Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lost Civilizations - Apocalypto - Lost Cattle Breeds

The past days have been busy and filled with much of the typical demands of a cattle ranch, with some llama (the one in front in the pic) and cat crisis added in. I lost a cat to a snake bite yesterday, and it was the second snake bite suffered by a cat in the past couple of weeks, the first one, Leopold, did survive -- it's got me wondering if some odd, insidious, northern snake that kind of likes moving around in the fall weather may have made the trip from up North with a load of alfalfa. One of my llamas is just acting puny, I can't see any obvious wound, but then she's covered in several inches of hair over the majority of her body. She waits for me to bring her food and water a few times each day, and seems to be getting a bit better. I haven't ruled out snake bite for the cause of her decline, it's a good possibility under the circumstances.

Tonight, I got around to watching Primetime from a few days back, the main story was on Mel Gibson's newest movie, Apocalypto. It looks to be a very good movie, and the premise I find fascinating, the rise and fall of a powerful culture perhaps via their own inadvertent self-destruction due to greed and wish to control, to have, to be, more and more. Ultimately, this led to a quite lost and destitute Mayan culture in the modern day. Of course, the point was made that perhaps the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq is reflective of the waste of human life and other natural resources that led to the apocalyptic end of the Mayan culture.

While to some extent I can understand Gibson's wish to correlate current USA events and attitudes with the historical rise and fall of powerful cultures and nations, there's ample bloody fingerprints from prior administrations throughout US history that have had less basis and more loss of life than current events -- what struck me as most important from this Primetime coverage of the movie Apocalypto was the footage of Mayan descendants in Mexico and Guatemala today who live in poverty. An ancient and mighty people who when covered by Primetime reporters find their best stories in a young Mayan boy who sniffs glue and lives in a garbage dump; and a 'single' Mom who prepares meals over a fire and weeps and tells them her life is striving to somehow make a better future for her children.

How will those children ever have a shot at a better future? Education is the key to better futures in the USA, and certainly a lot of hard work is vital as well. But the modern Mayan culture presented as the norm during the filming of this movie was distinctly lacking in any indication of options such as education or industry that would provide a way out, a way up, for one person, much less the modern day Mayan culture as a whole.

We also learn via this Primetime coverage that Mel Gibson's last movie has made over a BILLION dollars -- that's pretty awesome. The Apocalypto may well make more, they certainly made use of lots of native 'actors' and so there isn't a big budget for greedy USA actors. So, given the horrid conditions Mel Gibson described very well himself, and Primetime covered so colorfully -- why wouldn't Mr. Gibson himself already have a University being built in either Guatemala or Mexico for the modern day Mayan descendants? A BILLION dollars from his last movie and more to come ----- I think that would build a University (I doubt they'd object to cinder block walls or lack of 'really cool' stuff necessary in the USA) and pay some profs for a couple of years, and truly change some lives in this lost, but once mighty, culture. A failing of Hollywood Democrats is their own lack of example. They make more money than any average American can ever conceive, even some governmental bodies, use their popularity as a political tool, but be assured they don't put themselves at risk financially, they most assuredly have the best of CPA's or Financial Planners to assist them in using every conceivable avenue of tax savings.

So what's the point of this on a Cattle Blog? :) Well, the British White cattle breed is somewhat of a lost culture if you will. It is up to the breeders of this special bovine to continue to fight to bring it back to the revered status it held in ancient days. We will never know what events occurred that brought this special breed from immortalization in ancient oral tales to the small population to be found in the 19th century, any more than we can really know what caused the destruction of the Mayan culture. But we can work hard to educate those around us about the British White breed. And we can make better efforts to record their growth traits, their ultrasound carcass data, their DNA, and their many other desirable traits that aren't perhaps as easily quantifiable.