Thoughts on the electrofag

As some of you may remember, I had cause to spend some time last week in one of our major hospitals.

As I was constantly reminded by their hectoring little hidden loudspeakers, the grounds as well as the buildings are all declared a “non smoking area”.  I’m delighted to say that people completely ignored that and smokers were puffing away everywhere.  Not that I am delighted at the sight of people smoking, just at their attitude to the holier than thou hectoring.

Anyhows, as I knew I would be spending long periods in the building I brought along my electrofag, just in case I felt the urge.

I never used it.

I have a few problems with electrofags and I can’t see any way around them.  The first is the taste.  I enjoy my pipe for its flavour and aroma.  These are completely absent in the electrofags.  I have tried various flavours of liquid and none of them comes close to pipe tobacco.  They all just taste a little sticky and sweet.

Another small problem with them is this trick of pressing a button to get a puff out of them.  It makes me feel like I’m playing some kind of flute or something and just feels strange.  I suppose the upside to that is that I don’t have to fiddle around with lighters which in itself would be a massive bonus.

I don’t know whether it’s my imagination or not but I always seem to develop a bit of a sore throat after an electrofag session.  It does definitely leave me with a bit of an oily taste in my mouth and a slightly sickly stomach.

There was a programme on the other night on BBC where they “investigated” electrofags.  The item was full of the usual crap they pump out about cigarettes [kills half of all smokers, contains arsenic formaldehyde and cancer.  What?  Cancer is an ingredient in cigarettes?] and the presenter admitted at the outside that he was biased and full of preconceptions.  They did a small series of tests on lung capacity, carbon monoxide levels and compared smokers with electrofag users.  I noted with interest that they showed the electrofag user puffing into a spirometer, whereas the cigarette smoker was placed behind a screen!

Naturally their results showed that electrofags give off far fewer chemicals and that “second hand vapour” is non-existent, but that didn’t stop the presenter – he has a “gut feeling” that because cigarettes are so harmful there must be “hidden dangers lurking in e-cigarettes”.  I got the distinct feeling he was somewhat uncomfortable when it was pointed out to him that nicotine addiction was the same as caffeine addiction.  He didn’t want to hear that.

In his summary, the presenter lets rip with all his prejudices though.  He can’t help but feel that electrofags will “normalise the consumption of nicotine” [whatever that means].  He trots out an “example” [i.e. hearsay] of an eleven year old trying a vape.  He cites the BMA as being in favour of a ban in public places.  He says “we need to be very cautious about anything that makes it easier to consume an addictive substance like nicotine”.  [I presume then that he would want to ban instant coffee?].

I got the feeling that when he gave his thumbs up to the electrofag that it was with great reluctance and that he was mentally promising himself fifty lashes of the whip for uttering such a heresy.

One way or another though, I think I’ll stick with the pipe.

Greeting the zombies

Halloween really pisses me off these days.

In the Good Old Days, kids used to just throw an old sheet over their heads and then call around the houses looking for apples or nuts.  A bit of harmless fun that could easily be ignored.

Then it became Trick or Treat – a ghastly Merkanisation that crept over the Atlantic to poison our kids.  It then somehow became a time for kids to dress up as anything from Sponge Bob to Madonna or from the Incredible Hulk to Darth Vader.   And the apples and nuts were scorned in favour of mountains of sweets.  Tedious, but it gave me a chance to ply the little bastards with sugar and E numbers and send them off hyper and climbing the walls.  Serves the parents right.

Now it seems to have morphed into a sort of “scary” season.  We are all supposed to be scared, with witches, ghouls and those ubiquitous fucking zombies.

What the fuck is it with these zombies?  The kids these days seem to be obsessed with them.  What is the fascination with a mythical crowd of brain dead, soulless people who seem to be out to suck your blood?  Mind you, that’s a perfect description of our politicians so maybe the kids should all just pile down to the Dáil and have the shite scared out of them there?

Even the television channels are in on the act.  Film schedules are full of “scary” films which are far less scary than the sight of Herself without makeup on.  Magazine programmes all wiffle on about with little items to scare us, which turn out to be items that guarantee a massive yawn.  Shop windows are full of witches on broomsticks and cobwebs [though most of the latter are genuine in our village, at least].  Some shop staff even wear witches hats and the like, which does indeed scare me off entering their emporium, at least until they stop playing childish silly buggers.

As usual, I have wired the latch on the gate to the mains.  As usual I will probably get complaints from the local parents when their offspring get home half grilled.

“How can you do this to poor innocent cheeeldren” they cry.

“It’s shocking behaviour”

But shocking is what they want?

Innit?

Milking the system

“Drinka Pinta Milka Day”

Anyone remember that?

