Thursday, May 19, 2005

“It’s not a tumor.”

The Movie: Kindergarten Cop, 1990 (Murray Salem, Herschel Weingrod and Timothy Harris, screenwriters; Ivan Reitman, dir.)
Who says it: Arnold Schwarzenegger as Detective John Kimble, a police officer forced to teach kindergarten as part of an undercover operation
The context: Kimble, overwhelmed by his responsibilities, says he has a headache; his student Lowell (Ben McCreary) says it might be a tumor.
How to use it: To keep people from making too much of your health problems or theirs. Again, the accent is crucial: “It’s notta TU-mah.”

Okay, let's just get this one out of the way first, because it's already making the national news:

Squeamish lawmakers let dead keep their fillings

Staff Writer
Copyright © 2005 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.


Staff Writer

It's a ghoulish scenario: funeral home directors statewide prying teeth from the mouths of the dead.

It's a scenario lawmakers nervously considered Tuesday at a hearing on legislation seeking the removal of mercury fillings before cremation.

Sen. Scott Cowger, D-Hallowell, proposed the law, claiming the state's five crematoriums unnecessarily spew about 40 pounds of toxic mercury each year.

"It's become quite evident that there's an environmental impact when these fillings vaporize," Cowger said. "And they vaporize when people are cremated."

Cowger suggested two options: attaching expensive equipment that would cleanse crematorium emissions, or removing the mercury from cadavers. The latter method he considered most practical.

The proposal brought disbelieving titters from some members of the Natural Resources Committee, who at times had trouble discussing the measure with a straight face.

"You want them to pull people's teeth out before they burn them?" Rep. Joanne Twomey, D-Biddeford, asked Cowger. "You're really serious about this?"

* * *

Dawn Gallagher, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, said Maine has eliminated many in-state sources of mercury pollution and should eliminate this form as well.

Gallagher said state crematoriums account for about 4 percent of Maine's mercury pollution.

If you want to read the whole story, click here. Really, is it any wonder Stephen King thinks we should all stay in Maine? Man, I love this place.

A very happy birthday today to the multi-talented Richard J. Brewer. Since I'm not sending him a present, I'll give his forthcoming book a shameless plug, even though I am not special enough to have received one of the exceedingly scarce advance copies. Meeting Across the River, edited by Jessica Kaye and Richard, is a collection of short stories based on the Bruce Springsteen song from Born to Run, with contributions from brilliant authors like Gregg Hurwitz, Eric Garcia, David Corbett, and Barbara Seranella. It comes out in July, and The Mystery Bookstore will be hosting the launch party. Don't miss it.


Anonymous said...

What a great idea for a book! Do you kow when it will be available?-Susan

AnswerGirl said...

On or about July 7, when I think the editors and some of the authors will be signing the book at Book Soup in West Hollywood. The official launch party -- according to my best sources -- will be on Saturday, July 9. Susan, I'll hook you up.

Anonymous said...

What a crock!
1)No one has ever done the research to determine what the normal level of natural mercury contamination was before mankind started polluting the earth.
Nothing that people can do will ever be able to reduce the contamination level below that.
2)Most states had to pass laws prohibiting morticians from removing false teeth from cadavers to prevent theft of the gold, silver and other valuables they contained in the old days.
3)Doesn't your legislature have more urgent and valuable things to do?

Anna said...

When I lobbied the Maine Legislature I covered a bill that actually called for the reduction of mercury levels in the water to be below PRE-industrial revolution levels. Note: The legislator who introduced this bill is also the one that introduced a bill to put a penny refund on cigarettes so that people would stop throwing them on the ground. Can you imagine how gross THAT redemption center would have been?!

Guyot said...

I am so depressed that I was not asked to contribute to an anthology off of a song by my all-time favorite artist...