Smoke Radio

I’ve been watching snooker on YouTube. I think the reason I like snooker is that it’s a very Newtonian game of bodies in motion and in collision. It’s all geometry. Although you’d never know it when you hear snooker players talking about it.

Snooker got to be a very popular game in the UK in the 1970s or so when it started being televised. I read once somewhere that it was televised because the multicoloured balls were ideal for colour TV.

But what really made it popular were the cast of characters it introduced to the  world. And none was more flamboyant than two-times snooker world champion Alex Higgins. If any single person made snooker popular, it was him. And he was a bad boy. He picked fights with people, and threw TV sets out of windows, and got fined and banned. And he’d sit in his chair by the snooker table drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

Snooker players don’t do that any more. You never see any of them with either a beer or a cigarette. Just like you never see professional golfers smoking either. And golf is another Newtonian game. Those balls flying off the tees are in gravitational orbits. I could simulate golf with my orbital simulation model. I could maybe simulate snooker too.

No smoking is the rule everywhere now, in all games, as far as I can see. And it’s the rule everywhere on TV as well. You never see anyone with a cigarette on a TV chat show. You don’t see them with a beer or a cocktail either. Nobody even mentions smoking or tobacco or cigarettes. It’s like they no longer exist.

These days I think you’ll only know that the revolution has finally come when you see TV newsreaders with cigarettes and overflowing ashtrays and cans of beer. Snooker players likewise. Then you’ll know that freedom has been restored.

And these days I long for that revolution. I never used to be any sort of revolutionary when I was younger. I wasn’t even a revolutionary back when I was a hippie with beads and bell-bottomed trousers. But I am now. It’s only now that I’m an old man of nearly 70 years of age that I’ve started wanting revolution. Isn’t it strange?

I listen to US talk radio a lot these days. Rush Limbaugh. Mark Levin. Michael Savage. That sort of thing. And I watch Alex Jones on I’ll probably stop listening after the presidential election next month.

And you know what I notice about talk radio? They don’t smoke either. And they don’t talk about smoking or cigarettes either. They may as well be the BBC or CNN or Fox News as far as that goes.

rush_limbaughRush Limbaugh’s website carries a photo of him holding a cigar. But he never talks about smoking. Instead, he only ever refers to his “formerly nicotine-stained fingers”. Which kinda means to me that he no longer actually smokes, but he likes to retain his image as a smoker. Mark Levin never mentions smoking either. Nor does Michael Savage. And I’ve never seen anyone smoking on Alex Jones’ infowars. The revolution hasn’t arrived on talk radio yet, it would seem.

And why not? Is there a law against showing people smoking on the net in podcasts or blogs? If there is, I break it all the time. My avatar shows me holding a cigarette. My blog advertises Pall Mall Blue. If freedom means anything, it means the freedom to smoke cigarettes. And to advertise cigarettes.

Or maybe I just listen to the wrong talk radio stations. I’m fairly new to them, after all.

I was listening to Mark Levin last night, and he was talking about the US constitution, and how it had been progressively gutted by progressive politicians (he called them “statists”) for the entire past century, all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt. It was very interesting, but as usual he was talking about principles without explaining what principles he meant, or what principles are. After all, I don’t have principles. You’ll never hear me talking about principles. Just like you’ll never hear me talking about rights. Because I don’t think anybody has got any rights. I don’t think I have to a right to life or liberty or happiness. Sure I want life and liberty and happiness, but I’ve never thought I had a right to any of them. I’m nearly 70 years old. Don’t tell me that I have a right to life, because I don’t. I’ll be dead soon. Maybe I’ll be dead next week. And if we’re running up to WW3, maybe I actually will be. I just think I’m lucky to have managed to have lived this long, and not become a plague victim in a mass grave, or a soldier buried upside down under a ton of mud on some battlefield. Same with principles. Is a principle something like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? In the Oxford dictionary a principle is “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.” Elsewhere principles are “fundamental norms, rules, or values that represent what is desirable and positive for a person, group, organisation, or community, and help it in determining the rightfulness or wrongfulness of its actions.” I’ve spent my whole life looking for principles, but I can’t say I’ve ever found any. Idle Theory was my best shot at it. It had a Least Action Principle. And anyway couldn’t you say that Tobacco Control have got principles? They have a No Smoking principle. Isn’t it their fundamental, universal truth that “Smoking Kills”? And don’t they have a whole bunch of norms, rules, and values to go with their principles? You can find their principles stuck up on the walls of every pub and restaurant and shop in England. And most of the rest of the world too. You can even find them on the walls of churches. Isn’t that why these antismoking zealots are all such snobby, self-righteous little shits? Because they’ve got principles.

