Endless Sea Coffee Village Light Roast from Ethiopia, Organic 12 oz Bag

The Thingery: Security, Secure Socket Layers, That Little Green Lock

I have this web site. I’m not spamming it, I just want to mutter about it. It’s an e-commerce web site that comes in three sections: the original core pages, which I wrote in HTML and a WordPress blog and a Zen Cart shopping cart. Those apparently are three different kinds of things if you want to make wholesale changes. One kind of wholesale changes a person might want to make is to convert the whole thing to SSL, or Secure Socket Layers, not only to make the little green lock in your address bar which tells you that the communication between you and the site is encrypted but also to appease Google, who is just about to insist upon it. I don’t really HAVE to offer SSL encryption, mostly because my shopping cart doesn’t process payments (it turns customers over to PayPal for that), and also it doesn’t ask you to imput any information, unless you register to post something or buy something. Then it does, and the little green lock is somehow reassuring. Anyway, obtaining this SSL Certificate is not just a matter of buying it, it turns out. That’s slightly painful as it is, but once you’re assured that all that’s done, it’s possible to sit around for a week waiting to see the little green thing. Oh well, we’re doing other stuff, we can wait, right?

Eventually we speak to our host (and by we I mean a version of me) and they tell us: oh no, you don’t just buy that, you have to configure it all over the place. What this now really means is that everywhere that we’ve said “http://” that now has to say “https://”. Swell. At the moment, we have over 6600 pages in that blog, most of which contain multiple images and each one of those things and more is an “http://”. The store (or shopping cart) is momentarily at some 1057 Things. Those and more are also “http:/”s.

The guy at the hosting company asks: um, do you work with a developer or a programmer who’s going to help you with this? He’s told no. He suggests getting someone like that. I don’t do it.

I change those suckers. It doesn’t work-the method I’ve devised forgets that maybe some of my code ALREADY says “https//” and if I tell some big text editor to change everything in the world it makes a bunch of “httpss”s in addition to “https”/ and everything is still broken. Both the WordPress blog and the Zen Cart shopping cart use PHP language and while I can see it going by I’m not particularly proficient at patching it, and if you have something goofed up PHP’s first intinct is to serve up thousands of snowy blank pages with no clue what went wrong.

Other crazy stuff happens. I’m breaking in another computer and all of a sudden both my machines aren’t set up the same and one has programs that the other doesn’t, and there’s an issue between my FTP program and Windows10 and there are thousands of images involved here.

The folks at Zan Cart push out a new version of that which fixes some stuff I want to keep fixed. That’s a pause for a couple of hours because you don’t want to goof those up. We get done, and 2 1/2 hours later they push out another minor version which fixes a little problem that’s been around for years and not even the hackers knew it but it needs fixing right away, now that somebody’s discovered it. Our file comparison tool isn’t on the new machine yet and so all THAT kind of updating is relegated to the upstairs computer which can still compare. We get all that taken care of.

My self-hosted photos are eBay are broken. I better do something. I get the code all fixed, and two days later everything should work, right? Nope.

If you use a service named Cloudflare, among whose clientelle I am an original beta tester, they need to be told that you’ve switched over to SSL too or some of the tricky stuff they do will crash your WordPress-archived photos when you try to use them at eBay because some infinite looping happens. Then, if you have a WordPress blog, you will need their plug-in to defy that looping. Fine, no problem, we’ve been installing plug-ins pertaining to the SSL, including the Pro version of one free one because OF COURSE the free version didn’t replace EVERY http: just quite a few of them. So we’ve installed the Cloudflare/WordPress plug-in and haven’t truly tested it yet because we temporarily have CloudFlare disables, but we’re pretty confident that their code will work-it usually does. We hope so because in the middle of all this, a couple of nights ago, we turned the entire blog into snowy white blank pages by putting that “s” behind two related “http”s in EXACTLY the only place where you DON’T want to do that.

