Down-and-dirty teacher

I was watching that hip, new show Insomniac on Comedy Central the other night, as host Dave Attell was in Boise, Idaho doing a bit where he interviewed a guy who was ramming his fist up a cow’s rectum to inseminate it. As I watched, I thought, “This looks really familiar.”

That’s because I’ve seen Chico State’s Cindy Daley, an assistant professor of animal biotechnology, do much the same thing. “It’s just grass and water,” I remember her saying. Now, Daley has been nationally honored for her work as a teacher of agriculture. The American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewal Resources (whew!—that’s a mouthful) presented Daley with its outstanding teacher award at a June 22 conference in Lincoln, Neb.

Not only has Daley harnessed more than $1 million in grants; she is widely known for her research involving cattle. (Remember those cute cloned calves?)

Charles Crabb, dean of the College of Agriculture, couldn’t be more proud of Daley. “This is exciting because it recognizes her for what we hope for in professors here at CSU, Chico,” he said, adding that Daley has mastered the art of excelling in both research and teaching. “Sometimes that balance is hard to achieve. … It’s the model that we would have faculty pursue.”

Sweet meats

Never let it be said that I leave faithful readers hanging. Throw out May’s subjective almond forecast, because the objective forecast was released June 27. The 2002-03 crop, growing on 530,000 bearing acres statewide, is expected to yield 980 million meat pounds. That’s a new record, 18 percent higher than last year’s crop of 850 million meat pounds. The “nut set” in each tree is higher, too. A March freeze hurt crops in Colusa, Glenn and Yolo counties, but warm weather in May and June boosted development.

The objective forecast is based on random counts by the California Agricultural Statistics Service.

Ya Ya vacation

I’m back from a week-long vacation in Arizona, and Chico seems ever-so-cool.

My mom and I drove there, and we stayed at my Grandpa Red’s house in Phoenix where he and his wife keep the thermostat set at a sticky 84 degrees.

Major differences between California and Arizona include: speed “humps” instead of bumps, helmet-less motorcycle riders, cigarette-smoking allowed practically everywhere and more roadside litter.

My grandpa says when he was born in Phoenix in 1925 there were only 30,000 people in all of Maricopa County. Now Phoenix is the sixth-largest city in the country.

The sky is really pretty there, and it’s trippy to see cacti poking out of the ground instead of trees. But developers have been clearing them out as if the were trees, so now they’re protected.

If you visit Phoenix, be sure to tour Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in Scottsdale. And, if you value your sweat glands, don’t go to Arizona in the summertime. As I say that, though, note that the Mensa people with the supposedly high IQs are having their annual convention there.