Theatre of the Absurd

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... Older files, ageless fun! Here is more on the "health conscious" stupid!

Older files of the Theatre of the Absurd
| "A New Study Reveals": a timeless classic

May 14, 2007  -  Potty Training 101 As a sign that parents are failing their offspring, the National Health Service of Scotland has stepped into the breach with an instruction book on how properly to void oneself.  Step one: find a toilet, Step two: drop drawers, Step three, assume the position.  From this point on the helpful booklet become an excruciatingly precise "how to" manual that specifically orchestrates the process that once was absorbed by very young children under the tutelage of vigilant parents.  While much of the step-by-step procedure is obvious, several techniques may be new to those who mastered toilet training the old fashion way.  For instance feet must be well supported, a foot stool being utilized if necessary.  Breathing should be performed with mouth open "as you bulge and widen."  Posture, as always is key.

Complaints about public funds being squandered on a matter once relegated to normal childhood training have been wiped aside by NHS flacks.  According to National Health up to 30 percent of the population suffers from bladder and bowel dysfunction indicating that a toilet refresher course is an appropriate way to spend rapidly dwindling health care funds.  So instead of flipping through "Jokes for the John", take "How to take a S***" into the toilet, sit upright, open mouth and learn."

Cultural Note:  As a gauge to how fast our society is transforming itself into one where every activity is the business of Big Health we link to an item that appeared on our site seven years ago.  In it we mocked the federal government for writing and distributing instructions on how to wash one's hands.  We joked that we were too squeamish to reproduce the FDA's detailed instructions on how to move one's bowls.  At that time even we couldn't imagine that the day would soon come where such, at the time nonexistent, instructions would no longer be an absurd joke.  How to Wash Your Hands

May 8,2007  -  The judge with the lousiest judgment - Time for some heavy-duty tort reform, folks! If you don't want to be sued for leaving muddy footprints at the bus stop on a rainy day in a few years, it's time to put pressure on the politicians to seriously tackle the run-away Litigation Society.

In the cautionary tale from Power City (AKA Washington, DC), a man gets an appointment as an administrative judge and gets some suits altered by a mom-and-pop drycleaning service.  He then gets into a dispute with them over a lost pair of trousers, and now he's claiming $65 million in damage from the Korean immigrant couple, refusing an offered settlement of an incredible $12,000 from the beleaguered pair.  Now the case is going to court because, incredibly, it appears that consumer law as it now stands permits this kind of thing: "The bulk of the $65 million demand comes from Pearson's strict interpretation of Washington consumer protection law, which imposes fines of $1,500 per violation, per day.  Pearson counted 12 violations over 1,200 days, then multiplied that by three defendants."

April 27, 2007 - They tell you how to live. Why not tell you how to die? - Yes, if you smoke you will die.  And when you die you will be "liberated" from your "addiction".  Finally you can be cremated and gloriously turned into smoke.  WRONG - and coherent, for a change.  After spending a life being forbidden from smoking by pyrophobic fanatics, how can you be allowed to turn to smoke after your death?

Here comes the latest "expert" junk scientists to tell us just that: cremation increases global warming!  No-no, don't laugh yet, read this through:

"...The [cremation] practice contributed to global warming. ... people could instead choose to help the environment after death by being buried in a cardboard box under a tree. ... Why waste all that carbon dioxide on your death? " - Statistical references cannot be missing, of course - "...the cremation of the average male in Australia, during which the body is heated to 850 degrees Celsius (1,562 degrees Fahrenheit) for 90 minutes, produced more than 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of carbon dioxide. And that doesn't include the carbon cost of fuel, or the cost of the emissions released during the production and burning of the wooden casket."

Dr. Short and the rest of the enviro-healthists really should cremate themselves.  Once inside, recycling themselves (and their beliefs) in the sanitation system, the ecological health, not to the mention mental health, of the planet would rebound, which would benefit greatly the general public health.

January 29, 2007 - Just in time to avert a "health disaster", federal cavalry rescues rotund Rover - Another absurd "just say yes to drugs" story, as the FDA has announces approval of the first drug for obese dogs.

Let us ignore the fact that, generally, overweight is easily prevented in dogs by simply feeding them as the vet advises and making sure they get lots of exercise. Don't have the time and will to take care of your pet properly? Don't get one. But what do we know? Modern Public Health can fix every lifestyle problem with a handy pill and a quick swallow.

