Last week I wrote my column about some unusual news stories I’ve been reading to pass the time away before I am allowed out of my house. Little did I know that in just the few ensuing days I would be reading several additional stories which are, well let’s put it this way, mind boggling.

My curiosity was certainly peaked when I first read (you can be sure it deserved a second reading) a headline in the DailyMail:

 “New Jersey councilwoman calls openly gay mayor a ‘pedophile’ and a ‘woman’ then tells another councilman to perform a sex act on him during coronavirus conference call”

You can imagine how reading this reminded me of New Jersey politics, especially when Little Sammy, a member of organized crime, actually attended a Council meeting I presided over as Fort Lee’s mayor.  Having had one too many drinks, Sammy uttered the immortal words, “There’s one thing I don’t understand around here. You got the power. The developers got the land. And what do I got? Crabs?” It’s good to know that things haven’t changed much in the Garden State.

Just as I was giving some serious thought to venturing out of my house, I came upon a frightening headline in the NY Times, “MURDER HORNETS INVADE U.S.” I may never leave my house again. Apparently these hornets whose queen measures 2 inches long have managed to get out of Japan and made it to the West Coast. These little monsters are so lethal they have already killed fifty people in Japan. Remind me not to visit Japan any time soon.

The killer hornets are exceptionally aggressive and can wipe out an entire colony of honey bees in no time. I don’t go into the ocean because of sharks, and now I can’t go outside, because if the virus doesn’t get me, the murder hornets most certainly will.

Another headline in the NY Times caught my attention:

The Business of Burps: Scientists Smell Profit in Cow Emissions

It seems as if cattle produce more methane than several large countries. A solution is in the making. Mootral, a Swiss biotech company, is studying whether an altered diet can make cattle burp and fart less methane — one of the most harmful greenhouse gases and a major contributor to climate change.

Mootral seems farthest along (merely a coincidence that “fart” is the first syllable in “farthest”) in coming up with the appropriate diet. By mixing compounds from garlic, citrus and other additives into a pellet that’s mixed with a cow’s regular diet, the start-up has surprised scientists by significantly and consistently cutting the toxic output of cows.

Each morning a scientist points a device the size of a grocery store scanner directly at the nostrils of a cow and eagerly waits for the cow to belch. Now I have heard of some pretty pathetic jobs, but waiting for cows to belch would be fairly high on my list. I guess you could say it is better than waiting at the tail end of the cow. In any case, I would rather be stung by a killer hornet than measure burps or farts of a cow.

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