Answering the sheeple

I read an article in the paper yesterday.

It's an excellent article, written I might point out by a non-smoker, and well worth a read.

Why persecuting smokers will cost us all more in the long run

What amused and saddened me though were some of the comments that came after.

I have been berated before for using the term "sheeple".  Well, I make no apologies for using the term, representing as it does the mindless herd instinct of those who will read some sensationalist headline and will then take that as fact to be repeated ad nauseam at every available opportunity.  The Urban Dictionary sums the word up fairly well – "People unable to think for themselves. Followers. Lemmings. Those with no cognitive abilities of their own."

Smoking killed a relative

Take for example the oft cried "I know smoking kills because my mother/father/brother/sister died from smoking".  Even our ex-minister for health Fatso Reilly quotes that one, and gives it as his reason for being such an Anti.  My question to them is how do they know that smoking caused the death?  Whatever they died from is not unique to smokers so is there a chance they would have died anyway?  I would also ask them what kind of death they would have preferred for their relative.  And even in the event that smoking did contribute to the death, what right does that give them to interfere in others lives?

The smell

Another "argument" that is possibly topping the bill for feeble excuses is the smell factor.  One of the best I have yet come across –

"I'm just glad I can now walk into a pub and still be able to see and breathe. They banned smoking indoors when I was a kid so I don't remember it too well until I go abroad and I'm stuck in a room full of smoke, which happened in Amsterdam. It left my clothes smelling so bad I had to wash my entire suitcase, even the clothes I hadn't worn."

Cold we have a new phenomenon here?  The ability of cigarette smoke to leave a pub, travel a fair distance [presumably] and then seek out and "infect" clothing hanging in a wardrobe?  Wow!

There are three points I would like to make here.

The first is that I have an allergic reaction to artificial scents.  Most perfumes and after shaves cause a reaction that can leave my eyes streaming and my sinuses blocked.  I particularly abhor those so called "air fresheners" that come in sprays, plug in yokes and even dangle from car mirrors.  Do I complain?  No.  I just avoid them.  Do I demand laws to protect me?  No.  That would be beyond foolish and incredibly selfish.  I just tolerate them because I can practice tolerance – an art form nicely killed off by the Puritans.

The second point is that back in the days before the Puritans took over, I cannot remember any outcry about the smell of pubs or offices?  Very few complained because it wouldn't have occurred to them.  Now of course the Puritans have given free licence for everyone to complain about anything that annoys or irritates them.

The third point is a question I would like to ask these people.  Do they think that the thousands of publicans [and their staff] who lost their livelihoods over the ban are worth the cost of not having to wash hair or clothes [that presumably are going to be washed anyway]?  

Toxic fumes and carcinogens

A frequently used ploy is to refer to smoke as "toxic fumes", "toxic carcinogens" and the like.

I would ask these people their opinion on scented candles, barbeques and open fires. All these [and thousands more] produce "toxic fumes", some at much greater levels than a puff of cigarette smoke.  Traffic fumes pump out carcinogens by the liter and are thousands of times more toxic than a smouldering bit of leaf.  The levels of carcinogens found in cigarette smoke are at the microscopic level, where one would require sophisticated laboratory equipment to detect them.

And of course there is the simple argument – if secondary smoke is so "toxic" how come heavy smokers last so long?

Smoking costs the state….

The article above, and the comments under adequately answer that.  I would add that if every smoker quit suddenly, the overall tax rate would have to rise considerably for everyone, to make up the massive shortfall.

In the pay of Big Tobacco

In the article I started off with, the author stated quite clearly that he has no vested interest in writing his piece, yet there are still accusations of being "an apologist for Big Tobacco".  If he is not anti-smoking he is de facto in the pay of Big Tobacco?

This is one of the last lines of defense for the Puritans.  If you disagree with them then you must be in the pay of someone.  It is the equivalent of giving the reason "just because…". 

I drive a car.  Does that make me an apologist for Big Auto?

I eat food.  Am I in the pay of Big Supermarket for saying that?

It is however known that the Tobacco Control Industry receives a lot of funding from the Pharmaceutical Industry so they need to be careful.   People and glasshouses and all that?

Sadly the two things that the Puritans have killed off are truth and tolerance.

Do you believe in truth and tolerance?

Or are you one of the flock?

