Saturday, January 24, 2009

Is It A Bendy Straw?

This morning, Iwanski and I watched a cattle auction on t.v.

Yes, that’s the kind of thing you do on a Saturday morning in January, in Chicago, when it’s 10 degrees with a wind chill of 4 below zero. (At least if you’re us, that’s what you do.)

Check this out.

Can you understand a WORD he’s saying?

Neither could I…until I kept watching it for a half an hour. Yep, I spent a half-hour watching a cattle auction. That’s certainly something I never thought I’d do.

But actually, when I really paid attention to it, it was kind-of interesting.

For example, did you know that some bulls sell for up to $10,000.00? Can you believe that? I never knew people paid such big money for those suckers! And then we saw that they were auctioning off 17 “straws” from a bull. What’s a straw?--you ask? Well, it’s a container of bull semen, of course! How wonderful! (Wow, I sure hope no one finds my blog by searching for “bull semen”!)

I’m not sure why, but for some reason the whole cattle buying/inseminating/ranching lifestyle is strangely fascinating to me. I think it’s because it’s just so different from my lifestyle. When I think of bulls, I’m usually thinking of a certain basketball team. (Da Bulls, da Bulls, da Bulls, da Bulls, da Bulls…)

And I got to thinking, for everything in life—no matter how strange I would think it to be—there is probably someone who knows everything about it and could be considered an expert on the subject. For example, there is probably somebody who’s really into dung beetles—someone who knows all the species of dung beetles and the types of poo that they prefer. I wouldn’t doubt it.

And then there’s me. I don’t know if I’d consider myself to be an expert in anything.

I’m somewhat knowledgeable about wine, and about Ayurveda, and about healthy eating (thus my blog name). But I’m really not super-knowledgeable about any of them. So what am I an expert in?

A few years ago, we were with Iwanski’s family, and he was imagining if he went on the show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,” and whom he would call for his “lifelines” if he didn’t know the answer to a question. For questions about pop culture, he said he’d call his sister Donna, who subscribes to People Magazine and always knows who’s in what movie and who sang what song. For science questions (particularly questions about medicine or the workings of the human body), he’d call his sister Anna, who’s a nurse. For questions about obscure t.v. shows and characters, he’d call his brother-in-law Tony, who has watched a fair amount of t.v. and remembers pretty much all of it. So then it came to me.

“What about your wife?” his sister asked.

“Yeah, what about me? What questions would you call me for?” I demanded.

Iwanski looked at me, smiled sweetly, and said,


Everyone laughed, and I said, “Thanks A LOT!”

But you know what? I don’t mind not knowing a lot about any one particular thing. After all, that’s what we have the internet for.

And if there is one subject that I am considered an expert in, then what the hell—I guess it’s a good thing that it’s love!


MaryRuth said...

The crazy thing is....who has to FILL the straw and HOW?!? Now THAT's job I wouldn't want to have.
A few years back, Dale and I went to a "Harvest Festival" at WI State Fair Park. We saw hay bailing demos, watched kids build scarecrows and sure enough, we saw a number of booths selling bull semen.
P.S. I thought you were from "up north" and would know all about this stuff?

Mathman6293 said...

Chicago is the big time. I have never been to a cattle auction, although there is one not to far from here. Our neighborhood is small time, there is a goat and sheep auction every other week just down the road. I am not kidding.

Diane said...

Chick, I will have to tell you all about my farming days! That is a topic we rarely, if ever, talk about. I think you might see me in a whole new light afterwards. Put it this way, I have worked with those straws before...

Kimberly Ann said...

Better to be an expert in Love than bull semen, I say. But it is interesting (and I would expect also dangerous) how they manage to get the straws. That's not something I expected to consider on a Sunday morning but it's the surprises that keep life interesting.

Maria said...

I grew up on a farm. We actually kept those "straws" in our fridge....

Ugh. I know.

Lisa said...

My boss tells a hilarious story about going to a bull semen collection "hotel" in middle Georgia when he was a high schooler.

I think being an expert would be a lot of pressure. Iwanski did you a favor making that statement, I think!

Leah said...

I feel really bad for the cattle.Do they get any of the money? I think they need an agent.

sageweb said...

My Mom and dad use to go to the auctions to buy a cow and a pig..for food. I never had store bought plastic wrapped meat until I got older.

I am an expert in finding answers to everything on The Google..

Sling said...

I've been to many auctions in Colorado.
You learn to ignore all the jibberish,and listen for the numbers.
We once bought two calves.
Not to collect samples from,but to eat.

LostInColor said...

That is neat that you watched this, I'm sure the cows went for way less than the bulls. I think Iwanski's answer is sweet.