Friday, February 15, 2008

Lovesick Over You

Your Lightning Round editor-in-chief didn't get any flowers or candy this Valentine's Day -- which wasn't a hurtful thing considering the potential for harm in the shape of a heart.

ROTTEN HEARTS. WCBS-TV in New York City found year-old Valentine's Day candy showing up on store shelves:
CBS 2 HD did its own investigation, purchasing six bags of Valentine's Day treats at stores around New York City. Of those six bags, five were inedible.

From the finest of truffles to candy bought in bulk, most of these products were expired and showed signs of improper storage, like melting and reshaping. Some of the chocolates had white dots or streaks, called a "bloom," which means the chocolate is stale.
It's great candy to send to an ex-Valentine, perhaps with an appropriate card: "My lips shall never touch yours, and neither shall these." Or, "You left my love to wither, spoil and rot -- now see the fruits of your indifference."

Your Lightning Round editor admits he's kept old chocolate around himself -- mainly in the form of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies in his desk, the treats that mysteriously resist spoilage. We think the refrigerated temperatures of the newsroom have something to do with that.

THOSE WHO CAN'T READ, TEACH. How? That was the question on our minds when we heard about John Corcoran, the California man who taught school for 17 years after graduating from college without knowing how to read, write, or spell.

Corcoran engineered a matrix of deception to propel him through the educational system, as KFMB-TV reports:
"When I was a child I was just sort of just moved along when I got to high school I wanted to participate in athletics. At that time in high school I went underground. I decided to behave myself and do what it took. I started cheating by turning in other peoples' paper, dated the valedictorian, and ran around with college prep kids," said Corcoran.

"I couldn't read words but I could read the system and I could read people," adds Corcoran.

He stole tests and persuaded friends to complete his assignments. Corcoran earned an athletic scholarship to Texas Western College. He said his cheating intensified, claiming he cheated in every class.

"I passed a bluebook out the window to a friend I painstakingly copied four essay questions off the board in U.S. government class that was required, and hoped my friend would get it back to me with the right answers," Corcoran said.
So unfortunately, cheaters do win sometimes. Corcoran, however, grew tired of the game and sought tutoring. He's now head of a foundation providing literacy programs. You might call it penance.

IT'S NOT TOO LATE. Boulder, Colorado's city council is deciding whether to pass a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush and VP Dick Cheney.

Reports the Rocky Mountain News:
"Whether or not it's the city's business directly, like potholes, I feel this affects all of us," [impeachment supporter Liz Robinson] said. "We're the ones who are paying the taxes to support this administration's depredations, especially the war."

Impeachment proceedings would be worth doing even if they only put the last few months of Bush's eight years in office at risk, Robinson said.

"We need to send a message that this all matters to us, whether it's last-minute or not," she said.
Your Lightning Round has learned a vote for secession is scheduled for next week. The potholes, on the other hand, can wait.

SATELLITE SHOOTDOWN. The Pentagon wants to make sure a dud spy satellite doesn't drop dangerous fuel back to earth, so they're going to shoot it out with a missile.

From the AP:
[Gen. James Cartwright] predicted a fairly high chance—as much as 80 percent—of hitting the satellite, which will be about 150 miles up when the shot is fired. The window of opportunity for taking the satellite down, Cartwright said, opens in three or four days and lasts for about seven or eight days.

"We'll take one shot and assess," he said. "This is the first time we've used a tactical missile to engage a spacecraft."
We recommend VP Cheney take aim and fire.

BLAST OFF. International Space Station astronauts have access to a gun as part of a survival kit, according to former NASA engineer Jim Oberg and reported by WESH-TV:
He said the gun has no place in an environment where people are under such high stress.

"There have been cases of severe psychological strain on people in space, strain that they have taken out -- that their shipmates worried about the ultimate actions," Oberg said.

Experts said the idea of an astronaut losing control was unthinkable until one year ago, when Lisa Nowak shattered the myth.
We can think about all the things a bullet might do in a micro-gravity environment. It makes the space shuttle's tile problems look like a routine shower re-grouting job.

IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SNIFF. ISS Science Officer Don Petit says outer space gives off a scent:
It is hard to describe this smell; it is definitely not the olfactory equivalent to describing the palette sensations of some new food as "tastes like chicken." The best description I can come up with is metallic; a rather pleasant sweet metallic sensation. It reminded me of my college summers where I labored for many hours with an arc welding torch repairing heavy equipment for a small logging outfit. It reminded me of pleasant sweet smelling welding fumes.
Which is good, we gather, because we don't need to waste precious cargo and living space with Glade.

CHARLIE BIT ME! Advice to young boys -- never put your finger in your baby brother's mouth when he's teething, as this English lad learned in this YouTube video that's been downloaded more than 6 million times:

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