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Joe’s Inn again. A follow up. April, 7th

There seems to be some skepticism of my assertion that Joe’s new smoking policy will have a detrimental impact on their business. These impressions were based on my visit of March 28th. I have been told that Mondays are always slow. Also, it was the first day of the new smoking policy, that given a few days, they (the smokers) will return. So it’s only fair that I consider the possibility that I had indeed jumped to a conclusion.

Needless to say another visit was in order to insure that what I had witnessed wasn’t simply an anomaly. So here we are again, this time a Thursday (April 7th) 12:20pm – 1:20pm. As you can see from the photo below, things are at least as dismal as they were on the Monday visit.   I do regret that I don’t have a pre March 28th photo to show. If you’re a Joe’s customer then you know how packed the place always was at lunch time. If you weren’t, then you have to take my word for it.



 So where does this leave us. One very good restaurant operated by very good people that had made one very bad choice. They believed that they could rebuff their loyal customers without consequence. I have been one of those customers for years now, and even though I quit smoking last December, I still use the smoking side. Honestly, I really can’t tell much deference in air quality since the new policy has been in effect. I wonder which of the nearby smoking restaurants are picking up Joe’s refugee customers. That could make for an interesting next post.  Here are some of the possibilities; Aladdin, BANDITOS BURRITO LOUNGE, Mulligan’s Sports Grille, Penny Lane Pub and The Republic to name a few.

 I am very proud of these customers for standing up for themselves. I understand that in some parts of the state they are more like sheep. Incidentally, even though I quit smoking, I still support these smokers by avoiding nonsmoking restaurants as much as possible. The free market has been handicapped, not killed by the smoking ban. What you, the customer does still makes a difference. Keep up the good work.


Joe’s Inn, a Turn for the Worst.

The trend since the start of this ridiculous smoking ban in Virginia has been toward more smoking restaurants not less. Granted it has been slow, but at least, with very few exceptions things have been moving in the right direction. One of these exceptions was Sammy G’s in Fredericksburg, but that was because of a change in ownership.

Joe’s Inn in Richmond on the other hand has been a great benefactor of smoking clientele. The smoking section packs it in and it can sometimes be hard to find a table even at lunch time. The non-smoking section also does well, but not quite like the smoking side. This is about the last place you would expect to go nonsmoking.

The nonsmoking side fills the need of the nonsmoker while smokers (spending many dollars) pack the smoking side. I believe it is safe to say that they account for at least half the business while at the same time creating no down side for the nonsmokers.

Today I went to Joe’s for lunch. When the waitress saw me reach for a e-cigarette, she told me I could not smoke until after 10:00 pm. I informed her that that was a little late for lunch. I find this completely mind boggling, but at least explains why the place was nearly empty at 12:10 in the afternoon. There is one thing I will say for the place; it’s now so quiet and peaceful without all those pesky customers.



The Gost Town Formally know as Joe's Inn.

There is weather they know it or not,  plenty of area restaurants ready to take these displaced smoking customers that Joe’s no longer wants.


Having a great lunch (and a e-cigarette) here at Mulligan’s.


(lets all try to keep Joe’s looking like their photo until smoking is reinstated.)

Is GASP.org math challenged?

Here’s one for you. Maybe someone can help me understand it.  In an attempt to make us believe that smoking bans are not harmful to the economy, GASP has reprinted an article. This article states that in a survey of non smokers nearly half avoid smoking restaurants. The thing they didn’t mention is just how many is nearly half.

I decided that it might be nice to take a look at the numbers they are avoiding. About 78% of dinners are non smokers. Let’s give them a break and call it 80%. Now they say nearly half, let’s give them another break and say 50%. That gives us a total of 40% of dinners that feel non smoking is a must have.  This leaves us with 60% that will eat in smoking restaurants.  That is the other non smoking 40% plus the 20% smokers. I have found that many non smokers will use the smoking section of restaurants even when they are not with smokers.  I think most business owners understand the need to target the bigger market.