Until I find some other little oddity, I think maybe it’s all running again. Now I can process credit cards, which I don’t anyway.





Magnet Please Be Patient God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet

Buy It Here

Please Be Patient 1

Please Be Patient 1

September 1, 2016

We make calendars to keep things straight and things go wherever they want to anyway. We have to know what day it is, what year it is. What they were once. And those days and those years go wherever they want to anyway. Why do we need to know what day it is? Isn’t the day the one we’re in? Is it something we AREN’T in? Why do we need to know what year it is? Is it the first one, is it the last one? Do those in the middle matter?

The calendars containing the days and the years turn on us, and they apply pressure. Time is money is how they put that.

We build math to keep the money straight. We keep track of our profits and losses. But by the minute they change. We need those minutes, yet things and money might be disappearing or accumulating every one of them and we can’t control that.

We think we can-I went to college to learn about soap and time and money and management, and got a strange transcript. I did learn the stuff, my professors should be assured of that if they care, but it’s like something my friend Rick McNeal told me one day when he was explaining how come he dropped out of being a brilliant nuclear physicist or something exactly close to that.

Rick wanted to know WHY there are colors. We were floating above the floor of my room on Dubuque Street and studying a chillum and McDonald’s Export A mixed 50/50 with ganja brought to us directly by little airplanes and stolen credit cards. I had already flunked everything important in my major at the College Of Business and I kind of wondered why there were colors too. They said I should not put rock and roll music in radio commercials and that my tapes didn’t play anyway.

The Super Bowl had become important enough in advertising world that we were compelled to study reels of Super Bowl commercials, and boy, were they ever optimized. They thought Super Bowl rates were high then.

But I digress. You know I like the band The Grateful Dead. We study them closely analyzing concert tapes from some 1800+ performances, except for when the tapes are missing. That takes a long time. They did over 500 songs. One of them though, “Black Peter”, takes a look at the calendar thing:

See here how everything
lead up to this day
and it’s just like
any other day
that’s ever been
Sun goin up
and then the
sun it goin down
Shine through my window and
my friends they come around
come around
come around

See anything in there about days, weeks, years, soap, profits, losses?

LP Grateful Dead / Aoxomoxoa Warner Brothers WS 1790 1969 Canada

Courtesy of a friend of mine who probably doesn’t give me permission to mention her name, this is an original mix of The Grateful Dead’s third album, AOXOMOXOA, 1969, a longtime favorite of mine.

Unlike most of the stuff that is posted here, it’s not for sale, just a brag and a share.

It’s kind of hard to find.

The story is: when I sat at the Spencer Public Library in May of 1999, registering for eBay, which I had discovered the weekend before, I was prompted for a user name. Only took me a second: the song “St. Stephen” has a line it that goes “one man gathers what another man spills”. That sums up nicely what I intended to do at the time, and what I have been doing now for 16 years. I don’t remember if I tried to incorporate the correct spelling into my ID, but I probably didn’t, and chose Saintsteven instead. I’ve gone by that name on the Internet ever since.

The track St. Stephen, in its original mix, is below.

Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 1
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 1
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 2
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 2
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 3
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 3
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 4
Grateful Dead Aoxomoxoa 4

What is a Thingery?

My original 2007 Wikipedia entry

As originally defined (and coined) by Yours Truly

A Thingery is a type of business which turns stuff into Things through a process which is much like spinning straw into gold, mainly marketing their wares online.

Thingeries are entrepreneurial, independent and usually eco-responsible.

They are consumer-focused, often offering a variety of Things which at first glance seem unassociated with each other, but that is exactly their attraction. They are consumer-driven and consumers actually prefer a chaotic ever-changing collection of things when browsing on the Internet.