December 4, 2006  - Red alert! Farts pollute more than car tailpipes ! - How far are we going on the path opened by fraudulent antitobacco propaganda! Here is a piece about the UN FAO, accusing farts of being a mayor cause of global warming. The implications are more far-reaching than what the article lets on, for the improvements suggested by the FAO will not be enough to "remedy" the situation. Why? Because for environmentalist and healthist nihilists the only valid number in the universe in zero. It is also a very safe number because it can't ever be reached - and that guarantees endless public funding, trash science production, propaganda and lots of personal gain. It is conceivable that human farts will be next. In fact, a rapid guess calculation à la multifactorial antismoking epidemiology suggests that 6 billion humans are capable of "polluting" the planet with 2.4 million cubic metres of farts each year, equivalent to over 55 million cubic metres of CO2. Add to that the production of about 130 million tons of faeces, and understanding the devastating damage we are doing becomes easy because the numbers are big! What's coming, then? Health campaigns, taxation that doubles the cost of meat, diet impositions and all kind of nagging and persecution -- and what about divorce lawsuits and fights for parental custody based on passive fart exposures? John Banzhaff should consider that immediately; and as each of us has an anus, imagine the profits! Go on, keep on thinking that we are exaggerating... that was done when, since ten years ago, we warned about smoking ban epidemics and upcoming prohibition, too - and now everybody is appalled. Why? What we said was not taken seriously to begin with. Enjoy the results and your denial: it's easier and risk-free that way.

October 16 - Health ministry operatives believe their own therapeutic state BS - Freud's out, crystals too - what's a sucker gonna do? Even British health secretary Patricia Hewitt and her civil servants - even some people at Number 10, according to this report -- have embraced the new health nostrum of "life coaching" - at tax-payer's expense! If you don't want to take mood-altering drugs, if the traditional and largely discredited analyst's couch seems too square, but you just have to get the buzz that comes from getting "therapy" -- you can get a life coach. And if you work for the government, maybe it's even free! Better yet, become a life coach! At the top end, you might reel in £200 an hour helping someone to better mental, spiritual and all round health just by typing a warm, inspirational message into an email and pressing the send button. No qualifications required. Woo-hoo! So the next time someone from the British government starts rattling your cage over smoking, give them the respect they're due ... these folks are serious and credible!

October 1, 2006  - Gore blames smoking for global warming! ( more here and here from Cleating The Air ) - Wacky Gore must have been smoking something - but it wasn't tobacco. No need for any further comment: Gore speaks for himself.

August 28, 2006  - Keith Richards public tobacco use shocker!   ... and more here - Once in awhile, you can be really shocked by someone you think you know well. It's been decades since Keith Richards (pictured right in a recent public appearance) burst onto the scene with his well-known brand of fun, clean, folksy family entertainment. So who would have dreamed that this veteran youth role model had an ugly underside? Disappointed fans in Scotland recently had the shock of their lives when "our Keith" appeared onstage smoking cigarettes . And not just one, according to reports. Of course, an investigation has been started and charges may be laid, and none too soon if we have our way. Too bad the law is so lax on this stuff. Another illusion shattered, another hero gone.

Keith Richards

August 24, 2006  - Diluted smoke shows magical properties in the Bahamas - "Second hand smoke releases the same 4,000 chemicals as smoke that is directly inhaled, but in even greater quantity," Bahamas Health Minister Bernard Nottage recently observed.

Could you run that by us again, doc?...

In seeking to offer a "scientific" argument for his government's new anti-smoking drive, the health minister of this laid-back island instead proved -- with direct evidence -- that rum punches consumed under a strong sun are linked with a decline in cerebral functioning.

April 22, 2006 - Measuring up - Trust the grant junkies in efficient Hong Kong to bore straight to the meat of the things.  While the perverts who perform the anti-tobacco alchemy of turning junk into gold touch ever so delicately on the earthshaking issue of smoking and sexuality , the researchers in Hong Kong are up front about their fascination with male genitalia. 

What nationality is hung like a horse?  The Italians of course!  Demonstrating the potency of mountains of pasta, the Italians have the longest average male member on the planet, followed closely by the Americans but far outstripping the Filipinos. 

