At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

SPRINGY ROUND BOTTOMS

In everybody's circle of friends and acquaintances there are few who habitually show up late. Whether it's for a simcha, supper, or an important appointment.

Sometimes, showing up late is a metaphor - they're actually on time, but the train hasn't left the station, the boat is still at the dock, and the elevator is stuck a few floors down from the top.


I have received the following plaintive e-mail from one such person:

Dear xxxxx,
This message is to inform you that you have received a personal invitation from your friend, (mxxxsxxx) to join them at GayGuysChat.com
Please take time to visit them using the following link: GayGuysChat.com
Regards,
GayGuysChat Support


Oh boy. I'm tempted. The sheer amount of havoc I could wreak is staggering. Problem is, I'm not gay. As the sender knows.
He just hasn't quite figured out how to mail an invite from gayguyschat to a limited subsection of his address book yet.

Perhaps I should sweetly inquire whether he needs a few pointers on how to use a computer.
But I probably won't - this is not the first time I have received his kindly gayguyschat invite - he has been sending gayguyschat invites repeatedly to all several hundred people in his address book since January, I think, when the first blistering fire-storms burst out from outraged recipients, some of whom had not heard from him in years.

"You don't call, you don't write, I never hear from you, and this is the first thing I get since I sent you a present on your birthday? Your father and I are very upset!!!"

Or:
"You never congratulated your niece on her graduation, you didn't even send a get-well card after the horrible accident, you ignored your own brother when he was dying of cancah, but this(!) you can send?!?*&*?"


I wonder what gay guys chat about. Straight people? Sex?

Football players?

Football players well-rounded bottoms in tight shiny uniform pants?


I must admit that straight people and sex do indeed interest me - heck, fascinate me no end at times - but football players and their shiny uniformed bottoms are not high on my list of things I really must investigate.

If a football player, even one with a very nice springy round bottom in a tight uniform, were to pass by, I would not break stride.
His very nice springy round bottom (uniformed or otherwise) would remain unpatted, unpinched, unobserved. I would not wax lyrical about its springy roundness afterwards, would write no paeans to its tightly uniformed glory, poetize no lyrics to its pattable and pinchable beauty.


There is only one kind of nice springy round bottom that interests me. It is not discussed at gayguyschat, of that I am certain. Despite the uniform.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MY DALLIANCE WITH A TROLLOP

Relevant and purely imaginary quote: "Good heavens, Cletus, it smells like a Turkish cat-house here". There are three things that mark a misspent pipe-smoking youth. One of which is Erinmore Flake.


OVER-RIPENED FRUIT

In the spring on 1974, when I was still fourteen years old, our cat discovered my pipes and tobacco where I had hidden them, under a cabinet in the downstairs drawing room. That evening my mother lectured me on the evils of smoking - it took her all of three cigarettes puffed in slow succession to deliver the lecture - and then my father spoke sternly to me. The gist of his discourse was I had to keep my pipes clean (always use pipe-cleaners), and good pipe tobacco needed no additional fragrances; perfumed tobaccos that smelled like a Turkish cathouse were garbage, and should be avoided like a dose of clap.
This is Pshat.

Since then I have not smoked Erinmore Flake.

All pipe smokers of a certain age have experimented with it - it is hard to avoid buying this product at least once, as the friendly and colourful tin with its garish red blazoon on a yellow field beckons one from across a counter, lures one with its cheery appearance, shakes an appealing visual leg at the easily distracted young rake. And like an adventure with a drug-addled whore, one very quickly regrets the decision. From close up, the perfume is strictly drugstore bargain, the make-up thick and smeared, the hotel-room mildewed and depressing.

[All of which is Moshol, please understand.]

For me that 'regret' came one day in March of that year, when I smoked two full bowls of Erinmore Flake one after the other. And threw up violently as a result. I was sick as a dog. Utter misery.

In all fairness I should mention that this may have been caused by not using pipe-cleaners, and inadvertently swallowing some of the gurgle in the shank. This was before my father's words of advice. Pipe-cleaners, in this allegory, are either condoms OR a course of penicillin - either way, this is the Remez.

A few days afterwards I repeated the experience. Two bowls. Followed by nauseated heaving.

I never did finish that tin.

[An infuriating waste of money - did I ever mention that I am a cheap-skate? It's a Dutch characteristic I have never shaken, and have no intention of giving up. Throwing away money on a tin one will not finish is a souring experience.]


Erinmore Flake, with its fruity reek and foul habits, was the veritable tart among the tobaccos, the whore of Babylon, the shameless Catholic Church among the sober Protestants. I loathed it. For years those attractive yellow tins mocked me, from dark corners of tobacconists, or neatly stacked shelves, on two continents. Where-ever I saw an Erinmore tin, it seemed to wink and say "how about it, big boy, I've had my shots".
I resented the implied familiarity - I did NOT want to be seen in its company under any circumstances.

So, seeing as I have been in an experimenting mood these past few months, and having heard that Erinmore Flake will soon no longer be available on these shores, I naturally bought a tin.



ERINMORE FLAKE
Made in the EU under the authority of Murray Sons & Co LTD, Belfast
[Originally by Murray Sons & Company Limited]

Short slices of Virginia flake, cased with pineapple, and possibly also licorice and prune extract.

It is not nearly as funky as I remember it, because it is no longer the same. Erinmore Flake was one of the trademarks moved by British American Tobacco to Orlik in 2005. It may have been changed somewhat after the transfer, but it is as likely that Murrays toned it down after the eighties. It actually smells fairly pleasant now. If smoked slowly, the pewy stink burns off after the first few puffs, and a pleasant Virginia taste comes through which is rather enjoyable. It burns down cleanly to a fine white ash.

[If NOT smoked ultra-slow, it leaves your mouth feeling like you've got a case of oral clap. Be forewarned.]
--- --- --- --- ---


WHY YOU SWEET THING, ARE YOU ALL ALONE TONIGHT?

I would not recommend Erinmore Flake, will not publicly admit to liking it, and shall not smoke it at the Occidental for fear of being labeled a disgusting pervert, but it certainly isn't bad. I'm over half-way through the tin, and will definitely finish it. It has all the illicit appeal of a dewy teenager alone in the house and tiddly on her dad's bourbon. Yummy.


Erinmore Flake is slightly reminiscent of Dunhill Light Flake - probably because they have for a long time been produced by the same factory; the tins presently available come from Orlik Tobacco Company
( http://www.orlik.com/sw3035.asp ).
Before Orlik started making the Dunhill Flake, it likewise was manufactured in Belfast - Dunhill have not had an actual plant since 1981, when Rothmans International consolidated production of all their pipe-tobaccos at Murrays.

[It being remembered that Carreras International bought Murrays in 1953, and acquired Dunhill in 1967, then were themselves purchased by Rothmans in 1972. Production of Dunhill pipe-tobacco was moved to Belfast in 1980 and 1981. Rothmans merged with British American Tobacco in 1998, B.A.T. shut down the Belfast location and farmed out manufacture of pipe-tobaccos to Orlik in late 2004. By 2005 Belfast started disappearing from the shelves, to be replaced by Danish product. In February of 2007, B.A.T. sold all brands save Dunhill and one other (something unmentionable) to Orlik. Orlik is now the largest producer of pipe-tobacco in the world.]


I suspect that the recipe in the seventies had an inclusion of air-dried leaf (Burley or Maryland), which allowed it to suck up more of that Hello Kitty teenage hooker aroma. Straight Virginia (flue-cured) just doesn't soak up the cheap cologne very well. The product looks the same, but is a fish of a different kettle.
This, of course, is the Drash of the shiur.


A further indication that this is not the same product as the Erinmore Flake sold in the seventies lies in the complete absence of any involuntarily recalled memories. It does not stimulate flights of remembrance, I do not automatically go back in my mind's nose to the park near the Kleine Ven in Valkenswaard where I upchucked the first time, nor to the bench in the small courtyard along the Eindhovensche Weg where I was sick the second time. I do not feel the warm breeze outside the apartment buildings in the newer neighborhoods, nor see the streetlights through the branches of the trees.
I have to deliberately work at bringing those scenes back to mind, the tobacco does not do it.
This is the Sod.



TOBACCO INDEX

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

YES, IT REALLY IS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!

Back in the mid-nineties I worked at an Indian restaurant as a cashier / bookkeeper / belligerent guardian of the cash box. I was at that time the only nearly-waspy person there.