People wondering about it

Somebody else thinking they coined it in 2014

That Funny Dream I Had A Few Hours Ago

See here how everything leads up to this day? Yesterday us Deadheads mourned Jerry Garcia’s death, which has now been customary for 20 years. I sat that one out on the Internet because other people had it covered, and the date is more profound than that for me. The Internet, as we know it, as “consumers”, also started on August 9, 1995. I won’t retell that story either-it’s also been covered by others. I had snuck onto that highway several years before and operated a little-used BBS out of my store and didn’t actually acquire a personal computer (as we know them now) until 1999, but it was the beginning of The Revolution.

Another thing was happening at the same time. My retail music business, Rainy Day Music, was unraveling. That too took a while. I didn’t lose control of the rudder until September of ’95 and regained it in the summer of ’96 and the boat steered ME for another six years, but insiders know the story-it wasn’t the “same” after August.

Since I still feel a little murderous about that (yeah, I know, get over it), I’ll skip to the next track in that disc in just a minute here. That was an ugly time in something wonderful that almost worked and I’m thinking I’m the only person still cringing.

OK, skip to the next track: when my friend Brent Palm (and also the newspaper guy) interviewed me about the store closing early in 2002, I said “oh, I’m not really CLOSING, I’m moving to the Internet”. That itself was true, but I was also unintentionally morphing the business. Hipsters hadn’t come along yet and records had been proclaimed to be dead for a decade by the guys who made them. I damn near starved. A rare disease invaded my body and I’ll never forget the night I lay in my heatless house shivering in the dead of the winter wracked with pain and worrying that I didn’t have enough food in me to keep shivering.

That kind of thing can be a bit discouraging. I applied for a job as assistant manager at the Musicland mall store that had helped shoo me out of town and discovered that some ceilings aren’t glass-they’re sometimes hard and opaque like brick or stone. I was over 50. The 30-something manager who was interviewing me didn’t even try to hide her disdain for my age and hippieness.

Good thing that didn’t work out, the future as I now know it, which has been successful and happy, was right around the corner.

Yeah, a house slipped away from me during the process of investing in that future, some other stuff got away, but a marketplace that can be rather hard accepted me, and the bird flew. Today I’m surrounded by more opportunity than I can handle, my skills developed, and the plan worked: I moved to the Internet.

So, how come when the alarm clock buzzed this morning, I was dreaming of returning to brick and mortar life? I was right at the point where I was standing in the original room in Spencer, thinking, hmmm, the stock looks a little thin, I better go get some records someplace. I first thought that in 1987. I had just set up the stereo system and noticed dust was already settling on the cover of the turntable.

I hate those realistic dreams-it’s so easy to fool myself. When the clock made that noise I was trying to decide if Swiffers were the answer.

WHY would I have a dream like that? The way things worked out, I can redefine what I’m doing at any moment, work on my own time, even work from “wherever” and God knows I can even choose from many devices to accomplish that. I happen to be a little old-fashioned, and don’t use those devices-a laptop is radical enough for me, and it hasn’t been that long ago that I got a router so I don’t even have to stay in the bedroom on top of the house like some kind of hermit.

I think it has something to do with my attention span. I’ve been based at my own web site for ten years now and entrenched in my style for sixteen years (it took me four years from the original disaster to develop the business model). I don’t miss stuff like landlords, the commute to the store(s), certain nutcases and hangers-on, “regular” hours (even though I work more of them now) and I like the pretty colors of the Internet. But sixteen years at anything is a long run for me. I ended a more traditional run in 1995, at the same time the store blew up, and that career clocked in at almost exactly twenty years. THAT career set up the nice Social Security benefits I now enjoy and while it was probably actually more meaningful in terms of “real business” (the stuff you measure in millions of dollars), toward the end of that one, which ended in a sale that I had failed to anticipate to another company, I had burned out and was starting my present day ponytail, which was unacceptable in that industry.

So what about that dream? It was so disconcerting that I didn’t even go back to bed like I always do. I decided to get up and get started on either the forty model cars I have to write up for sale or the sixty Grateful Dead CDs I’m planning on transferring from digits to shiny round discs for fun, or more probably, both. The book I was always going to write is either way overdue or else (also more likely) just reaching critical mass and only needs “the author” to commit himself to a subject-the style has always been there.

