And the morel of this story is…

August 31, 2010

Hey Blog Guy, you obviously know a lot about language. I just heard a strange expression, “As dumb as an Italian hunter.” What does that even mean?

CROATIAIt means incredibly dumb, is what it means. At least 17 people have been killed recently in hunting accidents in the mountains and forests of northern Italy, six of them in a single 48-hour period.

Wow, that’s a lot of dead hunters! Even allowing for them shooting each other and similar mishaps. What were they hunting? Bears? Cougars?

Mushrooms.

You’re kidding, right, Blog Guy?

Nope. It seems in their eagerness to protect their secret mushroom troves, hunters are doing their searching in the dark. As a result they are sliding off steep, damp slopes, to their death.

JAPAN/They’re even wearing camouflage to help them disappear, so it’s pretty hard to find them after they fall. One mushroom hunter is still missing.

This is amazing.  And the actual falls killed all of them?

So they say, although I prefer to think some of them were only injured by the falls, and then died of embarrassment, alone and still clutching a grubby mushroom.

What do you think is the take-away lesson here?

I suppose it’s this: If you’re watching Italian “Survivor” on TV, and the contestants are a mushroom hunter against an actual mushroom, bet all your money on the fungus.

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A mushroom hunter searches for morels deep in a Croatian forest during the International morel festival near the Crni Lug village in the Croatian national park Risnjak in a 2006 file photo.  REUTERS/Nikola Solic

Britain’s Prince Charles smells a mushroom as he meets Japanese farmers at the Enmei tea factory in Shinano, central Japan, October 30, 2008.  REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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49 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

And there is our very own manly man man! You wont see Charles hunting for morels! Y? Coz he doesnt want any!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Your manly man man there is about to trip his cajones off.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

That wacky Prince Charles – he’ll hug anything, no matter how gross.
I mean, just look at Camilla.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

I suspect the Big Bad Wolf is to blame for this. And it looks like he has another victim in his sights and will be going after medium-sized yellow riding coat any moment now, as he trips his away along with his basket of ‘goodies’.

Posted by zeitgeist | Report as abusive

Hey it looks like those Italian mushroom hunters are really getting the shittake kicked out of them.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

Bad memories. I was 41 before I knew Shiitake wasn’t pronounced “shit-ache.” Boy is my face red.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

It isn’t?

Crap. I wonder if they’ll let me re-shoot my guest appearance on “Top Chef.”

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Hey Charles! You like smell fungus? Come on over! I’ve got some pretty smelly shrooms in my back yard you can cosy your schnoz up to. Don’t trip, now. I don’t need no royal’s sniffing shrooms dying off here.

@Nosmo … you’re in good form today. Have a doughnut, on me. Shittake, LOL! :-)

@ifly … that is one major magic mushroom. LOL!

Posted by justCAM | Report as abusive

Really? The spam basket filter lets through “shit-ache” yet rejects my cockpit joke yesterday? I tell ya that thing is temperamental. Or Doc has an in. I guess I have a ways to go before I can wield that kind of power over the spam basket filter!

@justCAM… dude seriously! Imagine that coupled with some medi-doughnuts..feeling kinda trippy just thinking about it. ;)

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

I suspect there’s a fungus among us… Hey look at Charles, he’s a fun-guy with a fungi!

I often think about moving to the UK… until I see a picture of Charles. I’m not sure how, but it changes my mind. Any thoughts?

Posted by drgnbait | Report as abusive

Is it coz you think you will end up with some one like Camilla, drgnbait?

Mr.Pilot,the spam basket likes you too much! ;)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

@Shra – you definitely have a point, though Camilla is on my own team… so it’s probably out of fear of ending up with someone just like Charles. Jiminy cremini!!!! What a thought.

Posted by drgnbait | Report as abusive

Spin, I’m afraid I only speak “Pig Yiddish.” Farshtay? I learned it from watching Schmo in “The Four Stooges.”

Isaac Bashevis Singer was a great writer who wrote in Yiddish. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature. His “Gimpel the Fool” is a must read. I recommend the translation by Saul Bellow, also a Nobel Prize Winner for Literature. One Nobel Prize winner translated by another Nobel Prize Winner. Very rare.

This is what happens when a person devotes his life to the study of comparative literature.

As for me, the most I ever got was a pullet surprise.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

An elderly Jewish lady approaches a man at a bus stop in Brooklyn.
She tugs on the sleeve of his coat and asks, “Farshtayn Yiddish?”
The man answers, “Yes, Ich Farshtay.”
Elderly Lady: “Vot time is it?”

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Is it usually this warm in the Catskills this time of year?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Aren’t you forgetting something? Haven’t we been a wonderful audience?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Have we ever been anything but a wonder fool audience?

Posted by AllThatJazz | Report as abusive

Spin, true story?

It is my opinion that “mushroom hunter” is a bit over dramatic. Mushroom searcher-outter-and-gatherer I think it more appropriate. Otherwise next time I am in the mood for a snack I am going to consider myself a Twinkie hunter.

