Losing The Magic

I seem to be coming down with a cold. The first in about four years. But I have an enormous stock of whisky, and plenty of honey, and even some lemon, to mix into hot and heady brews.

I’ve been reading Meander by Jeremy Seal, a book that I mentioned a couple of days ago. And I’m reading it on a borrowed Amazon Kindle reader, which is a new experience.

I suppose that one day all books will be published this way, and Kindle is just the precursor of e-books that will get ever lighter and more sophisticated.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. The Kindle’s screen isn’t backlit, but is surprisingly readable even with quite low light levels. And I quickly realised that one advantage of books in this form is that it isn’t necessary to hold them open – like more or less every paperback I’ve ever read.

And it was also rather surprising that, no sooner had I ordered the book using the Kindle reader, than the opening page appeared on its screen, ready to read. It shouldn’t have been surprising, but it was. I think that’s because my lifetime experience of buying books has usually involved visiting some distant bookshop, wandering among its shelves, selecting the books and then paying for them, and then lugging them home by train before finally opening them. Now all those hours had been condensed into a couple of minutes. It was instant gratification.

I’m not entirely sure if that’s entirely a good thing though. Back when buying a book took a considerable effort, books were arguably much more precious because much more had been invested in purchasing them. It would have been unthinkable, having gone to the trouble to buy a book, to not bother to read it. And the ‘book experience’ wasn’t just the reading, but also the buying and the handling and the opening, and much else besides.

Something of the same got lost when music stopped being sold on big grooved plastic records, which were released by some mysterious mechanism to fall onto a turntable, towards which a needle arm would uncertainly approach. The records had covers which were almost as important as the musical content. And that all began to vanish when cassette tapes and CDs started appearing. And even though they were simpler and more reliable, a little bit of the magic went out of the music.

Same with pubs, I suppose. As places to go and mechanically drink, it’s probably best that they be smoke-free. But all the magic went out of pubs and cafes once smoking was banned. And the magic, not the mechanical process of drinking, was what really mattered.

About Frank Davis

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43 Responses to Losing The Magic

  1. wobbler2012 says:

    Get well soon Frank (if it comes full on.) Get some echinacea too, I normally don’t believe in tablets, potions or any of that crap but I find that these actually work. Quite expensive though at around £4.50 for twenty-odd little tablets (got mine from Tesco’s) but well worth the money in my opinion.

    Oh one of my favourite things about a physical book (especially if new) was the smell of the pages. :-)

    • Frank Davis says:

      echinacea

      Never heard of it. Until now.

      • Marie says:

        I forgot to take it this time. Maybe it would have saved me ;)

      • Bill says:

        Number one son deals with colds thusly.
        Drinks tall glasses of water in one go three times in the day.
        Eats as much fresh food as humanly possible.
        Drops out of living for a while and sits on his bed watching on t’computer.
        Oil pulls with coconut oil for fifteen to twenty minutes each morning. (he does this every day and the difference in his skin is astonishing. He is also refilling a couple of holes in his teeth with new enamel with oil pulling and a change in diet.)
        He eats sesame/flax/pumpkin/hemp/sunflower seeds in home made yoghurt mixed with a good dollop of honey.
        Finally he sleeps… a lot.
        Colds are done with in 72 hours.

  2. GC says:

    Off topic but interesting. Airkel Smoke free lounge technology from Switzerland.
    http://www.airkel.com/wq_pages/en/site/page-1.php

  3. Marie says:

    I wish You well soon, Frank, although there is a magic too in a cold and whisky with lemon and honey and a good book. If you then have a real english fireplace too and nothing to do, I will envy you. Just take care, that your cold don’t last as long as mine, which ended up in bronchitis, and has lasted for four weeks now. Thats not magic, when you have a lot to take care of at the same time.
    Good luck, and Merry Christmas to you!
    Marie
    PS As far as I remember, you had a cold or a flu last winter too ;)

    • Frank Davis says:

      PS As far as I remember, you had a cold or a flu last winter too ;)

      I had a variety of brief runny noses, which I thought might develop into colds, but I don’t remember a full-blown cold ever developing. Perhaps I’m getting old and forgetful?

