News, commentary and fun things from the Internet and around the world.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Blazing Saddles poster [copyright holder unknown]Tombstone's Western Film Festival
I've seen my share of western films, mostly while I was growing up. Like most of America, after Blazing Saddles, I had no interest in westerns any more. But I do love local film festivals, and who knows, maybe next year I'll check out Tombstone's contribution.

How To Get To Sesame Street From Israel
An amazing story of hope. It turns out that there is a joint Israel-Palestine production of Sesame Street, but in order to translate our benign children's program to that culture, there are a few unexpected twists. But no one is giving up. What kind of a world doesn't have room for Sesame Street? Thankfully, we don't have to find out -- yet. I found the reality of this article quite illuminating.

Staying Cool
As a lifelong renter, I have always used the major household appliances provided to me with the property. That is, until I moved into my current home two years ago and had to purchase a refrigerator, washer and dryer. It was great fun looking through all of the models and deciding what options were "must have" and which were not necessary. In the end, I selected a fridge with an icemaker, and boy-o-boy do I love it! And now I understand how it works. And speaking of cool, doesn't this recipe for sangria look wonderful?

Going The Way of the Railroads
I've recently had a couple of rounds of tough time with Qwest, my local phone company. I've also had fits with MSN, who is my DSL service provider, and discovered that there really aren't any good options if I want to change my service. I've also considered switching to broadband, and maybe going to digital telephone, too. But after reading this article about the coming bad news in the cable industry, perhaps it is best not to put all of my business eggs in the same basket. Since I need my telecom services for my home office, perhaps staying put is the best strategy for now. At least that's what I read between the lines of the words from James Chanos, the guy who broke the Enron accounting fiasco, who is now writing about cable.

Internet People Searching
I'm always interested in finding new things to research on the Internet. Thanks to this article, I've been able to add a list of search engines and databases to my favorites, and add a few new tricks up my sleeve. (ouch)

Monday, July 29, 2002

Hugh Grant [photo copyright Jake Chessum]
Flopsy Top Gone Spikey
I like Hugh Grant's work. From the interviews I've seen with him, the small glimpses into his real personality, I suspect that I would not like the real person very much. Here's an Australian interview of the new Hugh, the evil twin of the flopsy haired bumbling Hugh, the evil twin with the spikey hair cut.

Malaysian "Tea Breaks" Running Long, Impacting Customer Service
Civil servants in Malaysia have been reminded to keep their tea breaks short so that people aren't left waiting too long for them to return to work. You've got to hand to the Malaysians, however. They have the courage to hold a National Public Complaints Management Convention. Can you imagine what would happen here if we held a conference where citizens could complain about the civil servants and government agencies we interact with?

Has Big Brother Arrived in the Amazon River Region?
Raytheon. You should recognize that name -- the defense contractor who developed the Cruise missile system that was the star of the Gulf War, and most recently announced that is it developing a laser targeting system that cuts through a loophole in the Geneva Convention that prohibits airplane systems that blind people on the ground. They have been quietly working on a surveilance project with the CIA and the government of Brazil to monitor drug activites along the Amazon River. Called the System for the Vigilance of the Amazon, it is considered the greatest scandal for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Now That Is A Sweet Offer
Hershey, the chocolate people, have put their company up for sale.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Today's Theme: The Weird and Unusual
Titan missile silo used to film Star Trek: Contact movie
Remnants of the Atomic Age
Looking for something unusual to add to the itinerary of your next road trip? Why not find out if there are any atomic sites along your route, such as abandoned missile silos, or the site of atomic bomb testing. Not sure how to find out? Just ask the Bureau of Atomic Tourism! Here you will find a Titan missile silo museum with Hollywood connections, a Manhattan Project museum, and the first reactor to make plutonium. Take a chance, and add some spark to you next trip.

LA Secrets
I just finished listening to a streaming audio interview with Paul Young (no, not the musician!) the author of L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels, and boy was it fascinating. It was a cross between the Connections series, Law & Order, and a Godfather movie, with a few monster sightings and conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure. My kind of stuff. The truth about urban legends. It makes me think about writing a similar book about my beloved Phoenix.

