Jewish World Review July 25, 2002 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5762

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

Something to celebrate | No. 1 sign that your city has a really bad Chamber of Commerce: It's holding a festival celebrating armpits.

Battle Mountain, Nev., officials made the dubious decision to sponsor just such a festival when the town was described as the "nation's armpit" in a Washington Post Magazine story.

"You know, when you talk about armpits, you'd think it was an awful, horrible thing to be called," said Shar Peterson of the local Chamber. "Armpits are stinky and sweaty, but it doesn't have to be something bad. We can springboard off this."

Clearly, your town is in serious need of levitation if it can springboard off an armpit festival, but I wish the good folks of Battle Mountain all the best with their novel new celebration.

The "Festival in the Pit," as it's called, includes a deodorant toss, which replaces the festival's traditional egg toss.

Old-timers will be pleased to know that while some things have changed at the festival, the important things have remained the same.

Basque dancing will still be featured, as will the traditional sheep's testicles cook-off.

If you aren't into armpits or sheep's testicles -- and I can't imagine why you wouldn't be -- you might consider traveling to Woodstock, Vt., July 20 for the 17th annual Cow Appreciation Day.

I have no reason to believe that the cows of Woodstock are scorned or taken for granted the other days of the year, but for one day in July, they achieve a level of celebrity somewhere between Tom Arnold's and Moby's.

According to Susan Plump, public relations assistant for Billings Farm and Museum, the purpose of the event is for "people to get to know a cow."

For those of you with a metaphysical bent, I am sorry to inform you that Cow Appreciation Day does not directly address the question of how much cow-ness we can ever really know. There are some things, apparently, that people just aren't comfortable asking a half-ton Jersey.

However, you do get the opportunity to name a calf, make homemade ice cream and -- my favorite activity -- make a cow pizza.

Being basically a city boy, I always thought it was cows that made cow pizzas and, once made, it was up to us to avoid stepping in them. This is clearly wrong, or at least not always true. During Cow Appreciation Day, children fashion pizzas from the stuff cows eat -- clover, alfalfa, shredded Enron documents, that sort of thing. The finished pizzas basically stand alone as works of bovine art and are not consumed by the children. Whether the cows eventually get a shot at them, I cannot say. Some things about Cow Appreciation Day are not for outsiders to know.

For those of you who feel creatively daunted by the prospect of assembling a cow pizza, you might consider something easier such as Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day, which occurs this year on July 27.

The brainchild (braincramp?) of Wellcat Herbs and Holidays owners Tom and Ruth Roy, the idea is that walking your plants around the neighborhood "enables them to know their environment, thereby providing them with a sense of knowing, bringing on wellness."

While your houseplants may have wellness leaking out of their pots, the Roys do not address what might happen to the wellness of your back from schlepping a 50-pound ficus tree up and down the street.

I'm sorry, but it's my opinion that if my houseplants want to know their environment better, they can jolly well walk themselves around the neighborhood, preferably without waking me up.

I would alert them, however, to be on the lookout for hungry cows, unless they want to become part of a big, green pizza.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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07/11/02: Decline in trash-talking is harming our mental health? Well, #@%&!
07/08/02 Americans retain right to fork tongues
07/01/02 These laws were made to be broken
06/18/02 Watching enough commercials?
06/03/02 Throwing your vote to the dogs
05/08/02 Hey, Mom, could you spare a dime?: Parents' obligations unending

© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune