Friday, August 31, 2007


Note: There is nothing Jewish in this post – unless you are a pipe-smoker. In which case you should know that shalom beis may be seriously disturbed by smoking these pipe tobaccos, and that the author considers all three of these mixtures excellent for fragrantly lengthening the last whisps of Shabbes into twilight, far better than a container of cloves and nutmeg.

[How you resolve the conflict is your own affair - but I'll gladly read how you did it.]


MacBaren is known for their spuncuts and mild Danish Aromatics, some sauced, some top-cased. They are not at all known for doing anything daring with Latakia or Orientals. Their previous foray into wife-repellent was ‘Latakia Blend’, which despite the name failed to deliver the promised punch, though it was a decent cut roll-cake Cavendish . Not a bad smoke if you expected typical MacBaren tobacco, but a Syrian would not have recognized it.

The Vintage Syrian is different. Indeed, there’s a hefty measure of Latakia in it – by MacBaren standards. And Oriental. But it should not be considered a full blend, being more on the cross-over point between mild English, light Balkan, and Scottish-Oriental. The grassy component in the tin aroma indicates some air-cured leaf.
By my guess, roughly forty percent Latakia, about twenty percent Oriental, ten percent fire-cured American, and the remainder a mild-medium base of Virginias. All steamed to meld. It is not tinned wet, and can be smoked with little or no drying once the tin is opened.

It does not smoke particularly richly, being a pleasant old-fashioned European mixture with Oriental leaf. Which is shockingly new for the Danes. It is affordable and will not scare away women and children. There is a nice touch of sweetness. By Danish standards it is both risqué and balanced; no mean achievement.

Recommendation: buy a few tins to mature for a few years, but don’t go wild.


This blend is reminiscent of Samuel Gawith, both the Squadron Leader Mixture and the Skiff Mixture. It has the fine underlying Virginia tang of Skiff, and the Turkish dominance of Squadron Leader. Latakia-wise, it is right in between. It is a very good blend. Set aside a few tins to age.


This is a typical old-fashioned English mixture, and a good exemplar of the type, being a medium-full Latakia blend with a healthy dosis of Turkish leaf, and a shot of black Virginia to round-out the sootiness of the Latakia. It has more Turkish than Dunhill’s Early Morning Pipe, more of the Virginia tone than Dunhill’s Standard Mixture Medium. That would put it in the range of Dunhill’s 965, but it is far better behaved.
Lovers of the Dunhill mixtures will find much here that appeals, as will also the smokers of Esoterica Tabaciana's Margate and Germain’s Latakia Mixture (virtually the same as Margate, which is not surprising, as both are made in the same factory), but it is less wet in the tin. It does need a little drying.

If your wife hates your favourite tobaccos, you wil probably love this.


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

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Er veist, naturlech, az Moish Rabbeinu a Satmar chossid iz?

Einfech. Es shtait in Chumesh az der mishkan war tzein amois (60 tfachem) hoch, Moishe Rabbeinu war oych tzein amois (60 tfachem)..... which means he could ONLY have worn a shtraimel (davka a plutshikke biber-pelts, nisht an emmese groise fuks-peltste kitshmeh, vi heint geveintlich iz), rather than a kulpak, or a spodek.

Kler, nu?

So, Moishe could only be a Satmar chossid because it is sai vi sai a MAIN Satmarer minneg to wear a flat hat, ober only a minor Bresloiver minneg, siz not so common - if he had been a Bresloiver, flat hats would be now main Bresloiver minneg (instead of the daivuhzity we see today), ergo, mamish, he could only have been Satmar.


In short: Moses and the tabernacle were both ten amos in height, so Moses could not possibly have worn any other hat than the Satmar flying saucer, which sits level on the head and does not extend above it. Ya, the flying saucer is also worn by others, like Breslov. But Breslov wear a variety of hats - they have no real minhag on that issue. If Moses were Breslov, they and not Satmar would now mostly wear flying saucers. Only Satmar mostly wear the flying saucer. Ergo, quod erat demonstrandum, Moses had to have been a Satmar chossid.

[From which we also know that Bobov and Ger puff themselves up. Quelle hubris, gavalt! Have you SEEN their arrogant hats?!? ]

The logic is conclusive.

Unless, of course, Moses crouched.

Perish that thought, it is inconceivable. What are you, some kind of Misnaged?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


A while back I remarked that the GLPease's Samarra did not remind me of anything in particular.

[Samarra contains Cyprian, Turkish, various Virginia tobaccos, and a touch of Perique. A remarkable smoking mixture.]

I was mistaken. It is reminds me of Royal Ransom, a full Latakia pipe-tobacco mixture by Drucquer and Sons in which some of the flavour was a particularly nice black Virginia. If one aged the mixture, the traces at the extremes of the flavour-spectrum faded, and a fruity depth came forward. The tin of Samarra I'm currently smoking was compounded nearly three years ago, in 2004 leminyonem. A distinct fruity agedness has indeed come forward, helped no doubt by the Perique (lacking in Royal Ransom), and maturing has given it a familiar perfume. Noticeably different, yet same.

Other pipe-tobaccos I have at my desk:

Yenidje Highlander, by McClelland. McClelland has finally gotten it right. This is very nice, despite the wisp of that ketchuppy odour all their Virginias end up with. The Yenidje and Latakia are in fine balance. Goes well with Scotch. And would probably also be very nice with cognac.

Manhattan Afternoon, by Cornell & Diehl. I do not know what is so particularly Manhattan-afternoonish about 'naturally sweet golden Virginia leaf with a drop of honey sliced into flakes'. The tin-aroma is more aged English flake than Manhattanish. But it is a soft and very pleasant smoke, with the faintest hint of bee bottom.

Durbar Mixture, by Dunhill. Turkish, Turkish, Turkish, Turkish, Turkish, Turkish, Virginia and Latakia. Turkish delight. A narrow-ribbon cut. The Virginias add a subtle fruitiness, augmenting the faint sweetness of the Oriental. There must be some Smyrna in this.
This displeases the delicate nose of the significant other.

Dunhill Light Flake. Which is light only in relation to flakes which are not. Similar to other 'light' flakes, pressed reds, and pure Virginias, but with a touch of that Lakeland perfume which augments the fragrance of the leaves. Smooth. Refined. And therefore decadent.

Frog Morton's Across the Pond. Why do some blenders insist on cutesypoo names? Could they not simply have called this an English exotic? Not a bad blend by any means, but I do not understand why some people swear by it. Degustibus non disputandem est.

Kensington, by G. L. Pease. Tinned in early 2004, leminyonem. A restrained Balkan.

[In addition to Samarra and Kensington, Greg Pease makes other fine blends. See here:]


Note: Drucquer and Sons on University Avenue in Berkeley went out of business in the early nineties, when the then owner miscalculated the impact of higher taxes and tighter smoking restrictions. By that time it was a shell of what it had once been. It had reached its apogee during the Robert Rex years. Robert sold the store in the early eighties, and is now living somewhere in the foothills.

[More about Drucquers here: ]

There is no decent tobacconist in Berkeley anymore - the only "tobacconist" in town is near Sather Gate, and sells shisha and perfumed dreck, plus clove cigarettes and cheap stogies. A head shop, more or less. Lighting up near the campus will get you screamed at by the smoking-nazis. Or smacked across the chops with a sweaty Birkenstock - probably by a communist vegan.


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


There's a new member of the J-blogosphere.


One hour from Jerusalem. Not yet halachically an adult. Writes in English.
Say howdy to him.


Spare The Air days, for those of you not zoiche to live in California, mean that the day is expected to be aza hot and wind-still that there may be rolling blackouts due to energy usage, and there is expected to be a dense layer of pollution hazing the sky over the Bay Area. We are so lucky.

On a spare the air day, the public is encouraged to ride public transit (which is free on most transit systems), take the trains to work instead of driving, turn off unnecessary appliances, keep energy usage as low as possible, and generally speaking co-operate for the common good.

Asthmatics may wish to have their inhalers handy.


So glad you asked.

Here's a peek:

"Wow, the bus will be crowded today, I had better take my car in to work. Traffic should be easy; everybody'll be on the bus. Park just about anywhere! This is gonna be good. Weeeeeeee!"

Total gridlock by nine-thirty.

The street that runs past the office building normally jams up at the beginning of the evening commute. Today, by lunch time, it was solid. The air outside is rank with exhaust.

Yep, we're sparing tons of air. Leastways, we're hardly using any.


On a related note, certain intersections in the downtown have a reek to them during the summer that defies description - a sickly, stale-sewer pongue that recalls both bodily wastes and drunkard's projectiles, while simultaneously prompting thoughts of depression, ennui, gloom, and the municipal dump after the rains, or low-tide at the salt flats.

California Street, from Drumm and California to Sansome and California: the smell at it's ripest. One of the oldest sewers in the Western Hemisphere is under this stretch, still sodden with the ablutory solids of the Roman legions, left behind during the last invasion shortly after the ice age. The Roman soldiers ate fava beans, did you know that?

Pine Street, Post Street, and Market Street: You know that nasty sinus infection you sometimes get? The one that happens when your system has been assaulted by mid-summer allergens for several weeks? The one with the solid green......... Yep, that one. This complicated street-junction brings back smell-borne echoes from that trip to Vancouver in the year when you first had the infection - it lasted for months. Ah, the memories! It was a wonderful year.

Battery and Market Streets: This one is good. At least there are enough street people sleeping near the bronze statue of the naked men and the mechanical device that you can't smell the sewer. That, and the choking exhausts of thousands of motorists heading towards the bridge, plus the fumes from Peet's Coffees and Teas, Noah's Bagels, Quiznos, and a cookie store - a creamy deliquescent aroma that on a good day clashes with the cheap perfume of wandering office workers, on a bad day has the density and appeal of three-day old pizza from Golden Boy. Pity you forgot to put it in the fridge. It's been making love to the flies on the kitchen counter, and has reached a stage of fruitfulness which is hard to imagine. You don't cook at home much, do you?

Drumm and Sacramento: No, you didn't suddenly and massively lose control, it really does smell like that. So stop surreptitiously feeling your rear-end, stand confidently erect, and inhale deep. Mmmm, the smell of childhood. Things just haven't been so intense since you started smoking.

Montgomery and Sacramento: This is where fermentation from the alleyways and black fumes from delivery trucks clash. Slightly chemical, with a room-note of cabbage-cider. A bass-note of black clay, fish, and if you're lucky, seaweed. Truly one of our more stellar nose-experiences. But you have to be there at the right time, as the afternoon windtunnel effect blows this away by tea-time. I would suggest an early lunch - have a Burrito at one of the tables in Commercial Alley. Now note how the beans and salsa clash with the rubbery rotteness.
You don't know how spoiled you are.

Battery and Pine Street: This is where Richard became a man. The troll-woman from Texas (I would've called her Grendel's mom, but that nickname did not stick) had an argument here six years ago, during which one of the other denizens of the street uttered doubts about her gender. Not entirely unfounded. To prove him wrong, she pulled up her dress and showed him and over a hundred other people that, biologically at least, she was all woman. This intersection smells like you imagine her mouth does, all diseased, wet, and chancroid. The two Starbucks facing each other try valiantly, but cannot still the odeur. Richard still has nighmares from that event.

Ah, the smell of San Francisco, it is the smell of victory in the morning.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Firstly, let me say that I am ever so glad I do not look Jewish. In any way. And that there should be brocha for that.

I spent all day Saturday at the Sabeel conference at Saint John's Presbyterian Church over in Berkeley. I'm Goyish enough that I can do so.

Secondly, I wish to also clarify that the gap between the Dutch Reformed and the Presbyterians is not just doctrinal. Presbyterians are, from the point of view of Shtrenge Dutch Calvinistim, a bunch of wussies and quislings. They've never had to fight for the life of their creed against a superpower. For them, being sneeringly disapproving is a luxury they take for granted.


This is an organization that claims that it is " an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states-Palestine and Israel-as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions". Which means that they seek the destruction of Israel by appealing to the cotton wool between the ears of many ignorant Christians.

The conference I attended, advertised as "Breaking Down The Wall Of Silence: Voices We Need To Hear - a Sabeel Conference to inform and stimulate thoughtful action toward a just resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict", was organized by Friends of Sabeel.

It turned out to be a rather unsubtle attempt at brainwashing. And, in the case of many of those sweet little old Presbies, it probably succeeded.


Self-praising pro-Pal speeches by several people, including one by a smirking Roman Catholic priest from San Francisco.

[I mentioned to a priggish female sitting next to me that my ancestors had fled Brabant five centuries ago to get away from Catholics and their violent self-righteousness, and here I was actually listening to one of those people pontificate! She looked daggers at me, moved several seats away, and avoided me for the rest of the day. And I feel good about that.]

High-minded jibber-jabber. Chris Brown draws several comparisons with Apartheid - like many South Africans, he acts like he owns the word. The Apartheid theme will be repeated ad-nauseum throughout the day, by every speaker, in every possible way.
He fought apartheid, now he's fighting Jewheid.
We're supposed to feel admiring yet sorry for him, or something.

Huwaida Arraf talks about going back to her parents land, and how her people are suffering. Emotions, emotions.... are we supposed to feel sorry again?

[I think this was the woman who at previous hate-fests wailed that she couldn't go back to the town where she was born, until someone pointed out that she was from Cleveland....]

Nearly an hour of horrific images, including a short film of a demonstration being teargassed, with weeping children and wailing women, and charges by riot police in an orchard. Heavily edited, and without background information. Precisely calculated to draw gasps and condemnation from the audience. Who now feel indignant, and sorry.

This is followed by a passionate rant by Anna Baltzer, in which she states that settlements are colonies of the evil occupying population, whose inhabitants are impoverished Israelis, paid to reside illegally on land stolen from the Arabs. Subtle hint that the other Israelis don't want those poor folks too close, and in any case real people prefer to live in Tel Aviv. Asserts that the overwhelming majority of the settlers moved to the West-Bank for financial reasons (having been paid to do so), and that a lot of the settlements were founded as outposts on seized Palestinian land by violence-prone extremists.

Quotes: "Civilian settlers carrying around these HUGE weapons - a weird power dynamic". -- "Palestinians (forced to) abandon their ancestral homeland". -- "A very violent settler attack".

She also discourses about Zionists pillaging Palestinian villages and committing mayhem. The term she uses, if I remember correctly, is 'massacre'.

The gist is that settlers are violent Jewish brutes who outnumber and bully poor sensitive Palestinians.

She assures us that she is a good Jew, not like the others.


All of the themes above were raised again during the keynote speech after lunch, by Phyllis Bennis, who, almost obscenely relishing the accusation, spoke about the "massacre in Jenin", asserting that the refugee camp was wiped off the map. She also accused Israel of trying to create an ethnically pure Jewish state - framing it in such a way as to draw a subconscious link with another such attempt at ethnic purity.


Nearly every speaker tried to convince us that they had nothing against Jews, many of their friends were Jewish, they loved Jews oh boy did they ever and what a pity that some of them refused to see the how right the Palestinians were and how wrong the Zionists but what else can you really expect from those people and in any case they themselves only speak to the sympathetic apologetic pro-Pally Jews nowadays, which is the Zionist Jews' fault, they started it and they are heartless, cruel, and calculating.

Subtle suggestions of Jewish plots, and too much Jewish influence in the halls of power, and in Christian churches. The Jewish establishment. The Jewish lobby. The Jewish censorship.

Subtle, in this case, means fairly blatant.

No mention, of course, of the Sfardic / Mizrahi exodus from the Muslim world. No mention of the barrage of Qassams. No mention of the unceasing attempts to kill Jews. No mention of anything that would provide context or perspective. Just an unceasing flow of anti-Israel rhetoric, from eight-thirty in the morning till lunch-time, and then for another hour afterwards, before the workshops on practical anti-Semitism and how to propagate hate...... oops, I mean the workshops on "Why Divestment Is the Best Method to End the Occupation" (by Fahad Abu-Akel, room 2005, from 2:15 PM to 3:15), and "Christian Zionism in Mainstream Churches" (by Rosemary Radford Reuther, room 200, from 3:30 to 4:30).

There were many other workshops. It was a veritable smorgasbord of love.


A singular bright spot was seeing the Oakland Women In Black silently protesting in front, as people were entering the grounds. At some point, a livid troll ran past screaming that he needed a felt-tip pen, he was going to make a sign warning people about the Oakland Women In Black, because they weren't REAL Women in Black (correct, some of them had beards), they..... were..... EVIL ZIONISTS!!!

He never did get his warning-sign made. I wonder what he would've put on it. Perhaps "warning, may cause awareness of reality".


I may have made a few intolerant Protestantish noises during the various breaks. It depends upon your point of view - if you were a Lutheran, I probably offended you. Not sorry.
And if you were the Anglican, you are probably still sick to the pit of your stomach. Again, not sorry.
I didn't notice any Baptists or Eastern Orthodox, so I'm not sorry there either. And as for the Methodists, not sorry, I'm sure you've got a sense of humour. How on earth could y'all still be Methodists otherwise? Well?

Once again, not sorry.

Y'all can be as sorry a bunch as y'wanna be. Not me.

During one of the breaks, as I was grabbing all the free literature that I could get my hands on off one of the tables, I made a snarky reference to that famous line by Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel......
"The world is founded upon FREE things.....".


Despite many of the attendees being clearly trusting and uncritical subjects for indoctrination (who, after all, really wants to believe that the passionate and friendly speaker is utterly evil?), there were some who were not pleased at the one-sided Israel bashing. A number of them left early. Perhaps the rough treatment they received from Palestinians dressed as IDF border guards acting out the checkpoints on the lunch-queue also got to them.

There were also enough pro-Palestinian activists floating around that critical comments were quickly and firmly dealt with. Enough true-believers that skeptics knew how unwelcome a realistic point of view would be. Room for only two kinds of attendees - the already convinced, and the going-to-be-convinced.

Much of the conference was a lot of hot-air about non-violent resistance, with an implied (and at least twice plainly stated) justification of the use of violence, because, after all, it's also a valid form of resistance. Non-violence is better public relations than an exploded bus.
But let us please not mention the bus. Or the pizza parlour.

I left at five o'clock, foregoing the last hour of indoctrination. I had been spotted by too many known elements of the other side at that point, and nearly ten hours of being the black man at a KKK convention was starting to wear a bit. Let's just say I needed to lift the sheet and get some fresh air. Plus, not having partaken of the lunch that was included in the admission fee, I had a screaming head-ache and a horrible attitude.

Well actually, I had the horrible attitude from the moment I got to Berkeley. Who am I kidding?


Oh, I nearly forgot! Cindy and Craig Corrie spoke tear-jerkingly about their daughter. What agony, what heartbreak, oh sniff. Who can forget the outrage generated by Rachel's unfortunate filmed accident? Just like that little fella hit in the crossfire that the French press showed the entire world, Rachel Corrie's demise has been the one story that more than any other (and there are always SO many others) proves conclusively how evil the Jews are and how virtuous the concerned pro-Pally side. As, I'm sure, they have already told you many times. Such selfless martyrs.

Friday, August 24, 2007



NOTE: This guest-posting was deleted in the interests of peace. The management of this blog has no desire to gratuitously cause hurt or harm - we are very particular about that. I apologize if any of you were upset. The writer of the guest post has been pursuaded to withdraw his text and carefully review it for accuracy, and may submit it later, but seeing as we're only three hours away from shabbes, it may be awhile before I get to read it.

PS. The writer has not apologized for writing what he did - he defends his opinion. But he acknowledges that it was not wise to say it here.



I will be at an all-day event tomorrow, at which I will be surrounded by people with whom I would rather not associate.

The venue has a minor religious connotation, the event itself does also.
This is not an open-minded event, and these folks are not 'nice' people.

Consequently, I intend to let the rigid, vicious, venomous, Netherlandish side of my personality and my heritage float to the surface of my mind.

To whit: All the world's conflicts pale in comparison to the struggle to preserve the culture, integrity, and rights, of the Netherlands and Flanders. Which have for centuries been under siege by the French and the Walloons, more recently by the Maghrebis.
And I do mean ALL the world's conflicts. Bloody-mindedly so.

Tomorrow, the plight of Tibet will be nothing - what does it have to do with the flood of Walloon carpet-baggers who have swamped formerly Flemish lands, and even taken over Brussels?
The crisis in Darfur, the enmity between the Greeks and the Turks, the suffering of Christians in Maluku, the poor bleeding Kashmiris, the savagery in Afghanistan, Chechnia, and Rwanda, and even the agony of the victims of ethnic cleansing in the Balkans - all these too are quite immaterial; the eternal need to expel Walloons and their quislings and collaborators will tomorrow be uppermost. Rhetorically, at least. As a form of mental self-preservation. "Our cause is the most important one in the world, screw you and your pathetic bleedingheart sympathy for that bunch of buggery losers. Who did you say you were with?"

I would like to remind my readers, illogically rant-segueing therefrom, that 'our' finest hour was July eleventh, in the year 1302, when we extinguished France's hegemonistic ambitions, slaughtered her knights (feudal aristocrats!), and preserved Western liberty and popular democracy on the field of golden spurs, outside Kortryk. This, scarcely two months after liberating Brugge (on May 18th, 1302) from the degenerates, and laving her streets with the blood of every Frenchspeaker in the city, a pox upon them.
Both of these glorious achievements have been celebrated in song and story, and are our proudest victories.


I am by no means a cultural-relativist.

I shall of course be subtle - there may be half-breed Walloons present. There will certainly be willing Germans and useful idiots.

I'll probably write about it on Monday. That will be a form of purging. A purificatory ritual, so to speak.


I received the text below from a correspondent deep in the American south. For obvious reasons, I will not name him, but I will vouch for character and truthfulness.


The Pastor in a Pentecostal church my wife attends (both of which will remain unnamed) gave a statement that caused me some surprise. He stated that "the Anti-Christ is probably alive today and is a male Jew.

Slack jawed I approached the Pastor after the service and asked "Is he alive and here today?" "Probably" answers the Pastor. Because when he appears during the Tribulation period he will be a full-grown counterfeit of Christ." "And he will be Jewish" I ask? "Of course he'll be Jewish" he said. "Further, he'll pretend to be Christ. The fact is the Lord is coming soon, and he'll be an adult at the presentation of himself, he must be alive somewhere."

Apparently there is still a measurable amount of anti-Semitism in our Southern States, although acts of violence are quite rare. The 2005 survey by the Anti-Defamation League reported 1432 acts of anti-Semitism in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and so on. The figure included 877 acts of harassment, including verbal intimidation, threats and physical assaults.

It seem the viewpoint of Southern Evangelical Christians is that all people must accept Jesus Christ as their Savior in order to find salvation. It follows that from their point of view all people should be given the chance to convert to Christianity, regardless of race, color or current creed. Not to evangelize to Jews would be tantamount to discrimination irregardless of how distasteful Southern Jews find effort.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant Christian denomination in the U.S., has explicitly rejected suggestions that it should back away from seeking to convert Jews, a position that critics have called anti-Semitic but that Baptists see as consistent with their view that salvation is found solely though faith in Christ. In 1996, the SBC approved a resolution calling for efforts to seek the conversion of Jews "as well as for the salvation of 'every kindred and tongue and people and nation."

The Christian Identity movement, the Ku Klux Klan and other White supremacy groups claim to be very strongly Christian in nature; they are vehemently anti-Semitic, as well as racist. The Klan is also demonstrably anti-Catholic preferring Southern Baptist or my friends the Pentecostals as well and some other smaller sects.

I'm finding that a racial belief common among these groups, is an alternative history doctrine. This doctrine absolutely denies that modern Jews have any racial connection to Israel of the Bible. Instead, it is widely believed the true racial Israel and true humans, are the white race. Wild huh!

Many other Evangelicals agree with the position, and some have similarly been supporting efforts specifically seeking Jews' conversion. Among the controversial groups that has found support from some Evangelical churches is Jews for Jesus, which claims that Jews can find their Jewish faith become complete by accepting Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, in my wife's church they like to point me out as a Completed Jew as if they had beat the Jew out of me and formed me into a more complete human being.

Seems to me that the Christians and the Muslims have the same agenda they just compete against each other for market share.


I got the writer's permission to post this to my blog. I welcome comment, as I'm certain he does also. But I would also like to request some sensitivity to the fact that the writer is in between worlds, so to speak.

Still, if you thought that Christians were a nice safe bunch of tolerant softies, please note that you were mistaken. There is much about Christianity, even today, which can be hard and brutal. Even, dare I say it, unaccepting of the 'other'.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Some tobacco mixtures, no longer extant in their original form and having been farmed out to successive outside manufacturers, have prompted profound memory-shift in their erstwhile smokers. What might be called a migration of remembered sensations, if you prefer.

Memory is odd that way. What one person remembers about a taste or smell may focus particularly on a characteristic that someone else's nose elides over entirely.
[A rose is not a rose is not a rose is not a rose.]

Rattrays Red Rapparee is one such blend.

I smoked several tins of it in the late seventies and early eighties. It was quite good. I do not remember it with any sharp detail, yet others do. But they all remember differently.

Accordingly they have described it as:

1) A nice mild-medium mixture.
2) Quite gentle, medium English - smells delightfully oriental.
3) Medium English blend at its best.
4) Medium Oriental blend.
5) A complex, mid-strength blend. -
6) A fine all-day smoke.
7) A nice full blend.
8) A hefty English blend at its finest.
9) A fairly stout English blend.
10) An end of the day blend, an outdoor smoke.

Terms used are spicy, sweet, musty, robust, fragrant, wonderful, perfumed, Oriental, pungent, dense, rounded. Classic. Kaleidoscopic.

In addition to being compared to that other famous Rattray blend, Black Mallory, it has been likened to Balkan Sobranie, Dunhill 965, Dunhill London Mixture, Dunhill Standard Mixture (Medium), Samuel Gawith's Squadron Leader, and several of Greg Pease's mixtures (including Samarra).

Lament and keen for what Red Raparree used to be is intense, poetic, lyrical, nay even tragic and melodramatic, among the tribe with wooden objects in their face.

Makes me wish I had smoked it........ Oh wait, I did!


On the other hand, I smoked a pipe-full of G. L. Pease's Samarra this morning.
Medium strength, aged red Virginia with Latakia, Turkish, and a touch of Perique. Sweet, spicy, and well rounded. The Latakia and Turkish are in perfect equilibrium.
It was extremely good indeed.

It did not remind me of anything in particular, not even of the bowls I had last year. Something else. I cannot put my finger on it.


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


Dovbear is on vacation this week, and his blog has consequently gotten way more interesting.
Perhaps due to his being, according to one report, at a nudist colony in Vermont.

Either that, or because of a molestation of bacon.

But I prefer to think that it is because he is on a secret mission, nude in Vermont. If you recognize him, despite his sunglasses and Groucho Marx glasses, don't let on.
[And do NOT share your sunblock!]

Meanwhile, read all about luscious cascading fragrant feminine hair here:
[Mmmm, almond and lemon blossoms, antique rose, tea oil, musk..... ]

Something about four burden-measures here:
[Note: an amos is slightly greater than one and a half feet (six tefachim) in length. But four Amah is enormous.]

And gibberant queerness about shrimp chips here:

Yes, I'm guest posting on his blog while he's away. Along with :
Enigma 4U

More power to me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


What do you mean you doubt that this will happen? Have you no faith?

Where is your optimism, you kofer?

Okay, let's not argue.

Here's something else that is equally unbelievable, yet, alas, also totally believable.

"The world's most notorious state exponent of anti-semitism – Iran – is being given a seat on the UN committee planning a 2009 UN anti-racism conference. This conference is billed as a review of the implementation of the 2001 UN conference against racism which was held in Durban, South Africa. The infamous Durban Conference is remembered for its broadcast of anti-semitism from a global platform under a UN banner and with UN blessing. Now Iran is being placed in a position to drive the agenda of Durban II. Other members slated to take their place on the so-called Bureau for the Durban Preparatory Committee (Prep Com) are Libya - the Chair, Cuba and Pakistan. The Prep Com will meet for the first time in Geneva, August 27, 2007."

Rest of depressing article here:

And I was alerted to it here:

What was particularly memorable about the 2001 Durban conference was the incest between third world gangster regimes, Muslim bigots, and failed states.
Kind of like the Arian woodstock, except with Melanin instead of pallor. But just as charming.

What were the results of the Durban conference?

The Jews (eternal targets of bigotry) were slammed by the Arabs (slave traders for millennia, who still discriminate against those who are neither Arab nor Muslim, and still surreptitiously support slavery).

Those who pretty much invented the slave trade were allowed to dominate the proceedings.

The African nations, who profited from selling their war-captives and minorities to Europeans and Arabs, demanded to be paid again. No mention of reparations for the actual descendants of the merchandise, who of course do not live in Africa anymore.
It was proposed that tax-money paid in part by the descendants of slaves should be given to those who are in part descended from the sellers of those same slaves. No one demanded that the Arabs pay any reparations at all. Which was "third world solidarity" in action, I guess.

India, whose treatment of its oppressed classes is uncivilized and a scandal, got off Scot-free by collaborating with Africa and the Arabs to slam Israel and the west.

There was no mention of discrimination against the Roma by the Slavs, or the depressing status of non-Christians in holy mother Russia either.

[Odd, I didn't know that Eastern Europe was part of the third world.... ]

Shouldn't more time have been spent on actually discussing racism in the world and less time devoted to the consideration of a markedly anti-western agenda by a bunch of third world failures with abominable human rights records?

Might it not have been more productive to look at how America, Israel and European countries are dealing with minority issues?
These are after all reasonably successful nations who have actually attempted to deal with racism and discrimination.... quite unlike the repressive dictatorships which litter the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America.

The usual chorus of resentful tin-pot tyrants and greedy third-world beggar nations was allowed to dominate the discussion, giving a shrill refrain of anti-western rhetoric, and sweeping their own glaring faults under the rug. One would almost think that hunger for an easy buck drove the proceedings... quite understandable, given that those who steal from their own people often see no reason why they shouldn't steal from everybody else.

Comments? A different opinion? Speak up, I am keen to hear your point of view.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


This post is a corollary to Dovbear’s raccoon post (see here:
His, however, uses raccoons as a metaphor.
Mine is not nearly so deep.
It is just about raccoons.


Eating all the crud down at the dump,

I'm a raccooon!
Breaking into homes and stealing all the stuff,

I'm a raccooon!

Wearing my mask, yay!
Looking like a bear, yay!
Wearing my mask and looking like a bear, I'm a raccooon!!

Washing some fish and washing some fish,

I'm a raccoooon!
Operating at night and getting bit by dogs,

I'm a raccoooon!

Wearing my mask, yay!
Looking like a bear, yay!
Wearing my mask and looking like a bear, I'm a raccoooon!!

With my Davy Crockett cap and my coon skin coat,

I'm a raccooooon!
Don't trust me with your favorite stuff,

I'm a raccooooon!

Wearing my mask, yay!
Looking like a bear, yay!
Wearing my mask and looking like a bear, I'm a raccooooon!!

Written by John Swartzwelder
Performed by Jan Hobson & Her Bad Review

[It has been described as "jaw-droppingly awful". It's worth listening to, just for the education. It can be found here: . Scroll down to 'Raccoon Legs'.]


The International Order Of The Friendly Sons Of The Raccoon
[From The Honeymooners, a television show of note.]

Club songs:

Alma Mater
From the hallowed streets of Greenpernt,
To the shores of Sheepshead Bay,
From the Verrazano Narrows,
To Canarsie across the way...
We have come together, one and all,
In fellowship to commune,
And to glorify the Grand Exalted
Brotherhood of Raccoons. [Howl]
Marching song
In the West and in the East
There’s a mighty little beast
For courage there is no other.
When the chips are all at stake
We are proud to call him brother.
So with our noble tails entwined
And a spirit strong of mind
We'll have hearts that cannot melt.
In the forest, in the trees
On the land or seven seas
We're brothers under the pelt.
Raccoons, the noble Raccoons!

Funny hats and silly songs are what it's all about.
Just go to any ball game and look around you.


Ah, the first cup of coffee in the morning. It smells like napalm. It's fiery breath courses through my veins and makes me wish for a bushy tail and a garbage can.

There's no free association. Everybody pays.


On a different note, Warren Burstein opines that you should send left-over tsholnt to starving children in Africa, and it seems he may know someone who kisses their boyfriend's tzitzit because she really wanted to wear them herself but was told not to.

