The Nicotine Worms

There has been a video circulating that looks like something Kenny Everett would have made as a parody of antismoking – or rather Antivaping, which is actually Antismoking, The Next Degeneration. It’s really, really bad. It’s like those old SF/horror B movies that were so bad they gained cult followings for being hilariously bad.

I have saved this still from the video because it has so much comic potential

They claim that vape pods are littering the whole planet, leaching out heavy metals (plus nicotiiiiiiine!) and getting worms addicted to both. So we can expect to see worms on street corners passing round illicit tobacco while bopping to Iron Maiden. I can see story potential in that image. I’ll consider an antismoking/antivaping parody short story collection if there are enough ideas out there and really, how can you be short of ideas now? There are more ideas than there are clowns in a car.

Do people randomly discard vape pods? I’ve never seen one on the ground and yes, I do enter civilisation (reluctantly) on occasion. I see cigarette butts but those biodegrade, despite the lunatic idea that they are immortal. You see them every day because there are new ones every day and that’s because smokers are forced outside. If they were immortal we’d be wading through them by now.

But vape pods? I bought one of those Juul things to try out. It’s okay but the EU have limited the nicotine in them to Consulate or More levels. So it won’t work. The best alternative I have tried is still the HNB IQOS device but you can’t use that when driving and it can be a bit of a pain when it runs out of charge. Oh I still use it, mainly when I run out and can’t be bothered tubing up some more ciggies, and it’s still pretty good, but it hasn’t taken me off the real thing so far.

Most vapers, certainly in the UK, use refillable tanks. They will only be discarding little plastic bottles and those will mostly be discarded at home, into the recycling (I do love to put empty Viking and Skjold packs, Danish cigarettes, into recycling in the hope it’ll scare the shit out of a dumb drone in the recycling plant).

No, I don’t care if they think they will get The Lumps from seeing the packs and subsequently shit themselves in a panic attack. Anyone stupid enough to believe the antismoking/antivaping nonsense deserves all they get. I am sick of trying to tell them the truth. No more. Die if you want to. Live in terror of a mythical monster if you want to. I don’t care any more.

Like the old saying goes, ‘First they came for the smokers, and I’m a smoker, and nobody (not even pubs) spoke out for me so don’t expect me to give a shit when they come for you.’

The same is true of the Church of Climatology. You want to believe that rubbish? Go ahead, believe it. Don’t make any preparations for the Grand Solar Minimum that has already started and boy, you think you have ten years? You don’t have five. You’re demanding action in the wrong direction and it’s already too late for you to change. Tough titties. I’m getting ready for the right thing and I am no longer interested in saving the world.

Truth be told, I never was. I was only ever interested in saving friends and family and me of course. I did try to warn the rest of them but they came back with sneers and insults until I thought ‘Why am I trying to help these morons?’ Oh I’ll still drop them a hint now and then but there’s no point getting too close to them. They’ll all be dead soon.

Nicotine is not addictive. Nicotine causes no harm at all. Nicotine, or rather the oxidised form, enhances brain function. These things are real. Science, what’s left of real science, has already proven them. Nicotine from burning or heated tobacco, or heated on a coil in a vapouriser, works this way. Nicotine absorbed through the skin does not. Patches and gum miss the point – if they were loaded with oxidised nicotine they might work but nobody is listening.

And I’m no longer telling them.

Nicotine delays or maybe even prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s. Antismokers seem to be largely already suffering these things.

Nicotine is not a bad thing. I will accept that smoking real burning leaf can lead to bad things but nicotine is not the cause of those bad things. Nicotine only became a ‘bad thing’ when vaping fired up. If nicotine kills, every doctor who has prescribed patches and gum is guilty of attempted murder. Take a moment to savour the idea of those trials. Imagine antismoking/antivaping trying to wheedle their way out of it now. I wish I could afford a lawyer for this.

Oh that oxidised form? It’s called niacin. Look up the history of pellagra to find out why it’s added to so many foods, and where it came from. Or search for comments by Rose in the history of this and other smoker blogs. Or, if you prefer, avoid all foods containing niacin (nicotinic acid) and die happy and in horrible agony. The game is yours. Make your choice. I really don’t care any more.

I have retired from science and from researching it. I still do rare consultancies when they show up but I do not work for tobacco companies because my specialisation means they have never asked me to. I will not work for antismoking research, and they are unlikely to ask.

As for vapers, most of them are good guys. Still they have a vocal born-again-nonsmoker group that means I will not support them. You support the fight against antismokers as well as antivapers or you will lose.They are the same enemy and they have been very clever in splitting us. You rail against antivapers and also against smokers? Half of your effort is directed at your own side.

If you will not see that, then…

First they came for the smokers. I was a smoker and they came for me first and nobody spoke out for me.

Then they came for the vapers. They added to the hate that was already on my shoulders so I will not speak out for them.

The game is on. Your move, vapers.

