Today I am introducing a new feature: Muley's Mailbag.
Now that I've been "on the blog" for a couple of weeks, I think it's time to try to answer a few of the letters, cards, telegrams and e-mails I've received from my small but very loyal group of readers. I'll do my best to try and clear out the mailbag every now and then, so please be patient if I don't get to you for awhile.
Okay, I've got time for two letters today. Here goes.
I was in the grocery store yesterday and on the vegetable aisle I noticed a can of something called "vegetarian beans." I'm confused -- I could have sworn that beans were already vegetables. Well, at least I didn't think they were meat. Please elucidate me.
I suggest you elucidate yourself, as I'm all thumbs when it comes to cutting things open. But as to your question: I thought at first that maybe regular beans were not "beans" at all, but the pickled corpses of some tiny creatures such as voles. But this didn't check out. I finally had to ask someone at the AAA (Abbatoir Advisory Association) to clear up the mystery.
It seems that regular beans can be fertilized by cows or other slabs of walking meat, but vegetarian beans have to be fertilized by decaying plant matter or dead bugs (although that last one is currently being hotly debated in some vegetarian circles). I've also been told that if you decide you want truly vegetarian beans, you have to make sure the decaying plant matter itself was not fertilized by animals, and so on and so on. Eat up.
I know that diesel engines are louder and stinkier and more obnoxious than regular engines, but is there a mechanical difference as well?
No. Diesel engines were originally created for use in large cities. It was hoped that the smelly exhaust and loud operation would discourage starry-eyed rubes from moving to the city and contributing to the overcrowding problem.
Now, diesel trucks and cars can be found just about everywhere. The engines (named for Rudolf Diesel, a German environmentalist) are used in 18-wheelers, and where I live, just about every other pickup truck is equipped with one. From what I can see, the primary sales targets are relatives of C.W. McCall and 16-year-old boys who love watching little old ladies in tiny import cars cover their ears in terror as they blow by, believing this makes them popular with chicks in vintage Camaros.
Big secret: the engines themselves are exactly the same as regular engines. They have one single additional feature, the patented "Smogbarfulator," which simply burns extra doses of gasoline through an odiferous filter to produce the loud noise and classic diesel smell. Diesel gas is actually the same as unleaded. It was given a new name so it could be sold at higher prices to diesel vehicle owners, and so sign companies could sell more of their product to convenience stores and truck stops.
Self-serving quote of the day:
"Grow up as soon as you can. It pays. The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty...The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits."