Friday, April 30, 2010


A friend drew my attention to a column by Caroline Glick, hack for the Jerusalem Post, in this week's Jewish World Review.
It is, alas, as typical a pile of Glick as you can get.

Caroline Glick has joined the chorus yelling that the Democrats in Washington are all a bunch of hatefilled anti-Semitic pussies.

" In the midst of the Obama administration's assault on Israel..."

Last month's letter to Clinton was much more circumscribed. It focused solely on ending the Obama administration's very public assault on Israel and ignored the nature of that assault. At the insistence of the Democrats, the administration was not criticized for its bigoted demand that Jews not be allowed to construct new homes in Jewish neighborhoods in Israel's capital city.
This week Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited Washington. Congressmen Eric Cantor and Peter Roskam — the Republican co-chairmen of the House's Israel caucus — held a public event with Barkat where they voiced strong support for Israel's right to build in Jerusalem without restrictions.
In contrast, their Democratic counterparts refused to meet publicly with Barkat.
End quote.
Not content with being snippy about perceived slights, she then continues her tirade by accusing American Jews of partisan blindness.

Quote:To date, both the Israeli government and AIPAC have denied the existence of a partisan divide. This has been due in part to their unwillingness to contend with the new situation. One of Israel's greatest assets in the US has been the fact that support for the Jewish state has always been bipartisan. It is hard to accept that the Democrats are jumping ship.
AIPAC also has institutional reasons for papering over the erosion in Democratic support for Israel. First, most of its members are Democrats. Indeed, AIPAC's new President Lee Rosenberg was one of Obama's biggest fundraisers.

End quote.
For decades, Israelis have happily slandered American Jews, while regularly coming over here to fress with the American Jewish machers.
Maybe Caroline Glick should think twice before attempting so transparent a smear on someone who is the most important macher at this time.

[The anti-Semites and Euries have also made a big deal of Lee Rosenberg's connection to Obama. According to them, it is absolute proof that the Jews control the White House. Amazing how it means different unpleasant things to different kinds of Obama-haters.]


What is remarkable is that even people who loathe Netanyahu have stilled their sniping at him out of a passionate hatred of Obama.
If Israelis really want our support, perhaps they should stop calling us and our leaders names and making us out for a bunch of patsies to be bled regularly for money by their questionable charities.
It would also do no harm if they showed some rectitude, rather than being constantly embroiled in corruption scandals, official malfeasance, as well as a notorious rape case - which, by the way, illustrates abundantly the sexism of many Israelis; a common middle-eastern defect.

Frankly, I find Caroline Glick’s attack on AIPAC distasteful.
Her strident hysteria of several years (the sky is falling, the sky is falling) is a matter of tiresome record.
Nor should she cut Netanyahu so much slack. Netanyahu is probably the worst thing to have happened for Israeli-U.S. relations in several years, besides being in many ways a slick conman but a lousy diplomat.

[Her support for Netanyahu against Obama is, in fact, understandable - she worked for Bibi when he was prime minister in the nineties. In the Israeli political world, that connection counts for more than blood ties.]

Caroline Glick's narrowness of vision is as evident as her biases; she needs to get her head out of the gutter of Yerushalmi politics and her mental crotch out of Tea-party laps.



My support for Israel is based on certain concomitancies of purpose, ideals, and culture, many key affinities, and a sense of justice. It is NOT based on my greatly liking Israel or other nations, nor was it lessened when that dunce from Texas and his good ole boy party were in power. I do not hold it against Israel that many of her supporters in the United States are inbred Jed; that situation is unfortunate, and a grave potential liability.
It would be better if both Americans and Israelis could be more bipartisan, but that, evidently, is too much to hope for.

And, for the record, if I were Israeli I would vote for Likud. Even with Netanyahu.


You are a moron. My dislike of white Christians is intramural – my family is sodden with white Christians, representing primarily thirteen generations of Dutch Calvinists in America (white Christians par excellence, nota bene), and there isn’t a Jew in the bunch. And I have NO problem with that. Furthermore, whatever conflict I have with their religious points of view is doctrinal - again intramural (do you even know what Dutch Reformed means?), and my intense dislike (not bigotry, dislike - please grasp that there is a difference) of many other Christians is well founded on their deviance from doctrinal clarity, and often, civilized norms.
[And let's leave Jesus out of this - that man has never been fundamental to my scriptural point of view.]

And as for the Europeans - on the whole, they are supercilious sneeringly superior pigs. They excel at bloodshed, but still think that bathing every day is an American affectation. Like the Arabs and much of the third world they despise Americans, so screw them all.
You will probably get along famously with them.

What you clearly FAIL to understand, perhaps because you are a mannerless swine, is that offensive jokes of any kind are a discourtesy of staggering proportions. Again, I care not one whit what is normal in Israel or anywhere else. It's about derech eretz.
Something in which some Israelis need brushing up, evidently.

If you had been here a while, and knew anything about me and other commenters, you would neither have committed the insulting error of posting that nasty joke, nor have so glibly and quickly have rushed to defend it and the proste attitudes underlying it.

Gey un' lern, paskudniyok.



The 'letter' above was a continuation of the conversation below.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Posting a conversation here that took place on someone else's blog.
I am the commenter identified as 'Bad Penguin'.

General Jones
How do you know Chinese people move into your neighborhood ?
The Mexicans start to buy car insurance
Yesterday, 5:03:07 PM

Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!
QUOTE: How do you know Chinese people move into your neighborhood ?
The Mexicans start to buy car insurance

That is probably the most fricking bigoted racist thing I have seen in these comments! Tell me, General Jones, do you have ANY friends? Or are you so tightly sequestered in your own vile pit that no one, not even your bastard children and your inbred kin stick their long lizard-like necks out to contact you?
Yesterday, 6:19:11 PM

Guest 2
Oh geez. whats with this ethnic hypersensitivity? Its a joke. Why is it amongst Israelis, they tell jokes right and left about different ethnicities (crude ones too) and everyone laughs, and here people call each other bigots? Its a joke, nothing more.
Today, 12:05:06 AM

Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!
Guest 2 - Are you dense? Stereotypic jokes are not just jokes, they reflect attitudes. When a Goy tells a joke of which a Jew is both the butt and the point, using tropes about stingy hooknosed Jews, what does that say? How about rape jokes? Do you really think that your female kin appreciate those?

What Israelis do is mir gonz sheiss egal - it is immaterial. Cultural relativism is a load of horsepucky - we do not pardon the Yemenites their ideas about child-brides, we do not absolve the Saudis their reprehensible attitudes towards Jews and Christians, and we do not say Bravo when a Turk, Pakistani, or Palestinian kills his sister. Yes, that's what they DO there. And yes, it is part of their way of life. It nevertheless remains absolutely barbaric, and those people are uncivilized.

Again, do you like Jew jokes that aren't laughing WITH you, but AT you?
And if you do, have you sought therapy?
Today, 9:49:36 AM

Guest 2
I love Jewish jokes and I don't mind them. Just like I enjoy telling Persian jokes when persians are not around, Morrocan jokes when Morrocan Jews are not around, Chinese Jokes when Chinese jokes are not around and black jokes when blacks are not allowed. We laugh, that is it. You make it more of an issue than it really is. I think people need to stop being hypersensitive about them. Every stereotype has some truth to it and its not a problem to laugh at them.

Rape jokes???? seriously? so its a black and white issue? a joke on Jewish stereotype now is the same as me saying its funny to see a girl get raped?
Today, 10:06:10 AM

Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!
The crucial difference is whether the joke is laughing WITH the subject, or AT the subject.

Telling a joke which shows a sly appreciation of a positive quality is a priori far less offensive, and less likely to offend.
But a joke that makes fun of someone, especially if it uses a negative, unjust, or racist stereotype, is funny only in a bigoted sense, and only to a bigot. Even more so if it highlights how different 'those' people are - and by implication how superior the teller of the anecdote is.

The joke cited above is clearly one of the latter. The negative stereotype about the Chinese is that they can't drive, the negative stereotype about the Mexicans that they are irresponsible, carefree, and by implication too damn lazy and stupid to get insurance unless it's clear even to them that it has become desperately necessary to do so. The implication is that Chinese and Mexicans are not the same as nice normal white folks - they're horrible drivers, irresponsible, shiftless, and bad for the neighborhood.

And yes, rape jokes also exist.

QUOTE: "...and black jokes when blacks are not allowed"

Errrrrrm, what?!?!?! Are you hanging around the country club again?


Unfortunately, there are as yet no jokes about shiftless 'entitled' white twenty-somethings urinating in residential doorways near nightclubs on Friday and Saturday nights. That, personally, is a group that I would love to have jokes about. Damned trustfund hippies! San Francisco just hasn't been the same since that bunch started moving out here.
Today, 12:32:34 PM

Guest 2
I meant when blacks are not around.

Hey, call me a bigot. You are around Israelis, we laugh at everyone and each ethnicities. You want to tell me that its bigoted to make fun of Persians being cheap in business when a Persian is not around? Stereotypes are there for a reason and we all just need to a laugh a bit. You are the one making a bigger issue of this and being hyper sensitive. Its time to be less thin-skinned.

The Chinese jokes in question is old. People tell it over and over again and I have heard if from Chinese. So your response would be, "well, its different when you are laughing WITH them" But that is ridiculous. Something totally offensive and crude and of bad taste is just that no matter if you laugh with them or at them.
Today, 2:06:06 PM

Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!
"Something totally offensive and crude and of bad taste is just that no matter if you laugh with them or at them. " EXACTLY!
That is, in a very large part, precisely the point!

If the stereotype is positive, OR something the group in question themselves laugh at ('the Dutch are notorious tightwads, but clever and savvy merchants') then there is far far less chance that it will be (quite as) offensive.
If the stereotype is negative ('all Belgians are near-moronic, stupid beyond compare, dense and dullwitted'), it is by definition offensive, even if the group in question can laugh at the joke ('Belgians are a remarkably cheerful lot'), hideously offensive if they do not appreciate it. In such a case, even if there is an element of truth ('Belgians are a cheerful lot'), or even entirely true ('all Belgians are near-moronic, stupid beyond compare, dense and dullwitted'), it is beyond the pale.

People will often laugh in order not to be perceived as a buzzkill or sh*tdisturber, and self-depreciation is often a form of adapting to one's social environment. That doesn't mean that the joke isn't offensive.

If, like Mexicans and Chinese in the US, there is a history of discrimination and violence towards the 'not-like-us' group by the societal majority, any 'ethnic' jokes can be thinly iced. That joke about Chinese and Mexicans is absolutely sufficient reason for an ass-whupping.
Though perhaps not in Texas. Or Israel.


Jokes about the Dutch? Those are quite alright - after all, even though we're notorious tightwads, we're also clever and savvy merchants.

Jokes about Chinese accents (or driving habits) and Black people's hair? Well, do you really want to talk about YOUR honky attitude and the guilt you share for four five centuries of exploitative imperialism, lynchings, beatings, slavery, indentured servitude, the opium wars, and cherry blossom sex tourism? Do you? Do you really?

Okay, okay, okay - we 'get' that as a Jew you've also been on the other side, and that, personally, YOU had nothing to do with any of those things. And you were born in the seventies, long after the bad old days had ended. You, personally, are blameless. And we do like the modern world, everyone's 'equal' now. Cool.

How about the old joke about the difference between a Jew and a Pizza?
And yes, I can find a Chinese person married to a Mexican to tell it to you.


So these two Martians happen to bump into each other on a street in Manhattan.......
Today, 3:08:49 PM

Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!
PLEASE NOTE: The comment above reflects social verities in California. We have no idea what the rest of the country is like on this issue, let alone the rest of the world. And frankly, we don't actually care.

Like slavery, Yemenite child marriages, Eastern European Gypsy abuse, or Sudanese ethnocide, it doesn't really matter that it is a treasured part of the local culture somewhere else, and quite the done thing - it still ain't civilized. So stop. Stop it. If you can't be like us, there's something wrong with you. Seriously.
Today, 3:14:51 PM

Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!
Except if you're Belgian. Then we realize that life is hard enough for you already, and you need all the understanding that we are capable of. You poor thing, you just can't help yourself! There there.
Today, 3:16:39 PM



No Belgians were harmed in the making of this post. We tried - lord knows we tried - but they're slippery little bastards, kind of like eels, and somehow, well, you know how it is.
In the end, they all got away.

Better luck next time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


This morning, as I was getting dressed, a small Cantonese woman patted my rump on her way to the bathroom.
When I yelped in protest, she sneered that someday I would remember it fondly.

"Hah! When I’m gone, you’ll miss my patting your butt. No one else would do it -- “Aiyah, don’t wanna touch those flabby ancient spongies!” "

And with that, the bathroom door closed.

She’s probably at least partially right. At fifty years of age, I am not exactly in the running for Don Juan, as Savage Kitten realizes. But then I never was.
More likely somebody’s crazy old male relative. Something avuncular.

Which brings me to a conversation on facebook, reproduced below.
It is between a dignified gentleman, and a smart-aleck young lady.
[Names have been changed to protect the innocent.]

Middle-aged Coot: I wish to formally affirm that I am NOT, repeat, NOT, trying to get into her panties. Although I am sure they are quite fine, as such things go.

Middle-aged Coot: They're probably too tight anyhow.

Middle-aged Coot: I merely wish to persuade her to take up smoking. That is the furthest I wish to go.

Middle-aged Coot: Young ladies with fine briars - it's a lovely combination.

Sweetyoungthing: Yes. Far too tight.

Sweetyoungthing: Not until I go to college.

Probably like swimsuit blondes and Ferraris.

Rabbitmom: SYT, ignore the creepy old men. Leave them to the creepy old women.

Sweetyoungthing: How can I ignore the creepy old men? They're all around us!

Besides, he's too much into tobacco and whiskey to do anything. It saps the male vitality.

Sweetyoungthing: The words "dried-up old Dutchman" come to mind. Nabokovian, yes, but hardly Humbert Humbert.

Middle-aged Coot: Young lady, I'll have you know I am still very moist! At least fifty-five to fifty-seven percent by bodyweight water! That is sufficient!


My sympathies, of course, are with Middle-aged Coot. How could it be otherwise? He and I probably have much in common, and he is clearly the aggrieved party.
I've been there, I know how that feels.
Whereas his attacker, miss Sweetyoungthing, obviously, is a snarky fourteen year old who lacks a proper attitude towards her elders.

In actual fact, none of us wish to get into her panties. We are cognizant of the law. And that society disapproves of such things. If we were even ever so inclined.
Which we aren't.

We are the pure of heart. Think of us each as 'Tobacco Uncle'.

Instead, we fervently and passionately wish to introduce her to pressed blonde Virginia flakes (demure and maidenly), or light Balkan blends (zesty and full of life), English mixtures (perky, audacious, even quite full of figure), and, should she prove receptive, the full Balkan blend in all its glory (seductive, mysterious, and tantalizing).
We might even expose her to a dark stoved flake (earthy, but with an alluring sweetness), Perique concoctions (oooh, so naughty!), and if there is absolutely NO other choice, mild aromatics (out dancing with the boys, but still home by ten).

Trust me, my dear, these things are far far better than chocolate. You will soon be convinced.


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


The campaign to daemonize and delegitimize Israel on US campii is in full swing.
One of the latest universities subject to raw politicization and the pro-Palestinian smear campaign is UCSD (university of California at San Diego).

I am in receipt of a statement from Utsav Gupta, president of the ASUCSD.

Last year, when a resolution was proposed concerning the conflict in Gaza, two student groups came to several ASUCSD Council meetings, passionately defending and advocating for their world point-of-view, their perspective on an issue that even our best international leaders have yet to successfully resolve. Some of these students believed they were compelled to come to this meeting to defend a country they hold dear. Others came to the meeting advocating for peace and human rights, hoping to lead the Association towards what they argued was progress.

[source: ]

Please note the possible suggestion that one side had divided loyalties and the other had higher ideals. In the phrasing above, being concerned for Israel can be taken to mean that one is NOT in favour of peace and human rights.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is precisely because one is in favour of peace and human rights that one must support Israel - the alternative is support for the dictatorships and tyrannies that litter the Middle-East, from Khartoum to Riyadh and Damascus.

