There is no such thing as a safe level

We frequently hear that cigarettes contain Formaldehyde.

You know Formaldehyde?  It's the stuff they embalm bodies with.  They rarely mention it is used in vaccinations as well but that's a side issue.

Then we hear that electronic cigarettes are full to the brim with Diacetyl, which of course causes "Popcorn Lung".

Scary stuff huh?

It's funny though how they never mention other toxic shit?

Uranium – Ideal for flattening Japanese cities.

Radium – Highly radioactive.

Sulfur – Used in matches.

Magnesium – used in flash bulbs.

Hydrogen – Does anyone remember the Hindenberg Disaster?

Tungsten – Used in jet fighters and light bulbs.

Arsenic – To be avoided in recipies as the graveyards will testify.

Mercury – Nasty stuff.

Lead – Does nasty things to the brain.  Used for roofing.

Aluminium – Thought to cause Alzheimer's

I could go on because the list is long.

But where do I get my little list of lovely toxic elements?

They are all found in the human body, of course.

I think I'd rather just Formaldehyde and Diacetyl?

Or could it be that the dose makes the poison?

 

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The local shop

There is a shop in the village.

Well, of course there is otherwise it wouldn't be a proper village.  In fact there a quite a few shops.

This shop though is where I collect the Sunday paper.  I don't bother with papers myself, but Herself likes to read it so who am I to argue?  It has a couple of Suduku puzzles in it which are handy for sending me to sleep so I do get some benefit.  Anyhows, it's a fine time to stock up on baccy, so every Sunday I nip down and buy my stash.

Being the country, when I open the door to the shop he already has my usuals ready and waiting.  A few weeks ago though, after I paid, he slipped a couple of chocolate bars into the newspaper.  I raised my eyebrows and he shrugged his gesture off – you're a great customer, says he.

The following couple of week he did the same – a couple of chocolate bars. 

But then he upped his game a bit.  He started giving me a couple of large Toblerone bars.

One week we had a break from chocolate and I got a tray of mushrooms and a bag of carrots.  He suggested I make a stew.

This whole business was getting a bit embarrassing at this stage as he wouldn't let me leave the shop until I had received my gift.  If there were other customers, I would be ordered in no uncertain terms to stay where I was until he had dealt with the others.  I daren't argue with him as he is a little bloke, and as we all know little blokes are like little dogs who can give a nasty nip to the ankles.

A couple of weeks ago we moved from edibles to hardware.  As I was about to make a run for the door he slapped a mug onto the counter.  It was one of those Thermos type insulated mugs with a lid, for keeping your drink hot [or cold].  Very handy.

The following week he barked at me to stay while he went into the back of the shop.  This time it was a thermal zip-up bag for keeping my food warm [or cold].

It looks like rain today, so I trotted down earlier than usual.  Sure enough, there was my paper on the counter with my stash on it.  I paid and tried to do a runner.  No chance.  He threw a Toblerone bar at me and ordered me to stay while he went out to his car to fetch something.  I didn't dare move.  I am now the proud owner of one of those large torches with a handle, which is a very handy thing to have in the countryside.

I am getting very nervous at this stage.  If he keeps upping his game then I just don't know what's coming next.  I'm beginning to wonder when I am going to have to bring a trailer to carry my booty.  And for the life of me I can't work out his motives.  Herself suggested that he's trying to get rid of unwanted stock which I thought was a bit cynical, but nothing has ever been past its sell-by date.  I'm worried that he might fancy me.  Or he might fancy the dog [he likes to pass admiring comments about Penny].

One thing I will say though – it makes my Sunday trip to the shop damned interesting.

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Dumping the free lunch

There are two problems we keep hearing about.

The first is the shambolic state our health service is in.  Hospitals are overcrowded, under resourced and frankly are in a state of complete meltdown.  The gubmint keeps throwing money into the bottomless pit and the situation grows worse by the day.

The second is the myth of the "burden" placed on the health service by all those people who enjoy a politically incorrect lifestyle – the smokers, the obese and the drinkers.

The gubmint in its infinite wisdom is compounding the mess by trying to introduce "free" healthcare for all.  They have already introduced "free" GP visits to everyone under six and over seventy, and this is quite naturally adding to the costs and increasing waiting times in surgeries.

As I have mentioned once or twice before, there is no such thing as "free" healthcare.  Someone has to pay, and that us of course, the taxpayer.  So five year old Johnny is wasting half an hour of his doctor's time with his sniffles and I am footing the bill.  Add in the seven to twelve years olds [as they are planning] and the burden increases, not only on the doctors but on my tax bill.

The is a very simple solution that would go a long way to fixing the whole mess.

Scrap the notion of free healthcare.

I am not suggesting that the whole enterprise should be run as a private concern.  There are few who could afford a hip replacement or heart bypass without some kind of financial help, so there has to be some kind of system where the likes of operations are subsidised.

