Archive for 13th June 2009

Woman takes bat to man who smoked near her children


Woman takes bat to man who smoked near her children

June 10th, 2009 @ 12:26pm
By Randall Jeppesen

OREM — A woman decided a baseball bat was the best way to keep a man from smoking near her children.

Monday, Orem police got a call that a woman was chasing a man outside with a baseball bat near 1200 North 900 West. It turned out the call was true.

“One of them had a baseball bat and was swinging at the other individual,” Orem police Lt. Gary Downey said.

He says the man had been at the woman’s house with a friend, but then he started smoking a “suspicious” substance in a pipe around her children. She did not like that, but the man wouldn’t leave, so out came the baseball bat.

And the man got whacked a few times. When police got there the woman still had the bat in her hands. Police say the man didn’t have any serious injuries from the bat. He refused to press charges, and no one ended up going to jail.


Sometimes discretion with your pipe is the better part of valor. This is worse than Robert Downey, Jr. setting fire to his own crotch.

You Know

You Know

Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009, at 9:38 AM

Recently there was a documentary series on area PBS stations entitled “World War II: Behind Closed Doors.” The portrayal of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin was quite good. Apparently Stalin smoked a pipe, which reminded me I once thought that when I got old enough I’d grow a beard and smoke a pipe. Of course when I thought that, “old” was age thirty. I did grow the beard (another fascinating story I’m sure), but never quite got around to the pipe thing. It’s not only the cost of tobacco, but Kay would have killed me long ago.

The thing about smoking a pipe, as the portrayal of Stalin demonstrated, is that having to re-light every few minutes, gives you time to think of an answer. As I don’t smoke a pipe I tend to give answers before taking time to think about it. Surely I’m not the only person on earth who has this problem.

Talking before thinking leads to “mental crutches.” These crutches, used too often as they are, can get to be very irritating. I recently saw a list of 10 of the Most Irritating Phrases in English.

It’s a good enough list as lists go, but it missed the obvious: You Know.

The reader (and editor) will note this phrase is included here without the “?” mark. That is because it is never clear whether the speaker has in mind an interrogative or inquisition.

My introduction to “You Know” occurred almost 50 years ago — the issue has been around that long.

The teacher’s name was Mr. Little. He was about 5’4″ tall and (his words) “a Negro from Boston Massachusetts.” It was a speech class and I was the only white student. He did mention I was the most natural speaker in the class, but that was just his opinion.

One day Mr. Little stopped someone in the middle of their talk and demanded in words I never forgot: “Why do you say ‘you know?’ If I knew you wouldn’t have to tell me!” He then proceeded to tell all of us how ignorant it sounded to use such mental crutches. Think about what you are going to say first he taught us. What he said next to his “Negro” students, which I will not attempt to repeat here and do not recall exactly, might cause a hate crime indictment today. But, it was 1959 and there was only one white student in the class.

My view from the back pew, David L. Lewis

In this same tirade he got into the other mental crutch Mr. Little hated, “in other words.” “Why didn’t you say it right the first time?”

Never did learn to smoke a pipe. But over the years I’ve found it is much safer to stop and write out one’s thoughts before expressing them. This gives time to think and re-think exactly how something should be said. It also gives Kay time to tell me that none of it makes any sense.

In other words, sometimes I do wish I had a pipe to gnaw on before I open my mouth, you know.

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at

2 Mansfielders burned after pipe lighting incident at group home

From the “Oh my god, I’m so embarrassed he’s a pipe smoker” file.

2 Mansfielders burned after pipe lighting incident at group home

By Linda Martz • News Journal • June 3, 2009

MANSFIELD — Two adults were taken to Akron Children’s Hospital Wednesday after the clothing of a man living at a Newhope-operated group home caught fire, and a caregiver put the flames out.

Mansfield Assistant Fire Chief Steven J. Strickling said a 71-year-old man living at Watts Group Home, 810 South Main. St., suffered serious burns over a significant portion of his body.

The female caregiver ended up with second degree burns on both hands.

Names of the burn victims were not immediately available. Strickling said the 71-year-old’s name would not be released until relatives are notified.

The 71-year-old was on the porch alone when the fire occurred. “The caregiver had stepped inside to get the gentleman some coffee,” Strickling said.

