URLs du Jour


  • To follow up on a previous Pun Salad rant, our local paper reports the doings at the recent South Berwick, Maine Town Council meeting:
    Excluding Counting House Park, smoking and the use of tobacco products is now technically banned at some recreation areas in South Berwick after the Town Council passed a tobacco-free resolution Tuesday night.
    "Technically banned", because:
    Signs soon will be posted in those areas indicating they are tobacco-free zones. The resolution is not a law, and violators will not be subject to arrest or fines.
    In other words: it's a pure nag. However, cops will be given additional nanny duties:
    For example, a police officer who happens to find someone smoking in one of those areas will ask the person to leave the area or stop smoking, according to Police Chief Dana Lajoie.
    Soon, no doubt, the South Berwick police force will also be checking to make sure park users are not engaged in other objectionable activity, such as running with sharp objects, consuming trans fats, or lacking sufficient protection against solar UV rays. They will be provided with additional training in effective techniques for dealing with such misbehavior, such as disapproving looks and finger-wagging.

    Counting House Park was excluded because, well, people do actually smoke there while fishing in the Salmon Falls River.

  • In related news, Margaret Soltan notes a report from England:
    A university today warned its students not to throw their mortarboards in the air at their graduation ceremonies because it was too dangerous and could hurt them.
    "You'll put your eye out!" Professor Soltan has a suggestion for alternative headwear.

  • There's much wisdom in Jerry Zezima's "Secret to a happy marriage: Be annoying"
    Now that my wife and I have been married for 30 years, family and friends have suggested that, for putting up with me for so long, Sue deserves to be the first living person canonized by the Catholic Church. I, they add, deserve to be shot from a cannon.

    What is the secret of our long and happy marriage? The answer, according to researchers at the University of Michigan, is that we get on each other's nerves.

    I pointed this out to Mrs. S.; she pointed out that the "annoying" thing is pretty much a one-way street in our case. Which way the street goes is left as an exercise for the reader.

    A less humorous report of the study is here.

  • Also on an optimistic note, the New York Times recently reported good news on the geezer brain front:
    When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

    Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.

    So, I'm trying to memorize this sentence so I can roll it off my tongue as needed: "It may appear that I'm getting stupider, but, as described in a recent New York Times article, I'm simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter on information, often to my benefit, you young whippersnapper."


[Amazon Link] [4.0
stars] [IMDb Link]

As I type, Juno is number 199 on IMDB's top 250 movies of all time. Please. But it's pretty good.

Juno is a 16-year-old girl who's smart, funny, and as foulmouthed as you can be in a PG-13 movie. She's also with child, and the movie follows her story over the course of her pregnancy. She initially goes to an abortion clinic, but skedaddles from the waiting room. (That's a slight spoiler, but it would be a pretty short movie otherwise.) Eventually, she settles on a privately-arranged adoption with a nice yuppie couple, but all is not as it seems.

Juno is sharply observant of other peoples' foibles, but (refreshingly) non-condescending. All characters are three-dimensional and credible. Even the character that comes closest to a caricature, a lone abortion protester outside the clinic, has her job to do: she says the one little thng that eventually dissuades Juno from getting the abortion.

The screenwriter, Diablo Cody, won an Oscar; this was her first screenplay. The movie was also nominated for Best Picture, Jason Reitman was nominated for Best Director, and Ellen Page, who plays Juno, was nominated for Best Actress. Not bad.

Last Modified 2012-10-12 7:46 AM EST