Juul

I have a pile of boxes in the middle of the kitchen, another in the utility room, more in the upstairs rooms and the dangerous stuff (some of which needs to be incinerated) is in the garage. The result of the lab clearout. It’s going to take some time to go through it all and I have to find and test the magnetic stirrers two people have already expressed interest in… but that’s just the reason for the long gap between posts.

A few months back I bought a monster Electrofag called Aspire Pockex in a clearance sale. Huge battery, glass tank on top and it makes cumulo-nimbus clouds of vape. First time I tried it I had a coughing fit that brought tears to my eyes but, in its defence, afterwards my sinuses felt clearer than they have since I was twelve.

I don’t like it. Oh it does the job, it makes the steam, it clears the sinuses, but it also leaks like a bugger and now the battery is coated in vape juice so I’m scared to turn it on. No, this one is consigned to the ‘goodbye’ pile. I’m really glad I never tried to carry it in a pocket.

More recently I bought a Juul starter kit. Mostly because of the intense advertising campaign run by the anti-vapers. They really hate this one in particular and I had to find out why.

Well. It’s certainly easy to use. Reminds me of the early cigalikes with cartomisers, all you do is plug in a cartridge and puff on it. The difference is that it’s very light and the cartridge lasts for ages. It also has a clear tank so you can see how much is left.

Does it look like a USB stick? No. It looks like someone took the black monolith from ‘2001 – A Space Idiocy’ and put the Eye of Sauron in the top half. It looks pretty cool, and I can see why the AntiTobacco mob are pushing it so hard. Well, they are really trying to kill it but as with everything these idiots do, they are failing to the point where they could get a degree in it. Double fail with honours.

Charging involves plugging a tiny thing into a USB port and the Juul magnetically attaches to it. Also pretty cool – and easy. As gadgets go, this one has been well thought out. I like it, so thanks antismokers for bringing it to my attention.

Will it stop me smoking? Unlikely, in my case. The nearest was IQOS and I still use that in between proper burning baccy. They have brought out a new harder-tobacco flavour. I’ll give it a go, but getting me off the analogues is going to take a seriously impressive alternative.

Oh and I don’t care about IQOS or Electrofag upgrades and the fancy add-on toys. I just want something that will give me the feeling of a decent smoke. I don’t give a shit what colour it is.

Back to Juul. It’s nice, it’s easy, it has a disposable ‘smoking’ part so all of that is replaced with every cartridge change. No leaks, nothing to go wrong really. Simple and effective.

I can see why a lot of smokers might take to it. I can also see why a lot of young folk might go for this rather than real smoking – but apparently that’s a bad thing in the warped minds of tobacco control. Those kids should be smoking real tobacco! How else can we get our revenue and justify our existence?

I suspect Juul might have gone the way of the early cigalikes – which used a very similar model – if not for the concerted advertising put their way by the antimokers. It is, however, a big improvement on early Electrofags, not least in the provision of a clear tank so you know how much is left.

So far I have been using the ‘mint’ (pretty much ‘menthol’) cartridge that came with the starter kit. There is a ‘tobacco’ one, nobody else has ever got that right so we’ll see how that turns out.

Nicotine strength is limited in the EU but it really doesn’t matter. Nicotine is not addictive. That’s been proven. Smoking is about habit and enjoyment (something the Puritans will never understand) and replacing the burning leaf with something that covers the main points would do well.

Patches and gum will never do that.

So, will Juul or IQOS stop me paying massive amounts of baccy tax? Or will they just encourage me to grow more?

Time will tell. So far, I am planning the best place to hide next year’s crop.

The state of the world

I’ve been keeping up with the Christmas anthology (five authors in so far, I have hopes that two more regulars will come up with something and there’s still 16 days until the deadline) so have had little time to react to the news.

There is so much lunacy out there. At a private bonfire party on November 5th, a bunch of sickos burned a cardboard model of Grenfell Tower. Yeah, seriously bad taste, but six people arrested and charged over it as a ‘public order’ offence? Really? Nobody was charged over burning effigies of any President of the United States nor of any other political figures in this year or any past year. Nobody has ever minded the burning of a Catholic in effigy even though more and more people now wish his plot to blow up Parliament had succeeded. And yet burning a cardboard box is now an arrestable offence.

What about the guy who started the real fire in the real building, which killed real people? What has he been charged with? Anyone? Oh that’s right, he was never actually arrested and nobody is looking for him. It’s so much easier to arrest backyard proxy arsonists.

I would not have burned Grenfell Tower in a cardboard effigy. It’s far too twisted even for me. I’d say those who did this are arseholes but it’s not supposed to be illegal to be an arsehole. Especially when you’re being an arsehole in your own back yard and not actually harming anyone.

Their big mistake, of course, was putting it on social media. Thoughts are policed far harder than physical crimes these days, with the full backing of ‘anti-fascists’ who do not realise that what they are advocating is actual fascism. The policing of thoughts and ideas and opinions.

Oh and if you are one of the millions of Americans who tune in to UK stories to laugh at how ridiculous we have become (I don’t blame you, this place is a madhouse) you might want to check out what’s happening in your own country.