Additionally, he says that tefillin are kinda phallic. Which reminds me of a strap-on scene involving a busty blonde in the Comedy Central series Reno 911. I now have a mental picture that is giving me the giggles, and I will almost certainly have disquieting dreams tonight. Thanks, Warren.

Halfnutcase states that tefillin cases are symbolic of a womb and the umbilical cord. Which you strap onto your head and arm. This far from improves the mental picture, alas. No help whatsoever.



When I started working at the Indian restaurant, the chef was a gentleman whom I mistakenly called "that nasty little Bengali". Primarily because of his casual disregard for every other employee except the Sikhs and myself.
He was respectful towards the Sikhs, because nobody messes with a Sardar - especially not with the big Punjabi tandoor-wallah, who came to us from a restaurant where he had chased the manager with a talwar when pay was withheld once too often, and at a different time pushed a seekh through an arrogant know-it-all coworker.
He was respectful to me, because I once pulled the tandoorwallah off him and saved him from being whacked with a cleaver.

Later he became fearful of me when I threatened to shove him face first into the deep-fryer if I ever found him using monosodium glutamate again. I was standing on top of him when I told him so.
I refrained from eating the food at the restaurant after that, having no wish to be poisoned by a nasty little thing-spawn.

[Actually, a U.P. wallah.]

However, when at the end of that year the nasty little Bengali (nasty little U.P. wallah) stormed out in a huff, things changed.
I think I may have been responsible for that.


The chef we hired to replace the nasty little kloojak was Jeet Singh Rawat. No, not another Sikh - the surname Singh is common to all Sikhs, but not all Singhs are Sikhs. This Singh was a Kshatria from Garhwal, about two hundred and fifty miles north of Delhi. Like many hillmen he was not quite so deft with spices as Muslims usually are (and the departed nasty little U.P.wallah had been very adept at spicing), but he was a much cleaner man.

By clean I do not only mean fastidious and capable of maintaining a sanitary kitchen, but also clean in his attitude and behaviour. Jeet Singh Rawat was gentlemanly. He did not push himself forward, and treated everyone else equitably. And quite unlike the nasty little monster, he did not throw temper tantrums or hurl epithets. During his years in our kitchen there was far, far less discord at the restaurant than before.

[Excepting, of course, for the immediate vicinity of the badtempered South Indian Christian woman - whom the Sikhs nicknamed Talwar Singh, and I refered to as 'voh badbu-walli untni', or sometimes ooloo. She was not welcome in the kitchen. She was probably responsible for nine-tenths of the unhappiness and spite within a ten-mile radius of her overstuffed self at all times. The owner of the restaurant, who clearly was in it for the entertainment it provided him, kept her on for eight years. She finally left to open a "French" restaurant, taking her slow-witted ghulam with her. ]

From 1991 till his death in 2002, on those days that I worked at the restaurant, I very much looked forward to his cooking.

His chicken tikka masala, when he still made it with the pistacchio-cream sauce, was divine. His malai kofta was heavenly.
Knowing my tastes, he made saag paneer just the way I liked it - not too much cream, and with a little extra ginger. Or potatoes in cream and butter sauce with a just the perfect amount of fried dry chilies and mustard seed. Tichwan, with alu instead of mooli, and toasted cumin.

In Indian society, sharing food happens often in a religious context or a ceremonial context, but until recent times was somewhat restricted or coloured by caste considerations. Sikhs instituted the langar as a means of dissolving caste barriers by having recipients of food eat together in the Guru's dining hall, and at many temples special foods are handed out as prasad - blessed gifts or foods which have a certain sanctity because of the context and the place. The idea that shared food is in some way sacramental also underlies the Sikh attitude. And it is not entirely strange to other cultures either.

The nasty little Bengali's uncleanliness of character spread pollution. His food was not a hospitable concept by any stretch of the imagination.

But Jeet Singh added a sacramental quality to the food. An aura of good fellowship and comradeliness. Eating the food which he prepared for me was sharing prasad.

He died suddenly of a heart attack in September of 2002.

Much more than the food, I miss the man.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Frequent readers of this blog have probably figured out that I am a food-slut. And consequently have a considerable number of books about food.

It's a consuming passion.

This past weekend, Savage Kitten picked up two second-hand cookbooks. One of which consists mainly of odd health-food recipes from the nineteen thirties, one of which is much more recent.

The second book is also decidedly more interesting.

Entitled "Golden Gate Gourmet - volume II" (copyright 1962), it consists of three parts - Favorite Selections of Bay Area Hostesses (pages 31 through 77), Dining With Our Consulates (pages 80 through 111), and From The Chefs of Restaurants Who Help Distinguish Our City (pages 113 through 171).

Yes, it contains, praedictably, a horrifying recipe for sweet and sour pork. As well as some odd and dated things with curry powder.

But the most interesting recipe, which I shall reproduce below, is a real period piece, reflecting a time in our society when such dishes were new, interesting, exiting, and smiled upon as inventive and, dare I say it, uppercrustian. It was a unique time. A far less judgmental time.


1 cup hot water
1 package orange flavor gelatin
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 lb. can whole, small sweet potatoes
14 ounce can pineapple chunks
2 4 ounce cans Vienna sausage

Combine the water, gelatin, salt, brown sugar in a 10" skillet and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the butter and lemon rind. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and add the sweet potatoes. Cook about 10 minutes, basting frequently. Drain the syrup from the pineapple chunks and put chunks into skillet. Drain the liquid from the sausages and add to the potatoes and pineapple. Cook about 10 minutes longer, or until sauce is thick and glossy. Serves 3.

[The contributor of this recipe was Mrs. Ambrose Diehl, who had been Director of the Reception Center, U.S. Department of State - a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job. She was also involved with the National Red Cross and aid to Korea.]

I imagine that one could also make a kosher version of this dish. Or a vegetarian version. But would one want to?

One recipe in the book does intrigue me, as it reflects a bygone era about which I have read much. Lady Curzon soup, named after the wife of the Viceroy of India, George Nathaniel Curzon, served 1899 to 1905 (in office, that is - the soup was served for decades afterwards, especially aboard transatlantic liners).


1 can clear turtle soup
4 tablespoons sweet cream
2 egg yolks
½ to 1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons whipped cream

Heat the soup in a saucepan, but be careful not to let it boil. Beat the egg yolks with the cream until thoroughly mixed. Stir this mixture into the turtle soup and let it warm. After you have done so, melt the butter in a pan and sauté the curry powder in it very lightly. Add a little of the soup to make it liquid. Let it simmer a minute and mix it back into the main soup. Add sherry just before serving. After you have poured it into bouillon cups, top it with whipped cream and pinch of curry powder.

[Contributed by Mrs. David Dibble of San Francisco, the former Veronika Blumenthal.]

I do not intend to hurry over to my provisioners to purchase a one pound can of whole small sweet potatoes. Nor even amble for that purpose. Ever.
But if he has one or two cans of clear turtle soup lying around, I may purchase them - just the ticket for the foggy San Francisco climate.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Years ago, the comic strip Ernie featured an alien, named Zerblatt, who looked like a cross between a frog and a monkey.

[For an example of Ernie, see here: . For the Wikipedia description of the series, see here: ]

Zerblatt dated a human woman, and married her according to the rites of the ‘Grelzakian Toad Cult’.

Since then, whenever someone asks me what religion or creed I call my own, I often answer by telling them ‘Grelzakian Toad Cult’.

This has several advantages. It shuts them up. They cannot dispute the foundational myths of the ‘Grelzakian Toad Cult’. They cannot question its beliefs. Heck, they can’t even comprehend the answer, most of the time.
And whatever they say, I get to call them a cursed heathen and threaten death by stork.

We should all be members of the Grelzakian Toad Cult.

And we should spawn a hundredfold.

Note: The strip was renamed Piranha club several years ago.
For some reason it is incredibly popular in Scandinavia and the Baltic nations.
Which means you can also read about it in Vikipeedia: .

"Piraaja Klubi" (esialgne nimetus "Ernie") on Bud Grace'i koomiksisari, mis hakkas ilmuma aastal 1988. Aastal 1993 pälvis koomiksisari National Cartoonist Society auhinna. Need koomiksid on eriti populaarsed Norras ja Rootsis, kus mitu ajakirja avaldab neid algse nime "Ernie" all. "Piraaja Klubi" koomiksid on populaarsed ka Eesti ajalehtedes: Postimehes, Eesti Päevalehes ja SL Õhtulehes."

