Etc...

Food fight!

When last we reported on affronts to Italian pride, a mini-tempest was in progress over efforts to modify the colors of the national flag. Now, it seems, there's a squabble between Italians and researchers who claim that the English enjoyed feasting on lasagna in the 14th century - long before its debut on the shores of the Mediterranean. In fact, the researchers say they themselves prepared a "strangely sweet and spicy" pan of "loseyns" from a recipe found in a cookbook commissioned by King Richard II in 1390. Alas, for Italy's embassy in London, this was too much. "Whatever this old dish was called," sniffed a spokesman, "it was not lasagna as we make it."

We're on a roll right now

If you're keeping score at home, Wasilla, Alaska, is the new Honorary Duct Tape Capital of the World. This, according to Henkel Consumer Adhesives, which markets the sticky silver-gray stuff and says the small town bought more than 325 miles of it last year - or 313.7 feet per person. The primary use: sealing fish coolers.

Renting? In San Francisco? Then you're paying dearly

The average cost of an apartment in high-tech hub San Francisco fell 6 percent in the past year as the industry languished, but rents there are still the highest in the West, according to a new study by RealFacts. The housing-market research firm surveyed 9,200 apartment complexes in 26 major markets in the West and Southwest. Tucson, Ariz., had the lowest rates, at $608 a month. The 10 Western metropolitan areas where a flat will set you back the most per month, on average:

1. San Francisco $1,554
2. Los Angeles 1,326
3. San Jose, Calif. 1,308
4. Orange County, Calif. 1,258
5. Oakland, Calif. 1,195
6. San Diego 1,158
7. Riverside/San Bernardino counties 924
8. Sacramento, Calif. 885
9. Seattle 861
10. Denver 844
- Associated Press

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