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September 11, 1997

Monahan's Well:

By Jerry Curry

Escherichia Coli 0157: License to Kill

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Hysteria has gripped the nation's television news corps, otherwise known
as the stumbling heard of what passes for journalism when the talking
heads reach the half-million a year and counting tax brackets.

The hysteria has nothing to do with the real sorrows in the deaths about
a week apart of Dianna Spencer, the once and future princess, and Mother
Theresa, who, by all rights, should be beatified before the end of the
year and after the obligatory inquiries from the Devil's Advocates in
the Curia be made a Saint. The stories of the deaths of these two women
do tell us something about the caliber of reportage among this crew
which individually, man and woman, spend more for a suit than I will for
a car. On Tuesday night, one of the network news shows had the gall to
run a story decrying the fact that some people were making gobs of money
from selling DIanna memorabilia - fake and real. These television
networks have made more dollars off the death of the Princess of Wales
than Carter used to have pills before Carter bankrupted (I think) and
stopped selling pills.

The latest thing that has triggered my ire is the hysteria to which the
so-called national media has contributed in the matter of the
contaminated hamburger from up North.

First, contaminated hamburger can kill. It did a few years ago in the
Pacific Northwest and brought down a national fast food chain, Jack in
the Box, in the process. Warnings of potential dangers are enough.

There is no reason and it is counter productive to attempt to make all
of us aficionados of pine tree branches and wood chips because some
idiot with blow dried hair thinks the answer to a real problem is to lie.

Lie? Perhaps these people don't lie, these moguls of the media, these
all-knowing gods in the thousand dollar suits. If they don't lie, they
are pretty close to stupid. The villain they identify in the
contaminated meat case is escherichia coli, which they can neither
pronounce nor spell, so they call it e. coli and they call it a deadly
plague. Obviously they have been talking to some lettuce head bureaucrat
at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I tell you people. If you don't
have a whole lot of little e. coli's in your gut, you are going to die
tomorrow. These little bugs are necessary to your life and your
digestion. Second, the killer is an e. coli outlaw, who can be
identified by the numbers 0157, which in escherichia coli talk means
this particular little bacterium has a license to kill.

But he isn't all that dangerous either - if you cook the meat. Cook that
hamburger at least medium well and no 0157 alive is going to take you
down. E. Coli 0157 is only on the outside of a steak. Sear it like
you're supposed to do and the killer dies - no problem. Make sure you
cook the burger though to 160 Fahrenheit inside. Cooked 0157 doesn't
hurt anyone.

Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Steve Patterson, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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