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North Shore Sunday
Wednesday, December 31, 2003

In and Out on the North Shore
by Joel Beck, Dinah Cardin, Peter Chianca and Chad Konecky

What's definitely in on the North Shore is pass-happy quarterbacks. First Swampscott's Kyle Beatrice, now at Division III St. Lawrence University (N.Y.), threw a state-record 34 touchdown passes in 2001, then he broke his own record with 39 in 2002. This fall, Manchester-Essex High senior Vinny Orlando tossed 32 scoring passes in leading the Hornets to within a two-point conversion of a Division 6 Super Bowl title. The run, apparently, is out.

Judging by their seemingly never-ending victory tour across the North Shore, the Saugus American Little League All Stars are amazingly still in. Their immense popularity proves that falling in love with baseball teams that come close to winning championships only to fall short is not only in, but a way of life around these parts. C'mon, everybody join in now - "We're number four! We're number four!"

Beauty queens are also in around here. Miss Massachusetts USA 2004 is Rockport's Maria Lekkakos, while Miss Teen Massachusetts USA 2004 is Ipswich's Allison Bodwell. Not to mention that the reigning Miss USA is Susie Castillo, a Lawrence native working as a receptionist at the Ipswich Country Club when she won.

Then again, ugly has always kinda been out.

Thanks to the suspension of Jumbalaya's liquor license, serving patrons more than two beers an hour is out. Drinking more than two beers an hour in the privacy of your own home is still in.

That low rumble in the distance you hear is the sound of thousands of fat- and sugar-craving gluttons making their way to Saugus in anticipation of Krispy Kreme's summer arrival - a sign that the cultish doughnut magnate is forever in. Of course, since its coffee is reminiscent of what we'd imagine motor oil might taste like, Krispy Kreme has a long way to go before it rivals Dunkin' Donuts as the in java joint. Just to make sure, though, Dunkin' Donuts had better open two or three hundred more shops across the North Shore.

After a year in which the Salem power plant got put up for sale, threatened with closing by the governor and assailed by environmental groups, electricity is out. At least coal-powered electricity; start saving up for that backyard wind turbine.

With draconian new fishing regs on the boards, fishermen in Gloucester and elsewhere are on the outs. Some in Gloucester would bring in a cooperative fishing industry, but there's one problem: Everyone would have to cooperate. Cooperating is out.

Pretending that the Blue Line is going to eventually come to Lynn is still in. Then again, so is waiting for the bus. In Salem, benches are out, since the city fathers thought too many homeless folk were sitting on them. So as a result, standing is in.

And being a witch is more in than ever, what with Salem's new Festival of the Dead making its debut. (Apparently being dead is also in.) But remember, witches say they do what they do to connect with nature and the dark and mysterious world beyond, not to get attention. Yes, witches deluding themselves is still in.

Ouija boards are in again, or so it seemed during the Festival of the Dead when people from all over the country turned up to view local Ouija historian Bob Murch's collection of boards and his own Salem version of the game, Cryptique. Now if only the city could come up with its own spooky version of Twister...

At the North Shore Music Theatre, being out is in, and being single is in, now that gays and young singles both have their own special after-show parties devoted to them. Old, straight, married people will continue to have to buy their own drinks.

Making musicals with the help of long-haired, lifer rock stars is also definitely in, thanks to North Shore Music Theatre's premiere of "Memphis" - the atmosphere reverberating with praise for Bon Jovi's David Bryan, who created the show's musical score. Using life-long lounge singers as the perfect muse, not in. But a good idea.

Using the North Shore as a cinematic stand-in for the perfect, peaceful small town, often full of the emotionally contorted, is in and especially in Rockport, thanks to its small-town charm, architecture and proximity to Boston's union zone. In addition to countless films shot here over the years, the North Shore was graced with the cast and crew of the Greg Kinnear and Matt Damon vehicle "Stuck on You" this past spring. The two created a buzz when they were spotted living large in upscale watering holes along Cape Ann.

Art is in for teenagers, if you happen to pass by the Acorn Gallery on Marblehead Harbor on any given evening, where young people are feverishly painting and sculpting, preparing for art school. This past summer, the tanned young artists burned the late-night oil, sketching their scantily clad classmates. We personally think going to the beach would be a much easier way to catch a glimpse of exposed flesh, but what do we know?

Tenured professors are out along the North Shore. Based upon statistics Sundayunearthed earlier this year, Northern Essex Community College led the way with 457 day school, night school or permanent part-time adjunct professors vs. 91 full-timers. North Shore Community College's adjuncts outnumber full-timers 249-129. Salem State College full-timers still hold a slight edge over adjuncts, 277-252. Our advice to higher educators: Keep all your files in tote boxes and keep U-Haul's number handy.

In Lynn, being snowed in your house for days on end waiting for the plows to come is mercilessly in. Subsequently, leaving angry voice messages at the DPW and mayor's office is also in, as is buttering up that next door neighbor who owns a shiny new snow blower.

Trying to unclog your snow blower while it's running, however, will never be in.