DECEMBER 2019

DECEMBER   2019
Please, Have a Merry. Please. Oh, and get rid of the Orange Jerk!

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

BY ANY OTHER NAME

I can think of no more misbegotten group of failures and frauds and grief stricken dullards than the men who collectively are responsible for one of the most vital and fundamental inventions of the modern world. But I have to wonder, if we called it something else, would it have become so ubiquitous in today's human universe?  I doubt it. A rose may be a rose by any name, but the subject of this essay...if it had been called anything else it might not have made it down this tortured path to fame and ubiquity. 
It all started with a Parisian named Barthelmy Thimonnier, who invented the sewing machine in 1830. I know, you think it was invented by Elias Howe, but that is because Elias Howe was a “patent troll”, an opportunist and a liar.And because, in 1840, a mob of French "Luddiet" tailors broke into Thimonnier’s factory, smashed his machines, burned the factory down and almost lynched Barthelmy.   With his investment left smoldering, Barthelmy died flat broke and forgotten in 1857.  But first he had invented the sewing machine.  The vacuum he left behind was filled by the American Walter Hunt, who was a mechanical genius and a business boob from upstate New York. Walter invented the safety pin, U.S, patient #6281, and a repeating rifle, and a bicycle and a road sweeper. And then, in 1834, he improved on Thimonnier’s sewing machine.What Walter Hunt actually invented was a sewing needle with the hole - aka, the eye - at the pointy end. As the needle pushed through the cloth the eye carried the thread with it. When the needle stopped it formed a loop in the thread behind it, and a second thread (from the bobbin) was pushed through the loop. The needle was then withdrawn, pulling the loop tight or “locking” it, around the bobbin thread. This “Lockstitch” was sheer genius and a brilliant insight.  But Hunt never did anything with it because he didn’t want to be lynched by American tailors and he was safely making plenty of money from his safety pin. And that opened the door for Elias Howe.Elias Howe told at least two versions of how he "invented" the sewing machine. In the sympathetic version he spent hours watching his poor wife (since dead, and unavailable to testify) support her family doing piecemeal sewing work . In the Freudian version, Howe dreamed about Indians shooting arrows through a blanket.  In fact, both stories were pure horse manure.
In fact Howe had been a mechanic repairing looms in a textile mill, before he started living off his wife's sewing abilities, and that is where he learned all about shuttles and bobbins, and probably saw a version of Hunts sewing machine needle. Like a loom, Howe’s sewing machine, patient #4750 (above)  granted in 1846, fed the cloth in vertically and the needle and bobbin worked horizontally. Because of this uncomfortable assembly, Howe’s sewing machine worked , sort of, but it was so clumsy that Howe couldn’t find anybody to buy it. He never made a dime selling his actual invention.Then in 1850 Howe saw a demonstration of a machine which did work, built by a mechanic and an actor and one of the most foul-tempered bigamists in antebellum America, Mr. Isaac Singer. Singer’s sewing machine put the needle vertical and fed the cloth in horizontally, which made the whole thing functional. But Howe noticed that Singer had 'borrowed' his lockstitch, which you may remember Hunt had actually invented but never patented.   Anyway,  when Howe demanded $25,000 in “royalties” (i.e. blackmail).  One of Singer’s long suffering business partners observed that, “Howe is a perfect humbug. He knows quite well he never invented anything of value.” Singer was typically more direct, offering to “kick (Howe) down the steps of the machine shop.” What eventually made Howe a wealthy humbug was his patent for Mr. Hunt's lockstitch. As a magazine at the time noted, Howe had “litigated himself into fortune and fame.” But then this story is not about the sewing machine.This story is about another patent Elias Howe trolled for, this one granted him in 1851. And just like his sewing machine, Howe’s patent for an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure” did not work. And just like his sewing machine, rather than improve it, he just filed it away and waited to see if anybody else ever fixed it. But, since nobody else made his ugly and clumsy device work during his lifetime, Howe had nobody to sue and the device remained an obscure little footnote. And people continued to live with the original “Clothing Closure” device, the button.Originally Whitcomb Judson was not interested in replacing the button. This rather odd man liked to eat bananas and mushrooms because he thought the mushrooms gave him psychic powers. Judson’s “mushroom visions” told him was going to get rich designing pneumatic street cars. He was  granted 14 patents for them, They were a mode of transport described rather unhelpfully in his advertising as “…a screw, but without a thread; and this screw though always revolving in one direction, will send the (trolley) cars in either direction, and do this by a pure and simple rolling and not a sliding friction..” It sounded mysterious and magical and overly complicated, and was actually used briefly in England in 1864 to transport tourists 600 yards between Waterloo and Whitehall underground stations.  