Will THAT take sixteen or twenty years? Probably not-if I can slap together a thousand words in about an hour, that would be one long tome if it did. I used to be a little bit afraid of what I call running naked in the middle of the highway. Not so much anymore.

So thanks (I guess) to the loon who blew through the door about twenty years ago and tore the store apart, if I want to hand that guy all the credit.

Now, where’s that bull and how long are his horns?



The Grateful Dead And Aretha Franklin Fare Thee Well Chicago And Sioux City Shows

How I spent my summer vacation 7/6/15 (after it’s over). Somebody scheduled the Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well Chicago #2 night at the same time as Aretha Franklin at Saturday In The Park at Sioux City. There were some notable moments in Sioux City (although not from Aretha as far as I’m concerned) but let’s just gloss over those. Try to catch the North Mississippi All Stars someplace sometime.

Now, about that Grateful Dead reunion at Soldier Field, which is where I personally saw them last, although that was in 1994, and I didn’t attend in 1995. Still, that’s where I left off. So did everybody. They came back because Bob in particular seemed to think it would be necessary due to the fact that it’s 50 years after the band pretty much started.

They played two nights in Santa Clara last weekend, and I wrote about those on my Facebook page and I’m pretty sure I felt enthusiastic about those two nights. If you were me, you sort of had to be. There was some noise on the Internet about Phil doing too much singing and some other stuff, most of which I also mentioned on my Facebook page. I don’t mind Phil’s singing-he’s been at it for a long time now and I think he’s getting better, but I am also extremely reluctant to criticize his style or delivery because he is, ah, A FOUNDING MEMBER OF THE BAND who always did do some singing. It is not up to me how they divide that up (the singing thing).

There are folks who wonder why they seem to do Drums/Space every night. It is probably somewhat politically incorrect of me to mention it, but there are probably other people who don’t like hearing that little extra track in every show when Phil does his Donor Rap either.

Sometimes they goof up some words or some little timing thing or maybe the keyboards are somehow mixed too low (they were in the YouTube video, but not-so-much in the audience recordings I have, and anyway, they seem to have fixed that for the last four shows). I thought sometimes it was funny that the cameras didn’t follow the guitar that was soloing. Surely, they didn’t have somebody in the production chain who wasn’t particularly familiar with who was playing what, did they?

Let’s slip over to Sioux City for a moment here. I met several interesting people and had several interesting conversations, but during the break between somebody and somebody, a kid accosted me with “hey, were you in the Sixties”? I told him I was familiar with the era. He then proceeded to ask me if I’d ever seen Janis Joplin. Well, no, but I did catch Big Brother & The Holding Co. at some surprise performance in Iowa City. Janis had become Kathi McDonald. The kid wanted to know if I’d ever heard the Jefferson Airplane. Well, heard, of course. Saw ’em once when they were Jefferson Starship but even they thought they sucked that night (Grace apologized, it was the last night of a tour which had been in Europe and her voice was shot).

Then the kid said it: “I hate the Grateful Dead”. That’s a funny thing to tell me on the Fourth Of July at a musical event while we’re talking about loving bands from San Francisco. I was unable to decipher whatever it was that the kid was trying to use as his explanation for that, but I countered with “did you notice that little Quicksilver Messenger Service” lick in that last band’s one song?”. The kid didn’t get it. It was a line from Who Do You Love that I was mentioning. The one that goes like “who do you love”?

The kid didn’t hear it. I’m not positive that I did either, but I’m pretty sure, although I’ve already forgotten the band’s name. I had already lost my patience with the kid. I knew the answer when I asked him “have you ever BEEN to a Grateful Dead show?”. He was clearly under 20 and the band stopped suddenly 20 years ago. Don’t do the math and you come up with the same answer. Of course he hadn’t, and he replied “oh you woulda had to have been there huh?”.

