Common Misconceptions, Part Four

Courtesy of the Encyclopedia Britannica

Bulls are Enraged by the Color Red

Do you remember school field trips? Do they still do those? Or is the educational system in most districts so strapped for cash that field trips are a thing of the past? Or is it considered too dangerous?

I remember field trips. I loved them.

I grew up in southern California. We lived in eastern Los Angeles County in a little town called Pico Rivera. It wasn’t too far from areas that were still quite rural with dirt roads, orange and avocado groves, and dairy farms. That was a long time ago now and yes, I am old.

When I was ten, we actually moved even further east and closer to the dairy farms. But before that, my class had a field trip to one of the local farms. In fact, it was the farm that produced the milk sold in our school’s cafeteria.

I wore red on the day of the field trip. It was my favorite red dress. It had a white Peter Pan collar and a little black bow tie. There were decorative black buttons down the front to the waist where there was a thin, black, patent leather belt. White socks and saddle Oxfords completed the ensemble.

Part of the tour of the dairy was a stop at the pen that held the bulls that kept the cows “happy” so they would continue to produce milk. These days they just use hormones. I’m not sure the old way wasn’t healthier. But then you had the problem of all those calves. And on a dairy farm, you really only want to keep the females so the male calves … well, it’s not nice to think about.

Our tour guide, a nice man whose name I don’t remember (give me a break, that was something like 62 years ago), had me step forward when we stopped at the bull pen. He asked me if I was worried. I told him no. Then he smiled and he said to me that I was wearing red and that toreadors waved red capes to get the bulls to charge. So I said to him that my dad had told me that bulls are color blind and that it’s the movement of the cape that bothers them.

Then the tour guide laughed and told the rest of the group that I was exactly right. Then he took us to see the cows that made the chocolate milk. We all got some really great chocolate milk at the end of the trip.

So, as it turns out, my dad was half right. But cows are not actually color blind. They just don’t see the color red. In addition to gray and black, cows see muted versions of yellow and blue. Unlike human eyes, cows have only two color receptors. They won’t see all the possible shades of yellow and blue, especially as they lean toward the green spectrum, but their world isn’t totally made up of shades of gray.

Courtesy of The Guardian He certainly looks as if he is about to whack the hell out of that ball.

“Golf” is not a Misogynistic Acronym

Golf is a game. Or a sport to some. I’ve never understood the appeal of golf. Now, if we are simply talking about taking a club and whacking the hell out of a tiny ball, I might get behind that.

Once when I was really angry and frustrated about something (can’t remember what), I went into the back yard and hacked away at a small tree with an axe until I had reduced it to a stump that stuck up about four inches from the surface of the ground. I was a hot, sweaty mess by the time I finished but I felt sooo much better.

But hitting a tiny ball with a club and aiming to get it into an equally tiny hole in the ground that you can’t even see when you first start whaling on the ball, well I just don’t get it.

So, apparently (be forewarned, I seem to use that word a lot when writing these posts), some people think that GOLF stands for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. There is no evidence for this. “Golf,” as a word, existed in the Middle Scots period as a standalone word.

Did the Scots actually invent golf? It’s debatable, but commonly accepted that they did. However, while the modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland, the game’s ancient origins are unclear. Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman game of paganica, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a stuffed leather ball. I’m not sure what the point of that was either.

Courtesy of Vox

Viking Helmets

Vikings did not have horns on their helmets. This was so disappointing to me when I learned it.

How anyone can actually know this for sure, I don’t know. I mean, metal might last a long time in the ground, but horns are organic material subject to decomposition. So I’m still holding out hope for the horns.

But apparently, the horns on Viking helmets in popular fiction today are attributed to an opera by Richard Wagner titled, “Der Ring des Nibelungen.” So, what? Did some prop master or wardrobe designer say, “Hey! Let’s put some horns on those helmets. Wouldn’t that look bitchin’.”

Courtesy of DW That band near the head is called the clitellum and secretes a viscous fluid to encase its eggs.

Two for One

When earthworms are cut in half, two baby worms are born.

I never thought this was true, but someone told me this once … maybe several someones more than once. Apparently, there are people who believe this.

I’ve accidentally cut them in half while gardening. It didn’t happen as much when we lived in Arizona. Two reasons for that: (1) I didn’t do much gardening because our yard was not really set up for it, and (2) the dirt was terrible, mostly clay, and the worms were small and very few in number.

Here in Wyoming, I’ve sort of gotten into gardening. Good dirt. Big damn worms. I always feel badly when I’ve unearthed them and quickly bury them somewhere else. Should I happen to cut one in half … well, I don’t cry over it, but I do feel awful about it. I usually say “sorry” out loud even though that helps no one.

The truth is, that if you cut an earthworm in half, only the front end might survive. The back end dies. Every time.

And honestly, why would you want to purposefully cut an earthworm in half to begin with. Don’t they have a hard enough life without people wanting to somehow double them?

Courtesy of A-Z Quotes

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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