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Monique Lhuiller

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New York's Rats: Irritating When Infesting, Delicious When Smoked

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While New Yorkers have been tying up the 311 lines to report their ever-escalating rodent problems, as the Times reminded us early last week, the enterprising folks at West African Grocery in Hell's Kitchen don't complain about their rodents — they stock them in the refrigerator section. Food-safety inspectors seized two pounds of smoked rodent meat from the market last week; there's no word on whether these were imported specimens or New York's native Norways. According to Microlivestock: Little-Known Small Animals With a Promising Economic Future, a book put out by the National Research Council, an estimated 42 cultures worldwide eat rodents; the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that rat meat makes up half the locally produced meat consumed in Ghana. The rats for sale at West African Grocery don't seem to be in quite as high demand — a prescient poster on Chowhound wrote of the place last May, "while I'm not at all squeamish about the arguable lack of sanitary conditions (to put it mildly), I've just never had the impression they have particularly high turnover." And, really, who likes rat that isn't fresh?
Wren Abbott N.Y. Cracks Down on Armadillos, Iguanas, Rodents and Cow Lungs [AP via WABC]

It's Springtime for Hitler Kid

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• You've got to hand it to the Hitler Kid: After getting ejected from school for donning the costume on Halloween, yesterday he wore it again — this time for the media, and purely in protest. This is quickly turning into the lamest ACLU case ever. [NYP] • You do not cross American Girl Place. The Mattel-owned dainty emporium has filed a complaint against Actors' Equity that says AEA has been goading its employees to unionize. This is going to be like On the Waterfront, except with Barbies. [NYDN] • ExamGate! Staten Island high-school administrators may have tampered with grades on Regents exams and directed teachers to do it as well. A whopping seventeen science teachers came forward with the accusations. Better late than never, we suppose (the exams were administered in June). On a lighter note, but on the same theme, a Brooklyn high-school principal has distributed a pie chart explaining her new grading system — with the slices totaling more than 100 percent. [NYT, NYDN] • A Bronx man is DOA at St. Barnabas after a police shootout. According to the cops, two plainclothes officers clearly saw the gunman armed and assaulting another man; the DOA fired first. [WNBC] • And, it's beginners' luck for the Knicks, who eked out their first win (against Memphis, 118-117) under coach Isiah Thomas. In a more disturbing portent, it took them three OTs to do so. [amNY]