The size study, conducted to disprove the nasty rumor that Asian men are less endowed than the lusty westerners, dealt only with flaccid penises.  More study is necessary to determine whether full erections, springing as they do from both the sausage and accordion types, erase all national insecurities.  Anti-tobacco voyeurs, send in those résumés!

March 27, 2006 - Wisps of smoke on the freeway - At some point the elite little community of Calabasas California will cease to be the butt of jokes but that day is far off as absurdities pile on absurdities as its anti-smoking law is closely examined.  The good city fathers graciously do allow smokers to smoke in their cars but only if all windows are securely shut.  Can't have any of that tobacco smoke imperil the numbskulls who live in Calabasas even though pollution from the car itself dwarfs the "pollution" created by a burning cigarette by millions to one.  Witch doctors rule in today's California.

March 1, 2006 - Tater Tots or heart attack express - Extrapolating data from Action on Smoking and Health indicates that 30 minutes of Tater Tot ingestion can cause a heart attack, even in those not at risk!  The social upheaval in eliminating these deadly treats must be stoically endured.  Beneath the absurdity there is good information about endothelial dysfunction, the heart of ASH's hysteria.

January 24, 2005 - A night at the opera courtesy of the Marx Brothers -   Picture it:  We're in Vienna and are at the Opera Ball, the highlight of the social season.  The revelers are resplendent in their evening wear, the jewels glitter and the gowns are to die for.  The socially prominent, and those hoping to climb the social ladder, lift a glass from the silver tray extended by a waiter clad in black tie, extract a cigarette from a silver case and come face to face with a medical adviser from the Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists who wags his finger disapprovingly, snatches the cigarette and replaces it with a vulgar, plastic nicotine inhaler.  

Many opera aficionados, unhappy with their city's descent into Santa Monica territory,  are demanding that the opera director, the architect of this rude smoking ban, be terminated.  Releasing the hounds on him, unfortunately, is no longer the custom but Herr Opera Director may find that his devotion to the pharmaceuticals at the expense of the generous donors is a career move that may cost him his head.

November 25, 2003 -   New York City; Sophisticates Need Not Apply -   She said no one was seen smoking when the inspectors made their unannounced visits, but that the presence of ashtrays and the absence of no-smoking signs represented a violation of the ban. The prohibition, which was instituted citywide in April, makes smoking in an office against the law.  

Beth Kseniak, a spokeswoman for Vanity Fair, would say only, "We are a no-smoking building, and we have instructed the staff to adhere to the rules." That would presumably include Mr. Carter, who did not want to discuss the matter on the telephone.

But he sent an e-mail message. "I find Mayor Bloomberg's smoking laws to be nothing short of asinine and their enforcement to be nothing short of harassment," he wrote. DAVID CARR

Once upon a time New York City was a brilliant and wonderful place. Millions of people, rich and poor, old and young, quiet and lively, lived in very different manners and ways, all together there. They got along together, because they liked being different and varied, and when their city suffered an airplane attack, they got along even better. The biggest jet airplanes in all of the world crashed into the tallest skyscraper buildings in all of New York, and burned them, and crushed them. Amidst great gray plumes of grit and smoke, as big as the city itself, and terrible cascades of concrete, and worse, the people kept calm, helped each other, and learned a great truth from shared horror. They had always loved New York, but now they knew, they loved each other. Skies cleared, and the people resolved, to go on living in greater brotherhood. Then one day an evil troll, with pockets full of hoarded gold, emerged from a hollowed-out tree in Central Park. He missed the horror in the air and wanted it back for all time. So he bought the throne to the city, and cast a fearful spell on the people, telling them they would all die, if ever the tiniest puff of smoke appeared again, in their city. Small as was the troll, he hoped the shadow of fear he cast against the city's sky, would darken it as it had never been darkened before, even from the terrible airplane attack. Then the people would never again feel bright or lively. They would become so frightened, of everything and everyone, they could not love each other anymore. But the people were too smart for the trickster troll. They called his evil reign "harassment," and said the evil troll was "asinine," then prepared to banish the nasty little troll from New York, so to make the great city brilliant and wonderful, once again, and forevermore. The end.