 There is more to it, however. It’s also a matter of supply and demand. In the state of Virginia there are about 17,000 restaurants. Of these less than 400 offer smoking. As you can see this falls way short of demand. For more business to occur that demand (for smoking restaurants) must start being served. If I was trying to make their case, I’m sure I would have never published this article. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

 I don’t envy them, imagine finding yourself in the position of convincing folks that the suppression of free market forces doesn’t hurt the economy.

 Good luck with that!

Breathe Easy, Virginia’s Attorney General Reels in Rogue Health Department.

July 8, 2009

Everyone should have a hero and now even “Vapors” (e-cigarette users) have their own. She is Saint Alice of the Virginia Smokers Alliance.

Alice contacted her representative to question the enforcement of the Virginia Smoking Ban with respect to e-(electronic) cigarettes. Representative Peace then contacted the Attorney General, Kenneth Cuccinelli to look into the matter. Here are the Attorney Generals findings.

All of this is good news,  however is anyone else perplexed as to why the Health Department would even try to get away with a stunt like this?  It is more then obvious that an e-cigarette is in no way banned under Virginia law. So why would the Virginia Health Department behave as a self ordained legislative body. For that matter, why would Keenan Caldwell of the American Cancer Society say “”Allowing them (e-cigarettes) would really be turning back the clock on what we’re trying to do in Virginia to create smoke-free workplaces and environments that promote health,”

Here’s the thing, smokeless tobacco products are not banned under the law, so why should it come as any surprise that a tobaccoless, smokeless product would also not be banned. To fully understand the opposition to e-cigarettes by ban proponents one must examine their mission. Now here where the confusion starts, I said their mission, not their stated mission. There is a huge difference. Their stated mission is to protect the public from the supposed dangers of secondary smoke. But let’s take a moment to look at the real mission.

The mission is to capture the occupants of an enemy encampment. Let call the enemy smokers. You have the resources to set up one trap and you decide to set it at one of the three  bridges leading out of the encampment. The name of this bridge is Chantex.  Now all you need do is light the camp on fire, let refer to this fire as smoking ban. The fire also destroyed the bridge known as cigarettes but left standing the one known as e-cigarettes. The obvious problem is that some of the enemy (smokers) may avoid the drag net set up at bridge know as  Chantex and escape across e-cigarettes. You must find a way to make the fire (smoking ban) also consume the other bridge known as e-cigarettes.

If successful, it could mean $$$$ from grateful big Pharmaceutical Companies waiting to pick off ban refugees.

The truth is that secondary smoke does not pose an appreciable health risk to the public at large. The truth is that they need you to believe in the risk in order to justify the violation of liberty of American Citizens.  The truth is that charitable societies and politicians don’t really care one way or the other about your health. Why else would they waste their time with e-cigarettes?

Big Tobacco is simply no match for the influence of Big Pharmaceutical.

Always follow the money!

I don’t have to (or Sex with the lights on).

I don’t have to approve of any given book to agree that it should not be banned. All I need is a belief that book banning is wrong.  If you ask someone if they agree with book banning and they say”I don’t know, let me see the book first” then they probably don’t get it. I don’t need to be an alcoholic to disagree with prohibition. I don’t have to be a minority to disagree with segregation. One does not have to be a smoker to disagree with smoking bans. When it’s wrong on principle then its wrong, period.

A principled person won’t always be pleased with their own conclusions, but they will be true to them. If you ask folks if they like to see smoking banned most will say yes. Even those that don’t really care much one way or the other. In the hurried society we live in most keep it simple as they can, smoking bad, not smoking good.  If you ask someone if they would like to see the book “101 ways to get away with murder” published, most would say no. There is a huge difference between what you would like to see and what you think warrants the force of law. In other words, these are not people that would normally say yes to book banning.

Given accurate information and a moment to think it over, any thinking rational person can see the problems with smoking bans. I can debate a whole books worth about the dangers of second hand smoke or lack there of. That however, would be falling prey to the smoke blown by the non smoking advocates of the smoking ban. You see, this is simply not the issue.

