Short Takes on Gator Gawkers and All-Meat Fake Veggies

By Daily Editorials

July 22, 2019 6 min read

Meat-etarians Rejoice

Remember the April Fools Taco Bell joke? Taco Bell took out full-page ads in major newspapers on April 1, 1996, to announce its purchase of the Liberty Bell to help reduce the nation's debt. The company would pay to repair the bell's famous crack and would rename it the "Taco Liberty Bell."

Now comes Arby's, with its tongue-in-cheek answer to the all-vegetable Impossible Burger. Concerned about the steady encroachment of vegetables into the hallowed domain of beefy burgers, Arby's has filmed a video to introduce its newest product: A "carrot" made out of turkey meat. Arby's calls its new invention the "marrot."

When fully cooked, it truly resembles the kind of roasted carrot one might serve, say, with a big slab of roast beef. Meat-lovers everywhere can use this invention to simulate eating veggies without having to, ewww, actually eat dead plants.

Next Up: Flying DeLoreans

Marty McFly, the future has arrived. The "Back to the Future" character who famously skateboarded and hover-boarded through history would have been impressed with the latest technology on display at the Bastille Day ceremony in Paris this week.

France unveiled a "flyboard" that uses jet propulsion to zoom its user through the air atop a small platform only slightly larger than the flying skateboard used in the "Back to the Future II" film.

Inventor Franky Zapata (equipped with an assault rifle, this being a military parade) zoomed back and forth, hands-free, above gathered dignitaries and assembled troops on the Champs-Elysees.

Considering that "Back to the Future II" was made in 1989 and tried to envision the enormous leaps in technology that would be available when Marty McFly time-traveled to 2015, the film impressively missed the mark by only four years.

Oh, Snap!

As if Chicago didn't have enough problems, a five-foot alligator spotted in an urban lagoon there evaded capture for a week. Chance the Snapper, as he's been dubbed, became a celebrity among Chicagoans, but he's also a reminder of why exotic pets are a bad idea.

The five-foot gator was first spotted July 9 in the lagoon in Humboldt Park on the city's west side. The wily and evasive reptile — presumably someone's pet who got too big and was either released or flushed down a toilet — brought the troubled city together, with gawkers packing into the area hoping to catch a glimpse of the scaly fugitive. There was even a public contest to name him. The winning entry is a play on Chance the Rapper, a Chicago-based musician.

A specially hired Florida expert finally nabbed the gator on Tuesday. Chance is likely headed for a zoo — or, perhaps, the talk-show circuit.

Too Little, Too Late

Finally, a prominent Republican says what needs to be said about President Donald Trump. The problem is, the Republican who is now speaking out, former House Speaker Paul Ryan, waited until he'd been out of office seven months to do it.

In an interview with author Tim Alberta for the book "American Carnage," Ryan offers these admonishments to Trump: "Don't call a woman a 'horse face.' Don't cheat on your wife. Don't cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example." Ryan further declares that Trump "didn't know anything about government" while the two worked together in 2017 and 2018.

Why didn't Ryan say some of this when he was still House speaker instead of biting his tongue through one Trump outrage after another? Voicing a few obvious truths late in the game won't change the harsh judgment history will have for him.

Playtime in the Park

Forest Park's planned $4.5 million nature-focused playground isn't going to be about slides and swingsets, but rocks and logs. As the Post-Dispatch's Valerie Schremp Hahn reported last week, the 17-acre amenity being built within the park will include a spring, a wetland, a bottomland forest, a gravel bank, an upland prairie, a young forest and a "sensory garden." The idea is to offer a playground that brings kids closer to nature instead of separating them from it with plastic playground equipment.

"Kids aren't spending a lot of time outdoors, and it's really affecting their health and well-being," said Lesley Hoffarth, president and executive director of Forest Park Forever. "This is kind of a reintroduction to nature in this urban setting."

The "playscape," as organizers call it, will be located on an oval piece of land between the World's Fair Pavilion and the Jewel Box. It's set to open to the public next year.

'Actual Malice'

The publisher of the Daily Stormer neo-Nazi website may be on the hook for $14 million to a Montana woman who endured death threats and trolling after he posted her contact information. It started when Tanya Gersh, a Montana real estate agent who is Jewish, had a run-in with the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer. Gersh was subsequently targeted by Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin.

"Are y'all ready for an old fashioned Troll Storm?" Anglin wrote on the website, publicizing Gersh's contact information and encouraging followers to harass her. They did, with phone calls, texts and social media posts containing death threats, antisemitic rants and, at one point, the sound of a gun firing.

"I was frightened to the point that we couldn't think straight," Gersh said. "We talked about waking our children in the middle of the night — to run from Nazis."

A federal judge Monday recommended the $14 million in damages against Anglin, saying his harassment campaign crossed the line between free speech and "actual malice." Vaulted over that line, more like.

REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Photo credit: miniformat65 at Pixabay

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