March 26, 2006

Those Clever, Evil, Bastards...

Full disclosure: I used to be a pack-a-day-plus smoker. I'm glad I quit. It's a nasty habit.

That said, smokers are not evil. And while Cigarette companies may be evil, let's face it--they're no more evil than other groups that keep pushing products that they know will be harmful--Pharmaceutical companies, McDonalds, Burger King, Hostess, etc. But you wouldn't know that from the commercials that have been on lately.

Now I agree, the anti-smoking brigade had a point about the Joe Camel character. But even so, smoking has always been portrayed as "cool," ever since Bogie, James Dean, Charles Boyer, etc. dangled smokes from their respective lips. It hardly took a cartoon character to tell kids that.

But now I feel like the anti-smoking message has gone a little too far, and that those behind it are making statements every bit as untruthful as the ones made by big tobacco. The most recent one I saw claims to prove that cigarette companies are still marketing to kids because when they hang their signs on a store counter "it just happens" to be at a child's eye level. Do I even need to point out that it also "just happens" to be at that level because the counter is the optimum height for exchanging money, placing purchases, bagging purchases, etc?

At this point, anyone, even a young anyone, who still thinks smoking is good for you is either stupid or a supermodel. This new claim just makes no logical sense at all. It's like saying that God supports pedophelia becuase He cleverly made adult genitalia at a child's eye level. It's called a doubtful cause fallacy, which is what happens when you try to establish a causal relationship between things that don't necessarily have one.

Why do I even care? Well, I guess because I'm a libertarian, and I'm getting tired of borderline-fanatical groups who, when they can't reach their agenda through legislation, often go to extremes to demonize any person/corporation that disagrees with them. (And while I'm at it, the legislators themselves are often pussies becuase they'll tax the things into oblivion, but they won't have the guts to change the law.) Hey, anti-smoking dickwads...right now, cigarettes are legal. You want to put out commercials that show pictures of diseased lungs, I'm with ya. You want to send out scratch and sniff cards that let smokers know what their clothes smell like, I'm with ya. You want to talk about the diseases caused by smoking (although I think you're full of shit with your second-hand smoke claims), I'm with ya. But c'mon...don't insult my intelligence. What have YOU been smoking?

Chairman of the Bored

Whew, what a nearly-perfect day! I started out by trying the new Delmonico's Steakhouse. The garlic cheesebread appetizer (which I wouldn't have ordered had I realized that the meal came with bread) was, literally, a whole loaf of bread. They split it open and covered both halves with gooey melted cheese. And the damn thing was steaming hot, too, something that I've noticed has been lacking in appetizers these days. The main meal was a 12-ounce New York Sirloin Strip, seared on the outside, yet a perfect medium on the inside. And I mean perfect. No bulls-eye of ever-increasing doneness as you move out from the center; this baby was one tone from top to bottom. Alongside the steak? A baked potato which--I'm not kidding here--was the size of a Nerf football. Oh, did I happen to mention that this whole foray into gluttony took place in...THE FRANK SINATRA BOOTH??? Yes, there I was, surrounded by photos and albums of Ol' Blue Eyes himself, while an overhead speaker pumped out the music of the spheres--Frank, Sammy, Dino, Tony Bennett, Louis Prima, et. al. The coolest part of all was that the booth was built back into the wall like a little alcove, and there were curtains that one could draw closed, should one want some privacy. Good food, good service, good atmosphere...let's just say that if there is a heaven, God's got his work cut out for him. Ring-a-ding-ding.

After the eats, I found a little bookstore outlet. The kicker? Everything was 70% off the cover price!!! I thought maybe it was a mirage at first, or possibly a hallucination brought on by too much steak. But I've got two bags of books, hardcovers among them, for about $40 that proves it was the real thing.

I know what you're thinking: "What next? You pick up a naked stipper whose car broke down on the way to her sex addicts anonymous meeting?" Sadly, no. But there was more shopping--at the regular bookstore, where I took advantage of a 25% educator's discount, and at the computer/DVD store, where I almost talked myself into buying the "Kolchak, the Night Stalker" box set.

The last stop of the night was to visit one of my oldest friends. I've known him since we were about five years old or so. Growing up, he and his mom were like a second family to me. Now he's married and has two kids of his own. They're the greatest. But he's got a new family, and I think that his wife hasn't been so sure that this particular member of the old family belongs in the new family. Tonight, when I stopped by, though, a strange thing happened. My friend and his wife had to run a quick errand and she asked me to watch the kids while they were gone. (Something I had never been trusted with before, by the way.) Not just the almost-three year old, mind you, but the almost-year old chubby bunny. I know, it doesn't sound like a big deal, and they didn't act like it was a big deal, but to me it was like a signal: "okay, you're all right." I felt like part of the family again.

So that was the day. Best day I've had in a while, for sure. I think I'll crawl into bed and read one of these new books. It's too bad I'm crawling in there alone, otherwise it just might have been the perfect day. Ah, who wants a perfect day, anyway? It leaves you nothing to get out of bed for the next morning.

March 10, 2006

I Hab A Code

Well, I had a code...uh, cold. For about a week. It wasn't just a cold, though. It was a monster whamdoozle case of the flu. It wasn't even, like, bird flu; it was pteradactyl flu. Even my hair hurt.

But, for the most part, I'm better, although I seem to still have a bunch of crud in my head still. (Yes, besides the grey matter crud! Quit writing your own jokes!) I have a doctor story, but I'll save that. I have break coming up, and should have some free time, although I do have to finish all that work I postponed due to that meshugga flu.

I'll keep you all posted.