Final Resting Places Revealed
When I was in college and for a few years after, I used to picnic in a local cemetery that was more like a park with headstones. There was a pond, and a bench sitting on the top of a hill with the best view of downtown. In the humble spot was the resting place for the Wright Brothers, the famous poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, L. M. Berry who created the first yellow pages, James Cox who was the first Ohio governor and whose family went on to be Cox Communications, General Robert Schneck of the Civil War, and John Patterson who founded NCR of the carbonless paper fame. And today, it is the final resting place for Erma Bombeck. Another famous cemetery is Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles which contains Jimmy Stewart, Chico Marx, Lon Chaney, Jack Berry, Humphrey Bogart, and George Burns, among others.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Today's Theme: All About Arizona
Taliesin West [photo copyright]
Frank, Baby
Some pretty famous people have called Phoenix home, including David Spade, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Erma Bombeck, Bil Keane, Stephen Spielberg, Hugh Downs, Alice Cooper, and Charles Barkley. Perhaps the most famous resident of Phoenix was Frank Lloyd Wright. Although at the time of his death, he was still living in the open desert far from the city, that land is now surrounded by Scottsdale subdivisions. His architecture school, Taliesin, opened it's western campus in 1937 and students still spend 7 months of the year learning at Taliesin West. In the summer, the campus is used for many other workshops. Tours are available all year long.

Money Crunch Closing State Parks
Everyone knows that Arizona's state government is running in the red. But if you don't live in a small town, you might not know that seven of our state parks have already been closed indefinitely, and four more are scheduled to be closed later this year. The small towns are being devastated by the loss of tourist dollars, and are fighting to have the parks reopened. Closed parks include: Catalina State Park (Tucson), Lost Dutchman State Park (Apache Junction), Mc Farland State Historic Park (Florence), Oracle State Park (Oracle), Picacho Peak State Park (Picacho), Roper Lake State Park (Safford), and Tubac Presidio State Historic Park (Tubac). Scheduled to close soon are: Lyman Lake State Park (St. Johns), Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area (Show Low), Homolovi Ruins State Park (Winslow), and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (Payson). Other states are facing the same challenges.

Mysterious Death & Illnesses Related to Golf Courses
A very sad story about the death of 15-year-old Nils Beeman, an honors student and serious golfer who died after participating in the Junior Golf Association of Arizona tournament at two south Phoenix courses. Nine other players and gallery members have reported usual illnesses. After a week, they still don't know what killed Nils.

Living On A Heat Island
One of the myths about Phoenix is that it cools off at night. Sure, when the sun sets the temperatures drop from the 110 range, but did you know that this time of year, the LOWS are typically in the mid-90s? Yep, that's right, the low might 95! The reason for this is the fact that we live surrounded by materials that absorb heat all day long, tile roofs, asphalt, and other building materials. So while the desert may be cooler, in the city it is still scorching.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Kursh photo copyright TASS

Malfunction, Not Criminal Act, Sunk the Kursk
A press release today from Russia reports that the Kursk sank because of leaking torpedo fuel, and not an attack.
[previous coverage]

Corporate Theft: Ivy League Style
Corporate theft is not a new issue. Neither is it news that Yale and Princeton are arguing. But add to that mix a bit of admitting hacking, and you have the impetus for the FBI to investigage the potential of felony charges. That's right. The head of admissions at Princeton, Stephen LeMenager, admitted that his office used the social security numbers from Princeton applicants to check out any similar admissions records for them on the Yale admissions site. The use of the student's social security numbers may be a violation of the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, which could result in Princeton losing federal funding. Yale was tipped off about the security breach when Princeton staff casually mentioned it during an Ivy Leage dean's meeting. LeMenager has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Blinded By The Light?
Is there no limit to what people will do? Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are developing a new technology for pinpointing targets from the F35 Joint Strike Fighter airplanes that uses a laser so powerful it could blind people on the ground, even people not at the target site. Apparently, the Geneva Convention has anticipated something like this, and has a provision that prohibits blinding weapons. But this one slips through the loopholes. Who in the world could possibly think this is a good idea?

