Who is the bad guy?

We are constantly hearing about the evils of Big Tobacco.

Big Tobacco, we are told, is in the business of selling a product that they know kills, and are desperately advertising to children to rebuild their customer base.

Let's take a look at this.

First of all, Big Tobacco are a business like any other business.  They are there to provide a product and to make a profit as a result.  Millions of people around the world enjoy that product and derive great benefit from it.  There has never been any conclusive proof that the product kills anyone, and there has never been a death where smoking has been proved to be the cause.  Every single death where smoking was claimed to be the cause could have been caused by other factors.

Big Tobacco must be one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the world.  Which ever way they turn, the Anti-Smoker movement snipes at them, introducing harsher regulations to the point of farce.  They are even being accused of making a deliberate attempt to undermine public health and are excluded from any discussions or debates in case they somehow might put up a defense.

Big Tobacco is not unlike Big Auto.  They too provide a product that is used by the millions and occasionally that product kills.  Unlike smoking however there is no doubt or confusion over the cause of death of those victims – they were driving a car at the time and they died as a result.  Cars also produce tons of carcinogenic pollution which in turn causes many deaths [passive driving?].  We never hear of Big Bad Auto however?  I wont even touch on Big Armaments.

But let's look at big Pharma.

Now here is an industry that produces a product that kills on a massive scale.  They claim their produce is for the benefit of health and wellbeing but in practice their primary concern is profiteering to the detriment of those with medical problems.  Their produce is foisted on a public who know little about what is being prescribed, yet that same public runs the risk of side effects which are rarely mentioned and in some cases produce lifetime debilitations.  One only has to look at Thalidomide or Chantix to see the dangers inherent in prescription drugs.  And even the lesser side effects frequently require further medication to alleviate the problem which is a win-win for Big Pharma.

Prescription drugs are now causing more deaths than illegal drugs or car accidents, yet we never hear a murmur as they are portrayed as "the good guys".  What's more, those deaths are documented unambiguous deaths, unlike "deaths from smoking" which are mere statistics produced by mathematical models and dubious questionnairs.

Big Tobacco is now excluded from any discussion or debate which directly affects their business.  They are shunned and even those who might have the remotest connection with them are treated like pariahs.  Yet Big Pharma are welcomed with open arms.  They spend millions lobbying on their own behalf forcing sales of questionable vaccinations and useless smoking cessation products and no one turns a hair.

The Anti-Smokers seems to think their killer argument is to ask "are you being funded by Big Tobacco?".

The response should be "are you being funded by Big Pharma?"!

Bessie Nolan

I would like to introduce you to Bessie Nolan.

She is one of Ireland's oldest, if not the oldest.


She is a sprightly 103 and will be 104 in a few weeks time.

Dammit but she's nearly old enough to be my grandmother!

She may be a little hard of hearing but by God she has all her marbles.

She really must give up the smoking though.  Doesn't she know the cigarettes will kill her? 

It's not too late though.

If she gives them up now she could live to a ripe old age.


Life before the Nanny State

There was a wee article in one of the papers recently.

Young Europeans ‘may lead shorter lives than their grandparents’

Being a grandparent, it naturally caught my eye.

So let's look at the "facts" as laid down by our good friends in the WHO –

Young people are likely to have a shorter lifespan than their grandparents because "over half of the population is overweight or obese, and that alcohol consumption and tobacco use remains ‘alarmingly high’".

The corollary of this argument surely must mean that the grandparents' side of the equation wasn't obese and had much lower alcohol and tobacco consumption?

I grew up in the latter half of the last century at a time when smoking was so common it was the norm.  The only places where smoking was banned [as far as I remember] was in churches and the lower deck of a double-decker bus.  Everyone smoked, from doctors to shopkeepers, from teachers to farmers.  When people came around to the house, the polite thing was to offer them a cigarette and a cup of tea.  When it came to diet, we had such delicacies as "dripping toast" [toast spread with the fat off boiled meat], we fried our food and fat was a normal part of our meat diet.   Anyone remember boiled bacon and cabbage?  We drank at a rate of pints and no one turned a hair.  In fact you could argue that our lifestyle was the very opposite of the lifestyle being rammed down our necks by the Nannies.

So here I am, a product of that generation, and I am supposed to have a longer lifespan that my grandchildren?  And their reason is that alcohol consumption and tobacco use remains ‘alarmingly high’?  Well, seeing as the pubs are closing at an alarming rate, I can only assume that most alcohol consumption takes place in the home, and hardly at the same rate as in the pubs in the old days.  As for tobacco consumption, that is only a fraction of the old levels and still falling so I don't know where the "alarmingly high" bit comes in except in the minds of the Nannies.

So smoking is way down, people have never been more diet conscious and alcohol is under attack.  Yet cancers are on the increase and they are worried about reduced lifespan?  There is something radically wrong here?

I see our Nanny doctors are on the warpath now.  They are demanding a tax on alcohol and fatty foods and an increase of €1 on a packet of fags, as if they weren't taxed enough already?  When are these arseholes going to realise that all their efforts to control us have either had no effect whatsoever or in most cases have been counterproductive and have had dire consequences?

