Yost Column: Yost Says Cannibal Rats Would Settle For Anxious Cows
A large ship, technically an ocean liner, is believed to be adrift, possibly headed toward the coast of Scotland after being deserted and left for scrap. It was being towed to the Caribbean last year when it came loose during a storm. It’s now feared to be infested with cannibal rats onboard who, lacking a food source, have turned on each other.
– Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News, Thursday, Jan. 23
If you think that no one in this hemisphere has any sense, well, you just need to take a look at Australia to feel better about ourselves.
This week, especially, I realized that the cluelessness and insanity in the land down under has surpassed our own by a long shot.
If you like to watch good tennis, as I do from time to time, then you probably already know exactly what I’m talking about. This past weekend, I was looking forward to watching the men’s finals of the Australian Open, but do you know what? Guess what time they scheduled the match for.
Go ahead, guess. They had it at 3:30. Which would be fine, except that, for some bizarre reason I’m not sure about, the Aussies didn’t schedule the match for 3:30 in the afternoon – incredibly, they held the final match at 3:30 in the morning.
And it wasn’t just the men’s finals either: Amazingly, for the entire tournament, they scheduled the premier matches smack dab in the middle of the night. Now, I have no idea why anyone would do something like that; it is utterly astonishing to me that they would schedule tennis matches at a time when everyone who’s not an insomniac or a third-shift worker is sound asleep.
And forget for a second the fact that if you put a tennis match at 3:30 a.m., the fans can’t enjoy it – just think about the players. These are finely tuned world-class athletes who are used to playing in the daytime and evening, but the organizers of the Australian Open apparently expect these players to jump out of bed in the middle of the night, walk out onto the court and compete at a high level in grueling world-class tennis matches. You can’t tell me the tennis doesn’t suffer because of that.
It’s true that, at Wimbledon, they hold the men’s finals at 9 a.m. Sunday morning, which is a little early in the day if you ask me. But it’s still a far cry from making them play at 3:30 in the morning!
Listen, it’s hard enough on the players when they have to compete at that level in the middle of the afternoon. So why those nutty tournament organizers in Australia felt compelled to schedule the matches well after everyone has gone to bed, I’ll never know.
So, anyway, thanks for nothing, Australia. And you should know that as long as you continue this outrageously bizarre practice, you won’t have me as a viewer. Wow, just thinking about this insanity is infuriating me, so let’s move on to other things …
I was watching NBC news the other night and they reported on a giant ocean liner that was adrift in the Atlantic with no power and with rats feasting on one another. A giant unsanitary ocean liner with no power drifting aimlessly through the Atlantic? Maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t that pretty much every Carnival Cruise Lines tour that leaves port?
Last week, President Obama gave a speech in light of recommendations from a panel that’s been looking into the NSA’s ubiquitous practice of spying on American citizens. One likely change in store is that all that sensitive bulk data generated by Americans – phone records, emails, Google search histories, etc. – will no longer be held by the NSA. Instead, the government will outsource that responsibility to a private company. The good news is that government agents will no longer have immediate access to our highly sensitive information; the bad news is that the company hired to warehouse that data is Target.
I run through the channels on my TV when I can’t find anything on, so that means I sometimes land on Greensboro Television Network, channel 13, also known as GTN. Often they have a news scroll at the bottom of the screen and it’s always stuff like, “The Oakridge Elementary School PTA will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday,” or, “The Greensboro library now has some new bestsellers in – check them out!”
Well, the other day, I was scrolling through the channels and when I hit the city’s channel 13 I did a double take at the news scroll along the bottom. I was so astonished I took a picture so I would have some evidence:
As you can see, the news scroll across the bottom says, “Amanda Bynes’ bong-tossing case in NY to be dismissed if she stays out of trouble for 6 months.”
What? Since when does ultra family-friendly GTV cover bong-tossing cases?
I think they simply must be getting bored down there at the control room at GTN so they’re broadcasting crazy news just to see if anyone at all is watching. Or it may be some sort of inside joke. Anyway, it makes you wonder what they’re smoking over there at GTN – or, actually, it doesn’t make you wonder at all – it tells you right there on the screen.
