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Global Warning

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Thanks to yokel TV news, we can all stay up-to-the-second on the dangers of life in the local land. Which -- if you're counting -- are pretty much infinite. This week's worth of warnings alone was enough to keep 'fraidy cats cowering behind their curtains. But not me: I go out there, and bring it all back for you. Just don't give it back, OK?

* The big news around these parts lately is that you don't need to travel to Pamplona to get gored. (Even as you read this, I'm sure, some booster group is spinning this fact to promote tourism.) In Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, Channel 11's Alan Jennings reports, a deer "went berserk." A woman was innocently taking soil samples on a deer reserve when the unprovoked attack occurred. Rescuers used the woman's surveyor's pole to beat back the eight-point buck. The woman is recovering "nicely," we're told -- which is better than, well, recovering "not nicely."

* Before you start hatin' on that deer, you need to know that the deer aren't safe, either. WTAE's Jennifer Miele reports from Westmoreland County that state officials say that this year, more than 1,000 deer in Southwestern PA may have died from a viral disease they haven't seen since the '90s. (I know, ages ago.) Don't worry -- you can't get it, but you certainly shouldn't eat infected deer. (You also shouldn't feed tainted venison to your dogs, because as we all know, there are plenty of other things that can poison them. Like dog food.) The disease "takes down a healthy deer in five days, giving it a high fever and eventually rotting its organs," says Miele. A female biologist gives us the graphic facts, in a clip WTAE should deliver right to the TMI file: "What we'll often see is that their lungs will fill with blood; they'll develop an enlarged heart. When I've dissected some of these animals, they have bruising on their stomach, they're starting to develop infectious areas in their internal organs."

An early frost might help limit the spread of the disease, says the biologist. It might help the deer, sure. But not us. By then, we'll be beaten over the head with early frost warnings by meteorologists, and probably hear complaints from some kind of Save the Tomatoes activist group.

* Meanwhile, a high school athlete in Mount Lebanon has contracted a contagious staph infection, called MRSA (or Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) which doesn't respond to typical antibiotics and is most common in athletes who share locker rooms and equipment. "If you treat it as an ordinary staph infection ... the infection can then progress into something more serious," warns the always-warning Guillermo Cole of the Allegheny County Health Department. Jodine Costanzo of WPXI tells us what we can look for: "Red pimples, boils and sores filled with pus." I'm happy to report that the student is OK and back in class. Jodine Costanzo also adds that in rare cases, the infection can be deadly. In rare cases, so can watching TV news. Or so I've heard.

* Be careful when you go to sleep: You might wake up with a morning glow you don't necessarily want. Harold Hayes of KDKA reported on a North Braddock man who alleges he was sleeping on his couch in his own home when a police officer Tasered him while investigating a silent burglar alarm. (The man says he told police he forgot to disarm it.) The man says he asked police, "Why y'all Taserin' me? What's going on?" Hayes reported the man told police, "I'm the legal person that's supposed to be here and you shouldn't be doin' this -- and I get Tasered again. And then I fall to the ground ... just getting Tasered, just getting Tasered, roll over like this, getting Tasered, getting Tasered, then they finally stop." The man's lawyer remarks, "Our concern is that even some police officers don't have the personality or the training to be armed with a Taser. It's like a Nintendo for some people. You get a new toy and you want to experiment with it." Good thing I don't have a Taser.

* And what could possibly be worse than being Tasered? Why, being stuck in traffic! KDKA traffic and transportation reporter Jim Lokay reported last Thursday morning about a small paving project that started at 2 a.m. the previous evening on Bigelow Boulevard and caused some apparently apocalyptic traffic delays. Lokay covered all the topographical bases, but neglected to tell us about the high blood pressure, stress and the ultimate toll this is going to take on our health. To his credit, he suggested avoiding the Parkway North -- which is why I personally always keep the helicopter at the ready. Or just for amusement, I can take the drive myself and be the "woman in car" spot interview: "Someone should be fired!"

The message here? We're all eventually going to get sick, get Tasered, get gored and then die. Although not necessarily in that order. And that concludes this City Paper column for the week. Have a great evening, everyone.

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