Friday, January 22, 2010

Maggots and Fox Urine

As if New Englanders sending a Republican to the Senate weren’t exciting enough (in this wonderful week that’s near-simultaneously seen campaign finance rules rightly loosened and Air America going out of business), I see that a Maine resident also threw fox urine on union protesters, which seems like another step in the right direction for the Northeast (and my friend Christine knows the owner of the restaurant the union people were protesting, from back in high school).  My New England-dwelling friend Chris, meanwhile, was mainly reminded that when he spread fox urine near his tomatoes to keep squirrels away, it led to a depraved fox showing up and rolling in the urine (fox news — I report, you decide).

That in turn reminded me that I once saw a confrontation between a squirrel and a rabbit in the woods near Princeton, which led to each creature leaping straight up and then the other one doing so in turn, as if each were trying to impress the other with its leaping skills or escape the planet altogether.  Then, they both freaked out, with the rabbit running away and the squirrel writhing on the ground on its back with its legs waving in the air — apparently a preferred rodent defensive posture, as I learned years later from a man who once worked in a lab that utilized rodents bred to be insane and thus prone to remain in that odd posture all the time, successfully freaking out and frightening away even predatory snakes.  (Perhaps this posture will also be used in the martial arts film Zatoichi: The Fugitive, featuring the legendary blind swordsman, which I’m scheduled to see tonight.)

Speaking of eating freaky things, doing some food-related research at work today, I learned of the most disgusting food thing in the world (far less cute than the chicken-bacon narwhal): the cheese called casu marzu, perhaps the most alarming food of all time.  It’s a cheese considered a delicacy because of the special flavor lent to it by its deliberate infestation with maggots — maggots that some people prefer to keep in the cheese when they eat it.  And, yes, the maggots still have to be alive and writhing because if they’re dead, the cheese becomes poisonous.

But that’s not even the grossest part: you have to eat casu marzu with your eyes closed, not because it’s the most disgusting thing in the world but because maggots like to leap into wet eyeball tissue — and they’ll leap up to fifteen centimeters to do it.  I cannot imagine saying, “I regret the maggots trying to leap into my eyes, but that was fine maggot-filled cheese.”

And speaking of maggots: anyone who thinks it’s barbarous to use two punks who used to be in the Misfits as our next pair of Lolita Bar debaters (Feb. 3) should be grateful I didn’t recruit members of the band Anvil Bitch, who I mainly remember for their ridiculous and fast song “Maggot Infestation,” which I’m proud to say I still have on a mix tape.

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