Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Courtesy of Clare on the internet, I have discovered that I really don't watch enough television. In consequence of which bad habit (not watching), an entire series of festive recipes and cooking tips went by unnoticed.

My holiday season would have been so much better with the breadbowl or the fruitcake. I regret lost opportunities!

However, there is still time to make the Superbowl get-together memorable.

With a party-pleaser that has something for everyone!


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-3LD1JRmuc.]

This is the first Raccookin' video I ever saw. It was the one that Clare placed under one of my comments, on a picture provided by a correspondent whom I have known interwebbishly for over a decade.
I have now watched all the others.
They are inspirational.


This Sunday the game will be on in "the lounge", and the doors closed. It's a private event, buy-in fifty dollars, for the unbearable cigar afficionados in good standing in Marin County.
I do not intend to be there past three twenty five or so, the Heckman has those boys all to himself. But maybe this wonderful eaty thing will tell the stogey-huffing sportsfans there what I really think of them, as well as their final whooptie-do of the football season, as I myself enjoy the quiet city, the clear air without car fumes, and the vast array of garbage that San Francisco has become. It's so eclectic!

I'm not eating Italian this Sunday; it will probably be something Chinese instead, in a quiet place where they will be glad to see me.

It will be a celebratory thing.
You betcha.

[For an inkling of my relationship with cigar smokers, see: THE WALL.]

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With last Friday's executive order Trump proved what a humanitarian he is, and how seriously he takes his duties as commander of the faithful.

Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer said so.

Some people are too dangerous.

Especially these!

Trump is a leader of whom Republicans can be proud.

Truly, an exemplary human being.

As are they all.


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Monday, January 30, 2017


For the past three days I indulged(!) my degenerate side while at work.
Which should shock you, yes, because I am a very depraved man.
I would not allow myself near my own children, if I had any.

I smoked numerous bowls of an Aromatic: McClelland's Deep Hollow.

Described as predominantly Red Virginia, some black, and a touch of flavouring. For me, that counts as revolting perversion.
Fresh apples, with a whisper of caramel.
And a mere hint of vanilla.

It was good. The tin has been opened for several months, and the tobacco within has lost the hint of vinegar imparted by the bacteria native to Kansas city; it is now a very enjoyable change of pace.

I also swilled enough tea to float a battle ship, and spent much time in the cigar room, where it was cold enough to freeze your tits off. Someone has to do it, and as a man I do not have tits (if I did, my sweaters would look more taught than rumply; you may rejoice that I don't have tits), and my handwriting is legible, which means that I get detailed for accurate lists.
During brief moments back outside, folks were overjoyed to see me.
Which is surprising, flattering, and disturbing.

Me and a pipe for company, up on a ladder with a clipboard.
Freezing my non-existent tits off.

I suspect that during my absence -- the next two days are my weekend, and I shall behave riotously (in a restrained manner) -- no further work in there will be done.

Two colleagues left for Honduras over the weekend, on a cigar related trip. They will be visiting a stogey factory out in the hinterlands, under armed escort because Honduras is a pretty "gnarly" place.
This week we're a skeleton crew.

With three staff members on duty, nearly four times more work gets done than with only two. This is a peculiar mathematical fact.

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This blogger has great respect for people who do not mind being hated. Sneered at. Despised. Loathed. Utterly disliked, held up to ridicule, called names, regarded as darn well un-human, excoriated, and considered suitable for toilet paper or target practice pictures.
Unmitigatably vile, rabid, daemonic.

Such as the Belle of Camden.

Finally, a woman with tales of whom we can scare obstreperous little children: "if you're not gonna behave, Kellyanne Conway gonna get you!"

It's a sign of gender parity. A female so gardamighty frightful that she makes grown men weep. Previously only male evil could achieve this.

"Kellyanne Conway gonna get you!"

No doubt the little dears will have hysterics.

Malevolence made flesh.

It's quite impressive.
I stand in awe.

A fitting face for this administration.
She snarls in nightmares.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017


So far the orange clown, assisted by his team of droogs (Conway, Priebus, Giuliani, Spicer, and Bannon), has flung his faeces at women, Mexicans, and Muslims. And also taken aim at science, civil liberties, and logic.

It's only a matter of time before he splatters everyone.

I'm not sure whether I am watching the self-destruction of the Republicans, or the Tea Party. Either eventuality is desirable. But the damage will not be so fortuitously limited.
Much will be ruined ere we rid ourselves of these monsters.

And there may be bloodshed.

They're crazy.

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Regular readers know that this blogger is a descendant of Dutch and English settlers who came over in the era when the Netherlands was still in charge of New Amsterdam, that the Dutch Reformed Church was our religion until four generations ago, that "Dutchness" dominates in my mental universe, and that I speak, read, and write Dutch.
I also lived in the Netherlands for several years.
And consider myself both sides:
Dutch and American.

So, it is with particular ire that I read what Geert Wilders had the effrontery and bad taste to tweet recently.

"Well done @POTUS it's the only way to stay safe + free. I would do the same. Hope you'll add more Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia soon."

-----Geert Wilders

My dear Mr. Wilders;

Val toch kapot, grof stuk schorem. Gij vertegenwoordigt werkelijk het allerslechtste element van Nederlanders, en het ergert veel van de beschaafde wereld dat ge nog leeft, nog immer niet vermoord bent, en nog steeds uwen walgelijke meningen voort spuwt.

