My Castles In Spain

Perhaps it all depends what people think wealth is?

For most of my life I’ve been presented with the idea, more or less as a matter of fact, that ‘being wealthy’ means having pots of money, and a big house and a fast car and maybe a trophy wife and a couple of Rembrandts hanging on the walls of the house too.

But personally I’ve never been much attracted to such ‘wealth’. And I don’t envy rich, wealthy people either. I was aged about 27 years when, one day, I realised that what I really wanted above all was time: free time, idle time, the kind of time you get on Sundays or during holidays, the kind of time in which you can do what you want rather than what somebody else wants you to do.

As a consequence, I’ve never been a rich man. I’ve never owned a big house. I’ve never had a fast car. I’ve never had a wife, never mind a trophy wife. And there are no Rembrandts hanging on my walls. But I’ve always had enough money to live on. And, most importantly of all, these days I have lots and lots of idle time.

One result of which is that it’s no trouble for me to write a blog post almost every day. It’s easy for me.

And because I’ve had so much free time since I moved from Devon, I’ve done what I always do when I have lots of free time: I entertain ideas. And the main one this past year has been the idea that when cells grow and divide, they maintain a constant ratio of surface area to volume. It’s a very mathematical idea. Somehow or other, all my ideas seem to be mathematical, even though I don’t think I’m much of a mathematician.

And at the moment I’m thinking a lot about the 400 completed ISIS survey questionnaires in a database on my computer, and having ideas about that too. In fact, the whole ISIS survey project is something I could only have done because I had the idle time to do it.

If anything, I have too many ideas. I was looking at a list of them of them last week, wondering when I could ever find time for all of them.

So although all my time is idle time, I’m actually very busy. I’m very seldom doing nothing. In fact, I’m not sure I know how to do nothing. Maybe that’s what yoga and meditation is all about.

The nearest I ever got to doing nothing was when I was doing what I was describing last night, and sitting by a river with a beer and a few cigarettes just watching the reflections in the water, the shadows of the trees, the sparkle of sunlight on the ripples. Which is why I think that going to a pub and sitting with a pint of beer and a cigarette is pretty near the zenith of human experience. And that’s one reason why I’m so outraged at smoking bans that have destroyed, or at least badly degraded, that sublime and simple experience.

But then, that’s what I think wealth is. Yet I’m pretty sure that antismokers don’t think any such thing. The antismoking Dr W, in whose house I once lived, never allowed himself any idle time at all. As soon as he got home from work, he’d head out into the garden to dig the vegetable patch, or work on something that needed mending. I never saw him sit and watch TV, or read a newspaper, or even read a book. He worked from dawn to dusk, every day. He didn’t seem to see any value in idle time, in free time, in doing nothing.

And maybe all antismokers are like that, and when they pass a pub full of people drinking and smoking and talking, they just see people wasting their time doing nothing when they could be doing something useful and productive. They hate idleness. And I love idleness.

After all, they often claim that smoking bans ‘improve productivity’, and once you stop people wasting their time at work smoking cigarettes, they’ll do much more useful, productive work. They seem to think that wealth is money, and gold, and big houses, and fast cars, and trophy wives, and Rembrandts hanging on the wall. And yet, it’s only in their idle time that anyone, however rich they may be, can actually enjoy these things. For what value do they have if they are never enjoyed?

I once saw a TV documentary about a couple who worked an 80-hour week. They lived in a big house with a large garden and tennis courts and swimming pool, but they were never shown strolling in the garden, or playing tennis in the tennis court, or swimming in the pool.  For them, it seemed that merely owning these things was sufficient. For they insisted that “we would be unable to afford this standard of living if we worked fewer hours.” I thought that they were mad, and their standard of living was pitifully low. But perhaps their madness was the same madness of the antismokers, and the same madness of Dr W. Only they were at least harmless, and did not impose their values on everyone else – unlike Dr W, who worked tirelessly all his life to stop people sitting around idly in pubs, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

It seems to me that, if you haven’t got the time to sit down beside your trophy wife in your palatial villa, and admire the Rembrandts on the wall, you may as well not have them. Perhaps that’s why these celebrity marriages so often end in divorce: they only get to see their trophy wives (or trophy husbands) for a few minutes each week, and the latter soon begin to feel neglected. And if it’s merely possession or ownership that matters, and not the actual enjoyment of these possessions, then they may as well be imaginary possessions.

