2012.05.02 Leftover news escapes from column pergutory

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Did you celebrate Earth Day last week? I hadn’t planned any special observation at first, but after discovering an old file of potential column ideas that never made it to print, recycling some of them seemed like the right thing to do. It also saved me from thinking up something new.

The first item, from the New York Times, concerned the growing trend among fancy restaurants not to allow substitutions, provide normally expected options and other odd policies.

For example, one restaurant in San Francisco refused to furnish salt or pepper because “the chef always seasons each dish perfectly.” Another, in New York City, banned more than one order of any particular item at each table. Maybe the chef liked preparing a variety of food. If you and a friend liked the same thing, I guess you had to sit at separate tables.

Other restaurants banned some or all condiments, particularly ketchup and mayo. One serves cheeseburgers with Roquefort cheese only. They’ll leave it off if you want, but substituting a different cheese is not allowed.

Another New York restaurant offers regular but not decaffeinated coffee, whole but not skim milk, and regular but not diet soft drinks, citing a lack of space to supply so many options. The owner offered this advice: “If you’re really on a diet, drink water.” I’m betting he only offers tap water.

If you want to buy a new car with a cassette player, you’re too late. The 2010 Lexus SC 430 was the last one available with a factory installed tape deck.

The only surprise to me was that Lexus was the final holdout. How many people who can afford a Lexus are still using cassettes?

Also out of luck is anyone with an undeveloped roll or two of Kodachrome film. The last place in the world capable of processing it, a small business in Parsons, Kansas, shut down their machine at the end of 2010, intending to sell it for scrap.

Dwayne’s Photo had a rush of business at the end, including an Arkansas railroad worker who brought in 1,580 rolls of film, paying nearly $16,000 to develop nearly 50,000 slides. Every single slide contained an image of a railroad train. The man borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay the bill.

A woman flew from London, England to Wichita, then drove to Parsons to have three rolls developed. Wouldn’t it have been a lot cheaper just to FedEx the film to Kansas?

A Los Angeles pathologist complained that he still had 400 unused rolls and not enough time to use it. The store had dozens of requests from both professional and amateur photographers that their roll be the final one processed, but that honor eventually went to store owner Dwayne Steinle. 

His roll contained shots of his home, his family and downtown Parsons. The last frame was to be a picture of all his employees standing in front of the store.

And finally, some frightening news for those of you who have decided to help save the Earth by using those cloth shopping bags offered for sale by so many supermarkets these days, instead of the free plastic ones used for years. According to some researchers, the cloth bags could put your health at risk.

One study at the University of Arizona  found coliform bacteria including E. coli  in half of the bags tested, “at a level significant enough to cause serious health problems, even death.” It gets worse. It was discovered that leaving the bags in a hot car trunk or on the back seat in the sun for as little as two hours increased bacteria growth by ten times.

A Canadian study found bacterial contamination in 64 percent of bags tested, with 40 percent testing positive for yeast or mold. One researcher added, “The presence of fecal matter in some of the reusable bags is particularly concerning.” Causing much of this trouble is cross contamination that occurs when raw meat products that may leak are carried in a bag in a prior shopping trip or at the same time as fruits and vegetables that are eaten uncooked. 

The problem could be easily solved by washing the bag after each use, but after you factor in the water and energy needed plus the cost of soap and environmental impact of laundering a load of contaminated bags each time you shop, those dreaded plastic bags start looking better in comparison.

That’s all the room I have for now. At least I can say I celebrated Earth Day by recycling four unused ideas into a column. How do you like that, Al Gore?

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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