      Unfortunately, I don’t have a real English fireplace – only a coal-effect electric one.

      • Marie says:

        I think you are, Frank. But I searched in wain for that post from last year.
        Thats a pity, you don’t have a fireplace. Maybe its my romantic view of England :)

      • beobrigitte says:

        I had a variety of brief runny noses, which I thought might develop into colds,

        Haven’t we all? Most of the time it’s gone within a couple of days after the ingestion of a few “hot toddies”.

        but I don’t remember a full-blown cold ever developing. Perhaps I’m getting old and forgetful?

        As you mix a lot less with people since the dictation of the smoking ban your immune system is not being kept busy and “trained”.
        The anti-smoking brigade has cottoned on that the die-hard smokers kicked out the door in wind and weather is much more resilient to infections than the scared-to-death-anti-smoking-anti-every-fun-health fanatics.

        I must say that the “cold epidemic” in work has not affected me a great deal.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Harley got lucky tonite I hit a cool grand at our local smoking indoors bingo YEEEHAWW!
    and a new puter to boot!

    Frank whiskey and honey is the cure………..don’t feel alone everybody in Kentucky is coming down with the head stuff in one fashion or another.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Lungs from Heavy Smokers Can Be Safe for Double Transplant

    Media Contact: Cassie Brasseur, 312-202-5865, cbrasseur [at] sts [dot] org

    Los Angeles—Lungs from carefully selected donors with a heavy smoking history can be used with good results in adult, double-lung transplants, according to a study released today at the 49th Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    Sharven Taghavi, MD, Yoshiya Toyoda, MD, PhD, and colleagues from Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia analyzed data from 5,900 double-lung transplant recipients recorded in the United Network for Organ Sharing database between 2005 and 2011 to study the risk of double-lung transplants using lungs donated from heavy smokers. Transplants from heavy smokers composed 13% (766) of the double-lung transplants studied. A heavy smoking history is defined as at least a pack a day for more than 20 years.

    The researchers found that patients who received lungs from carefully selected donors with a history of heavy smoking had similar short- and medium-term survival compared with patients who received donor lungs from non-heavy smoking donors. Lung function was not worse when using heavy smoking donors, and the number of deaths due to malignancy was not different.

    Lung transplantation has been shown to be an effective treatment for end-stage lung disease; however, this treatment is limited by a critical shortage of donor organs. “Our findings demonstrate that the current criteria for lung transplantation can potentially be revised to include donors with a heavy smoking history. This may help decrease the shortage of donor lungs and decrease waiting list mortality,” explained Dr. Taghavi.

    Lung transplants are performed on people who are likely to die from lung disease within 1 to 2 years, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). More than 1,600 people were on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network waiting list for lung transplant at the end of 2012. Although the number on the waiting list varies, NHLBI reports that only half will receive a transplant in a given year. NHLBI also reports that double-lung transplants now outnumber single-lung transplants.

    Transplantation guidelines recommend against using lungs from donors with a history of heavy smoking, but Dr. Taghavi said that lungs from a heavy smoker may be accepted by a transplant surgeon in special situations. “For example, a surgeon may choose to transplant lungs from a healthy donor who has good lung function despite heavy smoking, or lungs may be accepted from a less than ideal donor for a very sick patient,” he said.

    When asked about the potential for a recipient developing lung cancer in the donated lungs, Dr. Toyoda explained: “Donor smoking history obtained at the time of procurement may not always be accurate, so lungs from heavy smokers must be carefully evaluated. We recommend a CT scan for evidence of tumors and emphysema in addition to routine assessment including blood gas, bronchoscopy, and visual inspection.”