Customarily, at the end of the evening, the tips would be counted and pooled. Having already been burned on that thankless task, the owner gladly left it to the headwaiter. Who knew what each person had done that evening, and whom he could most rely on to get work done in the future and therefore needed to keep happy.

That the headwaiter was the one chosen to divide the tips was deeply and bitterly resented by the Frightful Tamil She-wolf who also worked at the restaurant. She was in an enduring state of fury that everyone trusted him, and thus obviously was not giving her the respect that she deserved. Not him!
[Many of us found her impossible to work with - I shall not veer into lashon hara, but merely describe her as lordy my heavens what a bitch.]


KURUKSETRA REVISITED

One evening the only people left in the restaurant were Mr. Singh (headwaiter), J-sahib (owner), Frightful Tamil She-wolf, and myself. The busboys had been paid off, the kitchen staff were gone, Gopu-ji had come out of the basement and taken his leave.

I was the cashier, so my share of the tip was purely symbolic. J-sahib, as owner, got no tips. The headwaiter and the Frightful Tamil She-wolf hated each other's guts with a passion.

...............

Did I ever mention that there is nothing quite so dangerous as a bored Indian?
Perhaps I should explain that first. A busy Indian is a happy Indian, or leastways a distracted Indian, and will proceed about the business at hand with keen interest and a cheerful attitude. A bored Indian, on the other hand, is deeply disturbed unless something entertaining can be found. Anything.
If need be, the bored Indian will create a disturbance.
Or pick a fight.

Or start a sectarian riot.

It had not been a busy evening. Mr. Singh and the Frightful Tamil She-Wolf had had little to keep them occupied. The final part of the tip would be divided between Mr. Singh and the Frightful Tamil She-wolf.

...............

Mr. Singh proved his maturity and diplomatic nature by dividing the amount equitably, an equal dollar count for both of them. The coins were converted to paper, and that too was divided. All together about a hundred dollars each.

That left twenty five cents. 25¢

Mr. Singh at that point threw maturity, diplomatic nature, and all caution to the wind by taking that twenty five cents for himself - he was the headwaiter, and he had rank. 25¢


IT'S MINE!

At this the fight was on. The Frightful Tamil She-wolf would not yield a twenty-five cent advantage, and Mr. Singh proved himself a Punjabi to the max by. NOT. GIVING. AN. INCH!
For the next two hours they yelled at each other across the table, and at me everytime I opened my mouth. And of course I shouted back - I had long ago learned that the only way one held one's own in an Indian "discussion" was brazenly and at the top of one's lungs. 25¢
J-sahib just sat there with a stunned look on his face as World War Three raged around him. 25¢


ANCIENT INDIAN WISDOM

At an opportune moment J-sahib optimistically ventured that there was a famous parable the point of which would surely put it all in perspective and resolve the dispute.

"There was a gentleman who wished to be called 'swami'", he began (okay, he's the boss, let's listen to him). "He wished to be called 'swami', but no one in his village wanted to do so. So he went to his guru, and asked what on earth to do" (good lord, what is the dear man going on about?).
"His guru told him that he would ask the little boys of the village to call the man swami, but he must jump up and down and scream and throw stones when they did so. The man begged for clarification, the guru said never mind just do it" (J-sahib was getting animated, the three of us so far had not seen the relevance and listened expectantly).
"The next day, some boys of the village called the man 'swami', and he threw a very splendid fit. Every day this happened, which drew the attention of others, and soon everybody in the village would call the man 'swami', because of his lovely fits. It was all very beautiful, you see. After several months, the man went back to his guru. 'Guru-ji', he said, 'they now verily do indeed call me swami - but alas it does not make me happy, as I have to scream and shout and express all manner of bad languages. What to do, what to do?' 'Stop your fitting and throwing stones', said the guru. And he did. But the village kept calling him 'swami' for ever after, and so he became happy".

J-sahib leaned back with a satisfied look on his face, certain that we understood - that story clarified everything.
We were stunned - what the divvil did any of it have to do with anything - and promptly resumed screaming, which lasted another hour and a half more. 25¢
That twenty five cents represented principle and decency and everything fine and good and sweet in the world, and we weren't going to give it up. 25¢


J-sahib just sat there, baffled and slightly hurt that we had not seen the transcendent wisdom of the little story and were incapable of grasping some eternal verity or other.


I cannot even remember who, in the end, got the quarter, despite the three and a half hours of 'effort'. I think I did... perhaps as a thank you for being the "fair witness".
Purely symbolic. Worth every penny.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

I'M ON THE RAG AND I'VE GOT A KNIFE!

Actually, I wanted to put a different name on this post. The title above could be seen as deliberately provocative (it is, but I'm denying that), and someone without a sense of humour might take it as offensive and sexist (recommendation: get a life).

What I actually wanted to place in bold letters above this post was:

BAREFOOT JESUS MEDICATED FOOT POWDER ©


The reason for the Barefoot Jesus Medicated Foot Powder caption would have been the comments that I received on some previous posts from a gentleman named Lev.


EXHIBIT NUMBER ONE:
"Where, pray, is the footlong posting about medicated pedal powder? We demand a disquisition!"

EXHIBIT NUMBER TWO:
"I shall not even try to babel-fish what you wrote. It's all double Dutch, isn't it?"

EXHIBIT NUMBER THREE:
"Uom might be a correct spelling in Indonchina, for one of the ethnic languages especially. Ober mir given in gonzen nisht a hoot vos di tribals es pronuntsen voln, un vil konsekvently es vi 'wong' shriebn."

[The only thing that connects these disparate comments is that they are by the same author.]


I like meshune comments. They liven things up. Especially when there is an element of sheer gibberancy. Admittedly the quotes above were brutally ripped from their contexts, but they were invested with crystal-clear unbalance to begin with, trust me. Lev saw the train leave the station and ran with it. He is able to take an incidental theme and slam it so sideways that it takes over the field. The ball is fertilized, the penguin is on fire, and the wombat is in the house, so to speak. Wow.

How sad that I cannot lecture at length about medicated footpowder. Even though I obsess about the perfect footpowder - does not clump, feels silken and feathery, has a right balance of cornstarch, silica, calcium, and desiccants, in addition to disinfectants, mold retardants, aloe, and a topical painkiller - I have not much thought about the subject. My only "research" is trying out a bottle whenever I discover a new brand.

[There are several half-empty footpowder containers under my bed which will probably never be used again - the product clumped, or smeared and felt moist, or caked up. Inferior foot powders, not up to snuff. I have extremely high foot powder standards. So far Desenex powder seems the best.]


Powdered feet are happy feet.
Think of it as the confectioner's sugar on a bund cake.
When strangers ask me why my shoes have white dust on the tops, I tell them that I work in the post office.

[The explanation 'Desenex leak' is too 'high-concept' for most people.]

Other than that, I have nothing to say about foot powder.
Sorry, Lev, I cannot help you. Good luck finding a brand of medicated footpowder that meets your needs.

[That deals with exhibit number one. Exhibits two and three were put there merely to illustrate the charming yet contradictory chaos behind Lev's commenting.]



EXPLAINING THE TITLE

The caption which drew your attention in the first place really has to do with the other people at the charity where Savage Kitten volunteers on Sundays. It's a soup kitchen, and some of the folks who help prepare food are not entirely compos mentes or gifted conversationalists. Others are too Christian.
Savage Kitten is not nearly as tolerant of the peccadilloes of her fellow humans as you might have thought - my quirks she accepts because of either fierce lust for my hot middle-aged body or my sheer hug-worthy lovability, and she'll put up with the personalities of lobsters and crawdaddies because they are utterly delicious. Other than that, scant patience. She is not a very sociable person.
That may be why they have her trim the beef at a work station by herself.

One of her Sunday co-workers, however, was fooled by her appearance ('looks like a shy Cantonese girl with no life and a sweet personality'), and being an absolute bulb kept trying to strike up a conversation, several Sundays in row. Previously she had distracted him by handing him trays and telling them where to put them, or asking him to dispose of a pan full of bloody gristle and meat juices......

Yesterday, her patience hit empty and swung into negative. When he came over to talk, she simply snapped "I'm on the rag and I've got a knife!".

He avoided her for the remainder of the shift.


I'm horribly jealous. It's a great line, but no one would believe me if I used it.
Besides which, it wouldn't be quite as effective, as I am not that fierce.

