Nelson Cruz’s disgusting teeth stained by tobacco

World Series Rangers Cardinals Baseball

Boy, if EVER there was an advertisement against chewing tobacco, it’s this photo of the Texas Rangers’ Nelson Cruz rounding the bases after hitting a home run in Game 6 of the World Series.

Really, really, gross. Not only is there is a big fat plug in his lip, his teeth are stained brown … AND he has little flecks of tobacco gunk on his teeth.

Seriously, ladies, would you kiss that? Hip guys out there. Would YOU kiss that?

Well, anyway, that was maybe the most incredible baseball game I’ve ever seen. Pretty hard to cheer for either team. GW Bush cheers for the Rangers while Tony LaRussa is a right-wing stooge (He came out in favour of the Arizona immigration law earlier this year.) I guess you just have to appreciate a great baseball game.

World Series Rangers Cardinals Baseball

Anyway, this will just give more grist to those do-gooder U.S. Senators who are trying to get chew out of Major League Baseball.







World Series Rangers Cardinals Baseball

Really bizarre ad from tobacco stooge Herman Cain

cain smoking adThanks to Misti for digging this up.

This is really bizarre. It’s an ad from Herman Cain’s campaign manager. It’s a pretty direct matter-of-fact personal testimony from the guy about why he likes Herman Cain … and then at the very end, they show him smoking a cigarette and blowing smoke right into the camera.

Bizarre. It’s like an old cigarette ad. I think it’s just a clumsy ad. They probably just told him, “act natural,” while they continued filming him, so he lit up a cigarette and smoked it.

I think…

… then again, Herman Cain does have a long, illustrious history of being a tobacco industry stooge.  While he was a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association, he apparently took a shitload of money from Big Tobacco as he lobbied against smoking bans in restaurants. More on that in this New York Times article. Maybe it was a secret product placement for his tobacco buddies. Probably not…

… but then again, you never know.

What is funny is the reaction to the video, no one could tell whether or not it was REAL! It reminded me of these three videos, one of which pretty Haruko dug up.

You tell me which ones are real and which ones are fake:

Thank you, Haruko, I have WANTED to find this one, but you did for me

How about this ad. Is it for real?

Ohio Supreme Court hears arguments challenging state’s smoking ban


In the second-biggest news of the day in Ohio — the first being all the tigers and lions that had to be shot — the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments today challenging that state’s controversial 2007 smoking ban.

Ohio is one of the states where controversy over the smoking ban just continues to simmer. In most other states, everyone just gets used to it, but for some reason, in a handful of states, bans were massively controversial when they were being legislated, then continue to be controversial for months and even years afterward. In Ohio, it has dragged on for four-plus years. The most active thread on Topix is about the Ohio smoking ban — a thread that began nearly five years ago and has generated 75,000 comments … and is STILL generating comments. I find it fascinating that the same 20 or 30 people have been pissing at each other over smoking bans on the same thread for five years. (By the way, I highly recommend avoiding Topix because that site has become really lousy with spyware and malware.)

According to this article, more than 50 bars in Ohio have amassed more than $10,000 in fines. There have been a total of 33,000 citations written against bars over the past four years, totalling $2.5 million in fines. The state has collected about $775,000 of that money.

Part of Zeno’s argument is that it is being cited, even for posting “no smoking signs” and not putting out ashtrays, while the people lighting up — the smokers — are not cited. And it is not their responsibility to enforce the state law. (Not sure I buy that theory — businesses are liable for what goes on their premises. For instance, many bars have been sued and servers criminally prosecuted for letting people leave shit-faced drunk and then getting in a wreck.)

Zeno’s Bar in Columbus, Ohio, owes $33,000 in fines for repeatedly ignoring the smoking ban. The bar has sued to overturn the ban. A county judge ruled in favour of the bar, but a state court of appeals overturned that ruling and upheld the state law. Zeno’s is challenging the appeals court ruling.

Senators renew call for banning chewing tobacco in baseball

Four senators are using the attention being given to the World Series by issuing a statement this week renewing the call for Major League Baseball to ban chew on the field and in the dugouts.

Sens. Dick Durbin, Frank Lautenberg, Richard Blumenthal and Tom Harkin, who is the Senate Health Committee chairman, all signed the letter to Major League Baseball. The letter states in part:

“When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example.”

The senators cited the 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which showed a 36% increase in use of smokeless tobacco products among boys in high school since 2003. The survey also showed that 15% of high school boys now use the products.

