szeryf has written a nice little exposé on how you can extend ActiveRecord::Base to add _or_ and _not_ operators to the dynamic finders that rails provides you with.
You can write the following types of finders out of the box with rails:
User.find_by_login_and_status_and_role_(some_login, 1, role)
The additional extensions as described in the article adds the following to the repertoire above:
User.find_by_login_and_status_or_role(some_login, 1, role)
The two statements above would then result in the following SQL, respectively:
login = ? and (status = ? or (role = ?))
login = ? and (status = ? not (role = ?))
rparsec (the union of ActiveRecord :select and :include)
As you most probably already know you use :select in a find to modify the fields that are in your result set and :include to specify that related tables are loaded via joins to provide improved performance. Unfortunately you cannot use either of these two together due to the limitations imposed by the ActiveRecord implementation.
:select meets :include (or a pitch for rparsec) is an interesting article by Charlie Savage which suggests using a SQL SELECT parser to provide the required functionality.
He goes on to suggest doing this with the rparsec parser combinator framework.
The Controller Formula
Nick Kallen provides a lucid look at how one can produce poetic controller code.
Creating Multiple Models in One Action
This article is a followup on the previous one elaborating on the method that can be used to create multiple models from one action.
It covers the simplistic case where one model is simply created based on the creation of the other (when crating a group model, the creating uses needs to be the first member of the group) and the more complex case where there is a dependancy relationship between two models that needs to be enforced (a cyclops creation cannot succeed if the creation of the eye does not succeed).