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

For what it’s worth, those mushrooms are probably called truffles and sell at $3000-4000 per pound. A good mushroom “hunter” with a good dog can gather $10k in a day easily. Thus, “dognappings”, shoot-outs and similar aggressive competitional behaviors are ordinary.

At least, they aren’t using hogs anymore. A mushroom hunter with a hog would be a ridiculous scene.

Posted by Tosbaa | Report as abusive

Is there a morel to the story? Either Black or White? No false morel to the story, or you will be ill.

Trifling with words: truffle not a morel, I don’t believe. But as I don’t really know, please don’t zap me!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Ooh, Dave can go in search of goat’s beard mushrooms!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Tosbaa… you are new here… and tho the last part of your comment made me laugh.. I am gonna tell you, rather warn you against giving out info that will stimulate learning in the others… I run a tight ship and you should soon find that out!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

That’s a big mushroom :O

Posted by fwd079 | Report as abusive

I’m jealous, Spin. In my previous life, I met a few writers. But, I mainly got to meet literary scholars, i.e., literary critics.

Only one of them was I truly honored and humbled to meet. That was Cleanth Brooks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanth_Bro oks

When Brooks was elderly, we flew him in to deliver a talk on critical theory, especially the school of “The New Criticism,” which was then not “new.” I picked him up at the airport, and got to chat with him privately for about an hour. He was so charming, so intelligent, so much fun to chat with. We talked aobut everything from his books to dogs to William Faulkner, whom Brooks had met and chatted with once.

He had this little tiny overnight bag with wheels that felt like it was filled with styrofoam. But Brooks insisted that I not carry the “heavy” thing but wheel it through the airport.

My Department head took him back to the airport. He later asked me: “Did he make you wheel that little suitcase through the entire airport?”

Another scholar deliverd a paper on “Incest in the Canterbury Tales.” I spent the whoe talk wondering if it was possible to get drunk enough to buy his load of horse puckey. Afterwards, one of my colleagues said to me “I’ve been teaching The Canterbury Tales for 30 years. And I have no idea what he was talking about.”

RIP, Cleanth Brooks. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. You were a giant for me to stand on your shoulders.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Doc, Doc, Doc…. It seems to me in this thread you’re going out of your way to tempt Shra and her taser, and I’m not going to be able to help you.

That power blackout in Edinburgh today didn’t cover the entire city, you know.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Some things are worth getting tased for.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

There has been no blackout here… but there will b now!!!

Zapp, u Doc!!!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

I am re-reading the Canterbury Tales at the moment, I haven’t noticed any incest. Should I be looking somewhere in particular ?

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

No, CG. Just enjoy. My favorites are The Pardoner’s Tale and the Miller’s Tale. I hope you’re reading them in Middle English!

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

The Miller’s Tale was my favorite, I think. Was that the one with the hot poker and the fart?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

That’s The Miller’s Tale, Bob. I love the Miller’s Tale for it burlesque of courtly love. The Pardoner’s Tale I love for its dark, evil setting and characters. What a great horror movie it would make, with lots of sudden close-ups!

If you’re not reading the Tales in Middle English, CG, I can teach you all the dirty words….

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Doc! You have sooooo had it now! I actually found the word “teach” in your comment!!
That’s it!!! I am placing you under room-arrest and your medication would be a zap an hour irrespective of whether you are “teaching” or NOT!!!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

And Spin gets the monthly award for Best Movie Reference in a comment!

Enjoy your brand-new Cadillac El Dorado, spin! Oh wait, maybe that was last month’s prize.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Yeah, because contrary to what you may have heard, Spin, it isn’t an honor just to be nominated…

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Skipping to The Pardoner’s Tale now…

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

Congratulations, Spin!!!
Say, you wanna have a party and make that soup again? You can then gimme the recipe!
CG, you owe me a recipe too… !!

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Ohhh do you have any sushi to compliment the miso soup Spin??? :)

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

No sushi, please!!! x_x

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

More for me then! :D

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

Doc, I feel your pain on the “shiitake”; it took me years to figure out “macabre”.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

All those Friday lunches at Chinese restaurants. They thought I was trying to be funny, and they thought I was a funny guy…. ;p

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Where have you been, Doc? A slow recovery from Shra’s taser?

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

The Wife of Bath doesn’t half witter on.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

I think I liked the Wife of Bath. That, and The Miller’s Tale.

The benefit of going to a public school in Indiana – I mean public school in the U.S. sense – was that they gave us a handy list of tales that we were not allowed to read because they were crude and tasteless.

It made the selection process very simple for us.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

I see the Canterbury Tale discussion is still on… I may just have to tase all of you… and then go and read this myself…
that is after I finish with Tolstoy…

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive

Okay, Shra, but don’t expect me to gloss the dirty words in Middle English.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

I hate to flaunt my literary background, Doc, but Middle English is words beginning with the letters J through P, right? Those are some of my favorites.

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Objection. Question calls for an enlightening response.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Objection sustained. For I am feeling judgemental, so will act like one.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive