Under the blasted tree the horse lies dead,
Its face upturned, eyes black with flies,
Nostrils and lips encrusted
With chitinous, rank coagulate.
The insects crawl on the lolling tongue;
Its belly bloated though two days past
It starved, ribcage protruding.
And here, there, the horse hair parts,
Skin and hidden layers uncoil
As maggots eat their way out
To the wider fly-blown world.

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The rich will vape, the poor will smoke. And guess who will died first.


The EGO-CE4 e-cigarette is cheap and flimsy

The EGO-CE4 e-cigarette and others based on the CE4 battery are inexpensive; which is just as well, as it is of poor quality and easily broken. I have accidentally broken these devices a few times, and only its low price has convinced me to buy more. When first introduced, it was priced similarly to its competitors (around £17), but the manufacturer has clearly realised that the product has a short working life and has reduced the price accordingly so as to stay on the market.


The EGO CE4.  Cheap, poorly made, and on its way out

The EGO’s problem is its battery. It takes only a relatively short number of recharges before it starts to fail, keeping a working charge for much less time than competitors. And the construction of the battery and the rest of the e-cigarette is poorly designed. If the user drops it a short distance (the kind of fall that a laptop computer, for instance, takes in its stride) the battery can separate from the e-cig’s body easily. The same can happen if, for instance, the user puts the EGO in a trouser pocket and then sits down: stress that should not pose a problem for such a device.

The battery easily detaches from the part of the body that should keep it in place, the mouthpiece and the part of the body that holds the operation button comes apart far too easily. If the battery wires do not disconnect, the e-cigarette can be fixed: a thin, blunt object such as the non-business end of a pencil can push the battery back into the body, and the mouthpiece/button section can be reconnected. But of course such a McGuyver-style repair is not a lasting solution. And if the battery wires become disconnected, that is the end of the e-cigarette’s useful life. The wires are far too thin and weak to attempt soldering, even if such an operation could be deemed safe and satisfactory.

Luckily, the manufacturer has recognised the problem, and has priced the device accordingly. When e-cigarettes first became popular, the cost per unit was about £17. Now, replacement batteries are available via Amazon for as little as £3.50; and the glass “clearomizer” can be found at outlets such as Poundland, costing £1 per unit. Also, it seems manufacturers of the e-liquid are finding the market too saturated: at my local Poundland, 10 ml bottles of 88vape e-liquid in a range of flavours can be bought, again for £1.


The safer, pricier Vype e-pen.  That’s where the smart money’s going.  If you actually have any money, that is.  Twenty Benson & Hedges is so much cheaper… if you don’t mind the hacking cough and cancer…

Of course this situation will not last. Stocks of 88vape will run out, the clearomisers and batteries will not work with the pen-style devices that are now taking over the market, and so the days of cheap EGO-CE4 e-cigarettes are numbered. It is a shame that it costs more than £20 to get a starter kit of the modern pen-like device. Poorer smokers will continue to smoke tobacco, which does not have such a “starter kit” expense. So poorer nicotine addicts will keep using the much more harmful tobacco product, perhaps forming a kind of economic apartheid wherein the less affluent will get higher rates of cancer and pulmonary-cardiac illness. When the cheaper but more electrically dangerous CE4 runs out of stock, less affluent nicotine addicts will be stuch with cigarettes and will most likely live shorter, harsher lives than their richer counterparts. This will remain the case until the pen-like devices are sold for less. And at the moment it doesn’t look like a price drop is likely.

Is Maggie in heaven with Jesus and the angels now, Mommy?


Thatcher’s dead.
Don’t watch TV.
Everyone in their eulogies
Is spouting shit like “she loved the poor.”
Mining industry? Not a word.
Privatisation? Not a peep.
I’m just glad she’s gone to sleep
And will never wake again
From the racks and the torments of her hellish pain.*

Then again, she’s probably having a drink with Saddam, Gaddafi and the rest of ’em. How many WMDs do you reckon Reagan shoved up her rear entrance during their “special relationship”?

So she’s having a good time… so why shouldn’t we (apart from the fact that the ConDems have made fun a luxury, reserved only for the rich). We ought to make 8 April a public national holiday? Get pissed, have a laugh, wear Spitting Image Thatcher masks. Then at nightfall we can congregate around bonfires and burn effigies of the Beast.

Margaret Thatcher, milk-snatcher.  1925-2013... took bloody long enough didn't she!

Margaret Thatcher, milk-snatcher. 1925-2013… took bloody long enough didn’t she!

An afterthought: do we burn effigies of Guy Fawkes because of “gunpowder, treason and plot”? Or is it cos he failed to exterminate the scum? Just asking…

*”Thatcher’s dead” poem by me. (OMG how talented am I? No nasty replies to that plz)

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My friend’s dog died today…


My friend’s staffie, Rocky, was put down today.  He’d been awfully ill for some time: he used to have a voracious appetite, but for the past couple of months he’d been right off his food; he was vomiting at least once a day (usually more); and the once-active dog was reduced to lying spread-eagled on the floor all day.  If he needed to answer the call of nature, he could just about stagger outside to the garden, then peed and crapped right there.  And his crap was so dark, almost black.

This morning my friend took Rocky to the vet’s for a scan – a few hours later he got the dreaded phone call: “He’s got tumours spreading through his insides.  There’s nothing we can do.  I advise you to have him put down now, before his suffering becomes too much to bear.”

So my friend returned to the vet’s, gave Rocky some fuss, a piece of his favourite chocolate, and bade him farewell.  Then the lethal injection was administered and Rocky fell asleep forever.

Rocky had had a good innings – he was approximately 11 or 12 years old, and for the last 10 years he’d been spoilt rotten.  He’s had a good life; but that doesn’t make it feel any better.  And now my thoughts have turned to my own dog’s mortality.  DD, my American bulldog, is only six-ish, and she is as healthy as can be – but I’m well aware that I’m probably going to outlive her.  It isn’t fair: why can’t dogs live forever?  You get a pet, love it as much as any human, and then it dies.  Life is so unfair.

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