BEKs and Lost Time
I recently received the following account:
I just read one of your black-eyed people stories. I thought I'd write to you about an experience I had.
One evening during the Summer of 2009 I went outside on my porch to smoke a cigarette. It was still light out. I live near Rochester, Minnesota. There is a small hill directly across the street from my house, and I noticed two kids (young boy and girl) walking up the hill. They stopped and looked back at me, but I got a bad feeling about them. They were wearing dark blue vinyl windbreakers with hoods and as I looked closer, I could see that their eyes were black. They started to walk down the hill and come across the street walking directly towards me. I was cordial and introduced himself to them. They continued to advance towards me. I was getting scared, so I quickly went back into the house. I asked my wife if she heard me talking to the kids. She heard nothing, so I just put it out of my mind.
The evening was quiet and my wife and I went to bed around 11 PM. After several minutes laying in bed, I started to feel strange. I looked towards the window (we have a one-floor ranch style house) and saw the girl standing outside his window. I freaked out and went to make sure the doors were bolted. When I got to the kitchen door, I could see the boy standing on the back porch. I ran back to the bedroom and grabbed my my 45. automatic. I just assumed that they were attempting to break in. By that time I was extremely scared. I went to pick up the telephone to call 911, but the next thing I remember was waking up in bed the next morning. It was just after 6 AM.
My wife was awake and looked at me 'where did you go last night?' I told her I didn't go anywhere. She said that she heard the back door close around midnight, and that she went to see what was going on. She said that she couldn't find me. I told her what had happened and she thought that I hiding something from her. I still don't know what happened. I've read about 'lost time' and 'alien abduction.' But I always believed it was bunk. I still don't really believe it. Were these black-eyed kids aliens? BTW, I no longer smoke. I just don't have the urge anymore. Why? I have no idea, but I had smoked for almost 30 years. KL
Living With The 'Human Ostrich'
The birth of love. (Spokane Press, November 26, 1909):
St. Louis, Nov. 26--Mrs. Terence O'Grady, who until last week was Miss Gertrude Arnoldy, and is now the wife of the "human ostrich," said today that she had fallen in love with O'Grady when she saw him eating tacks at one of his exhibitions.
"I thought I would like to cook for a man like that," she said. "He can't fuss at what I prepare for the table."
Mrs. O'Grady says her husband has promised to teach her the art of eating tacks and glass.
The death of love. ("The Citizen," April 1, 1910):
St. Louis, Mo.--Terence O'Grady's fondness for glass, tacks, tenpenny nails and other dishes of which he partakes when performing his "human ostrich" stunts on the stage, has parted him from his bride of two months and landed him in the hands of the police. His bride's cooking did not please him and his persistent complaints led to quarrels which culminated in a separation.
Mrs. O'Grady likes juicy steaks and milk toast. The "human ostrich" cannot eat a piece of meat until it has been cooked so dry and hard it lacerates his gullet when he swallows it. Milk toast also is to him an abomination. When he has toast it must be done to a brown or a black and be as hard as fire can make it.
Coarse sandpaper for dessert is another dish which Mrs. O'Grady never could learn to prepare for her husband or enjoy herself. In fact, the tastes of the two were found to be so far apart that they simply were irreconcilable. The understanding here is that when Mrs. O'Grady served ice cream to her husband he threw the cream out the window and ate the saucer with relish, and that caused the first quarrel.
Friends of Mrs. O'Grady also say that another cause of complaint she has against her husband is that he returned home one night feeling hungry and went to the sideboard, ate three cut-glass dishes which she had received as wedding presents, and completed his repast by eating a hand-painted plate which she prized highly because it had been painted by a schoolgirl friend who has died since the wedding.
These accusations may be overdrawn, but that there was something radically wrong with O'Grady's appetite was asserted in the Central district police station. O'Grady and his bride met casually in the street. They resumed their debates on gastronomic questions. Finally O'Grady said things which mad his bride angry and she had him arrested.
"Why, he wants steak cooked so hard you have to break it with an ice pick," Mrs. O'Grady told the desk sergeant. "He says he gets so used to eating glass and tacks that he isn't happy unless his food scratches when he swallows it. When I tried to make toast for breakfast he would stand at the fire and burn it hard and crisp, so I pretty nearly starved."
O'Grady was discharged after he had told his side of the story.
The Banana Will Soon Be Gone
On the plate, a single banana seems whimsical—yellow and sweet, contained in its own easy-to-open peel. It is a charming breakfast luxury as silly as it is delicious and ever-present. Yet when you eat a banana the flavor on your tongue has complex roots, equal parts sweetness and tragedy.
In 1950, most bananas were exported from Central America. Guatemala in particular was a key piece of a vast empire of banana plantations run by the American-owned United Fruit Company. United Fruit Company paid Guatemala’s government modest sums in exchange for land. With the land, United Fruit planted bananas and then did as it pleased. It exercised absolute control not only over what workers did but also over how and where they lived. In addition, it controlled transportation, constructing, for example, the first railway in the country, one that was designed to be as useless as possible for the people of Guatemala and as useful as possible for transporting bananas. The company’s profits were immense. In 1950, its revenues were twice the gross domestic product of the entire country of Guatemala. Yet while the United Fruit Company invested greatly in its ability to move bananas, little was invested in understanding the biology of bananas themselves.
United Fruit and the rest of the banana industry did what industries do. They figured out how to do one thing well—in this case, grow one variety of banana, the Gros Michel. Moreover, because it is difficult to get domesticated bananas to have sex (they are puritan in their proclivities, blessed with virtually no seeds), the Gros Michel was reproduced via suckers, clonally. Cuttings from the best specimens were replanted. As a result, virtually all bananas grown in Guatemala, in Latin America in general, and around the world for export were genetically identical. Identical in the way that identical human twins are identical and even a tiny bit more so. For industry, this was great. Bananas were predictable. Each was like each other. No banana was ever the wrong size, the wrong flavor, the wrong anything. Read more at Humans made the banana perfect - but in the process, ensured it will soon be gone
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