Thursday, April 21, 2005

Stock up now - before it's too late!

Here's an important story that's been lost underneath all this Pope stuff. Mis Hooz had to console me when I read about this over the weekend. The Washington Post was on the case, but it seems to have escaped national attention. (But I haven't been watching much news lately, since it seemed to largely focus on what color smoke was coming out of the Vatican chimney, so maybe I missed the coverage.)

Are you people sitting down? Are you ready for this? Okay, here it is: There will be a shortage of sunflower seeds in the United States this year.

Get 'em while you can!

According to the article by Don Oldenburg, the shortage can be attributed to three factors:

▪ Chilly, rainy, and snowy weather this past winter killed the sunflower crops in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, where sunflowers are primarily grown.

▪ White mold. It's not just on your shower curtain anymore. Of course, it's probably not the same stuff. Whatever this stuff was, it wiped out 40% of sunflower plants.

▪ Instead of sunflowers, farmers decided to grow soybeans because they could be sold at higher prices.

Excuse me if I get emotional here. I just can't bear the thought of having to eat more beef jerky or bags of Combos on my long road trips this summer. Cracking the shells with my teeth and spitting them into a cup is what keeps me awake while driving that long, flat stretch of nothing called I-80 running through Iowa and Illinois. The slogan for David Sunflower Seeds says it all: "Eat. Spit. Be Happy." That's me on the road, man.

What's worse is the effect this shortage will have on my beloved baseball. You want those guys to go back to chewing tobacco?

"They're trying to put on a good face for the kids," said author Frederick C. Klein in the article. "Having a player walk around with a big chunk in his cheek isn't the image they want. You don't see that much anymore."

Think about the children! I guess they'll have to go back to peanuts and Cracker Jack. Or bubble gum. Those poor bastards.