Smokin' hot mama
If there's one sight guaranteed to rile even the most mild-mannered among us it is that of a pregnant women with a fag in her mouth. You don't see it so often anymore but according to Minister Alex White almost a fifth of smokers continue their habit while carrying a child. This is a quite staggering figure given the evidence available to any would-be mother. There is no argument; smoking while pregnant greatly increases the risk or miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome, premature birth and asthma. Of course this is on the mother, if she's not willing to ditch her habit for the benefit of her offspring then she must live with the consequences. We'd all like to step in, whip the ciggie from her mouth and stub it out on her face but it is not yet illegal to smoke while up the duff.
However our government think they might have a solution, but as usual they seem to be missing the point. Their idea is to offer free nicotine patches for pregnant women. In theory it sounds like solid reasoning and anything that leads to healthy, bonny babies gets my vote. But if you give pregnant women nicotine patches what do you do with the ones who drink to excess, take drugs or eat unhealthily? Do you provide Michelin Star chefs to prepare nutritious and delicious meals for the expectant mother who's addicted to Maccy D's? Ten-step programmes for those that fancy a can of Stella first thing in the morning? And lovely, yummy morphine for the mammies who chose the needle over their child? Prospective parents need all the support they can get but a line must be drawn somewhere. Unless you have good reason for not wanting your child then the responsibility must lie with the mother. Because if you're responsible enough to become pregnant then you have to be considered responsible enough to carry the child through it's gestation without harming it.
Friend or food?
Is it too soon to say that I found the outcry regarding the 'horse meat scandal' a tad excessive? I wasn't the one chowing down on fetlocks and hooves so I'm not in any position to comment but at the time I noted that “there's worse things you could be eating.” But you can't say that, we keep them as pets and use them in sporting events and in this country the horse is considered friend not food. That hasn't stopped Princess Anne ruminating on the topic however.
Now we all know the Royals are a bunch of wrong 'uns and therefore nothing they say can ever be taken seriously. But in this instance maybe Annie has a point. She believes that by raising horses for meat it would increase their value. Okay so that part is a bit Sweeney Todd, but she goes on to say that doing this would greatly reduce the number of horses suffering from neglect. And is there anything worse than seeing one of these great beasts reduced to a shadow of it's former self in some parched plot of land at the side of the road? Many of us would balk at the notion of eating one but are then content to turn a blind eye to their mistreatment at the hands of unsuitable owners.
Here in Limerick it's almost impossible to go a day without seeing an ill-equipped horse being driven along a main road by members of the travelling community. I personally would much rather see that horse slaughtered and used to feed the masses than have it endure such a miserable existence. But the problem here is an ethical one. It's easy for me to say “yeah chop him up and make him into a lasagne”, I've never owned a horse and have no particular fondness for them. But thousands in this country have, just in the same way that thousands dote on their dogs and their cats. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'd be at the front of the line of protesters if someone were suggesting we eat Labradors for lunch. Although that would mainly be because dogs are dirty buggers and their meat is probably disgusting.
A great bunch of lads
The Catholic church is slowly rebuilding it's reputation after a spate of torrid revelations, most of them concerning evil Irish priests. But no matter what happens from this point forwards that spectre of holiness has been forever tarnished. And the veil was further lifted when reports emerged that someone in the Vatican was watching naughty videos on the Internet. Personally I didn't have a problem with that story, if you're not gonna leave the poor buggers get married then the least you can do is allow them to sample some smut during their quiet hours.
In a way it humanised those living in the Holy City, here we were thinking they spent all their time praying and reading the Bible when in actual fact they're just a bunch of bored lads browsing MILF vids on Youporn. And when they're not doing that? Why they're playing Football Manager of course, aboy the lads! And they're downloading the flipping thing illegally into the bargain. Fucking hell, Holy City? More like den of iniquity. Of the ten million copies of the game obtained by illicit means one of them was traced back to the Vatican. Ah only one, that's not so bad. Maybe not, but there's only 800 people living there! We'll never know who the culprit is unfortunately. He's probably in confession as we speak, getting a spate of Hail Marys for his sins. Unless it was the big dog himself, the Pope. He answers to no-one and is probably laughing his bollix off while he leads Yeovil Town to Champions League glory for the third season in succession.
Ah we're all so feckin' fat, look at the state of us; wobbly bits everywhere! And sure why wouldn't we be with all them lovely cakes to be eating? The government and the foodies can issue all the warnings they want, we don't care. We'd rather die at forty with a fried Mars bar in our gob than live 'til a hundred on a diet of Quinoa and lettuce. Put simply you're gonna have to put a better incentive than 'health benefits' in front of us before we'll stop stuffing our faces. Free public transport in exchange for exercise? Well why didn't you say so?!
That's what the Russians are doing (as seen in the video above). With next year's Winter Olympics just around the corner a special automated transit machine has been installed in a Moscow subway. It's goal is to promote physical well-being in advance of the games being held in Sochi by asking commuters to perform 30 squats or thrusts in exchange for a free train ticket. How genius is that? Tell us to exercise for our own good and we'll laugh in your face, but offer us free public transport for touching our toes a few times and we're all over it. This could just be the beginning, a true solution to the worldwide obesity epidemic. I can see it already; national airports heaving with star jumping tourists, bus stops reverberating to the sound of hot stepping excursionists, we'll dance and jive our way around the world without having to pay a penny for the privilege. And we'll all be as skinny as fuck.