She came back from the soup kitchen wreathed in smiles. Best volunteer Sunday ever.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

THEY MUST NOT READ MY BLOG

On a daily basis I receive a fairly large amount of spam e-mail. On the basis of which I can understand what the spambrains think of me. Or at least what they fondly imagine that I am.



PROFILE

I am a short middle-aged bald person with a tiny penis and mediocre breasts, who is passionately interested in Britney Spears naked and the sex-lives of female celebritities. I need more fake watches, university degrees, and designer handbags. Plus excercise equipement, diet pills, and a tummy tuck.

And I want money desperately - hence the lottery e-mails from Europe and bank-account queries from Africa. As well as the circulars telling me to buy this stock now now now before Wall Street discovers it.

Lonely girls in Russia wish to share their vacation photos (I think that's what those are) with me, and I must learn one foreign language right now while I sleep - probably so that I can communicate with my insta-girlfriend in ANY city in the continental United States.

Quite the portrait, eh?



JEEBUS

Oh, and apparently I am a Christian. This according to Amazon, who cannot figure out that someone who buys Toratot (well, chumeshim), commentaries, and biographies of rabbis, as well as much stuff about the Talmud, may, probably, with a certain degree of likelihood, not be passionately committed to the best Christian fiction of 2008.

Echt. And b'emmes.

I am in gonzen not interested in reading about the first tentative married steps of a shy young virgin with Jesus in her heart. The uplift, the end of days, and the mark of the beast are not major themes I look for in romance fiction. Feeling sadness for those who are left behind in massive car-crashes on the freeway, after the heavens rain fire and blood, is not an emotion that figures heavily in my appreciation of paperback novels.
In fact, unlike you I could probably go for weeks without needing the words Christ, sin, Eden, rapture, salvation, Revelations, and The Damned. Normally they do not figure prominently in my vocabulary.


The only prolonged conversation I've had in recent years about Jesus was when I explained to a coworker that Torah study with a friend did not, would not, and never had, involved her dear lord in any way imaginable. Jesus and Torah study do not go hand in hand. They are in fact more or less mutually exclusive. This surprised her, and she barely spoke to me for at least the next two years. I believe she still wonders when I'll burst into flames.

It is a darned good thing that the coworker in question does not read my blog. She might take to wearing garlic and silver if she did.



READ THIS NOW

If many people had read my blog, it would have saved them much time and effort.
Hundreds of people in west-Africa might have realized that all the heartfelt missives they sent me over the years have fallen on deaf eyes. I am not their target audience.
The lonely Russian girls would know that I am only interested if they are petite, have dark hair, and blush prettily.
Amazon would cease telling me about wholesome Protestant novellas.
Various people in major European cities would know that I do not gamble, and have not played any games of chance outside of California.
The sellers of herbal supplements, breast enhancers, and three inch augmentifiers would appreciate that I am an enormous hairy manly man built like a rampaging stallion, and the Christians would grasp the utter nonsense of their ideology.


If you have sent me any of the spam mentioned above, please stop.
I do not need it.


I am only interested in panties, wombats, blushing schoolgirls, and elderly rabbis. Whether you want to sell these to me, or merely show me zesty pictures, is up to you.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

NOW MORE WOMBAT THAN EVER

I note, in passing, that several of my readers have left comments evincing an unhealthy interest in wombats (Vombatus ursinus, Lasiorhinos latifrons, -krefftii, et spp.). This blog, for the past week, has seemed an outpost of Wombats-R-Us.



THE WOMBAT

The wombat, for those who are not familiar with the beast, is a quadruped that lives in forested montane areas of Australia and Tasmania. It has rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws for digging up roots. It is crepuscular and nocturnal.

A wombat digests its food slowly. It has a posterior covered with cartilage. It does not have a meaningful tail.

Wombats are dangerous, and have been known to attack humans.


All of this courtesy of Wikipedia. For more on wombats:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wombat

There is a blog called Wombat Bacon here:
http://wombatbacon.blogspot.com/



WOMBAT CUISINE

Wombats are unpleasant animals. A search for "wombat curry" yielded no recipes. Apparently the darned thing is nearly inedible. But when braised they can be "quite good" in a white wine sauce. To avoid the brute drying out, lard him with bacon when roasting. A haunch of wombat will probably benefit from prolonged simmering in soy sauce, rice wine, garlic, ginger, and star-anise.

Any form of cooked wombat is probably excellent with Australian lager. But not with anything else. Neither is the Australian lager.

Wombats are not kosher.



FINAL NOTE ABOUT WOMBATS

A gentleman in a suburb of Sydney created a nativity scene entirely out of stuffed wombats on his front lawn. His neighbors complained and the council order it removed. This serves as a warning against home taxidermy - Jesus, Mary, and Josef were rotten and attracted vermin. Which says something either about Christianity or about Australia in the middle of the warm season. I do not care to know what.

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FURTHER NOTES REGARDING THE KEY LARGO SMOKING MIXTURE BY G. L. PEASE: CONSTITUENT TOBACCOS AND CONTEXT

This post is about pipe tobacco.
Specifically, it is further comment on Greg Pease's latest blend (KEY LARGO), which the label notes describe as:
"Deep, earthy and creamy. A distinguished broken flake of red Virginia tobaccos, small leaf orientals, and a measure of Cyprus Latakia, spiced with velvety cigar wrapper leaf. Key Largo develops throughout the bowl, offering a satisfying and sturdy smoking experience, with beautifully balanced, richly textured layers of cocoa, dark roasted coffee, leather, and a lively, lingering finish."

[I have reviewed KEY LARGO in the previous post (immediately underneath), and also elsewhere.]

The small Oriental leaves mentioned are almost certainly Smyrna (Izmir), the velvety cigar wrapper leaf is probably (?) what in Dutch we would call 'zandblad' (sand-leaf): the bottom-most leaves, large and somewhat velvety to the touch, which are pale yellow when cured.

Latakia tobacco, named after the Syrian port of اللاذقية‎ (Al-Ladhiqiyah, Laodikeia), was a medium oriental leaf, mostly Shek El Bint, which was cured over smoke. Nowadays it comes from Cyprus, as the Syrians have little forest left. The curing fires are made of different woods, the leaf grown in Cyprus is very similar to Smyrna. It is good, though not nearly as delightfully pongy and tarry as the old stuff.

[Sometimes a limited amount of Syrian leaf reaches the market. But it is not the same. They fume it far less now, because of the aforementioned paucity of forest.]


A DISTANT RELATIVE: BALKAN SOBRANIE No. 10

A long time ago, if you wanted a pipe-tobacco with cigar leaf as one of the components of the blend, you would probably have bought Balkan Sobranie Number 10 Virginia (round yellow-lidded tin, dark brown image and lettering), which had cigar leaf in it - allegedly Cuban, though that seems somewhat unlikely, as we sold it at Drucquer & Sons in Berkeley. That would not have been possible had it contained Cuban tobacco.

[Balkan Sobranie made a Balkan Mixture (white tin, black lettering), a heavy Latakia mixture (black tin, gold lettering - Mixture No. 759), a cigar leaf Virginia mixture (described above), and a flake, which I utterly cannot remember at all. They also made cigarettes - the Imperial Russians, which were papyrossi with excellent Black Sea tobacco at the end of extra long tubes, Yenidje non-filters that came ten to a tin (in the same league as the Khedive Cigarettes from Germany, both very good - the difference was the resinous quality of Yenidje versus the sweetness and spice of either Samsoun or Smyrna), and Black Russians - blended filter ciggies with black paper, which appealed particularly to people with pretension. But Balkan Sobranie were best known for their pipe-tobacco. The Redstone family owned the company for three generations before finally bowing out. ]


I do not remember much about the No. 10, and will sometime have to open the last tin that I have left. It has probably changed enormously in a quarter of a century (due to the aging process: fermentation, mellowing, and melding of flavours) - the blend has been unavailable since the early eighties. Greg's new blend does not strike me as similar. He has a more delicate hand with the cigar leaf than I recall the Balkan Sobranie No. 10 evincing, and the No. 10 did not have any Oriental (Turkish) tobacco or Latakia.