Oh, I don’t know. It certainly helps. I told him “don’t worry about it, not even THEY liked their records”. I wasn’t wearing any Dead related anything, by the way. I saw two t-shirts all day-one on the guitar player for the BB King tribute and one green shirt on a random guy that had a Steal Your Face on it. So the kid couldn’t have been sure whether *I* had ever been to a Dead show. He had no idea they were playing in Chicago, nor was he going to.

Eventually it gets to be time to see Aretha Franklin. I am skeptical. It gets to be PAST time. This event has a well-defined closing time and they’re on schedule. With 40 minutes to go (including encore time) it’s gonna be over and she’s not there. FINALLY her orchestra annoys guys like me with some stuff and they announce Aretha like she’s in Las Vegas someplace.

She came out and did some stuff until thirteen minutes after ten and seems to be done. The orchestra stretches out the time with another number or two and Aretha reappears for what has to be RESPECT and does one of those long gospel raps about whatever health scare she had recently. Other reviewers will no doubt say otherwise, but I believe that is all you need to know.

Back to Chicago. Thanks to the magic of Video On Demand I can watch the Saturday Night show (#4), but it takes me a little while because I have to crash and et. cetera. Of course I checked the setlist, but it was impossible NOT to guess at least the closer and the encore. A lot of the middle of the list was stuff that if I HAD to miss it, I was willing to miss it and watch this nice video later.

They rarely get it completely right of course and you learn that, if you put ’em too high on the pedestal.

Sunday filled up instantly here with that video followed by the Sunday (last) show. I had already been struck by this, but I have never heard five Grateful Dead shows in a row like these last ones in which I could understand all the words. It doesn’t hurt to take 40 years to study the lyrics, but none the less, both of the “new” singers-Trey and Bruce, enunciate quite well, and it’s unusual that I can’t understand Phil or Bob. So it sounds nice.

But it’s not just nice. It’s really really good, with no goofy technical stuff and a band that has had a while to think about the set list. No tuning, just a well-run set after set. The sound is almost perfect, the lights coordinate well, the band is REALLY professional. They nailed stuff they never got right in the first place. They updated stuff from the first album that they DIDN’T cook on the road for decades.

Since those seven guys had only technically played five shows for the world by the time they got done, it was good enough to be something that was just getting started.

Even Weir assures us now “more stuff will happen”.

I guess, for me, it provides a closure I’m not sure I was looking for. The Grateful Dead once drove their record label crazy by churning out weird stuff; they didn’t like playing in a studio in the first place. It used to be unheard-of for somebody to leak a set list like they’ve been doing lately, mostly because the band didn’t HAVE one unless they maybe called those from a huddle at the line of scrimmage. They never HAD a night that didn’t have some little delays for something-or-other (ok, maybe they have, but I never saw one). Or forgotten lyrics, not there weren’t a couple here, or trouble just playing together, or a surly crowd to please. But they just don’t turn in technically next-to-perfect shows like that, even if they think they’re “taping” (grin, they were always “taping”).

So as we go forward, my biggest realization is in that small point: was this just all a money grab?

Are you kidding? NOBODY delivers three nights like those last Chicago shows who is merely selling something. Those guys were still perfecting “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)”. No, it was not all a money grab. There were grabbers, no doubt about it, but they weren’t standing on the stage.

I hope they reconsider that “never again” part, but if they don’t, I saw a perfect show; we all did.

Antique Brass Ceiling Light Fixture Sheffield Style Shade Fat Boy Socket (3 lots)

Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 1 1
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 1 1
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 1 2
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 1 2

Realized $27.15 5/31/15

Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 2 1
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 2 1
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 2 2
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 2 2

Realized $28.89 5/31/15

Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 3 1
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 3 1
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 3 2
Brass Fixture & Shade Lot 3 2

Realized $19.99 5/31/15



Smoke: 1644 Words About It I Know You’ll Hate

This may seem a little out of place in a blog about online sales. It probably IS a little out of place, although trust me, smoke odor is a major issue among some online buyers. They aren’t wrong, because buyers of anything are never wrong.