Please note that the entry acknowledges that the esialgne nimetus was 'Ernie', and that Bud Grace i koomiksisari. This is important.

Here is what Vikipeedia says about Zerblatt:
" Tulnukad on oletatavad või väljamõeldud mõistusega olendid, kes on pärit kosmosest (või ka näiteks "teisest dimensioonist") ning kellega inimestel on olnud, on praegu või on tulevikus otsene kontakt. Laiemas mõttes võidakse tulnukate all ka kosmilise või muu taolise võõrpäritoluga mõistusega olendeid, kellel inimestega kokkupuudet ei ole ega saa olema. Tulnukad ei ole üleloomulikud olendid. Neil on füüsiline keha. Sellegipoolest võivad neil olla paranormaalsed võimed. Tulnukate olemasolu ei ole tõestatud, kuid teadus ei välista seda. Ulmekirjanduses ja mujal populaarkultuuris on tulnukate motiiv väga levinud."

Well, that pretty much says it all, doesn't it?
Estonia, you too are loved.
Nothing I can add.


Monday, August 13, 2007


Two quotes from a Wikipedia entry about a computer game. Plus a reminiscence.

Found this on the internet:

Xenogears (ゼノギアス, Zenogiasu?) is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square Co., Ltd. (now known as Square Enix Co., Ltd.) for the Sony PlayStation video game console. It was released on February 11, 1998 in Japan and on October 20, 1998 in North America. Xenogears never saw a PAL release. The game is both hailed and criticized for its heavy philosophical and religious allusions.


And more:


Xenogears initially takes place on the largest continent of the Xenogears world, Ignas, where the nations of Aveh and Kislev have been waging war on each other for centuries. An organization known as the Ethos, which is a church-like organization dedicated to preserving the world's culture, has excavated giant fighting robots called Gears. Gears have had a major effect on the war and have almost entirely replaced the need for human infantry. Although Kislev was gaining the upper hand in the war, a mysterious army known as Gebler appeared and started providing assistance to Aveh. With Gebler's help, Aveh not only recovered their losses, but began making their way into Kislev's territory.

Much of Xenogears' plot and backstory is detailed in the Japanese-only book Xenogears Perfect Works. This book, produced by the now defunct DigiCube, details the history of the Xenogears universe from the discovery of the Zohar to the start of the game. For the avid Xenogears fans, an important aspect of the book is the explanation of the six episodes that make up the Xenogears saga. According to the Perfect Works schematic, Xenogears is only the fifth episode in a series of six, with the first four providing the backstory for the events that took place in Xenogears.


To answer your question, no I have never played this game. I hardly ever play computer games.

The only computer game I've got is a version of Marathon (, which we often used to play at Fweebinc after the chief engineer left in the evening. Sounds of gunfire and explosions would erupt from several cubicles. One of the players, the Human Resources drudge, never realized that the engineers had rigged it so that his character would always reincarnate just in front of a heavily armed player. He never stood a chance. After every game, rather than comparing actual hits and deaths, everybody checked to see how many times red-headed George had been killed.
There would be hoots of joy.

Sometimes, to be just one of the guys along with everyone else, you have to be killed repeatedly. Boom, rat-tat-tat! Or fwoosh!

Don't thank us, we're just doing what comes naturally.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Syed Tanveer Hussain blames outsiders for Pakistan's problems, and demands that Jihad be waged against India and the United States.

Article: Jehad calls against India in Pakistan's national assembly

"Calls for jehad against India and US were made in Pakistan's national assembly on Tuesday by a parliamentary secretary for defence, Syed Tanveer Hussain, who argued that the dispute over Kashmir would be settled in "one month" if jehadis were allowed free entry into areas under Indian control.

Taking the populist anti-US position, Hussain said that "our love affair with US should come to an end and we should have better relations with Iran, Russia and China. We should wage jihad against US and resolve the Kashmir issue through jihad, not talks". "

A friend occassionally outbursts that the only good Paki is a dead Paki. This usually happens when the Pakistanis have committed another outrage against civilized standards, or have been complicit in yet another act of terrorism. Which is surprisingly often.

During periods of calm on the frontier, her even-tempered self is dominant. She'll admit that Pakistanis are also human, even if they are all dysfunctional and depraved. Normally she's a secular humanist. A liberal even. Tolerant.
She'll also admit that among the Indians there are some who are not, strictly speaking, in touch with any shred of reality or civilization either - people such as the Hindu nationalist parties, or the Hinduist gangsters in Bombay and Maharashtra. And differently, her outbursts against Gujus may only be fuelled by an absolute loathing for Undhiu (a foul crockpot concoction that Patel and co are inordinately fond of). I do not know, and I do not wish to ask. But these are exceptional cases.

I used to disagree with her whenever she expressed virulently homicidal anti-Paki sentiments. In recent years, however, I have grown strangely quiet.
I no longer have the inclination to argue that even though their contribution to civilization may seem nihil and their culture depraved, they too are human, their aspirations and ideals also have validity, their society might have some worthwhile elements.

I have lost most of the sense of fellow humanity I once had for Pakistanis. I no longer feel in any way for them. Their emotional fragility and frequent berserk outbursts in recent years have tired me out. Up they should shut.

I hope that an all-out war between India and Pakistan will never happen. But if it does happen, India should be victorious - even if that means Pakistan ceases to exist.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah's legacy has been little else than fanaticism, criminality, bloodshed, repression, bigotry, and sectarianism.
As my friend would say, "damn Guju".

Note: Syed Tanveer Hussain was born in Punjab, and is not a Guju. The damn Guju referenced above is Jinnah, whose parents were Gujus living in Karachi (but, as we say, a Gudyu bleibt a Gudyu). Syed Tanveer Hussain is a damned Punjabi.

Further note: Non-damned Punjabis are known as Sikhs. Sikhs are excellent people. Muslim Punjabis aren't. Do not confuse the two.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Dutch parliamentarian says that the Quran is propaganda for violent intolerance which should be banned.

[Article in Dutch from the NRC Handelsblad]
[Opinion piece by Geert Wilders in the Volkskrant (in Dutch).]

Geert Wilders, in reacting to the brutal attack on a Dutch citizen who deserted Islam and founded an organization to promote the rights and safety of Islamic apostates recently, called the Quran an “Islamitic ‘Mein Kampf’”, which reflected a "sick ideology of Allah and Muhammad".

According to Wilders, not only does the sale of the book need to be outlawed, but also its possession and use by Mosques.

Geert Wilders has made several statements in the past that were considered intolerant of Islam, and has advocated a complete halt to immigration from the Muslim world and a hard line towards the Muslim immigrants who commit crimes and refuse to integrate into Dutch society.

Given that there are nearly a million Muslims in the Netherlands, and that there have been the typical social problems that could be expected from trying to absorb so large a number of culturally different immigrants, many of whom come from less complex societies and have extreme ideologies which clash with Dutch values, Geert Wilders merely gives voice to the convictions of the native population, which feels itself overwhelmed, outnumbered, and exploited by both the Muslims and by the politicians who let this state of affairs arise.

What was the final straw for Wilders?

This past Saturday, Ehsan Jami, who founded a committee for ex-Muslims in the Netherlands, was viciously assaulted and nearly killed by two Moroccans and a Somali who were angered by his having broken away from Islam.

Wilders, in a letter printed in the Volkskrant, writes:
"In verschillende soera’s worden moslims opgeroepen joden, christenen, andersgelovigen en niet-gelovigen te onderdrukken, vervolgen of vermoorden, vrouwen te slaan en te verkrachten en met geweld een wereldwijde islamitische staat te vestigen."
['In various verses Muslims are urged to repress, persecute, or murder Jews, Christians, dissidents, and unbelievers; to beat and rape women; and to use violence to establish a world-wide Islamic state.']

"Verbied dat ellendige boek zoals ook Mein Kampf verboden is! Geef zo een signaal aan de overvallers van Jami en andere islamisten dat de Koran in ons land nooit en te nimmer als inspiratie of excuus voor geweld mag worden gebruikt."
['Outlaw that miserable book, just as Mein Kampf is banned! And so give a signal to those who attacked Jami and to other Islamists that the Quran, in our country, may never be used to inspire or excuse violence.']

