Second Hand Candy And Ethanol Byproducts: The New Superfoods



I think I have a nose for investigative journalism. Some stories just jump right off the page and demand that I do some research. For instance, this morning I saw a story titled Cows Eating Candy During The Drought. I had visions of cows buying Snickers bars and Big Gulps down at the local 7-Eleven and cows trick or treating while dressed up as princesses and ninjas. The investigative journalist in me had to check it out.

See, trick or treating cows are adorable. By the way, she’s holding a fake severed finger.

I was somewhat disappointed to find no mention of trick or treating cows in the article. However, the story was still interesting.

Apparently the drought is sending corn prices off the charts, which is making it very expensive for ranchers to feed their livestock because cows are notoriously big eaters. That’s why they’re called “cows”. For the record, I’m not judging them for their appetite nor would I advocate making them buy two tickets on an airplane. Not every animal can be built like a cheetah, so let’s be a little more tolerant here, people. Besides, who wants to sit next to a cheetah on an airplane? It would eat your head. We need to be logical about this.

Anyway, according to the article, Joseph Watson over at Mayfield’s United Livestock Commodities couldn’t afford to feed his cattle corn anymore, so earlier this year, he started feeding them second-hand candy.

(Enrollment in animal dentistry is probably skyrocketing as I type.)

The packaged candy comes from various companies at a discounted rate because it is not fit for store shelves. I didn’t know that candy went bad and judging from the Halloween candy I got when I was younger, neither did any of the people in my neighborhood. I wish some thoughtful rancher had been around back then to take the stale chocolate and petrified Dum Dums off the hands of my neighbors, even if it meant that I would eat it later covered in A1 Steak Sauce at our local Sizzler.

“Old Lady Simmons gave me some junky lollipops again.” “Me too. I say we egg her house later.” (image via flickr & Martin Lindstrom)

Watson mixes the candy with an ethanol byproduct and a mineral nutrient. He says the cows have not shown any health problems from eating the candy, and are gaining weight as they should, which makes sense. I gain weight when I eat a steady supply of candy. I also find myself a little irritable. I wonder if Watson is having problems with grumpy cows. I wonder if his ranch looks like a school playground the day after Halloween.

I was a little concerned that if the cows are completely sedentary, eating candy and drinking Big Gulp’s full of ethanol byproducts, they aren’t living a healthy lifestyle. That’s no way to live. Unless you’re a computer programmer.

This angle of the story demanded further investigation.

I contacted my confidential source, Lindsay Lohan (and by “confidential” I mean completely fabricated), who seems to exist just fine on candy and ethanol. She suggested that the ranchers take the cows clubbing for exercise. I told her that the idea was ridiculous. Obviously the cows don’t have anything cute to wear. They’d never get into any quality Los Angeles nightclubs. Then Lindsay and I got in a fist fight and her parole officer had to break it up.

Don’t worry, I gave her some candy and ethanol and we’re solid again. (image via dreamstime)

To be honest, I didn’t completely understand what an ethanol byproduct was. It sounded like something I might have produced after a night of collegiate drinking, but surely no one would feed that to cows.

In order to speak intelligently about it I did what any knowledgeable journalist would do and googled “ethanol byproduct”. There I discovered an article filled with somebody else’s investigative journalism that talked about how recent research at Kansas State University has found that cattle fed distiller’s grain have an increased prevalence of E. coli in their hindgut or, as I like to put it, poisonous junk in their trunk. In fact, the prevalence of E. coli was about twice as high in cattle fed distiller’s grain compared with those cattle that were on a diet lacking the ethanol byproduct.

They don’t know exactly why this is but they’re looking to find out why and then prevent it from happening because the relationship between cattle ranchers and ethanol producers is mutually beneficial. Distiller’s grain is a cheap food source and ethanol producers need an added source of income in case the world suddenly stops drinking heavily or Kentucky sinks into the ocean.