But Judson’s railway went nowhere in America. So, in 1893, as a back up invention, he marketed his patent #’s 504038 and 504037 as a “claps lock” for ladies high button shoes, and “…wherever it is desired to detachable-ly connect a pair of adjacent flexible parts.”  Juson was clearly no writer.Mr. Judson explained that “...each link of each chain (4 links per inch) is provided both with a male and a female coupling part…”. But sadly this coupling had a tendency to pop open, leaving the lady in question barefoot on the public way. So, in 1896, Judson added “….a cam-action slider…” to his invention, now calling it his “C-curity Fastener”. The company he formed to exploit the C-curity (The Universal Fastener Company) did well, and the gilled fungi lover was making money, but he never got as rich as he had expected. It was a shame the mushrooms never warned Judson about the dangers of eating too many mushrooms because Judson died of liver failure in 1909.And that brings us to the dull Mr. Otto Frederick Gideon Sundback, a Swiss emigrant to Canada, working as an electrical engineer for the Universal Fastener  Company, and married to the plant manager’s daughter, Elvira.   In 1911 Elvira died, and to distract himself from his grief Gideon started fiddling with Judson's “C-curity Fastener”. He added more teeth (the male coupler), ten to an inch, and widened the slider, and then he realized he could do away with the couplers entirely. All he needed was the teeth and the slider. Gideon called his invention the “'Separable Fastener”. It was granted  Patent # 1219881, in 1917. Gideon even designed a machine to mass produce his fastener. But it remained a curious thing, attracting very little attention except on ladies hi-button shoes...  Until!In 1923, Mr. B.F. Goodrich saw the new fasteners used on a pair of rubber galoshes his company was trying to sell the U.S. Army.   B.F. was delighted, and in demonstrating the new rubber boots he told an employee to “Zip ‘er up.”  And thus was born the onomatopoeia of the new invention, the name that sounds like the sound the Separable Fastener makes when it is used; the zipper. And the world has been a better place ever since.
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Friday, December 21, 2018

TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT

I keep looking at her face, and honestly, I just don't see whatever it was that captured his heart. They had the ultimate Age of Enlightenment cute-meet, but where he was a 38 year old endlessly curious bon vivant sociable genius, a doctor, a scientist and a poet, she had few friends and her only interest was religion. Her father, Anthony Kingscote, must have thought that at 27 his eldest daughter had long ago missed her chance to find a husband. And Catherine's plain face and down turned mouth (above)  hints that she had come to same conclusion. And then on a fair September afternoon, his balloon landed in a meadow near her home, and two years later she married one of the greatest men – ever - the man responsible for saving hundreds of millions of lives by applying the scientific method to an obvious problem. Clearly Catherine must have had a secret appeal. And Edward Jenner was smart enough to recognize it. Well, they also say opposites attract.
Edward Jenner had a few advantages. He was born wealthy, but not so rich he didn't have to work for a living, just rich enough he never cared more about money than about people. He never patented his great discovery, because he didn't want to add his profit to the cost of saving lives. And maybe that was Catherine's influence. And maybe it was the humanity he'd always had. And maybe it was because when he was still a child, his own father had inoculated him against small pox.
The two most deadly diseases in the 18th century were the Great Pox (syphilis) and the Small Pox (Variola – Latin for spotted). Reading the genetic code of Variola hints it evolved within the last 50,000 years from a virus that infected rats and mice, and then moved on to horses and cows and then finally people. It disfigured almost all of its human victims, leaving their features scared and pockmarked, even blinding some survivors. It killed half a million people every year – and 80% of the children who were afflicted. The chink in Variola's protein armor was that it had evolved into two strains, one which preferred temperatures of around 99 degrees Fahrenheit before it stated dividing, and the second which preferred something closer to 103 degrees.
