Thursday, October 14, 2010

What IS It?

When you're traveling 6,000 miles in a slow boat, you see lots of stuff.  Sometimes you see stuff that's funny or perplexing or just plain weird.  So periodically, this blog includes photographs of oddball sights, and we invite you to take your best guess:  What IS It?

About this photo:  This week, we left the boat docked at Birdsong Marina (near Camden, Tennessee), scored a rental car, and drove north, to attend a conference at the University of Missouri titled "Food, Fuel, and Society." (More on THAT soon!)  Just outside of Murray, Kentucky, we saw a business  with an advertising sign featuring a silhouette of a cow . . . and underneath, a "kicker" sign, pictured above, which reads "WE DON'T RENT PIGS."

So, What IS it?  Specifically, why would a business need to specify that pigs are NOT for rent?  

(The Cap'n notes: "This certainly suggests a 'new business' opportunity for an entrepreneur in Murray.  Signage copy would read, "We DO rent pigs."

As always, the winner of this quiz will receive, by the quaint venue of old-fashioned snail mail, a tacky postcard--suitable for hanging on your office bulletin board OR for use as a beer coaster.

If you are new to the blog, and are curious about past quizzes, just check in the archive under "What IS It?"

If you have not been able to whip your computer into submission such that you can use the blog's "comment" function, remember you can email your quiz solution (or any old comment--hey, it's lonely out here!) to slowboat@emailias.com

Those blog readers who have won a "What IS It?" quiz recently should, in the words of PRI's Michael Feldman, sit on their hands, OR (my preference) submit creatively misleading solutions to the quiz . . .  and let someone else have a chance to score a beer coaster--oops, I mean, win a tacky postcard--for a change.

Put your thinking caps on and let me know what you come up with.  (We did note that Murray is a college town . . . )


  1. I would love to rent a pig, but I expect this would not be good in a college town. Probably would be a going business, but liability insurance would be difficult. The Dean's office would never be the same.

    Regard my guess, we use absorbent-filled tubes to redirect fluid flow in our labs that are called "pigs". I can see not wanting to rent them out as you would never know what fluid was being redirected.

    From Gary of the Mitchell Clan

  2. Does the sign imply that it takes less paperwork to lease them?

  3. I think it's talking about a propane tank, but I can't figure why there would be a silhouette of a cow.

  4. Could the pig be the mascot of a local or rival college? I'm not sure I would want to rent a pig (or much else) to a college student; at least not if they were anything I was then...

  5. Not sure of the context, but a pig can be a pillow-like object inserted into a pipe and blown through to clean out sludge. I guess that's one-use, especially if the pipe transported milk, so renting wouldn't make sense.

    A pig can also be used for absorbing spills, (spilled milk?) and after that would smell bad so again, one use.

    PIGS also refers to Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain which are having financial difficulties. Maybe in that case it WOULD be better to rent than to own...

  6. Well, I'm disappointed, 5 comments and no obligatory police jokes yet... I digress, I know a lot of great, hard working police officers. Still, maybe it's a bovine security company that doesn't want to rent out it's officers. Be true to your herd?

    My boat is put away for the season, I have nothing to occupy my strange mind...

  7. Colin Burgess writes: It's from the book Lonesome Dove. That phrase was under the sign for The Hat Creek Cattle Company. I couldn't post this on your site for some reason. Happy sailing.