Look both ways
Which came first? The chicken or the egg? This has been a matter of Great Scientific Contemplation (GSC) since Archimedes first coined the phrase while sitting on his toilet. Some argue he was sitting in a bathtub but we know where people really make great discoveries. Archimedes ran out naked shouting 'Great Scientific Contemplation answered.' But someone later edited that to 'Eureka' for the sake of smoother storytelling.
So what really came first? Eventually, one concrete answer came out: chicken or eggs taste great when fried. While this answer may deviate slightly from the initial question (as is common with GSC), you cannot argue with the results.
Another chicken related question was the eternal playground taunt, 'Are you chicken?' It has led to countless children getting into a fight and going home with missing teeth. We all know fighting doesn't solve anything and definitely not this question. The answer is, 'No, according to Google, we are intelligent primates'.
But nothing beats the most mind-boggling chicken query of all time. Why did the chicken cross the road? Ever since the first road was created, chickens took to crossing them. Everyone wondered but no one really knew why. It flustered great thinkers everywhere.
Civilizations like Rome fell because no one could answer this. Wars were lost because somewhere a chicken would cross the road and break the concentration of the marching troops. Some smart alecks quipped that the chicken crossed to get to the other side. But life is never that simple and good answers to such crucial issues, really Good Answers with capital letters, are never simple. When asked about this issue, US president Barrack Obama said, 'Issues are never simple. One thing I'm proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues.'
Even Albert Einstein took a stab at solving this. But after much head scratching that led to his famous hairstyle, he gave up. He didn't give up on science though. He just moved on to simpler things like solving the General Theory of Relativity. Some say it is the greatest scientific discovery of the 20th century because no one could figure out why chickens crossed the road.
But recently, a new question has popped up. Every day while walking past the meat broiler shops beside Mohammadpur Kacha Bazaar, I noticed the chickens smelled terrible in the morning. Yet, as the day progressed, the smells became less pungent. A school going girl nearly gagged and asked her friend “Why do chickens smell so bad in the morning?” And thus a new question began puzzling everyone.
The office accounts guy whom everyone called Accounts Guy said it was a matter of numbers. Chickens are delivered by the truckloads in the morning. Chickens may look stupid (because they are) but they know that their life is about to meet a fried and tasty end. They are afraid and what we smell is their large collective fear. As the day continued on its way, fewer chickens are left standing (or sitting). Less chicken equals less smell.
But that's too simple an explanation. Some say it's their defence mechanism as learned from a skunk. Smell bad to avoid being eaten. But as previously stated, chickens are as stupid as they look. They are not designed to create strong enough odours like a skunk. But some chickens are hoping evolution will kick in by next Thursday. I bet they are thinking of escaping from the cage and crossing the road.
But why do they really cross it? Eventually I made some progress on this long winding road. Coincidentally, it happened on a long winding road. I was on a borrowed motorbike learning how to ride for the first time. There were narrow rural roads and nothing else in sight. Suddenly, a chicken crossed the road but not quite. It stood in the middle cocking its head from one direction to the other. I had just learned to make the bike move, not to stop. So I ran the chicken down quite unintentionally. And the first question I asked was, well, you know.
It seems there were good worms on the other side. Unlike us, chickens like worms. Their curiosity makes them cross. No one knows better than chickens that life is tough especially when hit by a motorbike. They are forever questioning, “What do we get if we cross the road?” And that should be the question we should always be asking instead of sitting complacently for life to run us down. But do look both ways before crossing.
Disclaimer: Complete massacre of history and other such stuff are completely unintentional.
By E.R. Ronny
The good, the bad and the ugly fights
Imagine that it's very late, and imagine that you have to cross a slimy ominous dark alley. Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. As you're crossing this slimy ominous dark alley, you bump into a mean looking macho man, or rather he bumps into you. This might have the repercussion of sending him into a frenzied rage that ultimately results in a fight to the ground in which you, being the physically inept person that you are, are beaten to a bloody pulp. Unfair and extremely rude, this situation isn't all that unlikely, either.
If such a situation arises, you can do a thing or two to avoid fatal injuries, avoid the fight altogether, and indeed maybe even come out on top. Be on your guard. By which I mean be alert. Here's something that might ram home the point I'm trying to make, “Constant Vigilance.” Yes, yes. Mad Eye Moody and all that.
Continuing onwards, in the hopes that none of you are in sudden reverie about Harry Potter.
Be alert. By which I mean don't give anybody an excuse to pick a fight with you. No matter how cool it is to be in a fight, it won't seem very cool when you're bleeding from places you thought you'd never bleed from.
Be on your guard. Don't give anyone the excuse to fight you, but if it does come to that, always, always, always and I cannot emphasis enough on this, always keep your guard up.
For your viewing pleasure, let me direct you to the girl here with a red t-shirt, and she can probably whoop you upside down. And she's on her guard, too. For further detailed explanation of what you are supposed to do on the guard position, here's a picture of a guy who looks a lot like a Bangladeshi with really snazzy pants. Not certain but he can probably whoop you too.
Always keep your fists closed, and close to your chin, and covering your face, and your elbows will be tucked close to your ribs for protection. The more closed up your body is, the more protected you are. However, the point is not to curl up into a ball and just take the hits until you're pulp anyway. The point is to keep yourself protected long enough for you to either a) put in a single devastating hit, or b) run away.
A) If you think that you'll end the fight in a dramatic scene where you throw a really cool punch to your opponent's face after which teeth will start flying in Hollywood style slowmo… well, think again. That doesn't happen. The skull is one of the hardest bones in the human body, and ONLY the strongest and most precise attacks are able to faze a person, much less knock him out. Best case scenario, you'll disorient the other guy for a second before he pulls out all the stops. No. Your target points are certain weak parts of the body.
The solar plexus: Everyone's heard the term 'getting the wind knocked out of you'. Well, getting hit in the solar plexus does just that. Disturbs your breathing mechanism and knocks the wind out. Your opponent's solar plexus are your best weapon and friend. If you've ever been hit in the stomach, you know the feeling.
Anyway, if you manage to strike a chord there, then it's your chance to do B) run away. If you're in a fight that you didn't want to be in the first place, it's a very good idea to not stick around for a long time. Being a large area, it's the easiest to hit.
The groin: If you're a guy, you know what I'm talking about. One hit there and victory is probably yours. However, this doesn't mean you should refrain from doing B). As before, if you're in a fight you didn't want to be in the first place, best not to stick around and gloat, as there's no telling where the fight might turn to. For one thing, a long arm can find its way to unpleasant places even from the ground.
Other weak points include the throat or the windpipe. A solid strike there should completely disarm your opponent right there and then. Then, there are the lower ribs. Once again, a solid strike can cause enough pain to give you an upper hand.
The knees or the thighs are very good striking points. Hit 'em hard and make a run for it, it'd be hell to run with a bad knee. Stepping on toes isn't a bad idea either. Followed by a combination of a few punches here and there (always go for the weak points). A good strong punch to the face STILL can do wonders.
Remember: always keep your knees slightly bent, and keep yourself on your toes, face covered and ribs guarded. Practice bouncing softly on your toes to build better balance. Always be ready to dart in one direction or the other, and always be ready to make a run for it, too. Think of it not as retreating but as strategically heading in the opposite direction of those that wish to do you harm so that you may mock them at a later time. It's fun. Make room for about 20 pushups a day, and maybe 50 situps. If your muscles are in tip top condition (pushups don't build muscles, it fine tunes them), your punches can pack a lot more unanticipated heat.
By S S Emil
| Issues | The Daily Star Home
© 2009 The Daily Star