Singapore authorities are to round up and kill several thousand chickens Wednesday, to rehearse procedures in case bird flu is detected in the city. This brings a chicken-related anecdote to mind; I'd gone to the Japanese cuisine stand at a local food center and asked about one of the pictures dishes, the oyako don.
The owner explained it was a bowl of rice and roast chicken, with vegetables and spices, and an egg gravy. That seemed reasonable enough. Good price, plenty of food, just the sort of thing for me. And in chatting with the owner I checked that I was getting the pronunciation right; I care about that sort of thing.
``Owe-yaah-koe dohn,'' he said, and I repeated. He seemed satisfied with the pronunciation.
``It means Mother and Son,'' he said.
For a while I also used to, at the Western food stands, occasionally get a chicken chop or a chicken cutlet, and sometimes make the meal a little bigger by adding a fried egg to it for 30 cents more. I stopped that when it started to seem too vindictive, like a deliberate campaign to destroy the very idea of chicken. And look where being nice to the birds has gotten us.
Trivia: Herbert Hoover, 1874-1964, first appeared on television on April 17, 1927, a broadcast from Washington, D.C. to New York City by way of AT&T labs in Whippany, New Jersey. Source: Please Stand By: A Prehistory of Television, Michael Ritchie.
Currently Reading: The End of the Byzantine Empire, D.M. Nicol.