by Stuart Ross

April 2009
5.5 x 7.5 paper 200 pages
978 1 55111 879 6
CDN $19.95 US $19.95

BUY Buying Cigarettes for the Dog NOW!

Winner of the 2010 ReLit Award for Short Fiction!

Finalist for the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award!

Finalist for Trade Fiction Book of the Year at the 2010 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!

Winner of Book Cover Design of the Year at the 2010 Alberta Book Publishing Awards!

A man steps out for a pack of smokes and winds up walking around the planet a woman sun tanning by a pool finds herself covered in chicken feet a guerrilla army of cows infiltrates a big city a man hires a bodyguard to protect him from his poodle. The first book of fiction since 1997 from the consummately underground Stuart Ross blends an unflagging penchant for experiment with the measured skill of a seasoned, highly disciplined craftsman. Buying Cigarettes for the Dog is anything but a collection of linked stories in a homogenous voice instead, Ross offers us fables, letters, political tracts, gems of minimalist surrealism, and even a post gothic novella. Throughout, he draws from the same deep, dark sense of humour that has earned him acclaim as Canada’s foremost surrealist poet. Ross s strange, strangely compassionate stories engage the emotions as well as the intellect, giving the reader no choice but to participate. Buying Cigarettes for the Dog holds a mirror to the absurdities of 21st century Earth here is an absurdism so true that it becomes real.



“It’s as if Jane Austen and Franz Kafka collaborated on a short story collection while Albert Einstein acted as editor.”
Patricia Robertson, The Toronto Star

“A writer with an original sensibility, he’s got a gazillion curious, funny and disturbing things to say about our lives and our world. Read this book you’ll see.”
M.A.C. Farrant, The Vancouver Sun

“Ross doesn t waste a word, and the impact is often breathtaking.”
Now Magazine

“Stuart Ross writes with the gleefully overstimulated satirical imagination of a George Saunders or Mark Leyner, with lobe rattlingly smart language and storylines that are culture crazed, funny and full of strange betrayals and sociopolitical intrigue. The many comic absurdities feel inspired by global catastrophe as they cleave hypocrisy down to the ridiculous individual.”
Lee Henderson, author of The Broken Record Technique and The Man Game

Suffolk lawmakers raise age for buying tobacco to 21 – newsday

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Suffolk County raised the age for tobacco sales from 19 to 21 last night, passing a bill with some of the tightest restrictions over cigarette sales in the country.

“This will save lives,” Legis. William Spencer (D Centerport), the bill’s sponsor and a pediatric surgeon, said after the 10 8 vote.

The bill restricts stores in Suffolk County from selling cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, herbal cigarettes, rolling papers, pipes, as well as e cigarettes, to those over 21. The law goes into effect Jan. 1.

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New York City late last year passed a similar age restriction, while the town of Needham, Mass., has instituted another proposal, according to the American Lung Association.

After a lengthy debate, in which convenience store owners said their businesses would be hurt and the rights of legal adults would be curtailed, health advocates applauded when the vote concluded.

Minority Leader Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R Nesconset) argued that by age 19 consumers can make their own decisions “Nineteen year olds have a bundle of rights they can vote, they can marry, they can enter contracts and serve in the military but to say they don’t have the innate ability to make a choice about tobacco consumption gravely concerns me as overreaching.”

The six Republicans were joined by Legis. Kate Browning (WFP Shirley) and Legis. Louis D’Amaro (D North Babylon).

Legis. Steve Stern (D Huntington) was the key swing vote. He said during the debate he would vote to raise the age only because of the highly addictive nature of cigarettes.

D’Amaro voted against the proposal. He said this bill unfairly targets 19 and 20 year olds and puts the burden of enforcement on retailers.

“Twenty one is an arbitrary number once you get talking about minors,” he said.

Spencer introduced his bill after the Suffolk Board of Health recommended raising the age for tobacco sales in November. Legislative budget analysts have estimated that the proposal could cost the county $412,000 lost in sales tax from tobacco sales, but provide long term health savings of $2.9 billion.

The law would impose fines of up to $1,000 for businesses that sell tobacco to customers younger than 21 on a first offense and up to $1,500 for second offenses.

Gas station and convenience store owners attacked the proposal as an economic hardship on their businesses and an assault on the rights of 19 and 20 year olds.

Patricia Orzano, a 7 Eleven store owner who lives in West Babylon, said, “These people vote, they serve in the military, have abortions, get married.”

Jack Rugen, who owns a 7 Eleven store in Rocky Point, said his outlet sells about $70 a day in tobacco products to 19 and 20 year olds. Rugen also has criticized the law, since there will be no penalty for those under 21 who are smoking or buy cigarettes only on the retailers caught selling the cigarettes.

But Long Island health advocates said raising the age would cut the number of young smokers, saving the county long term in health care costs and in the number of older smokers.

In a 2000 study, 90 percent of adults who smoked started by 21, and half of them became regular smokers by their 18th birthday.

“Suffolk County will once again be a leader in public health law,” said Michael Seilback, vice president of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, citing the county’s early adoption of a ban of smoking in restaurants and other indoor places.

Suffolk County Health Commissioner Dr. James L. Tomarken urged lawmakers to pass the bill. “Rarely do you get the chance to pass legislation that could literally save lives. I urge you to do so,” he Tuesday, lawmakers were expected to vote on a home rule measure asking the State Legislature to allow the county to transfer 33 park police and make them county police officers. Suffolk then plans to hire about 45 seasonal park rangers to work during the busy summer months.

Legislative budget analysts issued a report saying the move would save $2.97 million in 2014 and $27.1 million through 2018. However, the analysts warned that any delay including a possible lawsuit from those on the existing police hiring list may add $1 million in police overtime costs this summer.

The legislature also was expected to vote on a proposal that would double traffic fines within 30 days and triple them in 60 days in an effort to relieve the backlog of 14,754 tickets that have gone unpaid at the county’s traffic and parking violations bureau.

Some legislators have raised concerns that the hike would most harshly impact the poor who have less ability to pay.

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