The Austin Chronicle

After a Fashion

By Stephen MacMillan Moser, March 6, 2009, Columns

A BURNING QUESTION I can hardly find the words to discuss this particular issue; it's evil and so disturbing, you may want to turn the page instead of reading it. This issue, frightening as it is, must be brought to the world's attention. Ever since I moved into my new house at the end of December, I've noticed that my cigarettes burn out before I'm through smoking them. Has anyone else noticed this? At first I thought, "Well, there's probably just a lot of moisture in my house, and the cigarettes are getting damp." But then I noticed my cigarettes were burning out before their time everywhere I went. Then I noticed that even my friends' cigarettes were burning out before they were done. Was this a diabolical plan to make us quit smoking? Well, they don't call me the big-boned Nancy Drew for nothing. I immediately put my thinking cap on (it's red, with multicolored knitted pom-poms all over it) and set out to solve the mystery. Of course, Big Tobacco was no help. They just hung up every time I called and started screaming at the receptionist. Finally, I did some lab testing on my own. I decided to smoke as many cigarettes in a row as I could, as fast as I could, so that I could rule out the notion that I was smoking too slow. Imagine. Me. Smoking too slow. It's beyond comprehension. I huff and puff on them like I'm about to blow down the home of the Three Little Pigs. It's as if I'm the Big Bad Wolf and I have emphysema and cannot only not blow down the Three Little Pigs' homes but couldn't even blow out a birthday candle. But now? God forbid I should take the time to go get something to drink or answer the door before that cigarette burns out. What is with that? Is it the idea that if my cigarette burns out, it will create less smoke and therefore make the world a better place? Or is it just some hideous scheme to make me light an entirely new cigarette each time? Under that plan, my cigarette consumption would rise from almost a pack a day to four or five packs a day. And at the price of cigarettes these days, I'd have to win the lottery to support my habit. So, the results of my research are not very conclusive, but I'll bet there's somebody out there who knows the real answer ("Philip Morris, line one!"). Shall we smokers consider a class-action suit? What's your take on it? Pay attention when you're smoking, and you'll see what I mean.

A PET-TY AFFAIR We went to the Animal Trustees of Austin's annual Petcasso benefit on Sunday. Or as I like to call it, "the little event that could." In just three years, it's grown so much: The art more sophisticated, the production so much smoother, the food better, the crowd bigger, and this year, they raised more money than ever. I'd say the animals of Austin are safer than they have been ... which is not to say they are safe yet, but with groups like the Animal Trustees, they've come a long way.

LOL Seen the YouTube video commercial for Cougar Barbie yet? Well, I'm not going to tell you about it. Just look it up, and laugh your ass off.

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