Saturday, October 22, 2011

Only In Texas

Drudge provided a link to the following story that could only occur in Texas.

Woman allegedly beaten with frozen armadillo
A man used a frozen armadillo to attack a 57-year old Pleasant Grove woman, Dallas police said.

According to investigators, the altercation occurred when the suspect was selling the carcass to the victim, who planned to eat the animal.

The pair apparently began arguing over the price of the item when the man twice threw the armadillo at the woman.

For those of you not in the know, here's some interesting facts about the assailant's weapon of choice.
The Texas state legislature designated the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) as the official state small mammal in 1995. A distant cousin of the sloth and the anteater, the nine-banded armadillo is the only species that occurs in North America. A bony, scaled shell protects the armadillo from predators.

The Nine-banded Armadillo is a cat-sized, armored, insect-eating mammal. Similar in form to an anteater, the bony, scaled shell of the armadillo protects it from attacks by predators. Unfortunately, armadillos often fall victim to automobiles and are frequently found dead on roadsides.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To show the armadillo that it could be done.

Q: How many Aggies does it take to eat an armadillo?
A: Three: one to eat it, and two to watch for cars.

Q: What’s the difference between a dead armadillo in the road and a dead lawyer in the road?
A: The armadillo has skid marks in front of it!

 The word armadillo means "little armored one" in Spanish.

The animals have long been considered a legitimate game animal in Mexico, and the practice of eating armadillos was adopted by residents of South Texas when the animal migrated there. During the Great Depression, East Texans stocked their larders with armadillos, which they called "Hoover hogs" because of the animal's supposed pork-like flavor (some say chicken-like) and because they considered President Herbert Hoover responsible for the depression. Currently, barbecued armadillo and armadillo chili are popular foods at various festivals in parts of Texas, Arkansas, and the southeastern United States.

NOTE: Recent medical research suggests that people who regularly handle armadillos may be increasing their exposure to Hansen's disease (leprosy). Armadillos have very limited natural immunity to leprosy, and they are shipped from Texas and other states to research facilities worldwide for study relating to the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. In other words, DO NOT EAT ARMADILLO MEAT!!!

On the bright side, armadillos from Texas are invading the north.

Roving armadillos could be heading for the Washington area
Armadillos in D.C.? It may sound absurd, but new reports show that the leathery, armored mammal from Texas is on the move and could soon take up residence in the Washington area.

Climate change is the culprit, reports the Daily Climate Web site, citing biologists’ claims that the armadillo’s northward expansion can be attributed to a warming atmosphere.
On a more personal note, I've been involved with the little critters since I lived in Austin in the 1970s. That was the genesis of the country/hippie/rock movement - the Redneck Rock or Cosmic Cowboy sound - spearheaded by Willie Nelson, among others. Ground Zero was the Armadillo World Headquarters, where I spend many a happy hour listening to the tunes and eating delicious concoctions whipped up by Big Rikki the Guacamole Queen.

The Armadillo caught on quickly with the hippie culture of Austin because admission was inexpensive and the hall tolerated marijuana use. Even though illicit drug use was flagrant, the Armadillo was never raided. Anecdotes suggest the police were worried about having to bust their fellow officers as well as local and state politicians.

Soon, the Armadillo started receiving publicity in national magazines such as Rolling Stone. Time magazine wrote that the Armadillo was to the Austin music scene what The Fillmore had been to the emergence of rock music in the 1960s. The clientele became a mixture of hippies, cowboys, and businessmen who stopped by to have lunch and a beer and listen to live music. At its peak, the amount of Lone Star draft beer sold by the Armadillo was second only to the Houston Astrodome. The Neiman-Marcus department store even offered a line of Armadillo-branded products.
More recently, as I have settled comfortably (more or less) into middle age, my involvement with 'dillos has morphed into trapping them and removing them from my yard. They burrow incessantly after grubs and insects,  rooting up the sod like a pack of feral hogs. But they're too damn cute and inoffensive - not to mention downright dumb - to shot. The best bait I've found to attract them is potatoes soaked in beer (It also attracts Irishmen, so you have to use the right sized trap).

One definition of serendipity is a "happy accident" or a "pleasant surprise." That's what this post has turned into. It started off as a 'news of the absurd' type post, but quickly wandered into a biology lesson, a few bad jokes, and a blast from my past.

What a long strange trip its been...


Old NFO said...

Yeah, but it IS a good post :-) I had one of those drinking armadillos for years, but it disappeared during a move... sigh... Good memories :-)

CenTexTim said...

Thx - it was fun to write.

Isn't it funny how the stuff you'd like to lose never disappears during moves, but the stuff you want to keep seems to vanish...