Rhubarb is more than an argument with the umpire

Michael Raffety


Here’s a bizarro item. A New York judge ordered a Long Island public university to explain why two chimpanzees it allegedly has been using for motion studies shouldn’t be transferred to an animal sanctuary – in Florida.

The animal rights people are trying to confer human rights on primates. The lawsuit was brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project. A court spokesman denied that New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe granted a writ of habeas corpus.

Hey, folks, get clue. They are called chimpanzees, not homo sapiens.

I have never forgotten the woman who visited a friend who had a pet chimpanzee. This chimp had an extensive acting career with its owner. The male chimp attacked the woman’s friend. It ripped off her nose, ears and both hands, lacerating her face and blinding her. When the police showed up the chimp attacked them and was shot dead. That was 2009.

Chimpanzees are wild animals and need to be carefully managed. They are not humans. The judge is in danger of making chimp change out of the court.

 . . .

Both this paper and the Saturday garden section of the Bee have highlighted a grey water recycling system on a demonstration house in the Fiora subdivision of the Blackstone development off of Latrobe Road.

It’s a $10,000 system that clarified grey water with ultraviolet light and sorts out the suds.

If you run a hose from your laundry washing machine to your garden the law says you can’t use it to irrigate edible vegetation.

Bee columnist Debbie Arrington wrote, “In addition, the soaps and detergents in that gray water can be toxic to plants.”

“This makes it impractical for a lot of people said Tom Wood of Nexus eWater.

Maybe and maybe not. My grandmother’s wringer washing machine had a hose that sent the drained water out to her rhubarb patch at the side of the house. Of course, raw rhubarb is toxic. But that wash water-fed rhubarb sure made great rhubarb pies.

I am living proof that grey water isn’t toxic, at least to rhubarb.

My grandmother also had a pet magpie that would appear at the kitchen window, seeming to have some communication with her.

No judge in that Eastern Oregon town would haul her into court to claim habeas corpus for the magpie. Especially since my grandpa was the justice of the peace.

Because of that I got hailed by a policeman once for climbing a tree at my grandparents’ house.


“Judge Nordean wouldn’t appreciate a stranger climbing in his tree.,” to which I replied that the judge was my grandfather. So, the policeman decided the kid in the tree was OK where he was.


One of the people who sent me a nice congratulations card after I retired was my dean – now retired himself – from the El Dorado Center. Pat Kirklin reminded me that he used to mow my grandfather’s lawn when he was a youth in Baker City, Ore.


He didn’t mention if the lawn by he rhubarb patch grew especially long.


But I guarantee there will be a real rhubarb in that New York court. That’s how my grandfather described an argument with a baseball umpire.


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