Archive for August 17th, 2008

Being disappointed in Olympics coverage seems trite, but I guess there just aren’t enough advertisers out there interested in supporting broadcasts that I’d really enjoy.  I don’t really want to have every moment filled with commentary; I do not care to hear the US angle on everything, and I think it would be refreshing to see the sports feed from a country that showed the sports but didn’t have athletes likely to medal.  If the Olympics is about fair play and doing ones absolute best, than that SHOULD be enough.

Of course, that wouldn’t sell many sports drinks, or cars, or debit cards, so…. [sigh]

But about the chincillas:  my Beloved came home from Fiber Night and remarked on Mary Carillo’s comment “This is why some people just raise chinchillas.”  The knitters and spinners were puzzled by the reference.  What could it be about chinchilas that could be remotely like raising an elite teen athlete?

Actually, it seemed pretty obvious to me — while chinchillas are now seen as pets in the US, originally there were many get-rich-quick schemes based on raising the little Andean creatures for their fur.  Chinchilla coats were the height of luxury. Surely anyone raising chinchillas would be able to rake in the money with this “easy” cash crop. [No, really.  Go click the link! I’ll wait.]

Of course, like other schemes, chincillas were not at all a simple cash-generation system.  Chinchillas belong on mountaintops; they have specific needs for temperature, humidity, food, socialization, etc*.  Not low-maintenance. Absent these conditions, say, in a 1950’s era suburban basement, what you get are impossible expectations for wealth that may never appear, ill-will from your family for dragging them into this crazy escapade, and high-strung — perhaps slightly crazed — animals who may or may not survive to fulfill your golden expectations. [And if they do survive, you still have to kill them.  Neatly, because the furriers don’t want damaged skins.]

So if you have dreams of gold, you could try raising your child to be an Olympian, or becoming one yourself, and that might go badly, but with chincillas you’d at least not be stuck with their therapy bills afterwards. [You might need therapy yourself, of course, after raising adorable balls of fluff and then, well, killing them]

*N.B.: There are people who take wonderful care of their pet/companion chinchillas. That’s a different group of people. Do not thou gettest bent out of shape when I am not talking about thee.

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