"Asthma doesn't seem to bother me any more unless I'm around cigars or dogs.The thing that would bother me most would be a dog smoking a cigar." - Steve Allen
In my book, Barking From the Front Porch, I tell stories and prognosticate on issues such as smoking, health care, hygiene, food, alcohol and entertainment in the 1950's. Occasionally, I intend to blog about some of these topics, sometimes using excerpts from my book. The electronic media allows me to provide my readers with a broader perspective, more photos - in colour, no less - and sometimes some entertaining video. So, here I go! This one is more about my chapter entitled Learning to Smoke.
It has been said that, to a smoker, there is nothing so annoying as the nagging of a reformed former smoker. I am one. Let's face facts. Smoking is addictive. I once saw a television documentary where a drug addict admitted that he had much more difficulty giving up cigarettes than quitting cocaine. I gave up the habit about forty-five years ago - cigarettes, that is; not cocaine - but the smell of a freshly lit cigarette is still intoxicating to me. Out on the street, I sidle up to smokers just to get a little whiff of that wonderful, deadly, forbidden fruit.
In the 1950’s smoking was mandatory. Everyone did it, and you did too even if you never lit up. Second-hand smoke was at kitchen tables, in bedrooms, in cars, buses and airplanes - Who thought that was a good idea? - in dance halls, beer parlours, restaurants, schools: everywhere. By the time you were five years old you were addicted to nicotine simply by virtue of being alive. Not only were you hooked; you wanted to be hooked. It was cool, sophisticated and even healthy. Full page magazine ads displayed tough, swarthy cowboys on spirited horses breathing fresh mountain air and taking a break to enjoy the fresh clean taste of Marlboro cigarettes. One ad went so far as to say: More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette. And one Lucky Strike ad told us that 20,679 physicians say, “Luckies are less irritating.” Not to be outdone, a Viceroy Cigarette ad showed a dentist saying, “As your dentist, I would recommend Viceroys.” I guess they make your teeth look whiter and your breath smell fresher! Click on the Lucky Strike ad to take you to a selection of old cigarette ads.
When we got our first black and white 21 inch console Zenith television in 1958 we could watch reporters, entertainers and game show hosts puff away while they worked; then during a commercial break we could watch the same game show hosts promote the smooth “well-mannered” taste of Du Maurier cigarettes. In movies and television shows all the popular actors and actresses of the day lit up as they played their roles. It was an expected glamorous part of the show. How an unsavory habit like cigarette smoking came to be associated with elegance, sophistication, and glamour is a testament to the ingenuity of the marketing and advertising industry as well as the conscience and scruples-barren tobacco industry. To this day, the marketing of e-cigarettes and various candy flavoured tobaccos is targeting the most impressionable and vulnerable in our society, our youth, to ensure they become hooked on nicotine thus ensuring a never-ending income stream for the tobacco barons.
In the mid-1950’s a few radical scientists, researchers and doctors began to link smoking to lung cancer and respiratory diseases, but their fear-mongering was largely discounted as something which might happen in the future; whereas today we had to build bomb shelters and learn how to hide under school desks, away from windows while preparing for imminent nuclear annihilation by the Soviet regime. Fear of being blasted into Kingdom Come made people so jumpy they needed a cigarette to calm their nerves.
You may read more of my personal adventures with cigarette smoking in the book, Barking From the Front Porch.
In the meantime, click on the attractive young lady below to view some old television commercials promoting the use of tobacco. Even Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies is featured in one of them.
Gerald M. Sliva
In the beginning there was nothing. God said, "Let there be light!" And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better. - Ellen DeGeneres
Humans are infatuated with beginnings and endings.
Birth and death, our own mortal beginnings and endings are mysteries. The most memorable parts of any journey are the beginning, the anticipation of it all; and the ending, the joyful coming back home. Artists and photographers routinely try to capture the beginning and the ending of each day, the glory of the sunrise and the wonder of the sunset. Authors and poets spend countless hours searching for a perfect way to reproduce the beauty of the sunrise, the reverence of the evening. And they agonize over the selection of just the right words for the beginnings and endings of their creations.