November 10, 2003 - Intimate Wear, Anti-smoking Style - It won't be showing up on the runways of Milan or in the boutiques on Rodeo Drive but a cutting edge turning point in haute couture was attained in the design salons in Japan.

To provide just that right note of responsible trendiness, Triumph International has unleashed intimate apparel that reeks of political correctness.  Literally reeks since the new bra line squirts a fragrance that aids the responsible woman in her quest for excellent health.  Lavender, jasmine and other sweet odors emanating from the bra will, according to the designers, lower the desire to have a cigarette.  To reinforce that healthy message the underwear also includes cunning visuals that will cool down the desire for sinful smokiness.  What the labels will do for the ardor of significant others is unaddressed by the news story.  To view the nonsmoking panty and bra ensemble, click on the link below.

October 23, 2003 - Crafty Burgers Lure The Unsuspecting Into Gluttony -Call out the cops and set up a dragnet.  Dangerous fast food is on the loose.  Two grant junkies have penetrated the fog of misunderstanding surrounding the epidemic of obesity.  It's not, as we have long been told, the amoral, money-grubbing food corporations that are seducing the population into scarfing down unhealthy burgers and fries.  It's the burgers and fries themselves that are pulling the strings!

Prohibitionists and social engineers know that inanimate objects hold a potent power that can turn individuals into automatons programmed to misbehave.  When smoking is prohibited the prohibitionists specify that the ashtrays must be destroyed, or at least confined out of sight, lest these little glass objects hypnotize smokers into violating the ban.  Now it can be told that fast food, through the use of something the researchers call energy density "throws the brain's appetite control system into confusion."  That confusion leads to gluttony, which costs society hundreds of billions of dollars per year.  The course is clear.  Devious fast food criminals must be destroyed before they terminate us.  Bring out the big guns.  Rid the planet of these manipulative fiends.

August 15, 2003 - The Losing Fight To Ward Off Withdrawal From Secondhand Smoke - A former inmate of the Santa Fe County jail in New Mexico filed a suit against the facility claiming he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because he was forced to breathe the secondhand smoke of his fellow inmates.  The jail bird, now serving time in a federal facility, claims he lost a major portion of lung capacity and can be expected to become fully disabled.  Although he smoked before doing time in the county jail and even smoked during his stay, the lack of smoking restrictions are to blame.

Roberts claims in the suit he had not smoked cigarettes for over seven years prior to being admitted at the Santa Fe County jail. After about 75 days of exposure to high levels of secondhand smoke, Roberts started smoking one to five cigarettes a day to "ward off the withdrawal symptoms," according to the lawsuit.

Proving that there is a fine line between the convicts and their keepers, Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano wants the county to change the jail's smoking policy and make it a smoke-free facility, both for inmates and guards.

Solano said that in addition to cutting down on the health risk to inmates and employees, adopting a no-smoking policy also might cut down on the amount of illegal drugs that is brought into the facility, because inmates will instead focus on trying to smuggle in cigarettes.

Please keep both these lunatics off the street.  There's plenty of nuts out here already.

June 26, 2003
Anti-smoking Hallucinations Breaking Out In Microsoft Land   - On the back of the April 7 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine is an advertisement showing a woman with her head tilted back and cigarette smoke seeping from between her lips.  The smoke forms an "s." Its curves lead the eye toward the top of the page, where a green light peeks out from behind a black sphere.

According to Jerry De Pinto, a career and technical-education teacher in the Bellevue School District, there's an "x" hidden in the light that is similar to the logo of Microsoft's Xbox video-game console.

Further, this teacher, whom parents should scrutinize very closely, whipped up the nerds and produced a video that accuses RJR of targeting minors with cigarette ads.  He has sent his work of art to state attorney general, Christine "Queen of Nicotine" Gregoire and the American Lung Association.  

Microsoft wisely refused comment since the Salem ad that De Pinto says rips off the Xbox image uses a logo developed years before the video game was developed.  If that is the case it is more likely that Microsoft ripped off the Salem image.  More likely, that is, if one enjoys strolling down conspiracy lane.

May 13, 2003 Death By Chanel No. 5 -Exasperated by her shiftless husband's stinginess, a Florida woman exacted a revenge most terrible.  Dousing herself and her young daughter in perfume, the 36-year-old wife paraded before her chemically sensitive husband callously spraying shots of Lysol and burning scented candles.  Clouds of bug spray completed the scene of horror.

