Wednesday, November 01, 2017


On Tuesday evenings two gentlemen head out to a late night dinner place, a local watering hole for a modest beer, and then to a disreputable karaoke bar for whiskey. After which they calmly stroll back to an intersection in their neighborhood, chat a bit, and part ways till next time. The nominal purpose of this exercise is the discussion of art, literature, and other serious matters, plus the orange-faced buffoon.

Yesterday was Halloween.

And I wish to now strongly protest that I did not see a single naked titty!

Because Halloween was spread out over five days, and the weather was a bit chilly, last night's gallivanting about only exposed our boys to a shapely black bottom wearing a thong, and it is not clear whether she was dressed for the holiday or just incidentally nasty. So I object. Halloween viewing of young adult depravity was an utter disappointment!

Over ten years ago we noticed that more and more people were dressing like Nasty Bo Peep, with barely a scrap between crotch and ripe mangoes, albeit everything ruffled or lacy, and after a brief spate of shocked puritanic disapproval we accepted the modern era. Okay. The little shepherdess is now a punk goth sexual deviant, and we are totally cool with that.
It looks a lot better across the street, by the way.

Yesterday evening, a few people were dressed as hot dogs.
Warm fuzzy felt from ankles to the crown.
Sausage, bun, mustard.

No naked titty!


On a different note, I should apologize to the bookseller for lecturing him about Latakia tobacco. Seeing as he is a non-smoker, and doesn't own a pipe, it may have been an imposition. The two things to grasp right off are that tobacco of whatever type drains the soil of nutrients and is incredibly destructive to agricultural land (one reason why Egypt stopped growing tobacco; they are limited in that regard), and also that Latakia is smoke-cured, and therefore even more destructive; the forest cover in Syria was minor to begin with, and shrinking at a very rapid pace.

In the late sixties, it was evident to many that the supplies of Syrian Latakia would eventually lessen considerably, and tobacco companies started to purchase Latakia from Cyprus. Many of those companies had stocks of blending tobaccos sufficient for a number of years worth of production, so by augmenting the supply on a yearly basis, the shift in taste would be gradual. Imagine, for instance, that you maintain a ten-year supply. By the second year, your Latakia is ten percent Cyprian, by the tenth entirely so.
None of your customers have noticed a thing.

By the late seventies, almost all Latakia everywhere was such, and the Syrian leaf was a rare commodity.

One difference between Syrian and Cyprian tobacco is that Syria was cultivating Shek Al Bint ("the maiden's cleft", or "the maiden's fissure"), which was a relative of Burley, yielding a leaf of about a foot in length of no particular distinction till smoke-cured, although it had an almost sherry-like undertone when blended into tobacco mixtures, whereas in Cyprus they were discovering that what grew best was Smyrna seed, meaning a Turkish varietal, small leafed and resinous or perfumy.

What made them both "Latakia" was the smoke curing, which imparted terpeneols and sesquiterpenoids, and transformed fairly mediocre tobacco into prized leaf, redolent of creosote, with a richly evocative span of aromas: the great outdoors, camping in the wilderness, oak forests, Autumn, boats, gentlemen's clubs, leather armchairs, strong tea, wintry scenes with distant chimneys, the blasted heath of Scotland, stampeding sheep .....

[Chemicial constituents of Latakia tobacco (from Cyprus) here: Identification of the Volatile Constituents of Cyprian Latakia Tobacco by Dynamic and Static Headspace Analyses.
Also here: John Leffingwell et al. And note mention of juniper, myrtle, mastic.]

It was a fragance that charmed, enchanted, transformed.
And upset many wussy non-smokers too!
Oh, the humanity.

My piles bleed for those bloody wheatgrass freaks.

It's perfume AND incense, you dingos.

Anyway, Greg Pease acquired enough Syrian Latakia of high quality to build several blends, all of which were much in demand and had that subtle sherry-like suggestion, but his warehouse caught fire and the supply went up in smoke sooner than intended.
McClellands was using it in a number of their products for a while, very sparingly. MacBaren formulated the HH Vintage Syrian as their first foray into the upper range of snob tobaccos, and it was so successful that they have since then introduced several more nice high quality mixtures for that market segment, unusual and well-made. They boasted that they had secured enough for ten years of production.

Syria for the last few years has not been a significant producer of tobacco, and it does not look like there will be any change anytime soon.
Syrian Latakia is available from brokers and traders who still have supplies in such minute quantities that manufacture of even those extremely few mixtures that had any cannot be sustained.

It's gone. There is no more.

No, Pumpkin Spice tobaccos, now seasonally available, are NOT a substitute. Only a complete bastard would even suggest it. Horrible drecky cavendish, soggy and overly sweet, that because of added syrup and humectants burn hot and boil rancid sludge into your briars.

To conclude, the bookseller got all of that in his ear.
He was exceptionally patient.

I flatter myself that it made up for the lack of nudity.


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