bill_werbeniukWe don’t really need talk radio. We need smoke radio. And smoke TV. Streamed live on the net. Or as podcasts. Smoke radio would feature people sitting around drinking and smoking with their feet up on tables, talking about stuff. Maybe they’d even talk about rights and principles. Occasionally someone would come in with some hot pizza or other fast food and hand it around using their fingers. And maybe there’d be a pool table or a snooker table, and their conversation would be woven into long slow games of snooker in which they keep forgetting the score. And they’d all be gloriously, mountainously fat, like Bill Werbeniuk (above). And if anyone walked in and started complaining, they’d all pull out AK-47s from under the snooker tables and blow them to pieces.

It would be very cheap. No garish, expensive sets. No producers or cameramen.  Just a few people talking. And a few beers. And a few cigarettes. And a few pizzas. And a pool table. All of it streamed by webcam onto the net from a single room which could be anywhere in the world.

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24 Responses to Smoke Radio

  1. In the Oxford dictionary a principle is “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning.” Elsewhere principles are “fundamental norms, rules, or values that represent what is desirable and positive for a person, group, organisation, or community, and help it in determining the rightfulness or wrongfulness of its actions.”

    Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    This amendment is used to protect the citizenry from any expansion of governmental power because of the limited nature of the Bill of Rights. Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code, and those that are linked to other rights already declared. It protects these personal liberties from state and federal infringement.

    • By leaving each other alone, we to do as we always have we ensure the principles and rights along with individual liberty with those great private property rights each of us has.

      Government has no business in anything that is public or private.

      Except their own buildings but then again the taxpayers all own that too,so in effect the government owns nothing,but they seem to think they own we the people.

    • “Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. ”

      You got it Daniel!


  2. wobbler2012 says:

    You missed one golfer fighting the fight, Miguel Ángel Jiménez. Usually never seen without a cigar in his mouth on the course, majors included.

  3. Tony says:

    Sometime, probably in the 1970s, the BBC seemed to want to pretend that nobody smoked. I remember Peter Cook being interviewed sometime after that. Presumably in the 1980s.

    He smoked cigarettes throughout but the cameraman tried to keep them out of shot. Peter Cook spotted this and, without interrupting the interview or commenting in any way, made sure his ciggy returned to centre stage everytime the camera moved. It was like watching a dance.

    • OH, That would have been great to watch! :) There was a talented, worshipped older female guitarist/singer(?) being interviewed by David Frost (?) one time and it was VERY clear he didn’t want her smoking during the interview and she was VERY clear that she was going to smoke regardless.

      Somewhere I was just recently posting some of the material from Brains on this stuff. Here’s an excerpt in case it wasn’t here:

      Two more recent entries worthy of mention for their oddity include Citizen Ruth in which virtually the only smoker was a pregnant drug abuser who also liked to huff paint thinner and airplane glue, and another (whose name escapes me) where the evil space aliens all hung out and chain-smoked in a diner. Of course, the nice Earthlings didn’t smoke, and one poor Earthling waitress in particular was always escaping out the back door to catch a breath of air!
      Regular watchers of TV dramas and sitcoms may have also noticed how special episodes are sometimes devoted to Antismoking or Antidrug social themes. If you thought this was just happenstance, think again. According to Daniel Forbes, writing in Salon:

      Under the sway of the office of President Clinton’s drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, some of America’s most popular shows — including “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” … and “7th Heaven” — have filled their episodes with anti-drug pitches to cash in on a complex government advertising subsidy (Daniel Forbes. A Salon Special Report., 01/13/00).