Like my castles in Spain. I own several. You didn’t know that, did you? I seldom mention them to anyone, lest it should provoke envy. And they all have swimming pools and tennis courts, and sweeping, landscaped gardens. And about 100 rooms in each castle, and an expansive dining chamber with a huge trompe l’œil Velázquez painted on the ceiling. Or maybe El Greco. And each one has a stable with 100 Arabic white horses, and carriages to go with them. And I have a pretty mistress living in each one, with a retinue of servants around her. But , well, y’know how it is,… I simply never find the time to visit them. In fact, I’ve never visited them at all. But I know they’re there, and should I ever manage to drag myself away from the computer screen in my tiny little flat, they’ll be ready and waiting, and the butler will come running out to greet me as I park my battered little Toyota next to the pergola beside the ornamental lake at the end of the mile-long drive, and my pretty mistress will wave to me from a window in one of the castle’s many soaring towers, and he will bow and say:

‘Señor must be hungry and thirsty. May I offer him this glass of 1830 vintage champagne and a brace of vintage roast quail – codornices viejos – blanched in cider and honey and pepper?’

And I will pat all my pockets, and reply, ‘No, wait. Dammit, it looks like I left my roll-ups in Don Eduardo’s cantina a few towns back.’

And with that, I will turn the little Toyota round, and drive all the way back down the mile-long drive, and out the ornate, gilded gates again.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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32 Responses to My Castles In Spain

  1. Junican says:

    Hi Frank. Off topic. I have sent you an email.
    On topic, there used to be little that I enjoyed more that taking some physics problem to the pub on a quiet evening, reading it and making notes, while enjoying a pint and a fag.

    All gone on the whim of a few ignorant politicians……

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    My favorite experiense was the wafflehouse,life long friends and the usual Bull shittin between everybody for hours on end with cup after cup of coffee. More business deals were made in a booth than any wall st office I can tell ya. The lil guy went there met up with a contractor or whoever needed work done. It may well have been the White Manpower office and no charge for the service. Today Ive still got one left and if the bastards would simply leave me alone with just that one,I might call of my personal war on them……….Lord knows they have felt my wrath!

    Just simply left alone,its all any of us ever wanted!

  3. smokervoter says:

    I’ve just watched some incredible footage from Mali of a throng of liberated villagers on motorcycles driving down the dirt road together ecstatically celebrating their liberation from the horrid Islamic Vice Squads. They were openly drinking beers and yes, there was a young man with a cigarette dangling from his mouth with a big smile on his face.

    I got to thinking how similar all of these horrid antismoking, anti-fat, anti-everything Vice Squads we’re suffering under are to what happened there. They don’t have guns and they’re not caning anyone in public but the result is the same nonetheless – everyone is walking around on eggshells. We should route these public health bastards out and soon. And then celebrate a la Timbuktu.

    I noticed that the MSM coverage never mentioned the caning for smoking aspect any more, only for listening to western music, living out of wedlock and such. The Winston Smith editors got in there with damage control lickety-split it would seem. The MSM and the public health campaigners disgust me to the bone.

  4. smokervoter says:

    It was down in Mexico that I first drank to this. A customary toast before drinking is “Salud, dinero y amor, y tiempo para disfrutarlos” — Health, wealth, and love, and time to enjoy them.

    Remember that Hendrix tune Spanish Castle Magic? You’ve just got me over to the trusty Ibanez Blazer to squeeze that song out of it at full-on volume.

    Ra-ta-tat-tat…It’s very far away…Ra-ta-tat-tat…takes about a half a day…Ra-ta-tat-tat…to get there…Ra-ta-tat-tat…If we travel by my uh, dragon-fly…

    He’s almost as skilled as your very own Jeff Beck. Almost.

  5. Matt says:

    Nicely put Frank!

    “But personally I’ve never been much attracted to such ‘wealth’. And I don’t envy rich, wealthy people either. I was aged about 27 years when, one day, I realised that what I really wanted above all was time: free time, idle time, the kind of time you get on Sundays or during holidays, the kind of time in which you can do what you want rather than what somebody else wants you to do.

