By Blaine Davis Contributing Editor

Enduring the first bitter cold snap of 2024, I have had much cabin time. With all the normal inactivity, my hands have held a snow shovel and my mind has been occupied with social media and television, or aptly called the “boob tube.” Last weekend I stopped my remote on an automotive channel to find an inane subject matter of modifying an all-electric vehicle to make noise like a V-8 powered gasoline-fueled performance car. The gist of this was to install a sound system under the chassis to emit the throaty exhaust sounds ranging from a factory high-output Mustang to that of a Chevrolet Corvette, while the driver can appease their climatic guilt. I asked myself, “What sense did this make? Why not just buy the gasoline-powered vehicle and enjoy the sounds and reliability of a century-old proven mode of transportation.”

Until I saw that, I believed the following scenario was the epitome of uncommon sense: substituting a vegetable burger or a “fake meat” entree to eschew meat. My common sense would say, “Just order a salad.” The rational thinking here should tell you that fresh fruits and vegetables from America’s farms require less processing than that of a laboratory-produced substitute for the meat. Again, the green movement would have us believe that they are saving the planet by eating these factory-produced products and eliminating animal agriculture. I question their direction and where they want to take us, but I do know it’s not to a steakhouse in their electric vehicle rumbling like a Chrysler 392 Hemi.

Resting my snow shovel and my aching back, I turn to news from the state of Colorado. Taking another aim at the beef industry, my neighbors to the west exhibited more uncommon sense by releasing gray wolves back into the state. These were not just any wolves but ones with ominous rap sheets as they were coming from packs that have already killed livestock. Originating in Oregon, all but one of these five wolves along with five others previously released in Grand and Summit counties came from confirmed cattle-killing packs. Even more contrary to common sense, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, the instigator of his public relations fiasco, Meat-Out Day in 2021, was present along with his husband to open the crates releasing the animals in what would be an unusual photo opportunity. But maybe exhibiting some common sense, Polis invited only 45 or so sympathetic attendees with only three reporters and no representatives of the livestock industry to his covert ceremony.

Contrarily, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Technical Working Group’s final recommendations to the agency: “No wolf shall be translocated that has a known history of chronic depredation, and sourcing from geographic areas with chronic depredation events should not occur.”

Agreeing with Greg Henderson’s recent opinion in Drovers, that important tidbit, however, was missing from the news release documenting the wolf release, as was any apparent wolf pardon granted during Polis’ photo opportunity. As the mid-afternoon temperature rises only to a balmy 3 degrees, I am suddenly drawn back to the computer screen and more inane news and the lack of common sense. Just as the cold-cranking amps of my automobile battery is drastically reduced at these temperatures so is the capacity or range of an electric vehicle. More inane than that, reports on the television news reveal electric vehicle batteries won’t even charge at these sub-zero temperatures. My common sense tells me to trust the proven technology of the internal combustion engine as I continue my routine of maintaining my architectural practice, the farm business and pursuing the everyday tasks until the spring thaw.

On Jan. 9, 2024, Greg Henderson wrote of a Tulsa Federal Judge ruling in favor of the Osage Indian Nation against a wind-farm developer and their failure to obtain a mining permit. At question in this case is the Osage owns the subsurface rights to the minerals in the area and the excavation with the underground infrastructure for the wind farm violated their rights. With an estimated cost of $300 million to remove and restore the tallgrass prairie between Pawhuska and Fairfax, my common-sense response to this scenario and other such installations reaching their life expectancy, “Can we depend on the developers to pay the due compensation on moth-balling or decommissioning their installations?

With the early morning temperature registering a negative 10 degrees, I warm up my computer for some better outlooks. Focusing on Nevil Speer’s commentary, again from Drovers, his common sense toward social media says, “Most of it’s poison: I mean you go and scroll through Twitter and everything is sensationalized, everybody’s got some smartass comment, everyone’s got some crazy weather map with a lot of red on it, everyone’s got a yield report that is an outlier from every other yield report to support their opinion of the marketplace.”

Further, Speer expounds more common sense, “A lot of guys trade the markets because it’s fun or they want to speculate or they have an opinion. Ninety-nine percent of the U.S. population has no business ever trading a futures or options contract unless they’ve got a physical position that needs to be hedged. First of all, it’s stressful. You guys are stressed out enough, you don’t need to add more stress. Second, the odds of making money trading futures over the course of time is not very good. Most people who trade, especially small traders, lose money.”

With my television weather person is forecasting a high temperature in the 30s tomorrow, my common sense tells me, it’s not quite the spring thaw, but warmer days are coming. Now if only more common sense would come with it.