“He (the resident) was smoking or at least attempting to smoke a pipe, and it appeared that he caught his clothing on fire,” the assistant chief said.

“She had to put him in the front yard and roll him, to put the fire out,” Strickling said.

MedCentral Health System spokeswoman Cindy Jakubick said both were stabilized at the Mansfield hospital, before a helicopter was called to transfer them to the burn unit in Akron.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it: Family’s tobacco history snuffed out

Put that in your pipe and smoke it: Family’s tobacco history snuffed out

, last modified June 03. 2009 11:08AM

The man was sitting on a bench at a rest area in Tennessee.

He was smoking a pipe. He didn’t look like Santa Claus, but the words of Clement C. Moore’s classic Christmas poem quickly popped into my head: “The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.’’

I tried to remember the last time I had seen someone smoking a pipe. It’s rare these days, even in Tennessee, one of the country’s top tobacco-producing states.

Maybe pipe smoking has gone out of style because we live in such a fast-paced world. It takes too much time to fill a pipe bowl with tobacco, tamp it down, light it and then relight it because it always flickers out.

Pipe smokers have to knock the ashes out of the bowl and need a place to keep the pipe when it isn’t lit. That doesn’t seem to fit today’s on-the-go lifestyle.

Pipe smokers were fairly common when I was a boy. More people smoked cigarettes or cigars, but quite a few men puffed on a pipe.

Cigarette and cigar smokers still are common, but what happened to the pipe smokers?

I have always considered pipe smokers to be patient people. They don’t seem to mind lighting and relighting the tobacco, knocking out the ashes and occasionally taking the pipe apart to clean the stem.

They could smoke a pipe, hold it in their teeth, carry on a conversation and work with their hands long before the term multitasking was invented.

Pipe smokers seem to be sociable people, never in a hurry, never angry because their pipe has gone out.

I come from a long line of smokers on both sides of the family. Dad says when he reached the age of 15, his father took him to the general store and bought him a corncob pipe because he was on the verge of manhood and old enough to become a smoker.

Dad ditched the corncob pipe and eventually turned to cheap cigars. He bought them in pocket-sized cartons, six cigars for 35 cents. He seemed to enjoy them even if those cheap stogies smelled like a ripe garbage can in 90-degree temperatures.

My paternal grandfather smoked cigars. His father, who died of cancer, preferred cigarettes. My maternal grandfather rolled his own cigarettes. He died of cancer, too.

When I researched my family tree, I discovered that my great-great-grandmother, Genevieve Montri, smoked a corncob pipe. She had copied a fad started by Rachel Jackson, who smoked a pipe when her husband, Andrew, was inaugurated as president.

Genevieve lived until 1918 and died on New Year’s Eve at the age of 85. Guess the pipe smoking didn’t hurt her health.

I don’t know how much smoking has harmed my father. He is just a few months from his 88th birthday and in good health for his age. Of course, he gave up cigars years ago.

He smoked because his father smoked and had introduced him to tobacco. I would be willing to bet that every generation of my family followed a similar pattern.

That changed with my generation. Maybe it was because they started printing statistics of how many smokers died from lung cancer. Maybe it was the surgeon general’s warning. Maybe it was the stinky cigars my father smoked when we were kids. For some reason, none of us became smokers.

So we should live to be 100.

Readers may e-mail Ron Montri at

Gratuitous Smoking May Lead to an R Rating

I love this article.

Gratuitous Smoking May Lead to an R Rating writes that “gratuitous smoking” has not declined in youth-oriented movies causing concern amongst anti-smoking groups. While the MPAA takes smoking into consideration when assigning a rating, critics argue that not enough is being done. Some anti-smoking advocates are willing to go to the absurd length of slapping an R rating on any film that depicts tobacco use.

A prime example given is this year’s “Wolverine” who sports a cigar to complete his tough exterior. American Medical Association Alliance President Sandi Frost is quoted as saying, “I’m willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman’s performance any less if he hadn’t been smoking.”

Sure, the children enjoyed the over the top violence, the maimings with the bone claws, and the body count depicted from multiple wars–the cigar was not a huge factor. If a parent is taking a young person to see such films, maybe there are worse elements than puffing on a cancer stick.