We wonder about the beginnings of our world, our universe and our own lives. Scientists and astronomers devote their entire lives to probing the outer reaches of our universe, speculating and hypothesizing about our beginnings. Many fatalists spend their lives trying to predict the end of our world, searching for clues in the bible, the sun, the moon and the stars.
When I wrote Barking From the Front Porch, I did the same. I fretted about how to begin. I wanted an opening which would greet you as a friend, to invite you into my life. Before I started my story I wanted to say "Good Morning". I did that with a very short poem which I hoped would greet you, my readers, reflect reverence for creation, an offering of hospitality from our Creator, and invite you to a new beginning. Here it is again:
Dawn breaks and the world awakes
to breakfast in the clouds.
Orange sun and apricot skies
God's giant juicer liquefies.
Dawn breaks and the world awakes
to drink in the view ---
Our Creator making nectar
before our very eyes.
Fresh squeezed juices --- King size!
At the end of my storytelling I have one more very brief poem which I entitled "Good Night" as a way of saying farewell to my readers. My editors suggested that the two poems were extraneous to my story and that they should be omitted. However, as the author, I made the final decision. I wanted to greet and to bid farewell to my readers. I did it my way. You be the judge.
Gerald M. Sliva
“They say you should treat your body like a temple. I treat mine like a fast-moving dumpster.” - Matthew Inman, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
Happy New Year. Raise your hand if you ate and drank truckloads of calories over the past three weeks. Me too! So I resolve to do better, but how firm is my resolve? Think about it. How many New Years resolutions have you broken so far? A bunch of them? Me too!
Help is at hand. I am here not only to entertain and educate, but also to help us stick to our New Years dieting resolutions. My method is drug-free and simple - no expensive diet pills - no tiring exercise plans that cost loads of money producing questionable results. This unique program, dubbed the Appetite Suppression Plan (ASP), is given here absolutely free, with no strings attached.
Bear with me as I explain my foolproof ASP diet plan. When I was a kid enjoying a great hot dog, my uncle always informed me that wieners are made from pigs' snouts and assholes. I didn't really believe him, and it didn't matter anyhow. They tasted great. However, as I aged, gaining some life experience, I learned that hog processing plants use all parts of the animal, everything but the squeal. In fact, in one of my jobs I had occasion to tour a hog processing plant. Without going into the gory details, which would help suppress your appetite, I witnessed a couple fellows wearing rubber boots, wielding aluminum scoop shovels and moving a large mound of some mushy, grey, unappetizing gunk. When asked, the tour guide informed our group that we were witnessing one of the steps in the processing of "pork parts" into wieners and bologna. It mattered not. I tend to have a cast iron stomach, probably even going home and having a hot dog that evening.
Perhaps you have watched the CNN TV show, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown. He travels the world, sampling all manner of unusual and strange foods from every culture known to mankind. He will often join people in eating foods which most North Americans are quite unaccustomed to eating - foods which we might find unappetizing, even repulsive. Perhaps that is how Mr Bourdain keeps his trim, youthful body shape. He unknowing uses my ASP.
If you are one of those North Americans who want to lose weight and you are repulsed by the thought of eating snouts and assholes, my ASP diet is the right prescription for dropping a few pounds. The first step in the ASP diet plan is to purchase a few boxes of the yummy pork parts depicted in this photo. Incidentally, when I first looked at the photo, I wondered if rectums even have bones.
For more graphic descriptions of the uses of these animal parts, click on the photo of the boxes of delectable pork rectums and spend fifteen minutes listening to a radio program which could assist you in losing your appetite. (Note: The first 5 minutes or so are purely introduction to the one hour program, but you can listen while you do productive work like reading another one of my helpful blogs or playing computer games. Just open a new computer window and go about your business.)
Click on the dog and martini at the end of this blog for a unique recipe, which I would wager you haven't previously tried. The martini has some significance. Most of us will need a couple good stiff drinks before trying this - it works for Anthony Bourdain.
If you have found this whole blog rather disgusting and distasteful, perhaps I have achieved my objective. But if you are really adventuresome and daring in trying new foods you just might develop an appetite for pork bungs.
Happy New Year!
Gerald M. Sliva
You'll bark too if you try this recipe.
Still Barking! Blog of