What's running through it? 

Summer is now in previews, with a few spring days that were so hot and muggy that just walking out the door made you feel like you were being breathed on by a giant dog. It's only a matter of weeks now before the temperatures tease their way up into the 90s. Soon newscasters all over Florida will be telling us what a hot one it was today, and if you don't want to fall over like a sack of potatoes be sure to drink plenty of water (and in other news, sleep when you're tired and eat when you're hungry).

Bottled water will be a lot of people's preference, despite the fact that paying for the world's most prevalent, tangible resource is pretty idiotic. That said, I can be seen out there like every other gullible mug toting around that half liter of Aquafina like a security blanket. As a born-and-raised American, happy to be part of the consumer culture, I'm a sucker for packaging, content in my belief that if it's not packaged, it's not safe. You've heard the joke before: Evian spelled backwards is Naive. This irony hasn't stopped it from selling, or me from buying.

Cold hard facts

But the people who tilt back bottled water to avoid the lesser quality of tap water or the calories and chemicals in sodas might do a spit take when they hear about a report done by a Swiss scientist. The Cosmiverse website (cosmiverse.com/science) reports that Christian Beuret of the Cantonal Food Laboratory has, along with his colleagues, concluded that "just less than half" of 29 brands of European bottled mineral water tested by the group were found to contain contaminates, namely, the "Norwalk-like virus," which causes stomach aches. Where do the bad bacteriums come from? Get this: "Apparently, at some point human feces are coming in contact with the water ... it is not known if the problem is at the water's source or introduced further down the line during processing." Funny, the whole reason people buy bottled water is because it doesn't taste as crappy as tap.

No brands were mentioned, and this study was done on European water, so this news need not be a source of total horror for you. Plus, the article says, the testing method itself may have been the source of the contamination. Small amounts of the bacterium even have been found in "healthy people who showed no signs of gastric distress." Still, with things such as E coli and hepatitis C occasionally in the news, any report containing the word "contaminates" sets off alarm bells. The last thing you want to have to wonder about is whether something as simple as water is safe to drink.

Interestingly, one region where the water's appeal could warrant eventual marketing is, believe it or not, Afghanistan. Another article, also on Cosmiverse, reports that men in the region of Khandahar have believed for generations that their water contains nothing short of aphrodisiac qualities. It's not a scientific fact, and no one really knows why the water in this area would contain such intriguing, whizz-bang powers. Nonetheless, Khandahari men say they notice a difference when they leave town and are away from their own water supply.

Hot to trot

Well, it's not scientific, but there's one possible explanation, and it's that the population of Afghani men probably contains, per square foot, more nuts than a bowl of bridge mix. The Taliban didn't exactly represent a meeting of the minds. If such people are capable of believing that kite flying is spiritually toxic, they'll believe anything.

It's hardly an excuse, but the classic "something in the water" scenario might also explain the willingness of so many Afghani men to believe that women should be wrapped up like living mummies, lest the men's spring-loaded, aphrodisiac-steeped peni be driven to criminal behavior by so much as the click of a heel or the glimpse of an ankle. (I know women are free to run around without their coveralls now, but it did happen). Maybe the men really do believe they're protecting women from themselves. Curiously enough, though, the article makes no mention of the water's effect on women. As though they just didn't count or something.

Too bad this magic water comes from there, because if it came from somewhere else you can bet it would be on the shelves here. Then during the summer, when you got too hot, you could down a liter ... and get a little hotter.

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