Nevertheless and evenso, Utsav Gupta argues against divestment.

He also writes:
"Passage of this legislation will create a divide that violates the goals and purposes of our Association. To this end, I will be voting against the passage of this resolution. I urge my colleagues to do the same."

The other side, however, is not handicapped by any similar sense of ethics.

From an e-mail circulated by Leena Barakat (One Democratic State Group):
"We call on you, as members of ASUCSD, to join us in declaring a stance of peace and neutrality by upholding the Resolution to Divest from U.S. Corporations Profiting from Occupation. This resolution is part and parcel of the historic movement for peace and human rights advocacy, particularly in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank, besieged Gaza, and annexed East Jerusalem."

Leena Barakat specifically targets only one country - Israel. Just one. No other.
None of the loathsome inhuman regimes that oppose Israel is mentioned, nor any of the failed states in Africa, Asia, and South America.
No other country is so villified and excoriated, no other country is held to such high standards, no other country need answer to university students in San Diego.

Either you are FOR peace and human rights - in which case you support Israel - or you oppose peace and human rights - and find yourself on the same side as all the ghastly gangster regimes that for the past generation have sought common cause in supporting each other.

Such countries as Afghanistan, Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rhodesia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uruguay, and Venezuela. None of these have been subject to boycott and divestment calls, none of these have good or even bearable human rights records, all of which are governed by gangsters and profiteers.
And all of which are held in high esteem internationally, paragons among the united nations.

As are two I did not mention: Iran and North Korea. Paragons.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


For the past three hours I have been sniffing my digits. It's all because of the Jews.
While I was hanging around the tobacco shop this morning a young couple came in. The husband asked whether there was any Commonwealth Mixture by Samuel Gawith to be had. "No", said Thomas, "we've been having a hard time getting that; we don't know why". The young man fessed that it was difficult to find in Israel (Jerusalem) also. He bought some Westminster (GLP) and Balkan Flake (SG) instead.
While Thomas was ringing up the purchase I remarked to the young man that he certainly knew his tobacco.

Certain pipe-tobaccos are almost like a signature perfume.
Years ago someone remarked that the smell of a particular Latakia-rich mixture which I was smoking at the time reminded her of her dad - she loved to bury her nose in his sweaters and just inhale deeply. He had smoked something very similar until her mom persuaded him to quit. The smell was just so very evocative to her. Her face looked softer as she indulged the memory.
I don't think she liked her mom very much.

You must have noticed by now that I associate tobacco smells with certain fond memories (and also with several nice young ladies) from the past; smell is a very potent mental stimulant.
That pattern quite likely also holds for the young couple at the store.
My guess is that while the young gentleman's eyshes chayil may have, consciously, been not entirely approving of her husband's habit, her subconscious self is deeply, even passionately, appreciative of his signature odours. The reek of rich smoky Latakia mixtures probably prompts, without her even being aware of it, fond feelings towards the man she married - no one else has quite that same whiff.
In the dark of night when the merest whisp of Syrian perfume drifts in to the bedroom, her dreams turn warm and gentle. The faint and resinous nose-echo is comforting, reassuring.


My shipment from C&D recently arrived, so last night I made new batches of two of my own blends.
I shall wait a week to smoke the more complex mixture, which, because it contains cigar leaf (Besuki), I am letting sit for several days to meld.
The simpler blend, which needs less time to 'marry', I smoked this morning.
My fingers still smell of the tobacco with which I filled my pipe. Mmmmmmm.

Cornell & Diehl provide some fine very blending tobaccos. Kudos for their sourcing.
My fingertips bear evidence of the high quality.
Matured flue-cured tobacco, Red Virginia, Smyrna, Latakia.
You sweet young thing, you smell divine! Snifffffffffff!


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

Monday, April 26, 2010


Readers of Holland's most important newspaper, De Telegraaf (no, not the NRC Handelsblad or the Volkskrant – those are only read by self-important bureaucrats and middle-aged hippies respectively) have reacted with shock, horror, cynicism, and outrage at the news item that a New York homeless man bled to death after helping a woman fend off an attack.
Her assailant stabbed him several times, he died without anyone aiding him, and many Dutch newspaper readers are convinced that this is utterly typical of America.

This is the article:,2

It's in Dutch. I've only placed the link for reference purposes.

[Quote: Voorbijgangers laten dakloze sterven
NEW YORK - In de VS is met afgrijzen gereageerd op de dood van een illegale immigrant in New York. Nadat de dakloze man een vrouw te hulp schoot die werd belaagd, lieten omstanders hem op straat doodbloeden. Toen de 31-jarige Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax uit Guatemala een onbekende vrouw in Queens - die werd aangevallen op straat - probeerde te helpen, werd hij meerdere keren gestoken door de belager van de vrouw. End quote.]

Henk in Zuid-Holland opines more or less that Americans such as those New Yorkers are the worst kind of coward. Given that nine out of ten of the comments he has placed under newspaper articles prove him an anti-American bigot of monumental proportions, one can safely disregard what he says - except that he is not alone in his anti-American crusade. There are many souls in the Dutch cesspool who have a pathological hatred towards everything 'Yank'.

[Henk: "De VS zien zichzelf graag als het beloofde land. Maar dit is de keiharde realiteit, grotere lafbekken dan deze voorbijgangers in de straten van New York zijn er niet te vinden".]

Jan in Den Haag, Darwin in Geleen, and Micheal (stet) N in Los Angeles, to name but a few, placed equally blinkered and bitchy comments.

[Jan: "Lang leve Amerika, ieder voor zich en god voor ons allen." Darwin: "Dat is daar normaal. Als je daar bloedend en zelfs spoed eisend een ziekenhuis in gaat is de eerste vraag opf je verzekerd bent , ben je dat niet pech gehad ! De Amerikaanse nachtmerrie. Darwinisme in een schaaps vel." Micheal: "Het leven in de V.S is goed als je een hond of een kat bent. Los Angeles, CA: 150,000 daklozen. Niemand schijnt zich hierom te bekommeren. En geloof zeker niet dat Obama dit gaat veranderen."]

Micheal (stet) N in Los Angeles represents a very particular kind of modern Dutchman - the type that comes over here for a few years, sneeringly despises everything about America and Americans (often including the women he beds - he's more than likely predatory in his approach to the local females), and just cannot resist spewing bile from a position of allegedly superior knowledge, what with living here and having to speak "Amerikaansch" every day.....

Of course not everyone left a slimy anti-Yank footprint underneath that article. There were in fact several who gave evidence of education and broad perspectives, even a grim realism about their own society.

It's not the latter group that concerns me, though.

It's the poxxy bastards like Henk, Jan, and Darwin. Every day they become more and more convinced of the frightfulness of the United States, versus the near-divine sanctity and blessedness of their own country. What they say and hear on a regular basis only strengthens their biases; their social environment reflects the blinkered jaundice with which they view us.
They are spiteful and odious - which is not unusual in post-war Europe.
It's a chip on the shoulder thing.

The good thing is that they are not likely to visit the United States. And their friends and relatives also are unlikely to land on these shores - Micheal N in Los Angeles is an exception (and let us just hope he isn't spreading venereal diseases to his teenage victims).
Every time the America-haters voice their distaste, they decrease the chances of their fellow bigots heading over here.

Which, you will surely agree, is a good thing.

Consequently I do not mind them, nor the articles that agitate their minds.
They serve a great good - they prevent a mass visitation by Eurotrash.



No, dear readers (‘geachte lezers’), I do not take EVERY opportunity to “spew my gall” (idiomatic: gall spuwen = spleen venting) in the direction of the Dutch and their wonderful country. Were I to do so, there would not be enough hours in the day, and this blog would be awash.
And please note: it has been several weeks since my last excursus into Dutch peculiarity.
Besides, I actually kind of like the bastards.


Here's a version of a joke you may have heard recently........

A Belgian is wandering around the desert, quite lost – Belgians are not very bright and don’t read maps, so getting lost happens fairly often to them.
He’s parched, nearly dying of thirst, getting desperate.
But what does he see? Huzza, a merchant with a pushcart! Surely the merchant will have water!
The Dutchman (for that is what the wandering merchant turns out to be) offers that 'no, he doesn’t have any water, but he’s selling ties, wonderful silken ties, for which apparently there is an enormous demand – consequently (and he apologizes for this), they’re a little expensive ………'.