Worried about Donald Trump? Believe he is some kind of fascist? Is he trying to police your thoughts? Is he advocating the suppression of teenage jokey behaviour and its investigation by the police? Who is advocating that? That’s who you need to be concerned about because that’s who will turn you into a police state. Or you can just hate Trump because he’s Trump and let the fascists win. Like we have in the UK.

Of course, if you are an arsehole, the alternative to being arrested for burning a box is to go into politics where arseholes are welcomed.

Better yet, get a job with the Puritans in Public Control Health. Then you can be so much of an arsehole that you can call for a tax on meat, later to extend it to all foods (come on, really, you don’t think that’s the aim?), and demand a ban on milkshakes. And nobody will call for you to be arrested for arseholeness.

Milkshakes? Ban the old Moloko Plus?

Oh yes, really.

Fancy milkshakes must be banned because Studies have Shown and Experts have Said that they bring all the boys to the yard and this inevitably leads to teen pregnancy, heroin use, vaping, animal abuse and anal insertion of pomegranates.

Well it’s no dafter than any other Puritan pronouncement, and that’s actually true. When it comes to making up absurd stuff, Public Health make Kafka’s ghost gasp in admiration.

Milkshakes make you fat. Sure they do if you have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of us have them once in a while as a treat. My personal milkshake intake is much less than one a year and my overall milk intake generally depends on how much coffee I drink (espresso doesn’t need milk so only the ‘plain’ coffee counts). I have occasionally drunk a glass of milk but it’s way down from top of the list.

It’s rare for me to get the urge to have a milkshake and I have never had one of these ‘freakshakes’ of which they speak. I don’t want one. It does not appeal to me at all. Should I support banning them since I don’t like them anyway?

How many out there support the smoking bans because they don’t like smoking? How many support vaping bans for the same reason? How many support minimum pricing on alcohol because they don’t buy much, or any? How many support taxing or even banning meat because they don’t eat it?

I think all of those people are arseholes and I don’t want to be one so no, I will never support a ban on anything just because I don’t like it. Hey arseholes, I am not one of you and am proud to be excluded from your cult of arseholery. You can believe I’m the one who is universally hated if you like but really, it’s you. In the real world, nobody cares about, or even notices, me. Because I am not trying to live their lives for them. I have a life of my own.

Speaking of vaping, I recently bought a new one because it was on clearance sale. This is a bloody monster of a thing and will be a later blog post.

The JUUL vaping thing does not seem to be available in the UK so far. It is apparently, in America, a teen epidemic (that, in Public Health terms, means a teenager tried one once) and is used as a cudgel to beat flavours out of vapes.

JUUL’s response? ‘Oh yes you must ban these flavours we don’t make because they are evil!’

Has nobody been paying attention? The antismokers were happy to have the born-again nonsmoking vapers on their side to hammer ‘real’ smokers… until they had outlived their usefulness. Then, surprise, the vapers got hit with the same hammer. They looked to smokers for support.

‘First they came for the smokers. I’m a smoker, the rest of you are on your own now.’

Why would I support any group that has already supported my suppression?

I have wondered about JUUL and whether it would be a good thing to try. I’ll never try one now, not even if it does appear in the UK. I’m not going to support a quisling.

My prediction is that JUUL is now doomed. They are siding with the business vampires and they are not an ally, as they think. They are the host for a parasite that will use them to get what they want and then ditch them. Their customer base will see what they have done and abandon them.This has happened to several early vape sellers who tried to side with the Puritans and it will happen now to JUUL because the stupid bastards never learn.

A saying has been born lately. ‘When you go Woke you go broke’. Ask Lucozade or Irn Bru about that. Ask the peanut companies who have reduced the salt. Give it a year and ask JUUL if they still exist.

‘Woke’ is a parody of reality. More on that in another post.

The best response to the Puritans is still the one given by the makers of Buckfast tonic wine. Which I have never tried, but one day I will.

‘You cannot have caffeine and alcohol in the same drink!’ screech the Puritans.

‘Awa’ an’ bile yeir heid, ya wee bawbags’ responded Buckfast.

Buckfast won. All the companies could win by just saying ‘no’ to the Puritan thugs. Most of them just cave in. Compromise does not work when your enemy does not want compromise, just total control. As with Tessie ‘Halfwit’ Maybe’s Brexit, it is not a compromise. It is pathetic submission.

When you give in to thugs it makes them bolder. Thugs have toddler minds, they push and push to see how far they can go. If you don’t set a boundary for them, there is no boundary they can see. Modern ‘progressive’ idiot parents are finding this out now.

Basically, don’t be Lucozade. Be Buckfast.

Then maybe the end of the madness will at last be in sight.

Money and smoking

If you live in the UK or any other idiot-controlled country where smoking is the main source of government hate and revenue, any saving is a good thing.

Currently it is impossible to buy a pack of 20 cigarettes for less than £8 in the UK. Rolling baccy is slightly less eyewatering but still a sting. Any chance I have to go elsewhere in the EU, I load up. It’s just common sense. Of course, after Brexit they’ll limit us again but while we are in this silly customs union we might as well make the best of it.

