Almanac Blows January Forecast

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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Every year for some time now, we've amused ourselves making sport of "The Old Farmer's Almanac."

This year, the Old Farmers got smart and decided not to send us a review copy of "The Old Farmer's Almanac." But you have to get up pretty early to stop Around the Rim from making sport of things, so we just went out and bought ourselves a copy of the 2005 edition. (Actually our girlfriend bought us one down in the Valley, since they don't sell such garbage in the more sophisticated and erudite population centers like the Rim country -- except at Bashas', which I found out after the fact.)

So here, dear readers, is our somewhat belated belittling of "The Old Farmer's Almanac."

In the "Tastes & Trends 2005" section, we learn that:

  • The hottest collectibles are pictures of people reading books, nut dishes, apron clothespin bags from the 1930s, and tin bandage boxes.

(Note: All about as exciting as watching dust settle, but I still have a tin bandage box in my medicine chest from the era when bandages were flesh-colored. When does the antique roadshow come to town?)

  • New food wraps come in tomato, broccoli, pear and peach flavors and are actually edible.

(Note: On second thought, we better not say what we were going to say here.)

  • "Wanting to breed a hybrid carrot that matched one of the school colors of Texas A&M University, Dr. Leonard M. Pike, research leader at the school's Vegetable Improvement Center, came up with a maroon-on-the-outside, orange-on-the-inside carrot that's also sweeter and higher in Vitamin A and beta-carotene than the other strains."

(Note: Rumor has it the Texas A&M Vegetable Improvement Center is also responsible for helping the school's football players get passing grades.)

  • In light of all the healthy food trends, we can expect a backlash and a run on Twinkies, Oreos and Snickers Bars dipped in batter and fried in lard.

(Note to Texas A&M football players. We suspect "The Old Farmer's Almanac" is only kidding around here. Do not try to prepare Twinkies, Oreos and Snickers Bars this way in your dorm rooms.)

  • Self-powered fishing lures that attract fish by making the sound of their mate are just around the corner.

(Note: Since we were not aware that most fish made noises other than splashing, we can only assume the sound these lures make is that of heavy breathing.)

  • Menswear musts include "a mix of plaids, checks, and stripes in the British style, but less serious."

(Note: How can a mix of plaids, checks and stripes be serious?)

  • Decorate-a-purse parties are the hottest ladies' night out.

(Note: Do those Old Farm Wives know how to have a good time, or what?

  • The hottest new fragrance for both men and women: gin.

(Note: We don't make or even make up the trends; we just report them.)

  • The number of women who farm full time in the United States has increased by 37 percent since 1997.

(Note: Those Old Farm Wives will do anything to get out of those decorate-a-purse parties. Well, almost anything.)

  • Forty-three percent of the next generation say that lying or cheating is necessary for success.

(Note: That's what they learned from watching the last couple of American presidents in action.)

  • In an increasingly noisy world, more people are throwing "Quiet Parties," where the guests write notes to each other instead of talking.

(Note: From where we sit, written clutter is just as bad as verbal clutter.)

  • A new therapy device is a vibrating platform that simulates anxiety-inducing experiences so therapists can help patients work through them.

(Note: We aren't touching this one.)

So now you know where the world is headed according to "The Old Farmer's Almanac." Just don't take it too seriously, because getting a late start with this year's edition gave us a chance to test its weather forecasting accuracy.

The almanac said precipitation in this part of the country would be .3 inches above normal in January. Normal is 2.01 inches and we received 6.1.

We can only hope they're wrong the rest of the year too, because they're predicting a return to drought-like conditions. In fact, the almanac predicts below normal precipitation in six of the next seven months.

So for your time spent with the 2005 edition of "The Old Farmer's Almanac" you are likely to gain very little. On the other hand, this column couldn't have been completed without it.

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