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Monday, February 27, 2012



When I was growing up in the 1950s the cars were big, the food was fatty with large portions, Milton Berle and Ed Sullivan ruled TV, and almost everyone who could get their hands on cigarettes, smoked.

It was the era of “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” and I’d walk a mile for a Camel.”   Midget bellboy Johnny Roventini sold millions of packs of Plilip Morris cigarettes with his popular announcement of “Call for Philip Morrisssseeeese!”

Most of my friends and I were in our early teens and, although my parents didn’t smoke, most of their parents did so they would frequently swipe some from their stash.  I was the lucky one:  Although I tried my best to smoke, cigarettes tasted obnoxious to me so I finally gave up trying. 

When I entered the Air Force in 1961, I found that most of the guys I was stationed with were smokers.  I gave smoking another shot at that time but my reaction was the same.  I have never touched one since.

With the evidence against smoking in recent years, not to mention the high cost of cigarettes, I made the right decision although it wasn’t because of the fear of health problems or the cost; it was all about my hating the taste of the nasty things.

Every now and then, someone will come up with an idea that supposedly gives a person the pleasure of smoking, hopefully without any dangerous side effects.  We’ve all seen the nicotine gum and patches and I have heard of certain pills that claim to break the habit but it seems those ideas are hit and miss if they work at all.

Lately, the panacea for smokers seems to be the e-cigarette.  It looks like a cigarette although it is made of plastic.  According to Wiki,  " It is an electrical device that simulates the act of tobacco smoking by producing an inhaled mist bearing the physical sensation, appearance, and often
the flavor and nicotine content of inhaled tobacco smoke; though without its odor, and intended to omit its health risks. The device uses heat (or in some cases, ultrasonics) to vaporize apropylene glycol- or glycerin-based liquid solution into an aerosol mist, similar to the way a nebulizer or humidifier vaporizes solutions for inhalation."

I’ve seen some people using them and to me they look kind of silly plus I would bet the enjoyment of them is far from what smokers are used to.

If I was a smoker, I doubt if I would use an e-cigarette.  If you see someone smoking one, take a good look.  I think they are another flash in the pan in the battle against smoking.


We have become much too sensitive.  St. John’s University dropped their nickname “Redmen” in 1994 because Native Americans thought it was offensive.  Never mind that the 70 year old name had nothing to do with Indians.  The football team wore red uniforms, hence, “Redmen.”  Now, the NCAA is threatening the U. of North Dakota about using its 80 year old “Fighting Sioux” nickname.  These are just two of many examples of the silly political correctness we have to endure.  Will the Whittier College “Poets” and UC Santa Cruz “Banana Slugs” be the next to feel demeaned?  Let’s hope not!


Little Johnny Roventini selling Christmas cartons of Philip Morris cigarettes.  He started representing them in 1933 and retired in 1974 at age 64.  He died at 88 in 1998.


StillStealth said...

Jim, Fortunately, I never picked up on the habit of smoking cigarettes either. I tried it once in high school and got sick. I then tried it again in my early 20's - same thing, it just didn't appeal to me.

The e-cigarette makes me laugh. Kinda like non-alcoholic beer or wine - what's the point?!

Jim McAllister said...

Still, We are both lucky. I was as dumb as the next guy about smoking and if cigarettes weren't so disgusting to me, I probably would have gotten hooked on them too. In those days, there was no real evidence available as to their harm.

E-cigarettes are just another passing thing. I see people at the casino trying to smoke them and it's comical to watch. I can tell they are giving them a try but will quickly revert to real cigarettes once the fad is over. My favorite is the guy who will use the patch and smoke while using it.

Mike Slater said...

Jim, I tried smoking at 16 but didn't care for that much. My mother smoked but not often. My dad chewed tobacco. I ended up chewing and have been for over 40 years. It's a bad habit but at least I'm not bothering people with smoke.

This PC stuff is getting out of hand with college teams. Standford change their name from the Indian to the Cardinal years ago because of PC.