    He added that communication is also very important. “We need to discuss with potential recipients the possible higher risk of developing lung cancer and obtain an informed consent specific for heavy smoking history,” he said.

    ###

    For a copy of the abstract, e-mail STS Media Relations at media@sts.org or call 312-202-5865. Between 1/25/13 and 1/30/13 call Cassie Brasseur’s mobile at 319-621-3770 or Samantha McCarthy’s mobile at 630-220-1342.

    Founded in 1964, STS is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 6,600 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality care through education, research and advocacy.

    The STS Annual Meeting is one of the largest cardiothoracic surgery meetings in the world. The 2012 STS Annual Meeting attracted 4,700 registrants, including 2,300 cardiothoracic surgery professionals.
    http://www.sts.org/news/lungs-heavy-smokers-can-be-safe-double-transplant

    • Jeff says:

      “Lung function was not worse when using heavy smoking donors, and the number of deaths due to malignancy was not different.”
      This is quite interesting…

      • beobrigitte says:

        40% of all heart-lung transplants are from smoking donors, so this is A LOT of people being helped.

        What most people do NOT know:
        ANY organ transplant carries the considerable risk of organ rejection. In order to combat this, the recipient has to take immunosuppressants for the rest of life. A side effect of this is susceptibility to infections and cancers.

        The smoking status of a donor is irrelevant.

  6. Walt says:

    More or less on your topic: earlier tonite was watching one of my favorite film noirs (films noir?) “Out of the Past,” and we got to talking about the Past (that world of books and bars and vinyls-on-turntables and sex with urgency) and, boy, I’d like to hop on a time machine now and get INto the past. The 40’s, like the 20’s, seemed to predate the proper and uptight 50’s that the once-upon-a-time hippies rebelled against– before they turned into their own grandmas and became the very people they once used a raised middle finger against. i, too, am mystified at the transformation. though (accepting that correlation is not causation) associate it with the rise of that other phenomenon also mentioned here, the Why-should-I-have-to-shave-my-armpits for you, you rotten chauvenist SOB who only wants me for my shaven armpits and my other hairy pits, and perhaps my apple pie. After that we got the world of the Tough Cookie who aged into the Nanny and started writing books like “Are Men Necessary?” and having answered No, decided that the only way to make the world safe– especially for The Children– was to take away its toys. And too many guys (is Bloomberg a guy? really?) went along with this toyless and totally joyless ideal. Bans perhaps being the New World equivalent of dragon-slaying blades. And before every woman here clips me in the jaw, I am NOT, repeat, NOT, talking about you or the much more admirable goals of Liberation.

    • margo says:

      Good, I’m glad you’re not talking about me (!) There were no hippies in the ’50s – we were beatniks. We went around with bare feet and hair au naturel (the hair on our heads), danced to trad jazz records, rode on the backs of boys’ motor-bikes (no crash helmets then), and believed in spontaneity and freedom. It was a great time to be young (though some of us did get pregnant by mistake). The stuff you’re talking about that came later was brought about, I think, by people who’d been too repressed to be proper beatniks, though they tried. That’s my theory, anyway!

      • nisakiman says:

        Ha! Yes, Margo, I was an aspiring beatnik when I was still at school! Avidly consumed Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’ at the age of 13, and at 14 was hitch-hiking up to London of a weekend to hang around in the ‘beat cafés’ and jazz clubs of Soho in the hope of meeting some cool dudes! By the time I left school in ’66 the beatnik scene had transmogrified into the hippy scene. But that was ok. Free love and dope seemed to me to be a very acceptable substitute! :)

        • lleweton says:

          Ken Colyer’s trumpet and band, Wally Fawkes’s clarinet, Bunjie’s coffee bar; summer dusk off the King’s Road – and the scent in the night air of Gauloises; the Troubador (occasionally), the Paris Pullman cinema. ‘Look Back in Anger’, duffel coats, the Aldermaston marches… Some will remember; most now are too young to be able to. There is no golden age though. To us in our dissident, questioning the enemy wore club ties and blazers. Now it offers hair shirts and dreary uniformity. Perhaps though, in the present time, we’ve hit on something which never changes: the need always to challenge (the abuse of) power. Which we did. And do.