The Belgian scoffs – “these ties are vodden (shmatte), good heavens, I wouldn’t even wear any of these if you paid me!” He sniffs disdainfully (painful, what with dried out mucous membranes), then renews his queries about water.
The prospect of a sale being negligible, the Dutchman grudgingly offers that there’s a restaurant about two hours away, over that hill there. The Belgian takes off in the direction of the hill.

Four hours later the Belgian is back.
“So did you find the restaurant?”
you’re a**hole brother won’t let anyone in without a tie!!!


There are unfavourable opinions about that joke.

Understandable, because depending on who is telling it, and what ethno-cultural details are highlighted, it can be horribly offensive.
Even in the version above, a humourless Dutchman (Mijnheer Batavus Droogstoppel, for instance) might find something objectionable - though we would automatically elide over his indigation.

As you can understand, given the rivalry between the Dutch (savvy merchants) and the Belgians (good-natured fools), back when I was a youth we thought this joke hilarious.
Our Flemish friends never appreciated it.
But then, they're Belgian.
And that's a huge handicap.

Friday, April 23, 2010


One of the reasons to browse the blogs of your favourite writers is for the occasional glimpse of howling insanity they provide. No, not their own, but that of third parties.

Perhaps the quintessential third party is Rabbi Lazer Brody, who in one of his recent pieces postulates that Hashem caused the volcano in Iceland to blow its top out of petulance over a British advertising watchdog group protesting an Israeli tourist ad that showed the Western Wall.

I kid you not. His meshune post stating precisely that is here:

Yes, Rabbi Lazer Brody may very well be barking mad.
However the comments underneath that post are equally precious.

Daisy wrote:"VERY TRUE R. and a G-d blessed shbt to you.
the brits attacked a tourist brochure, but it was on the holy kotel and holy L. Hashem has closed its skies to all tourist and other flights. as a noahide i feel so happy to see Hashem's Hand protecting His first born.

[Daisy, what's with the childish lack of capitalization, and the abbreviation "holy L"? Some kind of weird typographic judgementalism?
By the way, I'm thinking of having my couch re-upholstered.... with noahide.]

Leah in Israel opined:"A day after Britain declared the Kotel not in Israel a huge volcanic dust cloud is preventing planes from taking off and landing all over Britain. Mess with us and Hashem will mess with you "
[Sorry, Leah, that conclusion is balderdash, and you are messed up. What have you been doing?]

Aaron Blackman:
"If this is what the Almighty does to show His love for His people due to the cancellation of an ad for Yerusalayim, what does He have up His "sleeve" when the nations come up and march against His city?
Thank you Rabbi Brody for pointing out the Divine Finger. May we all be zoche to see the full Hand of Hashem bring justice to His world.

[Good heavens, Aaron, you are as big a putz as the twizzlebrains cited above. What makes you think the two events are connected? Rabbi Brody's loopy mussar shmooze? Look, if you really think that Rabbi Brody has the ear of the almighty (or even makes any sense), you need help.]

The best comments, of course, are from righteously flabbergasted people.

Anthony Leon:
"How can one KNOW that these two events are connected? Did Hashem tell you? The author seems to have overlooked that Northern Europe airspace is closed and not just UK's. This means that tourists are now unable to travel from Europe to Israel! Who is suffering? What is Hashem up to? Please tell us next time he speaks to you?"

[Anthony, don't hold your breath till the morons come to their senses. Lazer Brody, judging by his acolytes, is the pied piper of pinheads.]

Charles Smith:
"Are you entirely, stark raving mad? For God's sake, really. We are the people of reason. The people of Buber, the people of Marx, the people of the Talmud. For you to rave on like this makes Jews no better than the Taliban. Seriously, if you believe this is true, I suggest a visit to your friendly neighborhood psychiatrist and high dosages of anti-psychotics. Really. You people are a hillul-haShem."

[Well said. Encapsulates my thoughts nicely. ]

To join the discussion on Lazer's gibberance, head on over to Dovbear.

This post:

The best part is the follow-up post:

Quote: "He went to all the trouble of arranging for a volcano and a mighty cloud of ash for the express purpose of preventing "a single tourist" from entering or leaving the UK, and what did those lousy non-cooperative tourists do? They took the chunnel." End quote.

Perhaps the most biting comment was by Chau Siu-Yin, on facebook, who remarked: "Rabbi Lazer Brody is an idiot, probably a republican, maybe from the dip south. Dense as a concrete wall. And quite likely Christian too."
Sterling words.
Sing it out, sistah.
Some people do not gladly suffer fools.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Sometimes, after hearing self-important putzes blathering on for a while about a subject dear to their hearts but not to anyone else's, one wishes to escape. To read or hear simple verities and statements that affirm one's own value system.

Clear and concise points of view, admirably expressed.

QUOTE: " “Sexual identity is impossible,” says Lyotard; however, according to Pickett, it is not so much sexual identity that is impossible, but rather the failure, and some would say the absurdity, of sexual identity. Lacan suggests the use of subtextual dialectic theory to read and analyse society. But the main theme of the works of Rushdie is the bridge between sexual identity and class." END QUOTE.

Clear enough. Rushdie postulates a tension between what one is sexually, and what one is in economic terms. As financial status in society does indeed determine the spectrum of sensuality and lust-performance available, it is worthwhile exploring that thought further.
However, " The primary theme of the works of Rushdie is a self-referential totality. But the subject is interpolated into a Foucaultist power relations that includes truth as a reality", according to Werther (Dept. of English, Cambridge University).

This poses an additional problem: if the definition of self is formed within, then it requires more than just a quasi-economic paradigm to effectively frame the discourse.

"Lyotard promotes the use of subtextual dialectic theory to attack hierarchy. But the subject is contextualised into a constructivism that includes reality as a totality."

Any more on this subject might bore you, dear reader, wherefore I suggest that if anyone is interested, they read the full article here: ELSEWHERE.

For something else entirely, go here: possibly electronic wombat

You would've discovered both sites on your own, but I decided to speed the process up. Anything to keep you from cruising into lolcats.

In other news:
Updates are ready for your computer!
Adobe and Microsoft will wait for you in a dark alley on your way home if you don't obey!
Make haste!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


A year and a half ago one of the customers in my portfolio fell ill. We found out when the corporate office of the franchise chain sent a letter to all suppliers alerting them that he was in a medically induced coma, and that his wife was trying to run the store by herself in addition to attending to her fulltime job and taking care of the family.

[“Customers in my portfolio”: Mostly small merchants who own one or two stores. There are over fifteen hundred of them in our field.
I always admire people who go into business for themselves in this industry – it speaks of both guts and a wondrous level of craziness. Seeing as many people actually buy the stuff from a big distributor or major name chain, the ma and pa stores on Main Street function more as show windows, not so much as mainstays of our business. ]

Bob got out of the hospital slightly over a year ago. Then he went back in again. He’s spent a large amount of time being treated.
It proved too much for his wife. After the last holiday season they decided to liquidate the store. The bank had a secured claim, but there was not enough to satisfy even that, and they have not been able to pay off all their vendors.
This is pretty much what I expected – a percentage of our customers cease operations every year, and the last invoice is often the one they cannot pay.

[I do credit and collections. Many of the customers in my portfolio are by necessity late payers. These past two years have been very interesting.]

Bob and Jen had been customers for well over ten years.
They were very good people to deal with.
They are left with nothing, and are now struggling to avoid filing for personal bankruptcy protection.

I am very glad that they had incorporated – doing so serves to protect personal assets, and is a sensible thing to do.

If they had NOT incorporated when they started the business, Jen would lose the house as well as her helpmeet this year.

Most of my customers are decent people, doing the best they can, and I enjoy the interaction I have with them.
I wish all of them well.
And I wish Bob and Jen all the strength and courage they will need to get through the next few months.

Monday, April 19, 2010


An e-mail discussion regarding the threats by members of the Sandton Synagogue to cause disruption and riot if Judge Goldstone attended his grandson's bar mitzvah.
I seem to be playing Devil's advocate in this conversation, but I just can't help it.
I'm sure you understand.

