Big Antismoking

I didn’t know there was such a huge business involved in hating smokers. There is a National Centre For Training Life Controlling Busybodies.

Yes, they make their living training arseholes to be bigger arseholes and spewing hate and lies about 20% of the population.

The have a section on Electrofag too. Basically, reducing your smoking with occasional use of Electrofag is not considered a good thing. You must stop completely so you can not-enjoy the rest of your miserable existence on this overtaxed and over-controlled world.

Your life, you see, isn’t yours. It belongs to people who have no life.

They don’t care about smokers. We are cattle to them. We are how they make money and they do not want us to stop smoking. Like ASH and all the others, they want to keep nagging at us and keep the money flowing.

If we all stopped buying tobacco, all of these people would be out of a job. It is not in their interests to succeed in their stated aims, it is in their interests to keep piling more and more shit on the smokers (and vapers, you guys needn’t get smug) but not actually making them stop.

It’s a hate machine and it has more and more adherents every day.

Soon I will have a garden again. And a greenhouse.

Tobacco is very easy to grow, and (currently) legal too.

Sugar: It’s a kind of food, you know?

Once when I was a child I had a sugar sandwich. Two slices of buttered bread with a layer of sugar in between. Much to the disgust of every one of my relatives, and even though it was actually pretty horrible, I ate the whole thing. I’d asked for it, was given it, and have never been able to back down from a challenge. Especially not one I’d set myself.

It was a one off. I never asked for another and couldn’t even think of eating one now. Don’t try this at home, it’s really not worth it.

People say there was less sugar around in the ‘old days’. Cobblers. There was loads of it. Real sugar was easy to get and desserts were pretty much made of it. Candy floss and sugar mice – yes, a mouse shape made entirely from sugar with a string tail. I remember those. Probably cost me a couple of teeth later, but worth it.

Aniseed balls, blackjacks, fruit salad sweets that had not been so much as introduced to a fruit or a salad, even sweet cigarettes. Toffee slabs that came with a hammer so you could crack the damn thing to make a start on it, and then we kids got the hammer afterwards as a play tool or just for throwing at each other.

There was plenty of sugar around. Everyone took sugar in tea, a friend of mine liked five spoonfuls in each cup and he developed into something that resembled the Hulk. I mean the Lou Ferrigno Hulk, not the Cyril Smith melted version. Didn’t do him any harm.

Plenty of fat in our diets too. Everything was deep fried and not in vegetable oil. In a big pan of melted lard. Chips did not go in the oven. The slices of fresh potato went straight in the hot lard. Then we covered them -and I mean covered them – in salt and a sprinkle of vinegar.

I still drink a little vinegar now and then. I like it, always have. Malt vinegar, naturally, not that clear crap.

There were a few fat kids around, but not many. There might be a few more around now but really, not many. When I start work at 4 pm, I run the gauntlet of feral groin fruits as they emerge from school and lose all the civilisation and obedience the teachers spent so much effort instilling in them. They are mostly wiry and fast and hard to hit on the road. I need a better car.

Maybe a tractor with bale spikes. Hey kids, kebab time…

I don’t think this childhood obesity is a real thing at all. If it was half as bad as claimed, the planet would have tilted on its axis by now. They skew it by testing the 10-11 year olds. I was a seriously chubby 11 year old. By the time I was 13 I could have rivalled catwalk models for being the closest thing to being alive and not actually visible edge on.

I have to find that photo of me on holiday in Spain at 13. Dressed in Goth black with a black sombrero, I looked just like a carpet tack.

Kids are supposed to chubby up between 9 and 11. It’s the body loading up for the puberty growth spurt. I suspect the anti-food brigade are well aware of this and they probably realise that by keeping kids skinny at that age, they will stunt their growth and make them into feeble and easily controlled worker drones for the future.

Maybe parents now hide their fat kids in basements and attic rooms, safe in the knowledge they can’t leave until they are slim enough to get through an average sized door.

Yes, okay, kids now spend more time developing thumb callouses with their phones and playing video games that make them think they’re tough while they’re really getting weaker. Okay, they aren’t allowed to do the things we did like climbing trees and wandering the woods and bringing lizards home in jars and tadpoles in our wellies. They aren’t allowed to hunt each other with airguns or throw toffee hammers at each other while shouting ‘I am Thor!’

