A New Way to Think About Oral Hygiene, Bare-Handed Bartenders, and Hobby Lobby Goes to Washington

By Noah Kaufman |
OLIVE OIL CARAFE

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Every week by this point you have undoubtedly spent nearly 100 percent of your time online watching videos of cats riding vacuum cleaners and finding out which character from Blossom you really are. Meanwhile, the world has been going on without you. Here are some things you missed while you were buried in the Internet:

Oil Pulling

With the movie Divergent premiering No. 1 at the box office last week, its star Shailene Woodley has been catapulted to superstardom. With her newfound platform, she's helping to educate us all on how we can live more natural lives—and one of those way is oil pulling. Oil pulling is when you take a tablespoon of a natural cooking oil—olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil—and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes. Translation: You have to sit through an entire episode of Brooklyn 99 on Hulu with your mouth full of sesame oil. Apparently it detoxifies your mouth, but like most health practices that involve the word "detoxify," there has been little to no actual research done on the benefits. So you may not want to give up your dentist just yet.  

Bare-Hand Ban Canned

Last year California passed a food-code update that seemed unremarkable at first glance but contained a provision that drew outcries and protests from chefs and bartenders all over the state. That provision made it illegal for customer-bound food or drinks to be prepared with bare hands. That's right: The mustachioed-and-suspendered mixologist at your favorite cocktail bar would be legally required to spoil his outfit by donning rubber gloves before muddling you up a drink. So great was the blowback that this week the state legislature voted unanimously to repeal and reconsider the regulation. One restaurateur said, "We already have laws governing sanitation and it's called washing your hands." 

Wu-Tang Drops a New Album, Emphasis on A

Legendary hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan has an unusual new strategy to promote its new album: sell only one copy. Instead of doing taking the usual approach and trying to sell as many CDs and get as many downloads as possible, RZA, GZA and the rest of the Clan are going to auction off one very special print of The Wu–Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. There will be no reprints and there will be no streaming (though we suppose there could be illegal downloading, depending on who buys that one copy). Before the album is sold, however, it will go on tour. The Wu plans to showcase it at museums and galleries around the world, where visitors will pay a fee to listen on headphones. It is a new day in music when you can listen to Method Man while you’re looking at Monet.   

A Prayer for Hobby Lobby

In what seems like the 87,000th attempt to avoid, eradicate or undermine Barack Obama's now four-year-old health care law, a case went before the Supreme Court this week whose plaintiff, Hobby Lobby, claimed it should not have to pay for certain contraception coverage for its female employees (as mandated in the health care law) because of its religious beliefs. Court watchers see this as a possible extension of corporate personhood, which was established in 2010 with the Citizens United case, and says that corporations have free-speech rights, at least insofar as making monetary contributions to political campaigns counts as speech. If Hobby Lobby wins this case it could mean corporations also have a right to freedom of religion. Hobby Lobby claims it is just a small business that should be able to practice its religious beliefs, but it would take a pretty big pew to hold 5.5 million square feet of yarn and balsa wood. 

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