On the bright side Florida is still called the Seminoles with the blessing of the Seminole tribe and the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins have refused to change their names.

Jim McAllister said...

Mike, When I think of tobacco chewing guys I think of Raymond Hatton who was in the Three Mesquiteer movies of the 1930s with John Wayne. He always had a "chaw"! He made 500 films, many in the silent era, and died at 84 in 1971.

PC has gotten silly in recent years. I'm glad the Redskins and Braves told them to shove it. St. John's should have too especially since their name didn't even refer to Indians.

A lot of people today would have had a hard time in the old days when there was no PC. I wore glasses when I was a teenager and I can't count the number of times I was called "four eyes." In basic training in the AF my drill sergeant referred to anyone with glasses as "seal beams". You have to be a certain age to know that expression as it referred to the seal beam headlights used on cars in those days.

Glo said...

"You've come a long way, baby
To get where you got today
You've got your own cigarette now, baby -
You've come a long, long waaaaaaaaaaay!"

Ah Virgina Slims - the good old days! Remember the Marlboro Man, whose commercials played the theme from The Magnificent Seven? God, I loved that movie: second best western ever made (Red River was and always will be Numero Uno!)

I smoked maybe two ciggies in high school, both behind billboards. I didn't inhale and that was that. Now, it sickens me to drive past high schools and middle school where teens and preteens are puffing away in public. Yeah, progress.

As for these e-ciggies: PUH-LEEZE!!! A stupid affectation.

Glo Again said...

Also, I'm part Native America and have no problem with nickames like Redskin. And - Squaw Peak will always be Squaw Peak as far as I'm concerned!!

Jim McAllister said...

Glo, I'm with you on your choices for best westerns. I just watched "Red River" again a couple weeks ago and enjoyed it as much as ever. Everyone was good in it from Wayne right on through the many great character actors like Noah Beery, Jr., John Ireland, Walter Brennan, Paul Fix, and the great Hank Worden who was in about all of JW's flicks. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Fix in 1959 in L. A. It was quite a thrill.

"The Magnificent Seven" had all my favorites like James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Brad Dexter, and of course the great Charles Bronson. As They say: They don't make 'em like that any more!

As far as team names like Redskins and Braves, I don't look at them as insulting to anyone. I think the problem is that Native Americans have seen all the other over sensitive minorities in the country whine and some of them decided they should too. They don't realize that sports are for fun and they have to learn to laugh at themselves just like the rest of us need to do. Unfortunately, we are in an over sensitive era now.

Thanks for your comments!

Arizona dave said...

Good Morning Jimmy you remember "SMOKE,SMOKE,SMOKE That Cigarette" as sang by Tex Williams in 1947....Puff, Puff, Puff that old song which really led us all to trying the little cigarillo....remember Lucky Strike Greens during the World War II..

Like you, I gave it a try in my early college years...really didn't like it...I really didn't inhale, just Puff, Puff, Puff that cigarette as Tex Williams sang...also I hated the cigarette smell on my clothes the next morning..

But now Beer, that's a different story.

I'll never forget all those golf pros, especially Arnie throwing that cigarette on the ground before drilling that winning 10 foot putt on # 18....and the crowds rushed out on to the green...I always wondered what happened to that cigarette he never finished, trampled under the gallery.

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that cigarette....good field in the Honda this week at Palm Beach Gardens....I'm picking Camilo Villegas.

Jim McAllister said...

AZ Dave, I remember that song very well. I always liked the line "Smoke, smoke, smoke it 'til you smoke yourself to death." The cigarette was such a romantic prop in the older movies, especially film noir features. Every time I see Bogart light one I wonder how mow many years he may have lived past his 57 if he had never smoked. They just didn't know in those days the harm they were doing to themselves. Then there are the guys who smoked like chimneys and lived until 90. I guess a lot of it depends on the person.

