Consumer experts advise us not to store perishable items like milk in the refrigerator door because of the fluctuation in temperature that occurs every time we open and close it. This explains why our milk occasionally goes bad before the expiration date. As it turns out, something similar is happening with Muammar Qaddafi, who died last Thursday and is currently in cold storage. Reuters reports,

Fighters guarding the darkening body and those of Gaddafi's son Mo'tassim and his former army chief had placed plastic sheeting under them as fluids leaked into the market cold store in Misrata where they had been taken after their capture and killing near Gaddafi's home town of Sirte on Thursday.

With the door constantly opening to allow a procession of onlookers, in a grim parody of the lying in state typically accorded to deceased leaders, the refrigeration unit was failing to prevent a rapid decomposition and guards handed out surgical face masks to visitors to shield them from the stench.

One man is quoted saying, "I came here to make sure with my own eyes.... All Libyans must see him."

In which case, he could be there for a long time and by next week, the late colonel will better resemble those remains kept in glass coffins in Europe. The problem is determining where Qaddafi should be buried—should he be returned to his tribe or buried among his loyalists near the sea? (Again, if the delay goes on much longer, he'll be able to be buried in both places.) Reuters also notes, "The official Egyptian news agency said Libya's office for fatwas, or religious decrees, had declared Gaddafi was not a Muslim as he had denied the teachings of Prophet Mohammad and so should not be given an Islamic funeral."

The issue will most likely be resolved within the week. Then again, the late Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos, who died in 1989, is still awaiting his final burial (but his remains are in much better, if waxier, condition).

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