Monday, April 6, 2015

I was goated into writing this

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We were talking about goats the other day and I decided to spend some time learning more about the domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus), which is a subspecies of goat descended from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe.

When you retire, you'll have time to do this stuff, I promise you.

Fred (left) and Doris Ziffel
Even if all you know about goats is that we call the style of beard worn by Fred Ziffel on Green Acres is a goatee, that's a good start!  But also, consider these:

I got to thinking about why we call children "kids," and it's because it's what we call the offspring of adult goats: Female goats are referred to as "does" or "nannies", males as "bucks", "billies", or "rams."

If your indoor pool or hot tub smells kind of rank, it might be because bromine is being used to kill algae that might grow there. Bromine, the only liquid nonmetallic element (I'm sure we all knew that, so why even mention it?) is used in compound form for water treatments and to control algae and bacterial growth. The very word bromine is from the Greek: βρῶμος, brómos, meaning "strong-smelling" or "stench of goats."

Naval Academy goat
The current worldwide goat population is thought to be around 924 million.  America has almost three million of them.  Those who do not find work as college football team mascots wind up making milk or cheese or some other food that requires even more involvement, such as goat-b-que.

According to country music legend, Tex-Mex singer Johnny Rodriguez was heard singing while he was in jail for stealing and barbecuing a goat, and a kindly Texas Ranger got word of his talent to Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare, although this story is now cast in the shadows of doubt, as there are no Texas Rangers known to be kindly.

Just kidding.

The cornucopia, from which all good Thanksgiving chow pours forth, is based on goat horns, which are considered a symbol of plenty and wellbeing.

In Norse mythology, Thor, the god of thunder, rides around in a chariot pulled by two goats (unless they're too Thor.)

Guitars that don't have steel strings have nylon, or what they used to call "catgut," which was actually goat intestine, which is also used to make surgical stitches.

A baseball player who strikes out with the game on the line, a football kicker who blows a potential game-winning field goal and anyone else whose bad play causes a loss is said to be getting fitted for goat horns...the same horns that are supposed to signify plenty and well-being.   Mixed metaphors!

The Washington POST ran this chart, showing the USA's goat population.  Helluva lotta goats in Texas, pardner.
The goat is an animal in the twelve-year cycle which appears in the Chinese zodiac calendar. Certain personality traits are linked to every one of the animals; those born in a year of the goat (1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027) are predicted to be shy, introverted, creative, and perfectionist.

Final fun fact: those born in 2027 have not been born yet at all, or even dreamed of, in most cases.

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