[I have not tried the McClelland cigar leaf blend, nor any of the very few similar mixtures other manufacturers have produced. Usually they are compounded with cigar smokers in mind rather than pipe smokers. And that cannot be a good idea. ]

Greg Pease's Key Largo is very good indeed, and has an excellent nose.
I could grow quite fond of this.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Note: The comment string on the previous posting about Key Largo got hijacked by wombats. Such things happen occasionally. It is a hazard of this blog.




TOBACCO INDEX


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NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

KEY LARGO BY G. L. PEASE - A GOOD PIPE BLEND THAT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE

Usually I am underimpressed by blends that attempt to combine several different categories, and label-blurb that tells me what to think.

This new blend by Greg Pease, however, is a pleasant surprise. Flakes with jagged edges in a spectrum of medium brown hues, with a fragrance that is both earthy and spicy. Not too humid, crumbles easily into the bowl.

It smokes very well, and is clearly related to the English style of tobacco. Neither the Turkish nor the Latakia trumpet their arrival, but they are definitely there. The cigar leaf is a somewhat subdued presence that does not dominate but stays at the corner of awareness. This is a good smoke. It is not strong, but not a weakling either. There is a remarkable lack of bite, even at the end of the bowl.

It did not particularly remind me of the old Balkan Sobranie number ten, which also had cigar leaf. For some reason John Cotton came to mind. This type of tobacco has not often been available, having more frequently been lamentably absent. There are smokers who will soon cherish this above all other blends.

I have purchased all tins at the tobacco store - it'll be a while before anybody else gets some.

--------------------------------------------

Highly recommended, if you can get any before I buy more. That might be harder than you think, as I visit the shop every day. Good luck.
Note that this review is cross-posted at the usual place.




TOBACCO INDEX


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

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CATHOLIC WOMBAT UNDERWEAR

Apparently fetishes interest my readers. I may be just projecting, of course, but judging by the wealth of comments I have received ever since I started writing about underwear, schoolgirls, and wombats, there is a vast untapped market out there of people who like discussing such obsessions ..... if not actually practicing them in the privacy of their own darkened sweat-reek dungeons.

Fetishes are very Catholic, as one my anonymous commenters pointed out.
Reader Spiros then elaborated, saying: " a blog which features repeated references to curries, Talmud, Malayo-Polynesian languages, Manga, medieval Dutch poetry, pipe tobacco, and transvestites, not to mention wombats (CUIDADO LOS UOMBATS!), could be fairly characterized as being catholic ".

Beware of wombats.

Graham writes: " I am amazed at H.B.'s abilities & challenge him to do the fetish stuff for..... Beatrix der Nederlanden."

The Beatrix referred to is Beatrix Wilhelmina Armgard of Orange Nassau, Queen of the Netherlands and princess of Lippe-Biesterfeld. She has been the reigning monarch since her mother princess Juliana abdicated in 1980.
[As a matter of interest to Margavriel, the queen is also the countess of Katzenelnbogen. This datum as a lagniappe.]


I like a challenge, but there is perhaps too much to work with here.


Should I speak of her helmet-like coiffure, reminiscent of nineteen-sixties stewardesses and the dignified hair-helmets of yore? Should I mention that it reminds me of the mushroom people in a remarkably sexual children's book from years ago? I remember her gliding over the green dunes of the Eindhovensche golf course one drizzly day, following her husband and his friends Riemsdijk and van Lanschot, as they listlessly whacked their balls. Her hair shielded her from the worst effects of the rain, and was still shiny and hard when the eighteen holes were done.


Or could I, Clinton-like, obsess over her firm jaw, the lively eyes, her preference for certain dresses, a possible secret liking for big strong cigars?


Or might I instead imagine a big bold lesbian who collects photos of Beatrix, and enjoys sliding the thin thin edges of those pictures over her breasts, drawing blood from many microscopic paper cuts, panting and sweating as her heaving bosom reddens, reddens, reddens........ She sinks down upon her sheets of royalist orange, meltingly deliquescent, her fingers clenching and unclenching, as she imagines those stern loving eyes, that regal jaw (the Lippe-Biesterfeld gene!), the languidly waving right hand before an adoring yet wholly imaginary throng.....

Oh to wander the long frigid halls of the Loo Palace, or the cool marble floors in quiet corners of the Binnenhof, pantingly impatient for the object of her crush to return from delivering the opening address to parliament, and come to her, tired from performing her royal duty, majestic and graceful......



Good heavens, I just don't know where to begin. I am at a loss here, Graham, please help me out. I invite you to describe how Beatrix makes you feel, and what you yourself find most appealing about the current Dutch monarch.

Just don't use the term 'wombat'. There has been far too much mention of wombat here in recent days, and the thrill of large antipodean marmots is wearing thin.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

DUTCH HERO ARRESTED!

The following is a letter sent to friends in the Netherlands, regarding the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. It is entirely "oyf Niederlandish" - this blogger is expressing his deepest sympathy to them over the eventual light that will be cast on the Dutch role at Srebenica. And also mentions, in passing reference, the active participation of their nation during WWII (no, they were not quiescent during the occupation - given their support for the German cause, it may be incorrect to keep calling it an "occupation"), and the glorious history of the Netherlandish involvement in South East Asia.



Beste luitjes,


De arrestatie van de held van Srebenica kan onmogelijk goed uitkomen voor Nederland, daar hij wellicht transparantie zal schenken over de rol van Nederlandsche jongens in dat evenementje. En hoewel het merendeel der Nederlanders beslist het uitroeien van Islamieten en andere untermenschen goedkeuren (vandaar dat het zo lang geduurd heeft voordat men zelfs afwijkend over Srebenica sprak, of 'slands rol in WWII onder de loep nam, laat staan de glorieuze historie van Neerlands Oosten), is de rest van de wereld niet zo te spreken over zulke ellendige 'Ollandigheden.


Ik leef met u mee. U gaat moeilijke tijden tegemoet. Zelfs uw eigen verrotte pers zal eindelijk eens iets negatiefs over Nederland moeten schrijven. Ten diepste triest.


Met diepe sympathie,




------B.O.T.H.


====================================

I apologize to my English-speaking readers for not providing a translation.

I do not mean to insult you.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

EVERYTHING IS A FETISH

Over dinner on Saturday, one of the people at the table hazarded that I could turn anything into a fetish. Or at least a lurid description. She has read my blog, and judges it not entirely suitable for small children and sensitive yeshiva bocherim. Which, given what I've been writing about for the past several months, is actually fairly correct.

A person whom I shall call the Cherry-Vodka Zionist then stated that every time he's cruised in, the blog seemed devoted to panties and pipe-tobacco.


So, for both of them, and for you, a fetishizing of a spectrum. I hope that you can find yourself in at least one thing here, and I want you to tell me all about it. Please go ahead - wax lyrical.
I quiver with antici.... pation.


OLD LADY

Her crepe-like skin was soft, and felt like washed silk; her eyes sparkled with a love of life. Insistently, her delicate-boned hands stroked the satin coverlet with a gentleness that belied their strength...... closer, closer.......


FAT MIDDLE-AGED PERSIAN HOMOSEXUAL


The roll of tanned stomach suggestively flowed over his taut waistband like a smooth golden pillow, tempting the fingers with an expanse of shiny black hair, like grass upon a hill-side. He shifted slowly and gracefully on the divan, and his eyes within their heavy lids sparkled with good-natured malice.


PENGUIN


Roger admired the elegant profile of the bird, the downy stomach feathers, and the intelligent eyes of his newly acquired love-beast, and he yearned to stroke the narrow shoulders, pet the inviting curve of the lower abdomen.....


ANTIQUE CHERRY-WOOD CABINET


An expanse of cool and velvet wood, smoothed by the fond touch of generations, with a rich patina that called to mind the warm summer evenings long ago, when Adelbrecht would move silently through the darkened house, and rub his naked body over the heirloom furniture......


STAINED TABLE CLOTH


Afterwards, when the guests had all gone, Mohammed lowered his nose to the damask, and inhaled deeply of the wine-stains that suggestively blotched and spattered the fine fabric. A hint of rose, a berry-like sweetness, the warm nose-feel of tannins. His hands felt under the edge of the cloth, and, as if with a mind of their own, lifted it higher and higher. His eyes closed, and he imagined the cool bases of the now empty goblets pressed upon his own skin. Quivering, he slid to the floor, his knees having entirely failed him at this point.


