The Awesome Power Of Dinosaur Flatulence

Any regular reader knows that the Webner House blog rigidly adheres to the highest standards of propriety and refinement.  Occasionally, however, exceptions must be made when a rippingly good fart story surfaces.

Consider the recent scholarly article in the academic journal Current Biology, in which the authors attempted to determine the magnitude and climatological effect of dinosaur farts.  The authors, from universities in England and Scotland, calculated that dinosaurs produced an eye-watering 520 million tons of gas annually — enough, they believe, to help cause the warm climate that existed 150 million years ago, because the dinosaur blasts consisted largely of methane, one of the greenhouse gases.  Curiously, the article makes no effort to determine the effect of the dinosaurs’ colossal flatulence on odor conditions during the Mesozoic Era or helps to explain why the Tyrannosaurus Rex was always so ill-tempered.

The dinosaurs’ astonishing gas production is especially impressive when you consider that they cut the cheese without the assistance of White Castle hamburgers, nachos, or beer.  In any event, the findings in the study also lend credence to the theory that dinosaurs belonged to fraternities, were possessed of a sophomoric sense of humor, and first coined the comment “he who smelt it, dealt it.”

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home

If you live in Columbus, you’ve undoubtedly heard someone rave about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — or, even better, you’ve experienced them yourself.  If you don’t live in Columbus, you really need to stop by just to try some of Jeni’s stunningly good ice cream.

Jeni Britton Bauer will be one of the featured authors at the Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, May 12 on the Fort Hayes campus.  She’ll be talking about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams At Home — an ice cream cookbook that my friends say is spectacular, just like Jeni’s ice cream.  And anyone who reads cookbooks knows that a really good cookbook tells you a lot about the cook who wrote it.  From Jeni’s cookbook, I’m guessing that she will be a really interesting person to listen to.  She’ll be one of the authors participating in a panel discussion entitled Food:  The Seduction of Flavor at 11:45 a.m.  (Great title for the panel discussion, isn’t it?)  The YouTube video below tells you a little bit more about Jeni Britton Bauer and her ice cream passions.

What’s summer without a little ice cream?  If the ice cream is something fabulous like Jeni’s salty caramel, made at home, so much the better.  Jeni Britton Bauer alone is a good reason to stop by the Ohioana Book Festival this coming Saturday.

Begging Door-To-Door

Last Sunday Kish and I were getting ready to take the dogs for a walk when there was a knock at the door.  We opened our front door to find a teenage girl and her mother, both unknown to us, on the doorstep.

The girl explained that they were members of a nearby church.  She said she was collecting money so she could go to a church camp this summer, which was her “dream.”  She said she would be participating in a 5K walk, held up a generic sign-in sheet, and asked if we would sponsor her.  We gave her $5.  All the time, her mother stood there, beaming.

This incident left a sour taste in my mouth.  The girl and her mother didn’t look impoverished; they appeared to be average, well-fed, middle-class Americans.  They weren’t trying to raise money for a charity or a school or group activity.  Instead, they were just going door-to-door, asking complete strangers for a hand-out so the girl could go to camp in a few months.

This used to be called “begging.”  The 5K and the sign-up sheet were just a fig leaf for a naked appeal for cash.

Perhaps I’m just not a very charitable person.  Perhaps I should focus on the fact that we and our neighbors gave hard-earned money to these strangers to help them out.  Perhaps the girl will now go through life believing that Americans are decent, generous people who lend a hand when you are in need.

However, I wonder, instead, whether we have really come to the point where parents not only allow their kids to solicit donations for personal items door-to-door, but also participate in the process?  Could this girl not get a job to pay for her dream, or hold a garage sale, or save for a few months to cover the cost of the camp?  Couldn’t the family make a few sacrifices to pay her way?

This young girl probably collected more money from our neighborhood than she would from 10 hours of work at a minimum wage job.  What kind of message is she getting?