am not a politician, I found this characteristic most repulsive in my four terms in Montana’s House, and here is why this is timely.

Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore rode his horse to the polls on election day. Surrounded by journalists, the paint mare

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Great Again

My most memorable New Year’s Eve party occurred when I was 10. My parents were hosting a Pass Creek celebration, and Mom wanted everything just right. Staring across the brown lawn, she said, “I hope it snows enough to cover the dog bones.”

Thirty-six inches later, there was not a dog bone in sight.

This was a ranch community, so there were

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Christmas Plans

This Christmas, I will have all my descendants under one roof, and it will be a merry. My oldest daughter Meagan and her husband Tim are hosting the celebration at their nine-bedroom house south of Great Falls. The Christmas headcount appears to have settled at 44. That sounds larger than it is, as eight of my nine mini-Kimmels are large

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The Naked Truth

Ever since I termed out of the Montana House, I suffer a recurring dream where I am chairing House Judiciary, and during a brief recess, I discover I am not wearing pants. Sometimes my nightmare graciously allows me to sneak out of Room 137 unnoticed, but usually Montanans gathering to speak to the committee suffer shock and awe at my

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… So Far

My first mule team, Amos and Andy, were polished by pulling my chuckwagon dozens of miles following cows to the mountain. Labor intensive jobs are as good for mules as they are for millennials. Amos and Andy eventually expired, so in 2011, I purchased a replacement mule team. This new pair of mature mollies was billed as having been a

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At What Cost?

On December 25, 1776, courageous American patriots struggled to free a country which was but a dream. The mud and many miles of the Continental Army’s three-month retreat had long since rotted the soldiers’ leather boots, so many wrapped their feet in rope and burlap to dull winter’s chill. Weakened by starvation ad with their cause appearing hopeless, they found

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Scoring Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving moved above Christmas as my favorite holiday during my four years of undergraduate studies. My reasons were four.

Reason one: Most universities cancel classes from the day before Thanksgiving through Black Friday, so if I cut class on Monday and Tuesday, I could reward myself with a nine-day vacation. Even though my grades were less than stellar, I felt entitled

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Blurring the Truth

Because I grew up in areas of Montana and Wyoming impenetrable to television signals, my view of the fairer sex suffered little left-wing indoctrination. Being a country kid is a blessing. By the time I went to college, men/women rules—such as ladies first, the gentleman always walking on the street-side of his female companion, and tipping your hat to a

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When push comes to shove…

In my early years, I was employed at a veterinary practice that was suffering management turmoil. While elk hunting in November of 1988, my fireside chats with my buddies focused on adjustments I should make once back at work. However, my smoke-seasoned plans were soon rendered meaningless after all staff veterinarians were offered a 30% pay cut to keep our

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Scavengers

Opening day of big game season found me saddled up and riding in the darkness. I was putting some hard mountain miles on my granddaughter’s new paint and had climbed above timberline by sunrise. My friend Larry and I cut the fresh tracks of a single bull elk meandering to the dense timber on the north face of a neighboring

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Godly Privilege

I feel sorry for NFL players protesting our national anthem. They have swallowed the lie that their plight is due to discrimination, inequality, police brutality, and white privilege. It is NOT racism that shackles the black, brown, and red man; it is socialism… ironically, the very ideology to which they are most loyal. These protests will eventually collapse the NFL,

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Shipping Season

Fall is shipping season. Normally, the Carhartts hanging on a ranch house back porch flavor the air with the aromas of cow manure, wet dog, horse sweat, and diesel fuel, but on shipping day, the wonderful aroma is roast beef, potatoes, and apple pie cooking in the kitchen. I love shipping season. It’s payday for ranchers who, after depleting previous

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The Great Divide

Over the weekend, the trophy wife and I flew to New Hampshire and Maine for marathons #22 and #23. Eastern cities are mostly filled with city kids, and while on vacation, I rarely engage the heavily indoctrinated in an intellectual debate. Instead, I prefer people watching and casual conversations. For example, Friday afternoon we tasted the wares in a Bristol,

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Cow Doctor Gift Giving: Take Three

My oldest granddaughter, Clara, helped trail cattle to the mountains the last two summers, and she is hooked on cowboy life. She wants to follow my footsteps to vet school before owning a ranch, and she is driven and smart enough to get it done. Clara is 14.

Clara on Roscoe

A year ago, Clara became the owner of a gift

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Real Cowboys

Real Cowboys

Real cowboys are rare.  I grew up trailing cows on the family ranch in northern Wyoming, but academics steered me to a career peripheral to the cow business.  Today, I am all hat and no cows.  My older brother stayed on the ranch and lives the life city folk dream about, or used to, because who knows what motivates

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When Adversity Opens Opportunity

Adversity does not create character; it reveals it. This hurricane season has shown that adversity also opens opportunity — good, bad, and sometimes lighthearted. First the good.

