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« Do You Know Where Your Money Is Going? | Main | Re: Cold snap in hell »

July 27, 2007

Cold Snap in Hell: Film at Eleven

Mule The Roman equivalent of "when Hell freezes over" was cum mula peperit: "when a mule foals." Mules, as you probably know, are donkey-horse hybrids. Whereas a horse has 64 chromosomes and a donkey has 62, mules have 63. Since an even number of chromosomes are needed to reproduce, mules are sterile.

Apparently, no one bothered telling Kale, a mule in Colbran, Colorado. As the Denver Post told its readers,

[Laura and Larry Amos] spotted a foal peeking out from between the front legs of one of their favorite black mules, Kate. They tore outside to save the baby from the male mules - the johns - that were trying to stomp the little critter and the other female mules - the mollies - that were trying to steal it.

And then the Amoses began to ponder how the foal had fooled mule sterility, a phenomenon first noted by the Greek philosopher Aristotle.

Genetic tests have confirmed that the foal is Kate's offspring, which leaves scientists wondering "how?" and leaves me also wondering "what does it mean?" According to the Post, when a similar event "reportedly happened in Morocco five years ago, locals feared it signaled the end of the world. In Albania in 1994, it was thought to have unleashed the spawn of the devil on a small village."

My take isn't as dramatic as either of these: what do you think that the seemingly-impossible birth of a donkey-like creature in a key swing state augurs? That's right.

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