Strangely the husband survived the assault and filed a complaint against his younger wife.  He has produced a letter from his doctor "confirming" that he suffers extreme chemical sensitivity, "including all fragrances, air fresheners and other volatile chemicals," and that his wife was aware of his condition.  The wife's lawyer counters that the husband is "a faker." 

December 12, 2002 -
Call Me A Suit-Happy Litigant, Will You?  I'll Sue ! -The venerable "60 Minutes" crew roused themselves from the torpor of slamming tobacco and feting has-been entertainers and betook themselves to Jefferson County in Mississippi.  Known in legal circles as a haven for jackpot justice, the county routinely is sought out by trial lawyers bent on carving slices off corporations.  

"60 Minutes" actually performed a rare public service bringing the tort shenanigans rampant in Jefferson County to light.  Although particularly egregious, Jefferson County is by no means unique and while the number of cases and the amounts awarded to plaintiffs there are extreme, the county is representative of the tort disease that is ruining this country.

Within the "60 Minutes" segment a plaintiff who won money in a non jury settlement against a obesity drug manufacturer joked that Jefferson County juries are so generous because they feel as if they will get a cut of the award.  Ha ha, we're all in this together in Jefferson County.

After the piece was aired two men, jurors on two different cases where a combined total of $300-million had been awarded to plaintiffs, quivered in outrage when they heard the cavalier theory posed by the fat plaintiff about the big-bucks awarded by Jefferson County jurors.  Although the slur, if it was such, was uttered by one of the winners of jackpot justice and not "60 Minutes", the two jurors have sued the national television network.  Deep pockets, of course, have nothing to do with it.  It's surely just a matter of honor.  Honor among thieves, perhaps.

October 31, 2002 - Protecting the public... from a tobacco-crazed fireman! The driver had been driving erratically in a car that was not his.  After being stopped by a state trooper in Springfield Massachusetts, crack cocaine, as well as other drugs, were found in the car.  The young driver was also smoking a cigarette.  He is a city firefighter.

Springing to attention, the city terminated the firefighter's employment on the spot, but not for driving recklessly, nor for the crack cocaine found in the car.  The city of Springfield doesn't mess around with public safety.  The firefight lost his job because he was smoking a cigarette.

Smoking, an adult pleasure available to everyone else, is forbidden to the firefighters of Massachusetts.  He joins a police officer who was sacked for smoking on the job.  To its credit, the firefighter's union is challenging the termination.  Meanwhile the citizens of Massachusetts can sleep easier knowing that a tobacco smoker is off the ranks of the fire department.

August 17, 2002 - Checking in your luggage and checking out your brain waves - 'Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have told Northwest Airlines security specialists that the agency is developing brain-monitoring devices...

Space technology would be adapted to receive and analyze brain-wave and heartbeat patterns, then feed that data into computerized programs "to detect passengers who potentially might pose a threat," according to briefing documents obtained by The Washington Times.'

Boy, that sure will save the airlines bacon!  Along with enduring the long lines, intrusive searches, random probes and whimsical wanderings, passengers will have their brain-waves extracted and run through a database prepared by the same people who have made air travel the joy it is today. With the irritation level at airports reaching the bursting point, brain and heart readings are sure to finger at least 70 percent of the passengers as having all the signs and symptoms of a homicidal maniac.

This zany proposal is typical of a government that eschews simple solutions in favor of Star Trek gadgetry.  Allowing smoking in all terminals in every airport will simplify the screening process significantly as smokers stay put, puffing their cigarettes in contentment, spending their money while not leaving the secured areas to make a dash outdoors for a smoke.  Keeping the passengers inside will free up the screeners to actually do some real screening.  Bring back the ashtrays and tell NASA to fly to the moon.

April 23, 2002 - High taxes produce happy smiles - Okay greedy politicians, hike the tobacco tax to even greater heights!  Smokers love it.  They higher the tax the happier they are.  Not only are smokers ugly and the walking dead, they also are hard core masochists who want to be swatted harder.