I have been playing around with the IQOS and the microfags for some time now and yes,  I know all about the turncoat Philip Morris and all the reasons why I should stick with real fags from real fag-sellers and I don’t care about the politics. This is about the contents of my bank account which have never been large and never will be.

A pack of real smokes is £8. A pack of microfags is £7. Plus, I have already taken £60 in Amazon vouchers from the IQOS survey thing which has more than covered the initial cost of the device plus 100 microfags. I am encouraged to persevere with this thing.

I have tried the amber (full strength) and the turquoise (girlie menthol) microfags. The amber ones are pretty good. The menthol don’t seem very mentholated, it’s there but it’s a hint not a blast. I can get the cleaning sticks from Amazon using the vouchers so they are technically free. You need those, the thing does need a cleanout once in a while or it tastes like smoking dried weasel poo.  I used the vouchers for a lot of other things too, including whisky. I have not yet tried the yellow (apparently ‘smooth’) but I just ordered some. I will report on them when I get them.

(UPDATE) I now have the yellow ones. They are indeed milder than the amber. Not bad if you prefer a smoother, less intense smoke but I’ll stick with the amber ones. They suit me best. Along with real ones of course but cost alone is going to force a switch here.)

Okay okay, you want to tell me how Philip Morris are sell-outs. Find me one vape company that does not repeat theTobacco Control mantra of ‘smoking is eeeevil. Tobacco companies are eeevil. Buy from us instead’ and maybe I’ll listen. This is a tobacco company doing business, that’s all it is. Tobacco in a different form. Trying to get through the current round of Prohibition. I don’t blame them for trying to stay in business.

Anyway, if they were really trying to appease tobacco control they should have talked to the (sensible) vapers first because appeasement never works. Those filthy Puritans hate anything that looks like fun, including IQOS. Especially IQOS because it uses real tobacco.

I like it. I don’t care who invented it or where it originated. I’ve used it more often, and for longer, than any Electrofag I’ve ever tried. And now that it’s reached a pound a pack (often more) cheaper than smoking, I’ll use it more often. I’ll still need real ones for driving because the IQOS can’t just dangle from your lips when both hands are busy but at home, it’s a useful thing.

Tell me I shouldn’t support this thing. I don’t care. Tell me I should go totally to vaping. I’ve tried quite a few Electrofags and they are a lot of fun but it just doesn’t stick. It doesn’t work for me. I don’t care. IQOS has persisted longer than any Electrofag I tried and I think that’s because it really does taste like tobacco. The one flavour Electrofag never quite got right.

The price differential is going to increase. The IQOS microfags might go down in price with more uptake, they might not. But I will state with absolute certainty that tobacco prices are going to keep climbing fast. Getting into alternatives is vital for my wallet.

Sure, every time I go to Denmark I will come back with a bag full of Vikings or Skjold. Maybe a tub of Home Roll or similar (about £30 for 280g). I will be resuming tobacco planting in the near future. I will continue to ‘cut’ tubing baccy and rolling baccy (also a lot cheaper outside the UK) with low strength pipe tobacco.

But the price saving on IQOS is now at a level that looks significant, and it works as a substitute for the real thing for me. I’ll be using it more and more in the future.

Well yes, principles are important but the long and short of it is – IQOS is cutting down my spend on heavily taxed tobacco in a way no Electrofag has yet managed. I don’t have health problems, the biggest issue for me at the moment is cost. When I first tried IQOS, which was a matter of weeks ago, the price difference per pack of 20 was pennies. It’s already £1 and it’s going to get a lot bigger. I’m sticking with it.

And if that makes you think of me as a traitor to smoking, a sell-out to The Man or some kind of hybrid smoker-vaper monstrosity, I don’t care.

I do what works for me. I do not do what other people tell me to do. No matter who is doing the telling. Never have and never will.

If that comes as a shock you really haven’t been reading this blog for very long, have you?

HNB and free money

I just loaded a £50 Amazon voucher onto my account. And Amazon sell whisky…

I’m tempted to buy a low end one for under £14 just to cock a snook at the Spiteful Nannying Puritans and their minimum pricing, but I’ll probably get some of the good stuff instead.

Incidentally, I found a new one in Aldi. Castle and Crag, priced exactly at the minimum £14. It’s not a malt (I’d be delighted to find one at that price!) but it’s a single-grain whisky. Not a blend. A bit like Haig, but it’s not Haig. It’s actually pretty good. I’d buy it again.

Anyway, this free money, well not totally free, I had to do stuff for it, came via IQOS. Yes, I still use it, not exclusively but it’s outlasted every Electrofag I ever tried. About once a week they send a questionnaire asking how much you use it, do you use real smokes too, do you use Electrofags as well, how do you like it, what are the downsides and so on. I fill them in, and thereby accumulated points which I ignored for a while – but it seems they build up pretty fast. I remember my father collecting the points cards inside cigarette packets. This seems similar, it’s good to see the past coming full circle.