In the run up to Irma, essential supplies — such as fuel, food, and water — were rapidly depleted by fleeing citizens. Those staying behind added plywood, batteries, and generators to the list of

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Chewing the Fat

Several years back, we were visiting my son Tyler and his bride Jill in Provo, Utah. Their first baby was up and sucking, so I suggested they replace their flashy Audi sports car with a used mini-van. “Only fat people drive mini-vans,” they shrieked. Ignoring them, I extolled mini-van virtues when we pulled alongside a Ford Aerostar at a stop

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American Spirit

Six years back, my middle daughter felt 11 months pregnant with her first child. As Lyon County Deputy District Attorney, she served several small, rural cities in Nevada, and jailing bad guys required traveling the backroads. As a perk, the county provided her retired patrol cars, so essentially, she was driving the law enforcement version of a ranch pickup minus

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Eclipsing the Truth

The moon recently eclipsed the sun, a novelty which lasts but minutes. Progressives are eclipsing the truth, and the damage will linger for decades. Here is proof. While the GOP struggled with their Obamacare repeal, progressives staged several spontaneous protests choreographed to manipulate public opinion. Amid a drift of whiny snowflakes were two protestors waving professionally printed, yet contradictory signs.

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Motivated by Hate

Our great republic is facing a not-so-civil war with resistors doing anything to destroy Donald Trump. Unlike Barack Obama, who knew every Democrat always had his back, President Trump stands alone in the line of fire. His friends are few. The left hysterically screams he is a racist and a bigot, baseless accusations purposely designed to inflame CNN’s and MSNBC’s

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In the Dog House

In the Dog House

Gift giving means I walk the fine line between living the dream and living in the dog house three times every year. Last December, I mentioned my $60 blender versus the $5,000 beaver blanket Christmas gift dilemma, and with the trophy wife’s birthday and our anniversary both in August, I once again found myself conflicted. For Druann’s

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Burned Twice

With 12% of our Treasure State suffering the drought of the century, over 300,000 acres of central Montana range and timberland has burned. Producers in the Missouri Breaks are a special breed, and today’s column is for those far from the fire line, but whose actions may be the death nail for cowboys struggling to survive the wildfires. Consider what

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Repeal and Replace Progressives

Repeal and Replace Progressives

America’s framers wisely designed rules limiting government power, and public servants pledge their allegiance to this national rulebook when taking their oath of office. Unfortunately, progressives immediately ignore this oath because their policies can only be advanced after destroying these constitutional restrictions. It is neither equality, nor fairness, nor diversity, nor tolerance which makes America great —

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The Dreaded Freshman Fifteens…

With summer slipping away, today’s column focuses on the dreaded freshman 15s. Yes, there are two. Few soon-to-be college freshmen consider the big 15s when pondering their future, but they should. First, I will chew the fat about the 15 with which you are familiar.

I groan when I hear advertisements warning of hungry children in America, knowing the greatest public

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Companionship…

Buckshot was a great bird dog, but his habit of swallowing [k1]odd objects shortened his career. Large rocks were his favorites, and over the years, he gave himself four mini-boulder, bowel obstructions. Every time Buckshot started vomiting, a couple abdominal x-rays quickly confirmed our suspicions. Because boulder blockages rarely correct themselves, Buckshot usually went directly from x-ray to surgery. At

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Pig Lipstick

Because it is nearly fair time, let’s talk about pigs. In Montana’s 2007 legislative session, Representative Roger Koopman dismissed the Judiciary Committee’s efforts to fix a bad bill as being “lipstick on a pig.” It was the first I had heard this expression, but it is decades old. I typically avoid repeating clichés, but this one so fits today’s topic

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Into the Depths

Last weekend, the trophy wife and I completed back-to-back marathons. The first was 26.2 miles along Lake Superior, with the second skirting the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Because I am incredibly compromising, I added one extra day to our trip for the actual tourist stuff the trophy wife insists we do. Doing nothing on purpose, with no objective, for an

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Intentionally Indoctrinating Ignorance

Decades back, I performed a necropsy on a 600-pound feeder steer that dropped dead upon exiting a farmer’s squeeze chute. The owner suspected an anaphylactic reaction to the sulfa boluses he administered, and he wanted confirmation. I sliced the steer open and discovered that he had suffered a lacerated esophagus as a calf and that, over months, a forage-filled pouch

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Great American Resurrection

Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on, America is on track to be great again. For decades, the ruling class secured power by cultivating covetousness and promoting theft. This idolatrous worship of government placed our nation on a path to destruction, but last November, voters flipped positions to embrace the principles upon which our nation was founded. Consistent

