to the July/September 2000 issue of RYO Magazine. Check out the Great Drum Debate in our
Tobacco section this time as well as product reviews and other ramblings from the
tormented minds here at RYO. But before you do . . . . . . . There was a time when
experimental science was far simpler. There was a time when folks took each other's word
for things, when we believed what we read in the paper, a time when we trusted our
government to provide us with accurate information. Ah, there was a time when a teacher
really would believe that a dog ate my homework on the way to school. Nobody believes
anybody anymore. People count their change twice. The other day I got a hamburger from a
well known burger joint with no meat patty on it. Nobody believed me. They said it
couldn't happen. So I stood there meatless and went back to my car meatless. You shouldn't
have to work so hard to be credible. Credibility should be like innocence, assumed until
proven otherwise. You think?
Sounds pretty good, but it really never has been that way, has it? Well has it? No, Never. Will Rogers, Mark Twain, Ben Franklin, Socrates, Plato and all the rest that left us with a lot of cool sayings all had serious doubts about truth and accuracy as portrayed by not only those in power but their best friends and neighbors as well. We are not becoming more cynical. Cynicism is genetic. It is a survival trait. It is what kept our ancestors from eating poison juju-bees or at least the one's who survived long enough to propagate. It's what allows us to see the alligator in the watering hole well before we risk our lips for a drink. It's not that we know its there, it's that we don't know that it ISN'T there. Trust is something that rarely leaves the immediate family and then only after everyone has been fed. It is not a bad thing. It's not a good thing. It simply is.
As a thinking rational entity, I prefer proof of circumstance, proof of intent, and most pertinent, proof of allegiance. I don't want to be handed predigested leavings from another person's evangelical attempt to make my life better, or safer, or happier. "For my own good" is the last reason I need for someone to approach. A friend becomes just that through much trial and error; we, subconsciously perhaps, giving that potential friend enough information to do damage to us if they should decide to turn, but only a little at a time so the damage they would do remains minimal. At least at first. Trust is always a trial by fire and more often than not someone gets burned.
For example, I was asked to speak at the annual campout/picnic of the Kids for Smoke Free Older People, KSFOP, (pronounced kiss-fop) a couple of weeks ago. I have documentation (See photo at right). I am shown here with the current president of the group shortly before she split, leaving me on my own to find my way back to the camp. When I finally reached the camp/picnic/lecture site, to my dismay I found it deserted with nary a trace that anyone had ever been there, not to mention, no podium, no microphone, no Evian, nothing!. Now I trusted that little kid. I am picky about whom I go into wilderness areas with and mostly prefer sole wilderness excursions sans humanus companionus. I always bring a map or a compass. But when I go with someone else, I find myself depending on them to know where the Hell I am. It's like trying to remember how you got somewhere in a car when you weren't the driver. And so it was with this seemingly harmless little group of young activists. I trusted them. There was no contract, I didn't think one was necessary. I rode with them in their cute little yellow bus not paying any particular attention to where we were going - and they left me.They flat left me. It took me several days to find the highway and nearly another to flag a car down for a ride.
Because of the increasing amount of traffic to this site, we recently relocated our server contract situation thing. A few days later while taking just a few minutes for myself to wash my lousy car my partner comes up behind me with a camera in her hand and proceeds to explain to me that our site has been moved off-planet somewhere and the recent increased solar flare activity has jumbled our web data. Then she takes this picture as I am asking her to define "jumbled." She documents everything. She is the most documenting business associate I have ever had. Of course, she hadn't backed up the now jumbled data, but she sure archived my response. This relates to the dog ate my homework scenario. And the solar flare was a nice touch too. More will come in the next few days once fido has finished. Esoteric, transcendental, yessssss.
There's this guy, Patrick Reynolds, grandson of RJ himself who left the family tobacco fold to escape the evil of tobacco. He now runs a foundation by the name of tobaccofree.org that sells videos to school districts and other educational institutions for a hefty $185.00 a pop for ( 2) count em two, 20 minute taped lectures on, you're right, the evils of tobacco. His lecture fees run $3000/day plus expenses to show up at your school and harangue tobacco users. Seems pretty steep to me. Seems if he was all that altruistic about saving people from tobacco and from themselves, he could afford a little more philanthropic approach. Keeping in mind that there are 65,000 school districts in the U.S. he has quite a good potential list of customers. And guess who pays for his services. The schools districts? No, you do. Smokers. His activity is funded as part of the 200+ Billion dollar tobacco settlement you have heard so much about. His organization encourages the school districts to apply for funding from the portion (large portion) of the settlement set aside for "tobacco education." He left the tobacco business, to fight big tobacco and is using big tobacco money to fund potentially an even greater profit making scheme. Now I've played enough roulette to know the value of betting on both the back and red at the same time. It's called hedging one's bets. Part of the family stays in the tobacco business, the other part of the family fights the tobacco business. Family wins. Simple!
ASH.org, that bastion of "what have we done for you today and how much is it worth," on the other hand, is currently embroiled in a potential lawsuit brought about by their detailed review of a book that encourages cyanide poisoning of cigarette packages. Also found on their site is a new plea for people to include them, ASH that is, as beneficiaries in their Last Will and Testament complete with codicils you can download for free and give to your own estate attorney for inclusion in your documents. A real time saver, no doubt.
I could go on but there is more to do in the review department. Check out the links below and keep an ear open for more interesting information and please, don't be afraid to share it.
- The National Smokers Alliance
Also, most of the news services (CNN, Fox, ABC, MSNBC, etc.), have extensive archives of smoking related articles both pro and con. They are great resources for both sides of the issue. Their websites are easily found.
Without a doubt, what should be the handbook for the smoker's rights enthusiast, Don Oakley's "Slow Burn" - an incredibly well researched, powerful history of the facts and fallacies (mostly) of the anti-smoking movement from its organized inception in the early 60's to present - is available at Amazon.com (click the book graphic at right to purchase it immediately online from Amazon.com (highly recommended). This book is filled with detailed accounts of the step-by-step conspiracy that has created the anti-tobacco environment we all suffer today as well as many portents of the dangers of attorney driven campaigns to change the ways our basic rights are defined. It's all about money and it will make you angry . . . AND. . . you will be amazed at how much wool has been pulled over the eyes of the American sheep population.
Below are some
additional links to sites with some in-depth information on the colorful
1. Jim Shaw's Burnt
|EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we prescribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children. We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18, it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.|
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