Not Your Everyday News

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Good, Bad, and not Ugly

Three stories have either come to my attention, or were brought to my
notice by others, in the last couple of days. Let me get the bad news out
of the way first. Japan's instant noodle king, I must sadly report, died
the other day at the age of 96. Momofuko Ando, according to The Japan
Times, was inspired to develop the world's first instant noodle after
WWII, when he came across huge lines of people trying to buy fresh
black market 'Ramen' noodles during an era of food shortages. Chicken
Ramen was his first hit in 1958; he branched out to Cup Noodle in 1971.
In 2005, Ando appeared on TV to promote a version of the Cup Noodle
that was adapted for astronauts to eat aboard the space shuttle
Discovery. Astronauts and NASA bring me to my next story. Summer
Williams, a Kansas native and graduate of Wichita State University, is
an aerospace engineer for Jacobs Engineering Group, NASA's main
scientific support contractor; Williams is an assistant project manager
of the group assigned to maintain the international space station
habitable. She is ALSO a cheerleader for the NFL's Houston Texans.
Yes, you read correctly, a cheerleader (a non-blonde I should point out!)
is also a not-ugly rocket scientist! A dancer since she was 3, Williams
never wanted to be a cheerleader in high school or college because, as
she put it, she "wanted to be smart". While working at Jacobs in
Houston, some of her male co-workers sent her an e-mail link for the
upcoming tryouts for the Texans 2005 cheerleading squad, promising to
buy her lunch once a week for a year if she tried out. The joke became
serious as Williams proceeded to make each cut; when picked for the
squad, she was mortified, hoping that her colleagues wouldn't "lose any
respect for me.....there is a perception about what a cheerleader is."
Her moonlighting has given her a new perception about how hard
cheerleaders work; it also allows Williams to participate in junior
cheer programs in the Houston area, teaching little girls how to
dance. And while she is having a blast, she does prefer to have folks
refer to her as an engineer (gee, I wonder why!). Last but not least,
the U.S. postal service is about to be the butt of a few more late-night
talk show jokes I'm afraid. A resident of Ferndale, Pa. recently found
a letter in his mailbox addressed to someone else...with a 3 cent stamp
and an October 16, 1954 postmark. The letter is unopened and in good
condition. There is a return address, in nearby Richland Township, but
no sender's name. An effort is now being put forth to try to find the
person this letter was sent to, or at least some living relatives or
friends. What does the Postal Service have to say about this strange,
yet not unique, event? A spokesman stated "Sometimes pieces of mail
do get lost behind equipment or transporting equipment. It is infre-
quent, but every once in a blue moon, it does happen. No matter how
old it is, we will deliver it." Well, that is good news... ok...hey, the
check really is in the mail!


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