Must be dull being a kid now. Even the comics are sanitised. I saw a Beano recently. What the Hell happened to that?

You would think Gubblement would have realised by now that ‘childhood obesity’ is entirely their fault. They won’t let kids do anything any more. They reduce the waist size they consider obese and they refuse to let kids do what kids have always done – burn off energy by being little buggers. They’d burn off a lot of energy a lot faster if I had a tractor with baling spikes but that’s unlikely to be allowed, I feel.

We burned off a lot when adults chased us. They used to chase us all the time, usually shouting something, but adults dare not chase kids now. They’d be shot by armed police.

The solution is, of course, ban something. Regulation of people’s private lives. The commenters on that article agree – with nothing at all to back up their prejudices. They think it won’t affect them. Gradual encroachment into your private life is fine, they cannot extrapolate to where it goes from there. These idiots will call on us one day to save them.

No.

As for the Spiteful Nannying Party, well, if you’re in Scotland and you vote for them, consider this.

They do not consider you an adult. They consider you a dolt who must be controlled for your own good.

Is that how you see yourself? Is that really – I mean really – what you want to happen to your life? You really want someone telling you every detail of how you must live?

Then keep voting SNP.

You know it makes no sense.

What happened to smoking as the cause of all ills?

I’ll get the digression out of the way first. I’m hoping to move soon, to a place that is a lot bigger than here and cheaper to rent. This one is expensive because it’s very handy for commuting to Aberdeen (I never do that) and the new place is out in the wilds (my natural home).

So, like this time last year, I might be offline for a few days in October while the broadband moves. Or maybe it’ll be fast. That depends on the broadband provider. I can Bluetooth to the phone for a few days if I have to.

I have enjoyed this place. Watching the trains go by is very relaxing and living in an old railway hotel is great, but it’s up a lot of stairs and owned by fervent antismokers and the new place has a proper fireplace so no smoke buildup can happen. I could designate the greenhouse as my smoking room. It’s attached to the back door, and might one day be added to in a circular manner…

It’s also, as I said, bigger and cheaper. Pretty random construction with a most impressive garden and the creepiest driveway you have ever seen. It’s perfect.

So, I just left one period of chaos behind only to enter another. I really shouldn’t be surprised by now, should I?  All this talk of ‘Publishing? Easy, I’ll do that in a month’ was wishful thinking. I now understand why publishers never respond to anything in less than three months. It’s much more complex than I expected. Getting other people’s work ready to publish is a lot harder than just sorting my own and I have to accept I really can’t do it alone. Roobeedoo, you’re hired as an editor. We have to work out a pay system 🙂

These days, landlords are very much against smoking. It’s the money thing that pressures them into it. House insurance is cheaper if you declare the house nonsmoking. That goes for contents insurance too, so if I have the greenhouse as my smoke room and don’t smoke in the house it’ll save me money – and I still get to smoke in comfort. And no goddamn stairs.

Interestingly, the new place has a wood burning stove but insurance is okay with that. You can burn chunks of wood indoors but set fire to half a gram of leaves and you’re in big trouble. There is another fireplace in another room but it hasn’t been used for years. It’ll need a sweep. Might as well get both done, I’d be a long way from the fire station.

The new place has a flagstone floor in the older part. I’ve always wanted a flagstone floor. The stones don’t have names carved into them yet, which is a bonus. They are original, not recycled.

It was a long digression but that happens a lot here. What was the point of this post? Oh, I remember. It was to do with smoking, a recurring theme here. I’m still smoking Vikings, the Danish ones I get in Danish corner shops at half the price of the cheapest ones here. Without doors too. I also have Opal tubing baccy from my last visit so I won’t be paying for any UK ones for a while.

As a smoker, I’m feeling neglected. All the things we used to cause have moved on. We were the Grim Reapers who brought death and decay everywhere we went. Every disease, every illness was our doing. I was having fun with that. Vapers stole our thunder a little but the Righteous have moved into food now, in a big way.

Things we smokers used to cause are now blamed on food.

I feel let down. Where is my scare the drones fun now? Do I have to eat pizza or a burger next to them? It’s hard to talk at the same time.

It’s not fair, Righteous. You build me up into some Loki-like godling and then you abandon me for a new scare, one that is even less real than the last one.

I did enjoy being Death.

But I guess my time is over.

It’s fat boy time.

