Wednesday, September 26, 2007

when people are grosser than my villains

I know, I know. One look at this little guy and you think: Yum. I want to drown that tiny songbird in armagnac, roast it, and eat it in one bite. Right? Well, if not, you must not be French. Okay, okay, not all French people eat ortolan, and plenty of people around the world do horribly gross things to all kinds of critters. I am not targeting the French.

It's just, it's weird when I see a casual news reference to something that educated, wealthy people do for fun that is the kind of thing a gross devil or imp character might do in one of my books. Really! If you haven't heard the news, France is having to crack down on illegal hunting of the protected songbird, the ortolan, because people are eating too many of them, in the method described above. But it gets weirder. Tradition for eating ortolan dictates the diner shroud his head with a napkin and eat the bird with his face hidden. Shroud the head. And, apparently, they taste kind of like hazelnuts. Dare I ask why not just eat hazelnuts? Or is it too fun to eat a species to extinction? Where can I get a good snow leopard steak? Anyone know?
Ah, sorry. Sometimes I just can't believe it. Us. We're such a creepy species. Seriously, there's a villain in Silksinger that might do this, and in the context of a book in which devils do gross and terrible things, it would still seem really gross!

In other random bits of learning, I just discovered a very cool place name: Kekexili. Isn't that awesome? I love exotic place names. This happens to be one of the wildest regions on Earth -- a remote part of the Tibetan Plateau that is the third-least populated place in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland.

And this: tarantulas can live up to 30 years!!!

P.S. The plea still stands, to post an Amazon review for Blackbringer. Thank you!


Alexandra S said...

I had a tarantula, Maxine, that lived to 34 years old. She was just amazing. She managed to get her masters degree at 31 years old but then she only had three years to use it but you know, thats tarantula life. There is a tarantula in Wisconsin named Bob Bouillion that I think is now 37 years old.

Amber said...

30 years?!! WHAT??! Crazy.


tinker said...

I think they put their napkins over their faces from shame.
Aren't there enough great, non-threatened-to-extinction things that are actual food, in the world to eat? Aye-ya-aye-aye...

Anonymous said...

in the NOT for ROBOTS category, check this out:


miss you and jim.
~da rev

Sentient Marrow said...

Well, yeah, that is gross... they should hide their heads for such thoughtless frivolity.

Kekexili... that is a cool name. One of my favorite games to play with my sister when we were little was the map game... My mom had a huge map of the world hung on the wall and we'd take turns finding the most obscure place while the other person went in the other room and upon return had to find it. You'd have thought my world geography would be fantastic after playing that so often but for some reason numbers stick in my head more than anything else.

BTW, I went to the local library today to update my kid's library cards and did a search of your name... Lo and behold, it was listed but there was no title attached to it. Well, I decided I'd go over to the YA section anyway in the hope that perhaps your book was on the shelf and THERE IT WAS! I was so excited, I checked it out! I do still intend to buy it but haven't had the money to do so yet (ya' know- that whole having 5 kids thing) But, now I can read it and post that Amazon review!

megg said...

Hey!! (This is going to be gross) I know all about this French delicacy and I am also suitably horrified. Mark and I watched a program about somewhere in Asia and they do something equally horrific with baby ducks that are still inside the egg. When the duck is nearly ready to hatch they boil the whole thing and then peel off the shell and eat THE WHOLE THING. I have never been so grossed out by watching someone eat in my whole life. UGH.


Oh and I might have just sneaked over and posted a review - shhhhh...

marta said...

I think last year I bought one of your fairies...maybe? You sell fairies, don't you? Anyway, am happily reading your blog but I will lose sleep of the bit of news about tarantulas. 30 years?!