To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat ... How About Both?

To eat meat or not to eat meat, that is the question. At least, that's what these guys are hoping, because they think they've got the answer … and it's yes on both counts.

It seems the fine folks at St. Louis-based Solae LLC will be serving up the next best thing from the too-good-to-be-true department: the hybrid burger.

But before you start drooling on yourself, lost entirely in lusty fantasies about previously impossible gut-busting combinations of your favorite foods, know this: the hybrid burger is — brace yourself — healthy.

As many health food connoisseurs will tell you, previous attempts at a healthy burger have frequently involved a meatless soy-based patty — which often leaves waistline-conscious eaters with a bad taste in their mouths … literally.

But Solae's patented invention SoleCina promises a carefully concocted combination of soy and real meat that tastes like the real thing — but with a fraction of the calories and fat, the Associated Press reports.

And it's been in the works for a decade.

"You would be hard-pressed to take a look at this product and have any idea it's anything other than what you're used to in a cutlet, a flank steak, that type of product," Jonathan McIntyre, Solae's vice president of research and development, said. "You get the chewiness and mouth-feel quality."

And while skeptics might turn their noses up at a burger stripped of the power to expand one's pants, McInyre hopes his hybrid will lead the health conscious will agree that nothing says burger like ... um ... "chewiness and mouth-feel quality."

Products using SoleCina are expected to be on the market by the end of the year.

'Hooters for Neuters' ... Your Dog Totally Digs It

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The city's animal services department will not accept money from a planned bikini contest called "Hooters for Neuters" for spaying pets.

Animal Services Director Ed Boks reconsidered Tuesday after city officials said the event was degrading to women. He said the department will bow out of the July 13 fundraiser at a Hollywood nightclub hosted by the Hooters restaurant chain.

"It certainly was not my intention to offend anyone," Boks said in a statement.

Although the fundraiser was not sponsored by the city, a promotional flier was posted on the Animal Services Department Web site. The original flier showed a bikini-clad woman, but the latest version shows a dog wearing a T-shirt that says "Hooters for Neuters."

City officials earlier had sharply criticized the decision to participate in the event.

"Are we going backward here?" said City Controller Laura Chick. "We are a city with all kinds of progressive programs that empower women and end discrimination in the workplace, and now we're being connected with a Hooters bikini contest. It isn't right."

Thanks to Out There reader Shannon O.

Because Nobody Can Bear the Uninvited Dinner Guest

NEVADA CITY, Calif. (AP) — Debbie Yates heard commotion in the kitchen before going to work and assumed it was the family cats knocking items off the counter. When the Cascade Shores woman investigated, she was shocked to find a bear trying to squeeze its way through a window.

"I came around the corner and into the kitchen and instead of seeing two cats on the counter, I saw a big, brown bear, a third of the way coming in through the kitchen window," Yates said.

"My instincts kicked in and I raised my hands and yelled, 'Get out! Get out!' And lucky for me, it did."

Despite the small window, the bear got his head, paws and shoulders into the home before Yates was able to spook it.

The bear scampered off Monday, leaving behind a torn window screen, a few nail marks and wood shavings on the window frame.

Yates and her boyfriend have had bears break into their garbage cans but never had one try to break into the house before.

Patrick Foy, a biologist and spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game, said the number of bears in California is at an all-time high, probably because recent wet years have created better bear habitat.

When Love Hurts, Reach Out and Touch Someone

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A woman received a severed human finger in the mail along with a threatening letter from her ex-boyfriend that said, "This is my last chance to touch you," police said.

Corpus Christi Police Capt. John Houston said police weren't sure which finger was removed or how, but that it appeared to have been washed before it was mailed Friday.

"It was a clean cut," Houston said. "It wasn't mangled."

The 32-year-old woman filed for an emergency protective order from her boyfriend last week.

Police didn't release the name of the 34-year-old ex-boyfriend, who has not been located. He has moved to Spring, but police there could not confirm the status of the search for him.

Corpus Christi police said a previous incident of family violence was reported between the couple this month.

The man faces Class A misdemeanor charges from that incident and additional charges because of the threatening nature of the letter.

Fiery Shoe Too Hot to Handle for Not-So-Eternal Flame

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — The city's eternal flame has withstood high winds and torrential rains for more than 30 years, but an errant tennis shoe proved too much of an impediment.

Firefighters shut down the flame briefly Monday so that they could pull out the charred sneaker.

"There was a situation," said Deputy Fire Chief David Eddins. "Someone had tossed a tennis shoe in it. We had to shut it off to remove the shoe."

The flame, which sits atop a 6-foot black, granite pedestal, has been burning in front of the Dougherty County Courthouse since 1973, placed there by the American Legion to memorialize the men and women who have fought in the nation's wars.

By Tuesday, Albany's eternal flame was burning once again.

"We're up and running and in good shape," said Eddins.

Compiled by's Taylor Timmins.

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