French farce

My maternal grandmother was a fearsome woman. My paternal grandmother was less fearsome but had a friend who was fearsome for her. We’ll stick to the maternal one.

She had eternally blue hair under a hairnet that seemed to be part of her head and she never left the house without a headscarf. Her husband, my grandfather, served in the first world war and survived the second while spending his working life in the coal mines. He was scared of her. Yeah. That fearsome.

I don’t think she ever hit us as kids. She didn’t need to. She just needed to look as though she might and we shut up.

But she was a great grandmother. She could tell us off all she wanted but woe betide anyone else who tried. She’d have defended me and my brother against Satan himself. She probably would have won.

The point is the headscarf. It was a permanent fixture outside the house. She wasn’t Muslim, I doubt she’d heard of Islam at all and wouldn’t have cared about it anyway. She was protestant and talked about catholics as ‘chapel people’ as though they were a different species with tails and stripes. Really though, she didn’t much care about God or religion. It was just a fun thing to play with and a good way to have a chat on a Sunday.

France put a ban on Islamic women’s dress. Which is a bit silly for a country that prides itself on its dress designers. Why not design a better one? A few sequins, a bit of glitz, shine that thing up a bit and it’ll be on the catwalk covering a flesh skeleton in no time.

Now, I can understand the ban on the veil. A few wanted Islamic terrorists have got out of countries dressed as veiled women and used passports that have a photo with a veil too. That’s not on.

But come on, armed police telling a woman to take her headscarf off? Her face wasn’t covered. It’s not like she was hiding from anyone. And why are there armed police at the beach? That doesn’t make me feel comfortable if I’m barely dressed facing someone in armour with a gun.

How does a woman in a headscarf cause offence? In Wales in the 60s and 70s, those people would have been offended at every old lady they saw and not one of them was a Muslim. They had blue hair long before Punk Rock too. Oh they were ahead of their time.

I mean really. Okay, it’s Cannes and they have the film festival but surely that means they must be used to people dressing up weird. Some woman wanting to be covered up on the beach isn’t a big thing. She didn’t cover her face, she wasn’t some hairy suicide bomber waiting for the surfer score that gets him his 72 virgins. Just a woman in a headscarf.

My mother has pictures of my grandad on the beach. He went so far as to take off his shoes and socks and roll his sleeves halfway up. The flat cap was never negotiable. If he was alive and in Cannes now, would he be facing pepper spray?

By the way, Islamic madmen, you know why the 72 are still virgins when they get to Heaven? It’s because they are all fat trolls from Norwich who live in their mum’s basements and spent their entire lives playing Call of Duty while growing into land jellyfish. Oh and they are all male. You’re blowing yourself up to spend eternity up a pale fat guy’s arse. They didn’t tell you?

France, grow the hell up. Hiding faces is one thing but covering hair while leaving the face uncovered is no big deal. Are you going to ban hats and umbrellas next?

It’s really getting to the silly stage now.

But then, we got there a few years back…

Still working on it

No, I have not spent just over a week drunk. I fled the country briefly but came back before Boss sent her mercenaries out to find me. In fact I have been uncharacteristically sober for a while.

On my return, it seems Boss has quit smoking and switched to vaping. She smoked menthol cigarettes and the Electrofag menthol flavour is one of the good ones, so it could stick. She has a thing that looks like it should be in a tool box on an oil rig somewhere. Electrofag seems to be developing into some kind of sonic smokedriver. I expect Dr. Who will have one soon.

I came back with a good supply of tobacco including a few packs for Boss, but she won’t need them now so my baccy supply is pretty damn healthy at the moment.

I also came back with a little box of sweets to pass around at work. So far I have only met two workmates who swallowed. The rest either spit or refused to take it in their mouths. Can’t think why…

IMG_20160819_180247~2

Salted liquorice. Very nice too. CynaraeStMary sent me home with them. Oh she knew exactly what I would do with them 😉 I have another box for my son to take to work.

Lines used so far…

Go on, I want to see if you spit or swallow.

It’s finest Danish Spunk. The saltiest in the world.

Hold still while I shake one out into your hand.

How long can you hold it in your mouth before swallowing?

You won’t even take it in your mouth? Go on, just for a moment.

Maybe it’s in the name, but most seem reluctant to try it. Oh well, Nads and Cafe Girl weren’t at work this weekend and I’m off for a few days. I hope nobody warns them.