Crampbunny wrote:
"goldstone should be shunned in every way possible in the global Jewish community. he is a liar and collaborator who stoked the flames of the anti-semetic fires around the world. it's ironic that i included a mention of him i my latest piece that i did this morning before i even checked my email. i will try to incorporate goldstone in my latest weekly letter even though the subject matter is not about the goldstone report. "

" Good heavens. How very Christian of you, tayere Crampbunny.
A bar mitzvah is a family celebration.
Threatening to disrupt a family celebration because one disagrees with one of the attendees is just not done.
Would you disrupt a funeral because one of the mourners was someone you disagreed with?
If anyone threatened to disrupt a wedding or a funeral that involved my family, they would soon discover quite how much some of us are still firmly lodged in a mediaeval mindset. Seven centuries of inbred bloodymindedness is not easily unlearned.
And how much more so if their disruption offended those who are friends.
Threatening to disrupt a simcha - how precisely German!


Mademoiselle Tea Eggs:
"Apparently, this was the congregation's decision. "

" Then that congregation needs to have its collective head examined. Al pi halacha, they are wrong. And a cherem usually brings greater glory to the subject thereof than was intended.

We remember Maimonides, Spinoza, and Galileo.
Who were the bozos who banned them? Or have we already forgotten those names?

Further, to quote the article: "In an e-mail message on Friday, Judge Goldstone, who is a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center, said, “Because of the threat of protests at my grandson’s bar mitzvah, I agreed in discussion with leaders of the Sandton synagogue that in the interests of my grandson, I would not attend the services.” "

They put pressure on him. They were scared of unfavourable attention. What will they do when a Zionist speaker's attendance prompts the left wing to threaten a protest outside their synagogue? Will they cave in? Will they put pressure on the outspoken Zionist to please shut up and go away? Will they bend over backwards when the Israel-haters speak up?

I am impressed by how remarkably chicken they were, and how utterly lacking in a sense of propriety and dignity, not to mention plain old-fashioned derech eretz.
I would not want to be a member of the Sandton synagogue.


"I'm with Crampbunny... & the congregation. People are responsible for decisions they make and every action has a reaction. Why is he any less accountable than people from ISM or other Jews who stand with Arab thugs while they yell "death to the Jews". Because he's a proper gentleman and judge? Why should he get a pass from helping the constant demonizing of Israel? Life isn't always "nice". And ask yourselves, if you were in the Warsaw Ghetto, who would you want standing with you: Maimonides or Crampbunny. I would choose Crampbunny every time. "

It is not for a congregation to spoil a simcha or dictate which of your relatives you may associate with. It is also absolutely not the role of a synagogue to impose standards of political kashrus on your guests or your social life.

Aren’t we forgetting that it is a bar mitzvah?
Shouldn’t the boy who is becoming a man that day be taken into account? It's his event, his family and friends, his granddad.
Those who don't want to be in the same room as his granddad should either suck it up or stay the hell away. It's not their day in the sun, and it ain't about his granddad.

What example does it set to tell someone “okay, YOU can be here (sneer sneer snnnfff), but we’re going to ruin it for you if specific relatives show up (even if they are well-behaved and properly Jewish)”.

Under those circumstances, were it me that was tolerated, and my relatives (well-behaved, properly Jewish, and NOT the focus of the event) that pissed off busybodies in the congregation, I would make a stink like you wouldn't believe. So would you.

"Whaddya mean my uncle Larry and his (boy)friend the dentist aren't welcome?!!?? They're both Jews, and they won't be kissing each other while attending my bar mitzvah!!!!!!"

Next thing you know, they'll be barring red-heads, poor folks, Sefardim, and anyone who doesn't shop at Lenny Kohen's Kosher Meat Market.


"He wasn't thinking of his grandson or his congregation when he allowed himself to become part of the demonization of Israel & Jews. He wasn't thinking of any kind of anti-Semitism his grandson might be subjected to because of his actions, was he? And he certainly wasn't thinking of all the Israeli grandpas who won't be able to go their grandson's bar mitzvah because of the harm his disgusting blood libel caused. What about all the simchas they are forced to miss? Comparing him to Spinoza or Galileo is absurd. They suffered for speaking truth to power. He is suffering for harming his own people & participating in a blood libel against his own. Sometimes people's hearts bleed for the wrong people."

" My heart ain’t bleeding for Goldstone.
I merely despise the congregation that stigmatizes his grandson.
It isn't their place to impose their standards on his relatives and threaten to disrupt his bar mitzvah. That they chose to do so is repulsive. "

Out of a sense of decency, and respect for the boy and his parents, and those of his kin who aren't objectionable, members of the congregation who disapprove of judge Goldstone should shut the F up.
If they cannot do that, the least they can do is find an excuse to stay away on the day.

It's not judge Goldstone's bar mitzvah. It's his grandson's bar mitzvah.
Their disagreement is with him. Not with the boy.
Putting pressure on judge Goldstone by threatening to cause disturbances at his grandson's bar mitzvah is blackmail, and those who did it are cowards and ethically crippled.

Imagine that it was your wedding - and your aunt Ruby told you that she would cause a scene if you invited uncle Morris. You would tell Ruby that it was your wedding, not hers. And you'd bring a cattleprod to the wedding just in case.

And again, will they cave in if a fervent Zionist speaks and the ANC left wing threatens to protest?
Will they opportunistically turn against someone else when the heat is on?
I think they will. They've proven themselves to be pushovers.


I have a suspicion that as a consequence of this e-mail conversation I will be told, firmly told, to never show my face in Lenny Kohen's Kosher Meat Market again.



Friday, April 16, 2010


Metzorah - a physical ailment from a spiritual disease. And a cleansing ritual involving certain substances. One of which is an intense red derived from a bug.


Oak bug red, Mediterranean cochineal. The name is descriptive: tola’at is a worm or larva (here actually indicating a product of the creature), sheni is an intense dye stuff. As the animal (Coccus Ilicis) is minute, and was usually traded dried and finely ground, it was not apparent at that time that this was in fact dubious origin.

While the cedar can be easily understood as a precious aromatic (see mention of kedar libnan in the Shir Ha Shirim), that is not the reason why hyssop (eizov) and sheni tola’at are added. Hyssop can be considered purifying, and sheni tola’at was precious.

Additionally, the transformation of the red dye stuff to white ashes by the fire represents the cleansing of sin - which may explain the permissibility of including tola’at sheni in the first place, as the incineration and its symbolism would serve to purify it.

Sheni tola’at is also called kermes, from which the word crimson derives, though originally kermes was the name of type of oak on which it lived. Kermes was traded extensively, and was known by variations of that name throughout the Middle East and central Asia (crimson is the English spelling of kirmizan = Arabic for scarlet-like, scarlet hued).

Note that American cochineal (from a bug native to Mexico, not the same as the Mediterranean oak bug) is still often used as a food colouring (both intense orange and fiery red), rendering tamei mamesh everything of which it is part (best read the label on that refreshing beverage carefully).
Annato (Bixa Orellana) seeds yield a kosher substitute food coloring, which has minor health-giving properties (antioxidants) besides.

A term related to kermes, kermil, gives the word carmine, and the reputed verminous origin of the colouring matter yields the word vermillion, which is actually cinnabar (mercury sulfide and mercury oxide), used by the Chinese as ink for signature seal impressions and as a magical ingredient in potions for longevity (strongly disadvised! Several emperors shortened their lives and lost their minds because of such potions).

Mercury oxide was also used topically for chancres and certain lesions. Sometimes the cure is worse than the ailment.



Many readers at this point will be reminded of techeiles (techelet); twisted ocean-blue wool, the dye for which was derived from a sea-snail (chilazon - Murex spp.). This is the colour that one thread of the Tzitzit (fringes of the prayer shawl) was supposed to have, but the exact method of manufacturing the dye has been lost.