That was back in the heydays when milk was “full of natural goodness” and schools issued free milk to all the kids.  Milk was considered to be part of the essential diet for everyone as it was full of calcium and so was good for bones and teeth.

No longer.

Milk is now bad for you.

Over recent times I have become increasingly cynical about these “studies” which basically just take loads of data and try to extract meaningful results.  Epidemiological studies have a place in the world of science I suppose, but the problem with them is that they can never tell the full story.

The milk “study” tracked 100,000 people and presumably counted their milk intake and then correlated that with lifespan or medical history.  Did that “study” also include the infinite number of other variables that determine a persons life?  Did it include genetics, mental attitudes, lifestyle, environment or even other dietary factors?  It may have included some other factors but by definition it couldn’t have included all factors because they are infinite and unique to each individual.

What was the reason for this study?  Why did someone suddenly decide to analyse milk?  Did they pick through the bones of previous studies looking for an item that hadn’t been “studied” before?  Why do I get the feeling that they pick on something that is supposed to be good for us, purely so they can come up with headline grabbing nonsense to justify their existence and their various grants?

The problem with these headline grabbers is that there are so many of them.  Milk?  Eggs?  Fat?  Sugar?  Salt?  All seem to have been proven to be highly beneficial or the epitome of evil at some stage in their history.  The overall result is that they have lost what little credibility they may have had in the first place.  Each one is just a single voice in the crowd who are all shouting the same thing – “you’ll never believe what we have just discovered”.  The fact is that they are right – I don’t believe them any more.  Any of them.

And I won’t be changing my consumption of milk either.

Taking the Mickey

Once more I have been blessed with a mail from the great Supershadow himself.

–oOo–

Grandad sitting here in my villa overlooking downtown LA I have had a vision of the future.
I spoke to you about the miraders. those off world entities (possibly our creaters) and the predicament of their search for their maker.
We look up for paradise but we will never reach it. unless it falls. I want to travel to the stars.sadly this will not happen in the near future.  Sometimes I wish gravity was just a good idea rather than the law.
However I will never apologize for having high standards. Its not your fault that you could never rise up to meet them.
I believe in one world government. I look at national  governments but I only see court jesters behind the throne.
I pay for water. In fact I have written to my congressman demanding that I be charged more carbon tax.
What do you want? future generations in your country dying on the streets because they have not clean water.
If it was me over there I would be thanking ‘Irish water’ for encouraging me to conserve a precious resource.
This is the problem grandad. you can never see beyond your front garden. But I am not like you. I am a passionate star wars fan. I want to travel to the stars and meet other races. We cannot have this without world unity. People like you get in the way of people like me with your resistance.
Mirader continually searches for the supernatural maker. It is the jedi lead one world government that will appease these overlords anger which will grow as they realize the fruitlessness of their quest .
The regional shaaba will protect the public from themselves.
and  yes Grandad  I hear voices in my head, but when what I hear is absolutely awesome  I realize that I am one of the chosen ones.
people like you have no idea how to run a planet. The ideal Human does not smoke or drink, obeys laws and does not get angry. It is up to a future jedi council l to make the people ideal. If you make it to the age of  singularity you may thank us for it grandad.
Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die. With the miraders knowlege we will make our own immortal heaven
for the majority it is negative to be unique. If we all think alike there will never be need for argument. constraint over choice.That is heaven for the masses. It will be a better world. A new calender back dated to 1977 (Year 1). The future will be 100 PER CENT predictable. The stock markets will be banned along with weather forecasts.
#
Get used to me grandad. This is a face you are going to see more of in the future.

–oOo–

We seemed to have changed gear?  No longer am I being slapped on the bottom for being a naughty boy, but rather we are getting a vision of the future as seen by SS, and quite frankly I would rather my wrists be slashed with rusty barbed wire than face into that future.

I believe in one world government. I look at national  governments but I only see court jesters behind the throne

We finally agree in something.  Not the one world shit, but the crack about the court jesters is spot on.

I pay for water. In fact I have written to my congressman demanding that I be charged more carbon tax.

Whoa there! Carbon tax on water?  For someone who has such an incredible intellect you have played a real dumb card here.  Water has fuck all to do with carbon and vice versa, and you really should know that.   An why write to your congressman anyway?  If you really seriously want to pay more tax then just pay it.  I’m sure your tax man will be delighted.  Or you can pay your extra tax to me.  I could do with an extra few bob from time to time.

What do you want? future generations in your country dying on the streets because they have not clean water.

Sweet sufferin’ Jayzus but you really are being dense now.  Water is not manufactured so not paying for it does not mean it will cease to exist.  It is the most recyclable renewable resource there is.  It is all around us and always will be all around us, particularly here in Ireland.  As I write, it is pissing down out of the heavens and I have to go out shortly so just at the moment I could do with a little less of it.  The only way the world can ever run out of water is to heat the entire planet to over 100 degrees, and even then the water will exist in the atmosphere in the form of vapour. 