CELADON PLATE


In the evening Baruch would retire to the crepusculed sun room, to sit in darkness and run his finger tips over the rims of his porcelain collection, listening to the delicate pinging of glazes crackling further, as if the clay still remembered it's cooling from the kiln. The faintest glimmer of light reflected from a celadon treasure, a ghost-like glistening at the edge of vison. Ah, the moon-dust Ming plate! He truly loved the almost mentholated physicality that he felt whenever his breath misted over the semi-translucent surface. As he felt a trembling begin he gently put the beloved antique back down, scared that his quivering would sully the pale powder-velvet longuan iron oxide, or perhaps cause it to shatter into ten-thousand tempting fragments.



I shall stop here. It is for your well-being, as I fear that you cannot control yourself much longer. These descriptions probably excited you, and it is possible that you need a cold shower now. A nice long cold shower, the crystal clear water running in smooth hard rivulets over your skin, which tightens, perceptibly, as you let the comforting coolness seep into your bones and send thrills down your spine. The stroking streams of water flow between the pale digits of your hands and feet, seeming almost flesh themselves from the journey across your arms and legs, you can feel the droplets pearled upon your shoulders, the moistness in the back of the knees, the intense wetness of that cold, cold embrace.........

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Friday, July 18, 2008

WANDERING HANDS

There's a good reason why you should not wake up your eyshes chayil in the middle of the night. It has to do with the fundamental difference between the sexes. Sometimes men and women can not be more dissimilar.


For example, if asked "how was your day?", a man will usually answer monosyllabically. 'Fine. It was fine. Yep. Fine. Grunt. Fine'.

A woman is likely to wax polysyllabic for at least half an hour, possibly even longer. How much time you got?
One can't hardly get more non-monosyllabic than that - you might as well grab a cup of tea (with a cookie), make yourself comfortable, and sit back. You're gonna hear all about it. Oh man. You asked, and now she's off like a racehorse.

Men and women communicate differently (if at all).

What the man above said with a simple non-emotional grunt was 'I've put work behind me, I'm sitting with a book on my lap and a pipe in my mouth, I'm cool, baby'.
What the woman, in the totally and completely HYPOTHETICAL example above, conveyed with her long disquisition was 'please grunt encouragingly at the appropriate moments while I get the entire day, in excruciating detail, out of my system - I'm not asking for advice, I'm not asking for input, I'm not looking for any perspective whatsoever, I just like the attentive way you grunt, thank you'.
It's as simple as that. Charming. Feel free to substitute beer for tea, if you like beer. Everything else should remain the same. Grunt.


Grunt.


Lying in bed last night I couldn't get to sleep. At about one o'clock my hands wandered......., wandered......., wandered....... smooth flesh, contrasting nicely with cotton. Silky. Roundnesses, and curves. Warm to the touch......., touch......., touch.......


For the next two hours I got to hear all about her work. Turns out there's some old woman at Savage Kitten's office who has mannerisms that are between Joan Crawford and Baby Jane. Intensely irritating. Like working with Special Ed. Or an angry muppet. This woman does not eat lunch at a convenient time. And does much more. In tormenting detail. Great bothersomeness, a stress factor, personality issues, frowny faces, the break room, and the mail-area. Desks. Chattersome Philippinas.


Please don't ask me any questions about what she said, though, because I wasn't really paying any attention. Grunt.


Grunt.


My grunts were sympathetic, and I hope just what the doctor ordered. I grunt well. My grunts spoke of a deep empathy, a keen sensitivity, a delicacy of comprehension, and an intelligent subtlety. My grunts were refreshingly angst-free. There was much to grunt for, and I grunted with feeling.


Consequently, I am operating on a sleep-deficit. I only had four hours of rest. Woke up quite unrelaxed, with weird dream-fragments floating through my brain. Maori tattoos, letters of recommendation, visas stamped in passports. Winter. Something about being naked in a hotel near a river, without any money.
All in all, a fractured night.
My hands had a fine time however - the fingertips remember.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

SOLUTION TO SHIDDUCH CRISIS

A friend, of much the same age as myself, is neither married nor seeing someone. He is not immune to feminine charms, however, and has robust and healthy tastes.

I have told him several times what he needs in his life.


He needs someone like the heroine of this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpvvFn54hRs

She's dreamy, as I'm sure you'll agree.
And she knows her way around a kitchen. A very capable girl.


With a bit of luck, this conversation will be part of the programme:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY8L_apFieE


If he takes my advice, and finds somebody exactly like her, I expect to be invited to the chasunah.

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TRANSVESTITE NIGHTMARE

Yesterday evening I had a drink at an establishment which has a smokers' patio behind the building. While sitting there I had a view of the pool tables. One of the individuals playing pool was a very tall middle aged gentleman with a paunch, wearing bold fishnets, a short ruffly skirt, black panties, and an upper garment that left nothing to the imagination. Lipstick, eye shadow, and a blonde sheitel. I am not sure what his upper garment would be called. It exposed both his generous abdomen, and broad liver-spotted shoulders.
It covered only the falsies.


This morning, Thomas at the tobacco store happily kvelled that the blend he put together as a replacement of the cherry Cavendish was well received. The cherry Cavendish needs to be replaced because the constituent tobaccos are no longer available. The habitual smokers of the cherry Cavendish would otherwise be bereft.


I may have mentioned in the past that I smoke mixtures composed of Latakia, Turkish, and Virginia. These have a natural tobacco taste, there is naught added to pongify or whore-up the smell. They are not aromatics.

Many of us who smoke such tobaccos look down our long and aristocratic noses at smokers of aromatics. Perfume, faugh, we are purists.
Even Virginia smokers tend to be such. Natural tobaccos are clean and proper. Well-bred. Our kind of leaf, dontcha know.

Aromatics are like cross-dressers. You know how uncomfortable you feel when a person turns out to be the wrong gender for your perversion. If you're that drunk that you don't notice at first, it is all the more disturbing.
[Or so I've heard.]


Once in a blue moon, though, some of us head into the sleazy part of town for some rough trade - a furtive indiscretion with a perfumed tart. Sometimes it's an aromatic we smoked as a child, or a flavoured Cavendish that reminds us of a long summer. A vanilla cake, or a heather-honey Dutchman. Something soapy, or oily, or old-lady and tea cosy by the fire.
So do not be too surprised when I say that I have a sample of Thomas' most recent blend. It actually smells good - I'll probably stuff it into one of my pipes this evening.


Having already committed to a dalliance with fruity trollops, I decided to open up a tin of flavoured leaf I had on my desk.


Treasures of Ireland: SHANNON Sweet & Mellow




...Sweet Clyster-mighty!!!

What is that smell?!? I think it's supposed to be melon, but if it is, that is the nastiest meanest melon ever. A severe and murderous bitch-superior at a reformatory among the melons. Do they actually grow melons in Ireland? They shouldn't.

The tobacco looks very nice. A ribbon-cut compound of brights and darks, some black Cavendish evident, though probably not a dark-pressed flake - more likely stoved. The texture is very similar to some of the blends I smoked in the Netherlands, and the appearance and feel of the leaves do actually remind me of a few Niemeyer mixtures that came in tins, plus some German blends of the seventies.
As does the smell - as long as I keep my nose at least a full yard or more away. Maybe more than two yards. Good barf almighty. Pee-hoo. Turkish cat-house. Buckets.

That smell is phenomenal. It does not smell in any way like tobacco. Pungently fruity.
A fragrance that is ready for combat. An aroma that carries nunchucks and a shiv. Not so much a sweet young thing as a clapped-out old syphilitic, diseased and mean.
This is not a delicate little lady among the tobaccos, this is the brassy-voiced transvestite from hell.

I am scared to smoke it.




TOBACCO INDEX


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

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DO NOT PAVE LEBANON

Yesterday I was rather intemperate in my posting. I wrote: "I am sorry that Sharon did not pave over all of Southern Lebanon in 1982. He should have driven the population northwards and salted the earth. "

This was not the most sane and rational thing I have ever written.

As reader Charles Malik subsequently pointed out.

Charles Malik wrote:
"Come, now.
You don't truly want to turn pristine villages into parking lots. Why let your emotions go to such extremes?


Obviously, you need to show your anger to Lebanese extremists, but as your blog shows, your media is not the way to go about doing that.

You attract Lebanese moderates, who will undoubtedly be upset by your rhetoric.
You can make the weak Western/ Israeli accusation that Arab moderates merely apologize for extremism, but there is a reason why we liberal bloggers attract attention, and it is not for our pro-regime agenda.

