Foodies taking out endangered species

For extra flavor, harvesters hug the pangolin before punting it into the grinder.
For extra flavor, harvesters hug the pangolin before punting it into the grinder.

We knew about the usual threats to endangered animals: deforestation, industrial development and pollution, picnic baskets filled with gluten (we’ll miss Boo-boo and his allergies, too, Yogi). What we didn’t expect were foodies eating their way through the protected species list like a Brazilian steakhouse menu.

According to findings published in the Royal Society Open Science journal, humans are driving at least 300 wild mammal species to extinction because those animals are either (a) secretly delicious or (b) get a lot of Instagram “likes” as plate selfies.

Apparently, people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are eating everything from “rats to rhinoceros, […] docile, ant-eating pangolins as well as flesh-ripping big cats” — which reminds The Guys of our favorite book, If I Ran the Zoo … if The Zoo was a pen-to-table restaurant directly across the street from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in trendy Adams Morgan, DC.

So, way to go, foodies. Because you couldn’t just eat a normal cow burger like the rest of us, we’re winning the War on Animals.

Stoned Age: Ancient humans used, traded cannabis

Thousands of years ago, humans were scattered across what are now Europe and Asia. They hunted, they fought the brutal elements, and they survived long enough to found Western civilization. They also got down with cannabis.

Researchers believe the three tribes responsible for populating Eurasia long ago also spread cannabis across the land. Scientists found that the herb has been found at archeological sites in Japan and Eastern Europe at about the same time, suggesting that ancient humans started using it for food and a buzz around that time. The various tribe may have even traded it. That means cave men were drug dealers.

But if ancient humans smoked cannabis, why don’t all modern European and Asian language share the word “Dude?”

Man’s best friend, but not yours specifically

Before becoming our dogs, wolves formed packs to fool each other into second breakfasts.
Before becoming our dogs, wolves formed packs to fool each other into second breakfasts.

Don’t let dogs fool you. They may act all hungry when you first wake up; but, if you’re the second one up, then somebody already fed them. It’s the oldest trick in dogs’ book (were they literate). We know, because they’ve pulled it on us from the very beginning of our relationship.

Dogs were domesticated not once, but twice. We’re not sure who did it first one morning 12,000 years ago, but dogs somehow managed to get domesticated both by Asians and Europeans at roughly the same time.

Sure, it appears that these were two different breeds of wolves on two different continents, but who hasn’t put on a mustache and traveled across the International Date Line on Free Donut Day? (It was Friday. You and your ne’er-do-well doppelgänger already missed it.) In this case, it was for steak, and dogs got teriyaki and bourguignon in the same day.

Heck, we’re not even mad. That’s amazing.

The McBournie Minute: In defense of Christopher Columbus

This is one of those weird holidays. Some people have it off, some don’t. Some people think it’s a terrible day to celebrate, some don’t. I believe Christopher Columbus was the original American. Here’s why. (Originally published Oct. 8, 2012)

Years ago, Columbus Day was a major holiday for the Italian community. Think St. Patrick’s Day, but with less puke, more mustaches and the same amount of Catholics. It’s probably still celebrated that way in some areas of the U.S., but it’s just not the big deal it once was, in part because we figured out that Columbus wasn’t the first European to find the New World, that honor belongs to the Vikings, most likely.

It’s a strange quasi-holiday. Some people have it off, most people don’t, and no one is sure how to celebrate it. I never had it off as a kid, but I heard tell of a time, also known as When My Parents Were Kids, when Columbus Day meant a long weekend, even for students. Since then, a lot of people have said, “Hey, this Columbus guy didn’t really ‘discover’ America, because there were civilizations living here long before he showed up.”

Well, hippies, here’s why it’s an important holiday, particularly in the U.S. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: In defense of Christopher Columbus

Cool shirt, what does it say?

We all know someone who thought it was cool to get a tattoo with some Asian symbols, trusting the dude with the needle that they meant “courage” or “love.” They didn’t really care, because it just looked cool. Turns out, the same thing goes for English phrases in Asia.