    • smokervoter says:

      Comparatively speaking I guess I was a notch baby – totally missed the beatniks (too young) and sort-of glanced off the hippie era. I thrived through the SoCal transitional and hybrid surf and dirtbike culture, which was a branch off the Jock (i.e., athlete) Tree. You got physical but you had fun doing it rather than the grueling football practice/weight lifting regimen of the football jocks. And you drank beer and smoked cigarettes – but not pot.

      Smoking a cigarette didn’t change anything. You were the same before and after smoking one. Pot was what transformed you in to a giggling (girly) fool. Of course, that was before I smoked one and listened to the first song on Axis: Bold as Love where Hendrix had the squealing guitar notes stereophonically shoot through the left speaker and into the right speaker – and right through your brain in the process. “I just want to talk to you, I won’t a do ya’ no harm…..” (with Mitch Mitchell’s awesome drumming underneath it all).

      My older brother slammed smack dab into the hippiedom. He hitch-hiked up to San Francisco and came back with stories of banging liberated Northern Cal girls. I remember looking at him and thinking eeewe, yuck, he looks like a friggin’ girl with all that hair. He advised me that I better get with it or forget about getting laid. Let’s be frank here, it’s all about getting laid – and for both genders equally I might add.

      I eventually got with the program and grew my hair out, tried out some (a lot actually) pot and got laid more as a result, but I must admit that it never felt quite right to me to feel hair on my neck and likewise (and especially) the feminine feeling and look of bell-bottom jeans. I still cringe at old pictures of guys in bell-bottoms – what were we thinking!?!

      When I was at kindergarten age, my Aunt Kool Smoker took us all on a gawking cruise down to Venice Beach in L.A. (Walt knows what I’m talkin’ about here) and parked across the street from a beatnik coffee shop.

      I was absolutely terrified. I’d never seen anyone with a beard other than Santa Claus or the normal grandfatherly types. They looked very sinister to me. To top it off my aunt said that they were all drug addicts (what’s a drug?) who stabbed people with switchblades hidden in their girlfriend’s hairdos. A poetry reading must have been in session because they were all gathered around someone who was speaking animatedly. To my young mind it was some kind of creepy seance.

      I’m carrying on way too long here.

      • Tom says:

        “When I was at kindergarten age, my Aunt Kool Smoker took us all on a gawking cruise down to Venice Beach in L.A.”

        Isn’t Venice Beach, nowadays, one of those outdoor-smoking-banned cities that forbids outdoor smoking, anywhere at all, enforced with a fine? I thought I read that recently, earlier this year.

        Santa Cruz, BTW, in city parks, it is illegal to “possess” tobacco and the fine for getting caught with it is $50 plus confiscation of your tobacco, taken from you – even if you are of legal age. It’s not to do with age, it’s to do with “possession”, period. Banned. Illegal.

        Yes, times have changed, for the worse too.

        • smokervoter says:

          I haven’t been to Venice in about a decade but I wouldn’t doubt it. Too bad if that’s so. It is the most libertarian place in L.A. I can think of – literally anything goes. And with it’s notorious gang problems and hard drugs, I can’t think of a more monumental waste of resources than ticketing smokers. Which means that they probably do.

          I think I’ve mentioned that my brother and his lovely, sweet wife still live in Santa Cruz. I relayed to him what you said about ticketing smokers for possession and he was genuinely outraged. They’re both classical liberals. Heck, I even talked him into registering Republican so that he could vote for Ron Paul in the 2012 primary!

