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Archive for the ‘Pipe & cigars’ Category

As I left the dog on her own to go off to the polling station I explained what I was off to do, it went something like this –

“I’m going to do something strange, human and pointless.”

As a clip from a former election campaign was played it prayed on my mind – it was a brief quote from James Callaghan who famously lost to Margaret Thatcher in 1979 where he declared that we had to decide what kind of society we wanted. Now I was too young to vote then but I have been thinking about that idea over the last weeks.

Every party is happy with policies that hound and harass 20% of the population – alright they may be smokers but is that enough to drive them away from where they would mix with wider society and make up 40% of the population. So what kind of society is it that we are voting for?

The idea of another five years of Gordon Brown scares me, the idea of being sold down the swanny to the Superstate of Europe gives me the heeby-jeebies thank you Clegg but I still did not vote for Cameron. Or anyone else for that matter…

When the political consensus agrees that 300 odd folk can choose to persecute one fifth of the population and then stick to it – What kind of society can we vote for?

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In this day and age of ever increasing legislation into our private spaces I’m going to start this post with an imaginary situation…

I’m writing in my study. I’m on my own and so I smoke my pipe, happily as it happens. Of course I have to stop smoking as soon as anybody else comes into the room despite two windows being open – enough to allow the smoke to leave rather than just build up into a cloud but small enough to give the smoke time to weave into strange patterns I find almost mesmerizing and a little inspiring. No, it’s just tobacco swirling from the pipe bowl. If I don’t stop smoking then I may be charged as the laptop can be used as a spy in my study…

Alright, so we are not there but lets go over where we are…

Our mobile phones can be used as microphones for those with the ‘right’ software and clearance… and the government is looking at how to make our internet lives more, well, ordered… and if my study was down as a place of work then I would have to cease smoking if anybody came in…

As I’m writing this I wonder about the new legislation that is being proposed regarding smoking in cars. Some want it banned, after all these years of endangering our lives, because they want to stop everything that might distract the driver but the new drive is for the sake of our children

New research has indicated that the cost to the NHS from smokers is much higher than previously thought, here the story goes that the cost is £5.2 billion for 2005. The researchers go on about how bad the figures of £1.something billion are but fail to say how they then count for the £2.7 billion figure for last year, found here

There are all sorts of problems with this stuff. First we have to decide what is private and what is not and secondly we might actually want to see the full picture when it comes to a. health and b. other contributing factors… I cannot say that I know everything but I am trying to do part of the work for those lazy thinkers with their righteous motives…

Do we want to move into a society where the question of bad and good parenting as a moral one has been left behind and we have legal parenting and illegal parenting. It seems an awkward question that we should never have to face but in Endinburgh as reported here and explored by me in a post it seems that de facto the socail services won their case that it was illegal for an elderly couple to look after their grandchildren. Do we want to move into a society where a child could be taken from it’s parent/s if they smoke in it’s presence?

Parenting has always been subjected to some legalities – it was wrong and illegal to kill your little dearlings and there are other guidelines that empower socail services [if they are up to using them] which give them reason to remove the child and they are moving into more dubious areas. Alright it might not be the best thing for a parent to smoke in front of their little one/s but could they not on the whole still be good parents? Why is smoking in your own vehicle now becoming subject to this ‘moral’ imperative in a legal fashion and after our cars what about our homes?

Years ago I wrote a post about Scotland and the effects or, rather, lack of effects that the smoking ban will have on the health of the Scotish – no doubt those who read that sentence will have some problems with it but after years of having a smoking ban obesity is doing it’s job now… I said then that the most important factor in someone’s health is, statistically speaking, their diet and asked the rather nasty question of whether the Scotish Government would ban the chippy. Well, not yet but obesity has been tracked to help cancer along rather than your health whereas a good diet can help your body fight off or reduce the risks of cancer – including the ones you might get from smoking…

The last thing I’m going to throw in is that there is research out there to show the trouble with walking in suburban areas and town centres. Given vehicle emissions we breathe in carcinogens, amongst other things, which would – the story goes – be like having soot in our lungs. This raises issues in the sense of How can we reckon the cost of smoking tobacco and factor in the effects of where we live? It might prove an interesting research project…

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Apart from a couple of quick personal asides this ones about freedom and what it means when we loose it.

