Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Learning Experience

Travel. It broadens the mind. Exposes one to new places, people, cultures, ideas. All that sort of thing. Teaches you things you might otherwise never have learned in a gazillion years. Here are a few things I have learned in the last four short weeks.

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Sexado de loros por ADN (Parrot-sexing by DNA):

This is what the sign in the window of the local pet-store says. The first couple of times I passed by I misread it as "sexado de lobos por ADN", which - of course - made no sense at all. By the time you get close enough to a wolf to get a DNA sample, you can probably tell what sex it is - the question is, why would you want to in the first place? When I finally figured out it meant parrots, not wolves, I was relieved at first. But it still seems very odd to me. Isn't there some easier way to figure out whether your bird is a Polly or a Petey? Who knew that one would have to have recourse to DNA testing?

Though, now that I think about it, isn't chicken-sexing supposed to be one of those notoriously difficult professions, restricted to a select few talented individuals who are born with "the gift"? Suppose you are one of the rare people born with the gene for accurate chicken-sexing. How would you ever find out about your talent?

Prejudice in the House:

In contrast to the swooning Spanish fans of the sneering, misanthropic, drug-addicted, limping, implausibly brilliant, insufferably obnoxious, assmarmot diagnostician Doctor Gregory House, Argentine viewers are underwhelmed*. They have noticed a repeated, disturbing tendency for episode plots to refer to the practice of medicine throughout Latin America as if it were nothing more than a collection of primitive techniques practiced by indigenous tribes whose witch doctors never wash their hands or sterilize the instruments they use to kill the chickens used in their quaint healing rituals. Play the game yourself. Next time "House" comes on, see how far along the episode gets before "recent travel to Latin America?" comes up as a question in the differential diagnosis efforts.

Fear not. I always wear a Biohazard Level 4 protection suit (or greater), when going to the cootie-ridden internet cafe. Though it's hard to find sterilized booties in my exact size, so it's possible that the parasites are creeping in around my ankles.

*As am I. This creaking, one-note, excuse for a series passed its "sell by" date at the end of its first season, if not before. Hugh Laurie is a talented actor who needs to get out more, instead of being seduced into allowing himself be reduced to a caricature by the lure of filthy lucre.

Limbo Hands:

Then, of course, there is the vexing "manos de Perón" case. How can they still be in limbo, when the Vatican eradicated it just this past year? 'Tis a puzzlement.


Hieronymous said...

Hugh Laurie is a great actor, and I hope he works with Stephen Fry again, but until then, why shouldn't he stay on a hit TV show as long as people are still watching? I don't watch the show myself, but most of the people watching it probably wouldn't like the Wodehouse shows.

Can there really be commercial genotyping for birds nowadays? What's the parrot equivalent of HIPAA?

gaelstat said...

I think it's a question of opportunity cost - staying on a mediocre show like House prevents him from - perhaps - stretching himself in better roles. Though I don't begrudge him the financial security it brings.