Redelijk Nederland -- de meerderheid -- is uwe onzin zat.
Alsmede uw verachtelijke en voorspelbare reetlikkerij.

Mischien zoudt ge eens uwe bek dicht moeten houden? Wat gaat het u aan wat de Verenigde Staten doen? Gij, en uw mallote fanklub alhier, zijn om van te kokken.

Krijg de kolere.



In all honesty, Geert Wilders is a piece of crap, his followers in the United States are garbage, and his approval is damning, and proof that something is utterly beneath contempt.

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Saturday, January 28, 2017


A man is supposed to grow and evolve over time, and become a better person. Not sure if I have actually managed to do that, as I am still petty, and toward the people whom I find offensive I may occasionally manifest a vindictive or childish streak ten miles long. For instance, there is one old elfin looking gentleman whom I really would not mind seeing come to a violent and humiliating end. Preferably with ridiculous theatrical touches.
So that the video of his demise goes viral.

No, I shall not mention who that is. Don't want to alert him to the fact that an elephant is suspended above his head.


On the other hand, at my age I have come to realize that I am not fit company for a number of people, and thank heavens for that.
I shall not seek out their friendship.
Not that I did so anyway.

On a post for which I shall not provide the link, a reader commented two years ago "So, have you found your nice greasy juicy lump of feminine charsiu yet? It's been what, about five years?"

Which, coupled with the recent question whether my universe was 'still charsiu centered' -- likewise with a love or lust connotation -- suggested that I may have mentioned charsiu overmuch.

I do indeed adore charsiu.
But not only charsiu.
All siu mei.


Siu mei is the category of roasted savoury meats that you find hanging from hooks in the windows of some Chinatown restaurants. Marvelous stuff like roast duck (燒鴨 'siu ngaap'), white poached chicken (白切雞 'paak chit kai'), and roast pork (燒肉 'siu yiuk'). It's not just charsiu (叉燒), that's only one type.
There's also soy sauce chicken (豉油雞 'si yau kai') and roast goose (燒鵝 'siu ngoh'). Though that last is somewhat rarer. All of these are great as the main dish, but also used in numerous other preparations, such as soups, stews, hutchepots, and great greasy combinations.
They are one of the main reasons why you should always live close to a Chinatown, and why folks go schizo-paranoid when they don't.
Just look at the rest of the country.
They are quite insane there.
No good eats.

Sorry, I got quite distracted by siu mei. There's also steamed fish (蒸魚 'jing yü'), stirfried soft-shell clams (炒大頭 'chaau daai tau'), and plenty of delicious vegetable dishes. Grilled pork rice noodle soup (燒猪肉河粉湯 'siu chü yiuk ho fan tong') stir-fried pork and snow fungus (炒肉絲銀耳 'chaau yiuk si ngan yi'), garlic chives dumplings (韭菜豬肉水餃 'gau choi chü yiuk seui gaau'), shrimp sauce Chinese orchid-mustard (蝦醬芥蘭 'haa jeung gaai laan'), and pig trotters flavoured with fermented tofu (南乳豬手 'naam yü chü sau'). And a stupendous favourite: ground pork patty steamed with ginger and salt fish (咸魚蒸肉餅 'haahm yü jing yiuk beng').
You can't get most of these elsewhere either.

[Soft-shelled clams, also called 'long necks' or 'piss clams', are an invasive species on the West Coast, much like immigrants from the Atlantic states, where they are native. To prepare them for the pot, place them in a bucket of salt water for several hours, so that they expell the sand and grotty things they have ingested. One part salt, twelve parts water. They can also be steamed, like we Dutch do with fresh mussels, but stirfrying them combines the broth they will exude with the garlic, ginger, rice wine, and scallion, for a lovely sauce.]

Do you feel hungry now? Good!

"Have you found your nice greasy juicy lump of feminine charsiu yet?"

Boy willikers, does that ever sound nice!

One can discuss love, lust, and sex, using food metaphors, or cuisine with over the top romantic terms. Dining with a member of the opposite gender, provided she loves to eat and is culinarily open-minded, is a splendid fantasy. One should have an abiding feastly passion.

If she were a vegan gluten-phobe, the metaphors would be crypt-related, graveyards, and a bleak wasteland.


No, I have not found my nice greasy juicy lump of feminine charsiu yet. And if I do, she probably won't exactly appreciate being likened to a steaming lump of pork, but she will probably love to eat it.
Among many other things.

I think the jury is still out on the gender of charsiu.

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Friday, January 27, 2017


When they are still so young, there is innocence and charm. They unlearn that in their teens, and, if they are fortunate, it comes back differently as they adultify. But as three, four, five year olds, it is fresh and so very much worth safeguarding.

There was only one place to sit on the bus heading downtown, and being a knackered old geezer, I took it. Next to a little round-headed moppet with flopsy hair and her grandfather. And I listened in on their conversation. She knew her numbers and the days of the week in English, and though he only responded in Cantonese, he understood. But when she spoke of school, every word was entirely in "our" language.
Her voice was clear and bell-like.
Excellent diction.