This is not the first time Congress has gotten involved in trying to get tobacco out of baseball. (And if you think this is weird, it is already banned at the Minor League level for 18 years now and most colleges do not allow their players to chew on the field.) The push has been ongoing for about a year now. And I even found out it is against the rules to smoke on the field. (Many years ago, Orioles manager Earl Weaver used to chain smoke during games. I wonder if Detroit manager Jim Leyland sneaks cigarette breaks in the clubhouse during games? He is a chain smoker.)

Baseball has been pretty stubborn about this and has yet to respond, saying it is a collective bargaining issue.

Really, it’s time. I know this sounds like the “pussyfication of America,” but the fact is, chewing is a big problem with more kids taking it up than in the past, and one of the reasons they do take it up really is because they see their heroes on the field chewing.


The Rugby World Cup — The greatest sporting event you’ve never heard of.


The biggest sporting event in the world is probably the Olympics. The next biggest is the FIFA World Cup. The next biggest is something I bet most of you have never heard of. The Rugby World Cup. It is watched by a billion people worldwide.

The Rugby World Cup has only been around since 1987, but like the FIFA World Cup and Olympics, it comes around once every four years. 20 teams from around the world compete, including the United States and Canada, but the U.S. isn’t very good.

Tomorrow, the No. 1 ranked team in the world, the New Zealand All Blacks, are playing the No. 2 ranked team in the world, the Australian Wallabies, in the Rugby World Cup semifinals. The entire country will be watching that game. New Zealand is 5-0 in the World Cup this year and has outscored its opponents 273-59. The Wallabies have a very tough defence and beat the mighty Springboks in the quarterfinals.

new zealand world cup

The other semifinal is today — tiny Wales versus France, another rugby powerhouse. Wales is ranked No. 4 in the world, while Les Bleus, the 2007 World Cup champion, is ranked No. 5.

Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport. New Zealand is favoured to win the World Cup virtually every tournament and they have been ranked either No.1  or No. 2 every single year of the 21st century. But, they have only ever won it once, the first one in 1987. New Zealand has lost a series of heartbreakers ever since. The heavily favoured All Blacks lost in the World Cup finals in 1995 in a terrible heartbreaker to the South Africa Springboks. You might’ve seen a Clint Eastwood movie about it called “Invictus.”

New Zealand also lost in the semifinals in 1999 and 2003.

One of the reasons New Zealand is so powerful is the All Blacks always feature a number of Maori stars. Moaris like many Polynesian people are a very strong and powerful people (It’s the same reason there are so many Samoans in American football.) Before each match, the All Blacks perform a stirring Maori “Haka” war dance to try and intimidate their opponents. It is done with all due respect and the other team usually stands still and respectfully watches.

new zealand world cup2

Rugby is very much like your American football, only no high-tech helmets and no forward passes. Imagine American football with a series of laterals and that is pretty close. It is a terrible brutal and violent sport, with a lot of blood and broken noses. We were made to play it in school, though we played “touch” or “rippa” rugby, which is not nearly as violent, but still resulted in our fair share of bloody noses and tears. I played rugby all the way into college. Of course, it was touch rugby, our insurance would have never covered tackle.

Despite its massive popularity around the world, it’s hard to catch some of the World Cup on American TV. It’s on some obscure network called Universal which has been showing the matches. We had to go a sports bar to watch one All Blacks match, but NBC is showing some of the matches. I believe NBC will be showing the finals.

Herman Cain — Tobacco industry whore douchebag stooge


OK, if Herman Cain’s pathological bigotry toward Muslims and his borderline Uncle Ruckus “Blacks have been brainwashed into voting for Democrats” schtick wasn’t enough reason to hate him, now there is this.

(Thanks to Sandy at Current for cluing me in on this, BTW.)

In the 1990s, when Herman Cain, owner of Godfather’s Pizza, was a lobbyist for the restaurant industry, he partnered with RJ Reynolds and Philip Morris to oppose smoking bans for restaurants. Cain helped lobby against local and state smoking bans on behalf of the tobacco giants. Why? Whoooooaaaa, Nelly! Here we go! A letter from Herman Cain to SAFE — the Save American Free Enterprise fund, a tobacco industry front group at the time:

On behalf of National Restaurant Association and the
Save American Free Enterprise (SAFE) fund, I want
thank you for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company’s generous
contribution to the SAFE fund.
As you know, the purpose of the SAFE fund is to provide
financial support to state restaurant associations in
their efforts to defeat anti-business ballot initiatives,
along with pro-actively promoting free enterprise
through federal and state legislation .
Rob, as we head into a new millenium, it will take
courage and leadership from industry leaders like you if
we are to Save American Free Enterprise .
Again, many thanks for your ongoing support and
participation with the National Restaurant Association.