Speaking of weird things I saw on TV, the Carolina Tar Heels basketball program has been in the news lately for: (1) all sorts of violations in the athletic tutorial program going back for years, (2) star Player P.J. Hairston being arrested with pot and a gun, (3) former Tar Heel player Will Graves was arrested on drug charges at a house he was renting from UNC Coach Roy Williams.
So it’s bad enough already, but the other day I was watching the reality show Cops on TV, and they had a wild chase and, when the car finally crashed and the driver was cornered, I was astonished that the guy who popped out of the car, as you can clearly see, is a UNC basketball player.
I guess he’d just left practice or something. When it rains, it pours.
Modern society is killing us with choices and it’s getting worse all the time.
For instance, it used to be that you could go into a coffee shop and order a cup of coffee. But do that these days and they’ll look at you like you are crazy and they’ll probably even call security.
If you don’t believe me, go into a Starbucks and order a cup of coffee and watch how they all look at you like you are a madman. These days, you have to choose between 10,000 varieties and 4,000 sizes, (and no, small, medium and large are not options).
But it’s not just coffee, it’s everything. And choice is sometimes a good thing – but all this choice is driving us crazy.
In 2004, a guy, Barry Schwartz, even wrote a book about it called The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. He wrote, “My neighborhood supermarket is not a particularly large store, and yet next to the crackers were 285 varieties of cookies. Among chocolate chip cookies, there were 21 options. Among Goldfish (I don’t know whether to count them as cookies or crackers), there were 20 different varieties to choose from.”
Schwartz also found 40 types of toothpaste, 65 types of barbecue sauce and 22 different choices of frozen waffles. And that was 10 years ago – there are probably 50 types of frozen waffles by now. Why do we need 50 kinds of frozen waffles? A frozen waffle is a frozen waffle.
Anyway, you know how, if you order a steak, they will ask you how you want it cooked and what sides you want with it and all that? Well now, in some places in Germany, when you order steak, they are asking you your choice of the method of slaughter.
You can have a steak from a cow that was killed in a conventional slaughterhouse, or, you can have a cow that was killed by surprise in the field.
Supposedly, cows killed by surprise in the pasture have tastier meat because, “unlike cows killed in the [slaughterhouse], cows killed in the outdoors experience no surge of flesh-toughening adrenaline prior to death.”
OK, now, there is just so much wrong with this that I don’t know quite where to begin. This is more messed up than playing tennis matches at 3:30 in the morning.
To start with, I’m not convinced at all by this reasoning because, from what I can tell, cows are pretty much never surprised. I mean, nothing against cows, but they’re not the most alert animals in the world if you know what I mean. It’s not like they have the same reaction time as, say, a badger.
I’ll bet when cows are in line in the slaughterhouse, they’re thinking to themselves: Hey, they’ve got us all in a line inside today. Maybe there’s a special treat for us at the end of this line. You know, I doubt they see it coming and get their adrenaline flowing.
But even if you accept the crazy premise that it tastes better, if you’re out at a fancy restaurant about to enjoy a steak dinner, the last thing you want to do is think about the fact that some no doubt perfectly nice cow gave its life so that you could enjoy that steak. Anytime I have a steak or hamburger, it’s enough for me to know that that cow sacrificed its life so that I might enjoy that fine meal, though perhaps “sacrificed” isn’t the exact word that goes there.
The short of it is this: I don’t want to think about the cow death part of it at all – I just want to enjoy my steak in peace.
So that’s one thing – the fact that they bring up the death part of it in the first place. Please, I’m trying to eat here. I don’t want to talk about slaughterhouses.
But the second thing wrong with this is even worse: It’s just another choice we don’t need to be burdened with. Sure, it’s just in Germany now, but soon you’ll go to Fleming’s at Friendly and the waiter will say, “OK, sir, so you would like the 10-ounce rib eye, medium rare – and would you prefer your steak from the usual form of slaughter or one from a cow that was killed by surprise in the pasture?”
And I would be like, “Excuse me, did you say, do I want mine from a cow that was killed by surprise in the pasture?”
What worries me is that I’m sure that now that the floodgates are open it will be Katie bar the cow-choice door and, in about 10 years, when you order a steak, you will be saying things like, “Yes, I would like a 12-ounce filet, medium rare, from a black cow with four white spots that was euthanized peacefully at 3:30 in the morning on a farm in Australia while a Bach sonata played gently in the background.”
BY Scott D. Yost
January 30, 2014
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