After unwrapping our Xmas booty, my wife sent me on a last-minute-Xmas-errand; she needed eggs and a can of whipped cream so she could make a chocolate cream pie . . . the eggs were easy enough to find, but the local convenience (which possesses the oddest of names: B-B-Big Food Mart Inc) did not have any whipped cream, so my wife told me to try QuikCheck, but I searched the store and couldn't find any whipped cream and despite the long queue, I asked the young lady at the register if they had any whipped cream and she told me they did not because there was a whipped cream shortage, and this piqued my curiosity, and so-- despite the line-up of people that did not seem all that interested in the reasons for the dearth of ready-whipped canister cream-- I asked her why that was so, and she gave me quite a story: apparently one of the Airgas nitrous oxide tankers (in Florida) exploded, killing an employee and causing havoc at the Airgas facility, and the government is investigating why this happened and there are only two other nitrous oxide facilities in the country and they are having trouble meeting the demand for nitrous oxide, and medical uses take precedence over whipped cream (which makes sense) and I was quite stunned by this news and thanked her, and then I went home and did some fact-checking (because you can't trust everything you learn from the cashiers at QuikCheck) and her story checks out, Dan Tillema, of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, is still investigating the explosion, and he implores you to think of the plant operator that died (Jesse Graham Folmar, 32 years of age) instead of lamenting over your lack of ready-whipped cream (and then, an Xmas miracle . . . Catherine found an unopened can of whipped cream in the back of the refrigerator . . . I suggested we sell it on Ebay).