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Bad mix: Goats, fruit pie, grape soda

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Posted: Monday, July 5, 2004 10:00 pm

Welcome to another edition of the Monkey Report, where we painstakingly steal things from other Web sites about animals, including monkeys, for your amusement. Of course, like with all previous incarnations of the Monkey Report, there was a dearth of actual stories about monkeys, so deal with it.

We have decided that there are two possible reasons for this: The first is that there is a vast Media Conspiracy to cover-up any and all instances of monkey madness out there, possibly because monkeys, when angry, tend to throw poo at each other.

The other is that we have a very lazy research team, who could benefit from flogging.

Ben Van Der Meer

We first turn to the topic of burping. Specifically, the remarkable scientific advances made by scientists in Germany, who have discovered a way to keep sheep from burping, because this is apparently a big problem.

According to a story in Reuters, burping sheep - oddly enough, also the name of Kerouac's unfinished novel - contribute about 20 grams of methane a day through their burping, and they don't impress the ewes either. Though, one thinks, "Sprechen se Deutsch?" probably sounds really funny in Burp.

If you are not familiar with Burp as a language - more of a tonal inflection, really - you have not spent enough time around 11-year-old boys.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

It may also come as a surprise to you that sheep burp, because you have never heard a sheep go "BAAAARRRAAAAPPP" in the middle of a shearing or, more disturbingly, when parts of it are stuffed in a gyro sandwich. I can set this straight for you: Sheep burp like well-sealed Tupperware. Or at least I can confirm that goats, their more evil cousin in the dim-witted ruminant family, perform this bit of social gracelessness.

I know this from an experience of my youth, when my mom, going for the true brass ring of insanity, decided it would be funny to feed some leftover fruit pie to some goats, and even funnier to top the pie with grape soda.

Sure enough, this particular pair of fiendish beasts not only ate the pie and smeared it about like a preteen girl wearing makeup for the first time, they made very strange "HUGARUMP" noises that meant either the goats were belching, or there were possessive demons in the fruit pie.

But if sheep waging chemical warfare is disturbing, then we must really take note of what the snakes are up to. For this, I must turn to an Associated Press story from May about Honduras, where a snake, either planning subterfuge or just wanting someplace warm to sleep, slithered into a generator at a power plant and knocked out electricity to most of the country, no doubt curtailing a lot of coffee bean processing or whatever it is they do in Honduras.

You might think to yourself, "See! Snakes! Horrid creatures that have been causing trouble since that one got Eve to eat the kumquat or Fig Newton or whatever it was! That's why I always try to hit them with my lawnmower!"

Except that in this case, the snake's plan of treachery was probably a bit ill-advised, in that in the course of its sabotage, the snake did an impression of a Hot Pocket, post-frozen mode. And without a blindfold, even.

Still, if you are concerned that the sheep are burping too much, and that the snakes are getting into too many power generators and frying themselves, then you could always react like some guys back east, who take out their frustrations on all this animal behavior by fishing with shotguns.

According to News of the Weird for June 20, hunters are using pistols, shotguns and assault rifles to penetrate the bucolic setting of a mountain stream, and also to penetrate a defenseless fish's head. These fishermen sit in "fish blinds" - which, like most hunting blinds, may or may not come equipped with malted hops - and wait for a fish to come by. Then, the "fisherman" springs into action and shoots into the water - this must look pretty funny to the hunting dog, if there is one - but not directly at the fish, because it's kind of hard to separate fish soup out from the stream.

By shooting in the general fish area, they give the fish a terrible headache that has the odd cure of a frying pan and lemon juice.

The story also says that despite complaints, all attempts to ban Yosemite Sam-style fishing have gone nowhere, which is easy to understand. After all, if these people are using guns to fish, they might wheel out catapults or something if it's an issue they feel passionate about.

So now you know. Use this information wisely, and find me some monkey stories, if you can.

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