The Arab world is not diverse. You are right to be skeptical of your Egyptian and Saudi readers. However, Lebanon is relatively free, and Lebanese abroad (the majority of Lebanese citizens) participate in the discussion.
We don't take kindly to being stereotyped, and we enjoy being ourselves without others telling us what we should be doing.

Your politics may correspond with ours, but make sure that you are truly online to make friend not debating partners before you begin advocating specific platforms.
I will gladly debate you, but only after you indicate you are worthy of such an exchange. If we even disagree... ;)
"

He is right. Yesterday's text was not exactly geared towards a rational discussion of issues.
I will freely admit, despite my sense that all the Arab opinions regarding the United States and Israel are wrong, some bone-headedly so, that there are grey zones, and areas where discussion can begin. And that there is much we have in common.


And there most certainly are Arabs with whom one can actually get along, whom one can even admire. In that vein I should point out that Saudi King Abdullah yesterday argued in favour of tolerance and reconciliation.

A cynic might say that if this is believable, it's about time. A skeptic would dismiss it as merely an obfuscatory trick, part of the strategy for softening up the future dhimmis, and not nearly a bold enough statement.

Perhaps it did not go as far as could be desired. Indeed, given the audience at that conference, it may have been little more than a diplomatic politeness. A courtesy suited to the crowd.

Let us instead admire him for having the courage to say it. The opinion he ventured will win him no friends among the extremists, and will not affect the hard-core on our side who have already rigidified into anti-Islamists. It was not pandering to powerblocks or threats. It was a rational observation in an age which is not entirely welcoming of such things.


There are others in the Arab and in the Muslim world who are worthy of respect. We should not be blind to that fact, or deaf to their voices. And in castigating them all for the unseemly and obscene triumphalist Hezbollah orgy yesterday, I was incorrect.


So, other than keenly desiring that all members of Hezbollah and their pals in Hamas, and much of the Syrian and Iranian leadership, plus their sympathizers in Europe and the Arab world, should die horrible deaths, soon and in our days, and that their names be forgotten, their heirs be outcastes and paupers, and their graves by plowed under and used for dung heaps, I do not wish all of Southern Lebanon to be paved over. It is a beautiful place, I've been told, and I've known some very nice Lebanese. I wish them well. And I wish them to be rid of their yokes.

We've got a couple of our own yokes that we too need to be rid of.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

LEBANON DEMONSTRATES FINE ARAB VALUES

The Lebanese have festively welcomed back Samir Kuntar and four other stalwarts. Roads were festooned with banners, Sheikh Nasrallah made a triumphant speech, and the national government have declared a national holiday. Today is a day of pride and joy for all Lebanese, and the entire Arab nation celebrates with them.


It would be a mistake to think that peace is possible with people such as these.


Here is what Shlomo Goldwasser, father of Ehud Goldwasser (one of the two dead Israelis traded by the Levantine merchants for their five heroes) had to say:
"I cannot understand what the Lebanese are so glad about and happy about. They sacrificed over 700 of their best warriors and all their economy, and what they get for what they did is a murderer, a bloody murderer of a three-and-a-half-year-old girl and her father - and for this they are making all this glory, for this they sacrificed so much. So I feel only pity for them."


He's a better man than I am. He feels pity for them.


I am sorry that Sharon did not pave over all of Southern Lebanon in 1982. He should have driven the population northwards and salted the earth. Lebanese values, Arab values, are not values. They are incapable of human feeling, they are not civilized. They are barbaric tribals who only understand force, whose ideals represent savagery and bloodshed, who are proud of their history of violence and primitivism.

Theirs is a culture of rapine and slaveraiding, from the shores of the Atlantic to the edges of the Hindu Kush. There is naught there to be proud of, there is little there that is exemplary.
The day that Islam came out of the wastelands of the peninsula was a day of disaster, a curse for every generation since.

When the British took in the sons of Sharif Hussein ibn Ali in the nineteen-twenties, they should have slit their throats. Instead they gave them kingdoms.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SMELLS LIKE SCHOOL GIRL, SMELLS LIKE PENGUIN

Or at least, I would imagine that is what it smells like. It depends on your imagination, as I cannot identify the aroma, and refuse to speculate.

This is in partial response to two readers and their meshune queries.

--------------------------------------------

Spiros asked:
"Speaking as one who doesn't indulge in pipe tobacco, and isn't really that interested, a question presents itself: are there any tobaccos out there that smell like penguins?"

--------------------------------------------

Whereupon Grant Patel asked:
"Smells like penguins? Freshly laundered penguins, penguins after a herring-gut orgy, or rancid drunken penguins? In the pouch, or after lighting?"

Grant Patel further opined:
"This is a question for a rabbi. Or it is a question for a rabbit. Your choice. Not mine. I don't listen from bird-burning rabbits either."

--------------------------------------------

And a while later, someone who signs himself 'Eric the rabid tobacconist' chimed in with:
"The penguin is neither a bird nor an incendiaristic rabbit.

The penguin is a quadruped which lives in big rivers like the Amazon. It has two ears, a heart, a forehead, and a beak for eating honey. But it is provided with fins for swimming.

Penguins are larger than frogs.

Penguins are dangerous! If you see one where people are swimming, you should shout: 'Look out! There are penguins!'

Cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, los pingüinos! "



Within mere minutes, the mad tobacconist found another post under which to scribble:
"Speaking as one who doesn't indulge in pipe tobacco, and isn't really that interested, a question presents itself: are there any tobaccos out there that smell like schoolgirls?"
--------------------------------------------

Therewith the comment slew came full circle. I mention all of this as an explanation of the title of this post, and will now propose ATBOTH's law:

As a comment string grows longer, the probability of a Monty Python reference cropping up approaches one.

It is a variation on Godwin's Law. If you are Bray in between frocking, you recognized that immediately.


The exception to Quirk's exception, as it applies to ATBOTH's law, is that the discussion will most likely continue until the audience's capacity for Monty Python references naturally exhausts itself.

For those who are interested, the Pythonesque bits above are the mention of penguins, the name Eric, the term tobacconist, and the odd monologue about penguins that finished with a warning in Spanish.


I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched.


All of this serves to introduce a mention of a pipe tobacco that I haven't smoked in well over thirty years. I was not particularly fond of it, by any stretch of the imagination, at that time. And I did not imagine I would actually enjoy smoking it now. But it is surprisingly good. A pleasant smoke, with an interesting friendly-ghost familiarity to the fragrance.


SAIL Natural
Smooth Dutch Cavendish
Manufactured by Royal Theodorus Niemeyer B.V.
Groningen - Holland.

From the package description:
Sail Natural is a sophisticated blend of easy burning rich Burley and mellow Virginia to which smooth tobaccos from Latakia, India and Indonesia are added.


I think it is lightly top-cased, but that could just be the reek of Kentucky. It smokes clean and evenly. If you treat it like a Virginia flake, despite the lack of a characteristic Virginia taste, and smoke it slowly, it will not bite. The room aroma is pleasant, and does indeed suggest the presence of Latakia - only just barely noticeable in the mouth. The pouch price says that this is a drug-store tobacco, but this pouch at least shows a quality that suggests it would be better branded in a flat tin, like many of the fancier mixtures. It is pleasant late at night, when Savage Kitten is asleep and cannot yowl furiously at my fuming, and it is also a good first pipe of the day - not too laden with nicotine and strong flavours. It reminds me of some of the Scandinavian oddments that were once so common.
I would buy it again.



ROYAL THEODORUS NIEMEYER

The concern was founded back in 1848 by general merchant and tobacconist Theodorus Niemeyer, whose father Meindert Niemeyer had been selling tobacco and other tropical products since 1819. The company was allowed to append 'royal' (koninklijke) to its name in 1969, a century and a half after the founder's father started his business. It was sold in 1990 to Rothman's, which acquired it from Gallaghers - I have not been able to find out when Gallaghers purchased it from the heirs to Theodorus Niemeyer.

In addition to Sail, the company is/was also know for Samson Shag and Javaanse Jongens (both are cigarette rolling tobaccos), Clan (the most rancidly nasty fruit-toffee-sugar flavoured so-called pipe tobacco in existence, banned on several planets as human perversion at its most extreme - but permitted in the inferno, in case you were wondering), and several other tobaccos, including Vier Heeren Baai (Four Gentlemen Bay tobacco), which I remember as a very decent thin ribbon cut Maryland, pleasant, mild, and nutty. Vier Heeren Baai was probably the best of the Baai tobaccos (so called because they were exported from the Chesapeake), all of which were plain unsauced ribbon cuts.