      • beobrigitte says:

        Comparatively speaking I guess I was a notch baby – totally missed the beatniks (too young) and sort-of glanced off the hippie era. I thrived through the SoCal transitional and hybrid surf and dirtbike culture, which was a branch off the Jock (i.e., athlete) Tree. You got physical but you had fun doing it rather than the grueling football practice/weight lifting regimen of the football jocks.

        My older brother was a “beatnick”; I, too, totally missed them and most of the hippie era.
        I had to choose between the “left-over” hippies and the “glitter” so I’m not sure what exactly we were. We were into Pink Floyd’s “dark side of the moon” and “wish you were here”; Black Sabbath; Wishbone Ash; just to name a few and occasionally joined the “disco-soul” places.
        Yeah, we tried this newish thing called “skateboarding”; revved motorbikes (no helmets, of course!!!) on dirty paths; we entertained us with “cow fence” (electrical fence) jumping and anything we could think off.

        And you drank beer and smoked cigarettes – but not pot.

        Yeah, we sure drank beer, schnaps and wine and smoked cigarettes. And occasionally we did smoke pot. We went to work and did our job and never thought of mobbing a colleague. We were all in it together and it was only natural that we went out after work together.

        I find it irritating when nowadays I encounter 20-odd year olds being concerned with health issues. I guess there is little life left in them.

        • smokervoter says:

          Beobrigitte, you sound like a lot of fun. I should have said surf, skateboard and dirtbike culture.

          I was there at the dawn of skateboards. The first ones were literally a 12″-16″ two-by-four with steel skate wheels nailed to the bottom.

          My dad was a wood butcher also and thus possessed a router. I took said router and began shaping the rails rounded to recreate the surfboard profile. From there I started shaping the boards like surfboards and using plywood. From there I started getting cast-off roller skate wheels made out of Hemacite (pigs blood and sawdust) from the local roller rink and screwing them to the body. Before you knew it I had a banging little business selling these to my friends for one dollar.

          When I go to local get-togethers with old friends I invariably get approached by someone who says “Do you remember selling me a skateboard back in 1962 for a buck?”

        • beobrigitte says:

          Smokervoter, we, too tried to make a skateboard once!! We used a plank of wood and nailed (!!!) bits of the old, metal, roller skates underneath.

          It was a fun afternoon, all of us went home minus a lot of skin off knees and elbows!! It didn’t phase our parents; we didn’t tell them and they were used to us coming home in bumps and bruises, anyway.

          A couple of years later we did the same again – this time we were a little older and we used screws to fasten more old roller skates on the plank of wood. Worked a lot better, except that sharp bend of the road at the bottom of the hill got us. We all ended up in the geese/turkey field and when the owner approached, we had to leg it. (We did flatten the fence and the geese/turkeys were fluttering around on the street). Sadly, we forgot to take that “skateboard” with us.

          I am glad to have had a youth in which there was virtually NO ADULT organized ” safe fun” for the kids; by the time I was 13 I could use quite a few tools…. No goggles, of course!!

          I must admit, I’m still up for trying new stuff. The end of January it’s stunt skis I’m giving a go. (Hope they rent them out!!!!) And, of course I shall take my snowskate with me!!!

  7. nisakiman says:

    The records had covers which were almost as important as the musical content.

    Indeed. CD covers were a very poor substitute as a surface upon which to roll a spliff.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Professor admits faking AIDS vaccine to get $19M in grants

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/26/professor-admits-faking-aids-vaccine-to-get-19m-in-grants/

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      An Iowa State University professor resigned after admitting he falsely claimed rabbit blood could be turned into a vaccine for the AIDS virus.

      Dr. Dong-Pyou Han spiked a clinical test sample with healthy human blood to make it appear that the rabbit serum produced disease-fighting antibodies, officials said.

      The bogus findings helped Han’s team obtain $19 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, said James Bradac, who oversees the institutes’ AIDS research.

      The remarkable findings were reported in scientific journals but raised suspicions when other researchers could not duplicate Han’s results.

