Hey, Hey We're the (Charred) Monkeys!
Imagine that you are a dog employed by the Customs and Border Protection Service at Dulles International Airport. You've spent years in training, learning to detect the smell of heroin, cocaine, marijuana, undeclared currency, illicit prosciutto, genetically-modified corn seedlings, etc., etc. But every day when you go to work you remember that day in class where the instructor announced, "Okay ladies, get ready for a treat."
Then the teacher opened a large Tupperware and the room was filled with a sweet, smoky odor. It reminded you of the grease traps at an Arby's but it was much more exotic than that. It smelled of monsoons and wood fires and jungle trails. You breathed in deeply. The scent connected to something deep in your canine brain. You were disappointed when the teacher snapped the box shut and reached for the next odor: pirated Chinese "Incredible Hulk" DVDs. Would you ever smell that sublime scent again?
And then on just another routine Friday you alert on a suitcase. What is that? you wonder. So alien yet so familiar... Haggis? Cured pork butt? Jovan Musk for Men? No, it's charred monkey meat, you're sure of it!
Let us salute that unnamed dog who last week stopped three charred monkeys--what Africans call "bushmeat"--from making it through Customs. I hope he got some extra kibble.
Like a Virgin
Of course, who am I to say what a weird food is? I've been known to eat Cinnabons. A new ad campaign from Burger King has some people reaching for their antacids. The "Whopper Virgins" TV spots purport to show indigenous people who have never been exposed to an American hamburger choosing between a Whopper and a Big Mac. Thus remote Thai villagers get to chow down in what BK calls "the world's purest taste test."
Critics point out that the American diet is among the most destructive on Earth, not just to Americans (obese, diabetic, cholesterol-riddled) but to the planet itself. If anything, we should be eating whatever it is they eat in the Third World.
Do you think the ad campaign is in, um, bad taste?
Do You Know the Muffin Man?
While we're on the subject of food: I am increasingly annoyed by something My Lovely Wife occasionally brings home from the Giant. These are muffins, the package of which is adorned with a sticker that reads "Oops! We overbaked." The price of the muffins has been reduced.
Should we really be rewarding the poor planning of a Giant baker? Perhaps they'd finally learn some good inventory control if they were confronted with a huge mound of rotting lemon poppy seed bagels.
What's a Washingtonian?
Gene Weingarten has a typically sparkling little prose poem up on washingtonpost.com but I bet you haven't seen it. It's part of our "What Does It Mean to Be a Washingtonian?" Contest, the contest where we ask you to answer that very question.
Gene's take on it is here. After you read it I hope you'll read more about the contest and jot down 300 words in answer of that question. Or go shoot 10 photographs. Or a video. Or record an audio submission. We'll post the entries on washingtonpost.com and pick one grand-prize winner to receive a $100 American Express gift certificate. Hurry, though, the contest deadline is Dec. 31.
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