Sunday, January 15, 2012

YeeeeeeHaaaawwwwww!!! Chicken Feet!

This weekend marks the beginning of the one-hundred-sixteenth Fort Worth Live Stock Show and Rodeo. For people from Fort Worth, that's a big deal. It's a fair in the middle of winter, with rides and horribly unhealthy, delicious food like funnel cakes. We get to walk through hundreds of pens and look at animals that will be auctioned at the end of the two week show. There is a rodeo, for those who enjoy such things. It brings lots of money into our local economy, and it's a throw back to when the country, and largely, states such as Texas, were driven by an agricultural economy. When I was a teenager, it was a much cheaper date than going to the theme park, and it was fun. I was very different as a teenager than I am now. Not only in that gravity has pulled all my body parts downward, but in the way I look at the world. I was a fundamentalist, anti-evolution believer who has since majored in science in college, and left those religious roots behind. It hasn't been too many years since evolutionary biology found that the birds we know are the descendants of some of the more fearsome dinosaur/raptors. My mother, one sister and Mom's brother used to take her mother to the Stock Show Rodeo every year until she died in 1998, and they have continued to go to the rodeo every year until this one-2012. I lived in Illinois from 2000-2008, and Mom took us to the rodeo with her in 2009. My husband had never seen a rodeo, so she thought he would enjoy it. We did enjoy it, though neither of us could see ourselves going every year. But I was struck by something very interesting, the feet of all the varieties of chickens and roosters. They did exactly look like the feet of dinosaurs. It was truly amazing to me how we could see the history of these birds in how they look today.

I also had another of those "Aha!" moments while listening to the news recently, the conversation being about jobs and our economy. It was brought up how many jobs are being replaced by technology. This is a fear that I remember hearing all the time when I was growing up, and it is apparently true. And becoming truer. And completely out of left field, I was tackled by and unexpected thought-this is another reason to reduce our population. My argument for having fewer children usually has to do with depletion of resources. But I also think it is fair to consider that the children we are bringing into the world may not be able to support themselves because too many jobs are being replaced by either computers or robots, which are cheaper and don't require health insurance, vacation pay, or retirement pensions. No one wants to bring a child into the world only to starve, and the more people on earth, the greater stress on natural resources. And now, the fewer jobs available to support themselves and their families.

I try to be aware of manners. I used to love reading books by "Miss Manners," and one of her repeated premises in her books was that the most important thing about manners isn't knowing which fork to use (furthest to the left goes first) but being aware of how my behavior makes other people feel. Once we are comfortable enough with each other, and have a feeling of trust, I can drop that wall and talk about things on which I know we disagree...politics, religion, what season is best, sports teams, music, whatever. But when two people meet for the first time, the old saw "Never discuss politics or religion with coworkers or people you don't know well." The importance of these admonitions came full blown to me on New Year's Day, when we were unexpectedly sharing a gathering with a couple we had only met once before. Before the day was over, the female half of that other couple had offended us on breaking these all important rules of etiquette. First, when the black coach of a certain football team was shown on screen, her male friend commented that he didn't think this man was a good coach. "She" said, "Oh, I guess they were just filling their black ratio." Now why would any reasonably intelligent person believe that remark was okay? Ever?! Then, in a discussion about a job her son had lost due to a freeze on federal hiring. Both of them said together, "We can blame Obama for that." Now, they said it as if they assumed that everyone in the room agreed, which they could not possibly have known. And for that reason alone, such a comment should never have been made. But since if anyone reads this post, I'm assuming we have a level of trust and I can feel free to speak-the right has spent 2011 accusing government workers of being the giant leaches that have pushed out economy to the brink of the great abyss, why would they complain? Oh yeahhhhhhh, because trimming the size of government in this case affected one of theemmmmmmmm. Lets just leave politics and religion out of the conversation when with people we don't know well. But in the meantime, your hangnail is not Obama's fault.

Every now and then I have to chew some tablets created to help with heartburn. Now it almost nauseates me to use the brand that makes those awful commercials with people being slapped in the face by their food. I'm amazed that the FCC hasn't shut those commercials down for their very phallic nature; there is one with a woman eating a corn dog that suddenly starts slapping her in the face-the message seems very clear. One is ribs-come on-am I the only one who's noticed this? ?e's not being slapped by a whole rack of ribs; just one rib. Again with the phallic symbol. Uh-oh-what if it is just in my head.

The other day I was buying some groceries, and I found myself inexplicably drawn to the cosmetics section. I picked up a lip gloss named "Forbidden." The rebel voice in my head said, "Sez who?" I was determined to buy that lip gloss just to show whoever put it there that I was not to be forbidden. But in the end, I couldn't.

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