Bon mot - True, the gadget recently detonated by France had the power of seven Hiroshima bombs. But it wasn't set off above ground and it didn't spew a mushroom cloud. Therefore, France's ambassador to New Zealand advised reporters, stop calling it a bomb. What then? "A device which is exploding."
Puff on this - Someone sent a batch of secret tobacco industry documents to the feds. One 1972 memo by RJR researcher Claude Teague said: "A tobacco product is, in essence, a vehicle for delivering nicotine....Happily for the tobacco industry, nicotine is both habituating and unique in its variety of physiological actions." (Publicly, the industry denies tobacco is addictive.)
High there! - The Wall Street Journal reports that in the early `90s the coffin-nail folks began adding ammonia to cigarettes. The companies say the ammonia is for flavor. Happily, it also doubles the nicotine clout.
The pushers - RJR researcher Teague recommended that the company develop a new brand aimed at youth 14 to 18.
Moral high ground - The Pentagon shelved a program to develop a backpack laser weapon that would permanently blind opposing troops. A report said this was intended, in part, to head off broader international limits on laser weapons, which could open the door for charges of war crimes. Also, tests indicated the weapon was of little value and the backpack was so heavy that GIs couldn't carry anything else.
Revolutionary battery - From a northern California reader: "Capitol Steps, a comedy group that pokes fun at the U.S. Congress, recently finished a show in California with a variation on the EverReady Rabbit commercial. Thump, thump, thumping across the stage, still going strong, marched... Fidel Castro, to enthusiastic applause."
Laugh all the way to the bread line - Among other things the economic crisis has prompted a batch of books on coping with downsizing trauma. Like, "Upsizing the Individual in the Downsized Organization" and "Laffirmations: 1001 Ways to Add Humor to Your Life and Work." As Chico Marx cracked in one film, "Some joke, eh boss?"
No respect - At Fort Detrick in Maryland, at 5 p.m. daily, a cannon shot marks the lowering of the flag. Homeward-bound soldiers and civilians are expected to stop and join the salute to Old Glory. But, allegedly, some duck into buildings to avoid the ceremony and others neglect to stop their car and get out. It's said that some who do stop are showered with obscenities for blocking traffic.
Flag pole treatment? - The commander at Fort Detrick is confronting the lack of respect for the stars and stripes. Four officers have been assigned to stop cars during the ceremony and get the license plates of those who whiz by. If the situation doesn't improve, citations will be issued and offenders required to take counseling from supervisors.
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