No, not that kind of smut. I’m talking about corn smut, a fungal disease of maize. Corn kernels infected with corn smut turn gray and bloated and just look really ugly. Of course, corn smut is also considered a delicacy in some areas, though it’s generally considered a pest in agricultural areas of the US. Native Americans frequently used corn smut to induce labor; apparently it has some of the same physiological effects as ergot, but without the, you know, psychotic episodes and the dying and the extremities rotting off.
I only mention this because I think smut has entered our little farm town. The Supreme Court won’t be doing anything about it, although the agricultural board might. Seen from a distance, a corn field, like the ones that surround Dixon, which has been infected with smut looks like an ordinary corn field, but one dotted with black specks — the tumors produced in the corn by the smut. As I was driving to the store this evening, I discovered that in certain light, the black specks of corn smut can also look bright red.
In other news, apparently the library assistant who was injured during the migrant worker outreach project yesterday has died. I’m looking for more information about that, but this sort of thing probably won’t hit the local papers for a couple of days. I’m hoping our district librarian will have more information. The quick death, though, reinforces my idea that necrotizing fasciitis was at work. I’ve heard rumors that there have been a couple more cases in the migrant camp, which strikes me as kind of odd; I’ve never heard of an epidemic of necrotizing fasciitis.
Still, it was enough to freak out at least one person. While shopping for yogurt at Safeway, I saw a woman buying what looked like a month’s supply of food, including lots of bottled water and dried goods. And she paid with a couple of hundred dollar bills. I thought her type had finally come face to face with reality back in 2000, when Y2K failed to turn off a single light bulb.
I swear, what with the corn smut and the necrotizing fasciitis, I feel like I should be taking several showers a day when living in Dixon. Glad I’m moving to Sacramento soon.
Meanwhile, does anyone know what’s really going on in Australia and New Zealand? People are talking about a zombie uprising down there. Those of you who know me know how seriously I tend to take any apocalyptic murmurings (as in, not at all), so I think the real story is something much less serious. This is New Zealand, for crying out loud. Home of Peter Jackson, who, before giving us Lord of the Rings, gave us Dead Alive, arguably one of the funniest (and goriest) zombie flicks of all time. Since zombies seem to be in vogue right now, I imagine some film producer is capitalizing on all this.
Oh, and people are trying to tie this all in to a medical alert issued in Kuwait as well.
I’ve said it before, I’ll happily say it again. People are just plain nuts sometimes.