I am bad at guessing ages. I would say three.
Maybe four. but a very small four.
No, not five yet.

They got off at Grant. When I exited at Kearny, I could see them up the street heading to a doorway in the middle of the block.

One elderly coot, and one wide awake moppet.

I never had children. Which I rather regret.

I might have made a decent parent.

At the Occidental the conversation revolved around politics. Fortunately the two people who voted Trump weren't there. Their arrogance would have been discordant.

I'm just mentioning this. Had they been present, different subjects would have been brought up.

The evening started quietly.
And ended quietly.

I headed out with pouch and pipe.
I returned dreaming.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017


California grows enough avocados to supply all of her own guacamole needs. The rest of the country largely relies on Mexican imports, which because of president Dingleberry McStupidhair's recent tantrum, may come to an end soon. Which is a pity, because Cinco De Mayo is coming up, and folks in Dingleberrystan will need an excuse to partayyy!

We should impose a tax of twenty percent or more on locally-grown avocados exported from California to Dingleberrystan. Keep all of the avocados here. We need them. Let those bastards on the other side of the Sierras freeze their bigoted asses off in the dark!

Or whatever it is that they do.

By the way, it looks like much of Europe will be celebrating Cinco De Mayo too this year. With guacamole.

[Guacamole is made by coarsely mashing raw avocado flesh with a little salt and oil, and a lot of lime juice. Mix this moosh with some minced green chilies and chopped tomato as you see fit. Tortilla chips can be used to dip it up, but try it on some toasted crusty French bread instead. Delicious!
Guacamole word gemaakt door het vlees van avocados met ene vork te beklutsen, met een weinig zout en olie, en een gulle hoeveelheid limoen (djeroek) sap. Hierbij voegt men 'n hoeveelheid gesnipperde tjabe hidjau en gehakte tomaat, naar smaak. Tortilla chips kunnen gebruikt worden om het op te scheppen, doch Franse brood toastjes zijn ook voortreffelijk!]

[Erläuterung: Guacamole besteht aus zerdrücktem fruchtfleisch reifer avocados, ein wenigkeit salz, speiseöl, und eine angemessen kwantität limettensaft, mit chili und tomatenwürfeln zugefügt wie du willst.]

I suspect that the tactics that president Dingleberry McStupidhair will experiment with against Mexico are merely a test of what he'll use on China and Europe. See what works, and what doesn't.
It's a learning experience.

The American people will have to pay for this.

The type of unethical strong-arm tactics that work in business may not come unanswered in foreign relations.

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Like many reasonably intelligent people, I tend to think of Republicans as heartless unethical bastards, devoid entirely of the nobler instincts, and out to gouge society and their fellow man as much as can be done.

Yes, I know that this is grossly unfair, painting them all with the same brush, and a blanket condemnation of an entire group.

The Republicans I have come in contact with, however, are indeed heartless unethical bastards, devoid entirely of the nobler instincts, and out to gouge society and their fellow man as much as can be done.

It is becoming more difficult by the day to think of them, and their fellow travelers, in any other way.

Oh well. In another few hours I shall be at work.
Which means exposure to Republicans.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017


It is a cold dark universe, and likely to get more so. We must burn Federal property and Baptist churches to stay warm. And for light. The more edifices you set on fire, the brighter and warmer it will be.
Trust me. I am a doctor. I can say these things.

I am the frikkin' Vani Hari of incendiarism.

Okay, that all came out wrong.

Eh. Sorry, lah.

In a post earlier this week I had described Erinmore Flake as "dressed with essence of pineapple and perhaps the faintest touch of licorice. Underneath the fruit it is a very fine tobacco, and beloved by many old men who smoke shitty pipes. Because it is very likeable."

To which a reader responded.

""beloved by many old men who smoke shitty pipes" That's priceless. I liked snug harbor by c&d. Dark strong by Heinrich's is good too. Wish I knew what my neighbor smokes, a conglomeration from a b&m they assemble, it smells like coca pebbles till he gets half way down the bowl and then gets so bitter smelling I don't know how he could finish it. Bet it bites like a dragon too. I tried to give him some bothy flake and he said it smelled like ass."

I cannot remember what that quite smells like. What with normally not being in the habit of sniffing donkeys or any other livestock.

Perhaps I should get back in the game.

Someone else commented on a post from six years ago: "Is your universe still charsiu centered? Or have you found someone flaky?"

The short answer is "yes, umm, no".

I have not found anyone.

I am somewhat oblivious to other people's interaction, and would probably not even notice if a woman started audibly drooling at me. Unless she took pains to explain that, in fact, she was audibly drooling at me.
I might then suggest that she needed to eat.
Because I am not edible.

Please note that "somewhat oblivious" is code for an Asperger syndrome cluelessness about social clues. In this case coupled with denialism and blithering. Communication is therefore easier with individuals similarly equipped, who understand that clear unequivocable statements are preferable over hints, winks, and nods.

If you ask me a straight question, you will get an answer.
But I've gotten better at defensive dissimulation.
So it might not be a straight answer.

I have always been good at beating around the bush.
It's a talent.

