Appreciating the Beauty of Science
Last week's Miss America pageant scored some important firsts, including the welcomed absence of a swimsuit competition. Brains also triumphed over beauty after the 24-year-old winner, former Miss Virginia Camille Schrier, wowed the audience and judges during the talent competition by performing a science experiment on stage.
Wearing not-terribly-stylish laboratory goggles, Schrier demonstrated what happens when hydrogen peroxide and potassium iodide are mixed together. She is a biochemist, after all.
On stage were three beakers containing colored hydrogen peroxide. She then added potassium iodide to each while narrating the chemical reaction that was occurring. The beakers came alive with massive streams of colored foam.
"It's my mission to show kids that science is fun, relevant and easy to understand," Schrier explained. Perhaps more important for any girls in the audience was to demonstrate that no career field is beyond their grasp. You can even have fun making a huge mess and still be crowned Miss America.
America Has a New 'Dad'
By Eddie Murphy's comedy standards, the kind of fun he poked at Bill Cosby on "Saturday Night Live" last week was pretty tepid stuff. Consider the myriad ways Murphy could have gone on the attack now that Cosby is serving a three-to 10-year prison sentence for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. More than 60 women have accused him of sexual misconduct.
Murphy simply noted that during his own three-decade absence from the show, he has been bringing up 11 children — a sharp departure from the brash displays of youth that earned him public chiding decades ago from Cosby, known back then as "America's dad."
"But if you would have told me 30 years ago that I would be this boring, stay-at-home ... house dad and Bill Cosby would be in jail," Murphy said, "even I would have took that bet. Who is America's Dad now?"
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt opted for the low road in response: "One would think that Mr. Murphy was given his freedom to leave the plantation, so that he could make his own decisions; but he decided to sell himself back to being a Hollywood Slave."
A St. Charles lawmaker wants Missouri highway officials to get rid of those playful digital highway messages encouraging drivers to buckle their seat belts, stop texting and so forth. The electronic road signs can be programmed with any message, and are used to convey weather alerts, accident alerts and other crucial information when needed. But when the roads are clear, the Missouri Department of Transportation will load up more general, eye-catching messages like, "Santa's Coming, Have You Been a Good Driver" and "Camp in the Ozarks ... Not the Left Lane."
"We like to think that it's making an impact," said a MoDOT spokesman.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that Rep. Tony Lovasco, R-O'Fallon, has filed a bill to prohibit MoDOT from using the signs for anything other than conveying serious, specific information. His rationale: "MoDOT has a lot of incredibly detailed information they could share."
Two issues here: One, those playful messages appear to be effective; and, two, is this really a legislative priority in a state with Missouri's problems?
But is He Rehabilitated?
A missing pet dog in Alabama has been found, and is now officially an ex-con. The dog turned up at a prison, where he had been taken in and treated like royalty by staff and inmates, who fed him from their own plates. As reported in the Montgomery Advertiser, the English setter, named Soup, went missing recently while out with his owner, Leigh Parker. She and others searched for days, fearing the worst, until a Facebook post alerted them the dog had appeared at a nearby Alabama state prison.
Soup's time in lockup went better than most. When Parker arrived to reclaim the dog, he learned that Soup had been taken in by the inmates as a kind of mascot. He'd been fed inmates' rations of roast beef and pie, had played basketball with the prisoners in the prison yard and had wrestled with the prison guard dogs.
Parker said he intends to bring Soup back to the prison for visits. "The prisoners had all been playing with him, they all loved him."
Successful Breeder — of Contempt
Earlier this month, a St. Louis County family's life was shattered after Bobette Everhart-Boal filed for divorce from her husband, Michael C. Boal. She was later found dead in Chesterfield shortly before her husband's body was found after a fire at their former home in Wildwood. Their orphaned children survived. So did their pet dog, Stanley.
Anyone who has a pet like Stanley understands how important such a pet can be in knitting the family together as an anchor of unconditional love during a time of catastrophic loss. But St. Louis County Animal Care and Control decided that rules are rules. It icily determined that the children's names weren't on the ownership records for the dog, and Stanley could not be returned to them, the Post-Dispatch's Tony Messenger reported.
Michael Boal was the owner of record listed on the dog's microchip. Since he was deceased, the county took the default option of returning the dog to its breeder, Bob Hallahan of RMH Dobermans in Ohio. Hallahan was unsympathetic, stating bluntly, "There is no dog named Stanley anymore. He's been renamed and sold to a new home."
A Facebook page defending Hallahan has been deactivated. But Google has all kinds of contact information for him, just in case readers care to offer clues of where he can find his lost humanity.
REPRINTED FROM THE ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Photo credit: 3194556 at Pixabay