YOU WANT SODIUM PROPIONATE WITH THAT?
New York City artist Sally Davies offered in October the latest evidence of how unattractive today’s fast foods are to bacteria and maggots. Davies bought a McDonald’s Happy Meal in April, has photographed it daily, and has noted periodically the lack even of the slightest sign of decomposition. Her dog, who circled restlessly nearby for the first two days the vittles were out, since then has ignored it. (Several bloggers, and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, have made similar discoveries.) Food scientists “credited” a heavy use (though likely still within FDA guidelines) of the preservative sodium propionate but also the predominance of fat and lack of moisture and nutrients—all of which contribute to merely shrinking and hardening the burger and fries.
(1) Raymond Roberts, 25, was arrested in Manatee County, Florida, in September after an ordinary traffic stop turned up a strong smell of marijuana. At deputies’ behest, Roberts removed a baggie of marijuana from his buttocks, but when the deputies saw another plastic bag right behind it (containing a white substance believed to be cocaine), Roberts said, “The weed is [mine],” but “the white stuff is not.” (2) Woody Will Smith, 33, was convicted in September of murdering his wife after a jury in Dayton, Kentucky, deliberated about 90 minutes before rejecting his defense of caffeine intoxication. Smith claimed that his daily intake of sodas, energy drinks and diet pills had made him temporarily insane when he strangled his two-timing wife with an extension cord in 2009, and made him again not responsible when he confessed the crime to police.
A lawyer in Xian, China, filed a lawsuit in September against a movie house and film distributor for wasting her time—because she was exposed to 20 minutes of advertisements that began at the posted time for the actual movie to begin. Ms. Chen Xiaomei is requesting a refund equivalent to about $5.20, plus damages of an equal amount and the equivalent of about 15 cents for “emotional” damages—plus an apology.
British entrepreneur Howard James, who runs several online dating sites, opened another in August to worldwide attention (and, allegedly, thousands of sign-ups in the first five days): dates for ugly people. James said new members (accepted from the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland) will have their photos vetted to keep out “attractive” people. Based on the Web pages available at press time, the photo-evaluation process is working well.
THE PENIS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD
Keith Jeffery’s book on the British intelligence service MI6, published in September and serialized in The Times of London, revealed that the first chief of the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service) during World War I recommended, as the best invisible ink, semen, in that it “would not react to [ink-detecting] iodine vapor” and was, of course, “readily available.”
(1) Xavier Ross, 19, passing by a piano at an art exhibit in front of the Grand Rapids, Michigan, police station in October, could not resist sitting down to play a few notes—and was arrested when officers recognized him from a recent home invasion case. (2) Selma Elmore, 44, was arrested in Lockland, Ohio, in October when she flagged down a police car to ask if there was an arrest warrant out on her. (Officers checked; there was; she ran; the warrant was minor; “resisting arrest” was more serious.) (3) Jason Williams, 38, was convicted in Maidenhead, England, in October of stealing a neighbor’s window curtains, which he had immediately installed on his own windows—in plain view of the neighbor’s window.