I don’t think they are allowed to let you redeem the points for their products which is a shame. I’m going to need more cleaning sticks soon and will need some more microfags to stick in the end. If I could have tried the yellow ones for free that would have been great. Alas, it is not to be.

Instead you can redeem the points for a range of vouchers. The Amazon one is likely to be the most useful for me so I went for that one. I’ve now loaded it onto the account and will browse for interesting bottle-shaped things.

I got the IQOS on a deal which was around £50 for the device and 100 microfags. I have amber (proper man strength) and turquoise (menthol) ones gradually declining here. I think I’d use it a lot more if the price of 20 microfags wasn’t the same as 20 real ones, but hey ho. At least they sell me the things. And getting this voucher technically makes the original purchase free anyway.

I did try to get a Blu electrofag but they didn’t believe I was over 18 and insisted I send a picture of my driving licence or passport to prove it. I’ve had a driving licence since 1977 and have voted in every election since 1978 but they can’t find me on the driver database or electoral roll, they said.

Well I’m not comfortable with sending my passport or driving licence over the internet so I cancelled. There will be no review of Blu here, it might be great but it seems I will never know. I see it in shops but… nah. I’ll skip that one.

It was a weird experience. I’ve bought pipe and cigarette tobacco, cigars etc. online for years. Also whisky and all kinds of Electrofags and juices and even been sent a few to review. And yet all of a sudden I have to prove my (somewhat gammony-advanced) age. I can skip one product. There are plenty more to choose from.

Still, for me, I think IQOS has a better chance of sticking than any Electrofag I’ve tried so far. I like Electrofag. It’s a great gadget. I like how I can ‘smoke’ weird flavours like absinthe and roast chicken and coffee. But… it doesn’t really feel like the real thing for me. It’s an ‘as well as’ not an ‘instead of’.

IQOS could almost become an ‘instead of’. The biggest stumbling block is the price. If the microfags were half the price of real ones I’d use it almost exclusively.

‘Almost’, because there is no way to smoke it while driving. You need a free hand to hold the device or the microfag will drop out of the end. Also, outdoors, how much smoke you produce is not an issue. I don’t see me having a beer outside on a warm summer evening without some real burning tobacco involved.

If we actually get a summer this year, I’m going to revive my pipes.

 

Fragmentation

It has been a strange week. I have three books in process, the anthology (waiting for one author’s response on whether the story needs any changes then it’s good to go), Lee Bidgood’s long-awaited novel, another from Mark Ellott that has already been so thoroughly vetted it won’t take long to do. I want to get them all done before April 30th.

So, obviously, now is the time to get calls and visits about a blue cheese mould project and another call asking for help with a student project on lactobacilli. Sigh. I’m determined to get those three books done though. I can sleep in May.

Stranger still is the overnight switch in the weather from winter to summer. This called for a bit of gardening today before it gets completely out of control. My son questioned my buying of a machete since I don’t live in a jungle. My response was ‘ignore that lot for a week and a jungle you shall have’.

The grass, which had been cut twice by this time last year, had lain dormant until today when it shot into life. The petrol for the mower ran out, it’s too long for the push mower and not long enough for the scythe. Besides, the grass is still plagued with fallen pine cones and branches and only the petrol mower can cope with those.

So instead I delved into one of the flower bed/shrubberies I hadn’t dealt with last year beyond scything down its nettle infestation. I trimmed the bushes and started the long job of digging out nettles by the roots. It’s the only way, and even that can take a few years to finally get rid of the bastards.

In there, I found a topiary piglet. Well, having found a deer skull in the holly tree last year I was, shall we say, not too surprised. The bush is hugely overgrown and probably not recoverable but the frame is intact. I can remake this piglet. Probably in a less inaccessible and more visible part of the garden. There are other areas I have not yet touched beyond hacking them into some semblance of order so there may yet be more surprises lurking.

And, at last, I have planted my favourite tulip, ‘Queen of Night’. Hoping for a good display this year. The bulbs overwintered in the kitchen and are sprouting. Yes, the kitchen gets cold enough to do that.

The IQOS microfag smoky thing is still getting used. I haven’t switched entirely but it has outlasted any Electrofag I’ve ever tried. I know, some born-again nonsmoker vapers at the radical end of the spectrum think this thing is evil. I know, some say it’s giving money to the sell-outs at Philip Morris. I don’t care at all about either of those stances. It’s cutting down the number of real fags I smoke and that is good for my wallet, and probably my health. Although I am still not convinced that smoking is anywhere near as deadly as it’s made out to be.

Using it while typing this, I have noticed that setting it down while typing a sentence (10 seconds or so) and then taking a puff, it gives a much more satisfying plume of almost-smoke. If they could make the device and especially the microfags cheaper they’d be on a serious winner here. As it is, the cost differential is minimal. If it was a big difference I’d be far more tempted to switch altogether but… meh.

They do send emails about surveys and those do build up some reserve cash. That’s good. It needs to be cleaned regularly or it starts to taste like smoking dried horseshit, so I plan to use the accrued survey cash to stock up on the cleaning sticks. They work far better than the funny brush thing that also comes with it.