Herman Cain

What a fucking weasel. We are talking about smoking bans in … FAMILY RESTAURANTS … where children eat. It’s bad enough for employees to breath secondhand smoke for 40 hours a week, but they were fighting bans around kids.

Wow, just when you think a guy couldn’t be a bigger douchebag (and really, after Cain’s cracks about Muslims and towns should be able to ban mosques, he’s pretty damn high on the douchebag scale.), Cain takes it one step higher.

By the way, Cain IS Uncle Ruckus!

Lung cancer rates dropping for men … and finally for women, too


Great news from the Centers for Disease Control.

Compiling data from 2008 (it takes a few years to put this together), in a trend that began in the 1990s, the lung cancer rate for men in the United States continued to drop.

Better news, however, is the lung cancer rate for women dropped for the second straight year. Lung cancer rates for women have been highly stubborn in refusing to drop, even though the smoking rate among women has dropped over the past 30 years. The fact that more non-smoking women get lung cancer than non-smoking men might also have some effect on the lung cancer rate for women being so stubborn.

In 1999, the lung cancer rate for men was about 93 cases per 100,000 population. In 2008, that dropped all the way down to about 79 cases per 100,000.

Lung cancer rate dropping
Lung cancer rate dropping

In 1999, the lung cancer rate for women was about 54 cases per 100,000. That increased to about 57 cases per 100,000 by 2006, but then has dropped back down to about 53 cases per 100,000 in 2008. Finally, that lower smoking rate for women is starting to pay dividends (Remember, there is an infamous “30-year lag” between smoking rate and lung cancer diagnoses. Lung cancer really didn’t become an epidemic in America until the 1930s, after cigarettes became popular in the early 1900s.)

Again, this is outstanding news. Lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in America (about 160,000 people a year), and more than any other cancer, it is almost directly the result of lifestyle choices. About 85 percent of the people who get lung cancer are either smokers or former smokers (about 90 percent of men and 80 percent of women).

The CDC study broke down the lung cancer rates by region:

In the South, among men, the lung cancer rate dropped from about 106 cases per 100,000 population in 1999 to about 88 cases per 100,000 in 2008 (Another way of looking at this is one male out of 940 in the South had lung cancer in 1999; back in the late 90s, the smoking rate among men in the South was still above 40 percent.).

In the South, among women, the lung cancer rate dropped from about 61 cases per 100,000 in 2005 to about 60 cases per 100,000 in 2008. Not much of a drop, but it might be the beginning of a long-term trend.

Lung Cancer men
Lung Cancer men

In the Northeast, among men, the lung cancer rate dropped from about 91 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to about 81 cases per 100,000 in 2008. Among women, the lung cancer rate unfortunately rose from about 55 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to about 59 cases per 100,000 per 2008. This is the one bit of bad news in the study.

In the Midwest, among men, the lung cancer rate dropped from  about 97 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to 86 cases per 100,000 in 2008. In the Midwest, among women, the lung cancer rate has dropped from about 59 cases per 100,000 in 2006 to 57 cases per 100,000 in 2008.

In the West, there has been the most dramatic drop in lung cancer rates. The West also has the lowest smoking rates of any region in the country. Hawaii, California, Utah and Idaho are among the four lowest smoking rate states in the country.

Lung cancer women
Lung cancer women

In the West, the lung cancer rate for men dropped from about 77 cases per 100,000 in 1999 to about 60 cases per 100,000 in 2008, a decrease of 22 percent. In fact, the lung cancer rate for men in the West was roughly the same as women in the South in 2008.

In the West, among women, the lung cancer rate dropped from 50 cases per 100,000 in 2006 to about 45 cases per 100,000 in 2008. It appears the West is a driving force for that lung cancer rate finally beginning to drop among women nationwide.

Moneyball LIVES


Oh, how bizarre, we just saw this movie two days ago, about a poor baseball team attempting to compete against rich teams (in a league with no salary cap … helloooo … everyone else has one.).

Get this, the Red Sox didn’t even make the playoffs, and the Phillies and the Yankees don’t get out of the first round of the postseason — in short, they don’t get the slightest SNIFF of the World Series. These are the three fattest teams in Major League Baseball for payroll.