Two MIT economists have a great future in writing satire if their recent study concluding that smokers are better off the higher the cigarette tax is representative of their inventiveness.  Not only are smokers forced to quit because of high prices, thereby launching themselves onto the path of blessedness but even those stubborn smokers who persist on puffing the overpriced smokes are happier than if cigarettes cost what they are worth.  As these to jokers note:

In the United States, for example, the data indicated that each penny of tax reduced smokers' unhappiness by 0.156 percentage points, and a 50-cent tax rate might make smokers just as happy as non-smokers.

This is brilliance worthy of Jonathan Swift and rivals his treatise advocating eating babies to solve the hunger problem in 17th century Ireland.  Keep it up boys.  Measuring happiness in percentiles is pure genius.

April 5, 2002 - Suckers for the suckers - "Hundreds of independent druggists across the country are producing suckers under brand names such as NicoStop, NicoPop and Likatine-all spiked with nicotine, and all produced off the radar screen of the Food and Drug Administration. The high-octane pops, in flavors such as cherry, grape, apricot, and tequila sunrise, are the latest attempt to quench America's craving for nicotine and the dopamine buzz it provides."

Since the adults in this country prefer being treated like unruly children, craving a sharp rap on the knuckles delivered by a caring, yet firm, governess, it's only to be expected that guilty smokers are flocking to the candy store for a lollipop laced with nicotine to substitute for the cigarette Big Momma has forbidden.  Now the overgrown boobs can sneak a smoke in the boys' room and hide the evidence with the syrupy scent of candy with a buzz. 

Adding a double dose of absurdity is the outcry from the anti-tobacco groups that front for Big Drugs.  The suckers are dangerous, they screech.  Kids will get them and become addicted to nicotine!

Demonstrating that they have done their homework, the druggists counter that at $2 or $3 a pop, the suckers are too expensive for kids.  Turning one of anti-tobacco's key talking points -- make cigarettes so expensive that kids can't buy them -- to their advantage, the nico-sucker entrepreneurs have succeeded in riling up Congressman Henry Waxman, vigilant watchdog of pharmaceutical profits.  He has fired off an angry letter to the federal health department demanding a crackdown on the candy.  No one but Big Drug must be allowed to make a buck off nicotine.

March 13, 2002 - States invest tobacco settlements in... tobacco stocks! - First the state steals billions of dollars from the tobacco companies (read: from the smokers who pay for the settlement through inflated cigarette prices). Strike up the band! The government, acting for the beleaguered people, has scored a victory of the forces of darkness! And where does the money go? A good hunk of it, it turns out, gets reinvested in good old, reliable tobacco stocks. And if you're surprised by that, you must be a newcomer to the FORCES readership.

"The whole settlement agreement is nothing but a collusion between the states and the tobacco companies," observes Bob Levy, Bob Levy, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Given that the tobacco settlement swindle represents the "largest new revenue streams in state history," according to an investment research organization, why isn't the voting public taking a keen interest in following the money trail? Too busy playing video games perhaps, fully convinced that the white-coated forces of tobacco control are selfless guardians of everyone's best interest. Time for the public to wake up, look around, and start getting angry.

March 14, 2002 - Spring break, Health Reich style - Instead of dancing the night away on the beaches of Cancun or Florida, the hot new vernal revels, according to the nannies, will include socially responsible activities and alcohol-free events run by progressive universities.  Spurred by recent, and immediately debunked, figures that proclaim an epidemic of underage drinking, the mainstream media sprang into action plastering overwrought "news" reports about the dangers of spring break in the papers

Marching in lock step with the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, the American Medical Association is wringing its hands over the annual rite of college Spring Break. The AMA takes a dim view of all that partying and wants it to stop so it is taking on the alcohol and tourism industries for their "reckless promotion of alcohol as a key component of spring break".

In addition to advocating curbs on alcohol advertising, the AMA is working with colleges to devise progressive alternatives, such as community service and alcohol-free events, to the traditional spring break. Needless to say the 23-campus California State University is the first university system "to institute a systemwide alcohol policy, focusing on education, restricting alcohol advertisements on campus and strict enforcement of existing drinking laws".

Also, needless to say, California rates a big fat zero on the spring break circuit with students there preferring Las Vegas or even Lake Havasu, Arizona, let alone the flesh pots of Florida and Cancun, to fun in the Health Reich.