Life is full of choices. Many involve a varied degree of risk. In the absence of a nanny, it is up to all of us to weigh risk vs. benefits in order to make our own decisions. Many smoking ban advocates love to use the word “public” a lot. I guess it’s some sort of brain washing attempt. Maybe they think if they refer to private property as public enough then folks will start to view it that way.

The smoking ban is about dictating the behavior of people engaged in an otherwise legal activity on private property.  That’s it. There is nothing more to it. It has absolutely no bearing in protecting public health. Protecting public health is merely a necessary visage given smoking bans to glean public support.

If ban proponents were to say the reason we want smoking bans are two fold. In the immediate, we wish to confound smoker’s to the point where they use expensive and often dangerous stop smoking drugs offered by big pharmaceutical companies, so we get big kick backs. Secondly, we want to begin conditioning the general populous to abrogating their freedom and liberty by the use of incrementally small steps. This would be the truth. But it would most likely not be that popular. Hence the lie “we want to protect the public health”.

The bottom line is that private property is just that regardless of whether or not the public is invited. No one is required to patronize a smoke friendly restaurant. The decision to do so should be based on your own perceived risk vs. benefits. Unfortunately, there are those who believe it is appropriate to enlist government to act as nanny for every one of us.

It’s almost as if they are admitting that they don’t have the intelligence to stay away from things they don’t like. Smokers on the other hand had no trouble avoiding non smoking restaurants. This was a little more difficult because the free market had drastically limited the number of smoke friendly restaurants. But smokers could somehow still manage to find them without government intervention. This would seem to lead to the inescapable conclusion that smokers are just smarter than non smokers, but I’m not buying it.

I have read quite a few posts and received a bit of email from non smokers that oppose the ban. They range from those that absolutely can’t stand cigarette smoke to ones that really just don’t care one way or the other about it. You see that part did not play into their opinion about the ban. They didn’t have to like or dislike, all they needed was the knowledge that is was wrong on principle. They see the danger in disregarding the rights of American Citizens.  We can’t be a nation of rights and laws simply when it’s convenient. They know that we can not survive if we only base our laws on poll numbers without regard to personal rights. It simply isn’t principled. It can and will lead us from our status of citizen to one of subjects. When this happens, all the tea in all the harbors of the world won’t bring it back. Governing by polls is not democracy, it’s simply mob rule.

Of course smoke bans are politically correct.  Political Correctness is sometimes just another way of saying incorrect.  Political Correctness is principled when it’s true and tyrannical when it’s not. It’s designed to make you feel good about something in spite of that warring pang in the pit of your gut. Speaking of warring pangs, I am amazed that no one has taken me to task over a comment I made in my last blog post.  If someone other then I had said it I think I would have had to say something.  Here’s the comment:

Isn’t it time that Bob McDonald clarified what the health department priorities should and shouldn’t be? Is Virginia opened for business or just big business and big pharmaceutical?

It seems that no one is willing to show the politically correct amount of indignation over this comment. I guess I’ll just have to play devils advocate and do it myself.  So here is what I have to say to me:

Devils Advocate Me: Have you lost your mind? Are you actually suggesting that the Governor put him self above the law and direct the health department to ignore their duty. What kind of nut case are you that talks principles one moment and then makes a comment like this the next. P-l-e-a-s-e.

Regular Me: Wow, do I feel chastised. This was offered as a somewhat tongue and cheek comment. Firstly, Bob McDonald just got the job. So no, I’m not really beating him up over this. This does not mean that I’m ready to toss the entire comment under the bus. Here’s why …

In Waynesboro,

It is illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband is walking in front of her waving a red flag.  This is from the website: http://www.dumblaws.com

This site showcases ridiculous laws that no one in their right mind would try to enforce. Here are some more.

Stafford County,

It is legal for a man to beat his wife on the courthouse steps so long as it is before 8:00 pm.

In Norfolk,

Women must wear a corset after sundown and be in the company of male chaperone.

Spitting on a sea gull is illegal.