"Gee, a piece of cake might be nice." "That cake looks scrumptious." "Is that cake too much for you to eat?" "Cake has such a marvelous ability to spread happiness." "That raspberry filling is so red!" "It is so sad when there is too much cake left over, don't you agree?" "Which bakery made that cake?" "Cake is magic." "My that is a lot of cake, you probably will get tired of eating it." "All the experts agree that cake is extremely good."
"I haven't had cake is so long!" "Cake shared is cake doubled."
"Too much cake could be bad for you."

You! Just ask for cake!

The other day a little girl was staring with hopeful eyes at cake in the showcase at the The AA Bakery & Cafe on Stockton Street.
Cake, clearly, would make all well with the world.
It was a passionate yearning.

I would have bought her some, but strange men buying cake for children tends to disturb people.

I should buy cake for an adult instead.
I also like cake.

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In addition to stubby tiny fingers: tiny crowds. By almost all measures the inauguration last Friday was a publicity disaster, despite the numbers who came for free candy, or because somebody paid for the bus ride.

Donald Trump's inauguration was a day that will live in infamy, no matter what Kellyanne Conway and obedient lap-dog Sean Spicer said.

Less than a quarter of the size, at a conservative estimate.

[SOURCE: PBS: Comparison. Photos by Reuters and Pool Camera.]

I love my fellow-Americans, no matter how misguided, but for many years they've been full of pucky, never more so than now. It probably matches their diet: junk food, lard, and enormous amounts of 'alternative facts'.

The crowd doesn't even look one tenth the size. Even if you factor in their undoubtedly greater girth.

A result of their socio-cultural environment.

Maybe they were all at Trump Tower, eating a taco bowl.
I understand it's "huge". And filled with cheese.
That can't be good for the digestion.
Or the energy level.

Probably turns you orange.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017


The languages spoken today were English, Dutch, and Cantonese. Do not however think that the ability to have a conversation in English, Dutch, and Cantonese means an ability to have a conversation in English, Dutch, or Cantonese.

Knowledge was exchanged in all three tongues at a Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown. I got what I wanted, dinner was fine, and I didn't actually have a conversation in any of those useful languages.

I am, socially, not exactly functional.

Later today I will quote from Monty Python, and probably The Big Lebowski. At some point I will say something nasty about the current administration. Or many things. After that I will read the lyrics of a Cantonese or Mandarin song on the nearby karaoke prompter, while the person with whom I am having whiskey will gaze enraptured at the other screen where a Buddhist monk with phenomenal eyebrows discourses learnedly about "the way".
In what I presume is Mandarin, judging from the vocabulary scrolling underneath him, but I cannot hear it because the sound is off.

I've said more in typed text today than in speech.
This is not unusual, almost everyone does.
Especially folks with cellphones.

But I take pride in being dysfunctional long before everyone else reached that stage, despite not having a handheld device or a message application. Still got the land line, though the only one who actually talks on the phone is my apartment mate speaking with her boyfriend 'Wheelie Boy'.

Unlike everybody else, they don't use e-mail to whisper sweet nothings into each others eyes. They are old-fashioned anti-socials. No text.
That's good. No incriminating epistles later.

I have spoken to five women and two men.
It's been a good day.

Tomorrow I plan to speak to one more.
Of each gender.


Yesterday evening the languages were French, English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. The pouty Hunanese woman spent over an hour beating up on the Toishanese fellow who afterwards wonderingly insisted that I was Cantonese. The others had heard me talk in tongues before, and rather minimized his amazement at the transcendent miraculousness.
As did I. People talk. In languages.

The French was minor, both in duration and in quality. The Moroccans also speak fluent English, so it was not even necessary. Sprinkle-can Parmesan might be "fromage-poudre, pour pizza", but I do not know. My French lessons in high school did not discuss Americans ordering pie late at night.

The pizza is mediocre and incidental.

La bonne sauce piquante et douce de Monsieur Tran, Sriracha, ça rend mieux.

The bookseller thinks I eat the pizza to mortify the flesh, and that I do not like it.
He gives me too much credit for sense and taste.

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Among pipe smokers there are purists who enjoy a limited number of un-fruity-meddled tobaccos, and pudgy basement-dwelling degenerates, who will happily smoke any aromatic no matter how repellent or bizarre.
There is very little middle-ground. It is a no-man's land.
Incoming volleys from both sides.
The great war.

It's a battle that the sweet-perversion crew have morally lost, though their numbers are immense. They are still downstairs in the den pretending to be Gandalf, playing World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons, and dreaming of brainless hot manga babes.

As a flexible multi-faceted and extremely curious man, and very tolerant besides, I occasionally visit their world.


Follows a sampling of aromatic pipe tobaccos you could smoke on a desert island for a few weeks without going incurably mad. They'll remind you of your grandfather, and that skeevy Eastern European who ran the candy store near your school.

1-Q [Lane Ltd.]

Golden Cavendish, Virginia, and the faintest touch of Kentucky. Despite the vanilla and caramel, this product does deliver solid tobacco satisfaction, and it has that old-timey smell that many people associate with pipes and the people that smoke them. Needs to be dried out; too wet, and there is a humectant.
Similar to Captain Black Royal.
But far less bitey.

4TH. GENERATION 1957 [Scandinavian Tobbaco]

An extremely well-constructed product for many people who will never get it, and Europeans. There's vanilla. But it has some quality Virginia.
Despite the Burley content, it is mild.