It is questionable whether the brand will continue to exist. British American Tobacco (holders of the Rothmans portfolio of products and brands since 1999), sold all pipe blends (excepting only Dunhill and Captain Black - the high end and the biggest selling low end respectively) to Orlik in February 2007.
Orlik, subsidiary of Skandinavisk Tobakskompagni A/S, transferred Niemeyer pipe tobacco production from Groningen to Holstebro in Denmark in February 2007.

[In addition to several well-known pipe tobaccos, Rothmans portfolio also included cigarette brands such as Dunhill, Peter Stuyvesant, Caballero, Benson and Hedges, State Express, plus Schimmelpenninck cigarillos. And many more.]


You will note that the pouch I am currently smoking states that it is from Niemeyer in Groningen. It probably predates the transfer. If so, that would explain it's mellowness.




TOBACCO INDEX


==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

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Monday, July 14, 2008

POTTY? MUCH!

Every year there is a glass and ceramic fair down in Palo Alto in mid-summer. And every year, Savage Kitten drives me down there, because I collect ceramics.


Savage Kitten only collects period costume jewelry, and so of course there is naught at the glass and ceramics fair to hold her attention. Zip. And diddly.
The Toad, on the other hand, made out like a bandit. Came back with a dozen pieces.
[I was still happily gloating after midnight. Caressing rims and glaze-surfaces. Pinging the porcelain for bell-like tones, holding up pieces to admire the symmetry versus textural effect. Proportion, shape, skin.]


It takes an hour to get down to Palo Alto, and an hour to get back. In mad traffic, on a hot day, with several people on the freeway who really should've been on valium instead.

Savage Kitten hates driving, and does not thrill at ceramics, or glass.


Eishes chayil mi yimtsa, v'rachok mipninim michra....
A woman of valour, who can find? Her price is beyond rubies.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

HELLO KITTY IS LOST

and wants to be reunited with the owner.

If you own a red water bottle with Hello Kitty on it, she spent the night in the lonely ops department in my cube.

I think I see tears, but cannot be sure….
She is waiting to be rescued.



------A.V.

---------------------------------
The above was an e-mail that our customer service person sent out. Proving, conclusively, that she is the right person for the job. Notice that she is not talking down to the person who owns a red Hello Kitty water bottle, but is sympathizing sincerely with their loss, and feels their deep angst and pain. She wants the two of them to be re-united.

Whether she wants anything else for those two and their misguided pairing is a question best left unanswered.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

SMELLS LIKE OLD LADY!

I mean that in a good way. It's a very positive statement. Imagine a little old person, steel-rimmed spectacles, kindly eyes, lace; someone who danced with too many fly-boys during WWII, when she was still a young girl in Somerset. And married the only one who came back in 1945. A spirited old gal. Spunky. Witty, too.

She still has all her faculties.

Except for her sense of smell.

Smell is one of the things that goes downhill fast. Just ask the manufacturers of Limburger cheese, they can't smell (or they would NOT be committing their horrid crime against humanity).

In consequence of her nose weakening so, she now wears a perfume that is, well, shall we say, somewhat... unsuitable (though it is very old-fashioned).

A bit soapy. A bit too sweet and floral. A bit like how a root-beer float tastes.

A perfume made with Tonquin oil.

Tonquin oil comes from a tropical tree with sweet pungent seeds that are used for adding scent or flavour to pomades, candies, and tobacco.
[Is the light going off in your head now? Do you see where this is leading? I lured you in with the provocative title, and now, having got you where I want you, I am going to gibber on at length about pipe tobacco.]



1792 FLAKE
Manufactured in Kendall, Cumbria, England, by Samuel Gawith & Co. Ltd.


Yes, it really does smell like a sweet little old lady. But it smokes much better than she would, even if desiccated, de-veined, fermented, cured, pressed, steamed, and sliced into dark fibrous sheets. It is a full flavoured yet relatively smooth smoke, that finishes surprisingly fast for a matured Virginia. Not too sweet. Tangy and complex to the tongue, round and pleasant to the nose.

Despite the pleasing aroma, Savage Kitten still forces me to smoke it in the kitchen near the open window with the door closed - she does not appreciate old women.
I expect that in another thirty years she won't mind my smoking it in the parlor - she may smell like that herself then.

Oddly, the fragrance does not particularly adhere to the pipe, as subsequent bowls of McClellands flake tobacco are scarcely influenced. Bowls of Dunhill's Durbar mixture, or Standard Mixture Medium, a few days later, will taste no different than usual. In this it is entirely dissimilar to such rancid abortions as Troost, Clan, Cherry-Vanilla Hodgepodge, or any other dreck-muck-sludge compounds much recommended by idiots and misguided sweet funk aficionados.


It is far better tobacco than anything the Dutch or Danes produce, a truly excellent compound, and well worth experiencing. It takes me about a year to go through a tin, and if it dries out during that time I remoisten it with a little whiskey. The liquor sparks up the fragrance and melds the flavour-components. At times I will hold the tin up to my nose merely to inhale deeply. Sheer heaven.
You might not like it; not everyone does.


MCCLELLANDS
[Dark, pressed, and dizzy.]

I've also been smoking McClellands Blackwoods Flake, Dark Star, and Virginia No. 24 of an evening. All are up to the usual high standards of McClellands, and being Virginias, they often do not alert Savage Kitten to their smoke until I've nearly finished the bowl. Unlike Oriental mixtures, Virginias are stealth tobaccos. The Blackwoods Flake is easier to smoke than the Dark Star, which pretty much knocks me sideways. A fine product.


DUNHILL
[Beware of bears.]

The Dunhill Durbar Mixture and the Standard Mixture Medium have too much Turkish and Latakia to pass unnoticed. I seldom smoke them in the house, even near the open window. Savage Kitten, who does not drink or smoke, describes them as noxious death-weed, and has threatened to emasculate me if her teddy-bear ends up smelling like barbecue because of them.
The bear is the oldest roomy, and apparently outranks me. Flaming Hell will burst forth on earth if the bear should smell of smoke.

I am far too fond of the bear to even think of causing that eventuality.

The bear at present smells warm and fuzzy, and very comforting.
Rather like a sweet little old lady.






TOBACCO INDEX


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

AMERICANA BY CORNELL & DIEHL

Sometimes the English blend smoker needs to rediscover what his parents' generation liked. My father's pipes all had a scent to them which I know now was Burley with condimentals added, a very old-fashioned smoke. My father wasn't an over-the-top Latakia and Turkish kind of guy. I think everything he really liked was good solid American-style pipe-tobacco, Virginias and Burleys in concert, and made exciting with Latakia and touches of unflavoured Cavendish, and Perique.

In other words, no degenerate Balkans, nor effete VaPers.

I am not quite such a well-balanced individual.

Sometimes I tend toward perversion.

Heck, very often.


My favourite weeds are redolent of Turkish and Syrian brutalists, as well as sweaty camelteers and scimitar-wielding brigands. My father must have thought me a queer sort, once my regrettable tendencies became known. But he never-the-less encouraged them, because he liked the reek of quality tobacco.

He would probably have prefered that I smoke something like C&D's Americana, and he would have got along well with Bob Runowksi, who is the consulting Burley maven on a multitude of products, and responsible for the re-creation of many old favourites.


AMERICANA
By Cornell & Diehl

Black Cavendish, Burley, Latakia, Virginia

This is a very decent smoke, an all-round reliable blend. At the beginning, the Latakia is forward, though soon it settles down and lets the Cavendish and Burley play most of the melody. The Virginia is noticeable, but not in any way dominant, just there to provide a good light all the way through to the bottom. The black Cavendish would otherwise go slightly astray toward the end.

Dry, mild, easy. It leaves a fine ash.


The name is aptly chosen; neither the British nor the Continentals would really appreciate this, and I rather suspect that it was the complete absence of good Burley mixtures in Holland that made my father give up the pipe. I remain grateful that he kept them, as they were wonderful to borrow when he wasn't looking.
I rather wish that products of this type had been available in Valkenswaard, instead of the ribbony Maryland leaf favoured by students, the drenched aromatics that the local pederasts and puppy-torturers smoked, or the rancid tinned savagery beloved by snobs and dilletantes.