Anyway, I suppose I should get to the actual blog post.

The Labour party has been hit with antisemitism, while the Conservatives have just tried to deport a lot of British citizens, many of whom have been British longer than I have. The Lords of Lib Dem Land and those Lords who have sworn an oath of fealty to a foreign power yet still have a place in the UK government have voted to ignore the electorate and keep the UK in a customs union with the EU even though the majority don’t want that. If you are looking for the Party of Morons in UK politics, well, it’s all of them.

The abolition of the House of Lords must surely be imminent. Or just convert it into a home for mad old duffers. It pretty much is that anyway. These oafs, when they can manage to stay awake at work, have now set the UK with the option to either become a vassal state of the EU or to leave with no deal at all. There are no other options.

This is what a fictional starship captain and his Dark Emperor, the Thin White Adonis, can’t grasp. We are leaving the EU. Blocking the final deal does not keep us in the EU. It just means we leave with no deal. I’m fine with that.

Tessie Maybe, the idiot supreme of our current government, has tried everything possible to distract from the total fuck-up she is making of negotiations with the EU. She has tried to start wars with anyone she can find and now she is concentrating on banning earbuds, plastic straws and coffee stirrers. All of which go into recycling bins, not rivers. I live next to a river and have never once felt the urge to drop anything plastic into it unless it’s a lure on a fishing line. We have been provided with bins for plastic and some nice, sweaty, grubby, sweary chaps come around every two weeks to empty it.

Then it all gets shipped to China or Africa in containers on huge ships that burn thousands of tons of diesel and and when it gets there they dump it in rivers. That is recycling.

Didn’t cotton buds used to be on wooden sticks? Can’t we go back to that? I could chuck them in the fire and get a few extra microjoules of heating here. Can’t do that with the plastic ones, they give off nasty stuff when they burn.

As for straws, we used to have paper ones that were fine for one use. Plastic was never necessary unless you wanted to use it over and over.

And I never liked coffee stirrers. We used to just have spoons.

Why then would I object to this ban? Because it’s a ban and this knee jerk reaction of ‘ban it’ has been pissing me off for a long time. Why not, instead, explore alternatives? Nothing is ever offered. It’s always carrot-and-stick without the carrot.

The farmer here has cut down a lot of trees. There is a massive amount of beech, birch, oak and pine in dead piles. My son has claimed some for his woodworking, I have claimed some for a garden arch and most of the rest will just end up getting burned. There is enough on this one farm to keep a cotton bud company supplied with little dowels for months at least. Why not incentivise that use rather than moan about plastic? Heck, they could come and take this wood for free. The farmer doesn’t want it, it’s just in the way.

Why not incentivise paper straws over plastic ones for single use occasions? Paper and wood can be burned or left to rot and the CO2 they put out is the same CO2 those plants absorbed so net effect = zero. Especially as the crops on the farm will reabsorb most of it, if not all.

As for coffee stirrers, use a fucking spoon like an actual adult. Then wash it and you can use it again.

But no, we have to have a ban. Another damn ban. Another bit of evidence that our government are a bunch of wasters who we pay to do nothing sensible.

And then we have the opposition. Labour. Or, more accurately, the Corbyn Cult of Nazism. Oh yes, you read that right. When I was in school in the 1970s they actually taught real history, not some fantasy past where left was right and all racists were honoured with statues. The real deal. You won’t get that now. Now we have a Government funded organisation called Historic England who will not hire white British employees and who want to tear down historic statues. Common Purpose to the core, and way beyond the absurdity horizon.

Nazis shut down debate with violence and abuse. They ignore dissenting views. They want to control what you say and, ultimately, what you think while they never think at all but act in blind obedience and awe of their chosen cult hero. Remind you of anyone, Jeremy?

Jezza walked out of the parliamentary debate on antisemitism even while his own MPs described the death and rape threats his supporters had sent them. Well, he doesn’t need to hear the results of his instructions, does he?

Then we have the thugs of Antifa and make no mistake, thugs is all they are. They are just looking for a reason to be arses and no matter how tenuous the reason, arses they will be. They are the new football hooligans, their team is whichever they want to fight with today. They fight against homophobia but then recently broke up a gay pride march because it offends Muslims. Really, they have no focus at all. It’s just a fight to them, the reasons are no more than an excuse and they can change by the hour. At least football hooligans stuck to one team.

There is a huge amount of coverage given to the new ‘trans’ movement which consists of about five people, four of whom are better described as drag queens than genuine trans. Chicks with dicks want to have access to little girls in changing rooms and toilets all over the country. A genuine trans woman has told me she wouldn’t like to share a train carriage with some of the loonies she has met, never mind a changing room. But the genuine ones are not part of this movement. This is men in tights looking for an easy target. It’s going to turn out nasty.

Should girls give up their right to privacy so that middle aged men in skirts can ogle them in the swimming pool changing rooms? A bikini with a flat-top and a stiffie below with a couple of pink Kiwi fruit hanging out the sides is not an appealing sight. It’s even more of a mind wreck than fishnet tights with tufts of hair coming out of every hole. I hear little to nothing about women who identify as men causing problems in male changing rooms and toilets. That’s probably because most of us men won’t mind at all if a woman wants to get naked nearby. The threat level is not even comparable, is it?

