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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chuck Shepherd's News Of The Weird

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The Mites Ate the Cheese

The Food and Drug Administration proposed recently to limit the quantity of tiny "mites" that could occupy imported cheese, even though living, crawling mites are a feature desired by aficionados. ("Cheese is absolutely alive!" proclaimed microbiologist Rachel Dutton, who runs the "cheese laboratory" at Harvard University.) In fact, cheese is home to various molds, bacteria and yeasts, which give it flavor, and sellers routinely use blowers to expel excessive critters, but the FDA now wants to limit them to six bugs per square inch. However, according to a May report on NPR, lovers of some cheeses, especially the French Mimolette, object, asserting both an indifference to the sight of mites creeping around—and a fear of taste-loss (since the mites burrow into the hunk, aerating it and extending the flavor).

Ironies

Energy West, the natural gas supplier in Great Falls, Mont., had tried recently to raise awareness of leaks by distributing scratch-and-sniff cards to residents, demonstrating gas's distinctive, rotten-egg smell. In May, workers cast aside several cartons of leftover cards, which were hauled off and disposed of by crushing—which released the scent and produced a massive blanket of odor over downtown Great Falls, resulting in a flurry of panicked calls to firefighters about gas leaks.

Unclear on the Concept

In May, Los Angeles police bought back 1,200 guns in one of the periodic United States buy-back programs, but they declined to accept the pipe bomb a man said he wanted to sell. "This is not a pipe-bomb buyback," said Chief Charlie Beck. "Pipe bombs are illegal." The man was promptly arrested.

Perspective

In May, the Florida House of Representatives adjourned for the year without assessing themselves even a nominal increase in health insurance premiums for their own taxpayer-funded deluxe coverage, which will remain at $8.34 per month for individuals ($30 for families). Several days earlier, the House had voted to reject several billion dollars in federal grants for extending health insurance coverage to about a million more poor people in the state's Medicaid program. The House premiums are even lower than those of state senators and rank-and-file state employees, and lower than the premiums of Medicaid recipients who have the ability to pay.

People Different From Us

Apparently running out of space on his body (which is two-thirds tattooed), Brazilian Rodrigo Fernando dos Santos has moved on to his eyeballs. According to the body-modification website BME.com, eyeball-tattooing is safe if done correctly, which involves the artist injecting the ink precisely between the conjunctiva and the sclera layers—with the main risk, of course, that the client can go blind. In April, Sao Paulo tattoo artist Rafael Leao Dias, who said he had studied eyeball work for two years, successfully turned dos Santos's eyes into pools of dark ink. "I cried ink for two days," he told a local blogger. BME.com said eyeball tattoos have been reported for nearly 2,000 years.

Least Competent Criminals

  • Paul Gardener and Chad Leakey were arrested in Tempe, Ariz., in May and charged with a spree of car burglaries. According to police, the men were trying various cars’ doors, looking for any that were unlocked, when they inadvertently opened the back door of an unmarked police car. The men had apparently not noticed (until too late) that two uniformed officers were sitting in the front seat and had also failed to notice that cage wiring separated the back seat from the front seat.

  • Timothy Adams, 24, was charged with home invasion in May in Gardner, Mass., but only after resident Michael Salame slammed him into the floor. Salame is 70 years old, has had eight heart stents and is forced to wear special coverings on his arms at night because of nerve damage—yet Adams apparently went down easily and at one point offered Salame “thousands of dollars” to let him up before police arrived.                     
 
© 2013 CHUCK SHEPHERD  
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