    It almost describes me perfectly too: although I think I came to the conclusion at a bit younger age, 27 would have been about my age when I started to make some big changes to get me towards where I wanted to be. I’ve never had the “drive” or “ambition” we were constantly conditioned to cultivate throughout formal “education”. That’s not to say I’m lazy – I always do a good job of anything I need to do, and never expect anybody else to provide for me – merely that I have no desire to be a “high-flyer” or work for work’s sake.

    I was stupid at a young age and genuinely believed that if you did everything asked of you, and did it quickly and well, you would have more idle time for your own enjoyment. Unfortunately I was naive of the way schools and employers operate, where time served under their control seems to be the only constant, and ended up being given ever-more work practically up until breaking point. Even so I rarely outwardly showed signs of distress/discomfort so the process continued. Looking back I realise just how miserable I was in those days but at the time, never having known an alternative, I became resigned to “that’s just how life is”.

    It didn’t help that this mantra was habitually repeated by my father, who suffered similarly from inwardly convincing himself these conditions were normal. Unlike me he never realised there was an alternative and always believed that if you kept your head down and stuck at it all would be well in the end. Then a couple of years ago he was shafted by his ex long-term employer and forced into early retirement on reduced pension after basically having been bullied out of his position. It was probably a blessing in disguise, in terms of his long-term sanity, but was a deeply horrible experience I still don’t think he’s fully recovered from. And he wasn’t/isn’t even financially “wealthy” despite having lived such a dull and controlled life for several decades.

    I wonder how many times this scenario is repeated up and down the country? It’s heartening to see blogs such as yours raise these issues, hopefully helping spare others from a similar fate!

  6. mikef317 says:

    Off topic. Frank, in your 1/22 post on asthma you mentioned that Whitby’s Smoking Scare Debunked had gone missing from the internet.

    Try this:

    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/cgi/getdoc?tid=isf14d00&fmt=pdf&ref=results

    Used copies of the printed book are also available. (I can’t vouch for the sellers.)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0959556419/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used

    Also of note (joke?) while looking for the above I ran across Simon Chapman’s 2003 views on Whitby:

    http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/12/suppl_3/iii4.full

    Interesting that Chapman got funding from TWO grants to write this.

    Interesting that Chapman provides links to CRITIQUES of Whitby but NOT to Whitby’s books. Equally, no link to a book by Hans Eysenck; I don’t think it was ever available on-line but it’s easy to provide a link to where it can be bought. But it’s even easier to show only one side of the story.

  7. Rose says:

    While idly trawling the internet this morning to see if there was something new on the nicotine content of vegetables, I found this –

    Nicotine In Vegetables: 20 Pounds Of Eggplant Equivalent To 1 Cigarette
    06/14/2012

    With an exciting slideshow of assorted vegetables and how much nicotine is in each.

    Some of the misinformation in the comments is quite amusing but even so the antis don’t like it at all and want the article pulled immediately.

    So I thought I’d post the link here.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/15/nicotine-in-vegetables_n_1597087.html

    For anyone who doesn’t yet know, nicotine is made by the plant as a natural pesticide from Nicotinic Acid (niacin/vitamin B3 and Putrescine.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      No wonder they want it pulled:

      According to a previous study detailed in the 1993 project, 10 grams of eggplant contains 1 µg (microgram) of nicotine — roughly the same amount one gets from three hours of exposure to second hand smoke. Cigarettes usually contain 1 mg (milligram) of nicotine, which means that a person would have to eat 10 kilograms, or 22.05 pounds, to reach that amount.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Scientists say that the typical cauliflower also contains .00034ug of Uranium U235. That would require the equivalent of 37 million tons of cauliflower to be dropped on Hiroshima, to equal one atomic bomb.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Revealed: £220m of public sector pensions tied to tobacco and arms manufacturers
    Ben Riley-Smith
    Trainee Reporter
    Monday 28 January 2013

    SCOTLAND’S public-sector workers are unwittingly pouring hundreds of millions of pounds through their pensions into funding cigarette manufacturers and companies dealing in arms.

