One of our town’s most talented copywriters spends her time outside the corporate cubicle raising chickens. Jana Wilson lives with her family on a nice 20-acre spread nearby. She writes about Gallus gallus domesticus husbandry in her blog, The Armchair Homesteader.
Tons o’folks these days are growing the birds, mainly to be able to eat fresh eggs and even for the fresh meat to liven up their cacciatore. (Hey, wait a minute: Do peeps eat alla cacciatore around here?) Anyway, the City of Bloomington, for instance, allows residents to raise chicken flocks, although said flocks can’t number more than five birds and none may be roosters. Apparently, that crowing rooster next door might cause some little friction in the n’hood. That and chicken coops often stink.
The chickens-in-the-city trend got a huge jump start about five years ago when author Susan Orlean wrote about it in the pages of The New Yorker. “[R]ight now,” she wrote, “across the country and beyond, there’s a surging passion for raising the birds.”
“A Surging Passion”
When my grandmother, Anna Lazzara, lived in Chi., she was quite put out because the city wouldn’t allow her to keep chickens in the backyard. But back in the 1930’s people could still turn fresh chickens into dinner that night by buying the birds live at the butcher shop. Anna would tell my mother, Sue, to go get a chicken on a given weekday, a chore Ma loathed. She’d have to squeeze the bird between her arm and her chest in order to prevent it from fleeing, the critter pecking and clawing at her all the way home. Then Anna would grab the chicken from my mother, wrap her two fists around its neck and yank. Within minutes, the chicken’d lie still and be ready for plucking, singeing, and washing.
Ma always said those weekly walks from the butcher shop produced in her a phobia of all birds.
Yesterday, Wilson wrote about the problem of newbie chicken-raisers who purchase a passel of chicks and soon discover that one of the purported hens is actually a guy. She writes:
You anticipate these adorable little chicks growing into egg-producing hens and the speed at which they grow is just amazing. They’re growing more feathers every day, their little combs beginning to develop, their legs lengthening. It’s all very fun and exciting. Fun until the day when little Sue emits the strangest sound. It sounds like a strangled screech. Could it be… oh no, surely not. But yes, its a crow!
Oh dear, little Sue is really little Stan.
Remember, cities that allow residents to keep chickens usually frown on or outright ban the keeping of males. “And for good reason: they are quite noisy and don’t crow just at daybreak,” Wilson writes. “Trust me on this one… they can crow just about any time of the day or night.”
In any case, check out Jana’s blog. You’ll even learn what a Sicilian Buttercup is. (And, no, it’s not me.)
Après Ce, Le Déluge
It turns out those who’ve been wringing their hands over the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision, predicting that all manner of Christianists would start suing to get out of certain laws and responsibilities because their “sincerely-held beliefs” preclude them from doing so, really aren’t just being Chicken Littles. Any number of “sincere believers” have made moves to get out of things like not firing employees because they’re gay and other expressions of deep spirituality.
It would be hard to top this one, though: Pro-life activist attorneys in Florida have filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a nurse who applied for a job with the Tampa Family Health Centers. The attorneys claim the medical center refused to consider her for employment because she is Christian.
How horrible, right? What’s this crazy land coming to?
Natch, the case isn’t that simple. The nurse made a point to tell the clinic’s HR director that her Christian beliefs forbid her from prescribing certain contraceptives, which just happens to be one of the primary tasks of the place. I suppose it’d be be rather like a newly graduated cartographer applying for a job at the local globe factory and saying he would not be able to draw maps on the co.’s product because he’s a member of the Flat Earth Society. The wags at Wonkette explain the impasse thusly:
Let’s play a game. It is sort of a choose-your-own-adventure make-believe game. Costumes optional.
You are about to graduate from Thing-Doing School and apply for a job as a professional Thing-Doer, as one does after attending Thing-Doing School. You inform your potential employer that you are interested in the Thing-Doing job but will be unable to perform Thing-Doing duties because of your religious beliefs. Your potential employer tells you, “LOL, that’s hilarious, but we are actually looking for a real Thing-Doer who is willing to perform Thing-Doing duties, because that is the job. Thanks but no thanks.”
For this, nurse Sara Hellwege and her handlers, the Alliance Defending Freedom, will be taking up time and space on the federal district court’s docket to right what they see as a horrible wrong — although the sane among us see it as pretty much a cheap stunt.
Thanks Justice Alito and the rest of the straight, male, white, Catholic majority of SCOTUS. (And don’t write to correct me that Clarence Thomas is not white; he’s whiter than an albino wearing a lab coat in a snowstorm.)
Speaking of regressive fundamentalist extremists, Al Jazeera tells the tale of The Islamic State‘s latest contribution to civilization. The erstwhile ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), fresh off its successful campaign to capture and control a significant swath of Iraq and bits of Syria, is now turning its attention to the behavior of women, AKA sluts.
The Izzy State is bringing back that fave from yesteryear, public stoning for women who dig sex. Acc’d’g to AJ’s report, members of the gang that scares even al Qaeda stoned a woman to death in the public square in the town of Tabaqa, in Syria, because she’d committed adultery.
An important corollary to the story is the fact that the man with whom she sullied all of Islam was charged with no crime at all because, well…, because he’s a man, you dope.