This evening I’m off to stand outside an emerging church cafe evening because it’s about faith and politics – as a smoker I can no longer just go on in and if segregation isn’t political I don’t know what is. One of my posts has been tagged top mud here on Jabbertags, which I find almost ironic. It was The Blind Atheist which is a critical look at evolutionary theory – I just didn’t go back to the nut of primordial soup or mud…

It seems that the government wants to control our behaviour in new and interesting ways. There’s a guide to how you treat pets, story here, and that contravening these ‘guidelines’ may be a factor over whether or not we’re fined or even imprisonned – so more like laws then… It’s a small thing really as most folk will probably just cave and hand over whatever pet they’ve got to the RSPCA or whoever and be done with the pet, but for those who want to keep their beloved pet despite not being the best owners in the world…

Whilst this may seem a small step and has very little to do with Rule 303 but there is more that’s about at the moment – there’s this about all net visits and email on the net turned into evidence in a ‘black box‘ – for what is it if it is not evidence just waiting to be used – and what does that say about how the government views us as we tap away at our keyboards? Well, luckily for us – the government has been kind enough to tell us, and it isn’t happy. In the form of Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has said that we are ‘witnessing a dangerous corrosion in our political culture’ and that we bloggers with our own views are the problem. True she does have a view on how to get other folk into politics, the article is here, if you’re interested.

This is all well and good but none of this touches our freedom if we follow the law… well, yes, except of course unless you are either part of the 20% of the population who still has the bloody mindedness to still smoke or are married/partnered to one of these 20% and want to foster as now there’s a possibility you might be banned – for health reasons… Of course what level of risk is it? Nobody says… The biggest chance of damage to a child’s health is that they model the behaviour of the smoker (evil as they are) and become smokers themselves (and thereby help contribute more to society than they cost…) Go Here for more… I wonder if it will be one of those many boxes on the ID card that the gutless totalitarian Jacqui Smith is starting to roll out on immigrants and workers in two airports… which of course the immigrants and workers will have to have and have to pay for….

Of course this is not to say that we suffer from any of this raft of legislation, however uncomfortable it may make us feel. Unless, of course you are a parent and your child has become overweight or obese – then you can have your child taken away and put into a smoke free care environment, you can go here, or even watch a news video here! How long will it be before parents who continue to smoke will risk their own children being taken away?

And here we have a government that is willing to get ever more personal with us in a legal fashion – forcing us to have ID cards and to try to keep as much DNA as possible on record, although it has run into trouble with that just recently, in the unelected house of Lords, here, and by the unelected information commissioner, here. These records are damaging as they show up where they are no longer relevant and DNA travels almost as if flapped about on the wings of that darn butterfly – I shake your hand, minute traces of my DNA rub off onto your hand, you shake hands with someone I’ve never met, my DNA rubs off onto them, they rub their hands somewhere I’ve never been and if a crime goes down there – I have to provide an alibi…

So for me, so for you, dear reader.

And another personal restriction is the rising of the marriage visa age for foreigners. Whilst a good aim is to try to stamp out forced marriages – how bluntly does this go?

At a time when we can actively contemplate Honeymoons in space within the next 50 years and a stop off by the end of the century we still have to live with the problem of Jean Charles de Menezes – with the pathologist now chipping in about how he was lied to by the police. Of course we also have the problem of closed ranks, however understandable, which led to an unofficial strike amongst firearms officers – so They Know they can rely on each other…

This is where I draw in the old Rule 303, if we lose our freedom to live our own lives, even within our family units are we not being made to live in a drastically real ‘prison in the community’? And if we somehow get on the wrong side then everything will be stacked up against us, no matter how little or large we’ve been infringed upon. Of course, if we have no freedom left, what is to stop us from either thinking, rightly, we may as well be physically imprisoned or feeling, depending on how strongly you feel, that the state might as well just get it over with. Because without freedoms what life do we have?