      One particular episode of 7th Heaven featured an evil twin smoking after his smoking father passed away from lung cancer, while one of the regular teen characters started smoking, influencing two toddlers to emulate him by pretending to smoke with crayons as another teen regular kept loudly proclaiming all smokers’ stupidity and another younger teen quit a newly acquired habit to prove that he wasn’t stupid. To top it all off, yet another smoking character was thrown into the mix to rudely blow smoke in a nonsmoker’s face at an outdoor café while the home she was house-sitting simultaneously burned down from one of her cigarettes… after which she simply lit up another smoke and stalked off with a comment about the place being insured and nonsmokers being uptight! (No, I am not making this up.)


      The act of political editing that I believe most astonished me occurred in 2002 when the heroic stewardess who kept an airplane from being blown out of the sky by jumping on (and being bitten by!) the “shoe bomber” dared to light a cigarette upon her exit from the airport ambulance. The news networks almost universally consigned most of the 45-second scene of her joyful return to freedom to the trash bin. What should have been a celebration of this brave woman returning to solid ground and normalcy was sharply edited and cut to about 10 seconds just as she made the mistake of reaching into her pocketbook for what must have been a very long awaited smoke.
      The entire scene DID make it unedited to MSNBC and it was only on this network that the public saw her gallant spirit as she lit up and joked with ambulance attendants after her ordeal. Stills from the scene are available on the web page of Darlene Brennan, founder of FORCES Maine ( ).
      The heroine, Christina Jones, despite saving hundreds of innocent lives at clear risk to herself, was evidently not welcome on camera if she didn’t behave according to the dictates of political correctness.

      Amazing eh? And sad. And scary.

      – MJM

  4. mikef317 says:

    Re no smoking on TV / radio shows, I would ask where a program originates and what are the local “no smoking” laws?

    Rush Limbaugh is not alone in the studio. There’s certainly an audio technician, probably someone monitoring the phones, and since he has a video feed, someone operating a camera. If he smoked in the “workplace” he would expose employees to secondhand smoke and might be subject to a hefty fine.

    Even on a TV panel show, if one person smokes, he or she would expose the host and other guests (and the audience!) to secondhand smoke – and, depending on the location, this might be illegal and subject to a fine.

    • waltc says:

      Rush does smoke. Cigars. A lot of them. Now. Talks about them frequently. Has also talked about what BS secondhand smoke is, made fun of the phobics, and likely has SHS-busting articles in his online archives; in any case, he refers to them when it’s relevant. A few years ago, when ecigs were new and long before they were legislated against, he told of using one in some no-smoking someplace and being told to put it out because the sight of it was upsetting a woman across the room. He made fun of [i] that[/i] too.

      I believe his studio, in Florida, is on his estate, or may even be in his house. Not sure. But he owns it. And if you’ve ever been in a broadcasting studio you’ll know that the on air talent is always separated by sound-proof glass from the engineers etc. Nobody else uses that studio so he doesn’t have to worry about the next guy to use it complaining of “the smell.” Nor would he hire any phobic engineer or screener who’d object . You can often hear him smoking as he talks. But. He also does more and more of his program on videocam that can be seen by paid members. Since I’m not a paid member and wouldn’t in any case want to watch a radio show, I don’t know if he smokes when he’s on camera or not, but he doesn’t at all hide the fact that he smokes.

      • waltc says:

        I also believe he operates the camera, gathered from things he’s said. It’s a stationary camera since it’s only recording him sitting in the same seat. Think of it as a video selfie.

      • Frank Davis says:

        I take your word for it.

        I don’t listen to him. I read the transcripts.