In an overwrought news story parroting the AMA's concerns, The San Francisco Chronicle ludicrously implies that alternatives to the sun/booze/sex spring break of yore, such as cooking for the homeless are growing in popularity.  Can community sings and quilting bees be far behind?

December 19, 2001 - Nicotine patch dad gets his kids back - For anyone who still doesn't believe that the anti-smoking campaigns of the last few years have become insane hysteria, check out this story from New York. Seems a man there admitted to having fantasies of violence against his family, and as a result, was required by a court order to move out of the family home. A medical report linked his state of mind to nicotine withdrawal and/or the use of a nicotine patch; now a higher court has overturned the original decision. Remember the "twinkie defense" and PMS madness? Every time there's a trendy health alert, some lawyer and his client is ready to use it as a defence for violent behaviour - or, in this case, thoughts of violent behaviour.

December 11, 2001 -
Hot sex, hotter smokes - A saga of underage debauchery, adult wantonness, academic corruption and vehicular malfeasance was brought to an end by a cigarette and the alert intervention of a schoolhouse security guard.  It wasn't that 43-year-old middle school teacher Beth Friedman was conducting an affair with her 15-year-old student.  It wasn't that Friedman rewarded the boy's ardor with money, jewelry and drugs.  It wasn't that Friedman let the unlicensed boy lover drive them to school.  It wasn't that  Friedman did homework for the boy, transforming a mediocre student, until his hidden talents surfaced under her firm guidance, into a whiz kid in History.  What tripped up the horny couple was the boy's unspeakable crime of smoking a cigarette on school property.

``I felt very uncomfortable about it,'' testified the security guard. ``It's against the law to smoke within 1,000 feet of a school''  Labeling smoking as "inappropriate", the guard confronted Friedman and the story of lust was exposed.

Friedman faces 76 years for indecent assault, sexual relations with a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a child.  To ensure leniency, Friedman had better throw herself on the mercy of the court and promise to travel the state preaching the evils and  inappropriateness of smoking. 

September 15, 2001 -
Smoking causes lesbianism! - The effects of prenatal stress, and of prenatal alcohol and nicotine exposure, on human sexual orientation - Prediction: tomorrow's antismoking spin will discreetly play to homophobic fears - Gosh, the mass-production of junk science against smoking is so intense, we have hard time keeping up! Here is a real gem for you. Fresh from Minot State University in frozen North Dakota, great revelations sure to chill the blood of women who smoke. Your maternal smoking COULD be affecting the sexual orientation of your child! According to the "scientific" data (that is, responses to interviews, conducted god-knows-how), your furtive cigarette breaks during pregnancy could be contributing to the production of full-blown hobnailed-booted lesbian offspring! Of course, the anti-smoking propagandists won't present it quite THAT way -- they understand the limits of political correctness. But they also know how to push the buttons of public emotion, and we bet that the opportunity to "spin" this nonsense to harness latent homophobia in the service of their cause will be too tempting to resist. Who funded this junk science gem? For serious scientific information about smoking and pregnancy, click here .

Smoking causes broken bones! - ... and here is something that not even shrill ASH has the guts to spend! Enjoy..."Need a few more reasons to quit smoking? How about weak bones and a nagging backache? If the risks to your cardiovascular system and the specter of cancer aren't inspiration enough to snuff out that butt, evidence now shows that smoking has negative effects on your entire skeletal system." Follow junk science statistics and disease associations, and then the punch line: " There's no question that kicking the habit is the way to go. If you or a loved one smoke, no one needs to tell you that -- you already know, and chances are, you've tried to quit. But before you give up and say that you can't do it, try just once more. Today, there are new drugs and new therapies available to ease withdrawal symptoms and make your next attempt to quit your very last. Ask you doctor for help, and check out WebMD's Smoking Cessation Center today."

Isn't that a sales pic for Big Pharma, or what?! The first question you should actually ask your doctor is: " How many perks do you get from the pharmaceutical industry ?" Second, ask how many non-pharma-funded studies he/she has personally read about smoking; third, if you want the straight story about smoking and heart, click here ; if you want to know how much the pharma industry pays the medical associations to lie about smoking, click here ; if you want the straight story about smoking and osteoporosis, click here ; for the BS about addiction, click here .Finally, relax, light up a smoke and pour yourself a drink; just don't choke on it while laughing.

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