ALSBO GOLD [Assens Tobaksfabrik]

Vanilla and nougat on a base of shredded packing cardboard.
Tasteless and chemical, except for the bite.

ASTLEY'S NO. 2 [Kohlhase & Kopp]
A very pleasant old-fashioned Virginia, allegedly with Perique, but also a hint of clove. Strange, but quite enjoyable. Autumn for eccentrics. Think of warm fire, cup of tea, and family members who stay away because they know you are best left alone. Very much a rainy weather smoke.

AUTUMN EVENING [Cornell & Diehl]

A very subdued aromatic, based on Red Virginia Cavendish with maple syrup and maple essence added. Decent on its own, and also a good blender. Even purists can probably find something to like.
Your surroundings will actually appreciate it.
I've got a few tins stashed.


Virginia and Burley with sweet sacramental wine.
You have many choices in life.
Remember that.

BCA [Lane Ltd.]

Green River Burley cooked till black, and souped-up with vanilla. This is fundamental to very many house aromatics, but also smoked straight by a lot of people. Two things I must mention: most burn-outs that I have seen were pipes whose owners huffed this stuff, and it is EXACTLY the same as Grant's Olde Drum. If you mail-order this from a brick-and-mortar, under whatever name, thank you, but you are an idiot.


Cherry, chocolate, and vanilla. No. Please don't. This is what happens when tobacco experts realize that some of their clientele are tasteless vulgarians, and decide to push the envelope. It is an extremely well-made aromatic. Probably the best damned cherry blend available.
Deservedly popular, an all-round winner.
Top notch tobacco.

BLUE NOTE [Dan Tobacco]

G effing damn.


You can hate this. But it won't kill you.


Incredibly nasty.




A sample was passed out by a travelling salesman four years ago. I've gone through three pouches since then. Very pleasant. It has every tobacco in the book, but blended with considerable intelligence.
Vanilla and nougat.


Smoked several bowls while it was in the development stages. No bite. Scant tobacco flavour. Hugely grape. And grape soda. And grape ice cream. And grape chews. If you like candy, this is it.
Ghosted one pipe, did not ghost the other.
Grape, grape, grapeti-grape.


An old classic. No, not a good tobacco. But good in the same way that schoolboy perversion is good. Has a floral soap aroma in the pouch, and is allegedly based on some decent flue-cured leaf. Outdoorsy, and improves that typical stale beer smell that most pubs have. Not too cloying in small living quarters, except in winter.
Very British.


Black Cavendish and a variety of Virginias, fruits, rum, vanilla. Mostly dark. This is extremely nasty. And exceptionally well made. The vanilla seems dominant if you dry it out a little. It is a very gentle tobacco when packed carefully, and enjoyable all around. Yes, after a while the smell will seem cloying, if you have any shred of decency, but if you are into role playing games or porn surfing, it may very well be the best thing you do.
Smoke it slow, because of the preponderance of flue-cured.

DEEP HOLLOW [McClelland]

A variety of Virginias treated with only minor disrespect. Apple, vanilla, caramel. A pleasant smoke that won't offend the people around you, and if they are Lord of the Rings fans, they may like it immensely. Exceptionally smokeable. Like many McClelland products it induces contemplation.
This is a solid product.

ENNERDALE FLAKE [Gawith Hoggarth]

Very decent, if you ignore the smell of pissoir disinfectant.

There is a fourteen month supply sitting on the top shelf of the bookcase near my computer desk. Dressed with essence of pineapple and perhaps the faintest touch of licorice. Underneath the fruit it is a very fine tobacco, and beloved by many old men who smoke shitty pipes. Because it is very likeable. That smell. Old-timey. Brings back memories. I will not easily admit in public that I like this, and I will not often smoke it, but it is soundly constructed and despite the perfume, which is scarcely evident after the first few puffs, it is a decent flake that renders down to a fine ash.
But do not smoke this fast, or you will regret it.
Very slow, on the cusp of going out.

FIELD & STREAM [House of Windsor]

Bad Burley made worse. Much worse.
A typical American product.

HIGHLAND PIPER [McConnell / Kohlhase & Kopp]

Virginia, Perique, fruit perfume. And maybe chocolate. It is not heavy, and can be very agreeable. Especially to delicate females. Who should buy some of their own. Nothing stands out, and you could smoke this several times. Not a severe tobacco by any means.
It is fruity. Fruity. Fruity.


Incredibly nasty.


Dark gratifying Virginia flakes, sprinkled with booze, honey, and something citrussy. On the whole a remarkably good product. Very satisfying.


Precisely what tobacco should not be. Very popular. Vanilla, chocolate, honey, caramel, and possibly coconut. With the merest suggestion of something minty or mentholated. Do you remember that scene from the movie The Mummy where Brendan Fraser feels the two-thousand year old corpse? "It's still ... moist!" Precisely so. Tin opened three years ago.
It should be bone-dry by now.


Underrated. Deservedly so.


Probably made by the Danes. Strong, robust, and too much anethole. This will get you kicked out of civilized cigar bars in downtown San Francisco, with the recommendation to seek help, and never come again.

PLUM CAKE [Germain & Son]
Strange but enjoyable. Mostly Virginia, and very ribbony. In fact, I liked it so much I bought the last four enameled tins, but I dare not open them, because they are the last four enameled tins.

