Smoking rant

One of the funniest things I’ve ever read on the blogosphere was Kathryn, who smokes, ranting about non-smokers. Others must have found it amusing too, as it was nominated for the Best Post on an Australian Blog for that year.

But… I hate smoking.

I know the chemicals in tobacco make smoking incredibly addictive for many people. Having seen people I know try (and fail in some cases) to quit, it can obviously be very difficult.

And I know that most people who smoke are genuinely considerate of others when they do so, and try and avoid getting their smoke everywhere.

But it’s still a disgusting smelly filthy dangerous habit.

Inevitably the God damn smoke gets everywhere, fouling up the air on the footpaths. I don’t want the bloody stuff in my lungs.

And omigod the stink. Do smokers have any idea how feckin’ bad their breath smells? No wonder smokers don’t usually date non-smokers. It’s gross, and it’s not just in the vicinity — the smell from a heavy smoker is like an aura. They get into a lift and the whole thing stinks. Everybody within metres gets the whiff.

Even a quick drink in the pub means your clothes and your hair all have to be washed. And al fresco dining is inevitably accompanied by a smoky haze.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it could be contained. How about the smokers put bags over their heads or something, to stop it going everywhere, and spraying air freshener to cover up the smell? (Heath Robinson drew a cartoon portraying this, but I can’t find a copy of it right now.)

But even if they were just giving themselves lung cancer, why should the huge majority (around 77%) of non-smokers subsidise the humungous cost of lung cancer? Pushing smokers down the surgery priority list? Absolutely! Tax the crap out of them? Yes! Taxes on cigarettes don’t come close to paying the costs. (Old figures: revenue A$3.5b, costs A$6b/year; newer figures show up to A$21b/year costs.) Private health insurance charges higher premiums for smokers — maybe the Medicare levy should be higher too.

I know that most smokers do so because their parents smoked. I suppose I’m lucky mine didn’t.

For anybody who’s trying to quit, I honestly wish you the best of luck.


So the other week I opened up the Good Weekend A2 (Saturday newspaper colour magazine). I ask you, does the world really need another profile of Barry Humphries?

I’m not asking for him to go and die or anything, and I find Dame Edna as amusing as the next person, but this continuing fascination for the baby-boomers is somewhat frustrating when so many other younger talented people aren’t getting a look-in.

Car hassles 1

This note on my windscreen this morning:

Notice from cranks

Dear whoever you are,

Tell you what, I’ll do you a couple of favours.

Firstly I won’t park in front of your house anymore. It’s not that appealing anyway. I don’t know what the hell you’ve done to your nature strip, which resembles an overgrown miniature botanic gardens, but it makes life difficult for my passenger to alight from my car. So I’ll park 3 metres forward or back from now on.

Secondly, I’ll explain the parking rules on this street. The signs are pretty clear: It’s one-hour parking from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm. That’s all. Other than that, it’s a free-for-all. Anybody from anywhere can park here. It matters not a jot that it’s in front of your house and your weed colony.

If you want to get the spot in front of your house restricted, talk to your local council. You probably have a gnat’s chance in hell, but if you’re really lucky, they might decide your request is worthy, and make it permit parking. Mind you I bet they’d love to take a look at that nature strip.

Please do let me know if you get so outraged with someone parking there that you call the police. I’d really love to know what they say.

Annoying bankers

I didn’t buy a house on Saturday. Despite assistance, I was outmanoevred. It does strike me that the auction process is not dissimilar to professional poker.

Anyway in preparation for the auction, I needed to be ready to pay a 10% deposit of (argh) tens of thousands of dollars by cheque. So last week I moved a heap of money from my St George DragonDirect account (which is fee-free and has pays pretty good interest) into my Commonwealth Bank account (which I use for every day stuff, and has a chequebook attached).

St George will let you do this in hits of up to $100,000 per day. All good.

Commonwealth, however… They limit you to $5,000 per day by electronic banking. And though their Netbank teases you by implying you can get that limit raised, when I rang up to get it done, they told me you can’t. $5K is it ($10K from business accounts). Their alternative involves going into the branch and either buying a bank cheque (which means then going into a St George bank branch to get the money in… like I have time for that), or doing a slow-but-cheap electronic transfer which will cost about $4 and take a WEEK. Or paying a $28 fee to transfer the money electronically instantly.

Apart from not really having the time, I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of that. I’ll trickle it back to St George, $5K a day. And it’s time to find out if St George can do chequebooks. ‘Cos this is ridiculous. WTF did they build electronic banking for anyway if they force you to go into the branch for stuff like this?

The humungatron

It bugs me sometimes to see those huge 4WD/SUVs rolling down the road, like every other car carrying the average 1.1 persons, and burning up way more petrol than is necessary and blocking everyone else’s view.

So it’s somewhat comforting to read this followup to the article in The Age Good Weekend a few months ago, about them. Oh, wait a minute, is it the SAME article? Or a US version of it? Whatever, a good read again anyway.

One of Ford’s senior marketing executives was even blunter: “The only time those S.U.V.s are going to be off-road is when they miss the driveway at 3 a.m.”

(via Scoble)

Equally fascinating is the same author’s piece on shopping malls.