Chicken Foot Diplomacy

So, first let’s acknowledge Bill Russell, who played for the Boston Celtics from 1956-1969. During that span his team won 11 NBA titles. He had been elected to the National Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 1975, but refused to attend the ceremony or accept the award at that time. Very recently he accepted the award in a private ceremony attended by his family and close friends. He did so only after Chuck Cooper, who died in 1984, was elected to the Hall of Fame. Chuck Cooper was the first African-American drafted into the NBA (in 1950.) Russell has stated that he didn’t think he should accept the honor before those who paved the way for him were honored. It is so gratifying to know that there are still people with principles around, people who will stand up for what they believe, at personal cost to themselves. Mike has an attitude about Halls of Fame, as you may recall my writing in “Tisha B’Av” (August 4, 2019.) He just doesn’t like the idea of people making value judgments about whether other people are “good enough.”  This, especially when other people could wonder about whether the people making these value judgments are “good enough.”

There is nothing new to report about Mike’s health, except that he had his colonoscopy this week. They wouldn’t let me in to observe the procedure, darn them. I did have the opportunity to observe the prep, however. My advice is, don’t have a colonoscopy. I’m glad they don’t do that to cats (or do they?). Next week he has a bunch of tests and meetings at Emory, so we will know much more soon about what to expect.

And in our top story, China has agreed to start importing chicken feet from the USA again, after a 5 year ban imposed because of a flu outbreak. This is a big deal here in Georgia, as we are the biggest chicken producer in the country, and the ban has been painful for producers of chickens who haven’t been able to get nearly  what they got from China for the chicken feet. I think they have to sell them for fertilizer or something, for a fraction of what the Chinese will pay. Chicken feet are apparently a delicacy in China, where they are fried and served with a special sauce. Somehow, these savory morsels have not caught on in the US of A. Mike says his mother used to buy feet and necks from the kosher butcher and make chicken stock with them. Then she would fish out the feet and necks from the pot and ask if he wanted them, which he always did. What part of the chicken is better than the skin? Even if it is boiled instead of fried it is still yummy, I am sure. So, Mike has gone through quite a few chicken feet (and chicken necks) in his day. He says he always wound up with a pile of bones on his plate, toes and neck bones all mixed up together.

This reminds me of a story I have heard Mike tell. When he was in medical school he attended an anatomy lecture in which the topic was the wrist. The wrist is composed of a collection of bones, tendons, and ligaments which connect the forearm to the hand. The eight bones in the wrist all fit tightly together, comprising a unit which allows for passage of nerves, arteries, veins, and other goodies, and keeps the hand from falling off or flopping around. The eight bones are the navicular, lunate, cuneiform, pisiform, greater multangular, lesser multangular, capitate, and hamate. Each bone has its own distinctive shape. Some of the surfaces are smooth whereas other surfaces are rough, facilitating tendon and ligament attachment. Medical students are expected to recognize each bone, and to be able to name all the surfaces and points of contact on each bone. Human skeletons are available in the anatomy lab, both reassembled and also as unattached bones. Through their study medical students can become familiar with skeletal anatomy, and be able to understand how the body is supposed to function normally. The lecturer that day noted the different shape of each of the eight bones, and told a story of a medical student whom he characterized as not by any means the best student, but one who had developed a particular skill. This student could pop all eight wrist bones into his mouth, and on command spit out the correct bone as it was called. I imagine this demonstration was made more entertaining with the consumption of beer, the more the better. It was a frat-boy stunt if I ever heard of one. I also imagine something like this couldn’t happen in our era of correctness, nor should it. People might think twice before donating their bodies to science if they thought they might be thusly disrespected.

The relationship between our country and China has been testy lately. For years China has been stealing American intellectual property. The American president started a trade war with China, partly in retaliation, and partly based on his theory of economics, however eccentric it might be.  The two countries have a long history of distrust and conflicting interests. Mike remembers the great ambition of President Nixon to be known as the president who broke the stalemate between the two countries. He recognized that in the 21st century China would be a force that would have to be reckoned with. A chance occurrence in 1971 set things in motion. There was an international table tennis tournament in Japan, and in the course of events one of the American players made a friendly overture to the Chinese team. It was warmly received, and led to an invitation for the American team to come to China. At that time the Chinese were the top players in the world, and the Americans were no match for them. But it was more about establishing relationships. Nixon went to China and met with Chairman Mao, both of them all smiles. The whole process came to be known as “ping pong diplomacy.” Mike says that through the opening up of trade in chicken feet once more, the hostile relations between our countries can be eased in what should forever be known as “chicken foot diplomacy.” I agree.

The Democrats were in town this week. Donald Donck is closer to making his announcement of what office he will be running for as the Fowl party candidate. Governor Kemp is closer to making his announcement on who he will appoint to the US Senate to take Johnny Isakson’s seat next year. He had invited people to apply for the job, and got over 500 names, mine not among them. Next November, though, that seat will be up for election, and I think Donald Donck is strongly considering entering the race. Stay tuned for exciting news on that front. I, for one, don’t see why a duck shouldn’t be taken seriously as a candidate for office, especially considering some of the humans who are now in office.

So, that’s all the news for now from Happy Meadows. I hope I didn’t gross you out with my wrist bone story. The worst thing that can be said about the story is that it is completely true. Next week is Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a lot to be thankful for. We certainly do here in Happy Meadows. You will be hearing from me again real soon. So long for now, and don’t forget to love your neighbor.

Author: Black Magic

Black Magic is a handsome, charming, and self-absorbed cat who lives with Mike and Judy Gordon in Marietta, Georgia. He is about 7 years old, and he will remind you at every opportunity that his grandfather was Black Jack, that famous cat who wrote his own autobiography. Black Magic has a great many opinions, and despite his natural feline arrogance, he seems to be genuinely spiritual. But the reader can decide for him/herself.

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