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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

You’re debating whether or not you need this coffee. You’re running on about three hours of sleep, and your eyelids are starting to give out on you. The gas warning light in your head has come on as you drowsily take notes in lecture. Your professor is throwing jokes out at the audience like life preservers as you struggle to stay afloat in the sea of the lucid and awake. His comedy is the only thing keeping you going. You scramble from one pun to the next and pray you’ll make it through the double block.

But pretty soon you realize your notes are full of mistakes and repetitions. You can even see when you dozed off and the writing lazily slipped out below the line, spiraling off the page and descending rapidly toward oblivion like a fatally wounded fighter jet. You probably do need that coffee. With eyes half-closed, you stop at the Au Bon Pain and fill yourself a cup from a bank of dispensers. You walk like a mummy-zombie hybrid to the cash register, buy your beverage and walk out. But as you take a sip, you only taste warm water. You open the lid to realize you’ve just poured yourself a jumbo mug of…

Darts & Laurels

The world is out one more bright shining light with the passing of Stan Lee, who cracked the perfect veneer that comic book superheroes had been known for. He gave them flaws. He made their stories more relatable, compelling, emotional and human. He will be sorely missed, and not just for his cameos in major blockbusters but for his optimism and cheer. Lee knew that nothing lasts forever, but his motto was always about moving “upward and onward to greater glory.” Excelsior, Mr. Lee.

A laurel to Lee’s long and accomplished life and body of work. A dart to those who plan to grow dull and bored in their retirement. Take a page from his playbook and keep creating — it’ll keep you young.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on e-cigarette marketing, citing a danger to children and young people who are purchasing and using the flavored pods. Vaping from nicotine-filled pods tasting like mango, fruit, crème or cucumber might make minors more inclined to try menthol or regular cigarettes and become addicted. Juul Labs, Inc., a well-known maker of e-cigarettes, will stop selling these flavors in stores and take extra steps to make sure minors can’t get their hands on pods containing nicotine.

A dart to the FDA for taking proactive steps to make us healthier. What we really need is for Juul pods to be made in even more flavors, not fewer. Instead of sitting around the table and eating Thanksgiving dinner, we should be passing around the mashed potato and turkey flavored Juul pods. This may be the one way we can get kids to enjoy the flavor of asparagus or green beans. A laurel to Juul for being classy enough to make a creme brulee flavor. We’ll have that one for dessert.

Speaking of dessert, the Florida man at the center of the politically motivated pipe bomb threat is now scheduled for a heaping helping of sweet, sweet justice. Cesar Sayoc will go to trial before a jury in New York on July 15 of next year. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff also heard Sayoc’s plea of not guilty. We wish him a fair and speedy trial, but in the absence of any evidence of his guilt, we award him a preemptive dart on the basis of his hairstyle alone.

But if a jury finds that Sayoc really did send those pipe bombs through the mail, we pray the prosecution works diligently so that he receives the maximum sentence. The United States cannot settle for anything less when weapons of mass destruction are involved. Most importantly, we hope the jurors are amply supplied with the coffee and Juul pods they need to render a fair verdict.

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