43%, angelsportion, blended whisky, call of duty, japan, japanese, kurayoshi, lutheran, matsui, nature shows, prefecture, review, seals, sharks, The Discovery Channel, thoma, tottori, video games, zebras
I’ve often thought that if I were to force an exchange of my children’s video gaming with another viewing interest, I’d steer them toward nature shows. By comparison, a documentary detailing life’s varied wonders seems an easy choice compared to the carnage inherent to “Call of Duty.”
But there’s a problem with this assumption. Stop by the Discovery Channel. Pick any nature show you’d like. Watch its episodes. Pick another show. Do the same. You’ll uncover something rather interesting. Nature shows are little more than everything murdering everything else. Carnivore or herbivore, every living creature has an inclination, and often a well-honed skill, for mauling and killing friend and foe alike. Sometimes they have a reason. Other times, they don’t. Nearly all, even the seemingly cutest, has brutal hierarchies that reward the cruel and banish the weak.
A viewer will be treated to great white sharks hunting cute, cuddly, chillaxing seals. As a shark lurks, concern for the seemingly helpless seals stirs an audible, “Oh, no! Swim away, little guys!” A few minutes later, the viewer is treated to the seals beating each other nearly to death with their own heads as they vie for community lordship. And the loser, well, he’s sent away to die from his internal injuries.
Choose a different show, one about zebras. Ah, zebras. Wouldn’t it be neat to experience a herd of exotically beautiful zebras? Sure. Until you realize they have no problem kicking out each other’s jaw bones and stomping each other to death. Far more zebras die from other zebras than they do from predation.
Wendell Berry, an environmental activist, once said something about resting in the grace of nature. I’m guessing that Berry has never lathered up in sunscreen and enjoyed an unguarded day on the Serengeti Plains, one trusting fully in the hyena’s graces. I’m guessing he’s never taken a frolicking dip among the great whites circling Seal Island in South Africa.
You’re better off playing with matches beside a leaky can of gasoline than trusting nature to be gracious. I’m telling you, even the fluffiest things are looking for a way to kill you. At some point, I fully expect The Discovery Channel to produce a nature show about bomb-making sloths or geckos who’ve mastered human trafficking. These awful activities may not be happening quite yet. Still, give them time. The animal kingdom continues to prove itself more than capable.
Of course, there could be a flip side to nature’s dreadful creativity. As the birds are choreographing dance moves and building personal nightclubs for all the local ladies, there may likely be a few in the bird community wondering how to stock these makeshift clubs with beverages. Subsequently, they might not be that far from making booze. And if such a thing were to occur, I’m betting on the coastal birds living in the Tottori prefecture of Japan. Japan continues to prove itself innovative in all things, most especially with whisky-making. Now, if only a singular rock pigeon, or a pygmy woodpecker, could inspire the animal realm. If only one might flitter into Matsui’s Kurayoshi distillery for an encounter with the Tottori blend. I’m hopeful that nature would, as they say, find a way.
An extremely low-cost dram, the Tottori’s nose fans herb-sprinkled apricots on a seaside breeze, implying a slightly higher place on the connoisseur’s shelf. While somewhat bitter at first, the first sip softens, bringing ruby licorice, an echo of malt, and the nose’s apricots. The finish is short, offering a mild spice before stealing it right back.
While the Tottori edition seems a relatively simple concoction, it remains uniquely pleasant. I can only imagine what might happen if the queens from two warring ant colonies were sipping Tottori while discussing their terms.
Honestly, we all know what would happen. Another sinister creature would ambush and murder the queens during negotiations. Whisky or no whisky, that’s how nature works. And so, forget everything I said about the flipside of nature’s dreadful creativity. Pour yourself a two-fingered dram of Tottori, turn on The Discovery Channel, and see for yourself.