In Virginia,

Not only is it illegal to have sex with the lights on, one may not have sex in any position other than missionary.

There is a state law prohibiting “corrupt practices of bribery” by any person other than candidates.

Persons may not engage in a legal activity on their own property. This applies to restaurant owners and smoking. (Not listed in dumblaws.com)

Children are not to go trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Oh yeah, I bet you that didn’t get by you. But you must admit the smoking ban does blend nicely into the rest of these idiotic laws.

No one could be said to be putting themselves above the law if it falls into this realm.

How many women do you think were arrested for driving on Main St. in Waynesboro last year?

Many that support the ban say it must meet the standard of “good” law because there has never been a repeal of it anywhere. Many of these dumb laws have been around a very long time without being repealed.  They don’t bother to mention that New York enforcement is lax on smoking and in Chicago the police said straight up that they can’t be bothered with it because they have too much real crime to deal with. In Ohio, the cost of enforcement has exceeded the fines collected by 2 million dollars. The tax payers will have to make up the shortfall.  In areas where it is enforced there are problems. Rebellions against and amendments to smoking bans are occurring globally.

Maybe it’s time we stopped getting so steamed and laugh a little. No one is crying over the rest of the “dumb laws”, they’re simply amused by them and why wouldn’t they be. Like smoking bans, there only value is comedic. Unfortunately, those that enforce this ban somehow manage to distinguish between smoking bans and the rest of the dumb obscured law. So what is it that makes the smoking ban different from other junk law? What is it that makes it dangerous? That would be one thing and one thing only, Political Correctness. As a said before, when it’s incorrect, it’s tyrannical. If we as a people could simply focus on correctness with out respect to a particularly type of correctness we would be better off. By qualifying a type of correctness aren’t we minimizing the correct part. Isn’t that really the most important part?

Historically, Virginia has helped set the stage for liberty and freedom. We are not strangers to taking the lead. We should end prohibition now. It has no place in a free society. Let us be the first to set a positive example.

We must all stay informed. We must all be vigilant. We must make our voices heard.

In this way our children and grandchildren may also enjoy a free society.

Good luck to all of us,

– smokefreelyva.com

Oooo this just in. More fun. http://www.the-daily-record.com/news/article/4777802

Skilligalee Restaurant – Henrico

Before I talk about the Skilligalee, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the elephant on the list. Now don’t get me wrong I love grills and sports bars and we’re grateful for all that allow smokers. We do seem to be lacking in other types of restaurants.

Smokers, like anyone else avail themselves to a full spectrum of dining options. Unfortunately restaurants like Skilligalee are far to rare. That is to say, ones that are forward thinking enough to realize that. It’s is very exciting when we see variety emerging on the list. In other words, it is not necessary to have pool tables, big screen TV’s or video games in order to offer smoking.

Skilligalee is known as a fairly upscale sea food restaurant. My experience there recently confirms that hands down.  Great atmosphere and wonderful food. I’m a little embarrassed to say that I was unfamiliar with Massachusetts’ oysters. Thankfully, Skilligalee corrected that gap in my education. They are unbelievably sweet with a mild unique flavor. You don’t however get the same taste that you’re used to when you smoke a cigarette after eating them. I also had the seafood crepe and it was out of this world.

Finally, a fine dining experience that won’t have you running outside for a cigarette.

Thank You Skilligalee

Find Skilligalee on the” List” under Henrico.

Summers Past – Virginia Beach

I decided to check out Summers Past in Virginia Beach. Smokers will like that the bar is in the smoking section. I like that the menu prices were really good. One of the ways that they help keep prices down is that they have a service charge of $1.00 for credit card sales under $10.00. Personally I like this (and I was using a credit card). Why should it jack up menu prices for everyone? Just let those that use them help pay those high rates.

Basically were talking home cooking here and pretty darn good. I love the service. Just the right amount. Don’t drive you crazy but doesn’t leave you needing anything either.

It is a neighbor restaurant, complete with neighbors. People you never meet and you feel like you know for years. I’m sure I’ll return to Summers Past in the future.