Don’t panic. We’re not getting rid of any state that gave us Johnny Depp. (image via dreamstime)

I think I’ve asked the important questions here.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go perfect my new cocktail. I’m mixing whiskey, old Halloween candy and a Flintstone’s chewable and calling it a Cattle Feed Martini. I’m on my second one and I’m about ready to throw myself on a grill right now.


Welcome To Poo Corner

Warning: bodily functions will be discussed in this post. It’s about to get real, y’all.

My daughter had to pee in the tub today. Her younger brother had gotten to our sole toilet first and was monopolizing it like a one-person Occupy LA protest (the joys of a constipated preschooler) and rather than have my sweet girl wet her pants in the hallway, I had her utilize our bathtub, after which she was served breakfast in a nice warm bath for her trouble.  While in the tub she asked me if grown ups ever wet their pants. I told her that yes, even with years of urinating experience, accidents did sometimes happen to grown ups too. I further informed her that grown ups on rare occasions have even been known to poop their pants, at which point her eyes grew wide and her head exploded in disbelief.

My son learning how to monopolize a commode in the great tradition of Redican men. One day he'll add reading material.

Ah, the naiveté of youth.  Once upon a time I too didn’t believe in the intestinal fallibility of adults.  I, who refused even to relieve my bowels in a public restroom, who questioned natural childbirth not for the pain but for the possibility of also giving birth to something other than a baby in a semi-public forum, who had been known to make fantastical deals with God in exchange for helping me make it to my own private facility.

Dear God, if you help me not crap my pants I promise I'll join Up With People and tour the world, singing impossibly perky songs and spreading the word of Jesus. (image via Dreamstime)

I’d heard stories from those who had lost the battle of the bowel, to which I listened in wide-eyed wonder, laughing in sympathy. I never thought it would happen to me. Foolishly I thought I was immune.  I thought that my pants would never be sullied by the lowly contests of my intestinal tract. I was truly delusional, you see, because I’ve had an irritable bowel for as long as I can remember and when your colon has an anger management problem it’s only a matter of time before you become a statistic.  I was a ticking poo time bomb just waiting to happen.

And so it did. Evidently God had grown tired of my empty promises and desperate pleas. He saw the caller I.D. and let me roll to voice mail.  I’ll save you the gory details but I lost a good pair of jeans that night. May they rest in peace.

They were good to me and I broke their little denim heart. (image via Dreamstime)

Since I’ve joined the rank and file of the rank and vile I am amazed that there is anyone who has not felt the shame of crapping themselves.  Maybe you are a member of this fortunate group. Maybe you avoided the alcohol-induced black-out poo in college and never ate a questionable hot dog at an all day music festival with an insufficient supply of porta-potties.  Maybe you never drank the water and then boarded a rural bus in a far off land or experimented with laxatives in order to lose a dress size.  Maybe you’ve never been forced to address your lactose intolerance on a culinary tour through the cheese farms of rural Wisconsin or partook in the dubious Chinese take out during a working lunch at your overcrowded office. If you are one of these people, I salute you.  You should wear your achievement as a badge of honor: the Bulletproof Bowel Brigade.

I bet one of these girls ate some bad alfalfa sprouts. I hope she packed an extra peasant skirt. (image via dreamstime)

However, you should also know that the odds are stacked against you. Forces beyond your control are conspiring against you: E. coli, salmonella, intestinal disease, the panda flu (or whatever infectious animal we’re blaming this cold season). Even if you make it all the way into your twilight years without incident, age is the great equalizer, and chances are that you’ll lose your badge of honor along with the ability to eat a meal without part of it dripping down your chin.  And when that happens, you’ll know that you’re not alone. Unless of course your memory is so shot that you don’t even remember the names of your children, in which case it really doesn’t matter, does it? You can crap yourself without any shame whatsoever.

"Grampa" Simpson

Meanwhile, for those of you who have already shared in this particular dirty little life experience, the pressure is off. You don’t have to fear the unknown. You’ve already fallen short of the ideal and gained access to the secret society. To you I send a subtle “S’up?” head nod and anonymous cyber shout out.  My peeps.