Combined, the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies had a payroll of $535 MILLION — or $178.3 million each.

Meanwhile, the teams that are still alive? The Brewers, Cardinals, Tigers and Rangers have a combined payroll of $387 million — or $96.75 million each, barely more than one-half of the three fattest teams.

Interestingly, here are other teams that have bigger payrolls than these four teams — the Cubs, Mets, Angels, Twins, Giants and White Sox, six teams that didn’t even make the postseason. In the case of the Cubs, Twins, Mets and White Sox, they didn’t even come close. The Tigers have the highest payroll remaining — 10th in Major League Baseball. The Brewers are 17th.

What does this mean? Yeah, baseball needs a salary cap and the rich teams still have unfair advantages, but you still have to build a smart team to win. The Red Sox and Yankees completely ignored their flawed pitching staffs while spending like drunken sailors, while the Phillies ignored their flawed offence while spending like a drunken sailor on pitching.

Sometimes, the world IS fair. A little.

“Moneyball” spits up — a LOT

brad pitt

There was actually some controversy over “Moneyball,” a pretty tame PG-13 flick about the book about Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s. There is one swear word, no violence and no sex, but some people were tweaked that almost constantly throughout the movie, Brad Pitt is seen chewing tobacco.

As you know, a lot of us fought long and hard to get smoking scenes out of PG and PG-13 movies. Hollywood has long had a fascination with smoking that became corrupt, archaic and then for the past few years mystifying.

Smoking scenes have dropped dramatically in PG-13 movies over the last two years. The issue to me are movies that make smoking and the stars who smoke appear glamourous. You and I know that’s BS, but kids 8-13 years old don’t. They see people onscreen looking glamourous with a cigarette in their hands and studies have shown this is a factor for encouraging kids to start smoking.


I didn’t really have a problem with the chewing scenes in Moneyball for two reasons. One, Billy Beane in real life was a big chewer (I have no idea if he still chews today.). The book Moneyball talked about his constant chew. So, it was included for authenticity. Secondly, it was fucking GROSS in the movie.

At no point do you actually see the spit, but Brad Pitt carried a cup with him at all times through the movie and every five minutes, you saw him spit his chew into the Dixie cup. I actually heard people in the theatre say, “Ewwww,” whenever he did this. Jonah Hill, playing his assistant, actually flinched a couple of times when he did it. It certainly didn’t make chew look glamourous. It made it look disgusting. I mean, having to carry a Dixie cup with you at all times where ever you go? Nasty.

Overall, Billy Beane came off like a slob in the movie. He also had a big pile of sunflower seeds on his desk at one point (A really disgusting habit I once had personally), and was constantly eating Twinkies and doughnuts and always had food stains on his clothing. The chew was part of his slovenly character. Not the usual Brad Pitt glamour role.

Brad Pitt has been guilty of glamourizing smoking in some of his early movies, such as Thelma and Louise, but he claims now that he has quit smoking for his kids.


Interestingly, I found two articles that take two completely opposite tacks on the spitting in Moneyball. Bloomberg Businessweek thinks it could actually help chewing tobacco sales because Brad Pitt is a glamourous movie star . I don’t see it, frankly. Like I said, most of the people in the theatre seemed to find it disgusting.

chew in baseball

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which I would expect to rail about the PG-13 rating, instead took a more reasonable angle. This pretty militant group points out that the movie highlights the problems of chewing tobacco in baseball, which is absolutely true. For some mystifying reason, chew is rampant in baseball. Billy Beane was a Major League player and kept up his gross habit as general manager of the A’s. Tobacco-Free Kids used the movie as an opportunity to advertise their “Knock Tobacco out of the Park” campaign, an effort to ban chewing tobacco at the Major League level (don’t laugh, it’s been banned in the minor leagues for several years now.).

Anyway, it was a very good movie, going to great lengths to humanize Billy Beane. I ended up understanding his reasons for turning down a glamour job with the Red Sox (stuff involving Beane’s daughter that was not in the book.).

My favourite part of the film was when the Red Sox offered him a huge contract and John Henry essentially told him right to his face, “we’re going to steal your ideas..,” which the Red Sox proceeded to go out and do, putting a huge emphasis on on-base percentage and OPS in the guys they brought onto their team while winning two World Series. The Yankees, Rays, Giants and plenty of other teams have likewise put the same theories into play, emphasizing OPS and on-base over batting average and steals. They have out-Moneyed Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s, who have been a pretty mediocre franchise the last 5 or 6 years.