There has been far less outrage than expected over the paedo grooming gangs who have been left to their own evil devices for a very long time. I didn’t say Muslim gangs for a reason. Those are just the scapegoats. Oh they are guilty as hell but it goes far deeper and if the police were allowed to actually investigate in a proper police way, some very big names will be mentioned. That’s why they aren’t. It’s not really Muslim gangs they were protecting, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They are being sacrificed now as a distraction to keep us happy that ‘something is being done’. It is not being done, it is being hidden.

The two major parties in this country are falling apart,. The third has already fallen apart and is now determined to bring about a no-deal Brexit and the abolition of the House of Sleeping Lards.

Feminism is in at least a dozen factions. Trans people, a tiny minority, are a prime concern for the Mayor of London who is a Muslim and therefore instructed by his religion to kill them in nasty ways. Gay people hold up rainbow flags with ‘Allah loves diversity’ written on them. No, he really doesn’t. Read the book. He couldn’t be more clear on this.

Knife crime will lead to the banning of knives which are already banned in public anyway (you can have a folding knife with a blade of less than 3 inches (7.5 cm) as long as it doesn’t lock open and that is all you can have). Machete attacks are common so.. ban machetes? See above. They already are banned. Doesn’t seem to make a difference when it’s not enforced, does it?

Acid attacks mean we should ban the possession of acid which is going to get awkward for car battery sales and for anyone who drives a car. Also for anyone who likes vinegar on their chips because you know our elected representatives are not going to think this through at all.

Shootings are increasing so let’s ban guns. Oh wait, we already did. We banned hard drugs too, that must have worked… didn’t it?

Sweden has regular grenade attacks and bombings now. Won’t be too long before London has them too.

My stance on immigration is simple. Anyone can come, anyone at all – but I wouldn’t pay them to come. No free stuff and no preferential treatment. You want to come and live here, fine, but you make your own way.

As for the Windrush generation, as I said, most of them were here before I was born and they were invited. The Home Office trying to deport them now is beyond shameful.

The same Home Office that welcomes back Jihadists who fought against our soldiers.

It’s a strange world when you have to look at your own government and wonder…

‘Whose side are you on?’

 

The In-Between

Not smoking and not Electrofag. The Gateway to Vaping, the Gadget with Baccy, exists and I have one.

I’ve looked at these before but was put off by the price. The special offer (also available in white but be quick, it’s a limited time offer) was enough to persuade me to give it a go. It arrived yesterday and I’ve used 17 of the microfags supplied already.

Most of what I was going to say has already been well covered from a vaper perspective. This is from a smoker perspective. The technical details are the same so there’s no point me repeating them.

Let’s open the box…

Lots of gadgetry and some unidentifiable weird things. I was forced to break with tradition and actually read the instructions.

(UPDATE: I hadn’t realised that some folk haven’t seen that charger plug [UK type] before. It’s a fold down thing. You have to slide up the earth pin for it to fit a UK socket. It’s not immediately obvious, it just looks like so many other plug variants we get here that need an adaptor.)

First thing I noticed was that it seemed counter-intuitive. You put the microfag in one end and the microfag filter is where you get your ‘smoke’. So it’s like a cigarette holder but in reverse. The weird things turned out to be cleaning devices. Like any other contraption, it needs regular cleaning to work at its best. Well that’s reasonable.

Which reminds me, my car must be due for its annual wash soon. Then again, the recent torrential rain did a decent job.

I charged up the case, which didn’t take very long, about 20 minutes or so, inserted the electrofagalike and waited for it to charge. Took roughly 5 minutes. The instructions say the case can charge the smoky thing at least 20 times on one charging of the case. Well, 17 microfags in and it’s still at 75% charge so I’m guessing it’ll last a while yet.

Oh I’m not kidding about the microfags…

They are Fifth Element microfags, as you’ll see later. You can’t light these to smoke them, the tobacco is packed way too tight in the end and it’s about 75% filter. They only work with the IQOS smoky thing.

So anyway, I fired one up and gave it a go. First impression, it wasn’t quite like smoking. There was a wisp of ‘smoke’ (contrast with the cumulo-nimbus generators some vapers use) but it actually did taste like smoking. The one thing vaping never got right for me was the tobacco taste. All the other flavours, even roast chicken flavour, they have spot on but they never really got tobacco flavour right.

This is actual tobacco. The taste is right. The thing is, it’s not burning. There’s no ash to build up as you type and then drop onto your keyboard. If you drop the gadget, it won’t burn into your carpet. All good so far.

The smoke is warm but not as hot as a burning cigarette and it leaves that ‘I’ve just smoked’ feeling in your mouth. I have the menthol ones and yeah, they work. Not right away. I’d say it took me about five tries to get the hang of it. I was trying to puff like a real one and that’s too fast for it. You need to take it slow.

