November 7, 2009
Civic Center of Greater Des Moines

Des Moines, IA

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The Lives of the Cowboys

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( THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS....brought to you by Santa Barbara Brand Saddle Seat Belt —holds you safely in the saddle, even with severe bucking. It's the only seatbelt with a holster. And now today's exciting adventure.
                
(HORSES, PASSING TRAFFIOne)

GK: Iowa State Fairgrounds, Dusty. One of the greatest fairs in America. Had a beautiful pork sandwich here one summer.

TR:  So when are these fellows from the Corn Commission supposed to come around?

GK:  Any time.

TR: And they got a job for us?

GK: Yep. 

TR:  What kind of job we looking for?

GK:  Something with a high salary and low expectations.

TR:   Something in the management field, then.
GK:  I'll be the executive director. You're my administrative assistant.  

TR:  How about I'm the executive director?

GK:  Administrative assistant is a more important position. You run the copier and make coffee and send off a FedEx package and you get to read everyone's mail. Executive director just has to “be nice to people you don't like”—

TR:  Hmmm. (HAWKS, SPITS)

GK: And you can't executive direct and spit at the same time.

TR:  No spitting?

GK: Executive directors can't spit. They have to swallow.

TR:  Guess I'll be an administrative assistant then.

GK:  Good choice.

(FOOTSTEPS)


FN:  Excuse me there. Could I interest you gentlemen in this llama chamois. Only got a few left over from the Iowa State Fair.  Made entirely from llama hide, natural llama hide— feel that— soft? Right?  the llama chamois gets any glass surface absolutely clean. Absorbs better than paper towels. Once you use the llama chamois, you'll never go back. Now today and today only I am offering the llama chamois for  $9.99, or nine chamois for eighty-nine-ninety-nine.

TR: Sorry. Got no money. We're broke.

FN:  And there's more.  The llama salami, low-fat, high in protein, very tasty. And the llama pajamas -- oh, they're cozy!  And the llama Kama Sutra, 27 photographs, it's all right there. How about it?

GK:  We're flat broke, mister.

FN: I could come down on the price.

GK: (STRUMS) Good luck to you.

TR: You sure they said to meet us here?

GK: The folks from the Farmers Corn Commission?

TR:  Maybe they meant some other part of the fairgrounds.

GK:  I don't think so.
TR: I'm gonna go have a look around—

GK: Okay. (SINGS):

Des Moines, O Des Moines
It's the pork tenderloin
        Grilled or breaded
              Or baked and shredded
              Even New Yorkers can't wait to retoin
              To that sweet pork pie O what
Pleasures in Iowa
        There in Des Moines.

TR (PROFESSOR): Excuse me? Sir?

GK: Yes sir?

TR: You wouldn't happen to be from the Writers Almanac, would you?  My name is Slade. Slade Thompson. I'm from the Iowa Writers Workshop. I've got a poem here.

GK: Oh. Well, I'm only the administrative assistant with the Writers Almanac. The executive director makes all the decisions.

TR: Yeah, this buddy of mine said it's a good poem, so I've got it right here.

GK: Uh huh. And you're probably just about to read it to me, aren't you—
TR:  Yeah.

GK: I thought so.

TR:  Is that a problem? It's short. 

GK:  Well, there's that to be said for it. Go right ahead. 

TR:          
I leave home to go sit by the driveway
My life is worthless to me
As this wrench, this posthole digger,
And then suddenly a wet brown leaf
Drifts down and sticks to my face
Like a gob of cold phlegm from the gray sky.
      
GK: Uh huh. What's the title?

TR:  Cold Phlegm

GK:  Okay. Not a good day for you, uh?

TR:  When? Today?

GK: Whenever you wrote the poem.

TR:  Wrote it last night.

GK:  Aha. Feeling better now?

TR:  Not really.

GK:  Okay. Well, we'll get that on the air as soon as possible. (FOOTSTEPS OFF)

TR:  Thanks.                       
   
SS:  Excuse me— you must be the cowboy I was talking to on the phone yesterday.

GK: Yes, ma'am. I'm the executive director and this fellow coming from over there is my administrative assistant.

SS: Well, I'm Debbie Moinihan and this is Bill Butz.

FN: Bill W. Butz.

SS: We're with the F.C.C. The Farmers Corn Commission.
(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

GK: They're here, Dusty.