They called the lesser of these two evils the cow pox, and sometimes the udder pox, because that was where the blisters often showed up on infected milk cows. And it was the young women whose job it was to milk the cows who were the only humans who usually contracted the cow pox. They would suffer a fever, and feel weak and listless for a day or two, and, in sever cases have ulcers break out on their hands an arms. But recovery was usually rapid and complete, and there was an old wife's tale that having once contracted cow pox, the women would then never suffer the greater evil of smallpox. It was mucus from a cow pox ulcer which Richard's father had applied to his son's open flesh, in the belief it would somehow protect him from smallpox.
The working theory behind this idea was first enunciated by the second century B.C. Greek doctor, Hippocrates. Its most succinct version was “Like cures like.” Bitten by a rapid dog? Drink a tea made from the hair of the dog that bit you, or pack the fur into a poultice pressed against the wound. The fifteenth century C.E. Englishman, Samuel Pepys, was advised to follow this theory by drinking wine to cure a hangover. “I thought (it) strange,” he wrote in his diary, “but I think find it true.” And in 1765 London Doctor John Fewster published a paper entitled “Cow pox and its ability to prevent smallpox.” But he was just repeating the old wife's tale, and offered no proof of his own. So the idea was out there. It only waited for someone smart enough to put the obvious to a scientific test.
In early May of 1796, Sarah Nelms a regular patient of Edwards, and “a dairymaid at a farmer's near this place”, came in with several lesions on her hand and arm. She admitted cutting her finger on a thorn a few weeks previous, just before milking Blossom, her master's cow. Upon examining both Sarah and Blossom Edward diagnosed them both as suffering from the cow pox. And he now approached his gardener, Mr. Phipps, offering to inoculate ( from the Latin inoculare, meaning “to graft") his 8 year old son James, against small pox. The gardener agreed, and on May 14th Edward cut into the healthy boy's arm, and then inserted into the cut some pus taken directly from a sore on Sarah Nelm's arm.
Within a few days James suffered a slight fever. Nine days later he had a chill and lost his appetite, but he quickly recovered. Then, 48 days after the first inoculation, in July, Edward made new slices on both of James' arms, and inserted scrapings taken directly from the pustules of a smallpox victim. And this time what should have killed him did not even give the child a fever. Nor did he infect his two older brothers, who shared his bed. Over the next 20 years James Phipps would have pus from a small pox victims inserted under his skin twenty separate times. And not once did he ever contract the disease. He married and had two children. And when Edward Jenner died, James was a mourner at his funeral. The original boy who lived did not pass away until 1853, at the age of 65.
Edward Jenner coined the word vaccine for his discovery, from the Latin 'vacca' for cow, as a tribute to poor Blossom, whose horns and hide ended up hanging on the wall of London's St George's medical school library. And that was the whole story, but, of course it wasn't, because it wasn't that simple, because nothing is that simple - certainly not the immune response system developed on this planet over the last four billion years.
Edward duplicated his procedure with nine more patients, including his own 11 year old son, and then wrote it all up for the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge. And those geniuses rejected it. They refused to publish it because they thought his idea was too revolutionary, and still lacked proof. So Edward, convinced he was on the right track, redoubled his efforts. When he had 23 cases and the Society still refused to publicize his work, Edward self published, in a 1798 pamphlet entitled “An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ, Or Cow-Pox”
By 1800, Edward Jenner's work had been translated and published world-wide. And a few problems were revealed. There was a small percentage of patients who had an allergic reaction at the vaccination sites, and eventually it would be decided not to inoculate children, as their immune systems were not yet strong enough to resist the cow pox. And without a fuller understanding of how the human immune system functioned, it was impossible to know “to a medical certainty” (to use legal jargon) how the vaccine would affect specific groups of patients. Still, the over all reaction was so positive that Edward was surprised by the reaction of the people he called the “anti-vaks”.
Opposition became centered on the Medical Observer, a supplemental publication by the daily newspaper, The Guardian. After 1807, and under editor Lewis Doxat, it condemned Jenner's introduction of a “bestial humour into the human frame”, and in 1808 its readers were assured they should not presume “When the mischievous consequences of his vaccinating project shall have descended to posterity...Jenner shall be despised.” Edward was even accused of spreading Small pox, for various evil reasons. The argument presented from the pulpit was that disease was the way God punished sin, and any interference by vaccination was “diabolical”. Under this barrage the percentage of vaccinated children and adults in England still climbed up to around 76%. But without 100% protection the Variola survived, and in January of 1902 there was yet another outbreak in England that killed more than 2,000 people.