Je suis Greek

I was going to write about the Greek elections.

Unfortunately the only Greek word I know is Domestos so I am somewhat handicapped.

I do know that apparently the Germans are unhappy with the election results, so that's not a bad thing.

I know that the Greeks have used democracy against the EU which is an excellent thing.

I know that the EU will be furious which quite frankly is brilliant.

Our gubmint will be somewhat confused as they preached anti-austerity while ramming their tongues as far as possible up the EU's collective arses.

It will be interesting to see how the EU copes with the new setup in Greece.

They can't demand a re-election.

They can't cave into anti austerity demands as that would cause a crowd surge from Ireland, Italy and Spain.

My bet is that we will see the EU's bully boy tactics at their finest.

Interesting times…..

Je suis Greek.

Not to be sneezed at

I caught a bug last week.

This was a bit of a novel experience as since I left work I haven't really had any kind of health that might feasibly be called ill.  Every winter Doc used to ask if I want the flu-jab but he knew I would refuse so he hasn't even bothered offering lately.

I got up on Wednesday.  Everything was fine and dandy, when suddenly at around one in the afternoon I sneezed.  It was a brilliant sneeze – one of those that sends the dog scurrying for cover and has Herself running to see what the noise is all about. 

I wiped the snots off my keyboard and blew my nose, and then I realised something was wrong.  My nose was still stuffed and my eyes were beginning to water.  Sure enough, within the hour I was sneezing constantly, the nose was running like a tap, I had a headache, sore throat, aches and pains all over and was freezing one minute and roasting the next.

I ignored it.

Well, I ignored it as much as possible but my nose kept dripping on the keyboard and I had to keep wiping down the screen so I decided to do other things instead of writing tripe.

By nighttime I was actually ready to go to bed early.  I contemplated medicating myself with a few concentrated whiskies but decided that maybe one headache in the morning would be enough to contend with. 

The following morning nothing had changed.  My pillow was soaked, either from my runny eyes or my runny nose, I'm not sure which.  The throat was still raw and I was still sneezing like the clappers.

Around one, I got one of those tickley sensations.  You know the ones where you want to sneeze but it won't come?  They say to look at a bright light to bring on a sneeze – I don't know why it works, but it does, so I switched on a light and looked straight at it and sure enough, the sneeze arrived. It was a real belter.  I swear I shifted some tiles on the roof.

And that was it.


No sore throat.  Nose clear and dry with not even a tickle.  No aches or pains.  Nothing.

I have heard of the 24-hour flu, but that was ridiculous.

I could have set my watch by it.

Putting things in the post

Did you ever come across an item in the paper that is so weird that you have to read it several times just to make sure your eyes aren't deceiving you?

I read one such item the other day.

I read it.  I re-read it.  I read it again.  And still the mind boggles.

Holy fuck!

A couple of lines gave me a chuckle.

"watched for some time… ashamed, disgusted and upset"  So upset they couldn't stop watching?  Right!

"Clearly there are issues that need to be addressed"  Just make sure to include a postcode.

And don't forget to put a stamp on it.

Give us the money

I came across an interesting web site the other day.

State Grades

I had some fun visiting various spots around the States and seeing them all get a slap on the wrist.

A couple of things struck me.

The first and most obvious is the choice of phrase "make the grade".  They could have said "how you score" but no – they have set the bar and it's up to the various states to jump over it.  It's back to school time – MUST DO BETTER!!

The second thing that struck me was that areas I had assumed to be no-go for smokers failed abysmally.  New York?  California?  I know there is this weird system Over There where cities and towns can pass their own laws independently from the state but I assumed that as San Francisco is one of the least tolerant cities, that California would reflect that.  But no – not a single "A" and two fails.  Then there is New Orleans where there is a fight on at the moment to ban smoking everywhere in the city, yet Mississippi as a state comes across as an extremely tolerant and smoker friendly state – four Fs.  Even New York manages to achieve only one A.

The main thing that gave me a chuckle though was the list of steps to be taken.  I didn't visit them all, but all the ones I did visit had one thing in common.  It came in various guises but the message is the same in each one –

"Sustain tobacco control prevention and cessation funding"

"Restore funding"

"earmark funding"

"Increase tobacco control funding"

and so on…..

It is really all they are interested in.

All together now……….