Easter Bunnies

On Christians’ resurrection holy day, animal-rescue volunteers have an earnest plea for parents: “Please don’t get your kid a bunny for Easter.”Bunnies are cute and fluffy but require care, exercise and a specialized diet. A rabbit’s typical lifespan is about twelve years, about eleven years, eleven-and-a-half months longer than a typical family’s interest in caring for the furry pet. Animal-care groups estimate eighty percent of rabbits bought as Easter gifts will die or be abandoned within the first year.

Cannon Beach, on the Oregon Coast, is overrun with rabbits. The so-called “beach bunnies” breed like, well, rabbits. They attack garden vegetation and decorate local yards with their bunny waste. Cannon Beach residents are calling for action from the city, but the popular tourist destination does not want be known for rabbit massacres.

For an overview of how bunnies and eggs – chocolate and other – became part of Easter celebrations, take a look at this previous post.

Food Innovators’ Legacies

The world recently lost two pioneers who made important contributions to civilization’s eating habits: Bob Moore, founder of Bob’s Red Mill whole grain products and William Post, co-inventor of Pop-Tarts breakfast pastry. Both were in their mid-nineties, proof that proper diet leads to longevity.

Bob Moore and his wife, Charlee, started their business in 1978. Their innovation was a back-to-the-future story. They purchased stone grinding wheels and moved them into an old flour mill that they painted red. The business now makes more than two-hundred products and has international distribution. Bob’s trademarked visage, with his white beard and cap, looks out from every package. The company’s retail store in Milwaukie Oregon also sells baked goods and offers informal dining.

The Moores had many offers to buy the business. Instead, to celebrate Bob’s 81st birthday, in 2010, they converted the company’s shares into an employee stock ownership program, benefiting its 700 employees.

William Post managed a Kellogg’s plant where in 1964 he helped develop Pop-Tarts. The trend-setting breakfast snack consists of a sweet filling layered between two rectangles of dry pastry — presumably not whole-grain — to be heated in a toaster. Mr. Post’s three children tested the product and its original four flavors. Several years after Kelloggs introduced Pop-Tarts, Post developed a new innovation, frosting, adding icing to the pastry’s outside.

Billions of Pop-Tarts are sold every year in more than thirty flavors.

The frosting, however, made a warning necessary, cautioning people to use the lowest toaster setting, to avoid burning the house down. Dave Barry researched the likelihood of strawberry Pop-Tarts being set aflame in the toaster. Read his report from 1993 here.

“The thing I like best about being a journalist, aside from being able to clip my toenails while working, is that sometimes, through hard work and perseverance and opening my mail, I come across a story that can really help you, the consumer, gain a better understanding of how you can be killed by breakfast snack food.”

(Dave Barry is also known for his annual month-by-month “Year in Review.” Here is his 2023 report.)

Non-Binary Potato Head

The toy formerly known as Mr. Potato Head is the latest outrage for so-called conservatives who always look for the latest affront to keep their apoplexy level up. When Hasbro, Inc. announced that after nearly seventy years they were dropping the honorific “Mr.” and “Mrs.” from their venerable toy’s name, Fox News took the story as another example of liberal cancel culture.

Mr. Potato Head was born in controversy.

Continue reading “Non-Binary Potato Head”

Who’s the Criminal?

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare.

Her S.U.V. was only fifteen feet from the entrance to the meat market in Beaverton Oregon. She was going to be in the store for just a few moments, so it was okay to leave the car’s engine running and her four-year-old strapped in a car seat.

When she came out of the store her car and her child were gone.

The thief didn’t go far. He made an abrupt U-turn in an adjacent parking lot and came roaring back to where the frantic mother stood. He demanded she take her kid out of the car. He lambasted her for leaving her child in the vehicle unattended and threatened to call the police on her. He then drove off again in the mother’s car.

The suspect, who as yet has not been found, was also wearing a face mask.

The Incredible Exploding Whale

With all that has happened/is happening in 2020, most of us are looking forward to moving into a new year. But not every event was bad. The city of Florence on the Oregon coast dedicated a new park.

To generate enthusiasm for the park’s opening, the city solicited suggestions from the public for its name. A hundred and twenty submissions were winnowed to nine that were submitted to the public for a vote. The winner: “Exploding Whale Memorial Park.

Continue reading “The Incredible Exploding Whale”

If You Miss Flying

Had enough sheltering in place? Want to travel but most every place is closed and other countries won’t let in people from the U.S.? Miss seeing the sights through tiny scratched-up airplane windows? Qantas satisfied those desires with a flight to literally nowhere.

Qantas offered 150 seats on a 787 Dreamliner (not built in South Carolina, I hope) seven-hour flight from Sydney to Sydney. The aircraft flew as low as 4,000 feet so passengers could watch the scenery. They were served airplane versions of classic Aussie meals.

Prices ranged from US$566 to $2,734. The flight sold out in ten minutes.
Don’t want to put out that much money to spend seven hours inside a metal tube and not get anywhere? Singapore Airlines is selling meals on parked Airbus A380 planes. A meal served to you in business class costs US$240; economy is only about US$40. It took twenty minutes to sell out the first seating.

For you who want to eat airplane food in the comfort of your home, Finnair has begun selling “Taste of Finnair” meals in supermarkets. The business-class meals, including Finnish treats such as reindeer meatballs, sell for about ten euros (US$12). The strategy is an attempt to keep the airline’s catering employees working. The meals have been modified, using less salt and spices than those in the air, where people’s sense of taste is dulled by high altitude.

Bon voyage!