Friday, May 16, 2014


Free range chickens are the new Kobe hot dogs. In fact, many people refuse to eat their coq au vin if it didn't enjoy a little leg room first. But... if a free range chicken falls in a virtual barnyard, does anybody taste the difference? That's an existential question we all might have to grapple with one day, as the New York Post reports:

Man, that looks like fun.
Oculus Rift, for the uninitiated, is, according to Wikipedia, "a virtual reality head-mounted display" for those who find real reality a little too much to take (which, considering the world's alcohol and drug intake, probably includes just about everybody). Although, frankly, no self-respecting chicken would want to look like the  zombies wearing today's Oculus Rift headsets, which resemble underwater face masks from a 19th-century Jules Verne novel. 

Roosters were much cooler
50 years ago.
On the other hand, I think the chickens would go for it if they could wear goggles that made them look like Banty Rooster, who made only one movie appearance in the 1963 Loony Tunes Banty Raid before presumably winding up on Jack Warner's dinner plate shortly thereafter. 

And they'd provide dinner!
And yet, maybe those Oculus Rift-wearing geeks are onto something. I mean, why should chickens have all the fun? There are plenty of New Yorkers living in cramped environs who would love strapping on these headsets and pretend they were living in a 3BR, 1 1/2 bath w/fp, Upper West Side condo overlooking Central Park. Personally, I could go for living in a virtual 1931 Hollywood bungalow with avocado trees in the back yard, a Duesenberg Torpedo Phaeton in the garage, and my wife preparing drinks for our good friends John Barrymore and Dolores Costello after they've gone iguana hunting. I'd pay extra if it could be in black & white.

Foghorn Leghorn on the verge
of chicken hawk abuse.

The free-range cultists folks should look at the situation from the chicken's point of view. A fowl who's cooped up all day might welcome meeting its fate at a SoHo bistro, while one who's living the life of Foghorn Leghorn (minus arguing with fellow barnyard denizens) would find it difficult to accept the idea of a slaughterhouse at the end of the trail. 

But as for wondering if outfitting chickens with headsets is possible "without harming them" -- I think the act of stretching their necks so a sharpened blade can behead them puts that particular concern to bed pretty quickly.


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