. . . . . we talked to informants who were timber farmers, cattle ranchers, home gardeners, and pig hunters . . . .
For several months, we did fieldwork for the Louisiana Folklife Program in Desoto Parish, up in the northwest corner of Louisiana. Our primary focus was the theme “living off the land”; as a result we talked to informants who were timber farmers, cattle ranchers, home gardeners, and pig hunters. While doing this fieldwork, we began to learn much more than we ever thought we might about the noble hog – domestic and wild.
South Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, the jewel-like Atchafalaya region, and agricultural land roundabouts all have a cute but troublesome visitor. Nutria (species Mycastor coypusof the kingdom, Animalia; the phylum, Chordata; the class Mammalia; the order rodentia and the suborder, Hystricognathi; family, Myocastoridae; and, of course, genus Myocastor) is a native of South America. This huge rat’s native area is from the center of Bolivia, to the south end of Brazil, and further on to Tierra del Fuego – the land of fire.
Nutria (species Mycastor coypusof the kingdom, Animalia; the phylum, Chordata; the class Mammalia; the order rodentia and the suborder, Hystricognathi; family, Myocastoridae; and, of course, genus Myocastor) is a native of South America. . .
Either intentionally or accidentally, decades ago nutria from ranches and fur farms, back in the first part of the twentieth century, escaped or were set free. Now, the lushly-coated, orange-toothed vegetarian rats exist in troublesome numbers outside their “normal” habitat, with large populations also living in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere in North America.
Forget that familiar, beatific, mellow picture on the cover of the cigarette pack. Put aside those lingering images of the sensuous East so popular with Victorian Orientalists. Elbowing up to the steel fence around a camel wrestling pitch in Turkey and I suppose anywhere is more like spending an afternoon with the good old boys at a NASCAR rally in the broiling sun of the American Deep South than snoozing on a divan with a plump, warm odalisque. Continue reading “Camel Wrestling”
The frisson existing between real and faux events, as between standard human mating ritual and performative settings such as strip tease is exceptionally well defined by the “latex nipples” case which went to court in Lafayette, Louisiana decades ago – way back in about 1994 or so. In Lafayette, a medium sized city in the center of south Louisiana’s “Cajun Land,” apparently part of the regulatory apparatus involved with so-called “gentleman’s clubs” is attached to the corpus of obscenity law.
Dr. Leisure has been experimenting with and researching the history of bitters as a component of craft cocktails. Currently I’m working with cardamom bitters because of my interest in Asia, but I intend to sequence through a range or orbit of these traditional, usually slightly alcoholic preparations.