It is written in Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:37 "Va yomer Adonai el Moishe, lemor: " (And the LORD spoke to Moishe, saying:)
15:38 "Daber el benei Yisrael ve amarta aleihem ve asu lahem tsitsit al kanfei vigdeihem le dorotam ve noatnu al tsitsit ha kanaf petil techelet," (Speak to the children of Israel and order them to make fringes on the corners of their garments, for all generations, and that in fringes there be a thread of blue);
15:39 "ve haya lachem le tsitsit u reitem oto u zechartem et kol mitsvot Adonai, va asitem otam, ve lo taturu acharei levavchem ve acharei eineichem asher atem zonim achareihem" (And it shall be to you for a tsitsit, so that you may look at it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them, and that you do not go after your heart and your eyes, which you use to go off-course);
15:40 "lema'an tizkeru va asitem et kol mitsvotai, v' ihyitem kedoshim leloheichem" (so that you remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your G_d).
15:41 "Ani Adonai Eloheichem asher hotseti et-chem me erets Mitsrayim l'ihyot lachem l'Elohim - Ani Adonai Eloheichem!" (I am the LORD your G_d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your G_d - I am the LORD your G_d!).

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Yes, this is precisely that.


It is included in almost every post that mentions tobacco.
I may have overlooked a few.

I have also placed it in a comment on Infectious Asian's blog.
Just to needle her.
And because I know that pipe-tobacco fascinates her.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


When I came home last night I discovered that Savage Kitten had prepared one of my favourite dishes: fatty meat chunks steamed with shredded ginger and fish sauce. She had experimented by adding a few new ingredients, and the results were delicious!

[Yes, the meat was not kosher. But let’s pretend that it was. And no, I’m not telling you what the new ingredients were, that’s her proprietary knowledge. But one of them, just one, was a hot sauce that I made - special recipe. Again, proprietary knowledge.
Did I already mention that the result was delicious? Mmmmmmmmmmm!]

After enjoying the steamed "fatty let’s pretend that it may have been kosher pink stuff" with rice, and more hot sauce, I went into the kitchen to clean my plates and smoke. She came padding in to keep me company. We both had some tea.

I believe I was moaning with delight because the tobacco was so good.
A wonderful follow-up to a splendid meal. I offered her a puff, and warned her not to drag too deeply, just sip from the stem. Yes, that good.

And really, an adorable Cantonese-American woman, wearing pajamas, with an oversize two-tone Peterson bent bulldog in her mouth, is quite the sexiest and most delightful sight imaginable. She looked absolutely darling. So cute, so cute.

On the other hand, I am an atrocious human being, a meanie, and a cad! She understands now why people keep their children out of sight when I am around, truly I am depraved, a very horrible man indeed! A sadist! And a beast. Utterly!

I had, in my enjoyment of this new pipe tobacco, entirely overlooked the fact that non-smokers may not see things from the same perspective as pipe-aficionados. She coughed and hacked, trying to get the horrid taste out of her mouth. Then she rinsed her mouth repeatedly, in between punching me and choking.

Nevertheless, darn good tobacco. Fabulous.

Pipe Tobacco With Syrian Latakia
Formulated by Ted Gage
Manufactured By McClelland Tobacco Company in Kansas City, Missouri.

Gosh darn it, this is nice stuff. A lovely reek when opening the tin, and a smooth full taste on the tongue. Like almost all tinned tobaccos, it needs a bit of drying before it can be smoked, but, quite unlike most McClelland products, it does not subtly remind one of ketchup, malt vinegar, or barbecue sauce. Dang this is good.
I think I may order a few dozen tins of it.

Good Latakia supported by Virginias, with Orientals slightly in the background. A medium strength blend, not a Latakia dump. Reduces to a fine pale ash. It is, to my mind, perfectly balanced. A glorious bit of blending.
This is precisely what all winsome Cantonese girls should smoke; then life would be perfect.

The original Three Oaks was compounded by Ted Gage (a well-known name among pipe-smokers) for Bufflehead Smoke Shop in the Kansas City area (Shawnee Mission), Kansas. In 2005 or 2006 changes in the laws for out of state mail order sabotaged what was apparently a thriving business, and the store closed down. The blend’s fans were bereft.

In 2009 McClelland started manufacturing it according to the original recipe. Hot diggity! Three Oaks Syrian Pipe Tobacco Blend is a luxurious taste of home for the exile, and a perfect desert island mixture.


At present there are two other McClelland pipe tobaccos on my desk: Virginia Woods and Orient 996. Both are ribbon cuts, and behave very similarly – there is a delightful aged red Virginia sweetness that comes through if they are smoked slow. Neither is dominated by the notorious McClelland pickle factory funkum. They resemble each other, but are in fact quite different products. And yes, I recommend both – though if you like Virginia Woods, you will probably detest Orient 996, and vice versa.
Remember, smoke slow. And do not pack too firmly.


Several times over the past few years I have mentioned Dunhills becoming Carreras, Carreras becoming Rothmans, and Rothmans being digested by British American Tobacco. The mixtures moved from London, to Belfast, to somewhere in darkest Denmark.

If you wish to know more about the Dunhill shape-shifting, read here:
[Reports from the field: There are two Dunhills! By Restingpipes]

This article also sheds some light:
[Dunhill Tobacco Odyssey By Lars Wiberg and Corneel Vermeulen]

A lot has been written about Dunhill. And a lot of what has been written treats Murrays like a minor deity, Orlik like a scion of the dark side.
Back in 1981, however, when Dunhill tobacco production shifted to Murrays' plant in Belfast, it was considered the end of civilization, and Murrays was, clearly, in league with the devil. Certainly the tins of Dunhill tobacco I made the mistake of purchasing in the eighties and early nineties bore out that theory. Nasty, twiggy, and well-nigh unsmokeable, the very definition of expensive crap. It just was not the same as what I had puffed with so much pleasure in the seventies.

I remember throwing out several tins of Dunhill throughout the eighties and nineties. One tin contained more refuse than tobacco.

I didn't buy Dunhill tobaccos again till the two thousands, well after Orlik had taken over manufacture. I was very pleasantly surprised. I can only think well of Orlik in consequence.
I am not particularly interested in what B.A.T. intends to do with their intellectual property since they pissed on Orlik in 2006. It may be good, but more likely not.
I have socked away over five hundred tins from the Orlik years. Only two tins from the Murray era. That is enough Dunhill for one man.


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


First thing in the morning I check for comments. This is necessitated by my having decided to screen such things, due to the visits of hatefilled pro-Pally blisters and their ilk. Which are, of course, still ongoing.

In part, screening comments has been a chore - fairly regularly there are unpleasant and threatening remarks directed at either myself or my co-conspirators - in part a joy, due to the spelling errors and logical fallacies displayed by members of the other side - they aren't very intelligent, and some of them are emotionally fragile. It has been both a blessing and a curse.
Kinda like Mount Gerezim and Mount Ebal.

And sometimes I really don't know what the heck they're talking about.

Consider these two observations I found in my in-box recently:

The circle each makes the assumption that the baring of an typographical error is similar with the origination of accuracy - that the fluff and facts in fact are plainly opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the faction turns to, when it is cured on entire gaffe, is commonly only another error, and peradventure identical worse than the triumph one.

The everyone continually makes the assumption that the baring of an typographical error is comparable with the origination of actually - that the erroneously and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on entire boob, is almost always absolutely another fault, and maybe one worse than the senior one.

[Source: This comment string: under this post: Please note that I did not permit the publication of either of these comments, as I believe them to be exploratories for the purpose of seeing whether this blog is a suitable parking place for advertising linkage spam. It isn't. ]


Aside from the obvious stylistic similarities - they both start with 'the' and end with 'one', both have a dash separating clauses in the first line, both state that two opposite concepts are, in fact, opposite, and both contain the phrase "they are nothing of the sort", these two texts also show enough deviation to indicate that whatever the original language, different stages of machine-translation were employed rather than being spontaneous attempts at expressing the thoughts of the writer in English.
The result is like elucidation by scholars of different eras on the same text (and how remarkable that the results so perfectly echo each other - quelle miracle!).

These are truly fascinating windows into a different world.
I, for one, am absolutely enchanted.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I’m willing to bet that Anat Kamm and Uri Blau will, in a very few years, be touring the United States and Europe giving talks to audiences comprised of very sincere people who idolize them for what they did.

