February 2, 2008

"Two Amtrak trains carrying 400 people got stuck in the mountains of Northern California near Donner Pass..."

"No injuries were reported."

Oh, my! What did they eat?

ADDED: Pop culture bonus. Cannibalism, the comedy topic:
Hunger will make people do amazing things. I mean, the proof of that is cannibalism. Cannibalism, what do they say, I mean, they're eating and, you know, "This is good, who is this? I like this person." You know, I mean, I would think the hardest thing about being a cannibal is trying to get some very deep sleep, you know what I mean? I would think, you'd be like, (pretending to wake up) "Who is that? Who's there? Who's there? Is somebody there? What do you want? What do you want? You look hungry, are you hungry? Get out of here!"
Cannibalism, the horror topic:
Wendy: Hey! Wasn't it around here that the Donner Party got snowbound?

Jack: I think that was farther west in the Sierras.

Wendy: Oh.

Danny: What was the Donner Party?

Jack: They were a party of settlers in covered-wagon times. They got snowbound one winter in the mountains. They had to resort to cannibalism in order to stay alive.

Danny: You mean they ate each other up?

Jack: They had to, in order to survive.

Wendy: Jack...

Danny: Don't worry, Mom. I know all about cannibalism. I saw it on TV.

Jack: See, it's OK. He saw it on the television.

18 comments:

Bob said...

"First they came for the fatties, and I breathed a sigh of relief, being small and lean..."

SGT Ted said...

Maybe something with a side of fava beans and a nice Chianti.


*slurpslurpslurpslurpslurpslurp*

Pogo said...

When I was a kid I always wondered if people looked at each other and saw a hamburger or a leg of fried chicken like in Saturday morning cartoons.

rhhardin said...

The trains have vending machines. The crisis would be running out of change, when the entire money supply is finally inside the machines.

NASA has the same problem.

AllenS said...

Taco Bell - think outside the bun

That saying was invented for situations like this.

AllenS said...

If you were a vegetarian in the Donner Party, would people think of you as a salad?

Ann Althouse said...

Wouldn't the vegetarian be the tastiest meat? Look at the animals we choose to eat: cattle, chickens. They aren't carnivores. I think the carnivores don't taste too good. In the wild, carnivores eat herbivores.

Another reason for eating the vegetarian first, is that the vegetarian should have the most trouble resorting to cannibalism. The moral dilemma for him is magnified.

class-factotum said...

Actually, I believe chickens are carnivores. They eat bugs for sure, which makes them not vegetarian and I have read that they will eat other birds, mice, lizards, etc.

walter neff said...

I saw it on television. During the Democratic debate. Hillary started chewing on the black guy's leg.

walter neff said...

And not in a good way, if you know what I mean.

Paddy O. said...

"Another reason for eating the vegetarian first, is that the vegetarian should have the most trouble resorting to cannibalism. The moral dilemma for him is magnified."

But you wouldn't want to eat the vegetarian first. Because the vegetarian would be more willing to go out and eat pine needles and bark, while the others on the train want to eat you. Get rid of the competition and danger first, then finish up with a nice vegetarian meal.

For a literary topic, there's Mark Twain's Cannibalism in the Cars.

bill said...

You forgot Cannibal: The Musical. Not such a great movie, but works well as a stage musical. Some pretty good music.

former law student said...

Little known fact: Many of the Donner Party survivors ended up in what is now Silicon Valley. Some were saved by Sunnyvale pioneer, Martin Murphy, Jr., who passed that way a couple of years previously.

Googling finds an article that explains why the first to die were the very young and the very old, followed by men because they had low body fat and were expected to (and did) exert themselves to the point of exhaustion. Women, with more body fat and fewer expectations placed on them, were more likely to survive.

rcocean said...

Having been on Zepher, the first people to be killed and eaten would be the Amtrack staff. They'd be killed and eaten not just for the calories, but in the forlorn hope of improving Amtracks service.

Never have I met a group of service employees who were paid so much, for so little effort, and who provided such miserable service in return.

The Drill SGT said...

a couple of comments:

1. My father worked for the Western Pacific for 40 years. As a child, my father was responsible to respond to any derailments up the Feather river canyon, which is where the WP California Zephyr originally ran. 50 years ago, he would have been up there last week getting the track cleared.

2. The motto up there is "no more Donner parties". The tracks run in snow sheds and tunnels over the summit. I'm surprised that they had a blockage. My standard for driving in snow conditions was established by the CHP which rules those passes with an iron hand in winter. They draw a line on the road and inspect every car going up. without the daily standard (e.g. chains some days or only snow tires another) you can park the car and wait for Summer, cuz you aren't going any farther.

3. Having said that, the last big party stuck on the mountain was in 1952 when the SP (the evil empire in my day) got its "City of San Francisco" passenger train stuck on track 2, just west of the Donner pass. They were up there 6 days, till the rescue crews cut a path into them. Dad was on the team in a supporting role since it wasn't his train or even railroad.

Ralph said...

Anyone can play bridge, but it takes a cannibal to throw up a hand.
Learned those words of wisdom from my mother, who everyone thought was sweet.

Bruce Hayden said...

Googling finds an article that explains why the first to die were the very young and the very old, followed by men because they had low body fat and were expected to (and did) exert themselves to the point of exhaustion. Women, with more body fat and fewer expectations placed on them, were more likely to survive.

Note that it was the infants, and not those a bit older who went fast. And that has been the way throughout history. Once they hit a year or so, their chances at surviving were quite high.

Also, another suggestion was that it was those with the best support systems who survived (outside of the old and the infants). It was, overall, the single men who died next, and the only recorded case of a woman or a married man with family dying was likely a result of a woman staying with her husband along with a cannibal whom the rescuers refused to evacuate. He claimed they both died natural deaths. Many disbelieved his story, but apparently it was impossible to prove his guilt in their murders.

Bruce Hayden said...

I should also note that I now live most of the time an hour or so from Donner Pass. I have found this interesting, esp. knowing some of the Donner descendants.

First note that the snow was early and deep that year, and, of course, the party also got a late start into the mountains. They also though didn't have rotary snow plows and the like. So, at least the Interstate near there is closed a number of times every year, but rarely stays closed for more than a day. It is interesting, since Reno can be snowless, while Donner Summit not that far away is closed (as are the rest of the passes in the area).