Geert Wilders continues:
"Wat schaam ik me voor de Nederlandse politici. Hun naïviteit en ziekelijke streven naar de utopische gematigde islam, die ons land alleen maar hel en verdoemenis brengt."
['I am ashamed of Dutch politicians. Their naiveté and sickly striving for an utopian moderate Islam, which only brings our country hell and damnation.']

He slams Dutch politicians who had talks with Hamas, and who have approached the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as Dutch politicians who have obsequiously curried favour with Arab heads of state. He criticizes most particularly the tolerance of the progressives toward Muslim thugs who beat up homosexuals, commit robbery and rape, and demand Islamic banking, special treatment, and separate public facilities for Muslims.

The same progressive politicians lambasted by Geert Wilders have bleated in response that his statements are hateful and incite violence.

Which, of course, is precisely what he claims that the Quran does.

He is being sued for incitement by a failed city council candidate from the Dutch Labour Party in some depressing burg. Her party fully supports her - they rely on the Muslim vote.

It should be noted that the Dutch government considers protection for apostates and heretics to be unnecessarily divisive, and has hesitated or even refused to act when such people are threatened by Islamists.

Remember Theo van Gogh? Remember Ajaan Hirsi Ali?

I do not entirely agree with Geert Wilders - much of the objectionable material is actually in the Shariah instead, and the Quran itself is better described as Messaianic tribal war poetry, or what happens when an illiterate seer drunk on the divine goes through a prolonged psychotic episode. Much of it is actually staggeringly beautifull, some of it is stirring and evocative. Literalists will indeed take the text amiss. However until the Wahabis seized Mecca and Medina, Islamic orthodoxy was not quite so sodden with bloody-minded literalists as it is today.

But, in that legal means are being explored to silence Geert Wilders, by the same apparatchiks who for nearly three decades pursued the disastrous policies that let in nearly a million Muslims, and who turned a blind eye to the Islamic intolerancies that they permitted to colonize the cities, I support his right and his obligation to speak his mind.

If he believes that the Quran is an odious work of fiction, and filled with hate and violence, he should certainly say so.
If he thinks that Islam conflicts with civilized values, he should be all means say so.
If he fears that Islamic behaviours and practices are poisons which may destroy everything good and worthwhile in Dutch society, he should absolutely say so.

Instead of using murder, death threats, and thuggery to silence people, the Muslim imports (and quisling party hacks) should learn to use civil debate.

Prove him wrong with discourse, rather than proving him right with a lawsuit or a bullet.

If he is wrong or too strident, he above all should not be silenced, but counter-argued by reasonable people.


The eviction of Hebron settlers from their homes yesterday set a precedent.

In 1929 the local Arabs massacred the Jews of Hebron and took their property. For nearly forty years no Jews were allowed to live in Hebron – per British Mandate order initially, by reason of Jordanian enmity since then.

Until the 1929 pogrom, which the British did nothing to stop, there had always been Jews in Hebron. The property cleared of Jews was seized by Arabs, with no restitution to the heirs of those who were killed.

After Hebron was liberated in 1967, Jews once again lived in Hebron. Jews who were descendants of those who had lived there before. Jews who settled on Jewish-owned land. Jews who rebuilt homes destroyed in 1929.

Yesterday, the Israeli government forcibly expelled Jews and destroyed their homes.

Unlike Gaza, which is a cesspool that arguably might always remain Arab, where debatably the demands of the Arabs could outweigh those of settlers (who, it absolutely must be added, provided employment for the Arabs), Hebron was both historically and in our day a Jewish city. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Hebron was the moral line in the sand. The peaceniks and the Arabs demanded nothing less than force. They got it.

This is the precedent: If Jews can be expelled, so can Arabs. If Jews can be expelled from property to which they hold legal title, so can Arabs.

Certainly there was already such a precedent in the Arab world – Yassir Arafat became rich when Egypt gave him what was stolen from the Alexandrian and Cairene Jewish communities. Many current Arab politicians built their rise to prominence with the assets seized from fleeing Jews. The PLO was funded with moneys expropriated by the Arab regimes from their departing victims. The perfect transfer of land, people, and resources was completed by the rapacious action of Arab regimes.

But I’m not concerned with Arab precedents. I’m talking about a civilized state. A state of laws, principles, ideals. What violent tribes with flags do is immaterial, and by definition either immoral or amoral. Their squabbling, their violence, their highway robbery – lamentable, yes, but of no import. What Israel does is different.

If Jews can be expelled by Israel, so can Arabs.

If, in the interests of peace, Jews can be expelled from the territories, so can Arabs.
If Jews can be expelled so that an all-Arab state can be given to Abu Mazen, then Arabs can be expelled from other areas. If the Arabs do not wish any Jews in their territory, very well then, give them more Arabs. Nothing but Arabs.
Doing so will bring all branches of the alleged Palestinian nation together. It will ingather what had never existed.
And it will remove the demographic time-bomb of Arabs in the state of Israel. A Jew-free state for the Arabs, a terrorist-free state for Israelis.

If Jews can be expelled by Israel, so can Arabs.

If there can be no Jews in Hebron, there should be no Arabs in Jerusalem.
If there can be no Jews in the Northern Shomron, there should be no Arabs in Haifa.
If the residents of Sderot are terrorized by Arab rockets, there should be no Arabs anywhere within rocket distance.

If Jews can be expelled by Israel, so can Arabs.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Note: The reason for this post is that a friend wishes to smoke a pipe. Unlike fags, which you simply light one after the other, or cheroots, which are also fairly intuitive, pipe-smoking requires a bit of thought.
[Most recent update as of 08/08/07]

[Ten commandments]

1. It is better to pack too loose than too firm.
The tobacco can be pressed down firmer if it is too loose, but it cannot really be loosened during smoking without negatively affecting the smoke.

2. Do not overfill.
Put in only what you can smoke, and keep in mind that it lights better if room is left at the top of the bowl to channel the flame.

3. Smoke gently.
Do not puff furiously to keep it lit, do not take huge drags. It's okay to re-light.

4. Do not let the pipe overheat.
Letting it go out is better than possibly souring the tobacco with heat or risking a burn-out.

5. If it isn’t pleasant, stop.
Continuing an unpleasant smoke is no achievement, and contradicts the whole purpose of the exercise. Let it go out, remove the unburned tobacco, and clean and rest the pipe.

6. Smoke without struggling.
One is supposed to smoke the pipe all the way down, but it is okay to leave a few scraps of tobacco unsmoked. Sometimes a fine white-ash cannot be achieved without constant relighting and tongue-burn. Don't worry about it.

7. When finished smoking, stir up the ashes.
This promotes formation of a carbon layer and helps dry out the pipe. Use the spoon on the three piece tool to pull ash over the inside wall of the pipe, or put your hand over the bowl and shake it up a bit. If miniscule cracks in the carbon layer inside the pipe (the 'cake') have occurred, such a distribution of ashes will fill them.

8. Do not bang the pipe or treat it casually.
Take good care of the pipe. Over time it will be dinged, nicked, and scratched anyhow - there is no need to speed that up. Nor should a pipe be put in a warm or wet place, like bright sunlight or near a steam vent.

9. Let the pipe rest.
This lets some of the moisture that has been generated during smoking dissipate, and allows chemical changes in the carbon layer (the 'cake'). Your pipe will smoke better and sweeter, and last much longer, if it is rested instead of being constantly used.

10. Clean the pipe thoroughly.
Use pipe cleaners to swab tar and moisture from the shank, and use the spoon on the three piece tool to remove ashes and unsmoked tobacco. A gentle tap against the palm will knock out remaining ash. Wipe the outside with a dry cloth now and then, and once in a while dip a pipe-cleaner in a drop of whiskey to swab the inside of the shank and remove tarry build-up.

When breaking in a pipe, load it only part-way full the first few times, even if it is a reconditioned pipe. You are trying to do two related things - create a protective and reactive layer of carbon on the inside of the bowl, which will make it smoke sweeter and guard against overheating and burnout, and you are conditioning the pipe to your tobacco and your smoking habits. It takes about a dozen smokes to reasonably prepare the pipe for normal use, about thirty smokes to break it in thoroughly.
[Additionally, until it smokes the way you want it to, it may be too harsh or strong to warrant a full bowl]

Pack the tobacco firmer on top than on the bottom. The top surface needs some density in order to light well. The layers of tobacco underneath the burning surface will be compressed as the smoke progresses. But if the entire bowl is tightly packed, it will prove vexing to smoke.
If, while acclimatizing yourself to the pipe, you have packed too tightly, do not get frustrated. Simply stop smoking and remove the tobacco. If you wait awhile and then try again it will be more satisfying than if you use the prong on the three piece tool to loosen up the tobacco and continue smoking. It is far better to waste a little bit of tobacco than to stubbornly smoke every last shred.