      The NIH uncovered the scam when it checked the rabbit serum at a lab and found the human antibodies.

      Han resigned from his university post as an assistant professor of biomedical studies in October. His case came to light this week when it was reported in the Federal Register.

      Han agreed last month not to seek government contracts for three years, the register said.

    • Tom says:

      At what point in history will we see the headline, “Professors (Glantz, Repace, etal.) admit faking SHS Harm evidence in order to get $Billions in grants”. Like with the Kennedy assassination, probably all the evidence against them will remain locked up for 100 to 200 years, until after all the guilty parties and their progeny/inheritors have all had their chance to rule with an iron fist and be enriched to billionaire status for their evil doing. Then, later on, when they’re no longer around, nor their offspring, then the truth will come out and by then be of no consequence to the evil-doers (who will be enjoying time in hell for their crimes and damage they caused to others).

  9. garyk30 says:

    The trouble with these electric readers is that you can not have an inspiring illustration on the facing page to admire.

  10. beobrigitte says:

    Kindle…. Sure, you do not have to put up book shelves and dust them.

    And it was also rather surprising that, no sooner had I ordered the book using the Kindle reader, than the opening page appeared on its screen, ready to read. It shouldn’t have been surprising, but it was. I think that’s because my lifetime experience of buying books has usually involved visiting some distant bookshop, wandering among its shelves, selecting the books and then paying for them, and then lugging them home by train before finally opening them. Now all those hours had been condensed into a couple of minutes.

    Very time efficient and convenient. Nevertheless, this comes at a price. There is a distinct time warp between entering and leaving a book shop; so many books to look at, touch and choose from in a most relaxing fashion is something I dearly miss as I miss the cafe I used to take my bought books to to start reading over a coffee & a ciggie.

    Relaxation was something everyone just did in their own way. A day in a book shop was one form of relaxation for me. A Kindle just does not have the same effect.

  11. Malcolm Coghill says:

    Don’t spoil whisky by mixing it with rubbish such as honey. If you must have a hot toddy it is hot water and a spoonfull of sugar. My preference would be to omit the hot water and sugar. Take them in tea, and have the whisky neat. Jobs a good ‘un.

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    FARAGE ON FRIDAY: Cinnamon challenge and Danish pastries under threat from new EU rules

    I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and had a good few days off to relax and eat plenty of roast potatoes and chocolate. Might I suggest that if you have room you squeeze in a cinnamon danish before the EU bans them?

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/450611/FARAGE-ON-FRIDAY-Cinnamon-challenge-and-Danish-pastries-under-threat-from-new-EU-rules

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      JessB

      11:33pm on Saturday, 28th December 2013
      Report This Comment

      We need to get out now of the EU. End of. I am voting UKIP.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Ukip have vowed to give David Cameron an election battle next year [REX]

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          And as the year drew to a close and we announced the list of candidates who would be fighting the European Election campaign in 2014 we emerged a stronger party with a clear purpose. We know the opposition won’t play fair and there will be dossiers flying around on the best candidates to target and what wicked things to imply about them. But we’ll be going into 2014 with a clear aim; to win those European Elections and get Ukip councillors elected in town halls up and down the country in the local elections.

          We’ll be campaigning on what we believe in: others can throw dirt as they don’t have the belief in their own policies to do otherwise. We’ll be turning the European Elections into the referendum that Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and their colleagues are too terrified to offer the British people.

          I know readers of The Express won’t be falling for their gimmicks and tricks: I hope you help us cause an earthquake in British politics next year.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    And with a UKIP win so ends the UK BAN!

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    Today I was down at wafflehouse and I went behind the counter snatched up an ashtray and lit up 3 people went, ” CAN YOU SMOKE IN HERE” all from Nohio……………The waitress said why yes of course……….they all pulled out there smokes and got ashtrays……………If they only knew the story behind the fight! We would all be Heroes in a new York parade!

  15. Pingback: Taken For A Ride | Frank Davis

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