Stuff and Nonsense

It's amazing what you find when you Google "silly string."
It’s amazing what you find when you Google “silly string.”
Today my magic robot – it’s part unicorn, part Tobor – brought me stories from everywhere but with no common theme. While that can, occasionally, be disconcerting, today I found it oddly refreshing. No overwhelming levels of Floridian stupidity, no depressing kittens being sacrificed at raves, no bizarre political stuff that makes my brain hurt …. in fact, it was just a collection of stuff that was so weird it seemed normal to me. Technically, according to the Internet, I’ve written lots of crap about nothing at all so why should today be any different? Also, according to the internet, 36% of FOX! News viewers “Believe the “Bill of Rights” is legislation introduced by the Republican Party to stop “Barack Obama’s socialist agenda.” As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.” Still, despite all that, I think that you and I have developed a certain level of trust. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the whimsical things that are happening on our planet.

Audrey Macavoy reports that the Matson Navigation Co. is whimsically killing thousands of fish and polluting the waters around Hawaii.

How’s that for whimsical?

Thousands of fish are expected to die in Honolulu waters after a leaky pipe caused 1,400 tons of molasses to ooze into the harbor and kill marine life, state officials said.

Hundreds of fish have been collected so far, the state Department of Health said in a statement Wednesday. Many more fish are expected to die and thousands will likely be collected, it said.

The fish are dying because the high concentration of molasses is making it difficult for them to breathe, said department spokeswoman Janice Okubo. Television footage shows some fish sticking their mouths out of the water.

The department has warned people to stay out of the area because the dead fish could attract sharks and other predators like barracuda.

The brown, sugary substance spilled Monday from a pipe used to load molasses from storage tanks to ships sailing to California. The shipping company, Matson Navigation Co., repaired the hole and the pipe stopped leaking Tuesday morning, spokesman Jeff Hull said.

As much as 233,000 gallons of molasses leaked into the harbor, Matson said. That’s equivalent to what would fill about seven rail cars or about one-third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

Underwater video taken by Honolulu television station Hawaii News Now showed dead fish, crabs and eels scattered along the ocean floor of the harbor and the water tinted a yellowish brown.

State officials expect the spill’s brown plume will remain visible for weeks as tides and currents flush the molasses in to nearby Keehi Lagoon and out to sea.

There’s a possibility the state could fine Matson for violations of Clean Water Act after the department investigates the circumstances of the spill, Okubo said. The state’s focus is currently on public safety, she said.

The state was documenting the fish it collected and keeping them on ice for possible testing. Officials were also collecting water samples. The data will allow the department to estimate the duration and severity of the contamination.

Matson ships molasses from Hawaii to the mainland about once a week. Molasses are a made at Hawaii’s last sugar plantation, run by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. on Maui.

Matson said in a statement it takes its role an environmental steward very seriously. The company is taking steps ensure spills don’t occur in the future, it said.

That’s right kids, that stuff you pour on your pancakes is lethal to other forms of life. And, to be honest, it’s not that good for you either.

Of course, nature has a way of evening things out. The Miami Herald is reporting that Pennsylvanian children are not allowed to play at their playground due to lethal amounts of chicken manure being present.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

A southwestern Pennsylvania borough has indefinitely closed a playground because of lingering contamination from a chicken manure spill last month.

The (Somerset) Daily American ( ) reports the Meyersdale borough council voted Tuesday night to close the Paul E. Fuller playground.

The manure spilled on a hill above the playground Aug. 23, and water flows onto the playground when it rains, apparently carrying bacteria from the manure. Borough workers treated the area with lime, but say bacteria counts including salmonella haven’t decreased.

Councilman Roger Miller says his own unscientific methods have confirmed those findings saying, “My nose tells me there’s a problem out there.”

Miller asked a borough worker about the results of recent bacteria tests and says he was told, “You don’t want to know.”

Well, no Skippy, actually he does want to know. It’s his job to protect the public and he can’t do that if he has no clue how serious the threat is. Although, since salmonella can be fatal, no matter the dosage, I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s a little or a lot.

It’s still too much.

Now, this next story will make every stereotype you’re heard about Wisconsin seem kind. Milwaukee, home of a fun festival and a decent bar, is going to pour cheese on its streets this winter.

Milwaukee has literally been down this road before.

What could the city’s Department of Public Works mix with rock salt to deice its streets in the winter? Rock salt is plentiful and inexpensive, but concerns have been raised about its long term effects on roads and the environment.

This winter, public works crews will try mixing cheese brine with the rock salt. The brine is a liquid waste product left over from cheese making. The downside is its distinctive odor.

The city has experimented with anti-icing alternatives before. The Journal Sentinel ( ) says beet juice used in 2009 turned into something resembling oatmeal when mixed with salt in the city’s trucks. Milwaukee has also used a molasses-type product as a deicer in the past. But, residents complained they were tracking the sticky stuff into their homes.

Road to hell? Meet good intentions. Good intentions? Meet road to hell.

Cheese brine is designed to grow mold. It’s a thick, saline based, solution that has a specific purpose. Since they will be using commercial brine that means they will be pouring thousands of gallons of this stuff on the streets where it can seep into sewers, under lawns and so on.

Did I mention that high saline concentrations kills foliage? No? I probably should have.

That whole “salted earth” thing isn’t an internet rumor. It has thousands of years of history to support it.

So, since the main concern (if you wheedle through the voluminous research) is that saline being flushed into the environment from rock salt can damage the environment then, obviously, doubling the amount of saline will solve everything.

I’m sure nothing will go wrong.

Of course, there’s no pleasing some folks. For example, the good Christians in Charleston West Virginia forced their pastor to resign because he helped bust a meth lab.

No, I’m not kidding.

A West Virginia pastor is being forced out of his church job for lending the church’s bus to law officers for a meth lab bust.

Chris Wilkinson said Wednesday he plans to resign as pastor of Morning Star Community Church at Hamlin. He says some church members were unhappy with his decision to let law enforcement use the bus.

Wilkinson is also Hamlin’s mayor and police chief. He says he has no regrets about lending the bus and would do it again.

Lincoln County chief sheriff’s deputy J.J. Napier says the church bus allowed officers to surprise the suspects.

Authorities made three arrests in last week’s bust. Napier says as officers piled out of the church bus, the reaction from the suspects was, “Oh God, they’ve got me.”

Just FYI, Proverbs 31:6 DOES NOT read “Give crack cocaine unto him that is ready to perish, and meth unto those that be of heavy hearts.”

I hope that clears up any future confusion.

The Venetia Fair “The Ringleader” from greg ephraim on Vimeo.

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