Monday, March 31, 2008


"I recognized my two selves: a crusading idealist and a cold, granitic believer in the law of the jungle" - Edgar Monsanto Queeny, Monsanto chairman, 1943-63

"Vikings and Bee Keepers, Vikings and Beeee Keepers..." - John Candy

My first wife used to pet bees with her fingertip. She pet bees! Have you ever hear a bee purr? It's annoying as hell.

I'd flop about the picnic blanket swelling three times my body mass for denying a vengeful swarm their god given right to cottage cheese. She'd scold me waiting for the ambulance, reminding that the little "fellers" were only stressed workers needing only a back rub and some Dino Martin. Salad tongs kept me from swallowing my tongue. I skipped south after honeycomb boxer shorts for Christmas.

Down in Rio I ran into biologist Warwick Kerr, the sunny side down egghead behind cross-pollinating pollinators. Mister Killer Bee himself, who once dumped a hive of mutant bees in the middle of Carnivale. Not the worst experiment ever, but near enough. The battle between mutating africanized bee queens and mutating Carnivale drag queens left Christ the Redeemer shrugging to this day.

Some 50 years later science delivers one to the bejewels. Behold Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. Much pantomime chin scratchery from the lab coats over bees bugging out.

The savvy investor sees not the bee's demeese, but nature outsourced. Laid off by the hives, in the droves. Freeing up natural capital.

Self-pollinating makes bees yesterday's buzz. Some think "self-pollinating? I stopped doing that in high school." Well then.

In richly modified heartland soil there is rye, canola and buckwheat capable of reproducing themselves. Do we or do we not respect the right to self-pollination? All those in favor raise an arm free from the pink stain of calamine.

It's against our interest not to extract honey from these combs. Is that not just the bee's knees? Is there not a market for bee's knees? For surely bees have no use for them.

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