    More than £220 million is tied up in tobacco firms – including those behind Marlboro, Benson & Hedges and Lucky Strike – despite guidelines that recommend ethical and social factors must be taken into account by councils administering the funds.

    The Scottish Government requires the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) to “take ethical and social considerations into account when making investment decisions”.

    Politicians and anti-smoking campaigners spoke of their shock at the revelations and called for tougher rules after nine out of 11 councils administering the scheme confirmed to The Herald they have funds tied up in the tobacco industry.

    The investments appear to fly in the face of schemes run by councils and health boards to promote healthy living and quitting smoking, with smoking responsible for one in four deaths a year – about 13,000. In 2006, Scotland led the way in the UK by banning smoking in public places.

    Fund managers have also directed money into the arms trade, with £55m invested in the world’s 10 largest arms sellers who trade in high-explosive shells, rocket launchers, armoured tanks and F-16 fighter jets.

    Eight of the local authorities administering the scheme admitted to having money invested in leading defence firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems.

    Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said: “It is absurd for public pension schemes to be invested in activity which is so directly opposed to the public good, here and around the world.

    “There are ethical options out there which the public sector – and everyone else for that matter – should be opting for. I’ll be pushing for the Procurement Bill to hold public bodies to a higher standard.”

    Figures obtained under freedom of information legislation show only two councils that administer LGPS, Dumfries and Galloway and Shetland, have no involvement in tobacco or companies selling arms.

    The other nine have a total of £122m tied up in British American Tobacco (Bat – Lucky Strike), £43m in Philip Morris International (Marlboro), £40m in Imperial Tobacco Group (West) and £18m in Japan Tobacco International, which jointly owns Benson & Hedges with Bat and Philip Morris. More millions were held in smaller tobacco-related firms.

    Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Scotland, said: “It is shocking to find so much public money in Scotland is going to prop up an industry which knows that two-thirds of smokers start before 18 yet still resists attempts by the Government to reduce youth smoking.

    “Scotland has a strong record in tackling the menace of tobacco. But it is time public bodies put their money where their mouth is, use their substantial pension funds for the public good and agree to clean their investments of all tobacco links.”

    Eight of Scotland’s 11 council pension fund administrators were also found to have investments in major arms sellers, as defined by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

    The independent researcher creates an annual top-100 list of companies with the biggest arms sales, defined as sales of military goods and services to military customers.

    Scottish council pension funds had £55m invested in the most recent top-10: Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Raython, EADS, Finmeccanica, L-3 Communications and United Technologies.

    A further £70m was invested in other companies placed 11th to 20th on the list, but much of this was in businesses where arms sales formed only a small proportion of sales. It is not clear how the companies spent the money.

    Strathclyde Pension Fund, the largest of the 11 regional funds with almost 200,000 members and an £11 billion budget, has £44m tied up in big tobacco and £26.6m in major arms sellers.

    A spokesman said: “We take our social responsibilities seriously and are signatories to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment. We have appointed independent monitors to ensure those principles are adhered to.”

    A spokesman for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the umbrella body for the 32 local authorities, said: “All councils have their own investment rules and regulations that take account of appropriate destinations for investment.”

    He added that all funds adhere to the Financial Reporting Council’s UK Stewardship Code.
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/councils-warned-over-tobacco-investments.20021680

    • beobrigitte says:

      Harley, what a gem!!

      http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/councils-warned-over-tobacco-investments.20021680
      One comment:
      What is the problem here? The monies are invested in perfectly legitimate firms which are no doubt profitable and therefore make economic sense to the pension fund managers.

      Seems to make sense; after all, the ‘baby-boomers’ (still alive and kickin’) are approaching pension age NOW.

      Sheila Duffy, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) Scotland, said: “It is shocking to find so much public money in Scotland is going to prop up an industry which knows that two-thirds of smokers start before 18 yet still resists attempts by the Government to reduce youth smoking.

      Just wondering, HOW much do pension managers in Scotland invest in any of the anti-smokers’ promoted industries?

      This is a little cynical:
      Eight of Scotland’s 11 council pension fund administrators were also found to have investments in major arms sellers, as defined by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
      Right. Just in case tobacco does not work?
      (sorry!!! I just could not resist …….. )

  9. margo says:

    You’re absolutely right, Frank. Wealth is having no more and no less than one needs, and the time and health to enjoy it. And Idleness never started any wars, did it.