Canadians Love Being Canadian
In a new survey, 94% of the respondents said that they thought Canada was the best country in the world, or one of the best. And only 6% thought the USA was the best country. I guess that is why they aren't illegally slipping into this country across our undefended border, eh?

Don't Pack What You Don't Want Made Public
A woman is suing Delta for embarrassing her when a sex toy started buzzing in her suitcase.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Another Reason Not To Go To Prison
Did you know that our government doesn't allow the showing of R, X, or NC-17 movies to inmates? The porno I'm not surprised about, but the R movies I am. I know that most of the movies I watch are rated R, especially until a few years ago when more quailty PG-13 movies started coming out. There is a lawsuit challenging this policy, and it's being appealed. For example, they can see the Powerpuff Girls movie, but not Road to Perdition, they won't miss Men in Black or Minority Report, but will miss Lovely & Amazing.

Swiss Emails To Be Kept For 6 Months
It's hard to believe, but a new Swiss law requires ISPs to retain a log of all email traffic for six months. The contents of the emails don't have to be kept, only the sender, receiver, along with the time and date it was sent. What a lot of recordkeeping! How long until the Homeland Security people decide this is a good idea for our ISPs?

So, What Really Was Going On During The Anthrax Mailings?
According to this article, a lot of terrority wars and a real lack of cooperation. I suspect that this article is truthful. I have heard from a couple of different sources that the perpetrator of those events was found and is isolated somewhere by our government. Maybe that is true, maybe it is just more of the conspiracy theorist's bologna. Perhaps history will reveal the truth, or perhaps this event will go down in history like Jack the Ripper, where the mystery remains and rumors of the solution refuse to die.

Presidential Election Florida Recounters: Where Are They Now?
Would you believe that they have been given jobs in DC? What? You are shocked to hear this? Not me. Jeffrey Toobin has written a book about these people and their appointments. You may recognize his name... he also wrote about some of the Clinton scandals a few years ago.

Al-Qaida Website Keeps Cells Informed
Language is so important. It seems that there is a site in Arabic that is being used by member cells of Al-Qaida to share information. It makes me wish I knew Arabic.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Adopt-A-Highway program has always focused on litter collection [logo copyright Arizona Department of Transportation]
You've Heard "Don't Mess With Texas..."
...Now Arizona has a litter campaign. You can now report drivers that you see tossing trash from a car with a special hotline. I can't wait to see what happens next! At least the traffic cameras collect evidence that a crime was committed. It's going to be the talking mouth show redeux. At least they are promising to start with awareness warnings, according to the Arizona Clean and Beautiful committee. Thanks to the Arizona Republic for making the trash an issue.

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art Opens
Another museum is opening in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This one features the Spanish Colonial period art, part of the tri-blooded culture of this ancient town, the blend of Spanish, Native American, and Northern European heritage that gives this wonderful place its unique history and atmosphere. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is the first of its kind in the US. If you have never been to Santa Fe, or New Mexico, you can't understand why their state slogan is "Land of Enchantment." And if you have, like me, you are always planning your next trip. [If you are fascinated by Roswell, NM, that is an entirely different sort of culture, and it doesn't really count. :-)]

Gift Registries Popular
My age and current social group have isolated me a bit from the hub-bub associated with big church weddings and the related gifting that goes along with them. Most of my friends have been through a first wedding (some have only had the one!) and the ones that are marrying again are avoiding the big, overdone wedding scene. So the wedding gifts that I have purchased over the last few years have not been for people who were registered somewhere. I have been invited to baby showers where I was told the mommy-to-be was registered. I've opted in almost every circumstance, for a gift certificate -- that most flexible of gifts that never needs to be returned. I have an Amazon wish list, but I use it to remind myself of things I've discovered on the site, and I've never shared my list with others.