RLP-6 [Lane Ltd.]

Virginia and Burley, Cavendish. And all of it somewhat cavendishized. Vanilla, chocolate, honey. Coarser and somewhat more assertive than 1-Q. Very fat Gandalf smokes this, in the pear-wood churchwarden pipe from an Ukranian outfit that he bought off the internet. Like 1-Q it is available at every tobacconist in the country, and one of the most popular blends.
A solid every day aromatic.
Not overly sweet.

UNIVERSITY FLAKE [Peterson / Orlik]

Absurd. Raspberries.

A medium Balkan with a shpritz of tonquin.
Suitable for late summer.
Very nice indeed.


If reading about these products leaves you feeling slightly nauseous, you might enjoy some other lists:

Mostly about Virginia leaf under pressure.

Burley mixtures by the last master of that genre.

From a few years ago, and does not include his most recent products. Descriptions of many things Greg has done.

One of the first things about tobacco on this blog.

Baai tabak, which is a tobacco category dear to me.

Actually, I was planning to do my laundry and get out of the house early today. Instead, I wrote about dried leaves. This evening I may research "My Little Pony" on the internet. Surely a subject for intelligent men?


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Do you think I spend too much time on the internet? Do you mutter to yourself as you read the so-manyeth inane post "good lord he needs a hobby", or "is this what happens when grouchy middle-aged coots don't have a girl-friend"? If so, you are probably right.

And I am in no position to disagree.

I'll probably be asleep again when any one sees this post.
Day off, you know.

This video illustrates my love life perfectly.


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of2HU3LGdbo.]

I slept through all the pouring rain, but got up to pee when I heard running water in the kitchen. My apartment mate was fixing herself a cup of strong tea. And animatedly talking with herself.

If there were three people living in this small apartment, one of them would be elbowing me in the ribs.

"You tell her!"

"Eh? Me? What?"

"Shuuuuuut up!"

I am the designated 'to-speaker' in my imaginary life.

I hope I'll get to ride the roomba.

Cat's hogging it.

Probably shouldn't have had two cups of coffee before going to bed.

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Monday, January 23, 2017


It's Monday night. Which is my Friday. And, because it is not presently raining, it seems a good idea to go have a burrito with carnitas, extra cheese, no beans, for here. With salsa picante. Which you will readily understand is full of vitamins, and forms the vegetable compliment to this scrumptious meal. On Friday I forgot to buy supplies, and in consequence there were few veggies for dinner on Saturday, nearly none on Sunday.

But I do have a giant bottle of hot sauce.

If you were concerned, breathe easy.

I mentioned vitamins, yes?

The other evening I discovered a stash of super-hot chilies in the freezer that I had put in there several months ago. I now know that the little ones are flaming. Food should be a voyage of discovery.

Chilies freeze well, and look so festive.

Vegetarians carnitas doesn't exist.

Let's keep it that way.

Tomorrow I'll find out what else is in there.

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I have always admired tough-minded stubborn women; there's more there. Many of the women for whom I have the greatest estimation are small but resilient, and pull their own weight.

There are some types who take delight in having the man do the gruntwork for them, and thus affirming their femininity. While I am capable of it, this is not the way things should be, and I'm usually both too oblivious and too unmoved to support their self-preciousness.

Assumed fragility and neediness go hand in hand.

I am not impressed by either quality.

Perhaps my selfishness and ego get in the way.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017


Today, Sunday the twenty-second of January, 2017, marks the very first observance of a great new American tradition: "Alternative Fact Day".
To be celebrated yearly on the third Sunday of January.
Or two weeks later if you're Russian Orthodox.
Everyone can join this party!

It's a day to take pride in our great natural penchant for tall tales, and politicized fiction. Unleashing a veritable tornado of bull-pucky, even.
Pulling a staggeringly impressive 'Kellyanne Conway'.

As practiced by some of our great people.

Including cabinet members.

Or a president.

Let me start by listing ten 'Alternative Facts':

1) I am a beautiful tall black woman.
2) Southern Fried Chicken is good.
3) Smoking pot turns you gay.
4) Lizard aliens have taken over our government.
5) The replacement for the Affordable Care Act will be better, cheaper, and in place very soon.
6) Christians make good neighbors.
7) Sarah Palin is perspicacious.
8) Chemtrails are a plot.
9) Your arteries need a good work out; eat at McDonalds or Boo-king at least once a week to stay healthy.
10) Mitch McConnell is a wonderful human being.

That last one may need some clarification, of course. But the proof is that he married someone who wasn't related to him in the slightest degree, unlike most people in the great state of Pie-Faced Loon.

[Photo source: By U.S. Government - http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/bdc34e38-dec5-4c9f-acb3-c02e47a12b99/8559BA76A237EDFD6992A624862B6188.-1-official-photo---u.s.-senate-majority-leader-mitch-mcconnell.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54968938]

By getting hitched to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Mr. McConnell benefited everyone. Especially folks in his immediate gene pool.

Alternative Facts are truly our greatest resource.

Our AFs are the finest in the world.
They're amazing, huge.
The best.

This blogger is grateful to Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer for this enlightenment; it is boundlessly liberating. I'm a fan. Bigly.