Popeye with pipeTraditionally, Wolverine has been drawn with the stub in his mouth since his character’s inception. Without it, it would be like Popeye without his pipe in the old animated cartoons (unfortunately Popeye has been sanitized in recent years too). If you’re going to remove the stogie, Wolverine could also use a shave in order to show children what men look like when they have to go to an office job to support a family, but that’s not how the hero is defined.

If the correlation is made between on screen smoking and copycat smoking by young viewers, are we to assume that the on screen violence is also being mimicked? Doesn’t seem to be the case. It is more likely that smoking among young people is a more complex problem than an “X-man” with a cigar.

The same CNN article related how the American Medical Association Alliance hired a mobile billboard showing a teenage girl asking, “Which movie studios will cause me to smoke this summer?” Yet another move to shift personal responsibility onto entertainment. Can’t we teach kids to think for themselves?

It is true that entertainment influences. Hollywood marketing is very successful in selling products based on successful features, but it does not mean we can sanitize all movie characters for the sake of public health concerns.

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department insists, “Any movie with smoking should be rated R.”

Let’s think about how ridiculous that policy would become when applied to other harmful factors in young people’s lives.

Movies about driving fast will require an R rating. “The Fast and the Furious” shows Vin Diesel speeding. According to, teenagers make up 10 percent of the population but account for 12 percent of all fatal car crashes. Why don’t we protest “gratuitous speeding”? Also throw in “gratuitous use of a cellphone while driving” because it causes driving distractions leading to collisions.

Product Placement deserves an R rating. Burgers, soda, candy, chips–all are subliminally hawked in the backgrounds of most major releases. And junk food is one culprit associated with the obesity epidemic amongst teenagers. Steven Spielberg should be required to rerelease “E.T.” and digitally edit the Reese’s Pieces into a healthy snack like grapes.

You may think junk food is not on par with cigarette smoking, but it may be only a matter of time before the government passes “junk food” laws. CNN, in an article called “House Passes Cheeseburger Bill” interviews congress members arguing that something needs to be done because “one in three children” is currently overweight. Can we say the same about smoking? Is every third child in the United States lighting up?

Movies, while commercially viable, are intended to be art. They involve flawed characters even when those characters are turned into role models by admiring fans. Do we really want clean films up so they will not reflect any vices? Do the anti-smoking groups take into consideration the context in which a character smokes or why they smoke? Hell, Wolverine is self-healing. He’s one individual that could smoke his brains out and not have cancer.

Certainly I have not seen any recent movies that glamorize smoking. Cigarette use is often inspired by real world observations and if the writer is also influencing tobacco consumption by portraying it then he or she is caught in a catch 22.

If, as a parent, you do find yourself agreeing with the idea of putting an R-rating on movies showing smoking, then stop and think about what you would do with classic movies like “Casablanca.” Let’s be fair, If Hugh Jackman can’t munch on a stogie, why does Bogart get to let the smoke billow up from his lips?

Instead of targeting Hollywood, anti-smoking groups need to target root causes for teenage smoking. This kind of work does not involve the sexiness of being quoted or invited onto a news show as a talking head. Sanitizing movies for young people is a little like asking them not to think through their decisions. If we can’t ask teenagers to determine if they want to risk cancer, why would we allow them the more dangerous decision-making process of driving?

Some young people will make the wrong decision and some will not. Movies never influenced my decision to smoke or not to smoke. I decided to avoid smoking because my Dad told me if I was caught doing it there would be drastic consequences. I also read up on it and came to the conclusion that it was a pretty stupid habit. To be honest, though, I have given in to other stupid habits–mainly an addiction to sugar-laced energy drinks.

I don’t want Wolverine replacing his trademark cigar for a carrot in order to keep kids safe from tobacco. If kids are so easily swayed then The American Medical Association Alliance can put up the money for their own “cool” anti-smoking movie and find a clean-living celebrity to whore their message. The problem is when adults try to force their views onto kids, either directly or by subtle manipulation, kids find out and tend to do the opposite–just to tick everyone off.

And you know, when you rate something “R,” that’s like saying “you have to watch me” to a kid…