Four Ways of Looking at an Egg

An egg is not just for breakfast.

from Reader's Digest | April 2009
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    1. As eggs-treme sport
    Put 10,000 eggs and just as many kids together for a few hours and it could be a recipe for disaster. Not so, according to CL Arbelbide, author of a book about the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll. 'The event has always been about the children,' she says. In fact, it was the pint-size rollers who petitioned to use the president's backyard after an 1876 law banned the egg roll from the Capitol lawn. In modern times, the first lady oversees the day's events, which have included performances by the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. But whomever Michelle Obama picks to play on April 13 won't top two new stars: First daughters Malia and Sasha will be the big draw this year, says Arbelbide.

    2. As architecture
    Why surrealist artist Salvador Dalí chose to crown his self-designed shrine, the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, Spain, with 19 jumbo fiberglass eggs is a mystery. But it's no secret that eggs, traditionally a symbol of hope and rebirth, were a major motif in the artist's work, says Montse Aguer, director of Spain's Centre for Dalinian Studies. A Dalí egg painting can be found inside the museum as well, as can the crypt where the artist has been buried for 20 years.

    3. As a trophy
    Fossil hunters used to have to get their hands dirty if they wanted a prize like this. The spawn of Madagascar's half-ton elephant bird, extinct since the 1500s, was recently auctioned off at Christie's in Paris along with other paleontological wonders, like a Siberian mammoth skeleton, and a meteorite. The egg fetched nearly $98,000 from an anonymous bidder. As for digs, those came from critics of Christie's. One professor at Paris's Natural History Museum decried the auction as 'a pernicious consequence of the Jurassic Park effect,' scoffing, 'Nowadays, we make money off anything.'

    4. As a raw deal
    That's an expensive breakfast: $35 billion was the going price for an egg in Harare, Zimbabwe, last summer. The country once called the breadbasket of Africa has been pillaged under the 30-year reign of President Robert Mugabe. The nation is now near total collapse, struggling with a political crisis, widespread hunger, cholera and AIDS epidemics, and a rate of inflation considered one of the worst in history. In January, Mugabe introduced a $10 trillion bill (worth about $8 in U.S. currency). Two weeks later, the government reversed course, slashing 12 zeros to make one trillion in old dollars equivalent to one new dollar. A more hopeful development that month? The start of a new, power-sharing government.

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