Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Word About Smut

Once upon a time ( a year ago to be about exact) a plant inspector with a state department of agriculture 0pened up his office computer's website browser to do a little research on Ustilago maydis. Like any other person would, instead of typing in all that Latin mumbo jumbo, he simply typed in smut. Corn smut was his attended topic of research. The state government browser window popped open a page full of hits and he scrolled down and clicked on one that looked right.

Had he been thinking, he might have been wiser to type in all that mumbo jumbo Latin lettering. For what to his wondering eyes should appear on his state department computer screen? Porn, porn and more porn. The faster he tried to shut the insanely popping up windows down, the more of them opened in front of his frantic eyes. After attempting to beat the assailant for over 30 minutes and not even gaining on the intrusion, he was resigned to call the IT department to seek help in solving his issues.

Myself personally? I would have hit the power button after 5 minutes! Maybe even three. But hey, like I don't work for the state so I wouldn't have IT to rescue me from such a frontal attack. The biggest source of the inspector's angst was having to tell the technology department what he needed help with. I mean, imagine yourself in this dilemma, so distraught that it never occurred to you to turn off the ignition.

The poor man, a nice upstanding Christian guy who would never go surfing to goggle the wares, now has to tell another government department that his state issue computer in his state department office is hooked on opening up disgusting windows with no hope of gaining control. Why he didn't just shut it down and quietly take his leave I cannot fathom.

Instead he took a big breath and called IT. Sweating with duress in relating his problem he found that IT was not fazed a hair and came right over to ease him of his misery. But only after they had squeezed the entire story out of him one horrifying fragment of a sentence at a time. I mean, put yourself in his office while this is all happening and he is panicking ... totally hysterical situation. IT must have really had a field day dragging the tale out him one phrase at a time.

Since I don't work for nor have ever been employed by the government in that state (or any other), I can only wonder at what anal browser they require the state departments computers to use. Yet, I know the story is true due to the source of it's relating to me. I venture to assume he typed in smut without thinking about it instead of "corn smut". Try it, you'll see what I mean. Just like anyone else so involved in their work he simply typed in the first thing that came to mind.

Image Credit: Courtesy of cc-by-ca-2.0


Talk about a snaffoo! Lucky for him he had an office and wasn't in a office pool setting. Poor guy, he would never have lived that one down in a pool. A totally fungus among us type situation that from the outside looking in is too funny, yet were we in that chair the very same bizarre situation could happen to just about anyone if they type in the write word without thinking.

Incidentally, did you know that corn smut (a.k.a. Ustilago maydis) is actually a culinary delicacy in Mexico? Oh yes, it is commonly referred to as 'ravens excrement' from the word that represents it in one Mexican dialect. It sounds totally disgusting at first notion, and yet there are not many Mexican foods that have mushrooms in them.

A mushroom is a delicacy in many international and even plain old American cuisines. Mushrooms are funguses and where would spaghetti or gravy be without them? Perhaps is good for something that some cultures have yet to investigate. Picked young while meaty they are reported to have a flavor something like a mushroom.

If you order a Mexican wonder meal and it contains "huitlacoche" or "cuitlicoche" at some fine international place of repose, you are eating corn sumt. A crop that brings a higher price on the food market in Mexico than corn does. Now that is saying something since so much of the food made and sold in Mehico is corn based.

Smut, now who woulda thunk such an appalling crop disease would be worth more than the crop itself? Maybe American farmers who are plagued with corn smut should be smarter and get the stuff pickled or canned and sell it on the global market to Mexico. Seems a far more brilliant plan than destroying all that inflated cash crop.

Forget the corn - grow smut! It is easy to reproduce ... all you have to do is save some of last year's spores to infect each new season's crop. You could grow any old kind of seed corn, the cheaper the better because the smut is the real money maker in that field. Amazing the things one sees while simply seeing how much porn links come up on Google out of curiosity over a tale.

2 comments:

themanicgardener said...

This is full of hilarious and interesting info. I was suspecting that the whole "smut" story was an urban legend; you're sure not? Anyway, thanks for all that.
--Kate

Cathy said...

What a story! Poor guy. The picture of the corn smut is nasty, yikes! Thanks for stopping by my blog and identifying the shrub as an Oakleaf Hydrengea. I've been on the look out for one since and so far no luck. I enjoyed reading your blog and will stop by again.

Cathy