Monday, May 14, 2018

The Idler, Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Creepy-crawlies for lunch


AT WITS University in Johannesburg last week they were punting insects – grasshoppers, termites and mopane worms, among others – to become part of our diet.

At an exhibition titled Yebo Gogga, visitors were invited to tuck into things like chocolate containing termites. At the weekend they made pizza with mopane worms.

It's odd that flying ants weren't on the menu. Maybe they're out of season.

Exhibition director Donald McCallum says the creepy-crawlies are stacked with proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Plus they are either cheap or free.

But to say yebo to the gogga surely requires something of a mental somersault from the way we've been conditioned. What a bat might consider lovely grub usually just does not appeal to homo sapiens.

Or have we been living an illusion of distance from the insect world? Consider this passage from Bill Bryson's wonderful book, At Home: "Down at the realm of the very tiny, your house teems with life: it is a veritable rainforest for crawling, clambering things. Armies of tiny creatures patrol the boundless jungles of your carpet fibres, paraglide amid floating motes of dust, crawl across the bedsheets at night to graze upon the vast, delicious, gently heaving mountain of slumbering flesh that is you.

Yikes – so they're eating us as well!

Bryson continues: "If you had the right equipment and a peculiar measure of motivation, you could find numberless millions of other dinky creatures living with you – vast tribes of isopods, pleopods, endopodites, myriapods, chilopods, pauropods and other all-but-invisible specks. Some of these little creatures are practically ineradicable. An insect named Niptus hololeucus has been found living in cayenne pepper and in the cork stoppers of cyanide bottles. Some, like flour mites and cheese mites, dine with you pretty regularly."

Hmmm. So the food chain is pretty much a circle. We're part of it, in close proximity. So why not chomp a grasshopper?

But who has made that mental somersault? Somehow, one doubts there'll be a stampede for the roast cockroach and bedbug stalls.


Still hope


ALL is not lost for the Sharks. Strangely, there is comfort to be found in near-recovery from a silly buggers start, to ending up with a bonus point.

But boy, it's so tight you can hear the pips squeak. Roll on Saturday and the Chiefs.


Apposite quote


READER Don Hamilton sends in a quote from Cicero, the Roman scholar and statesman, in 55BC that he finds pretty appropriate to our times.


"The Budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome will become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance."

Yes, it could have been today. And the ancient Romans didn't have an over-manned state airline that needed continual bailing out.


Disappearing tree

WHAT happened to the White House tree? An oak sapling from the site of a World War I battle in north-east France, in which 2 000 American servicemen died, was planted on the White House lawn by Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump during the recent state visit, a reminder of "these ties that bind us."

But now it's disappeared, according to Sky News. . There's just a patch of yellow grass where it stood. Was it gobbled by giant White House moles?

It turns out it's been put into quarantine against tree diseases. It was planted purely ceremoniously, its roots still wrapped in plastic. It will be back when it gets the all clear.

This time a gardener will do the planting, not the prez.


A RABBIT manages to break out from a research laboratory and links up with a group of wild rabbits. He spends the day eating grass, steaking carrots and lettuce from a farmer's field and mating like crazy with the female rabbits.

Then, as night approaches, he heads back to the laboratory.

"What's the matter?" says one of the wild rabbits. "Don't you like it here?"

"I love it. But I'm dying for a cigarette."


Last word

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.

Mary Wilson Little

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