Thursday, July 16, 2009

Comments on The Belmont Club,
"Smoke gets in your eyes"


The logic behind refusing the condemned man a cigarette should not be because of concern for their health but rather over the possible effects of second hand smoke on the prison staff. That is the same logic behind banning smoking in restaurants and bars. It is claimed to be a measure to protect the staff. Those arguments do not work for me in regard to a private business where it should be up to the owner to balance the benefits of welcoming different customer groups, some will like a ban and others will not, and the costs or benefits of different HR policies in recruiting employees. Since the government owns the prison I have less trouble with a ban in that location. Similarly I would find it more justifiable for a legislature to pass a ban on smoking on the publicly owned sidewalks then in a private establishment.

When my father was in the Army the order given when they took a break on a march across Africa or Italy was "Smoke 'em if you got 'em." Dad told me that he quit smoking for a New Year's Resolution in 1946. Some decades later I thought that would be a nice thing to do myself as a mark of respect to him. The problem was that I did not smoke so I had to take up the habit so that I could get the moral benefit of quitting.

Ladies and Gentlemen I have found the key to shedding a bad habit. I am cheap (my real first name is from Scotland) and pretentious. Naturally I would not smoke cheap cigarettes like Lucky Strikes. As an aside though Luckies do have a history. The original label had a green circle made with a magnesium based dye. The label was changed to red as part of a big advertising campaign, "Lucky Strike Goes to War." The war effort probably benefitted by the addition of enough magnesium to make a tank.

So I found a tobacco shop under the Illinois Central tracks that sold Balkan Sobranies. They came in a metal tin with ten cigarettes each. The cost was $1 to $1.25 per tin. Since I was a poor college student I could not afford to keep up the habit.

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Getting seasick is a noncareer enhancing condition in an Ensign.
My first ship was still in port and I was on the bridge when a Mustang came over to me puffing his cigar.
What's the matter son? You're looking kinda green.

I barely made it to the bucket back in the Combat Information Center (CIC).

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