Offbeat – 22 June 2012
It is widely known that scientists can untangle genes and synthesize almost anything. My suggestion is that they get to it and start cultivating blackjacks in labs, because when it comes to the biodiversity stakes, those are one thing that won’t get my vote.
Yesterday was just great. The dog which is smart in the house got dumb on the street I woke up from a bout of the sort of thing that makes throats sore, eyes wobbly and heads as dim as as candles in power cuts, to walk up and down the streets of the neighbourhood in search of the ignorant canine.
I got to the point where my calls for the dog sounded like a duck trying to lay an ostrich egg and my whistles sounded like Sylvester blowing tongue before I gave in and came home to make posters. That nasty job finished I headed out with the dog who is always underfoot in the house but smart on the street. We shoved a blanket used by the other dog under her nose and said seek even though she hasn’t been trained to do that sort of thing.
She seemed to know the way. We went through blackjacks, more blackjacks, did a turn among some other blackjacks and then headed back to the street through the blackjacks. By that time I looked like a hedgehog. I think all the other people got the resemblance as well, because they sidestepped onto the street with no fear of cars.
Eventually we found the dog in another patch of blackjacks along one of the streets where I walked quacking like Donald and spitting like Sylvester. You would think the dog would have enough sense to come out of hiding the first time.
It ended well: the tears got dried up and the posters saying ‘Please bring this idiot back alive and in one piece when you find him’ got removed from the places where they got stuck up. I felt a bit like a hero and street smart dog got enough extra love and affection to make even Rin Tin Tin worry about his figure.
Now I am thinking of training the stupid dog to head off to the neighbourhood bar the next time he sneaks out the gate. It will be a much happier experience.
Perhaps I’ll print out a few posters with a picture of the dog and I saying, ‘Please bring him back sober, he may only drink beer and if he starts talking religion, just run because his ideas are unusual at best.’
Which brings me to the rant of the week: the blackjack, also known as Bidens pilosa.
I am not sure how I should handle the jacket I was wearing, one of those soft brown felt things. I spent a bunch of minutes picking the sods out but haven’t yet managed to thin them out.
From what I can gather they have some medical potential. There is some possibility that they may be able to treat leukemia, just not yet, because they have only figured out how to do it in a test tube. Should that be a reason to spare them? Possibly, but only under strictly controlled conditions.
It is widely known that scientists can untangle genes and synthesize almost anything. My suggestion is that they get to it and start cultivating blackjacks in labs, because when it comes to the biodiversity stakes, those are one thing that won’t get my vote. If there is a plant that justifies the use of napalm, then the blackjack is it, though possibly not Agent Orange.
Even if they were lab grown, and eradicated in nature, the cause would be entirely lost because some or other denizen of a lab would end up carrying one home, cunningly disguised as a piece of loose black thread or something, and the battle would be lost again as the things grew wild.
I like weeds. I try to find ornamental uses for them wherever possible, to the point of once trying to grow a ‘veld garden’, There weren’t any blackjacks when I started out. They overran the thing until it got to the point where I ended up taking the whole thing out with a spade.
As far as I am concerned those things are the vandals of the plant kingdom, more insidious than triffids.
I see I have another crop of them in the back yard now, just waiting for someone to find a medical use for them. Unfortunately that is not me, and equally unfortunately I don’t enjoy spending time with a spade digging them out.
It’s time to end the rant now and head back to the good things in life: two dogs instead of one and a happy daughter. Still, I could easily live without blackjacks.