Please don’t judge or pontificate yet. You will be afforded time for that at the end, unlike the time that smokers are NOT afforded to defend themselves. People who don’t like smoke have made their preference abundantly clear everywhere, and in fact, they’ve won the war. Smoking is uncool and banished everywhere.

I like smoke of all kinds: tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke, wood smoke, incense smoke, smoked cheese, smoked meats, smoked “whatever”. Fresh smoke, that is. I can accept the fact that stale smoke is a little, well, stinky. We make hundreds, maybe thousands of products to address that little problem, some of them toxic themselves.

I like to watch smoke. It has a mystical quality.

A little background-for a couple of decades I was a tobacco wholesaler, third generation in my family. Tobacco wasn’t always from the Devil. It was one of the things that made the discovery of the New World cool, an original industry. When I took up tobacco smoking in the early 70s, it was a rite of passage and a peer pressure thing. Lots of people did it. It was acceptable, although I suppose you could make the argument that it was a manufactured acceptable. You can see that in advertising in old magazines.

I had a retail store (often called a headshop) which offered smoking paraphernalia and incense among other things. I insisted upon burning incense constantly in that store which was USUALLY well-received by the clientele, although once in a while somebody would fall down on the floor when they entered due to some reaction they had to that. When I began to ship sales from that store to remote customers, their reaction to the absorbed incense odor was USUALLY favorable except for one guy in Florida who apparently thought incense was from the Devil. Since he was the only customer among thousands who felt that way, I feel pretty safe dismissing his opinion.

Gradually, tobacco smoking fell out of favor (although millions still do it). There were health issues. Everyone developed allergies to tobacco smoke. It became ok to rudely wave your arms around in the air near smokers and insist that they move away, even outdoors (I speak from experience).

Cannabis smoke sort of went through an opposite evolution. When us future yuppies discovered that one in college and in the military and at parties in the early 70s, it was essential to hide the odor from the git-go, largely because it was illegal behavior. There were no contentions that it was a health issue although it has undergone a reverse evolution and become a PRO-health thing. The usual procedure was to stuff a towel under door between the room and the hallway and/or use some kind of air freshener and/or incense to mask or confuse the issue. While I’m not trying to advocate using the stuff here, its use has become much more open and I have to admit that when I’m at musical events and the lights go down and that “cloud” appears, I personally find it somewhat pleasant in an olfactory way. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced the “second-hand” high some people will refer to.

Wood smoke, like campfire smoke, as far as I know, is ok. I don’t see or hear many diatribes against it.

As tobacco smoking gradually became unacceptable (despite the millions who still do it), zealots (yeah, I know that’s an emotionally charged word) eventually got it banned from everywhere, with the exception of privately owned automobiles, houses, and (usually) outdoors, although I have been in outdoor places where the activity is also losing the battle. I have no question that “they” will not rest until it is ALSO banned in places where they can’t even detect it. It’s just an unforgivable sin. A certain kind of unrighteousness.

Now, if you’re called out for smoking, it seems to be license for the caller-outer (apologies for manufacturing words) to be rude. There’s the ubiquitous arm-waving, and the claims of allergies, and open contempt that isn’t usually tolerated among otherwise polite people.

We recently had a woman in our house shrieking so loudly about the smoke seconds after she walked in that she woke me up from a deep sleep in the room upstairs. That’s in OUR house where it’s begrudgingly ok until somebody can figure out how to stop us. And the offending smoker had only been at it for a few minutes.