Yucca Mountain Moves Forward
Without fanfare, Dubya signed the bill that puts the Yucca Mountain national nuclear waste repository plan into action, at the same time, Congress cuts the project funding. What could possibly be overfunded? Safety, perhaps? Let the lawsuits begin!
[previous coverage]

Friday, July 19, 2002

Thanks to the regulars who stop by... I've just been swamped lately. I miss doing my updates, and promise to be back on schedule in the very near future. In the meantime, I'll continue to post as time allows.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Johannesburg Newspaper Purchased by Zimbabwe Media Mogul
The Mail & Guardian has been purchased by Trevor Ncube who is the CEO of both the Zimbabwean Independent and The Standard, and has taken a stand against the media censorship in his country. The paper, formerly owned by the Guardian Media Group in London, has been losing money for some time, and Ncube hopes to turn that around. He will be the first black owner of this South African newspaper which was started in 1985, and survived attempts under apartheid to shut it down.

Baby It's Cold Inside
Occasionally, I mention the weather here in Phoenix during the summer. It's a tough time, but I always remember that if the summer's weren't so brutal, everyone would move here. I wear my ability to survive the summers as a badge of honor. Along with my high utility bills. But one person I've neglected to thank over the years is Willis Haviland Carrier, the guy who invented air conditioning one hundred years ago while working for the Buffalo Forge Co. Their client, a printer, was having trouble getting paper and ink together in the presses because of the impact of the heat and humidity on the paper until the air conditioning system was installed on July 17, 1902.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

burger comparisons [photo copyright LA Times
In-N-Out Burger Still Tops
Is anyone else dizzy over the new offerings at the typically boring fast food restaurants? I'm not eating there these days [I've lost more than 40 pounds since the start of the year], but I'm confused by variety and consistency of the offerings. Everyone has a new burger or two. Everyone has a new chicken burger. According to this article, the only major chain not buying into the "me-too" attitude is In-N-Out Burger, my personal favorite, which fortunately is now available in Arizona.

Taking A Summer Road Trip?
Take a few minutes to prepare your vehicle for the road and keep yourself safe!

That's Right... Duct Tape
Growing up, my Dad always had rolls and rolls of the stuff I thought he called "duck" tape. I died laughing when I found a duct tape daily calendar with a new use for the stuff each day. But when I found this site full of duct tape fashions, I knew the people involved were a bit, well.... quacky. That is, until I discovered the latest duct tape trend.... Duct Shui. Talk about milking a topic for all it is worth.

A Writing Contest Looking For Bad Writers
In this world of diversity, there truly is something for everyone. It takes a lot to surprise me, that is the only reason why I wasn't surprised to learn about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for Bad Writing. The winners (or is that losers?) run the gamut as well. I won't be admitting I entered next year, that is, unless I win.

Saving Heirloom Seeds
I'm so glad to see Native Seed/SEARCH making the national news. This small group in Tucson is working to save seeds from the variety of plant life, especially food plants, that were actively grown in our grandparent's generation. But today, thanks to genetic engineering and marketing demands, our produce is coming from deisgner seeds and some a smaller number of species. Without these seeds, our link to a variety of food sources would be lost. Hooray for biodiversity.

Arizona #2 in US for Working Outhouses
Thanks to Laurie Notaro for point this out in her usual humorus manner.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Today's Theme: Health & Illness

Couples dancing the tango in the streets [photo copyright Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland]
Tango Competition Starts in Finland
Blogger problems...

Canadian Border Workers Catch TB
Five immigration workers at the Canada-U.S. border crossing at Lacolle, Quebec, the busiest border crossing point in Quebec, have contracted tuberculosis from an immigrant. The woman was entering Canada from New York, and the disease was diagnosed through a routine medical examination. All of the workers were checked and the five with the disease are being treated.

West Nile Virus Spreading
Human infections were in the news the last week, with three men in the Baton Rouge, LA area contracting West Nile virus, the first three cases in the US this year, and the first ones not along the Eastern Seaboard. Birds with the virus have been found for almost two years in Ontario, so officials were watching for the spread into other Canadian provinces. In Manitoba, a dead crow was found with the virus, and in Quebec, birds were also found. Just days ago, a horse in North Dakota was found with the virus. While they are still not sure about the disease, officials do not believe that people can get the virus from contact with dead animals. Mosquitoes carry it from animal hosts, primarily birds, to humans. There is no cure at this time.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Italian Police Shut Down Anti-Catholic Site
Did you know that blasphemy is illegal in Italy? That is why the Italian police have shut down a series of websites created by a man in Rome and hosted by web services in the US. No details have been released.