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    FRANCE IS ‘TOTALLY BANKRUPT’ HOLLANDE SHATTERED AS MINISTER REVEALS STATE OF ECONOMY

    FRANCOIS Hollande was left picking up the pieces after France was sent into a state of shock as his labour minister described the nation as “totally bankrutpt.

    Michel Sapin was left red-faced after revealing the potential state of the French economy and leaving the French public to question Mr Hollande’s policy.

    Speaking during a radio interview, he said: “There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state. That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

    The comments were not intentional although they come ahead of President’s Hollande’s attempts to improve the image of the French economy and have served to diminish faith in the government .

    France is currently attempting to cut spending by £51.5billion over the next five years.

    ì
    There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state.
    î

    Michel Sapin

    Since Socialist Francois Hollande came to power, he has imposed his ‘anti-rich’ policies onto France provoking the country’s rich entrepreneurs to leave the country.

    France’s finance minister, Pierre Moscovici attempted to play down the comments made by Mr Sapin.

    He said : “France is a really solvent country. France is a really credible country, France is a country that is starting to recover.”

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/374185/France-is-totally-bankrupt-Hollande-shattered-as-minister-reveals-state-of-economy/

  11. Frank Davis says:

    Guardian.

    The Bank of England’s policy of pumping money into the economy has been a “monumental mistake”, pensions experts have warned .

    A committee of MPs heard that measures taken by the Bank to drive the economy had backfired by squeezing individuals’ incomes – both pensioners and those in work – and forcing companies to divert cash into pension funds rather than investing.

    Ros Altmann, pensions expert and director general of Saga, said current policies devalued pensioners’ incomes, making them less willing to spend: “Quantitative easing and ultra-low interest rates have hampered the spending power of those in the economy who were not over-indebted and who would otherwise have spent money.”

    By pumping money into the system, QE also drives up prices, which hits consumer demand. Simon Rose of the campaign group Save our Savers, said: “QE is an inflationary policy, as [the bank admits]. With inflation running higher than the increase in wages, it’s not just pensioners, everybody is feeling the pinch.”

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank the SMOKING GUN has shown up!!!!!! drum rolllsssssssssssssssss

    http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/28/16741714-lungs-from-pack-a-day-smokers-safe-for-transplant-study-finds?lite

    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study.

    Advertise | AdChoices

    Surprisingly, however, organ recipients who do get smokers’ lungs often learn about it only afterward — if at all, experts say.

    “If someone had a transplant and after the transplant they say, ‘What can you tell me about the donor?’ there are a limited number of characteristics we can tell them,” said Dr. Ramsey Hachem, a pulmonologist and transplant surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. “We don’t do that routinely before.”

    About 13 percent of double-lung transplants in the U.S. came from donors with a heavy smoking history, according to Taghavi’s new study, presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He and his colleagues analyzed records of some 5,900 adult procedures in the database maintained by the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, which manages transplants in the U.S.

    Typically, that meant smoking at least a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 20 years, or two packs a day for 10 years.

    In the end, after all other variables were accounted for, people who got lungs from heavy smokers lived as long and as well as those who got lungs from the tobacco-free, Taghavi found. There was no significant difference in cancers, though the study didn’t specifically look at lung cancer.

    “General guidelines say that donors that have smoked should be excluded, but there are certain circumstances in which they can be used,” Taghavi said. “That can be when the donors are otherwise very healthy and there’s no evidence of the really bad effects of smoking, like emphysema.”

    Only about 20 percent of smokers actually develop the worst effects of smoking, noted Hachem.

    “It is certainly counterintuitive to say we’re going to use lungs from a donor with a smoking history, but the majority of people who smoke do not have lung disease,” said Hachem, who was not involved in the study.

    Some people may have smoked for a long time years ago, then stopped, vastly improving the health of the organs. Others could have been active smokers when they died. The data in the study didn’t include that history, Taghavi said.

    Freeing up smokers’ lungs could help reduce a shortage that has left more than 1,650 people on the transplant waiting list — the “last resort” for those with end-stage lung disease, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. There were nearly 5,200 liver transplants in the U.S. in 2012, but typically only half the people on the list receive lung transplants in a given year, the NHLBI said.

