A friend just died, and we want to scatter her ashes in the national park that she so loved. Do you know if doing this would be illegal?
M.S., Santa Barbara, Calif.
The rules vary from park to park, and even locations where scattering ashes is illegal are heavily trafficked by so-called wildcat scatterers. That gray ash you once noticed blowing down a trail in Glacier National Park wasn’t, as you assumed, the residue of a forest fire. It was a guy named Dave. At some parks, though, the scattering of “cremains”—this is the unfortunate term the government uses—is allowed with a permit under certain conditions. At Yosemite, these include: no scattering near watercourses, no placement of permanent memorials, and, most important, no eulogies—these attract bears, who understand that maudlin speeches are usually followed by cold cuts. Yellowstone actually posts guidelines about how to scatter ashes from the air. For your own sake, though, please check wind direction and speed before commencing.
My college roommate is marrying a woman who is an absolute terror. She’s so bad that we refer to her as Osama. My buddy is blind to her awful qualities, but we all know he’ll see them one day. Am I supposed to warn him about this?
P.T., Madison, Wis.
An acquaintance of mine once told a mutual friend that his fiancée was a “soul-sucking bitch-on-wheels from hell.” Then he got really harsh. Today this couple is, by all accounts, happily married. My suggestion: say nothing and hope for the best.