Russian IKEA Building Mega-Mall
Swedish home furnishing chain IKEA is building a mall around its newest Russian store in Moscow. Retailers involved in this project include Tommy Hilfiger, Levi's and Reebok. They expect more than 25 million visitors a year.

Denver Police Caught Spying On Law-Abiding Citizens
The intelligence bureau of the Denver police has admitted to having more than 3,400 secret surveillance files, many of people who were not invesigated because of known crimes. The American Civil Liberties Union is involved, and wants to keep the materials as evidence for lawsuits against the police. This should get interesting.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Internet users in Shahkooh, Iran [photo courtesy of The Iranian Photo of the Day]
An Iranian Global Village
If you don't think the Internet is changing the world, you need to read this article. The small village of Shahkooh, Iran has a permanent web server and many computers for its citizens. Training classes are free. This article states that it is easier to reach this village of 6,000 by email than by car. All of this, thanks to the vision and effort of villager Ali Akbar Jalali, who attended college in Tehran and later in the US where he got a degree in electrical engineering. Iran's clerics are pushing for restricted Internet access, but thanks to the current political situation, the country is fully open to the Internet, with cybercafes available in public places. Approximately 3% of Iran's 70,000 people are wired today.

Pat Tillman Starts Basic Training
The former Arizona Cardinals player has left the NFL for the US Army, with the hopes of making the cut to become one of the elite Army Rangers. This week, he is in basic training at Camp Benning. Friends suggest that the events of 11 September may have been a factor in his decision. Way to go, Pat!

eBay Buys PayPal
This news scares me a bit. I've been with PayPal for years, and I really love its service. I know that eBay has been a very successful dot com, perhaps the best of the survivors... I only hope they won't destroy the service that I love, or make it more expensive to use.

TV Signals Hijacked In China, But Who Is Responsible?
For days at the end of June, the transmissions of the World Cup Finals and other scheduled programming was interrupted throughout China as China Central Television Station (CCTV) channels and 10 provincial TV channels were reported as hijacked and alternative programming was seen instead. According to Chinese officials, the programming was replaced by the transission of Falun Gong propaganda, the group they claim engineered hijacking against the SINOSAT 2A and SINOSAT 3A translators. However, in their own defense, the Falun Gong have reported that the Chinese officials cut the satellite signals themselves in an attempt to discredit the Falon Gong, an alternative spiritual group who is seeking the release of Lizhi He, a political prisoner in China. According to the Falun Gong report, the Chinese pulled the plug on BBC broadcasts because of a contract violation, the broadcast of programming about the fifth anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the Chinese by Britain. The Chinese are accusing the Falun Gong of violating Chinese law, as well as international conventions regarding satellite and television broadcasting. If this was truly a hijacking, an attack at so many points for such a long time is something that is rarely seen in the world. In deciding for yourself what is happening, consider this: the Chinese government monitors all foreign broadcasters in China, requiring them to use the Chinese broadcasting translators, an action that has been condemned by the group, Reporters Without Borders, because it allows the Chinese government the ability to shut off transmissions on their whim when the content doesn't meet with the government's agendas.

Sex & The City Author Gets --- MARRIED!
That's right, cats and kittens. Candy Bushnell whose column in the New York Observer and book lead to the creation of the outrageously successful HBO series "Sex and the City" has tied the knot after an 8-week relationship with Chuck Askegard, a dancer with the NY City Ballet. How Charlotte of her! Mr. Big has left NY, Samantha is rumored to be leaving the show, and the inspiration for Carrie has gotten married. What's a single girl to do in the city now?

Monday, July 08, 2002

Bob Crane [copyright holder unknown]
Bob Crane Murder Unsolved, Movie In The Works
Bob Crane, the star of Hogan's Heroes, was murdered in Scottsdale 16 years ago, in a case that is still unsolved. Now, Greg Kinnear is scheduled to play him in a new movie, Auto Focus, about these events.