Set up a system where taxes fund a portion of all healthcare.  Any and every patient then has to take care of the rest.  That way, those of us who are healthy merely pay the tax while those of us suffering from mythical "lifestyle diseases" would pay considerably more.

But what about those who can't afford to pay their portion?  No problem.  There is already a Medical Card system in place where those below a certain income, or who have a long term illness get free medical care.

There are two great advantages to this system.  First and foremost it would stop the time wasters.  Why should I wait in the waiting room while some five year old takes up the doctor's time for a trivial ailment?  I am paying for their visit yet the kid's parents could be on twenty times my income?  Is that fair and reasonable?  When people get a service they perceive as free, they will abuse that system to the hilt.

The second is that this myth of lifestyles causing a "burden" on the health service will forever be scotched.  In the event of someone causing themselves a damage, then they are the ones who will pay extra.  The health system will act as its own "sin tax".

Just a thought.

Maybe I'll mention it to the next canvasser who calls to the door.

If I haven't killed him first.

 

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Computer games that don’t make sense

I found a new computer game recently.

It's not a car simulator nor a flight simulator.  It's not a submarine simulator nor a city simulator.

It's a smoke simulator.

Yes indeed, folks, this is SimSmoke that allows you to set conditions to see how choked up you are going to be under various situations.

I gave it a go.

It's a bit of a wonky site but I finally settled on driving a moving car with the windows wide open, and enjoying a virtual fag at the same time. [They didn’t have a simulation for pipes]

It gave me a nice little graph showing my virtual exposure to virtual smoke over a period of virtual time –

SimSmoke graphNow I am a little confused.

Herself likes to strike up on a car journey and if the windows are closed, the place can fug up a little.  As I have an aversion to cigarette smoke I like to clear the fug out as quickly as possible.  I have discovered that opening my window just draws the smoke across my face, so I close my window and open hers, just a few millimeters [or an inch] will do the trick.  There is a sucky noise and whoosh – all the smoke has vanished.  The smoke from her fag then proceeds to travel in a dead straight line from her fag-end to the open window leaving me to puff my pipe in peace [the smoke from which now travels in a line across Herself to her window.  Heh!].

But the graph above tells me that I will be driving for a full twelve minutes or so, while the smoke fills the car to capacity when suddenly, with a bang it's all gone?

I checked the simulation to see if they were trying to fool me by leaving the windows closed for twelve minutes before opening them [which would have given the graph above, by my experience], but as far as I can see the windows were open all the time.  What the fuck is going on?

I can only conclude that there is something seriously wrong with either my car's windows or the fags Herself smokes.  Somehow our smoke is dispersing much too quickly.

After all, computer simulations are far more accurate than the real world?

 

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Weighing up the risks

England's chief medical officer has given me [fat free, non-carcinogenic, unsweetened] food for thought.

The other day she stated [and I quote]

"I would like people to make their choice knowing the issues and do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine and think, 'Do I want my glass of wine or do I want to raise my risk of breast cancer?'. And I take a decision each time I have a glass."

Dammit but she's right.  We do need to weigh up the risks before doing everything.

I made myself a mug of tea a few minutes ago, but with hindsight I realise what terrible risks I took.  First of all I boiled the kettle, and with a few seconds thought I realise just how close I came to a shocking death.  Water and mains electricity in the same device?  I really am lucky to be alive!  And then there was the matter of the sugar?  Am I prepared to knock 120 years off my lifespan and inflate to the size of a blimp because of that teaspoon full of death?

I'm sitting here with the laptop on my [yes – you guessed it] lap.  But I have heard all these terrible stories in the tabloids about laptop batteries exploding so do I really want to run the risk of blowing my bollox off?  I had better stick the laptop on the table.  Can't be too careful?

Now I need a piss.  Fuck but that's a risky business!  Can I make it to the bathroom without tripping over something and whacking my head off the corner of the table?  Would the sudden movement out of my chair cause a surge in blood pressure resulting in a heart attack?  On second thoughts, I had better just let flow where I am in my armchair.  Can't be too careful?

But sitting in my chair poses enormous risks too.  I know all about deep vein thrombosis and the terrible damage it can cause.  I somehow have to balance the risks of DVT with the risks of walking around a house that is full of hidden potential life threatening accidents?  Maybe I should just sit here in a puddle of warm piss and jiggle my legs a bit?

I really need to relax a bit and stop worrying about all these potential dangers.  Time for a peaceful pipe.

But hold on!  They tell me that every puff of tobacco knocks around twenty years off my life and I will die a horrible screaming and painful death!  Do I want to run that risk?  But then if I don't relax I'm back to that heart attack thing, and I don't really fancy having my heart explode.  I think I'll chance a couple of puffs on the pipe though, as according to the medical experts and their calculations, I died around ninety seven years ago, and you can only die once? 

Dame Sally is right.  Life is full of dangers and everything we do must take those dangers into account.

Incidentally, why do they call her a Dame?

Is this all a pantomime?

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