Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good Eating

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A prominent chef once wrote, “If you’re going to kill the animal, it seems only polite to use the whole thing,” and recently restaurants specializing in such “nose-to-tail” cuisine have opened in several cities, according to a May report in Toronto’s National Post. The hamburger at New York City’s Tasting Room includes cow heart, liver, bone marrow, tongue, flatiron, brisket, shank and clod. New York’s Casa Mono features dishes of lamb’s tongue, duck hearts and the red comb on top of a rooster’s head. San Francisco’s Incanto serves lamb necks, pig trotters and venison kidneys. “It’s about viable cuts of meat that we have thrown into the trash can for years,” said Incanto’s executive chef. “When it comes to food, we’re very wasteful.”

News That Sounds Like a Joke
(1) In April, as a police officer approached a motorist relieving himself on the side of the road in South Kitsap, Wash., the man explained that he had consumed “a bunch” of beers but was not driving drunk. According to the officer, the man said he was slurring his words because “his dentist advised him his mouth was too big for his tongue.” (2) Comedian Aries Spears pleaded guilty in April to assaulting a woman in the audience during his act at a New York City club. Said prosecutor Elizabeth Pederson, ridiculing Spears’ initial explanation: “You can’t high-five a woman’s breast.”

Not My Fault
Jessica Vasquez, 19, was arrested in Indianapolis in April for a road-rage assault, but swore she was only exercising self-defense. Her victim, an 81-year-old woman whom Vasquez said was driving too slow, had been punched in the face, yanked from her car and thrown to the ground, suffering multiple leg fractures.

Ironies
The graduation ceremony in May at Naperville (Ill.) Central High School was marred by the revelation that about half of the valedictorian’s speech was plagiarized from material found on the Internet. In this particular case, the principal was helpless to punish the valedictorian because the principal’s own speech was guilty of plagiarism. (The principal said he forgot to ask permission of the author, a former Naperville Central student.) The principal has been reassigned, and the valedictorian’s speech was removed from the graduation video.

Among the items on the menu for world leaders who met in June in Rome to discuss the crisis in world hunger: pasta with a sauce of pumpkin and shrimp, veal rolls, pastry puffs with corn and mozzarella, lemon mousse, Parmesan risotto, ragout of veal with legumes and zucchini pie—all washed down with fine Italian wines.

Hardcore Ironies: (1) The prominent Texas personal injury attorney Brian Loncar, whose ubiquitous TV ads offer motorists a “strong arm” if they’ve been hurt by another driver’s negligence, landed in critical condition after a Dallas accident that police said was caused when Loncar’s 2008 Bentley failed to yield to an emergency vehicle and was struck by the speeding fire engine. (2) A Lynnwood, Wash., mother has been leading a fanciful campaign to pressure an Urban Outfitters store to remove “sexual”-type books from its shelves, such as Pornogami (“Paper-Folding for Adults”). The mother’s surname closely resembles an acronym familiar to prurient young men: Marci Milfs.

The Democratic Process
Legislating Love: (1) In April, Tommy Tabermann, a member of Finland’s parliament, submitted a bill to require one week’s paid vacation a year solely for romance, to counteract the country’s alarmingly high divorce rate. (2) In April, Mayor Gonzalo Navarrete of the impoverished town of Lo Prado, Chile, ordered public money for funding up to four Viagra tablets a month to men over age 60, to improve “quality of life.”

Least Competent Criminals
Judgment-Challenged: (1) Howard Shanholtzer was arrested in Garden Grove, Calif., in May in connection with stolen security cameras. Figuring that police might be looking for his white Mitsubishi pickup truck that was captured on surveillance video, Shanholtzer allegedly stole another pickup truck—and it was another white Mitsubishi. (2) Wesley Jumper, 36, and Shawn Stewart, 36, were arrested in Charles County, Md., in April and charged with running out of a CVS store with about $500 worth of soap and shampoo. Their easy-to-spot getaway vehicle was the Good Humor ice cream truck that Stewart uses for his day job.

Bright Ideas
A new stand appeared at the Corvallis (Ore.) Farmers’ Market in the last week of May, manned by Jeff Oliver, 21, a lifelong resident of Oregon. His “Meet a Black Guy” booth let him mingle with shoppers, who could also have their pictures taken with him. Oliver said he was trying to promote racial understanding and break stereotypes.

Correction: Last week’s News of the Weird incorrectly stated that Peru’s 19th-century “guano war” was with China. was with Spain.

2008 Chuck Shepherd