Since it hasn’t been quite possible to ban smoking from all of outdoors, that’s where the smokers are. It IS possible to ban it even outdoors on certain properties, and I have been known to hike to the edge of somebody’s property to do it in order to avoid their interference. A couple of those hikes have been rather long, if the property was large. The thing is: as us smokers huddle in our designated area, or maybe better referred to as being outside of the controlled area, we socialize. A typical conversation, at least where I live, starts with “gee, it’s cold out here, isn’t it?” But the conversation usually evolves into whatever fits into the time it takes to “hot-box” a cigarette. That can be about twice as long if you smoke what I do, which are classified as little cigars, which evade the ridiculous taxes heaped upon the traditional brands because they don’t have the chemicals added to the tobacco or the papers which make “regular” cigarettes burn themselves even if no one is smoking them. Those chemicals, by the way, comprise a large part of the odor Nobody Likes. Those taxes are often called “sin tax”, something designed to make logical people stop doing something that someone else doesn’t like.

Those little conversations are usually quite cordial. Little civilities in a world that now doesn’t usually promote exchanging little civilities. That’s because we have an instant commonality-we’re perceived lepers, banished from regular society until we “put that damn thing out”.

We disapprove of all kinds of “sin”. But we usually provide a place for committing the sin (yeah, I’m talking about drinking, but I’m not willing to defend my stance on that here). Not for inhaling smoke. I THINK it’s ok to do it in private smoking clubs, but I’m not sure. We don’t have those where I live. It’s no longer ok to do it in bars, for example, even though a certain percentage of people in there are going to cause all kinds of societal havoc from doing what they’re doing.

Why is that?

Well, besides the argument that I usually encounter-everyone is now allergic or will be killed by the second-hand smoke, it’s the odor. I don’t particularly like many kinds of odors designed to be pleasurable to people (perfumes, colognes), or necessary (packing plants) or odor from lakes filled with run-off fertilizers or from garbage, but they’re not usually illegal. A few corporate farmers are subject to this, and they know what I’m talking about when I refer to illegal odors, but other than those guys, nobody specifies that some odors are not allowed ANYWHERE.

I don’t come into your house and shriek and wave my arms around if I don’t like your pet odor.

Why is it all right to be rude to tobacco smokers? Because they’re stupid and should know better, and all forms of manners are just waived when they’re detected? We shovel millions and millions of dollars into Federal and state treasuries. Why ISN’T there a designated public place for our behavior? We haven’t been eradicated-we’re just hiding. We’re not a small population even though the righteous would like us to be.

OK, I can actually anticipate the answers-I’ve heard them. There’s the burden of caring for us while we kill ourselves, the terrible nuisance of our litter, the fires we start (really?), cleaning up the stuff we discolor, and yada yada ad infinitum. But you don’t catch us trying to obliterate your fast food joints filled with people intent upon killing themselves, or trying to ban THAT litter (although some cities might be trying-I don’t happen to live in such an enlightened place), or objecting to the public expense of trying to put out the fires in the houses people burn down with their space heaters.

Maybe it’s not such a bad world though. Right after we get done agreeing with the other stranger that “yes, it IS cold out here”, a downright pleasurable social exchange generally ensues: “where are you from, what do you do, how about the news today?”: little conversations that used to spontaneously happen everywhere. It’s a social thing that just doesn’t happen anymore because strangers don’t generally stand in the same place longer than a few seconds and because strangers don’t generally even speak unless they bang their shopping carts into one another which will often result in “excuse me”, or at least it does in the rural midwest where I live. We can’t type into our telephones while we’re holding that “cancer stick” (well, I can, but the accomplished lip dangle is also frowned-upon and anyway, I don’t have one of those telephones).

So, come to think of it, I guess I’ll “settle”. I’ll go stand outside until THAT’S illegal and then I’ll stay inside until you put a camera in there and make me stop and I’ll talk to the other guys who are doing the same thing about the persecution which we endure in common.

You may now judge, I’m done. Be as rude as you like, but know that us smokers USUALLY don’t talk like that about you.