“I wish I could go back to the early 60’s.”  Jack’s watching The Dick Van Dyke Show again (he has a thing for Mary Tyler Moore’s boobs).  “Smoking was glamorous back then.”

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Jack avatar

Apparently he is not a sprite after all (note the lack of wings).  He is an elf.  I am glad that I have been alerted to this incompatibility.  Look how happy he is, though, smoking underneath the magic mushroom.  And when Jack is happy, I am happy.

 

I drew this picture years ago and just found it in a pile of old papers and craft supplies in the basement.  It does look kind of ancient and runic, no?  Like something found in a battered leather-bound tome?   OK, I’m just really disorganized and delusional.  But I wanted to share it.  I hope it brings a bit of delight to your day.

I awoke at 3am, and got up out of bed to enjoy the best part of the day: the time just before dawn, when all the crepuscular creatures are partying.  I love dawn, just before the sun comes up.

 

Once it was light enough outside, I went out on the porch- I have a great second-story porch with a decent view, and a tree that envelops it on two sides (which a previous very naughty cat used as an occasional escape route).  Now, Sheba has an obsession with the porch.  If there is any indication of an about-to be-open door- say, Jack goes out to enjoy a delicious Marlboro, or what have you-  Sheba will run out making a particular meow, used only for this situation. Kind of an urgent triple meow.  It has to mean something specific.  Is it simply “Hey, ma, I’m going out now?”  Is it “OMG, now’s my chance to climb down that lilac tree?”  Is it, “proximity to birds is imminent and my dream of burping feathers like Sylvester will finally come to fruition?”  Because, it’s almost like a “wow!  Wow!  WOW!”

 

Somehow Sheba- who was a wild cat in her younger days, and I will never know exactly what all happened to her, except that it involved five adorable kittens (who clearly all had the same babydaddy)- knows the boundary is not to be breached.  This porch has cat-width railings and she could certainly jump if she had the desire.   But when I tell her “No!”  she knows.  I stopped watching her so obsessively too, as she earned my trust; a couple times I even forgot she was out there for a couple hours, and then found her just lying down, in bliss, or curiously sniffing everywhere birds had been- bliss, again; or just rubbing on the railings- all pure, feline, delighted bliss.

punk rock restroom

punk rock restroom

Somehow I end up taking a lot of pictures in public restrooms.  IDK why.

Jack and I went to a show and I forgot we could still smoke inside.  It was a weird cognitive dissonance.

While I am on the topic of smoking, I wanted to relate it to another “freedom” topic that is on everyone’s mind today, with the CA vote and all.  It reminded me of some dialog from Taxi Driver, one of my all-time favorite movies (I edited out some offensive language, but some remains).

“Wizard: Then I picked up these two fags, you know. They’re goin’ downtown. They’re wearing these rhinestone t-shirts. And they start arguin’. They start yellin’. The other says: ‘You b***h.’…I say: ‘Look, I don’t care what you do in the privacy of your own home behind closed doors – this is an American free country, we got a pursuit of happiness thing, you’re consenting, you’re adult. BUT, you know, uh, you know, in my f***ing cab, don’t go bustin’ heads, you know what I mean? God love you, do what you want.’
Dough Boy: Tell ’em to go to California, ’cause out in California when two fags split up, one’s got to pay the other one alimony.
Wizard: Not bad. Ah, they’re way ahead out there, you know in California. So I had to tell ’em to get out of the f***n’ cab.”

Indeed, that is the prevailing wisdom: that I am supposed to let homosexuals enjoy the lifestyle they want, if it’s “behind closed doors,” consensual, adult, etc.  OK, I can buy that. 

But then let me smoke where you’re not going to go anyway.

Logic, yes?

I am very displeased that my state passed a smoking ban.  I don’t even smoke.  I don’t like the smell of it, the taste of it, the cost of it.  Yet, I feel that banning it in public places like restaurants and, especially, bars, is a slap in the face of capitalism and personal freedom.

Ok: I walk into a bar.  Chances are, I expect to see drinking and other adult behavior.  I don’t expect puppies, kittens, or butterflies.  I can use my freedom of choice here.  I can choose to enter a bar, pay a cover charge possibly, and most likely buy a drink or two in a bar that is “nice,” with clean bathrooms, a non-sticky floor, and general pleasant atmosphere; I can choose a different bar with a deafening punk band and a different milieu.  I can, in 2009, choose a non-smoking bar- and many people do.  Customers vote with their dollars and these days, non-smoking establishments are preferred by many.  That is a person’s right.  Jack and I often go to a fish fry at a terribly smoky restaurant up the street.  Everyone there with few exceptions smokes.  A series of choices has led each one of them there- our regular waitress, the bartender in his leather vest, the old lady at the slot machine in the vestibule.  Not a single one of them seems coerced in any way.  One could argue that the habit of smoking itself is its own shackle, but I will get to that in a moment.

Now, I do not walk into a tavern where the band is playing “both kinds” of music- country and Western- and ask why they don’t have an AC-DC cover band that night.  It’s a goddam country bar.  Likewise, I don’t walk into a non-smoking bar and light up. 

My real feeling is that addictions are complicated.  They serve some purpose in a person’s life, some real need, some underlying uuuuuh of dissatisfaction.  Now, addiction to alcohol is a very serious matter.  Drunk driving is a huge problem in this state, has been for many years- white crosses covered with plastic flowers decorate every highway.  Alcoholism ruins marriages, tears families apart, destroys lives- though alcohol in moderation alleviates pain both mental and physical.  Smoking is, I am told, a more difficult addiction to break free from- but it still does not have the far-reaching effects of alcohol addiction, or even Vicodin addiction.

It is 2009.  Fewer teens and young  adults smoke than ever.  Smoking has long been banned in corporate environments.  It is considered unattractive, undesirable; smoke-free restaurants and bars abound.  A ban is unnecessary and un-Capitalist, and will only be the start in the slippery slope of banning more of the freedoms which we Americans cherish.