Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 23, 2013

The old Schwinn might still outrun horses, computer chips, and $4 gallon gas


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — In a recent discussion, somebody wondered why we couldn’t just pack up our stray dogs and cats for shipment to some foreign country where such animals are acceptable fare on most menus.

Now, I hesitated to speak up because one never knows when an animal cruelty prevention-type person might be listening. Still, I had to give it some thought and although I see pets as valuable, I am much more concerned about pediatric wards and taking care of children than I am about the critters.

 After all, according to the Good Book, we were given dominion over the animals and not vice-versa. A recent story from Romania reveals that 6,300 tons of horse, mule, and donkey meat was produced in 2012. Evidently, quite a bit of that was combined with beef and sold to foreign markets (in this case, the “foreign” would be us). One can only imagine the consternation to think that Old Molly might be mixed in with the hamburger.

  Actually, the rumor is that horse meat is actually quite tasty — no matter what you might have believed after watching ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ and thinking about that two-week old portion that was starting to turn.

Some cooking-type people who asked not to be identified told me that horse meat is trim, without the taste of many wild meats and very palatable.

Having been raised on a farm, I know from personal experience that horses and mules — especially mules — are clever, clean, and more industrious on a daily basis than the good old cow ever is.

At any rate, if you have a tendency to buy meat from Western Europe and find yourself feeling like running a mile and a quarter on Kentucky Derby weekend, remember that you heard it here first.

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A daily dose of headlines from state, local, and national sources sends cause for at least  some alarm among those of us who treasure the Bill of Rights. Sometimes the law-givers at all levels are beginning to sound like the preacher who gets stuck on hell and all the punishment we might receive while never quite getting around to a mention of heaven where we can do some of the things we might enjoy.

A 20-something American might well wonder if the Star Spangled Banner will always contain the words the “land of the free” with so many restrictions being proposed or imposed already in every corner of this great land. There are those in positions of influence who seem bent on controlling our guns, as if after 237 years we have suddenly lost the ability to make those decisions for ourselves.

I am becoming more convinced than ever the terrorists are winning in our own country and the minority is slowly but surely dictating to the majority, although that runs contrary to what the Founding Fathers had in mind. Since 9-11, we are slowly closing up shop. A fellow can’t take much more than a pencil-thin tube of toothpaste on to an airplane these days, or so I’m told. We cannot go into public buildings — including the U.S. Capitol — without being subjected to searches, taking off belt buckles, watches, keys, etc.

The “government” (whatever that means in 2013) can view, review, check into, and otherwise dig deep into our personal information all under the guise of national security. Computer chips and personal surveillance scares me.

I can just foresee the day when babies are going to be implanted at birth for “protection.” Personally, I want no chip in my foot, my car, or anyplace else where an agency can track my every move. This United States of America is moving in some not very desirable directions for old-timers like me.

Maybe I am just upset about the rising price of gasoline. It’s up about 48 cents since the New Year.

One report said that California has endured a 75-cent spike within the last two months and parts of the state have a $5.20 per gallon charge already.

With the average price of a barrel of crude oil at approximately $96 per barrel (it was around $145 per barrel when gasoline edged over $4 per gallon nationally) it is not likely that we will quite get to the previous highs. Oh, well, that old Schwinn 10-speed I bought from the late Fred Welcker at the Cycle Shop in South Bluefield still works!

I can use it to outrun the horses, mules, and computer-chippers nipping at my heels.

Larry Hypes, a teacher at Tazewell High School, is a Daily Telegraph columnist.