Boss is looking to take on someone new. The trouble is she’s only offering 8 hours work a week at the moment. I know someone who might be interested and who might be more interested when they hear I plan to be out of there by the end of October. I don’t want another Christmas in that place, everyone else gets so stressed and I’m sick of being the comic relief that keeps them sane. I want to do Halloween though. I really want that to be my last night at work.

There is a house move on the cards. If I go out of town I can get a house with a garden for less rent than the flat. I have to check that the increased council tax won’t wipe out the difference and that I won’t get terminally snowed in for months at a time, but I’d like a garden. I’m getting sick of stairs.

Anyway, the main point (at long last) is that the summer holiday madness is over. I am back to having a few days off every week and back to cranking up Underdog Books into a going concern. I have been putting the stories into book format (it’s going to be a thick book!) and Roobee has been helping out with editing a novel.

This week I start sending out the edited versions in final format so you guys get to see what it looks like. If you’re happy, we sign a contract and I pay you and then it’s all systems go.

I had hoped to do a Halloween book but the work stuff pushed this one back so far it’s too late to try for that now.  The Christmas book is a definite though.

And the novels or short story collections or poems (that book is still building)…send them to the email in the contact page at the top of the screen.

A few days off. At last.

Here we go.

 

 

Islamic Reformation

It’s starting. It has to, or Islam is doomed. I have heard boasts of ‘There are two million of us in the UK and you are doomed. Resistance is futile.’

I respond with ‘Well there are about 68 million non-Muslims here too. Have fun trying’.

Now there is a movement within Islam to stop the indiscriminate killing. It is completely indiscriminate. It kills as many, probably more, Muslims as non-Muslims and it’s just getting sillier by the day. Islam is at last organising to stop it. It starts tomorrow (well okay, today).

British Muslims Convene for Jihad on Terror

His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the most prominent preacher of peaceful coexistence, is the Caliph of the largest organised Muslim community in the world

Some will call it taquiyya, a lie to pretend they aren’t trying to take over. Maybe. I say give them a chance. Let them try. Reform of Islam can only come from within. Maybe this lot really mean it.

Their aims…

•    What more can British Imams do to combat extremism and Jihadist ideology

Not much if the past is anything to go by. The catholic priests took a long time to (almost) silence the Inquisition and the Protestant priests took a long time to openly turn against the Witchfinders. But it did happen. It took time but it happened. Just needs persistence.

•    Is Islam incompatible with British values?

No, not really. Only when it tries to overturn British values does it become an issue. Leave us alone and we’ll leave you alone. That’s our way. How does it sound to you guys?

•    What is Islam’s true concept of Caliphate and can it co-exist with a western democracy?

I don’t know. That would be an ecumenical matter.

•    Does Jihad need to be redefined for the modern age

It already has been redefined, by the CIA in Afghanistan when they still had control of Bin Laden. Changing it back might be a good start.

•    How valid is the title “Islamic State” as used by ISIS/ Daesh?

Not at all valid. They are killing Muslims who don’t want their strict interpretation and enslaving and raping and forcing marriage on captives. ISIS have killed more Muslims than non-Muslims. In ridiculously horrible ways. It’s not an ‘Islamic state’. It’s not any state. It’s a gorefest and a torture frenzy the darker side of Hollywood is itching to make films about.

•    Why are extremists winning the media war?

Are they? They look like psycho dickheads in the media and that seems pretty accurate to me. They are getting more press because the press loves violence and controversy. Saying ‘Peace’ doesn’t get them headlines. That’s why I’m writing this post. Give some airspace to the peace guys.

•    What’s alienating young British Muslims, and why do some become easy prey for extremist ideology

Wrong question. It’s not young British Muslims mostly. It’s crazed nutters the terror squad have converted to Islam for the sole purpose of getting them to blow themselves up. Sure, there are Muslim kids going off to be killed in Syria but the real crazies were crazy before they signed up. They were targeted, easily suggestible, brought in and blown up. The expendables.

30,000 doesn’t sound much when you consider how many follow Islam but it’s a good start. I know it’s going to get responses of ‘they’re lying, they want to take over’ but that reminds me of the old American saying of ‘The only good Injun is a dead one’. Did they ever apologise for that? Something to keep the lefties occupied or a while.

