The End Of The World
Week 13

James Leavey's


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By James Leavey

Week 13, unlucky for some. Especially the quarter of the world's mammals who face extinction within 30 years, according to a recent United Nations study on the state of the global environment. Or to put it another way, that's 11,046 species of plants and animals, including 1,130 mammals - 24 per cent of the total, and 12 per cent, or 1,183 species of birds. They'll probably blame it all on passive smoking.

Maybe it's time the world's politicians and scientists sat down, fired up a few Havanas, and sorted the bloody mess out. For this is when you need every device that can boost the brain cells, and smoking, whatever some people think of it, certainly does that, witness all the great people who enjoyed the habit over the centuries: Sir Walter Raleigh, Charles Dickens, JRR Tolkien, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Presidents Kennedy, Clinton and George W Bush, Sir Winston Churchill, Prince Harry, Madonna and Bugs Bunny (oh yes he did!), to name but a few.

Remember the old days when the man or woman facing a firing squad was offered a last cigarette" Well, they stopped all that a few years ago, on the grounds that it was bad for the poor condemned bastard. As a member of

a race, i.e. human, also facing extinction due to its being selfish, easily provoked and given to uttering sponsored nonsense about the evils of tobacco, I think it's time the governments of the world handed out boxes of fine stogies to those of us who still have the balls to smoke them. Our job, i.e. the smokers, will be to savour those cigars for as long as possible, for the world surely wouldn't end until the last stub has died out in the radioactive ashtray previously known as the planet Earth.

Why an ashtray, and why radioactive" Think of long-range nuclear missiles, India, Pakistan, Israel, the rest of the Middle East, China, the USA, Russia, and dear old Britain, who have stockpiled loads of the Havana-shaped angels of death, and the terrifying possibility of there being at least one misguided lunatic among that lot - probably a former smoker still suffering from withdrawal symptoms - who'd press the button on some pretext or other.And you wonder why people like me have developed a single malts and long-filler cigars habit.

Enough of the doom and gloom, for now. It's time to pour another slug of Oban, unload my humidor - which has swing doors, I'm in and out of it so often, and make my favourite toast: To Mankind. It can only get better.

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