Hashtags: #big hands #orange #truthy #legitimate #tweet

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It's not an evil plot. Not by any measure. But it does explain why humans constantly fail to understand events, and get frustrated when things do not turn out as planned. Everything is wrong.
This just isn't our universe.

Relax, puny biped. Have a carrot.

[Copyright: Marc Johns.]

It appears that my apartment mate is obsessed with narrative minutiae. Why am I listening to a long and complex tale about her sick hours as noted in her file at work, including administrative details and time sheet notations, signatures, e-mail confirmation, hierarchy?
And to what point?


It has something to do with facemasks, and the fact that one of her colleagues has a child. Probably several of them do, including some of the various people she mentioned in great depth and a neutral perspective sofar, but one was specifically mentioned as offspring-having.
Co-workers, like many creatures, sometimes breed.

At least two of mine also have children.
But I have never told her so.
A minor detail.

People with Asperger syndrome often overload their discussions with data, much of which is less than important. It is not necessary for the purposes of this conversation that the precise height of her supervisor is mentioned, nor that one person has an offspring, age and gender not specified.
Honestly, it does not add value.

Unless they are on my property, children are always a minor detail.

Do not trample my grass, and kindly get out of my backyard.

Do not worry, female earth human, all will be well.
A pipe smoking bunny rabbit is in charge.

Please have a carrot.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017


This blogger did not attend any of the protests yesterday and today. Which may surprise you, given the vehemence with which I despise Trump, his cabinet, and the entire Republican party, but I've actually got better things to do. Besides, a demonstration in a safe city with policemen wearing pink solidarity ribbons giving high-fives and everyone gets ice cream afterwards because you are all winners, just isn't very effective.

Secrecy, plotting, and dynamite, perhaps.

The one thing that angry groups of people do achieve is ticking off the poor little fascist soot-smears who thought it was their day. Whose knickers were all bent out at everyone pissing on their parade.
How DARE those libtards!

"We won. You lost. Get over it!"

Sorry, no. But do please continue spew. It isn't something that we haven't heard before, you sound like a broken record whenever your Republican wet dream is interrupted. You've been oozing bile for eight years.
You are all so precious.

[Did the protests upset you? Are you angry that those mean liberals pissed on your man's parade? Ooooh, pooooor baby! Sniff sniff. Might as well get used to it, little soot-smear, nobody likes you, and you have become a target. Once your neighbors realize what you are like, they'll paint things on your wall. Boo hoo.]

The social contract depends entirely on five things: educational chances, social welfare, a fair judiciary, honest governance, and a reasonable semblance of opportunity and democracy.

Education is shot, social welfare has been floundering for years -- even healthcare for all could not save a system that failed -- justice does not mean that a well-connected country club boy gets off with three months for rape in Palo Alto, honest governance is so rare as to be a lusus naturae in today's Republican circles, and both opportunity and democracy are severely limited, now more than ever in recent history.

If you don't co-opt the peasants, eventually they might kill you.

Or break into your expensive car and steal your stereo.

The status quo will continue to exist only if enough citizens benefit.
When you dispossess too many people, cracks will appear.

Nah, I shan't make any reassuring remarks. Things probably won't be all right, and for most of us they really will be "that bad". We just haven't realized it yet, or understood the full extent.

Smell your thumbs.

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Friday, January 20, 2017


It cannot have escaped your attention that Chinese American women have ridiculous expectations. And, often, are completely divorced from any sense of reality. My apartment mate is a Chinese American woman, and consequently spews some remarkably crazy stuff, which makes me severely doubt her sanity, as well as experience a deep and abiding frustration. I sincerely wish she realized exactly how irritating it is.
But you can count on me to be the soul of diplomacy.

She went to see the doctor recently.

And didn't like the result.

"Waaah, I'm sick, AND I'm fat!"

Apparently she's 115 pounds. Which is slightly over the extreme low end for her height and age, but thirty pounds BELOW the most she could weigh and still be healthy. A scrawny chicken, in other words.

Being a white male, and not particularly concerned about weight anyway, because I am not involved with anyone, quite naturally I howled.
It was all I could do to keep from choking on my coffee.
The poor dear thinks she's fat!
Hoo hah!

This is a woman who still buys her jeans in the junior miss section, or sometimes even the boys department, because everything for adults feels big as a tent. Years ago I knew her measurements, bra & panties, and shoe size, but back in the day if I tried to buy her stuff, shop assistants would regard me queerly and ask why I was shopping for a girl.

Was I a single dad? Or a degenerate?

I'm neither, and we are no longer involved, so that problem does not present itself anymore. But I do know that for the past several years she's worn Barely There in sizes from AA to A. How do I know? Guess who sometimes dries her scanties in the bathroom we share!

Fat, she says.

Look, sweatheart, most of the women I know would probably kill for your weight. Of course, they'd probably do that by slaughtering you and eating your body to get rid of the evidence, but they'd have to wrap it in bacon to keep the chops from drying out over the grill there's so little fat. A starving village would look at you and figure there just ain't enough there to make breaking the laws of G-d or man worthwhile; throw you back in hopes you'll put on a few. Not quite prison campy, or even seven lean years.
But fat, good gracious no.

"Burn down the mansions in Tiburon!"