About 500 million human beings world wide died of Smallpox after Edward Jenner introduced his vaccine. But the last victim was Rahima Banu, a 2 year old girl in Bangladesh, in 1975. At 18 she married a farmer named Begum, and they gave birth to four children (her again, below). And each of her children is living proof that while religion may save souls, science saves lives.
The scientists working for the World Health Organization issued a report on 9 December, 1979, which announced, “...the world and its people have won freedom from Smallpox.” Variola was extinct, wiped out to the last living cell, by the dedication of scientists and those working under their guidance. It was, as Jenner himself wrote after the first successful eradication on Caribbean islands, “I don’t imagine the annals of history furnish an example of philanthropy so noble, so extensive as this.”
His dear Catherine died of Tuberculosis in 1815, and Edward followed her in January of 1823. And for his life – and her's – we all owe a great debt. He was like the bird in his poem “Address to a Robin”: “And when rude winter comes and shows, His icicles and shivering snows, Hop o'er my cheering hearth and be, One of my peaceful family: Then Soothe me with thy plaintive song, Thou sweetest of the feather'd throng!”
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

GOING TO SEE THE ELEPHANT

I want to tell you something about fame and fortune. They beat the heck out of obscurity and poverty. As proof I give you the life of the “fearless frogman”, Paul Boyton, the Victorian era’s Esther Williams and a newspaper editor’s dream. He lived on adrenaline and publicity. One commentator described him as having a  “…gift for gab, lust for life, and the pluck to take great calculated risks.” And his life reads like that of a comic book adventure hero.
During the American Civil War Paul joined the U.S. Navy. He was just 15. Then he formed a life saving service on the New Jersey coast, and pulled 71 swimmers back from the brink of death. Fifty years before the first swimmer made it, Paul paddled across the English Channel while floating in an inflatable rubber survival suit. He met Queen Victoria and floated down most of the rivers of Europe. The Italians labeled him “L’uomo pesce” – the fish man. The government of Chile charged him with espionage. He wrote two autobiographies. He was a star in P.T. Barnum’s traveling circus. His image was used to sell cigars, calendars, music and playing cards – so many items that a new word had to be invented to describe his popularity; “Boyton-mania”. For some thirty years the “Captain”, as his friends called him, was the most famous man in the world. And ultimately, like all the other great forces of nature, Paul Boyton came to Coney Island.
In 1895, when Paul Boyton stepped off the train from Chicago, his sly but unapologetic mustache was still brown. But at 48, he was getting too old to risk his life four times a day for ten cents a ticket. But Paul had arrived in Coney Island with a new idea, something he had developed at the Chicago Colombian Exposition, in 1893. It was to be called an “Amusement Park”.
It is human nature to be attracted to novelty. And after the Civil War, as the population of New York City approached 3 ½ million, the occupants began to look for a way to escape, at least for a few hours.
Steam powered rail lines spread out from the city, carrying the wealthy to summer mansions and genteel racing tracks on the Long Island sea shore.
Luxury hotels sprang up in Brighton and Manhattan Beaches to house their middle class pretenders. The imitative working masses followed, and were transported at 35 cents a head by excursion boats from the Manhattan docks or the newly electrified rail lines from Brooklyn, (or “Breukelen” in the original Dutch).
In the spring of 1884, James Lafferty spent $65,000 to build a hotel on the empty stretch of sand known as Coney Island, just across Surf Avenue from the boat pier and the railroad terminals. When finished, four months later, the wooden and tin inn stood seven stories tall and was constructed in the shape of an elephant.
To enter you climbed a stairwell in a rear leg to reach the reception desk in the abdomen. Visitors could get an elevated elephant’s eye-view of the ocean for a penny. For the price of a full night's stay, a guest could sleep in the Shoulder Room, the Throat Room, the Stomach Room, or any of the other 27 bedrooms. The unusual structure quickly became an icon on Coney Island, a landmark, and people traveled all the way from Manhattan to be able to say they had “gone to see the elephant”.
But financially the hotel was a disaster. Within a few years Lafferty was forced to sell his poisonous white pachyderm of a public house to a Philadelphia syndicate. And the new owners were willing to switch to a more iconic business model.
