Since there's nothing the Fly Team loves more than sitting down to a paper bowl of deep-fried mystery fish, soggy fries, and hushpuppies soaked in vinegar, you can imagine the panic that ensued when we opened The Daily News and saw a picture of Captain D's — a great little seafood place by anyone's estimation — next to the headline "Mercury Rising."
The ensuing terror was based on the fact that mercury is a toxic metal and an ocean pollutant that has been linked to birth defects, and which has been discovered in tuna, swordfish, shark, mackerel, and quite possibly in deep-fried mystery fish. As it turns out, all fears of growing third arms, eyeballs on our feet, or extra rows of teeth were entirely unfounded. The article was actually about businesses in the Mid-South that have filed for bankruptcy since the beginning of 2007. The only time mercury appeared in the story was in the misleading headline, by the picture of Captain D's.
The Daily News has been struggling to write clever headlines for over a year now, with increasingly troublesome results. It began with an event listing for amputees slugged "Out on a Limb," followed by a meaty piece on the Liberty Bowl titled "Bowling for Soup."
Wild West Redux
Last week, the Tennessee Senate passed a bill that will allow anyone of legal drinking age who also holds a gun permit to bring firearms into bars. The decision to put deadly force in the hands of drunks — a human subset widely known to brawl over incredibly important things like sports, politics, who's hot, who's not, and who was looking at who the funniest — has been widely hailed by NRA types as a victory for the good guys.
In an unrelated story, Arkansas officials hope to create legislation mandating that toy guns can only be manufactured in bright, unrealistic colors. Because toy guns don't kill people, people with real guns kill people with toy guns. When they're sober even. Tragically.