The Tighter They Squeeze...
...The more covert tools will be developed so communications can slip through the government fingers. Now, Hacktivismo says that they have a new product, Camera/Shy, that uses encryption to hide messages inside graphics files. This technique, called steganography, allows people to exchange messages without anyone knowing they are exchanging messages. This is similar to the way the kids in school were passing messages in the movie, Along Came A Spider. This program will be released at the H2K2 computer security convention later this month. Also scheduled to be released is Peek-a-booty which is separate from the Cult of the Dead Cow, in spite of the articles suggesting they are related.
sperm smiley
Canadian Sperm Banks Out of Compliance
New inspections have revealed that many sperm banks are violating semen regulations, including things like making sure the donor hasn't been exposed to diseases and keeping records of what donor's are provided to each recipient. The Whitehorse Medical Clinic in Yukon has been closed since failing its inspection last month. There are approximately 100 Canadian sperm banks that provide fertilization aids for approximately 3,000 women each year.

Hells Angels Using Technology To Target Cops
Member of the Hells Angels are starting to use computers and technology to wage war against their rival gangs and the undercover cops who are surveillancing them. You can be sure that I'm not going to say anything negative about them here, in case they come looking for me!

Now We Are Naming Schools After Him
I suppose it was only a matter of time. The Stockton Unified School Board voted 4-3 to name their new school George W. Bush Elementary School. It is believed to be the first school named in honor of the president.

Friday, July 05, 2002

prickly pear cactus [photo copyright Judy Morehouse]
As Mexican As Cactus
Interesting information about the food use of the prickly pear cactus, known as nopales in Spanish. These plants are native to the southwest US and throughout Mexico, and are the state plant of Texas. I didn't know that they are also found on the Galapogos Islands.

Harry Potter Forgery
A Chinese author has created a fake 5th book for the Harry Potter series, and it has become available in China. Here is a paragraph from it: "Harry is wondering in his bath how long it will take to wash away the creamy cake from his face. To a grown-up, handsome young man, it is disgusting to have filthy dirt on his body. Lying in a luxurious bathtub and rubbing his face with his hands, he thinks about Dudley's face, which is as fat as Aunt Petunia's bottom." No Potter fan will be fooled by this.

Reasons Why This Is Not A Good Time To Visit Toronto
1) Garbage strike causing piles of the stuff on the streets.
2) Add heat to #1 and you get a fine aroma.
3) Pools closed.
4) Roads closed because of the Molson Indy being held downtown this weekend.
5) Heavy haze in the air from the Ontario fires (thanks to phern for this one)

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Arizona July 4th Celebrations
Have a safe and happy 4th.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Mike Lazaridis [photo copyright Infoworld]
Creator of the Blackberry Honored
Yea, Canada! The top winner in the Nation Builder contest sponsored by the Globe and Mail and CTV, is Mike Lazaridis, an interesting guy and the father of the Blackberry. I don't have a Blackberry, yet, but I also don't have a PDA and didn't get my cell phone until many years after everyone else had one. I'm not a gizmo person.

Finger Pointing In Friendly Fire Death Investigation
It was a terrible accident, and my only hope is that we are learning the truth about what happened, not finding a scapgoat.

Oh My Gawd
I haven't been listening to my local news, so I was quite surprised to learn from the Toronto Star that an Arizona firefighter set the Monster fire, Leonard Gregg, who is a Bureau of Indian Affairs contract firefighter. The motive: to make sure that he would be employed.

Shooting Off Guns
I grew up in red-neck country, but I wasn't aware that people would shoot guns into the air at times of celebration until I moved to Phoenix. It's a stupid habit (what goes up, must come down) and has had tragic results here, with the death of Shannon Smith, resulting in what we call Shannon's Law in her honor. The Phoenix police have requested people to call 9-1-1 if they hear shots in their neighborhoods, and are able to prosecute people under this law. Now, the police in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale are using a new technology to pinpoint the location of gunshots. ShotSpotter is used by Los Angeles, and already has enemies.

California Thinking About Raising Smoking Age
With their budget deficits, California's governor, Gray Davis, has asked for deep cuts to the highly effective anti-smoking campaignfunding. Now, there is a movement to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Even some anti-tobacco experts are saying that this strategy will not reduce the underage smoking rate. Should be interesting to see what happens. [I remember laughing when I heard that California was voting to stop smoking in bars and restaurants, too.]