Thursday News Chum: Summer Camps, Rental Cars, Plus-Size Reality, Crocs, and Odorless Kimchi

Some selected news items, gathers over the lunchtime perusal of the papers:

  • From the “Kramer Krud” Department: Swine Flu is impacting more than just the workplace. It’s having a big impact at summer camps, as reported by the NY Times. In Maine, there are 33 camps with outbreaks, and another 10 in the pipeline being tested—and some have 70 to 100 kids in isolation, so they’re running shadow camps for them! In Georgia, Camp Coleman canceled its first session because so many counselors got sick right before camp started that it seemed impossible to provide a good program. In Vermont, Camp Killooleet had one or two sick children on a Monday soon after camp began, according to its director, Dean Spencer, but that grew to 12 or 15 on Tuesday — so on Wednesday, Mr. Spencer sent all 100 campers home for a week. What about locally? Here the Jewish Journal has a report. As of the end of June, Camp Ramah in Ojai has one confirmed case of Influenza A and has sent home 26 campers and staff. Camp Alonim at American Jewish University’s Brandeis Bardin campus in Simi Valley has had six confirmed cases of Influenza A, and those campers all were sent home. As for the Wilshire Camps, they’ve had a small percentage. All Wilshire Boulevard Temple campers were required to take their temperatures before going on the buses headed for Hilltop or Hess Kramer. Camp Alonim also took campers temperatures upon arrival and sent anyone home who had a fever above 100. (update on SoCal camps here)
  • From the “We Try Harder” Department: The decline of the Big 3 automakers in the US has affected more than dealers: the composition of rental car fleets is changing. No more are the fleets composed of the poor sellers of GM, Ford, and Chrysler. Now they have the poor sellers of Nissan and Kia. At least this improves your chance of renting a Toyota.
  • From the “Television Reflects Us” Department: One problem in the past with reality shows is they haven’t reflected reality: you’ve seen model-sized wannabe-actors going after wannabe-model-actors (that was even true with the “Geek” show on the CW). According to CNN, that is changing: more reality-shows are casting plus-sized contestants, obstensibly because they look more like the audience. Of course, the point is far too often to make fun of them for their size, and encourage them to lose weight.
  • From the “Ugly Shoes” Department: Remember Crocs, those super ugly shoes. They are so last year. The LA Times is reporting on how Crocs have lost their popularity, and no one is buying them anymore. Of course, part of the problem is that they didn’t incorporate planned obsolescence: if your shoes are indestructable, no one will replace them. Crocs seem to be destined to go the way of Earth Shoes.
  • From the “We Are What We Eat” Department: Lastly, in a story that talonvaki would like, the LA Times is reporting how an enterprising Korean scientist has created an odorless kimchi. Just what the world needs. Next up: Limberger.