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and one of the things we did was go to visit Bridgnorth at the end of an old fashioned steam railway.

Not only did the peculiar angle of the keep hold interest but the views from ‘High Town’ are quite spectacular.

One of the other things I found a bit of a treat was ‘Gerry’s Sweet Shop’ on Listley Street – it does, like the name implies have a quantity of sweets in the large old fashioned bottles against one wall but is also a tobacconist. I mentioned to the younger helper that pipe-smoking does not alter ones longevity only to receive a blank stare. My reaction to this after some thought is that more people should watch Blade Runner, the classic sci-fi film. On the other hand, whilst they did not have a large selection of pipe tobacco or cigars they do stock an interesting range of Cigars – I enjoyed my Brazilia; quite a full nutty taste but not too strong.

As a day out it was fun and a place I may well enjoy revisiting in the future.

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Is it reasonable?

There’s a story that was under the ‘World Bulletin’ column of the Telegraph yesterday – the full ‘story’ as such can be found here

Apparently one country which has gone down the health fascist regulations re smoking has decided that folk are to be allowed to have their businesses not threatened by the ban. Not to mention that it allows people the right to choose – and because the lift of the ban is partial – either to go and drink in a smoke-free bar or a bar where you can enjoy a drink with a smoke.

Where is this interesting place? Germany – who’s constitution does actually protect folk, unlike the other fascist regimes like the UK…

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There is an article in today’s Telegraph about drinking and the cost that it makes on the NHS – there is no doubt that alcohol is being increasingly abused and that got me thinking [something folk have tried to disabuse me of] about why that might be…

As I sit at home drinking gin at a slow rate and smoking my pipe [Connoisseur’s choice made ‘exclusively’ for Peterson of Dublin – those pipe maker’s of some note – it is a well balanced mild mixture that gives a pleasingly fruity taste, although it is for a just opened tin rather dry and therefore liable to burn ‘hot’ as we pipesmokers say] I reflected that the place where folk learnt how to ‘drink’ properly ie pacing yourself and other such wild remarks of the older and sometimes wiser heads gave to the youngsters. My thinking lead me to have a quick look around and see what is happening to the ‘local’ and the news is not good – according to the BBC here it argues that 27 pubs are closing a week… and makes a few comments about how critical it is to local culture and tradition. The Telegraph article does make the observation that the Labour Government has tried to get the european ‘cafe culture’ imported over here – it is the consequences of this that has led to this place. The smoking ban has not helped – indeed that well meaning piece of health fascism has hastened the decline of community centres such as the ‘local’ and we can now try to fathom the damage that is producing.

The easiest way of judging this is the rise of irresponsible drinking which cost £2 billion last year, what is missing is an acknowledgment of how much revenue is raised from alcohol – £8.54 billion in the year 2004/5 according to this site once you do the calculations – the same as tobacco, which dwarfs the costs to the NHS of both smoking and drinking on their own terms.

It is all too easy to be condemnatory and say that offers on drinks and opening hours should be scaled down – but apart from the 2005 change of opening hours nothing, really has changed in bars making offers on drinks – so what is the fundamental change?

The lack of locals where folk of all society used to rub shoulders with each other and were able to hold each other to some account and give advice on how to behave… Of course the plans proposed would see even more shut and see the problems escalate as folk either stay at home [like me] or go out with friends after getting a ‘carry-out’ from the old off-license or dreaded supermarket with their cut prices… The other option of looking again at the smoking ban and seeing if a halfway house could be found if the very idea of a complete u-turn is just a reform too far – will not be considered in this mad world where even some outdoor sitting is now being blocked from smokers…

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of products produced by British American Tobacco – which from my earlier post I’d request folk who smoke choose other products…

