Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I have mixed feelings about Ken Ulmans latest Healthy Howard edict banning smoking in all county parks and recreational facilities. On the one hand, there is something to said for the logic of Jay Hancock in his blog in The Sun, “to be philosophically consistent, Howard County has to outlaw public park campfires and barbecues, too.”

On the other hand Ken’s description of smoking as a “dirty, filthy habit,” is exactly how Frank Lane described smoking over fifty years ago. Frank Lane was my grandfather. He was way ahead of his time with this public health issue.

It’s the dirty part that makes the most sense for banning smoking in parks. In his column in The Washington Post yesterday, John Kelly vented about his pet peeves and those of his readers that “have no place in a civilized world.”

First on his list was flicking a cigarette butt out a car window. I feel the same way about those who flick a cigarette butt into a lake, path or park. Having spent my college summers picking up trash in Columbia I have picked up more discarded butts than most people do in a lifetime. 

John is actually running a three part series on the things he hates. I pretty much agreed with everything he and his readers bought up yesterday.

“Driving slowly in the passing lane. Not using your turn signal. Leaving a shopping cart in a grocery store parking lot rather than returning it to the corral. Playing the car stereo so loudly that the bass rattles everything for blocks. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Speaking loudly on a cellphone in a room full of people. The complex packaging of simple items: “You shouldn’t need a pair of wire cutters and a Phillips-head screwdriver to release a Barbie doll from her box,” wrote Jonathan Carter of Bristow. Waiters who say, “You still workin’ on that?” as if your meal were a patch of broken asphalt that needed to be jackhammered. Visible underwear on men. Parking in a handicapped space when you’re not disabled. The overuse of the word “literally.” Using atrocious grammar.”

Today he narrowed his focus to things he hates in the grocery store.
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