Smokin’ and Drinkin’ Encouraged

June 27, 2014

picasso_two_saltimbanques_postcard_1Overcast, still and really quiet this early Friday as the weekend is now just hours away.
We’re set for more rain today (about 80 percent chance), and then the forecast calls for nearly two weeks of clear, warm weather — we’ll see.

In the midst of horrible news from the Middle East and all around, one strange indicator of so-called “fragile nations” — South Sudan, Somalia, Chad, and so forth — also includes the US “…tied with Singapore and Thailand for eighth-most-worsened country.” And according to the Fund for Peace, the reason Americans are starting to suck downward, and ironically: The three nonetheless remain near the bottom of the overall fragility rankings, in a group of nations classified as “very stable.”
Ain’t that some strange, real-ugly shit?

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Two Saltimbanques‘ found here).

The Fund’s report listed the reasons the US has ‘worsened’ — top of the chart, ‘lack of bipartisanship in Congress and the partial government shutdown last year‘ — Duh!
And in accordance with a worsening condition, we Americans are still smokers and drinkers — ain’t helping.

As manager of a liquor store, I try not to think too much about the products we offer — everything we sell most-definitely will kill you — and although I don’t drink alcohol any more, I still suck on the dreaded cigarettes.
A customer told me yesterday he’d quit drinking. I then quickly asked him: “Still smoke?”
He goes: “Oh yeah.”
I follow: “Well, we still have our clutches on you.”
He retorts: “You purveyor of death!”
The customer said that last part with a big laugh — but shit on a stick!

Just in time to have numbers slap me in my death-mask of a face — booze is still killing a shitload of Americans, 10 percent of us a year.
Via NPR:

“One in 10 is a big number,” says Dr. Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program at the CDC and is an author of the , published Thursday in Preventing Chronic Disease.
“One of the issues with alcohol that is particularly tragic is the extent to which it gets people in the prime of their lives.”
And those premature deaths cost the United States $224 billion a year, the report found, or $1.90 a drink.
The report underscores that alcohol is the fourth-largest cause of preventable deaths, behind smoking, poor nutrition and lack of activity.

From 2006 through 2010, an average of 87,798 deaths were attributed to alcohol each year, the study found.
Almost three-quarters of the deaths, 71 percent, were in men.
Men tend to drink more and also to drive more, Brewer says, and are also more likely to be involved in homicides.

If that news isn’t sobering enough, the 1-in-10 number is almost certainly an underestimate, Brewer says, because the CDC didn’t include other causes of death in younger adults, including HIV/AIDS, pneumonia and tuberculosis.
“Alcohol is a major factor in deaths from those conditions,” Brewer told Shots.
“But when we were doing our scientific analyses, we simply didn’t have good estimates” on the number of those deaths caused by heavy drinking.

So, Drink Up Shriners!

And a hands up for our old stand-by killer — cigarettes
From Northwestern University’s Medill Report:

The U.S. has cut the number of smokers in half in its fight to reduce tobacco use in the past 50 years, but a recent report from the Surgeon General shows that the battle isn’t over yet.
Ventilated filters, chemical additives, and clearer links to other illnesses make smoking riskier than ever.
For women, the risks of lung cancer skyrocketed 100 percent over that 50 years.
“The implications are huge – more people die from tobacco related disease than from alcohol, drugs, HIV, and suicide combined,” said Andrea King, director of the Clinical Addictions Research Laboratory at the University of Chicago.
Cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for 1,300 deaths every day, according to the CDC.

Every freakin’ day?

And from George Carlin: “Isn’t making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?”

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