I got my first “Wendy’s Chili” text Wednesday night while watching some exciting bluegrass music at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club.

My texter said she had just been told by a friend, who read it on a TV station website, that Mobile was home to a Wendy’s hamburger restaurant employee who had been arrested for “pooping” in the famed chili at one area location. Horror! It immediately brought to mind the penultimate scene in “The Help” in which Miss Hilly finds out she had happily eaten two pieces of chocolate pie containing her former maid’s “special ingredient.”

My texter was disgusted and upset and, as a Wendy’s chili fan, wanted to know which location was serving the tainted chili. I’ll admit I was thinking we probably need to do a story on this, or at least alert our cuisine editor that Wendy’s was off the review list for the foreseeable future. But I also thought we’d better be sure this isn’t a hoax.

I appears it — thankfully — was.

Though the story started on a website known for producing fake news, it apparently sounded plausible enough that it made its way around the Internet in short order, and appears to even have made its way into some “mainstream” media reports until it was quickly yanked.

As the story goes, 28-year-old Brian Casper admitted to authorities he’d been “contaminating” his store’s chili since 2013. There was discussion of class-action lawsuits from the thousands of customers who possibly ate this nasty chili, as well as a quote from someone who had supposedly been a regular chili consumer at that Wendy’s location.

The story has been debunked as fiction, though, and the alleged mug shot of the perpetrator — a strange-looking fellow with some kind of ear deformity — determined to be that of a busted pothead from the Midwest.

The only mystery that really remains locally for the great poo-poo chili hoax is whether any of our local media bought into the story. I’ve had five different people — people who normally seem very competent — tell me they either saw a story about it on the local news, or read it on a local news website. The problem is I’ve gotten two different stories as to which station it was. I’ve searched all of the local news websites and the story is nowhere to be found. So I’m hoping those I spoke with were just confused. At this point there’s no evidence local media fell for the disgusting hoax.

Now go back to eating your chili and have a good day.

Mobile man brings Scenic Television to the world
Dave Childers thinks that in the hustle of the modern world, it’s nice to be able to take a “mini vacation” from time to time. That’s why he started Scenic Television.

Childers started Scenic Radio — an online spot for listening to the sounds of nature — about six years ago, and recently decided to integrate the concept for online video. What he came up with allows viewers to simply view video of a natural scene, like a wooded area or a waterfall. Admittedly it’s not “Batman Versus Superman” in terms of action, but there is no doubt there’s something calming about watching video of a waterfall and hearing the water roar.

Is it the next best thing to being there? Maybe.

“It’s like a mini vacation, as long as you have high-speed internet,” Childers said.

Although his “station” operates from Mobile, none of the 76 hours’ worth of video available is from the Yellowhammer State. Instead Childers says he scoured the web looking for public domain or otherwise free, shared video of relaxing scenes. Obviously as it is on the web, his potential viewership is worldwide.

Childers says he wrote a custom program to run his website, which has helped him keep costs low and allows him to keep most of the small amount of advertising revenue generated at this point. While there’s not a tremendous amount of viewership yet, Childers says he’s working on that.

He said there are a couple of other sites that are similar to his, but they all play music with their videos, meaning they have to pay royalty fees and then have to charge viewers. He thought the sounds of nature might be more relaxing and also make financial sense.

While many of us sit for hours a day in front of a computer, Childers says, Scenic Television can give people a feeling they’re somewhere else. He recalled how he used to feel while living in Alaska.

“Living in Alaska, you just wanted to see something other than snow,” he recalled. “This is just something out of the ordinary.”

You can check out Scenic Television at http://television.scenicradio.com.