TOO DAMN HOT: Remember when they debunked global warming and said that, actually, the atmosphere was cooling? Then the debunkers realized their satellites were slowly falling to earth, and when they corrected the resulting bias, the globe was warming again. Well, 1998 was the warmest year recorded in six centuries, reports Rachel's Environment & Health Weekly. Incidentally, 1998 was nearly one degree Fahrenheit warmer than the second-warmest year in six centuries: 1997. With parallel increases in climatic disasters and insect-borne diseases, the signs of global warming are multiplying faster than the billboards denying them. So Rachel's suggests we stop naming hurricanes after people and start naming them after oil companies. (JB)
CARD-CARRYING CAPITALISTS: Local entrepreneurs Bill Gerhardt and Bart Stanley have found one aspect of the Whitewater-Monica-Slick Willie saga that hasn't been exploited to death -- trading cards. The two locals printed up about 1,000 sets that center on the investigation of President Bill Clinton by independent counsel Kenneth Starr. In full glossy color, printed on sturdy card stock, the 45-card sets sell for $18 apiece. Make no mistake -- 27-year-old Gerhardt and 26-year-old Stanley think Clinton should be kicked out of office. They call their brainchild "traitor cards" and depict the commander in chief in the worst possible light, even adding handcuffs to photos whenever possible. The duo have a Web site (www.traitorcards.com) and a toll-free number (800-GETCARDS), and they say they've sold several hundred sets of cards. Gerhardt's favorite card is the one depicting a series of snapshots: a laughing Clinton emerges from a limo for the funeral of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, then, apparently, brushes away a bogus tear when he sees cameras are nearby. "It shows what an ornery person he is,"says Gerhardt. "He goes from laughing and joking to faking a cry just because he spots a camera." Some of the images were pulled off the Internet; others were paid for by Gerhardt and Stanley. The two somehow found a photo of Linda Tripp that makes her look halfway decent, and Susan McDougal never looked so good. For some reason, the photo of James Carville only shows the back of his head. A "Clinnochio" figure paints Clinton as the cartoon character whose nose grows whenever he lies. Gerhardt is clear on his view of the prez: "I want him out of there. I don't consider him a moral person." Of course, he's not so repugnant that he can't be used to help two struggling businessmen turn a profit. (DJW)
EAT RITE: Recent St. Louis expatriate (if that's an appropriate term for someone who moves to South Dakota) James Solheim has a new children's book out from Simon & Schuster under the appealing title It's Disgusting -- And We Ate It! A culinary "News of the Weird" for young people, It's Disgusting includes such curiosities as rose pie (a concoction eaten in ancient Rome), egg-filled cicadas (Aristotle valued them as the best fried insects) and 36,000-year-old bison meat (Solheim interviewed a scientist who tried some that had been frozen in Alaska). The book comes with poems, jokes, riddles and illustrations by Eric Brace. Solheim will be at Library Ltd. on March 13 for a signing -- no indication as to whether snacks will be provided. (ES)
Contributors: Jeannette Batz, Eddie Silva, D.J. Wilson
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