To the list of things that continue to elicit newspaper headlines despite no actual new news — the death of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, famously, or the death of President Gerald Ford — you can add a new one: Monday’s gas stink across the city. After that day’s orgy of we-don’t-know-what’s-causing-it coverage and yesterday’s burst of no-one-knows-what-caused-it follow-ups, today the Times continues flooding that non-zone with “What’s Next for a Mysterious Stench? Theories, Punch Lines and Cyberspace,” in which we learn that in the absence of any real information “Commuters, Internet bloggers” — that’s as opposed to the less widely read pen-and-paper bloggers, we presume — “and standup comedians filled a trove of ideas, some wacky, some sinister, some even believable.” What are the theories, according to the paper of record?
• Rotten eggs.
• A chemical added to natural gas.
• “[G]ases from nearby swamps released due to peculiar sequences of weather conditions and trapped by an atmospheric inversion.”
• “Others recalled smoggy clouds that had descended on New York in the 1950s and ‘60s.”
• “They mentioned secret Army experiments in the 1950s that they said had involved releasing bacteria in San Francisco.”
• El Nino.
• Rosie O’Donnell.
• “The animal that has taken residence on top of Donald Trump’s head, masquerading as hair, has finally died.”
• New Jersey.
• “A pretty big dead body.”
Or, you know, none of those.