They love to tell us that it's the Lower Orders with the lowest incomes who are smoking and drinking to excess.  Their efforts not only add to the financial burden of the poorer in society but try to deprive them of the few pleasures they have left.  Take away their rollies, their cans of gnat's piss lager and their pizzas and what do they have left?  Are they supposed to pass their winter evenings by going for a jolly old jog around the estate?

The one thing the WHO report got right is that life satisfaction is a good path to longevity.  Let people be happy and not only will they enjoy life more but will probably live longer.

Constant nagging, cajoling and bullying will only make people miserable.

Draw your own conclusions.

Of pipes and balls

One or two of you may remember that a few weeks ago I lost my main pipe.

Despite my best efforts, it never turned up and its disappearance shall remain one of the great mysteries of life, along with why the sight of Marty Morrisey makes me cringe or where all those wire coathangers come from.

I got in touch with my good friend Elie, and he duly made me up a new one and put it in the post.  He even sent me a tracking number so I could watch its progress as it made its way from the Dordogne in France to my humble abode here in Wickla.  That was nearly three weeks ago.

Each day I would check the website and each day it would happily tell me that my pipe was in Thiviers.  That was all very well, but it wasn't much use to me in Thiviers and I would much rather it was here.

After a couple of weeks of this I got a bit pissed off.  I contacted Elie.  He contacted the post office and ate the balls off them.  They said they would look into the matter and would be back to him in 30 days.  The next day the website suddenly changed and said that the parcel had "Départ de France" which would tend to indicate that the French postal system doesn't like its balls being chewed.

It arrived yesterday.

It's a beauty.

New pipe

I know there are pipe smokers out there who sneer at metal pipes [a real pipe smoker will only touch a briar] but in my book they are just being elitist snobs.  I like Elie's inventions for one simple reason – a cool dry smoke.

So how does that work?

Disassembled pipe

It's very simple really.  For the smoke to reach the mouthpiece, it has to travel over that central block with the fins, which condenses any liquid and cools the smoke as well.  At the end of a smoke, just unscrew the end nut and pour out the goo.  The bowls are interchangeable too, with various shapes and sizes [I have a nice collection that I managed not to lose].  And because the whole thing disassembles very easily it's a doddle to clean.

I know this looks like one of those sponsored things but it isn't.  As always, when I come across some artistry I like to give credit where it's due.

Another thing about Elie's pipes is that they are of course unique.

So if I see some cunt wandering around the village with a similar pipe, I'll have his balls. 

It could only be the one I lost or that he stole.

My number is up

I am an individual, not just a number.

Increasingly the powers that be are trying to reduce me to a set of numbers so they can neatly stick me into a database somewhere.  Already they have my PPS [or Personal Public Service] number which has to be quoted when doing any business with one of their departments.  They have allocated a number to my home so that's in a database somewhere.

Their latest gimmick is to allocate me a health number [or Individual Health Identifier] as they like to call it.

I gather the intention is to have a single database where everyone's health is recorded so it doesn't matter where I am, they can access my health details.  They can go fuck themselves.  My health is my business and I don't want my details available to any hacker who wants to access them.

Now the Irish Cancer Society want my IHI details to include whether I am a smoker or not.  Now they can really go and fuck themselves sideways and in reverse on that one.  It is none of their fucking business.

There are several questions raised here.

Apart from it being none of their business, I presume [like in most databases] there is a simple yes or no answer.  There is no distinction between pipe, cigar or cigarette smokers.  There is no distinction between the bloke who has one fag at the weekend and the bloke who's on an eighty a day habit.  As far as the ICS are concerned we are all filthy smokers and deserve to die horribly.

And what use is this information apart from the ICS being able to gather statistics?  There is no medical condition that is unique to smokers so there is no point to the information.  If anything it would work to the detriment of non-smokers as the surgeon will probably then discount cancers [and heart disease and all the other glories supposedly associated with smoking] and it will be bottom of the list of probable ailments.

They don't want information on whether the person lives with a smoker, walks past pubs or visits the Phoenix Park of a Sunday where they could be exposed to second hand smoke, which we all know is lethal at fifty paces?  Or are they admitting that it couldn't be a significant factor?

They even want to collect information on my diet.  How the fuck do they do that?  Will the database contain recipes for each individual meal I cook?  How do they account for a spontaneous decision to order a takeaway or even a decision to skip dinner altogether?  Or we all just going to be classed as carnivorous, omnivorous or herbivore?

I'm surprised they aren't interested in my drinking habits.  That's a pity as I would have claimed two pints of Methylated Spirits a day.  That would give them something to think about?

They want to know my socio-economic status?  Who said snobbery and the class system is dead?  They already know my economic status from their PPS database so presumably they want to know my social status?  What the fuck is that?  "Well respected"?  "Local pariah"?  "Lovable rogue"?  And what the fuck has my socio-economic status got to do with my health anyway?  If I am classed as "One of the Lower Orders" am I more likely to eat pizzas, burgers or chips?

I suppose they'll want my DNA next.

They can fuck off on that one too.

Interfering nosey cunts.