Saturday, December 05, 2015


A while back I wrote a brief essay about Penzance, that being a tobacco product over which some people go ape. It's a fine product, but I only have a little of it (less than thirty tins). Though I've stockpiled a rather large amount of pipe tobacco -- operating on the assumption that many excellent blends will go out of production, and also taking for granted that prices will go up as the do-gooders try to make it more and more difficult for us -- a few years ago my tastes changed drastically, and my favourite tobaccos nowadays are various Virginias and Virginia-Perique mixtures.
Aged flakes are especially satisfying.

[AGED FLAKES: One of the things immediately noticeable upon popping a can is the fruity reek. Those are carotenoids, which are also components of stone fruits, among several other plants. They account for the plummy, peachy, almost apricot-like natural aromas. When smoked, Virginias smell extremely old-fashioned, and for some people this is the precise odour that got them into pipes in the first place.
Others particularly remember Virginias mixed with Burley.
A rich solid autumn leaf and woodsy sort of smell.
That, too, is a powerful nose memory.]

Anyhow, I've got several tins of Penzance and other products from the same company (Germain & Son, under the Esoterica label), but not nearly enough Dunbar or Dorchester, both fine Virginias.

Apparently my little scribble caught someone's eye.
Who posted a link on Reddit.


From whence comes this comment:

"I love the pseudo-intellectual language the author uses in an attempt to sound more educated on the subject. But instead of sounding more knowledgeable he (I'm assuming it's a "he") just comes off as butthurt and pissed that he doesn't have enough Penzance.
Edit: For those of you who haven't read other entries in the same blog, I highly recommend it for your own amusement. It's really the incoherent ramblings of a madman."
[----- soymilkisgood ]

The incoherent ramblings of a madman?

I love that phrase!

And I wish I had come up with that!

It's a splendid description, and so evocative!

I am madman, hear me roar.


One of the other commenters had this to say:

"Yeah I kinda liked this story, but you're right. His other stories just sounds like a pissed off neck-beard."
[----- MisterHall ]

The term neck-beard was a new one. Never heard that expression before.

This is what Urban Dictionary has to say:

1. (n) Facial hair that does not exist on the face, but instead on the neck. Almost never well groomed.

2. (n) Derogatory term for slovenly nerdy people who have no sense of hygene or grooming. Often related to hobbies such as card gaming, video gaming, anime, et. al.

Definition one is completely off-base.
Perhaps number two was meant?


There is an element of truth there. No, not the appearance, as I have a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard, and shave everyday (it's a question of self-respect). Showers, clean clothes, plus I get my hair trimmed short regularly, and obsessively clean my hands at work.
I prefer short finger nails.

Nor, for that matter, are my hobbies "card gaming", "video gaming", or "anime".

But my apartment is a mess. Slovenly is a very apt description. Stacks of books everywhere. As well as pipe tobacco in all the bookshelves. The ten year stash of Dunhill tobaccos (enamel tins, some from the Northern Ireland period) are thankfully boxed. But my Talmud volumes are quite hidden, as is a copy of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (I bought another copy rather than taking out the tobacco). I have no clue where the complete Shakespeare is, nor À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu, and some of the various foreign language dictionaries are missing in action too.

Perhaps significantly, nearly all of my Chinese dictionaries are easy to find, and both Matthews and the 中國書法大字典 are within hand-reach. Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification and Signification', second edition (Dover Publications), by Dr. L. Wieger, translated into English by L. Davrout, and 正草隶篆四体字典 are at the top of their respective stacks. There are two copies of the Chinese-English Dictionary by Chik Hon Man and Ng Lam Sim Yuk, Cantonese in Yale Romanization, Mandarin in Pinyin, published by The Chinese University Press in Hong Kong; one on my bed, the other one next to the Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek, by Jan de Vries.

Though I own two copies, the English/Chinese Dictionary of Accounting (Wan Li Book) is missing. One copy may be in one of the manga stacks.

Latin, Malay, Hindi-Urdu, Punjabi, and Sundanese are six shelves above the fray. No, those are not languages I know well at all, but they are interesting, and sometimes useful.

I can find all of Nabokov, as well as Legge's translations of the classics.

Plus almost all of my cookbooks.

Everything I can't locate, can be seen somewhere on the internet.
It's better than a library.

I know exactly where all my pipes are.
As well as the I-Hsing teapots.

Yet another insightful man said this:

"I thought he was drunk blogging..."
[----- PhysicsNovice ]

Nope. Cold sober. I'm like this all the time. Last time I blogged drunk was when my girlfriend broke up with me, over five years ago. I'm not entirely certain, but I think I've erased all of that crap from this blog.
It wasn't the best time of my life, but I've recovered.

Problem is, I've gone kinda pseudo-intellectual since then.
It's worse than rum, tell you what.
An addiction.


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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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