Pacing outside the office, feeding my pack a day habit, I decided I needed a place to talk about books and butts. Welcome to my sidewalk.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Libertarians seem to get it

Spiked comments on the phenomena of "advocacy research":

If the chemicals in cigarette smoke were really so deadly as Winickoff and Glantz imply, it would be simply inconceivable that people could live - as many do for 50 years or more - while smoking a packet of cigarettes or more every day. It usually takes decades of effort directly polluting the body with tobacco smoke before someone becomes seriously ill because of it. The idea that a whiff of smoke in the air, or a thin coat of smoky tar on the walls, can put us in mortal danger is just laughable. Or, at least, it would be if the health authorities weren’t so keen to pounce upon each new study as a justification for ever-greater restrictions on lighting up.

Anti-smoking is hypochondria-by-proxy, an obsessive compulsive disorder whose sufferers demand that the normal pastimes of others leave them under attack. Contrary to what Winickoff says, it is anti-smoking campaigners and our health guardians who need help - to quit their disgusting, illiberal, interfering, busybody habit once and for all.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Year's Resolution: Read!

Why not start with Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley? Still a classic of smoking humor.

Or try this link.

But coming soon: this one!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Allegheny County's smoking ban

The ban on smoking in bars and restaurants in Pennsylvania's Allegheny County goes into effect May 1 -- just in time for springtime in Pittsburgh. The good news is that the County has issued waivers to a number of establishments that employ fewer than 10 people and don't serve much food. The list of establishments where smokers are still welcome is online at .

The good news is that Dee's on Carson Street and the River City Inn at PPG Place will still let you light up with a good bourbon to watch Saturday's running of the Kentucky Derby. Sadly, the Meadows OTB in West Mifflin, where you can actually watch and wager on the Derby has not received a waiver. Fortunately, there's an OTB in Greensburg, so yes, I'll be taking my disposable income over the border to Westmoreland County.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Smokin' news

Two items of note in today's paper:

Smoking curb could "upset China stability

"Smoking harms people's health, but restraining smoking threatens social stability," said Zhang Baozhen, deputy chief of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration. "Smokers rioted when the former Soviet Union collapsed because they could not get any cigarettes... The principle applies in China as well," Zhang said, responding to proposals from some members of China's parliamentary advisory body to curtail the smoking industry.
Interesting factoid: The World Health Organization estimates that smoking kills 1.2 million people are year in China.

R-rated movies lure white teens into smoking?
Apparently, white kids kick back with a bucket of popcorn, a pack of smokes, and a risque movie. Interesting tidbit from the study, which was published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine: today's movies depict actors smoking as often as in the 1950s.

Monday, February 26, 2007

So you think you know something...

While looking about for books about the recently deceased 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, Barbaro, I stumbled across Barbaro, A Nation's Love Story by Pamela Brodowsky and Tom Philbin. It's slated to come out today (!), more than a month earlier than Sean Clancy's Babaro: The Horse Who Captured America's Heart. Clancy's book has been excerpted on The Blood-Horse website; he's a former jockey himself, and in recent years, has published the Saratoga Special, amongst other things.

I'm not familiar with Brodowsky, who's also got a book on the Kentucky Derby coming out in April. A peek at her previously published titles reveals that she is the author of Staying Sane When You're Dieting, Staying Sane When Your Family Comes to Visit, and Staying Sane When You're Quitting Smoking. I seldom trust these authors of multiple titles in a self-help series, my theory being that one can be an expert in a few things, but rarely is one an expert in so many diverse areas. Apparently, though, the titles include a lot of humor, and I suppose funny folks are funny no matter what the topic. Still, none of these earlier works lead me to believe that Brodowsky will provide additional insight to the tragic tale of last year's Triple Crown hopeful.

So yes, in April, I'll be puffing a Marlboro -- while I read Sean Clancy's book.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sublime - c'est nous!

One of the items I'm including on my Christmas wish list is a pricey little paperback: Cigarettes are Sublime by Richard Klein. According to Booklist, "Klein's survey of the history of cigarettes and their gestalt of ritual, seduction, contemplation, and danger is fruitful and often surprising. [...] As Klein discusses the representation of cigarettes in literature and film, he also tracks various attitudes toward smoking. He believes the current zealous condemnation goes far beyond matters of health and drifts into issues of personal freedom. But he never denies the fact that smoking cigarettes is bad for you. Of course they're hazardous, that's why they're sublime: they combine pleasure with an "intimation of mortality."

Sigh. At last, someone who understands. It's well, sublime.