People who were there remember Niemeyer, Douwe Egberts, Van Nelle, Van Rossem, Lieftinck, and Taconis. Not necessarily fondly, perhaps because they never made anything like this.


It would have been very good for students.
Satisfying, and not depraved.




TOBACCO INDEX


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ABOUT YOUR PERVERSE FANTASIES

The semi-refrocked defrocked (i.e. partially clothed) Bray guest-posted about adultery on Dovbear's site today, and one of our mutual readers begs me to indulge his nurse fetish.


I actually have TWO readers who are desperate that I cater to their nurse fetish.


Sweet Jesus, as they say. Sweet Jesus!
[In point of fact, I have just as little invested in Jesus sweet or otherwise as I do in the nurse fetish.]


Rabbosai, I refuse to go into any detail whatsoever about comely wenches with tight cotton panties wearing nurses' uniforms. The entire subject of shapely young ladies in short white dresses and modest little hair-caps, whether or not they are wearing thigh-high stockings, or dark hose that delineate their meaty little thighs, is not a concern to this blog, and the zesty mental image of a petite shapely Filippina perched perkily upon an operating table, naughtily smoking a cigarette in a long ivory holder, will not be mentioned here at all. Crimson pouty lips or not.

Nor will we discuss the tightness of certain uniforms over the upper torso, or the pale golden skin temptingly visible in the vee of the open collar. Small slightly plump hands at the ends of curvy arms coming out of short-sleeved tunics? Not to be spoken of.

You are reading too much into this blog. And other blogs. The Sheitel thing is not a fetish either - no matter the delicate fragrance that a well-washed sheitel may have. Please ignore the frisson some yeshiva-bocherim experience walking past the tastefull photographs of female faces in the wigshop window near Chaim Berlin. There are NO barely bar-mitzvah age males who shiver and sink to the floor of a New York city bus at the sight of a young mother pink and glowing under her Indian-hair peruque.


We are not a fetish blog. That is why we never mention Jesus either.
Odd idolatry, superstition and ignorance, and addictive fantasies are not on the menu. We are a serious blog, and discuss shwerre subjects. Yes indeed.

If you wish to talk about the shidduch crisis, Yeshivishe shprach & verter, the Mid-East, or Dutch degeneracy, this is the place. Please go ahead. Discuss. Otherwise, no im gonzen.

Mir seinen farklempt.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

RESEARCH SHOWS SMOKING GOOD FOR NURSES' HEALTH

You have never heard of the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital located in Spijkenisse. Neither had I, till I looked at an article in the Algemeen Dagblad (my favourite reprehensible yellow-journalism Dutch language internet news-rag).


[This article: http://www.ad.nl/diagnose/stoppenmetroken/2428385/Met_dood_bedreigd_om_rookverbod.html ]


As of July 1st, 2008, it is forbidden to smoke anywhere in the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital.
Not an issue.
One cannot smoke anywhere in the parking lot of the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital either.
Hmmm?
Or in one's own vehicle if on the hospital grounds.
Hmmm!!!


Or while wearing hospital clothing.


If you are a nurse at the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital, you are only allowed to smoke during your break, off the hospital grounds entirely, and not while wearing your nurse's uniform, per the mandate of Ruwaard van Putten Hospital director Ms. Letti van Atteveld. Who has a reputation among the staff of being an all-round xxxxxxx person.


Now, I can understand rules against public drunkenness or blatant drug use while wearing the nurses' uniform - despite a long culturally supported history of inappropriate behaviour in public, even in the Netherlands such things might cause a raised eyebrow. And it would be unseemly for an identifiable hospital staff-member to be seen disporting herself with sailors while under the influence. By any standard, it is a reasonable request that she take off her garments when zotsed.


But a hurried cigarette is by no means comparable to an orgy. And I resent the equivalency which is implied by Ruwaard van Putten Hospital director Ms. Letti van Atteveld's despotic dictat. The dear lady needs to chill out, get a life, find a lover, or take a pill. Anything to get her busy nose out of the lives of the poor long-suffering nurses who work at the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital. Certainly, if they are anywhere within ten miles (sixteen kilometers) of Ms. Letti van Atteveld (or the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital), and her rigidly constipated attitude, they will need a smoke. It is far better for them to have a cigarette now and then than to develop ulcers and a medication problem. As Ms. Letti van Atteveld would surely understand, if the inserted broomstick did not interfere with her cognitive processes.

We pray for her recovery from the broomstick, and the nurses relief from her.


Oh, as a minor matter, Ms. Letti van Atteveld (director of the Ruwaard van Putten Hospital) has allegedly received a death threat, allegedly because of the rules against smoking anywhere in the hospital grounds or in hospital clothing. Allegedly. It is not known if it was a nurse who made the alleged threat, or a patient. Or even someone from her past. As she has not involved the police, and merely alleges this on her own blog, it cannot be determined how much of this allegation is factual, and how much merely a Jesus complex.

It is quite possible that the inserted broomstick is interfering with more than cognitive processes. It is probably exerting pressure on the cerebral cortex, and angrifying the emotional centres besides. Bluntly put, she's full of it.

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Note: I have no idea who Ruwaard van Putten is (or was). His name sounds impressive - deftig and statig even. Enough so that in addition to naming a hospital after him, they named several other things in his honour in the town of Spijkenisse.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

RANCID CHEESE AND DEGENERATE PIMPS

As usual, the first thing I did during lunch was go to the Dutch newspapers on the internet.
That was a mistake, also as usual.

While we were celebrating our independence, the Dutch, not so blessed, were happily making sour remarks about America and Americans in their own language underneath articles and blogposts. Three days worth of rancid comments.

Apparently they don't like us for several reasons: we're white, we're Jewish, we're Nazis, we're dumb, and we're "American". That last is the most egregious.


The majority of the Dutch despise us, hate everything we stand for, support vicious terrorist groups like FARC, Hamas, Hezbollah, and will praise every despot or tyranny that opposes us.
The top levels of Dutch society realize that such loathsome attitudes would work against their profiteering, parasite-like, from our involvements, misadventures, and investment opportunities, and will consequently cultivate a placid veneer of cooperative attitudes and commonality. But the average factory worker, shop assistant, low-level bureaucrat, or Amsterdam drug-dealer? Not so.

As their internet texts make clear. If only you know Dutch, of course.



I LIKE THE DUTCH

Did I ever mention that I do indeed like the Dutch? I should - because normally I when I speak of them at all, I am casting back their bile in bucket loads.
I like the Dutch. Despite their venomous anti-Americanism, I like the Dutch. Despite their arrogance, sneering superiority, and virulent anti-Semitism, I like the Dutch.

No matter that they refuse to ever admit that they were wrong, cannot conceive of Americans as being anything other than inbred ignorant gun-toting syphilitic savages, or think that Jews are nothing more than perverse religious deviants who do not belong in the civilized world. Regardless their outright hatred of the third-worlders who have the temerity to live among them, their loathsome attitude towards the Turks and Moroccans who actually do the work that Dutchmen are too good and too picky to perform themselves, the crass treatment of asylum seekers who have neither the English nor Dutch linguistic capabilities to fight back, or the well-known Dutch penchant for brutal sexual exploitation of foreign females. I like the Dutch.
Even though the Netherlands is ground-zero for the trade in women-flesh, sexual slavery, bondage rapes, and bestiality, as well as a magnet for every drug-addled deviant this side of Pluto or Saturn, I like the Dutch.

Though not as much as the French, and by no means all of them.



ROTTEKAAS

I mention all this as a preamble to alerting you to one of the clickable tags on this blog: Rottekaas.
The term 'rottekaas' means rotten cheese. Kaaskoppen ('cheese heads') is the less-than-affectionate Flemish nickname for Dutchmen. Singular: kaaskop - a cheesehead.
The term Yankee was originally the English pronunciation of Jan Kaes - John Cheese. Because many of us colonials at that time were devolved Dutchmen.
Cheese is the dominant Dutch characteristic. Might have something to do with hygiene.

I invite you to click on Rottekaas. Doing so will pull up all my affectionate writings about the Dutch, and my abiding admiration for their subtlety and broad-mindedness.
I appreciate their point of view. Keenly and truly I do. And so will you.
Once you click on Rottekaas.

This post is a love letter. Today is Valentine's Day in July. Feel the fondness.

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