Apparently, some kids in Asia like to wear clothing with English phrases on them, even though they have no idea what they mean. And because the clothing industry is responsible, they feature fairly bland statements. Kidding! They say things like “I am a whore” and “I ♥ BJ.”

Just in time for back-to-school shopping.

Your ancestors were killed by gerbils

Humans and animals have been at war through the ages–everyone knows that. But according to a new study, one animal hasn’t killed nearly as many of us as we give it credit for.

Science has long said that rats were the cause of the Black Death, which first struck Europe in the 1300s, and kept coming back for centuries, killing millions of people. But according to a new study, gerbils in Asia are to blame for the plague. Those cute, squeaky vermin you watch crawl around in their little plastic tube mazes? Their ancestors killed some of your ancestors.

According to the study, the summers weren’t hot or dry enough for the cause to be European rats, but conditions were just right for Asian gerbils to get the party started. This is why every single animal, no matter how small or cute, is a threat to our very existence.

The McBournie Minute: In defense of Christopher Columbus

This is one of those weird holidays. Some people have it off, some don’t. Some people think it’s a terrible day to celebrate, some don’t. I believe Christopher Columbus was the original American. Here’s why. (Originally published Oct. 8, 2012)

Years ago, Columbus Day was a major holiday for the Italian community. Think St. Patrick’s Day, but with less puke, more mustaches and the same amount of Catholics. It’s probably still celebrated that way in some areas of the U.S., but it’s just not the big deal it once was, in part because we figured out that Columbus wasn’t the first European to find the New World, that honor belongs to the Vikings, most likely.

It’s a strange quasi-holiday. Some people have it off, most people don’t, and no one is sure how to celebrate it. I never had it off as a kid, but I heard tell of a time, also known as When My Parents Were Kids, when Columbus Day meant a long weekend, even for students. Since then, a lot of people have said, “Hey, this Columbus guy didn’t really ‘discover’ America, because there were civilizations living here long before he showed up.”

Well, hippies, here’s why it’s an important holiday, particularly in the U.S. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: In defense of Christopher Columbus

And you thought the 70s were hairy …

Gym rats: no matter how hard you work out, the world’s most dangerous exercise is long extinct. Having sex with Neanderthals and Denisovans made your ancestors stronger, so long as it didn’t kill them.

This is business news my liver could love

Kirin is not one of my favorite beers. It’s not too dry and it’s not too dark, and while it’s not the perfect amber that I usually order, it still gets the job done. I tend to prefer my beer a bit heavier, along the lines of Killian’s or a Sam Adams (Summer Ale FTW) but it’ll do in a pinch. I’m also not too particularly fond of Suntory whiskey, though I admit that I rarely get a chance to partake in mainly due to it’s not exactly something that every liquor store carries in stock either. God knows mine doesn’t.

But, maybe that’ll soon change.

It was announced recently that Kirin and Suntory have begun talks, hoping to merge the two companies and form the fifth largest food company in the world, which puts the company in league with the likes of Kraft and Pepsico Inc. How is that possible? Kirin actually owns a number of companies which distribute food and alcohol throughout Australia and Asia.

While the deal isn’t solid yet, Kirin is already working with Suntory by expanding distribution and procurement. This means that you’ll probably be seeing more of that Japanese whiskey making it’s way stateside in the future. Maybe. Hopefully.

Let’s face it, it’s tough to beat Vietnam

When it comes to killing off dolphins, few do it better than the southeast Asians. Some of you may remember all the way back to January 2008, when some fishermen from Bangladesh caught a rare Ganges River dolphin in the Ganges River (of all places and beat it to death, then dragged it through the streets.

Now, it seems our, um, “allies” in Vietnam are on the case. We don’t know what exactly they are doing to their dolphins in the Mekong River, but whatever it is, it’s working. Environmental groups that hate humanity say that there are as few as 64 of them left.

Good job, guys! We’re are on the verge of yet another victory. Keep up the good work and we’ll see you when this whole crazy war is over.