The Birminghamster
For July 24, 2002 "That's a damn good sandwich." - Vol. III No. II published every other Wednesday

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  UAB Researchers Develop 100% Outside Meat Pig

outside meat

Perfect porker
UAB() Researchers at UAB's Howell and Elizabeth Heflin Center for Porcine Genetics have produced the world's first 100% outside meat pig. The goal of the project, conducted with advice from Barbecue Technologists at Pat James' Full Moon, was to create a pig that would provide more of the tasty outside meat that people crave in good barbecue. "A lot of our meat just gets thrown away because it is undercooked and still somewhat soft," said Pat James' chef Bill Hodges. "There are very few people who request that type of inside meat sandwich. What we wanted was a pig that gave us a little more outside meat." What UAB-Heflin Center scientists gave them was a genetically modified porker capable of producing 100% outside meat.

The breakthrough came when the researchers combined cerebral DNA with the DNA normally associated with epethelial cell production. "The brain DNA includes instructions that cause tissue to seek maximum surface area relative to volume, creating complex folds," explains Chief Porcine Geneticist Skip Van Sutton. "These folds, when transferred to the flesh of a prize porker, mean more outside meat than was previously attainable by breeding." In fact it appears that the team exceeded even their wildest charred meat dreams. Patrons at Pat James' Full Moon Barbecue should be expecting their first taste of 100% outside meat by the end of 2003.

21st Street Viaduct Tapped for Preservation Award


Innovative preservation
Jefferson County Courthouse(JM) The Birmingham Historical Society has awarded the City's Department of Streets and Sanitation one of its coveted 2002 Preservation Awards for their efforts to save the ornate concrete detailing on the guardrails of the historic Twenty-First Street Viaduct. In presenting the award, Society President Marjorie Longenecker White singled out the Streets Department "for the imaginative use of everyday materials in stabilizing the historic building fabric."

She is not alone in marvelling at the effective application of duct tape to wrap the deteriorating supports, preventing chunks of concrete from falling on any of the thousands of pedestrians that traverse Morris Avenue on a daily basis. City residents and visitors alike are always commenting on this unusual preservation technique which is both cheap and effective. Streets and Sanitation Department Interim Director Stephen Fancher praised crew foreman Willie Peeters for the idea of using duct tape. We were standing out there one day -- leaning on shovels as is our habit - when Willie said to me, "Y'know what might just hold that? A roll of duct tape." And I thought, "Well, sure! duct tape has embedded cotton reinforcing in both directions, strong adhesive, and a tough reflective surface on the back. It's perfect!" So I directed the crew to go ahead and requisition a few dozen rolls from our maintenance shop and to wrap any deteriorating baluster with no less than 8 or 10 layers. We expect that with typical weather, these repairs could last 6 months or more before they need to be reapplied.

Carl Eisenhoff, a spokesman for the National Duct Tape Council, interviewed by telephone, was surprised and pleased to hear about the Preservation Award. "It's not everyday you hear people saying nice things about duct tape as a structural repair material on historic construction. We're glad to know that Birmingham values economy and simplicity in preserving and repairing all kinds of ducts, from air conditioning ducts to viaducts."

Vagina Monologues Come For Second Time

vagina board

Public display
Birmingham() To the surprise of all and the delight of some, the Vagina Monologues came again when few thought it was possible. After the Vagina Monologues came last year, most Birminghamsters thought that it could never happen again. However, it was brought off after months of deliberate effort aimed at coaxing the Vagina company into coming again.

This time many of the city's conservative leaders are screaming even more than before. "That huge billboard was a disgrace," said twelve time county commissioner Mary Buckelew. "It appeared as a huge gaping maw ready to swallow up our innocence." Others were simply concerned that Birmingham once again appeared to get the short shrift when it comes to touring companies. "Everything seemed so tired and worn out," said entertainer Ceil Snow. "The whole thing felt so used, as if it had been done a thousand times. And we didn't even get Margot Kidder. I bet that is a vagina with a story to tell." Still, others were pleased that Birmingham is being serviced by a broader range of touring companies than staid Broadway Series fair.