People like MECA, ISM, Women in Black, International ANSWER, QUIT, Codepink, J-Street, SJP, JVP, Alawda, Queers for Hamas ....

The last thing, absolutely the very last thing, that we need in the US is some damn self-righteous Israelis telling us what to think.
We've got enough damn self-righteous people of our own, and they're insufferable enough.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I am outraged! Outraged, I tell you. I have been mercilessly fisked by a small and feisty female, who has taken my fondness for a pipe-tobacco (Balkan Sobranie) which is no longer available to task, nay, even sent it up the flagpole and invited the world to throw raspberries at it.

[My fondness, that is. Not the pipe tobacco (Balkan Sobranie) itself. About which she has little to say.]

Fellow-blogger Infectious Asian wrote: "I also clicked on a link named "Tobacco List", and that was a frightfully stupid thing to do - forty pages or so of stuff about pipe tobacco - a lot of which is, obviously, about Balkan Sobranie and mr. Atboth's deep enduring love affair with his stinky mistress.
He loves to roll in it, to touch it, to fondle it, rub it all over his pasty middle aged torso, and breathe deeply and passionately of its heady perfume. Balkan Sobranie is better than ten women!
He remembers each and every lust embrace of Balkan Sobranie, each tar-stained kiss, each sooty frolic, and each sultry shred of stimulus. Balkan Sobranie!
That's pipe tobacco we're talking about, he isn't talking about ME, thank god even though I'm jealous, or even any other young ladies. Just pipe tobacco! Pervert!


Stinky mistress? Tar-stained kisses?

Forsooth! 'Tis slander!

That statement about touching, fondling, and rubbing it all over my pasty middle aged torso is a calumny of monumental proportion. If I had any Balkan Sobranie lying around I would stick it in my pipe, nothing else. Touching, fondling, and rubbing are perhaps things that should happen to YOU, you very naughty teenage person, but NOT to tobacco.
You have no cause for jealousy.

I also object to be being referred to as "an elderly Dutchman, no longer hormonally gifted," and "possibly dried up".
I'll have you know that I am still full of piss and vinegar.

Given the general tenor of her post, I suspect that the rambunctious fourteen year-old Cantonese-American blogger was both bored and seeking to stir something up.

[But she did give me some gratuitous linkage, including one to this post:
Linkage is always a good thing.]


There have been other times when Infectious Asian has shown her teeth.

In this post she un-gently ripped Katherine Fuchs (National Organizer US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation) for several things, here she slashes at Lily Haskell of the Arab Resource Organizing Center, and in this post she rakes the Berkeley Daily Planet (the Bay Area's own anti-Semitic news rag) and its self-righteous publisher (Becky O' Malley) over the coals.

All in all, I probably got off lightly. Compared to what she wrote about Katherine Fuchs, Lily Haskell, and Becky O'Malley, it was an affectionate ribbing, rather than a rabid savaging. She has a talent for bile quite unusual in one so young.
I may have to suggest some other targets to her - Kate Raphael, Alice Walker, and Barbara Lubin haven't been mentioned much at all lately. Perhaps she should direct her bitchy attentions thither.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, is particularly fond of the Black Nationalist song "umshini wami" ('bring me my machine gun'), which dates from the days of armed struggle. It is also popular among the members of the African National Congress Youth League, which has sporadically threatened to defend Zuma's controversial rule and violently exterminate opponents.

Another song favoured by the ANC Youth League is "Shoot the Boer", which has frequently been performed at rallies, though recently it is somewhat discouraged by the saner heads who wish no discord prior to and during the World Cup next year.

A sample of the charming lyrics of that second song:

Dubula! Dubula! Dubula nge s’bhamu,
Dubul’ ibhunu!
Dubula! Dubula! Dubula nge s’bhamu,
Mama, ndiyeke ndidubul’ ibhunu!
Dubula! Dubula! Dubula nge s’bhamu.

Shoot! Shoot! Shoot them with a gun;
Shoot the Boer!
Shoot! Shoot! Shoot them with a gun,
Ma, let me shoot the Boer!
Shoot! Shoot! Shoot them with a gun.

[The word 'boer' means a farmer, but in the more general sense the term means Afrikaners (South Africans of predominantly Dutch and Huguenot descent), and is frequently applied to all white South Africans - even to those English South Africans who made certain that we knew that they were NOT racists, good heavens no, some of their best friends were black, and it was all anyway the fault of those damned Boers, who were primitive, uncivilized, and superstitious. And they didn't personally know anybody like that. No. Not them.]


Many ANC stalwarts are displeased that an Afrikaans language song has proven popular among the descendents of the people who have been there much longer than either the Anglo-Saxons, OR the Xhosa, Zulu, and Matabele. There have been indignant assertions that the song encourages race-war and a sense of Boer superiority.

The song in question recalls the great Boer general Koos De La Rey, who was among the last to hold out against the British during the Second Boer War.

Among other things, it makes mention of concentration camps and genocide, the first of which was invented by the British for the purpose of perpetrating the second on the Boers.
The song 'celebrates', if that is the right word, the inhumanity of the greatest imperial power of that age, which had already seized the original Boer homeland in 1806.

After the discovery of diamonds near the Orange River, the British decided that the independence of the northern Boer republics, which they had recognized in 1852 and 1854, was not worth the paper it was written on.
In the process of furthering the noble aims of empire they proceeded to imprison and starve Boer women and children. Tens of thousands died in addition to multitudes who perished as a result of general Kitchener's scorched earth policy.

[This was also when the British developed the practice of extrajudicial killings, shooting Boer prisoners in cold blood. During both the First and Second World Wars the Germans applied the tactic to suspected members of the resistance in the areas they had conquered. It is very effective.]

The song is about the burning of farms and the hunting down of Boers by the British, as well as the spirit of resistance that that barbarity ignited.

De La ReySung by Bok van Blerk

Op 'n berg in die nag,
Lê ons in donker... en wag.
In die modder en bloed lê ek koud,
Streepsak en reën kleef teen my,
En my huis en my plaas tot kole verbrand, sodat hulle ons kan vang,
Maar daai vlamme en vuur brand nou diep, diep binne my.

De La Rey, De La Rey, sal jy die Boere kom lei?
De La Rey, De La Rey;
Generaal, generaal! Soos een man sal ons om jou val, generaal De La Rey!

Oor die Kakies wat lag,
'n handjie van ons teen 'n hele groot mag.
En die kranse lê hier teen ons rug,
Hulle dink dis verby,
Maar die hart van 'n Boer lê dieper en wyer, hulle gaan 't nog sien.
Op 'n perd kom hy aan, die Leeu van die Wes Transvaal.

De La Rey, De La Rey, sal jy die Boere kom lei?
De La Rey, De La Rey;
Generaal, generaal! Soos een man sal ons om jou val, generaal De La Rey!

De La Rey, De La Rey, sal jy die Boere kom lei?
De La Rey, De La Rey;
Generaal, generaal! Soos een man sal ons om jou val, generaal De La Rey!

Want my vrou en my kind lê in 'n kamp en vergaan,
En die Kakies se murg loop oor 'n nasie wat weer op sal staan.


De La Rey, De La Rey, sal jy die Boere kom lei?
De La Rey, De La Rey;
Generaal, generaal! Soos een man sal ons om jou val, generaal De La Rey!

De La Rey, De La Rey, sal jy die Boere kom lei?
De La Rey, De La Rey;
Generaal, generaal! Soos een man sal ons om jou val, generaal De La Rey!
Generaal, generaal! Sal jy die Boere kom haal?

The offending part of the song is this expression: "'n nasie wat weer op sal staan" ('a nation that will stand up again'). Given the context, it means a beaten people that will once again be free and independent - a hope among all the nations of the British Empire during the age of colonialism.
It still resonates - and that disturbs the modern world, which much prefers to believe in convenient and simplistic truths about nationality.

Friday, April 09, 2010


No no no, mon ami, no no no!
There are PRECISELY as many groups as there are individuals. No more, no less.

See, rugged American individualism insists on each hatefilled creep being his or her own parade. But they also maintain mailing lists so that they can tell ALL the other "groups" when each of them needs to show up. In every anti-Israel demonstration, there are, again, PRECISELY as many individuals as there are groups and websites represented.

