8

Easter Dinos? Seriously?

The store has an interesting ad running over the public address system. I don’t remember the exact words, but it says something like, “Chocolate bunnies are nice but why not do something a little more special? Give an Easter basket full of toys this year.” They are trying to get people to buy those cellophane-wrapped baskets that are in the center aisle of most stores this time of year.

I think they’re sending us down a slippery slope. If you give your child a basket full of toys this year, will he want to pick out what toys he wants next year? Then he will want cash because he doesn’t play with toys anymore. Or your daughter will want a new sweater. Before you know it, we’ll have Christmas in December and also in the spring.

Of course, they think that Jesus was actually born in the spring…..

As a chocolate addict, I’m probably prejudiced. But chocolate has no age limit. I asked my teenagers if they were too old for Easter baskets this year. They said they didn’t need the baskets, but still wanted the chocolate. My mother made Easter baskets for us well after the Easter Bunny stopped coming by the house.

Of course, Easter candy has degenerated some too. It used to be that the stuff in the basket had at least a passing relation to the holiday. Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans. I guess jelly beans are a bit of a stretch – are they supposed to represent eggs?

Now the candy section has Nerds and Smarties and Airheads and all sorts of generic candy. Maybe they’re going for a run against Halloween. Wouldn’t it be great if Easter became some sort of cross between Halloween and Christmas? Conspicuous consumption and gluttony. What could be more American?

Actually, when the kids were little, I put together Easter baskets and topped them with a stuffed animal. It worked out well. My son’s favorite animal was a rabbit. Back then, Easter was the only time you could find them. (Once he outgrew it, they were everywhere.) You had a choice of three animals: lambs, bunnies, and calves. Logical. All springtime animals.

Our display is expanded. You can get puppies, kittens, pigs, cows (adult), or pretty much any animal you might want.  My favorite are the stuffed dinosaurs. Are they included because they come from eggs so were probably born in the spring? Out of some sense that reptiles were not adequately represented in the Easter menagerie? Or is someone really confused and thinks there might have been a few hanging around Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago?

Speaking of animals, there’s still time to get your small pet their outfit for the Easter parade. They have furry ones if your dog or cat wants to be a chick or a bunny. They have butterfly wings. (It seems those were around at Halloween, but I could be confused.) There are also raincoats in the same display. I guess they wear it over the outfit if it rains on Easter.

There is an accessory with a picture of a cat on the hanger. It goes around the neck and looks like a clown collar made of tulle. At the points of the tulle are little bells. The cats I know (and have known) would be out of it before the bells would be of any use in announcing their presence.

Nothing for hedgehogs. Probably has something to do with the quills.

Our cats will be sleeping away most of Easter (like every other day), so I’m saving that money. I can spend it on molds to make Easter goodies (as the box says). These look like small cakes or cookies that then get decorated with fondant and icing. Which makes them more work than Christmas cookies.

There’s a cute cake pan. It says it’s for making a 3-D cake in the shape of a lamb. Aren’t all cakes 3-D? The problem with that type of cake is that you can’t slather frosting on them. You have to use a pastry tube to cover it with little rosettes of frosting. Various colors of frosting.

Thinking all this through is giving me a headache. I’m going to go eat some Cadbury eggs (the really, really sweet ones that look like they have a yolk inside) and fall into a sugar coma. I’m sure someone will wake me in time for church on Sunday.

6

I Hate Dead Chickens

Actually, I’m not too fond of the living ones either. As far as I’m concerned, the only good chicken is one that is somewhere in the process of being made into a meal.

My particular complaint at the moment is that they are taking up more than their fair share of my cheese cooler. Apparently the manager told my team leader that she should always have two extra carts of chickens in my cooler at all times. That usually translates to three overfull carts, although a couple of weeks ago there were two pallets plus two carts.

I’m hoping that whatever chicken splurge the manager is hoping for happens soon. For some reason, the very fact of us having more chickens has not translated directly into more people wanting them.

In an effort to not take up any more room than necessary, the deli stocker usually tries to put as many cases on a cart as possible. Sixteen cases at 46 pounds a case means a cart weighing over 700 pounds. If I have to unload the chickens (the team leader says it isn’t a job for women – so she lets me do it*), there are only 12 or 13 cases on the cart. Less cheese space but I can move the cart without throwing myself at it. Probably less entertaining for people walking past. *My team leader is taller and heavier than I am.

In order to give the little beasties their due, I have looked at some “Fun Facts” from Smithsonian.com. The best stuff involves male/female relations:

A rooster announces to a flock of chickens that he’s found food with a “took, took, took.” But the hens don’t pay attention if they already know that there is food around. Sorta like when I tune my husband out as he tells me for the whatever time the specs for his perfect TV.

Roosters perform a little dance called ‘tidbitting’ in which they make sounds (food calls) and move their head up and down, picking up and dropping a bit of food. Researchers have found that females prefer males that often perform tidbitting and have larger, brighter combs on top of their heads. Sounds like this might have been the prototype for disco. Makes me think of a group of guys strutting around to get the girls’ attention while the girls are giggling about how silly the guys look.

Scientists think that the rooster’s wattle–the dangly bit beneath his beak–helps him to gain a hen’s attention when he is tidbitting. It is just too disturbing for me to make any sort of analogy to a person with loose skin that looks like a wattle.

A female chicken will mate with many different males but if she decides, after the deed is done, that she doesn’t want a particular rooster’s offspring she can eject his sperm. Empowered females – I like this. Maybe this is what that politician was thinking when he said that women could prevent a pregnancy caused by a rapist. Did he come from farm country?

There are approximately 25 billion chickens in the world. More than any other species. They are found all over the world. If they weren’t known for the habit of pecking themselves to death, I would say that it’s a conspiracy to take over. Even our politicians should be able to take on something that dumb.

Chickens are not native to the Americas. It is generally agreed that they started somewhere in the vicinity of Vietnam. They were either brought by the Polynesians to Chile or the Spaniards to Central America. I’m going with the Spaniards. One of the things the indigenous people noted about them is how bad they smelled. Ever been to a chicken farm?

I did not realize that chickens are omnivores. I thought they ate seeds and grains. Turns out they also like insects, mice, and lizards. Both mice and lizards are pretty quick. Maybe male chickens give them to lady chickens when they are trying to impress them. I can picture a rooster holding a mouse by the tail as a gift. Pretty scary.

OK, now I know more about chickens. I still don’t like them. And I think they know it and are going on the offensive. Yesterday a carton of eggs attacked and spilled yolk all over me.