The Elephant Hotel was converted into a bordello. And “going to see the elephant” acquired an entirely new and iconic meaning. Still, it was a long train ride when you could “see the beast” a lot closer to home and save the 35 cents. So by the time the Captain arrived, although the Elephant hotel was still open, it was on its last legs.
Paul Boyton was attracted by the 16 cheap acres directly behind the failing hotel (the above photo was taken from the Elephant's butt). There Paul  erected the greatest innovation so far in entertainment history; a fence - with a ticket booth at one end. By selling general admission tickets to his “Sea Lion Park”, which opened on Thursday, July fourth, 1895, Boyton kept his customers captive so he could sell them food and drink all day long, pulling in around $1,000 a day during the 90 day long season. And curiosity about the elephant behind the fence kept the customers lined up at the ticket booth.
Several times a day Boyton himself would appear to demonstrate his rubber suit, and to feed four dozen hungry sea lions in the park’s central lagoon. The performance was described by the Lubin film studios, who were selling a 30 second Kinetoscope of the show to nickelodeon operators, as “a decided novelty”. Once the pinnipeds were sated, the “Shoot-the-Chutes” took over the lagoon.
Designed originally by Thomas Polk, for Boyton’s Chicago exhibition, it was a short but exciting ride. A flat bottomed boat was released at the top of a long ramp. Near the bottom, the ramp curved upward. This sent the boat and its passengers skipping across the lagoon. When the boat slowed, the on board operator would then pole the boat to the landing. The passengers would be unloaded, before a cable pulled the boat back to the top of the ramp for the next joy ride.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXqeLGnP6wY
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In addition, inside the fence Boyton had the “Flip Flap Railroad”. This was a two seat two car roller coaster, and the first in the world to feature a complete 360 degree 25 foot tall loop. It was also the first to explore the physics of inverted amusements. Unfortunately the loop contained a minor design flaw. It was perfectly circular. And it turns out that this perfection delivered 12 g’s to the passenger’s necks, equal to the maximum endured by the astronauts during a space launch. The unprepared customers, sitting upright, suffered whiplash, blackouts, headaches, nausea, tunnel vision, and loss of balance for hours afterward, not the mention the joy of losing your lunch at thirty-five miles an hour while upside down. People paid just to watch the more adventuresome ride through the loop of the “Flip Flap”, but because of injuries the amusement did not last into the Park’s second season.
That year, to replace the nausea loop, Boyton added a mill ride and cages of live wolves. But at the end of that second season the park lost its landmark. On the Sunday night of 27 September, 1896, the abandoned Elephant Hotel burned to the sand. Three years later, Boyton bought the property and replaced the elephant with a large ballroom. But he simply could not afford to add new rides year after year. And that was required to keep the curiosity level high enough to bring repeat customers behind the fence.
The breaking point for Paul arrived in 1902. That summer saw 70 days of cold rain out of a season just 92 days long. Business at Sea Lion Park that horrible summer has been described as "macabre". Over the winter Boyton was easily convinced to lease the park for 25 years to competitors, Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy.
They renamed the 16 acres “Luna Park”, built palaces and lit the place with electric lights (still a novelty to most people, even in New York City). And with that, Paul Boyton retired from the limelight.
But his idea was developed by others, and soon Coney Island became crowded with amusement parks, fence touching fence, each competing with its neighbors for the customer’s nickels and dimes. Albert Bigalow Paine described Coney Island as where “the cup of gaiety and diversion overflows.” Thousands still went to the beach to frolic in the surf for free. But the high roller coasters, the parachute rides, the Ferris wheels and the joyful screams of patrons were a constant temptation for those masses to spend the quarter and go to “see the elephant” behind the fence.
Having spent half his life on such a quest, Paul Boyton was no longer curious enough to look. He bought a small home in Brooklyn and died in relative obscurity in 1924. He was 77 years of age. By then his invention had been passed on to future generations, who continued to build fences around elephants. You, see in the entertainment industry, the profit is all in the fence.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

DOES YOUR COW POINT NORTH

I am certain that some will think this story is much a moo about nothing. But I think it behooves us to consider the implications of what at first blush seems like a simply grazy observation. Zoologists Sabine Begall and Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany have made the startling discovery that at any given instant on any given day, two out of every three cows standing in fields all over the earth have steered themselves along North-South magnetic lines, as if they were over sized leather covered compass needles. We don’t yet know for certain if they are headed for the North Star or aiming their dairy-airs south, but we now know that those of us with frontal mental lobes, single chambered stomachs and just two teats apiece have been missing the meat of this story for the last 10,000 years.