Use two or three matches to light the entire surface of the tobacco. If the tobacco is too moist to do so, it is probably too moist to smoke and should be dried out a bit. Note that flaked Virginias can be smoked wetter than English - Oriental - Balkan blends.
[Tobacco which is too moist can be spread out on a sheet of clean paper to dry out a bit, if you are in a hurry. Or simply leave the tin open for a few hours. It should not be so dry that it crumbles.]

Tamp the tobacco down with the three piece tool once lit. This concentrates the fire layer, and makes it easier to keep the tobacco burning. You will find that occasional tamping as the bowl progresses keeps it alight. When you get to the bottom, do not retamp too firmly, as that may make it difficult to smoke the last bit, and may cause a burn-out in the bottom of the pipe if an ember superheats.

Use a pipe-cleaner once or twice while smoking, as it will keep moisture from accumulating and affecting the taste. Use a pipe-cleaner after every bowl to keep the shank clean and prevent blockages.
[When we were teenagers, we re-used pipe-cleaners frequently, because of the expense. But it is better to not do so, as it re-introduces precisely those substances to the pipe which one sought to remove in the first place.]

Do not smoke in a wind, and try to avoid smoking in drafts. The directional flow of air can encourage the burning of the tobacco, and may cause it to overheat on one side of the bowl, causing a burnout. Embers can also be blown out of the pipe by the wind, causing fires, or, more likely, scorch-holes in your shirt and ashes in your eyes.

You will hear a lot of nonsense about smoking only one type of tobacco in each pipe. Yes, a pipe will acquire characteristics according to the tobacco. But no, smoking several different tobaccos will not confuse the taste-buds or muddle the taste of the pipe. In fact, during the break-in period, it is good to switch tobaccos if you are fond of several different types. Virginias and flakes will speed up the building of the carbon layer, as they are higher in natural sugars and starch. Unsweetened Burleys build a hard and dense cake, but do so quite slowly. English - Oriental - Balkan blends are often smoked at a higher temperature than Virginias, and will in consequence condition the inner wall faster, but will not provide as much carbon - there will be some sootiness, though, which makes the cake softer.
If one alternates Virginias and English mixtures one builds a good cake in a reasonable amount of time.


[Added on 08/08/07]

Breaking in: The conditioning of a pipe which one has recently acquired. The first several smokes help start a layer of carbon on the inner wall, which will provide a cooler softer smoke. Until a pipe is broken in, greater care is required.

Burn-out: This is what happens when due to excessive heat the wood itself starts burning, usually leading to a gaping hole in the wall of the bowl. If one is careful, and does not smoke sugary aromatics, this will only happen if there is a flaw in the wood – a pit or crack which was not evident during manufacture. Most pipe manufacturers will replace the pipe one time for a burn-out. A second burn-out suggests intemperate smoking habits.

Three piece tool: Also called a Czech tool or a tamper. It consists of a spoon for loosening tobacco and ashes, a prong for removing obstructions, and a tamper.

Pipe-cleaners: Twisted wires covered in absorbent cotton fuzz.

English - Oriental - Balkan blends: Three different terms for very similar compounds.
An English mixture has a generous measure of Latakia balanced by Virginias and Turkish (Oriental) tobaccos. An Oriental mixture is a term for a Balkan mixture with generous Latakia. A Balkan mixture or blend stresses the Turkish element, and uses the Latakia and Virginias to round out the flavour. They are called thus because the most famous Oriental and English mixtures had names redolent of the Balkans - most particularly the legendary Balkan Sobranie, which has not been made since the nineties. What made many of the Balkan mixtures so special was varietal Oriental leaf, like Samsoun, Izmir, Yenidje, Djubec, Prilep, Shek El Bint, Macedonian, Katerini, Egyptian and others.

Flakes: Flue-cured tobaccos pressed to meld flavours. Often heat is used to accentuate the process, and the tobacco may be matured for a while before and afterwards, which helps break down the roughness and ferment the tobacco. In consequence, some flakes are very dark, and very mellow, though quite strong. The product is sliced and packaged when the pressing and aging is finished.
Flue cured tobaccos (also called Virginias) are best suited to this process because they have a high natural sugar content. The English perfected the process, and many of the best flakes come from England.
Dutch manufacturers often press Burley tobacco after saucing it with sugar compounds and stoving it to bake-in the added flavour. Burley, unsauced, has a low natural sugar level - but it absorbs flavours well. Dutch flakes (which may also be called Cavendish, though that name actually applies to a different processing method) are almost uniformly mediocre, some are appallingly bad.
Other terms used for flakes are cake, navy-cut, slices, spun-cut, plug, twist, etcetera.

For all pipe tobacco related posts: TOBACCO INDEX

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


The Bray of Fundie writes:

Mein Tayaerh Shaigatz, BOTH

For you tarfus is old hat and hence-off-putting but for us it is irresistably taboo.

Ahl yomar adma ee efshi b'bsar khazir elah efshi bah, umah e'eseh v'harey asra Torah = "One shouldn't say 'I can't stand swine-flesh' rather they should say 'I wouldn't mind it but what can I do? as the Torah forbids it'".

Pursuant thereto, the most surreal experience this weekend was a long conversation with two orthodox Jewish teenagers about lobster.
Humane killing versus the absolute imperative to maintain presentability - does it look aesthetically pleasing when plated? Is freezing a slow death? Is headfirst into the boiling water an immediate death? Is parsley as a garnish really necessary? Cholov-Yisroel melted butter?

Seeing as they both keep strictly kosher, it did not really relate to their lives.

One of them held that aesthetic considerations trumped ethics in this case - the net result is still a dead giant sea-cockroach, but if you're gonna eat it, it has to look good. He defended this point of view passionately.


The subject of lobster came up because of an offer to Savage Kitten. In response to the so-manieth plaintive cry that "I haven't had a LOBSTER in soooo loooong!", I told her that if she bought one, I would pay for it - but fercrapssake, go buy it.

Like many Cantonese American females, she believes that an anguished wail is a subtle hint. Whenever she is gloomy, the thought of lobster warms her heart. In that I am better at buying lobster in Chinatown, she feels that doing so is my task. Hint hint hint. Loud operatic moan of despair and angst. Dramatic kretch. Oh woe!

[One should not wait for assistance but reach into tank, extract the startled crustacean, and call out to the shopkeeper "wei, lo-pan, ngoh yiu mai ni-go, kei do chien ah?" (Oy, boss-man, I wanna buy this one, how much?) Honestly, doesn't she realize that chutzpah is the way to get the best lobster? Be assertive, woman! Be brazen! Be more Cantonese!]

I believed, when I left the house on Sunday, that I would return to a Cantonese person filled with lobster and happily watching the jewelry channel on teevee. Not so. She had a cold, and instead made a big pot of chicken-oyster-noodle soup and went to bed.

The offer is open-ended, however. If she buys the darn thing, I'll pay for it. After all, she is the person who will cook it, and she is the person who will eat it. The only involvement I intend to have with the lobster once it's in the house is to remove the rubber bands on the claws and plunge it in the pot before it can nip me a good one.

Oh, and perhaps naming it while it scurries around the sink waiting for the pot to boil.

["Hello there, Dr. Zoidberg, are you being usefull, and are you having a wonderfull time? Good!"]


Doctor John D. Zoidberg is a fictional lobster-like alien from the planet Decapod 10 in the television series Futurama. He works as the company doctor for Planet Express, even though he knows nothing about human biology.
[see Wikipedia entry:]

Doctor Zoidberg and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon are two of my favourite animated characters. They have a lot in common with each other other, and almost nothing in common with Meg Griffin - who is probably the hottest two dimensional mamma ever. Oooweee!

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For some reason which I cannot explain I thought about the Shanghainese girl this morning. I knew her years ago, we drifted apart, and lost ...