Sunday, November 18, 2007

Potpouri IV

Odd thoughts on a normal day.

When the bicycle was invented, birth defects in rural England dropped dramatically. Prior to the bike, horseless men could court only within walking distance and the generations of that had led to much in-breeding. When a man could ride a bike two or three times further to court, he reached a new section of the gene pool.

Meow is a sound that cats use exclusively for humans. And there is no word for fetch in their language. In the middle ages, cats were tortured and executed as witches's familiars. Black cats were particularly hunted down. I have always felt that there was a certain poetic justice to the black plague -- the infected lice came to Europe on the backs of rats and there were not enough cats to kill the rats because of the cruelty that had been practiced on them.

700,000 British soldiers died in the First World War, and over a million and a half were wounded; there were many British spinsters for whom there were no men to marry. These women often lived long lives, and when they left their parents' homes they tended to pair up and live together, along with their cats. The existence of so many British spinsters led to an unnatural increase in the number of cats which led to an unnatural decrease in the number of field mice and song birds. It also led to women's rights becoming an issue earlier than it might otherwise have done. It certainly led to a loosening of sexual constraints on women, since if women could only have sex if they were married, there were an incredible number of them in England who would have died virgins. Actually, even though there was an increase in extramarital sex, there were still many women who died in old age as virgins.

Modern transportation has traded polluted air for streets full of horse shit and the sounds of taxi horns for the sounds of horse shoes on cobble stones. There just doesn't seem to be any pollution free way to live in cities, at least not yet.


Naomi said...

random responses...on bikes: never knew that! meow: i miss our late lulu, think i see her ghost around a corner. u.s. civil war also left disproportionate number women to men and helped to fuel energized women's movement.

city sounds: in 1950s lived in nyc apartment facing street where mounted police rode to nearby armory. like sound of train--which i can still here in harlem--hooves (?) on stone enjoys its special place in memory. thanks for the trip.

joared said...

Ver-r-r-y interesting! Now, I'm waiting for a post of Normal Thoughts On An Odd Day. Sorry 'bout that. (remember Don Adams on "Get Smart?"
Guess I better stop, this comment is just getting worser and worser.

Maya's Granny said...

I'm not certain that I have any normal thoughts.