Summit Up 3-10-11: Capybara – it’s not just for Lent anymore!
Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s in that age-old conundrum between Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day (as Americans, this is known as the cross-religio-cultural diaspora – a strange land on the calendar where clashing traditions make us question this whole “melting pot” thing.) As some (or at least one or two of you) know, Mardi Gras is supposed to mark the beginning of Lent, which is something Catholics do to make themselves feel extra-super penitent leading up to Easter. In the olden days, this meant no eating meat for 40 days, although this was later translated to “howzabout we just don’t eat meat on Fridays?” So they ate fish, creating a boon for sushi restaurants all over the ancient world.
(Historical side note: One of our favorite “how can we get around this annoying religious proscription” examples comes from South America, where missionaries back in the day decided it was OK to eat – the world’s largest rodent and, as you may guess, almost entirely comprised of meat. Why did the old Spanish missionaries decide it was OK? Well, because the capybara’s habitat is largely aquatic, putting it – they reasoned – pretty firmly in the “fish” camp. Heck, if you can rationalize that, it’s no wonder the Catholic church (insert things they church does you may find reprehensible).
Where were we? Oh, anyway, if you’re, say, an Irish Catholic, you can end up in the middle of Lent trying to be good but desperately wanting to drain a few schooners of green bear. What’s a good Catholic lad to do? And what if you happen to be an Irish Catholic living in New Orleans, well, then you’ve really got a moral dilemma on your hands. If, though, you see someone strolling down the street drinking a Clausthauler non-alcoholic beer and munching a capybara-on-a-stick, then you know they’re really into the whole spirit of the season.
OK, someone who sounded like he was calling from a bathosphere deep in the Marianas Trench called to say something about a missing golden retriever (a type of dog, we believe) missing in The Highlands (a high-end, largely vacant suburb of Breckenridge – not the region in Scotland known for kilts and Mel Gibson uprisings).
If you know anything about a missing golden in that area, give (sound of bubbling noises inside a tin can) a call at 485-2685.
OK, it just occurred to us we’re not done with the giant rodent stuff: The capybara, BTW, is a relative of the guinea pig, and some folks actually do keep them as pets. Although, since they can weigh up to 140 pounds, we’re thinking your Capybara Chow bill could really start to edge up. For kids looking for an “upgrade” from the guinea pig, perhaps a more logical next step would be a ferret or a cat or something.
Also, it says here the capybara tastes kinda like pork, if you’re wondering. So if the kids get tired of their giant, needy pet, you can always fry it up for Lent.
Capybara: It’s what’s for dinner!
Have a fine Thursday, folks.
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