I have never believed all Muslims want to take over. Most in the UK run businesses and just want to be left alone to get on with that. They want a good family life and nothing more. Just like everyone else.

So let them try. Maybe the Islamic reformation is under way at last. Let it happen.

It’s the right time for it, by their calendar.

 

Back to books

Tomorrow is my first day off since… well, I can’t remember. I’d have to look back in the calendar. I am definitely in line for some payback for all this extra work and I plan to concentrate on the anthology for a while.

I find it easiest to print the stories and edit them on paper rather than on screen. I say ‘edit’ but most need very little real editing. A typo here, a missed quotation mark there…

Mostly I am splitting long paragraphs into smaller ones. In print it doesn’t matter so much as long as the paragraph isn’t pages long. It’s more for the eBook version. People read eBooks on their phones now – I don’t know how they can stand to do it but they do – and a long paragraph equates to screen after screen of solid text. That gets really tiring to read.

Don’t tell Boss but I’ve been doing some of this at work. I was on 10-2 shift the last two weeks and 10-4 shift for Monday and Tuesday this week. I completed all the important jobs by 10:30 and was left with several hours of bugger all to do.

Oh I found a few things. Normally I would (and am supposed to) refuse to clean a fridge outside the fridge rota but today I was so desperate for something to do by 3 that I did one. I also dismantled the floor cleaning machine, cleaned up the bits and put it back together. It still works, okay it cleans ceilings now but it works.

I had printed out some of the stories so it would look as if I was doing paperwork when I edited them. Nobody questioned why a lowly janitor suddenly had so much paperwork to do. I looked as if I was doing something. Good enough.

The sudden onslaught of non-book work means I have to abandon plans for a Halloween collection. There won’t be time now. The Christmas one will go ahead and I’ll start looking for submissions around mid-September. That will have to close to submissions early/mid November because I have to have it on sale by early December. It’ll be tight but there won’t be summer holidays in the way. I’m not Tesco, so I won’t have the Christmas stuff out before December 1st, and certainly not before Halloween😉

I’ll print every story for editing. It’s so much easier and I can’t be distracted by the internet. Then I’ll incorporate the edits and send each author their section as it will appear in the finished book. As long as the author is happy, contracts and money change hands at that point. Yes, finally you get paid.

There is also a novel on the Underdog Books editing list but I have a young lady intern looking after that one. We haven’t agreed payment terms because I haven’t actually made any money from this yet but I think maybe a cut of sales would work. In the future I’d rather pay an editor a one-off payment but can’t do that yet. The ‘cut of sales’ would be permanent so let’s hope that one takes off big time.

Novels are different from short stories. With short stories I pay for one use of the story in one anthology. You can do whatever you like with it afterwards, sell it again, add it to your own collection, anything. I don’t own the story, you do. I just rented it for one book. I’d hope you’d refer to the book it was in before but seriously, I don’t have time or resources to chase you around the net. It’s ‘ask’ not ‘tell’ because you know I won’t do anything about it.

With novels, I’ll take the standard small press approach. The contract will give me exclusive publishing rights in print and eBook formats for a period of five years. If at the end of that period you want to go it alone or get involved with people who know what they’re doing, like Random House or Penguin, we don’t renew the contract and I can’t sell your book any more. Basically, it belongs to you throughout but I have a five year lease.

Film rights, TV rights, serial rights, spinoff toys and Easter eggs and pencil cases with demons on them… not interested. If anyone contacts me about any of those things I pass the message to the author and you talk directly to the interested party. I can’t mediate those things, I don’t know how and I’d end up in some kind of legal mess. So if someone wants to make a film of your story, I’m not involved at all and take no cut. It’s all yours.

Cover art – if you have something you want, tell me. Not for anthologies, those are left to my fevered imaginings. A single author book, whether story collection or novel, means the author gets to say what they want on the cover. If you have your own cover, brilliant. If not, I’ll make one or get one made.

If I provide a cover and you don’t renew a contract after the five years are up, you can’t use that cover any more. The words in the book are yours but the cover is still mine – or belongs to whoever made it. We can negotiate sale of the artwork or you can get a new cover, that’s up to you.

If it was your own cover then it’s still yours. All that will change is that it won’t say ‘Underdog Books’ any more and it’ll have a different ISBN number. Most likely, nobody in the world will notice either of those things.

Right, the madness of work has ended for now and the book stuff is back on line. Here we go.