The word “cow” derives from the Latin word ”caput”, meaning the head, which is the ancient way of counting cows, as in “Me and Tex are driving five hundred head to Abilene”. Clearly it was the head of the living cow that Gandi was thinking of when he wrote, “The cow is a poem of pity…She is the second mother to millions of mankind.” She is also, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the source of 18% of the world’s methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. And almost one third of the world’s oversupply of cow burps (the primary source of methane) comes from India’s 280 million sacred cows. Cows belch so much because they re-chew their cuds, regurgitating and re-digesting the cellulose over and over again. So the first secret of cows is that every cow is bull-limic.
The emotional life of the average Daisy or Bessie has been described as comparable to a potato on sedatives. But complexity was always hidden just beneath the hide. The American Humane Society has taken note that if one herd member is shocked by an electric fence, the entire herd avoids the wire. English linguistic bull artists have noted that cows moo in local dialects and inflections. And it has long been common knowledge that ungulates form their own bovine breakfast clubs. Three or four females establish lifelong bonds, a cow herd within the herd, or a “curd” if you will. Daisy actually enjoys a rich emotional life, nurturing animosities against her fellows, developing friendships and even mulling over the bovine equivalent of the Stephen Sondheim conundrum, “Is this all there is?"
This shared arrogance of our two species matches the obsession of Bessie with a subject familiar to many obsessive humans; sex. Eric Idle has described cows as the “…librarians of the animal world; mild by day, wild by night." And John Webster, a professor of animal husbandry at Bristol University in England, describes cows as “gay nymphomaniacs”. The “curds” constantly cowlick one another. And a single Bessie in “heat” can set off a Daisy chain of cow girls “mounting” herd mates in a riot of bovine dominatrix behavior. Unseen by inattentive humans, a pasture of grazing Gurneys is in reality a seething mass of bored libidos on steroids.Literally  It gives a whole new meaning to the term “pasteurization”.
Few have ever denied that individually cows process a certain personal magnetism. Their sheer bulk demands respect, if not religious devotion. These are not cuddly creatures. The one point three billion cows alive at this moment are ponderous moovers and shakers, and udderly unimpressed with humanities’ crème-de-la-crème, logic. Every dairyman has herd that cattle tend to face uphill, into strong winds or turn their flank steak to the sunny side on a cold morning; and that all seems plausible. But the idea that these cow hides might be sharing some kind of mystical, new-age ferris sensitivity seemed until recently to be an oxymoron. But scientists seeking out the magnetic orientation of hills created by the European ground mole (Talpa europaea), stumbled over the realization that perhaps larger mammals might also be influenced by something other than human magnetism.
German researchers examined Google Earth photographs taken at the same local time of day, observing some 8,510 individual cows in 308 separate herds on five different continents, at essentially the same moment. And the humans stumbled upon this udderly amazing fact; cows got magnetism. Generally, at any given moment, 70 % of the cows in any herd are standing about five degrees off of true North-South orientation. In Oregon State, closer to the North Pole, the deviation of cows is all of 17.5 degrees. In the southern hemisphere (Africa and South America) the alignment was slightly more north-eastern, south-western. Still, adjusted for latitude, 70% of all cows point toward the magnetic pole, and this is much too large a percentage to be a mere homogenized coincidence. The next question is, of course, why have cows got magnetism?
Cows are not migratory, but they once may have been. Cows share a common ancestor with whales, the “Pakictids”, which 53 million years ago had a whale’s ear and a cow’s teeth in a really ugly little dog’s body, sort of a Mexican hairless meth addict with hair. Could this ancient mongrel have been the source of the current magnetic deju moo? It could, if it milked its genes for all they were worth.
So it seems, upon rumination, that we owe cows an apology, that to err might be human but to forgive could be bovine. But stop the stampede for animal rights. My guess is we could be apologizing to Daisy and Bessie “auf die Ewigkeit warten”, as they say in Germany, and it would make no difference because Daisy and Bessie are not particularly interested in our moo-tivations, because cows are just as conceited as we humans are. And in the final rendering the squeaky veal always gets the cud. Holy, cow!
P.S. Photographs are from “The Secret Life of Cows” by Glen Wexler.
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