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These Days: Monday, May 1st, 2017

Smoking Was Sublime: I quit smoking in 1999 and unlike alcohol I don’t miss it any more. But I know what I liked about it, and the squeeze release of nicotine is pretty darn great, not unlike being underwater and nearly drowning and then that first breath of air is ecstatic, well, it is the same with nicotine. So when people claim it performs no social good I am not sure what they are talking about. What good does marijuana or alcohol do? And who cares? Alcohol, for one, will absolutely kill you, so the punishing of smokers seems like moral umbridge. Now in New York, they are raising the price of a pack to $13 and going to work on vaping, requiring a retail license to sell e-cigs. Worse, forcing public housing to ban cigarette smoking. The latter is much worse than adding another tax on it, it is going into people’s homes and telling them they can’t do something that is legal. Finally, people can’t smoke in cars with children under eight. An arbitrary and just but unenforceable law -my dad used to smoke cigars in the car and I am pretty sure he was a good parent. If the State hates smoking so much, ban it. If it doesn’t, butt out. Everybody dies, if people haven’t figured out that smoking can lead to lung cancer and emphysema, that’s their problem.

Turkey: “A total of 3,974 civil servants were fired on Saturday, and internet users woke up to find that they no longer had access to the free online encyclopedia.” Why didn’t they just remove all reference to Turkey and Armenia and make life easy on themselves.

The Philippines: Strongman President Rodrigo Duterte, the guy who called Obama a son of a whore, has an invite to the White House because Trump likes his war and drugs and terrorists, who it hurts notwithstanding, legality notwithstanding, decency notwithstanding. While in theory, the US does need a friend in the area, there is a difference between making nice with your best friends new girl and sleeping with her.

New Music: The Chuck Shumer “100 Days” anti-Trump Spotify playlist would be much more interesting if you believe for one instance that Schumer had anything to do with it. Tame Impala? Drake? Solange? The Shirelles? Well, maybe the Shirelles. Otherwise, a useless playlist that works as neither sound nor vision of disruption. Listen below.

Old Music: Mixing me up with a diet of Diana Ross and Warren Zevon. Off the “Back Pages” wall, I got to listen to Clare Grogan and the boys John Peel session in 1980 (here). The brains behind the outfit Johnny McElhone is back on the UK charts with Texas’ new album.

Sports: The Yanks lost but still took the series from the Birds, but the Mets? And if you want to get nervous, while winning hides a lot of sins it doesn’t hide the clusters of runs being taken from their pitching. You can’t live forever by the longball. Meanwhile, the Mets Go To Hell. They lost 23 – 5 against the Nats, a number that reads more like a slap in the face as Noah left after two innings.

Mass Transit: The MTA has 6 million riders a day and has gotten steadily worse over the past decade till it could revert to the 1980s without a blink  if the eye (without the graffiti). Getting to where you want has become a game of throw a dart at a board.


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