[Okay, that was my own apropos of nothing input, Because if you"re going to protest the inauguration of Trump, you might as well do so where it can hurt. Burn the mother down. 
As an old-school "Special Snowflake" I believe in taking the revolution to ground zero.

I wonder how her boyfriend is going to take the "fat" announcement. Both of them are Aspy as all git-out, and Wheelie Boy may not have the perspective and sensitivity to burst out laughing.

The idiot might persuade her to diet.
Being supportive, or something.

Sometimes dealing with people who are so Asperger syndromish can be trying. Especially when they evince literalist mode.
Thank heavens I'm "normal".

She has a cold, in case you were wondering. She's woken up to cough and cough and cough every night for the past few days. But she'll probably be over it soon, as the doctor gave her some syrup.

It's the same ailment I had for over a month. But I successfully managed to hide it from her. She thought my occasional bouts of hairball up-hacking were tobacco related.

Sometimes Aspy Chinese women are delightfully dense.


Yes, I looked up bra sizes on the internet while I was writing this. As I had forgotten what they were. I haven't actually been near bosoms in quite a while. I'm fairly certain I still remember what they look like.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017


One month ago I had not even heard of either term, but in that time both of them have become fundamental parts of my weltanschauung. It is surprising that I had never encountered them before, as the concepts so adeptly expressed perfectly match the phrases themselves.

"Bad Jesusbara"


--Hasbara (advocacy) for Jesus--
The first is what happens when a Christian opens his or her mouth. Usually what comes out is staggeringly stupid, and often downright offensive. Shut up, little Christian droodge, you are not helping your cause.
And what you just said was irrelevant.

--Ashkenazic standards as the norm--
The second expresses the assumption, from Jew and Gentile alike, that certain ideas and behaviours are pure Jewish, and others no matter how Jewy the Jew, are aberrations. You know, too Sfardi or Mizrahi.
And only New Yorkish types are Jewish.

I'll agree that Baruch de Spinoza wasn't Ashkenormative.
Even for his time.

Neither was Rabbi Moses ben Maimon.
Mi Moshe ad Moshe lo kam ki Moshe.

Bekeshes and biber pelze tetsl-hutn aren't normative either.
Takeh, they're schlechte Fiddler on the Roof bara.

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Several things recently in my in-box. With which, naturally, the rational man MUST disagree. Which for the record I now shall do here.
The rational man is tolerant, up to a point.
And short tempered.

1. Underneath one (1) of several recent essays: "Donald Trump will SAVE America!!"
[Comment not published.]

You can't 'save it' and 'break it' at the same time. It isn't a hymen. Idiot.

2. Underneath START HOARDING SRIRACHA: "Sriracha is NOT a vegetable."
[Comment not published.]

Is too. Idiot.

3. Underneath HOBBIT'S WEED: "Why did you skunk Hobbit's Weed? It's better than what you smoke, assh*le."
[Comment not published.]

No it isn't. It's crud. Disgusting degeneracy in the shred. Crap that smells like a Parisian whorehouse. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING, needs to pong so ferociously. Not even your pickled aunt. Get rid of your LOTR gang tattoos and Gandalf-pipe, stop drinking candy coffee, and get a job.
Aspire to move out of your mom's basement. Idiot.

4. Underneath EASILY STEPPED UPON: "Chihuahas are really smart. Dick."
[Comment published.]

Dick, you misspelled 'rat'. Idiot.

5. Underneath AW, THAT'S SWEET!: "Your a f*cking kiek."
[Comment published.]

You are a f*cking twat. Idiot.

6. Underneath SEA SHEPHERD PIRATES: "The Japs are disgusting!"
[Comment not published.]

Whale steak is delicious. Idiot.

7. Underneath OH AUNTIE, YOU ARE SO REFINED!: "Why do you persist in glorifying that awful habit? Don't you realize that tobacco is worng?"
[Comment not published.]

You have a low 'worng' threshold. Idiot.

Please imagine that a man started seeing a blonde bombshell, just for a bit of nooky, he hasn't had any in so long, and after several riotous weeks he starts noticing little things. Things like spelling errors, sheer gut-wrenching idiocy, and a remarkable ignorance. She might even be religious, and have voted for all the wrong causes, good lord! A baggage! But he's already committed, the marriage is scheduled in June; he's made a horrible mistake, he must live with the consequences of his actions, he will spend the next several years cursed, till she snuffs it in a car accident.
Or, if he breaks up now, it will be messy.
A long drawn out trainwreck.

Some acquaintanceship is not worth having. No matter the temptation. There are people out there on the internet one would rather not know any further. Even if, hypothetically, one were starved for attention.

In the past I enjoyed quarreling with that sort.

Now all I want is to have readers who come across as quirky brilliant young women, elderly rabbis, or peculiarly insightful.
There are several, but I want more.

Peculiarly insightful.

You know who you are.

BY THE WAY: this blogger has never dated a blonde moron. I've seen what happens when you fall for that. The results are ghastly, and too horrid to contemplate. Instead I would very much prefer a quirky brilliant young woman possessed of peculiar insight rather like an elderly rabbi.
If you know someone like that, direct them here.
I am keen to make their acquaintance.
I swear I won't bite.

Comments welcome.

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