"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

When Will I Ever Learn?

Right, now I know there's lots of important political stuff going on at the moment but what's rattling my cage is the question of what else goes into cigarettes apart from nicotine?  I know there's all sorts of nasties, including cyanide and essence of frogs' bile but is there Extract of Rampant Rottweiller as well?

I only ask because, as I sat in the garden, blowing perfectly-formed smoke rings of satisfaction (sitting down obviously otherwise I'd have fallen down from the dizziness) I felt like the chap in the old Hamlet cigar ads.  As I picked sticky flowerbuds out of my hair I looked at what I euphemistically call a garden and the arch (twee I know but it's a bit of Olde Englande that everyone seems to have round here).  I'd actually had to duck to get out and had been grabbed on all sides by errant branches, twigs and greenbits.

I looked from my telescopic lopping shears, secateurs & twine to the garden and back again.  I'd already heard the gardener doing his rounds this morning but he hasn't been near my place for weeks and when he does he doesn't touch the hedge or the arch, despite my frequent pleas to borrow his ladder so I can do it myself.  This paragon of diligent gardening expertise is included in a service charge of over £500 per quarter - and, to be quite honest, that's what sticks.

Anyway, after my delicious first cigarette  I stirred myself and set to.  Dear Reader, I, and visitors, can now reach the house without bending double, swerving from side to side or being tripped up by lower branches.  All the time I was doing this, the gardener watched.  He watched me go up and down the folding steps, he watched me wobble & stretch precariously, say "Oh boy", wipe the sweat from my porcelain brow and shake my head.

I made five trips with the greenstuff and dumped it next to the bins and then I swept the pathways and roadway outside.  And all the time, he watched.  Then he came over.

"Excuse me.  You're supposed to take it down there."
"Well, excuse me. I'm not supposed to do anything.  You're supposed to do it."  And, fixing him with the Evil Eye, I carried on dumping it where I always dump it.

Anyway, he's just been back and asked me if I'd like my hedge cutting (?) and says he'll be along tomorrow to cut the grass which in places is knee-high to an elephant's you know what.

In the meantime I've had a shower and washed my hair three times because the sticky flower buds weren't going to come out any other way - in fact at one point I thought I might have to take the kitchen scissors to it.  When Scott thingy sang his song back in 60's San Francisco I don't think he had me and my sticky flowerbits in mind.

He's back now, doing the easy, no-stretching & no-climbing bits, with his chainsaw (like I said - the term 'gardener' was not meant for this man).

And now, he's been in to ask me if it's ok.  So, out I trot to have a look - omg, as they say, wtf...  where have all the flowers gone - long time passing?  I've remembered why I don't ask him and his chainsaw to do more in my garden.  I'll be back later, when I've said a prayer of remembrance over the dead, brown hedge.
(Sorry - the point of the post, well one of them, was what do they put in cigarettes these days? I've only had one and the stupor has gone, in fact I'm feeling decidedly feisty - if only there were someone other than the gardener to 'feist' with).

6 comments:

  1. I'd have no hesitation in getting my money back.

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  2. I'll have to make do with whacking the gardener out of my garden with a besom, SR, knowing that, next time, he can't be trusted to do the right thing. If I want changes, I'll have to make them myself.

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  3. Apparently, there are hundreds of 'chemicals' in tobacco smoke. (No-one ever mentions the fact that there are hundreds of chemicals in lettuce, even though there are, all naturally-occurring, exactly as in tobacco.)

    Apart from anyhting else, everyone has a slightly different body chemistry from everyone else, so it isn't so easy to guess what is getting you going!

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  4. I worked for RJ Reynolds for a while and the ingredients list was amazing, this extract from Wiki does not even begin to do it justice but will give you some idea:


    Modern cigarettes produced after the 1950s, although composed mainly of shredded tobacco leaf, use a significant quantity of tobacco processing by-products in the blend. Each cigarette's tobacco blend is made mainly from the leaves of flue-cured brightleaf, burley tobacco, and oriental tobacco. These leaves are selected, processed, and aged prior to blending and filling. The processing of brightleaf and burley tobaccos for tobacco leaf "strips" produces several by-products such as leaf stems, tobacco dust, and tobacco leaf pieces ("small laminate"). To improve the economics of producing cigarettes, these by-products are processed separately into forms where they can then be possibly added back into the cigarette blend without an apparent or marked change in the cigarette's quality. The most common tobacco by-products include:

    * Blended leaf (BL) sheet: a thin, dry sheet cast from a paste made with tobacco dust collected from tobacco stemming, finely milled burley-leaf stem, and pectin.
    * Reconstituted leaf (RL) sheet: a paper-like material made from recycled tobacco fines, tobacco stems and "class tobacco", which consists of tobacco particles less than 30 mesh in size (~0.599 mm) that are collected at any stage of tobacco processing. RL is made by extracting the soluble chemicals in the tobacco by-products, processing the leftover tobacco fibres from the extraction into a paper, and then reapplying the extracted materials in concentrated form onto the paper in a fashion similar to what is done in paper sizing. At this stage ammonium additives are applied to make reconstituted tobacco an effective nicotine delivery system.
    * Expanded (ES) or improved stems (IS): ES are rolled, flattened, and shredded leaf stems that are expanded by being soaked in water and rapidly heated. Improved stems follow the same process but are simply steamed after shredding. Both products are then dried. These two products look similar in appearance but are different in taste.

    Whole tobacco can also be processed into a product called expanded tobacco. The tobacco is "puffed", or expanded, by saturating it with supercritical carbon dioxide and heating the CO2 saturated tobacco to quickly evaporate the CO2. This quick change of physical state by the CO2 causes the tobacco to expand in a similar fashion as polystyrene foam. This is used to produce light cigarettes ("Lights") by reducing the density of the tobacco and thus maintain the size of a cigarette while reducing the amount of tobacco used in each cigarette.

    A recipe-specified combination of brightleaf, burley-leaf and oriental-leaf tobacco will be mixed with humectants such as propylene glycol or glycerol, as well as flavouring products and enhancers such as cocoa, licorice, tobacco extracts, and various sugars, which are known collectively as "casings". The leaf tobacco will then be shredded, along with a specified amount of small laminate, expanded tobacco, BL, RL, ES and IS. A perfume-like flavour/fragrance, called the "topping" or "toppings", which is most often formulated by flavor companies, will then be blended into the tobacco mixture to improve the consistency in flavour and taste of the cigarettes associated with a certain brand name. As well, they replace lost flavours due to the repeated wetting and drying used in processing the tobacco. Finally the tobacco mixture will be filled into cigarettes tubes and packaged.

    In recent years, the manufacturers' pursuit of maximum profits has led to the practice of using not just the leaves, but also recycled tobacco offal and the plant stem. The stem is first crushed and cut to resemble the leaf before being merged or blended into the cut leaf.

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  5. Thanks Bob, I suppose my question about Extract of Rampant Rottweiller was a bit tongue in cheek but your comment is worthy of a post in itself - more people should know the facts. I'm glad to see you back after your break and I hope you're revving up for PMQs in October.

    Edgar, the B&H bluebirds fluttering above my head and the Silk Cut squirrels nibbling at my toes are tweeting that you're just being provocative.

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  6. Just be sure to stay away from the Evil Eye

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