Milking Men? Cows Might Fly!

This time round, the Czar of Blather has decided to pass comment on several topics which are causing much consternation in Blather HQ.

Man Jabs
In the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, April 27 1997, was an article entitled ‘Age of the breastfeeding man is nigh’ by Steve Connor. What’s this, you ask? Yes, it’s true, why, I read it in the newspaper!

According to Jared Diamond, professor of physiology at the University of California in Los Angeles, ‘All men have a latent potential to lactate and there have been rare cases of this happening naturally. At first, however, it would have to be induced artificially.’
These rare cases refer to prisoners of war whose starvation subsequently led to diseased livers, which then led to lack of hormonal breakdown in the body.
Another case involved a 64 year old man after seven years of hormone treatment for cancer.

Diamond seems ecstatic about his discovery, but the article doesn’t mention why he’s so interested in lactating men, other than the possibility of breastfeeding. Not that breastfeeding isn’t a good enough reason; in fact I’m sure many women will welcome the ability for their menfolk to give milk, but it does raise questions as to why he feels males need to do something that usually only women can do. Is this part of a jealousy towards the naturally creative female biological processes? A form of breast or womb envy?. I question his motives. *Sigh*.

Falling cows
A couple of weeks ago, a bizarre story appeared on the Forteana mailing list. It told of Japanese fisherman who were locked up by Russian authorities after reporting that their trawler had been sunk by a cow which had fallen from the sky. The Russian authorities apparently then discovered that the cow had fallen from a Russian military aircraft which was being used to transport stolen livestock. Some cattle had gone out of control and the crew decided to ditch the bovine cargo to avert a crash.

I hear about a dozen good quality whacky stories like this every week, and as usual I just filed it away both electronically and mentally as something intriguing, if a little hard to believe. Over the next week or so it managed to wangle its way into several conversations in various Dublin hostelries, as an interesting yarn.

On May 1st, Tom Morton, writing for the Scotsman, reported that the story had been circulating around the German Embassy in Moscow and the Bonn Foreign Ministry, where it had been accepted as a reliable report. This was reinforced when the email was marked ‘for internal use only’. How it made it to ‘Morgenpost’, a German newspaper raises some interesting questions.

Apparently the tale is incredibly like an incident in a Russian film entitled ‘Osobennosti Natsionalnoi Okhoty’ (Peculiarities of the National Hunt). Predating the film is a well known (in Russia at least) joke which involves a Russian trawlerman who has been divested of his vessel by a falling cow…

German Embassy Source in Moscow: ‘People in Bonn have the right to a good laugh too. It was a rumour, but there could always be a grain of truth in it.’
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Vladimir Uvatenko told Reuters: ‘This is sheer nonsense. Not a single word is true.’

Dave (daev) Walsh
21 May 1997

The disembodied collective editorial voice of the only really nice website in Ireland.