        But why does he keep mentioning his “formerly nicotine-stained fingers” if he smokes lots of cigars?

        • waltc says:

          He once smoked cigarettes. And, like most, if not all, smokers likely did not have nicotine-stained fingers, so I assume that’s irony. Or maybe the lit end of a cigar is farther from the fingertips and, accordimg to myth, therfore doesn’t stain them. Or to put that another way: dunno.

    • mikef317 says:

      Different idea.

      Suppose you produce a TV show. It can be fiction (Sherlock Homes Investigates!) or a panel discussion (Movie Stars! Political Pundits!).

      Suppose no laws are involved. Smoking can be shown or not shown.

      If you show anyone smoking – guaranteed – antis will be on the warpath. The Public Health minions will swamp you with angry phone calls, letters, and e-mails. The owners of the TV station will also be harassed. If your program has advertisers your dastardly deeds will be brought to their attention.

      Suppose you don’t allow smoking on your show? You might get a few letters (polite or otherwise) from smokers. Mostly you’ll be left in peace.


      Dumb question. No answer expected.

      Even if Rush is alone in a soundproof room, does it have its own ventilation system? If not, deadly secondhand smoke is certainly seeping into other parts of the building. And even if the room is “safely” ventilated, it has a door, and when Rush opens the door a torrent of secondhand smoke will spew into the neighboring room.

      Remember, there’s no safe level of secondhand smoke!

  5. Lepercolonist says:

    I remember playing pocket billiards where there were built-in ashtrays on the edges of the table. Nearly all the players smoked cigarettes. Ditto with built-in ashtrays on the poker tables. Very normal and accommodating.

    Today there is no smoking in pool halls or smoking at the poker game. What the hell is wrong with people ?

    • Bandit 1 says:

      Yep. One of my great pleasures in life (I live a humble life) was the combination of friends, alcohol, pool and smoking. Take away smoking – from an environment the Arnotts of this world would never, ever set foot in – and it’s completely ruined, in exactly the same way the pub experience has been.

      Spite, pure and simple.

  6. Darryl says:

    Emilia Fox smoking in The Tunnel. This one must have pissed off the zealots.

  7. D C I Banks on TV currently has a side kick that smokes – wonderful to see! The “sickness” in TV – and probably movies, though I rarely go to a cinema, is that we can be offered anything, even the most course, repulsive vileoporn, vileosex, murder in the most intricate detail, perversions of all kinds, hints and tips for every kind of human behaviour, EXCEPT smoking.

  8. Joe L. says:

    In the currently-running series, “Mr. Robot,” the main ‘good guys’ (the antihero hackers who intend to take down the mega-corporate establishment) smoke cigarettes, whereas the female FBI agent antagonist who is out to get them is always seen with a sucker (‘lolly’ for my friends across the pond) in her mouth. The main characters’ father died of lung cancer, however it is not attributed to smoking, but rather because of improper disposal of toxic chemicals from the evil mega-corporation.

    • Roobeedoo2 says:

      ‘Not every technological innovation triggers the dissolution of the existing mode of production. For example, the invention of eyeglasses spread very quickly around the globe, but it didn’t undermine the social/political order as did the printing press.

      ‘A nation may suffer a crisis and keep its social order and mode of production intact, or it may lose a key source of income route but compensate by expanding an alternative source.

      ‘But once a nation or empire loses access to an irreplaceable food or energy source—for example, once the Western Roman Empire lost its North African wheat breadbasket—it can no longer support an elite-dominated social order that skims much of the system’s surplus. Some re-ordering of the mode of production is required for the regime to survive.’

  9. smokingscot says:

    This little snippet really pissed off Stanton.

    Sigourney Weaver’s character demands a giggie as soon as she gets out the pod.

    And James Cameron, while not exactly pro-smoking did state:

    “Movies should reflect reality. If it’s okay for people to lie, cheat, steal and kill in PG 13 movies, why impose an inconsistent morality when it comes to smoking?”


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