TR: The corn commission people—

GK: Right, this is my assistant, Dusty — Debbie Moinihan and Mr. Butz.

FN: Bill W. Butz.


SS: Let me get right to the point, fellas. Iowa is built on corn. 

FN: We raise more corn than any other state in the U.S..

SS: About two and a half billion bushel.

FN:  At  4.35 a bushel, that's almost eleven billion dollars from corn alone.

SS: There's a nice federal subsidy too, about a hundred dollars an acre. But never mind.

FN: Here's the problem right here. Corn is bad for you.

SS: Very bad. High fructose corn syrup — we pump it out of Des Moines in a pipeline. Goes to Chicago and then south.  Corn syrup is in everything. And it turns to fat. Hard on your heart. Raises your blood pressure. And it shuts down the part of the brain that tells you to stop eating. It's as bad as alcohol.

FN: Basically, our economy is based on selling poison.

SS: So here's where you come in— when you feed corn to cows and pigs, it makes for more saturated fat than in grass-fed livestock.

FN: Cows are  designed to digest grass, not corn.  When they eat corn, it makes them bloated and gassy.
SS: And they're more likely to produce the deadly E. coli bacteria, and more likely to fart. Huge amounts of methane. And cow farts carry this deadly bacteria.

TR: So that's why you carry those gas masks.

FN: Exactly right.

SS: So here's where you cowboys come in— we'd like you to start up a grazing operation— take our livestock for a walk so we can advertise them as grass-fed.

GK: Well, aren't you concerned about your kids? Your families? Inhaling e-Coli in cow flatulence?

FN: They all live in Minneapolis. Upwind of Iowa.

GK: Let me ask you this— you guys eat beef or pork?

SS: Nope. We're strictly vegetarian. 

GK: So how much you paying us per day in the saddle inhaling methane?

SS:  A thousand dollars a week.

TR:  Gimme a gas mask. When do I start?

FN: Right away.

TR (IN GAS MASK): (INCOMPREHENSIBLE GIBBERISH)

GK: No gas mask for me. I will ride out in front of the herd and my administrative assistant will bring up the rear.

TR (INCOMPREHENSIBLE GIBBERISH)

SS:  Thanks so much — bye. (FOOTSTEPS)

GK:  Well, Dusty, looks like it's gonna be a lucrative winter. Just make sure you don't light a match.

FN: Howdy there— Say, if you buy the chamois, pajamas, salami, Kama Sutra and the tooth whitener, the whole llama-rama, you get a raffle ticket to win a trip to the Bahamas. Plus this recording of Brahms played on a shawm. (SFX) 

GK:  You're pretty handy with that shawm, mister, but we're cowboys. Not interested in llamas.

FN:  Okay— this whole package including the chamois, pajamas, salami, Kama su, tooth whitener, and raffle ticket.  For you, a special price: eleven dollars. That's it.

GK: Mister, we've only got a couple bucks between the two of us.

 

FN: Fine, no problem,  sell you the llama chamois and pajamas and a raffle ticket to win six weeks at the Alabama School of Drama. All for two bucks.

GK: Sorry. Try us again in a month or two.

TR (INCOMPREHENSIBLE GIBBERISH)

GK: You look good in a gas mask, Dusty. Sort of like a giant grasshopper. (FART) Step away, Dusty. That way. (TR INCOMPREHENSIBLE GIBBERISH)
GK; (STRUMS)

GK (SINGS):

Sitting here and sipping my corn syrup
And thinking, my sweet someone of you,
And wishing we were dining at a café
On a corn-fed porterhouse for two
It's bad for your heart
And it makes you fart
And it turns your blood to Elmer's Glue

(FOOTSTEPS)

TR: I'm back.

GK: Mr. Thompson.

TR:  You pay money for poems on the Writers Almanac?
GK: Money? For poems? Of course. We pay ten thousand a poem and a ten percent bonus for the phlegm.  (FART)

TR: Who's the guy in the bug suit?

GK:  He's the executive director.

TR:  He's got the money?

GK: Just walk over and ask him for it. (LONG FART)

TR:  Wow. (HE COUGHS AND CHOKES) How about you send me a check?

GK: We'll do that. (LONG LOW FART)

SS:  THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS... brought to you by the Wild Bill Brand Feed Bag.  When you have to eat in a rush and you don't want to know what it is you're eating, try the Wild Bill Brand Feed Bag.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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