I'm too young (b. 1941) to remember Lucky Strike Greens but I know the story behind them from research I did for a blog a while back ( on 1-20-2011 called "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet". That was quite a marketing ploy to tie in Luckies with helping WWII.

Arnie was a real puffer in his day. I remember well watching him puff his way down the fairway for his next shot. Julius Boros always smoked too. Boros was always a favorite to me; he really played fast and said he did because he had the yips so bad.

Interesting pick with Camillo. He knows the course well so maybe he can pull it off. Tiger will be there too so maybe he can grab a win though I doubt it. I love to watch those guys suffer through the bear trap.

Take care, hit 'em straight!

buzzard said...

How about this smoking song: "I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more" lol

Don't forget the Cleveland Indians are still the Indians and have refused to get rid of "Chief Wahoo"

Jim McAllister said...

Buzz, Long live Chief Wahoo! I love that Indian with big toothed shit eating grin! He always reminds me of the great Indian players like Al Rosen, Vic Wertz, and Bob Feller among many.

When i was at an age when smoking dope was popular, the penalties were pretty strict. I probably wouldn't have smoked it anyway as I just don't like smoking. However, i made up for it with plenty of beer and some shots of Southern Comfort, my all time favorite.

CJ Phoenix said...

Ooo, watch those little "i"s Jim. Don't want it to look like Bodo was here.

Jim McAllister said...

CJ, I screwed up doing that with the "i's" and I even reread it after I typed it. I certainly don't want to be associated with that ill mannered loser in any way. I will be more careful in the future!

I send out notices to 35 of the best bloggers so when I make an entry here so they can come over and read it if they want to. So far, not so bad considering it is a new thing.

I hope all is well witrh you.

CJ Phoenix said...

I am doing okay, Jim. I spent yesterday in the ER but now that I know I am going to live, I am fine. How are you & Barb doing?

Proud said...

I was a jock in school, this burly, mean coach told us he would kick our rear ends if we smoked, back in those days, you did what you were told...Looking back, I probably owe that coach my life...

Jim McAllister said...

CJ, Barb and I are fine. What's this about the ER? That's scary stuff. Glad you are OK.

Proud, In those days of yore, kids had to really hide if they wanted to smoke and you are right: that coach did you a great favor. I was lucky too; I never could catch on to that habit. At the time I didn't realize how lucky I was. Another thing in those days with coaches was the length of athletes' hair. If you played sports, there was no long hair. Sure is different now. I never thought I would see guys with pony tails playing basketball!

Proud said...

The hair thing seems to be fleeting....These days, I grow it best in places I really don't want it. Ears, nose, back...and don't even get me started on the eyebrows....!
Was-up wit dat??????
Damn glad I never got hooked, my folks both smoked, both had bi-passes, and my Dad needed to have the veins in his legs roto-rooted because of smoking. Someone should have explained smoking in terms kids (especially those wanting to impress the opposite sex) would easily understand..."IT MAKES YER TEETH, S-T-I-N-K"!

Proud said...

The hair thing seems to be fleeting....These days, I grow it best in places I really don't want it. Ears, nose, back...and don't even get me started on the eyebrows....!
Was-up wit dat??????
Damn glad I never got hooked, my folks both smoked, both had bi-passes, and my Dad needed to have the veins in his legs roto-rooted because of smoking. Someone should have explained smoking in terms kids (especially those wanting to impress the opposite sex) would easily understand..."IT MAKES YER TEETH, S-T-I-N-K"!

CJ Phoenix said...

Just a problem with my guts, Jim. I am going to live although I was in a lot of pain yesterday. In a few days, I should be completely up and running.

Jim McAllister said...

Proud, I know what you mean about the eyebrow hairs. Jeez, each time I get a haircut, I have them trim the eyebrows. They get looking like a bunch of coil springs when they get long. I look like goddam Andy Rooney until she gets the clippers out!
So far so good on the hair. I still have the same hairline as in high school. My dad and my brother both went bald.

CJ, Glad it was nothing serious and just a gut ache. I hate emergency rooms especially these days.