sometimes, you just want a cigar

One of the advantages of working at a smokeshop is that I get to smoke on the job.

I love smoking, I love tobacco, and I personally don’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. Personally I’m getting a little fed up with being vilified by society for indulging in one of life’s great pleasures, a pleasure, I would add, that is, at least for the moment, still completely legal.

A few random thoughts on smoking here:

Many people (non-smokers, naturally) paint the pipe, cigars, and cigarettes with the same black brush. This is utter rubbish. Comparing cigars to cigarettes is like comparing McEwan’s Scotch Ale or Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter or Old Peculiar Yorkshire Ale to Bud Light.

One drinks a good stout or ale for the flavor. The idea is to taste and enjoy the subtleties and complexities of the brew. The alcohol content, while significant, is of secondary import. But let’s be honest here: no one drinks Bud Light because it tastes good. The only reason to drink this misbegotten beverage is because you want to get drunk and it does the job, quickly and efficiently.

By the same token, no one smokes cigarettes because they taste good. The only reason to smoke a cigarette is to get that six-second-lung-to-brain nicotine hit that a cigarette provides. And just as one might drink Old Peculiar or Sam Smith’s because one appreciates the exquisite flavor of these brews, so one smokes a fine cigar (or pipe tobacco, for that matter) for the flavor. The idea is to taste the tobacco, as the leaves from various subtropical countries combine to form a complex panoply of flavors which intrigue and delight the palate.

I find it astounding that the anti-smoking zealots claim to be doing this “for the children”. Ah, yes, it’s always for the children, isn’t it? Has anyone bothered to take a gander at what the “children” are getting up to these days? Teenagers are binge drinking (usually Bud Light, not Old Peculiar), driving cars after binge drinking, using hard core drugs like cocaine and heroin, indulging in unprotected sex, and posting naked pictures of themselves on the internet. I guess this is okay, because-thank God-THEY’RE SMOKE FREE KIDS!!!! Where the hell are all the public service announcements aimed at discouraging this sort of behavior that can irretrievably alter-or end-their lives in an instant?

Actually, this isn’t even true. The smokeshop where I work is within walking distance of several colleges. Out of curiosity, I recently asked one of them why he had started smoking. I pointed out to him that he was too young to have ever seen a cigarette add on TV. In fact, the only information concerning cigarettes available to him from the electronic media (which is where teens get 99% of their information) was all NEGATIVE. Since this kid was old enough to understand the English language, he has been bombarded with nothing but adds telling him not smoke. So why does he? His answer was simple and to the point: “Everyone was telling me not to do it, so that just made me more determined to try it.” Ah, from the mouths of babes….

Here in Massachusetts, our feckless governor, Deval Patrick, recently held a press conference to announce that there would be no broad-based taxes. The people of Massachusetts, he said, were already paying enough, between soaring gas prices and an already hefty tax burden (they don’t call it “Taxachusetts for nothing, kids.) Okay, I thought to myself, I can get behind this. For once I thought I found myself agreeing with a Liberal, until I got to the last paragraph of the newspaper story. There it was revealed that Patrick intends to raise the cigarette tax by a dollar a pack. Evidently the cigarette tax does not fall into the category of “broad based tax”.

The truth, of course, is that tobacco taxes are the favorite method of politicians who are too cowardly to implement an increase in the gas tax, or alcohol tax, or any sort of tax that might actually get them booted out of office by an incensed and already overburdened electorate. Tobacco taxes are safe because they only affect a now politically impotent minority, and besides, it’s “for the children.” I find it supremely ironic that Liberal Democrats, who are supposed to be the party of compassion and the common man have no problem resorting to this most regressive of taxes when it suits their purposes.

Unlike cigarettes, cigars are not physically addictive. You don’t “Jones” for a cigar the way you do for a cigarette. This is because you don’t inhale cigars. As mentioned before, the idea is to taste the tobacco, and to this end one simply “sips” the tobacco into the mouth, lets it linger there for a moment or two, and then exhales it. While a small amount of nicotine does enter the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth, it is not in sufficient quantities to create a physical addiction. Rather, it is a gradual and relaxing process, which is why smoking a pipe or cigar is such an effective way to relax.

Which, now that I think about it, is what I need to do right now.

-Smith

“taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood”–Dr. John H. Watson

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Jeremiah Wright is the least of his problems

It’s time to back away the Jeremiah Wright kerfluffle.

If Lanny Davis and other Clinton surrogates want to play the race game, then so be it. Obama is no racist, nor is he responsible for the inflammatory and seditious statements made by Jeremiah Wright.

Earlier today, I saw a video that has been mentioned by several bloggers on the right, which compares certain passages from Obama’s book and with selected video clips from several of Wright’s sermons. The viewer is led to the conclusion that Obama poses a threat to the country because of his racial beliefs.

The reason that Obama should not be President has nothing at all to do with race, and to spend time on these kinds of tactics won’t defeat him. It ignores the fact that his lack of experience leaves him unprepared to assume the duties of the job. It also ignores the fact that Obama exudes a certain grandiosity that surpasses mere cockiness and is, well, unseemly, if not dangerous.

Earlier this week at a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama said, “…foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain.

Oh, please.

After belittling Mrs. Clinton’s experience as First Lady as being ceremonial fluff, Obama went on to say that among the three candidates for President, only he passes the 3 AM Leadership Test. Indeed, he alone possesses “the judgment, the temperament to ask the right questions, to weigh the costs and benefits of military action, who insists on good intelligence, who is not going to be swayed by the short-term politics.” What a piece of work. source

And as for the ultimate foreign policy test, the one John Kerry called, “passing the Global Test,” Obama proposes a diplomatic Manhattan Project of sorts, with Iran’s Mahmoud Amadinejad. The same Ahmadinejad who said today, his country’s objective was to destroy what he called corrupt western powers:

“Our objective is to annihilate all corrupt powers that dominate our planet today,”
source

Iran is building nuclear weapons, and has tested the delivery systems to carry out Ahmadinejad’s objective. If he uses them, he gains favor of his god, and ushers in the End-Times chaos of the 12th Mahdi. If he is in turn incinerated in a retaliatory strike, he gets to spend eternity with 72 virgins. He wins either way.

Taking a college trip to Pakistan, living in Indonesia for four years as a child, and having poor relatives in Africa has convinced Obama that he has the necessary gravitas to engage in foreign policy on behalf of the world’s only superpower.

Jeremiah Wright is the least of his problems.

+++++

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