Not too slow. This, unlike the Electrofags I’ve tried, has an end point. The vaper review I linked to puts it from a vaper, ex-smoker perspective. Vapers can take a puff or two and put it away. Smokers are stuck with a lit cigarette until it’s either done or they get fed up and put it out. Smokers are used to a defined length of time for a smoke.

So, the device’s programming to stop after 6 minutes or 14 puffs means it ends like a real one. A smoker trying an Electrofag for the first time is likely to puff away until the battery runs out – which could be hours. This thing stops when it’s done.

Another point from the other review – you have to wait a few seconds for this to heat up. Insert the microfag and press the button until the light starts flashing. When it stops flashing you are ready to go. Don’t press the button again, that will turn it off. For a smoker, these are the few seconds of digging out your lighter and lighting the thing. Vapers are used to just pressing the button and getting instant-on responses. I’d say this will work better for smokers than for vapers – and since so many vapers are now as anti-tobacco as the people who hate them too, they won’t try it anyway.

The spent microfag sometimes has a discolouration in the middle but look at the filter. The filter is still clean. There’s nothing like the darkening you get on a real smoke’s filter! Really, there’s not much of the bad stuff, if any, coming through when you use this thing.

And another thing. You ‘smoke’ at the filter end and then discard the whole microfag. No mouthpiece to worry about contamination. They are as single-use as real cigarettes. Smokers concerned about the hygiene aspects of sucking on the same mouthpiece over and over (I know there are some) will appreciate that.

The used tobacco end. It is tempting to think there is re-usable tobacco in there. No, there isn’t. The scorched part was in direct contact with the heater but it’s all been heated. There’s nothing reusable left. And there wasn’t much to begin with…

Well of course I took it apart. Would you have expected anything less? I wanted to know if I could make my own microfags. Sadly, at the moment, it’s ‘no’. I could make the baccy plug from homegrown but the paper tube isn’t just a cut-down of a tubing tube. It’s lined with some kind of foil and I doubt it’s kitchen foil. However, if this thing proves popular, there will be a market for empty tubes and the means to fill them. Bull Brand are no doubt already working on it.

Why would I consider making my own? As I said at the start, I was put off getting one of these by the startup price – and also the running price. At £7 for 20 microfags it’s really not much cheaper than smoking real ones. However, if they can keep that price constant while tobacco controllers push up real-smoke prices then the differential will become more attractive. At the moment though, it won’t attract smokers who are trying to switch for cost reasons. Which is a shame because that’s a really big chunk of the market.

It’s really only going to attract two types of smoker. Those who are trying to switch for health reasons and those who just love gadgets. Especially when the gadget is half price.

Verdict: I really like this thing. I have tried a few Electrofags and liked them but really only enjoyed them with the weird flavours. They could never replace smoking for me, they don’t have the tobacco flavour right. This IQOS is an in-between and I could well imagine smokers using this as a stepping stone to vaping. I will never believe vapers will use it to switch to smoking but the hysterical smokophobes will no doubt believe it. I might even be the one to prime their hysteria. Just to watch the antismoker vapers squeal. Some of us don’t care about money… 😉

It has not replaced real smoking for me but then it has only been two days. I have smoked far fewer real ones in those two days and this has the potential to almost replace real ones for me. Almost, mainly because I could not use it while driving long distances. You can’t set this up while driving and you can’t use it in the car because you can’t let go of it in use. If you let it dangle from your lips, the microfag slips out of the machine and the machine lands on the floor. At home, no problem. It won’t burn anything. It won’t burn anything in the car either but trying to find where it’s rolled to at 70 mph on a motorway is out of the question.

You also can’t flick a glowing butt out of the window at tailgaters. It always makes them pull back. ‘The road is mine’ and ‘the air is mine’ turns out to be the same mindset.Throwing a dead microfag at them won’t have the same effect.

There is also the final nail in the coffin  – I really like smoking. I like the blue haze and the burning smell. This device gets close but does not quite replicate it. It can, however, replace some of my daily smoking with something that carries less risk. As the cost of smoking continues to escalate the price differential could get much bigger. That would encourage me to use this more. As it is, I think it will be in use daily because it’s far closer to smoking than any Electrofag.

It won’t make me drift all the way to vaping, but it’s likely to for some. The only thing that would do that for me would be if vaping got the tobacco flavour just right. I’ll vape the weird flavours for fun but it won’t be full time unless I can vape something that tastes like the real thing.

The IQOS does taste like the real thing. A little muted maybe but the taste is right.

If the price differential between this and real cigarettes was greater I might go for it. As it is, it’ll almost certainly cut down my intake of real cigarettes although it won’t replace them entirely.

If it does, I’ll need LED-powered fake cigarette buts to throw at tailgaters.

I could probably make those.

 

(UPDATE 14th March: I’m still using it but also still smoking. It hasn’t defeated the real ones and might never do. It has, however, reduced my intake of the real ones which is only a marginal cost saving at the moment. I don’t feel any different yet, maybe I’m too damn healthy for it to show a difference. I’ll see if it does anything healthy to me in a week or so.)