    Taghavi emphasized that transplant recipients who get lungs from heavy smokers ought to be told in advance.

    Advertise | AdChoices

    “This is a very important point,” he said. “None of this should be done without a thorough discussion with the recipient. They have to be aware that there are risks with accepting these lungs, but there are benefits.”

    But Hachem said current practice usually doesn’t include that discussion.

    Recipients decide in advance whether to take organs from high-risk donors, including those with a history of infections such as viral hepatitis or HIV. But behavior habits, such as smoking, are almost never disclosed, Hachem said.

    “I don’t know what other centers do, but at our center, we don’t get into those details,” he said.

    Instead, the organs are inspected carefully and only those found free of disease or disability are approved for transplant. “We’ve sort of screened the organ pretty well,” he said.

    Of course, problems can occur. Widespread media reports last year centered on Jennifer Wederell, a 27-year-old British woman with cystic fibrosis who died of lung cancer last year after receiving lungs from a heavy smoker. In 2007, the family of a New Jersey man, Tony Grier, sued the University of Pennsylvania Health System after they said Grier developed lung cancer a month after a 2005 lung transplant. Court records show the case was settled in 2010.

    Such cases are very sad — but also very rare, said Hachem, who noted that all transplants carry inherent risks. And, he said, most transplant recipients are like Randy Cooke, 52, of Chatham, Ill., who received a new set of lungs in 2011.

    Cooke, who was diagnosed in 2008 with a degenerative lung disease, said that by the time he was placed on the transplant waiting list, he would have accepted lungs from a heavy smoker — gladly.

    “If I’d have waited another three months, I don’t know if I’d be here talking to you,” he said.

    If his lungs had come from a smoker, Cooke trusted that his doctors would have screened out any potential problems.

    “You have to take a lot of times what you can get,” he said. “You don’t have a choice. Time is not on your side.”

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    ONTO THE REPEALS!!!!!!

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.

    146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY

    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

  15. cherie79 says:

    Whatever my faults I have always been very glad that envy was never one of them. It always seemed pretty pointless to me as there would always be someone with more than you and I have seen people eaten up with envy and letting it ruin their lives. As long as I have enough to live on reasonably comfortably and pay the bills I am content. Shame my social life was ruined by the smoking ban though.

  16. Walt says:

    True about time and money. As I once (apparently famously) observed (since the line is frequently quoted back to me by friends of the sort who give credit) that “freelancing is just like being rich except without the money.” I was talking, of course, about time. That plus the ability to bypass the shit. It’s important, however, to maintain enough money to jump past the shit. And as for those wives, trophy and otherwise, they only get expensive if you get a divorce, especially in California.

    @Matt. One of my favorite quotes is from the actor Robert Mitchum who said, “when you do something well, you don’t get to do better, you just get to do more.”

    And, adding yet another random thought, The US’s Quantitative Easing has in fact not only screwed retirees but caused massive (tho officially unacknowledged) inflation. Yet they keep pouring it on.

  17. Frank Davis says:

    Beppe Grillo is an Italian blogger/politician. The following comes from a guest blog this month in the English language section:

    http://www.beppegrillo.it/en/2013/01/cannibal_work.html
    There’ll be a reason why the Bushmen and the Iroquois worked one hour a day to feed themselves and today we work 8 to 10 hours a day for 40 years until we are at the threshold of death, just to survive. Work is devouring us. What has changed for the worse since then? What is the meaning of the word “work”? What’s the use of an increase in work? To consume our existence in a mine or in a tiny office until we are burned out, going out like a candle? To buy useless goods to grow the GDP? To accumulate material wealth that won’t follow us into the afterlife? To pay taxes to a hypertrophic State? When did this madness begin? By now we can no longer see it as it has transported us into a cognitive “other place” that we mistake for the only possible world. Time, happiness, inner growth seem to have disappeared. In their place there’s only work and its opposite: “the absence of work”, unemployment, something to be feared even more than the daily slavery to which we are subjected.

  18. harleyrider1978 says:

    The Bulgarians are showing up by the thousands protesting the smoking ban!

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