By Margie Reins Smith
Newspapers are crammed with information, as they should be. If course, I read Grosse Pointe Patch every day, but I also read a newspaper every single day. It’s usually the old-fashioned kind that must be held with outstretched arms, but if I don’t have the paper version, I go to the Internet.
Newspapers present a conglomeration of information that is important, alarming, pathetic, heart-warming, gut-wrenching, explosive, opinionated, bland, humorous, boring and more.
I think most of the articles should, in fact, be in print, but it might be a slow news day, so you never know.
One of my all-time favorite articles was about a python whose eyes were bigger than its stomach. (Do pythons have stomachs as we know them?)
The huge snake gobbled up a six-foot alligator in one gulp. Too much at once, it turned out, because the python exploded. (I’ll bet that was messy.) The article provided gory details of the blast as well as several speculations about why it might have happened.
Was the gator not yet dead, the writer pondered, and the reptile wreaked revenge from the inside? Did the gasses from the decomposing alligator cause the snake’s stomach to expand beyond capacity and burst?
Great breakfast table reading.
How’s this article for reinforcing a stereotype about motorcycle owners. It appeared in the July 14, 2012 issue of the Detroit Free Press.
41 Members of Motorcycle Gang Arrested
“Forty-one members of the Devils Diciples (sic) Motorcycle Gang have been arrested on charges of crimes including murder, drug trafficking and
robbery under a federal indictment unsealed Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Among those charged are Jeff (Fat Dog) Smith and national Vice
President Paul Darrah.”
The word disciples was apparently misspelled by the gang members, not the Free Press. Also note: the word Devils has no apostrophe. I hope this was also the gang’s goof, not the Freep’s. And one of those arrested had his nickname in parentheses, in case his real name didn’t ring a bell with readers.
“. . . Besides the arrests, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade’s office said, more than 60 firearms and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition were seized during the investigation, and eight meth labs were dismantled.
Think about the law-abiding motorcycle clubs which are trying so hard to get publicity for the good deeds they do. Some of these clubs work hard for local charitable organizations. Other motorcycle clubs have provided security at funerals for soldiers whose grieving families have been threatened by fringe groups of anti-war protesters.
I once blogged about writers of death notices who seem to be addressing the deceased person as if he or she were sitting on a cloud, leisurely scanning the obituary page. I saw one obit recently that went on and on about how the deceased Mom would be someone you’d have loved because of her friendly, caring nature. I wondered, after a paragraph or two, if Mom had specifically instructed her children NOT to put any schmaltzy stuff in her death notice.
The kids did it anyway, but added, at the end, “Sorry, Mom.”
Finally, how about this icky little feature I found in last month’s Free Press? The headline caught my attention right off:
Belly Buttons Teem with Life
It seems our navels are tiny Petri dishes filled to the brim with bacteria. Everyone’s bacterial mix is different, just like DNA.
This conclusion was reached after a 500-person, 500-belly button study by the Belly Button Biodiversity Project, a study funded jointly by North Carolina State University and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
If you’re a one-celled organism, the researchers claim, a warm, dark, moist belly button is THE perfect place in which to reside.
Most of these bacteria are harmless, it says, but the Belly Button Project’s purpose is to “educate the public about the role bacteria play in our world.”
A worthy mission.
I read it in the newspaper so it must be true.