Yes, there is some overlap. They get very lonely without people who agree with them. So they maintain the pretense of an active membership - all of whom, remarkably, are members of multiple groups. As well as being the sole active member of one group.

Let us take Robert "Spankerbotty" of Emeryville as an example.
He's a member of Women in Black, IJAN, and QUIT. He's on the SJP, JVP, and International ANSWER mailinglists. He's a committed Jew who attends liberation seders at a Methodist church, and he's a supporter of Sabeel, ISM, AlAwda, MECA, and several other "groups". If it weren't for his deeply felt personal ambivalences, he would have no social life.
But, fortunately, he has the "groups". And, by looking at which group he is standing with at any given time, one may find out who each of his friends and associates are.

The only exception in the list above is the Methodist church in Oakland that I mentioned - they actually do have more than one member.

The charming Muslim groups you cite usually chant "falastin balad'na wa'l Yahud qalab'na", as well as "ba ruh, ba dam, nafdeeq ya falastin". But it has been AT LEAST three months since I heard "yitbachulyahood". Doesn't play so well when their "groupies" are all taking Arabic lessons...

See, it's all so simple.



The letter above was sent in response to the assertion that there was an organized group called "Itbach al Yahud in the Bay Area", possibly chaired by Kate Jessica or one of her tattooed lovers.

If so, it would be a fearsome thing.

I really think someone should've told us before now. The other members of the People's Front of Judea - Bay Area Chapter, as well as the Judean People's Front (NorCal), and the Judean Popular People's Front (SF & Oakland), along with the Campaign for a Free Galilee (Mission District and Upper Telegraph Hill) will be MOST upset to find out that someone has pulled a fast one on us!

PS I: Please don't mention a word of this to the Popular Front of Judea and Montgomery Street - we don't talk to them, they're splitters!

PS II: Romanes, eunt domus!

PS III: Even though you can't have babies, the PFJ-BA (People's Front of Judea - Bay Area Chapter) supports your right to have babies; it's every man's right to have babies if he wants them. And we encourage that.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


One of the things which is nearly impossible to find in the United States is an old fashioned ontbijt koek. Which, if you are reading this, you may very well not know.

Ontbijt koek (“breakfast cake”) is a type of semi-sweet ryebread cake flavoured with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and candied citrus peel (succade).
The Groninger version, called an 'ole weef kewk' ("Oal Wief Koek" - old hag's cake), is flavoured only with anise and is soft enough that even a toothless crone can enjoy it.

The nearest equivalent, in the English-speaking world, is lekach, though in fact ontbijt koek is related to both the Flemish honingkoek and the French pain d'épices.

It is a profoundly mediaeval product. But fortunately it has been updated - and is now sold in nice uniform weights and packages wherever there are sufficient Dutch people.
As I have never made it myself, I shall abstain from giving a recipe.

You can buy it off the internet. Just hunt around for any outfit that promises Dutch comestibles by mail order. I have no recommendations, as I seldom purchase food electronically.


The only reason I even remembered ontbijt koek is because a tobacco I'm smoking right now reminded me of an early morning long ago in summer. No one else was up yet, I was wide awake and not hung-over. I fixed myself some coffee and a large slice of ontbijt koek with butter, then went and sat in the courtyard, where the sparrows in the rose trellises provided the only noise to be heard at that time of day. After eating, I lit up. What I'm smoking today is by no means the same blend, but has some characteristics which are very similar. And the sun on the flat roof of the building next door evoked the brightness of the light against the wall back then.

[The tobacco is McClelland Tobacco Company's Orient 996 - Vintage 2007. Described as: "A very special blend of sugary bright Virginia and aged, mellow red Virginia, seasoned with a good amount of rare Yenidje and touch of Syrian Latakia. Ready to smoke, but designed to age beautifully."
Yep, that's what the tin blurb says. Prolix, eh? But it's actually a very nice product, albeit not particularly top-heavy on the Orientals. A fine ribbony cut, and a fermented smell reminiscent of English and Scottish tobaccos still common in the nineteen-seventies.]

I think I'll look up recipes and experiment. When I have satisfactory results, I'll post them. Until then, just move along - nothing to see here.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


This morning one of the mailing lists yielded the claim that Obama is a Muslim, because he attended a madrassa years ago.
It is an absurd assertion, given that the word 'madrasa' in Indonesian merely implies school (much like 'academy' usually means the same in English), and the actual madrassa in question was Besuki in Jakarta (Sekolah Dasar Nasional Menteng 01), a grammar school which he attended from 1969 till 1971. There were Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist children at that school.
I doubt that it EVER yielded a religious fanatic.

For the next two years after Besuki he went to a Catholic school (Sekolah Fransiskus Assisis). Which was also in Indonesia.
To the best of my knowledge, that particular Catholic school has not produced a single crusader, witchburner, or professional daemonologist.

Seeing as he also spent twenty years listening to the fire and brimstone preaching of a rather poisonous branch of Christianity while in Chicago, one should not be concerned with any lingering Muslim influences, but rather with the distinct possibility of fragile and fading sanity.
As far as I can tell, he is (still) sane.
As sane as anybody in Washington.

However, Obama's sanity and religion are not the point of this post. The term 'Besuki' is.

To anyone familiar with the former Dutch East Indies, especially if they lived in a town which once boasted five cigar factories, the term Besuki is richly evocative.


During the colonial period, Besuki was a residency in Eastern java, comprised of four regencies: Panarukan, Djember, Bondowoso, and Banyuwangi.
The two agricultural products for which Besuki was known were tobacco and sugar cane.

[Note: Originally, Panarukan (now subsumed in the administrative district Situbondo) was the easternmost extent of the Great Post Road (Grote Postweg), built by governor Daendels at the behest of king Louis Napoleon. The road is a monument to efficient murder, but ensured Daendels lasting fame as a civil administrator, organizer, and a man who got things done.
It was built within budget and under deadline - a remarkable praestation.]

The famous Besuki tobacco came mostly from Jember and Bondowoso. Both Dutch and Indonesian cigar companies still utilize the na-oogst (late harvest) of this excellent crop.
Zandblad (the leaf at the bottom of the plant), and some of the leaves immediately above it, are used for wrapper (the outer surface of the cigar), hang-krosok (the middle leaves) with damaged zandblad and other wrapper blad are used for filler. The topmost leaves (daun putjok) are only used for filler. Voor-oogst (early harvest) of whatever type is almost exclusively destined for the cigarette industry.
Tobacco from Besuki, both top quality and Regie, are shipped in bales to Bremen, where they are inspected by buyers, who will decide which plantation, which grade and harvest, which colour of leaf they shall purchase for their factories.

Many cigars made of Besuki tobaccos will, however, have a wrapper made of Deli leaf from Sumatra.

Java leaf, whether Besuki or Vorstenlanden (“Royal Domains” – four principalities in Central Java), tends toward a full reddish brown hue (twixt yellow ochre and a medium Siena with only a light touch of umber) and a mild flavour, whereas Sumatra will be a lighter shade, a more silky surface, and a sharper taste. Hence the tendency to use Sumatra leaf for its pleasing appearance, while tempering it with a Java filler and binder.

It should be noted, however, that some leaf from Central Java is bright, and makes a fine wrapper for exquisite cigars.

Famous companies that use Besuki leaf are Oud Kampen, De Olifant, and La Paz.
I believe that Justus van Maurik and Heren van Ruysdaal also use Besuki leaf – it would be queer if they didn’t - but I have not been able to confirm that.
In Indonesia, PT Gelora Djaja (Wismilak Premium Cigars) represents the genre.


As for the sugar cane, that too is still grown in Besuki, but it has faded quite considerably in importance. The great depression proved an economic blow from which the plantations did not fully recover, and after the war returnees to the Netherlands still remembered the reek of sugar factories torched by labour agitators and starving workers. For two decades, the depressed local economy spurred social disruption and political activism.
Eastern Java, at one point, had more convinced Marxists than any other part of Indonesia.

The student of history will recall that between 1965 and 1967 the Indonesians slaughtered over a million communists...... along with ethnic Chinese (mercantile class) and Arabs (venal moneylenders).

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