Tag Archives: genetics

“Your entree, Sir. His name was George.”

19 Jul

July 19, 2011

Hrrm. I don’t know about this. On the one hand I can see the advantages to knowing where your dinner came from. On the other hand there are hot dogs, and some things we are better off not knowing.

I love steak but all I really need to know is that it came from a cow and not a giraffe or an okapi. (Endangered species meat is tough and stringy.) I suppose if you pin me down I’d like to know that my meal came from a cow that grazed on grass as opposed to manure. Of course, with all the steroids, hormones, and bizarre chemical cocktails that go into animal feed the manure might be preferable. Unless it came from a cow fed on steroids, hormones, and bizarre chemical cocktails so the point is really moot. I guess the bottom line is that you never really know what goes into your food unless you grow your own. And since I live in apartment I am not raising my own cattle. I tried that with bacon and it didn’t work.

Unless your name is Watson or Crick (google ’em) what do you know about DNA? “Say, that cow has a mighty nice double helix to its molecular DNA structure.” There is a point, and this is it, where you are a pretentious dwad if you need to know something as esoteric as your dinner’s chromosomal history. Right now there are people who insist on knowing what herd the cow came from, what county, what it ate, if it was left out in the rain, and really, why? Look I get that some cows eat better than others and that affects what goes into your body. Fine. But do I really need to know the genetic pedigree of my cheeseburger? The cholesterol will kill me first.

I prefer my steaks medium-well and anonymous. All this madness about knowing your meat’s pedigree, combined with the further and continued use of genetic modifications to cattle can only end badly. Sure, those cows are content now, but what happens when Aldo the cow says “no”? I have seen Planet of the Apes. Soon we may all be mute lab rats to a race of talking, horse riding, human-enslaving cows. Life will be one big Gary Larsen Far Side gag. I only pray that none of this comes about before next week. I have a reservation at Peter Luger’s.

I think Chick-Fil-A knows something...

The Walt Disney Conundrum

16 Mar

March 16, 2011

The New York Post (Their motto: We call ourselves a newspaper no matter what you say.) ran the following story without attribution. Is it true? Is it made up? I don’t know. Please read the “story” while I go back to the dictionary and look up the definition of journalism.

Here’s a story of the blind leading the blind.

A sightless Briton was devastated when his beloved seeing-eye dog also went blind from cataracts.

But his despair was short-lived, because a social-services agency gave the guide dog his own seeing-eye pooch, so the trio of companions can walk through life together in love.

Picture it. A blind man is walking down the street. He is holding the harness of a seeing eye dog, which in turn is holding the harness of another seeing eye dog in his mouth and is leading both the blind dog and blind man safely to their destination.

Far more likely is that the blind man, being attached to his seeing eye dog, kept him and walks with him but also holds the leash of the new seeing eye dog. I seriously doubt the first dog walks the second.

However, this brings up a very troubling issue. It brings up The Walt Disney Conundrum.

Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, right? There are plenty of cartoons where Mickey Mouse walks Pluto around on a leash. He wears a collar, chews on bones, walks on all fours. He is a dog.

But Goofy is also a dog. He is a typical cartoon anthropomorphic dog. (I spelled that right the first time and didn’t even need the spell check, pat on back.) He talks, he walks upright, he wears clothes, he pals around with Mickey and Donald. He is an idiot, granted, but if I hold that against him I’d also have to hold it against 95% of everyone I meet when I walk out my door and I simply don’t have the energy.

So if Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, what happens if Mickey asks Goofy to walk Pluto for him? It brings up a whole host of ethical, moral, and genetic questions.

Is Goofy a superior dog? Is Pluto an inferior dog? Do they relate to each other in any way as fellow dogs? Do they communicate? Can Goofy bark and be understood by Pluto? Can they procreate? And what would the offspring be? Human-ish like Goofy or canine like Pluto? Or somewhere in between?

If Goofy were to walk Pluto on a leash, or worse, train him to obey commands, is that an issue of slavery? Is it morally right for an intelligent dog to treat a canine dog like a, well, dog? Is it akin to human mistreatment of the mentally disabled?

Can Goofy disobey “no dogs allowed” signs? Why is he allowed out without a leash? Could Goofy legally take a dump in the park if he cleans it up? Does he eat dog food?

If it is simply a matter of intelligence should Goofy and Pluto be considered the same genus? And what about Goofy’s intelligence? Should his stupidity make him legally inferior to Mickey? Could Donald Duck file a discrimination lawsuit on Pluto’s behalf? If Goofy is a dumb “person” but Pluto is a smart dog, does that actually make Pluto a better dog? If Goofy got a jog as a security guard and Pluto a job as a guard dog would they be equals?

And then there is the clothes issue, which is endemic to Disney. Goofy wears clothes. Pluto does not. Do intelligent dogs have to wear clothes or does Goofy have an evolved sense of modesty that is beyond Pluto? Mickey Mouse wears shorts and shoes but no shirt. How does he get into a restaurant with a policy of “no shoes no shirt no service”? And then there is Donald. Why doesn’t he have to wear pants? And that suit- who really believes he was ever a sailor?

This is all very troubling.

%d bloggers like this: