1 for the money, 2 for the show, 3 to get ready, now go, yak, go


For the last eight years, John and Laura DeMatteis have raised a small herd of yaks on their 300-acre ranch in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. “I needed an ag exemption on my property,” he told the Casper Star-Tribune, “and didn’t want to do cattle, and bison are kind of a pain. So then somebody suggested yaks … and it made perfect sense with my property.” “Perfect” is hardly what the neighboring ranchers would say, though. They’re fed up because the couple’s herd of 15 yaks often goes astray, invading their pastures for weeks at a time, and the ranchers — whose holdings span as many as 10,000 acres — fear the woolly yaks will eat way too much grass and also impregnate their cows. The “lost” yaks were “kind of funny about the first time,” explained Scott Rogers, who owns the T Up T Down Ranch, 10 miles from the Yak Daddy Ranch. “But the fifteenth time it loses its humor.” Rogers and some other ranchers got so fed up that they persuaded Johnson County commissioners to pass an ordinance declaring “yaks at large” to be nuisance animals. But the resolution failed to hold up legally, and a fine of $750 against the yak owners was rescinded. As for DeMatteis, he told reporter Jeremy Pelzer that he’d once again lost track of his yaks: “I know they’re out there somewhere. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. They’ll show up.”

“Elvis impersonator Donald Trapani is about to leave the building,” the Arizona Republic reported, “but not just yet.” Trapani may be dying of lung cancer, but he’s still got the white bell-bottomed, Elvis-signature pantsuit, the black wig, platform heels and sunglasses rimmed with gold, and he loves performing for fellow patients at Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix. All he needs is a karaoke machine to regale long-time fans of the king of rock and roll with familiar songs from the Elvis Presley repertoire. “He wants his voice to ease the journey the dying will soon take,” explained reporter Connie Cone Sexton. Trapani told her that when it’s his time, “it will be the voice of God singing to me. I’ll be listening for my Lord to take me home.”

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