The ideal Human does not smoke or drink, obeys laws and does not get angry.

Indeed, I can see how this is precisely what our gubmints want – nice meek non-thinking little idiot robots to do their bidding. 

If we all think alike there will never be need for argument.

What an incredibly dull and dreary vision that conjures.  No argument; no debate; indeed no conversation.  All discourse will be reduced to bland platitudes.

Actually, SS, you can achieve this perfect state of non-thinking, law abiding servitude right here and now.  All you need is a frontal lobotomy.  Maybe you’d like to try it?

That is heaven for the masses. It will be a better world. A new calender back dated to 1977 (Year 1).

1977?  I know that’s the year that damned Star Wars thing hit the screens, but where does that place me?  What age will I be?  37?  I suppose I could live with that.  And incidentally, if the calendar starts in 1997, then that’s year zero.  Just thought you should know.

The future will be 100 PER CENT predictable. The stock markets will be banned along with weather forecasts.

So what happens to anticipation and pleasant surprise?  How really fucking tedious and boring that would be.  It would put all clairvoyants out of a job too?  I could happily live without the stock markets [and the world probably would be better off without them] but weather forecasts?  What would they broadcast after the news?

This time around he actually signed off with a name – Mickey Suttle and even graced me with a photograph -

Not Supershadow

Unfortunately I think he may have made a mistake though and sent me an image of Ray Park.

Maybe he really meant to send me one of Mickey Suttle?

 Mickey Suttle

Somehow not quite the same charisma?

Quite a let-down in fact.

Are you healthy?

They are going to study the state of Ireland’s health.

This should be fun.

My first question is how they are going to do this?  They say they are going to assess 10,000 households, so are they going to call around to each household?  Are they going to examine the medical records of those households?  Or are they just going to phone people up and torture them with a battery of irritating questions?

My money is on the latter.

Now I have a problem with telephone surveys.  In fact my problem with them is so big I would discount them out of hand as being a complete waste of time and effort.

You see our dear Nanny Gubmint has been harping on for years about smoking, and lately about alcohol and obesity.  They have successfully implanted the idea into the minds of the sheeple that smoking is evil; that being overweight is disgusting and shameful and that anything over a glass of beer a week means you are a raving alcoholic.  As a result people won’t even admit to themselves how much they eat, drink or smoke, let alone tell a total stranger.  They will play down the figures and lie through their teeth because they want to give the impression that they are moral upright citizens.

Q.  Do you smoke?

A. No.  *Well, ten a day doesn’t really count as smoking?  And anyway I intend to quit.  Sometime.*

Q. Do you consider yourself a light, moderate or heavy drinker?

A. Light. *Paddy down the pub sinks twelve pints a night so he would be a heavy drinker where I only have eight, so I’m a light drinker*

Q. Would you consider yourself obese? 

A. Definitely not.  *I have been eighteen stone for years now.  It’s my normal weight.  I’m big boned.*

The questions themselves are always slanted and in some cases are impossible to answer.  Take for example the question “Do you smoke?”  I answer yes [though sometimes I’ll answer no because I know what’s coming].  “How many cigarettes a day do you smoke?”  And there is the problem.  I don’t smoke cigarettes [I hate the taste and the smell] and am a pipe smoker, so how can I possibly translate that into their standard yardstick of cigarette numbers?  There is never a question about how much tobacco I smoke, so it ends up with a sort of guesstimate which would be hopelessly wrong.  I have never ever come across a survey that includes a section for pipe smokers.

On the question of obesity, are they going to ask what weight people are?  If so that is a hopeless yardstick and anyway people will always understate their weight [the last time I weighed myself I was wearing pants, socks and a wristwatch so I have to allow about half a stone for them?].  Or are they going to use that old chestnut – Body Mass Index?  Not only has that been discredited but no one knows their BMI anyway.  I cannot think of any form of question that could possibly determine whether a person is overweight or not, as normal weight depends on stature, bone structure and muscle to fat ratios – none of which can be determined by a telephone questionnaire.

As for drinking – no one ever admits how much they drink.  By the time I crawl home from the pub after eight pints I will have firmly convinced myself I had four, and when Herself asks, I round that to three.  The woman who necks a bottle of Blossom Hill a day is going to admit she “occasionally has a glass”.  And everyone knows that a couple of pints at lunchtime with the lads from the office just doesn’t count as drinking.

What worries me about this “survey” is that they are going to take it as a yardstick to beat us over the head with in the years to come.

So if anyone phones you and asks you to take a simple survey on the nation’s health…..

Lie like fuck.