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Making America Great Again

I was a country kid raised with rocks and slingshots rather than I-pads, Angry Birds, and Ritalin. Lucky me. Back then, gooseneck horse trailers were rare, so we hauled critters in a Curtis stock rack mounted in the back of our half-ton pickup. This pipe and expanded-metal stock rack was built by Ed Curtis of Colstrip, Montana, and its tail

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Demeaning Dead Soldiers

In 1868, General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed Decoration Day to remember those who died defending “their country during the late rebellion.” Over time, the holiday was renamed Memorial Day to honor battlefield deaths in every military conflict from 1775 to the present day. The idea called America is founded on the truth that God

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Faith, Family, Freedom

The trophy wife and I zipped from Montana through eastern Oregon and back last weekend, and the countryside was green beginning to end. Because I am a country kid, whenever I see baby calves frolicking in the spring sunshine on green rolling hills, framed by snow-capped mountain peaks, I praise our Creator. Spring always sparks enthusiasm, signaling a new beginning

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Flying the Friendly Skies of United

Flying the Friendly Skies of United

United Airlines stepped in it when they dragged a reluctant and bleeding volunteer off their plane under the watchful eye of passengers bearing smart phones. Facebookers had an electronic heyday, and I too jumped on the bandwagon, but rather than the internet, I scribbled United memes on the flipside of my old campaign signs.

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Defending Liberty

We conservatives erroneously relaxed on November 9, thinking a President Trump would steer America in an entirely different direction. We best not drop our swords and shields. Clinton supporters, congressional Democrats, cocktail caucus Republicans, life-long bureaucrats, celebrity twits, BLM activists, and media propagandists were one presidential term away from collapsing our once-great republic into a North American Venezuela, and they

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April Fools' Day

April Fools\’ Day

During normal times, it would be senseless to print an April Fools\’ column the second week of April. These are not normal times. Last Saturday, social media was flooded with imaginative fabrications so preposterous that even the most gullible readers recognized them as fiction. My favorites were the Laurel City Council announcing my hometown was now a

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Battle of the Bulges

Battle of the Bulges

By Krayton Kerns

The original Battle of the Bulge was tagged to Nazi Germany’s 1944 surprise attack on American forces. Today, we are engaged in a battle of two unique, but related bulges: economic and waistlines. Here is the deficit bulge grabbing headlines in the Treasure State: Montana’s Governor Bullock recently suggested closing one of our state-funded colleges

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Repeal and Replace

Repeal and Replace

The Cove Ditch splits my pasture. A couple decades ago, Cenex tunneled an oil pipeline under this ditch and used switch ties to cross the Cove during the construction process. (Standing Rock protesters were in kindergarten at the time, so offered no opinion.) Once this bridge rotted, I poured two large concrete support pads and snaked four massive

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Good Habits

Good Habits

I developed a cattle drive business in the 1990s, and 20 guests trailing 200 cows up the rugged Little Horn Canyon taught me to have absolute control of what I could control because surprises hid behind every rock. Before the first orientation ride, we explained proper saddling and unsaddling procedures. We stressed tying your bridle to the front saddle

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Digital thermometers…

Digital Thermometers…If there was a vet school lecture on assessing health by nasal palpations, I slept through it. When a client informs me his/her dog, cow, cat, or horse can or cannot be running a fever because “his nose is wet” or “his nose is dry,” I quickly steer my examination to the rear end of the critter. The true

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Hysterical Screams…

Hysterical Screams…As a Christian, conservative grandfather, I fear my granddaughter Cora could be a progressive, and here is why. The trophy wife and I have been empty nesters since 2006, so we are accustomed to quiet, winter evenings at home. Our sedate schedule was altered this past weekend when 12 of our grandchildren bunked with us. Because of a friend\’s

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Liberty for Me, but not for Thee

Liberty for Me, but not for Thee Montana Code is thousands of pages, because even constitutionalists demand regulation when their ox is gored. For example, LC2196.01 is a bill draft prohibiting bicycles and pedestrians from traveling the 7,600 miles of state highways lacking a paved shoulder. This safety proposal demonstrates the “liberty for me, but not for thee” syndrome as

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Ramblins

&nbsp;I had an epiphany on Friday as the last cow jammed into the squeeze chute: &ldquo;In real life, sometimes you are the veterinarian, and sometimes you are the cow.&rdquo; &nbsp;<br /><p>At first glance, on Election Day, 11-04-08, it appears that freedom-loving conservatives were the cow. (City folk won&rsquo;t understand that analogy. It&rsquo;s perfectly clear to country people, and since that

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