First, mostly because I’m not going to mind this as I smoke a pipe, The Cigarettes;

Kent, Pall Mall, Dunhill, Lucky Strike, Vogue, Viceroy, Rothman’s, Kool, Benson & Hedges, State Express 555, Peter Stuyvesant, John Player Gold Leaf – this list was found here

Belmont, Jockey Club, Stradbroke, de Maurier, North State, Sopianae, Wills, Ardath, Carrolls, Carrolls Kings, Grand Parade, Sweet Afton, Major, Boots, Gold Leaf, Jan III Sobieski, Yava Gold, Curtleigh, Parisienne, Xon and Craven A – this list was compiled from here

Prince, Prince Smooth Taste, Christian of Denmark, Rockets…

If I’ve either listed brands that don’t belong to British American Tobacco or I’ve missed any – please let me know, I’d only be glad to update this list and any help to keep it current will be appreciated and that goes for the other products as well…

And now for Cigars

This is something that needs digging to find out but here’s a list to be getting on with…

Cafe Creme, Colt, Henri Wintermans, C.A.O. Cigars [and whatever brands that comes with including La Auroro and Leon Jimenes], and if there’s any others that you know of, again, please let me know

Painfully, here’s a list for Pipe Tobacco and some of these will be brands rather than the entire list of tobacco blends they produce as one of them (which helpfully I’m placing first – just so you know) at least produce many blends but then the brand name is on all their tins…

W.O. Larsens [this’ll hurt as they do produce good blends], Dunhill, Captain Black, and I’m going to interupt this list for this comment – Orlik Tobacco Company A/S has ‘bought’ some pipe tobacco brands ‘from’ BAT but here’s the twist, as far as I can make out Orlik is a subsidiary of the recently purchased Skandinavian Tobacco Company and it has many brands so now they all fall under the BAT umbrella – here’s the list – Alsbo, Ariston, Avalon mixture, Belle Epoque, Benson & Hedges (yes there are B&H pipe brands…), Black Cavendish No.1, Black Diamond, Burlington’s Blue Label, Caledonian Highland Cream, Caledonian Superior Mixture, Capstan Gold Navy Cut Flake, Capstan Original Navy Cut Flake, Carribean Dreams, Charatan Nos 27 & 63, Clan, Danish Mixture, Danish Truffles, Dannemann Sweet Mango, Danske, Erinmore [an old stnadby], Flying Dutchman, Half & Half Burley & Bright, Holland House, Inian Summer, Indigo, Jensen Favorit No. 177, Jock Scott, Kentucky Bird, Lincoln, Lotus, Mayflower No. 1, Mick McQuaid Plug, My Own Blend, Nappa Valley, Neptune, Orlik [of course], Peter Stokkebye, Pipetobak Bright & Dark, Portorico, Paul Winslow No. 1, Richmond, Sail, Schippers, Skandinavik, Stanwell, Sweet Dublin Mixture, The Rose and Crown Easy Flake, Three Nuns, Troost, Van Dyck Mixture, Virginia Special, Voortrekker, ‘WOL’ for Larsens [yes – all of those brands Oh the sweet memories not to be repeated for at least awhile], Warrior Plug, Yachtsman Plug…

I’m going to hope that Orlik is the home to BAT’s pipe tobaccos and that the list is no longer than here but… somewhere out there is the subsid that makes Captain Black and who knows what else….

Whilst I am encouraging a boycott I feel it imperitive to say that Duncan Bannatyne hasn’t been in touch (no surprise I’m sure) regarding my challenge that if BAT shows that it’s shaped up – would he do a follow up programme (given a smoker’s boycott) but then BAT has responded more specifically here to his criticisms. All I’m going to add before my last comment is that even in the UK with all it’s laws under-age folk still get their hands on tobacco and in less controlled countries it will be harder to ‘police’…

You will have to decide whether to boycott these products or not. I feel that BAT missed a golden opportunity by not taking his offer to take a high flying member of the board on a raw fact finding trip – which speaks loudly to me.

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