It’s been a strange week for news.
On Sunday, former deputy secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke revealed that back in 2017, after Hurricane Maria laid waste to Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump — albeit maybe jokingly — considered putting the U.S. territory up for sale.
Being a real estate developer and everything, as the governor would say, Trump saw an opportunity to unload an island “surrounded by water — big water — ocean water” that had become something of a money pit. Plus, it was run by mouthy, ungrateful elected officials, and populated by a citizenry that couldn’t suffer in silence and catch perfectly thrown rolls of paper towels at the same time.
The idea of putting a “For Sale” sign on the territory took root about the same time the president was considering buying Greenland, a much larger, not to mention colder, island and Danish territory far to the north.
The timing made me wonder if a swap was being considered by the self-proclaimed dealmaker — say, Puerto Rico and one of the three nearby U.S. Virgin Islands the U.S. bought from Denmark back in 1917 for $50 million in exchange for the Danes’ 800,000-square-mile, uranium rich, Arctic island.
After doing a little reading on the matter, it turns that the president did, in fact, “joke about trading Puerto Rico for Greenland” shortly after the hurricane struck, according to a New York Times report. After all, tropical storms are considerably less likely to be a problem in Nuuk than in San Juan.
On Tuesday, first daughter Ivanka Trump announced the White House’s new “Try Something New” campaign, designed to put people whose jobs were derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic back to work by learning new skills to get new jobs that require little, if any, college study.
I could be wrong, but I suspect the idea of trying something new may already have occurred to many of those who are out of work. Having that message delivered by the apparently tone-deaf daughter of a billionaire may not produce the “ratings” sought by the White House for the ad campaign.
Later on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump tweeted a photo of herself holding a can of Goya black beans under the caption “If it’s Goya, it has to be good.” The tweet was a shout-out to Goya’s CEO, an enthusiastic Trump booster, now facing a boycott over his support for the president.
On Friday morning, I learned that a pair of bowfishermen from Pennsboro established a world record by bagging a 104-pound bighead carp in the Ohio River near Willow Island, an invasive species native to China.
In case the two carp kings can’t locate a taxidermist capable of mounting the monster bottom-feeder, I suggest avoiding discount sushi purchases in the upper Ohio Valley for the next week or two.
Finally, on Friday night I read an article about Burger King’s new ad campaign.
I thought last February’s “Moldy Whopper” campaign, featuring time exposure images of a the chain’s most popular burger gradually decomposing to illustrate the removal of preservatives from its food ingredients was uncomfortably edgy.
The new commercial showcases BK’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by lowering the volume of methane released via the burps and farts of cattle raised to produce Whoppers. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
There is some method to the madness. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock production accounts for 14.5% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle-raising accounting for nearly half of that amount.
Research conducted in behalf of BK shows that by adding 100 grams of lemongrass hay to the daily diet of Whoppers-in-waiting during their final three months in the feedlot, methane from burps and farts can be reduced by up to 33%.
To drive that message home, BK, known for its quirky ads, hired 10-year-old yodel-friendly country balladeer Mason Ramsey to sing the campaign’s jingle. It starts like this:
“When cows fart and burp and splatter, well it ain’t no laughing matter — they’re releasing methane every time they do. And that methane from their rear goes up to the atmosphere and pollutes our planet, warming me and you!”
It’s enough to make me want to eat mor chikin!