Monday, December 31, 2018

MISERY LOVES COMPANY

It was a cold to remember, maybe even one of the worst he had suffered since childhood. The entire right-centre zone of his face above the philtrum felt bloated and sore, to a depth of at least an inch under the skin. Including, most especially, the maxillary, and also to a certain extent the frontal sinus above the eye. And it dripped and oozed. His one joy, above anything else, was picturing many (most) of the middle-aged cigar smoking dingoes he knew as a type of anteater (the tamandua), first harvesting musk from their anal glands to mark their territory, then suddenly clapping their paws to their face to deal with a sneezing fit. And consequently marking their faces, from their narrow foreheads all the way to tips of their long pointy noses. Repeatedly.

Throughout the day he had been aerosolizing the viral load.

He had also smoked two pipes; one a Charatan of great age, Dublin shape, très élégant & geshmack. The other a stodgy bent bulldog from Hardcastle very suitable to a badger. Both times Samuel Gawith's Saint James Flake, which tasted fine throughout the hacking and sneezing fits.

He envisioned one of the cigar smokers in particular coming down with a cold. Specifically the know-it-all who claimed he was a master meditationer and adept at yoga, and never got sick in consequence.

The old fart would probably try to self-medicate and soldier on.


Yes, he was somewhat off his food.


Seeing as he was at liberty the next two days, enjoying food was a very important concept. One seldom enjoys food in Marin County, people are very 'white' there.


The busdriver on the way across the bridge had been talking about food, with a passenger he had know since early youth. A coworker talked about food, incessantly, the entire day. The cigar smokers in the lounge talked about food, until the meditation-artist sucked the air out of the room.
Given the urge to sneeze right now, he couldn't even think of food.

But food was a fine thing.

On the whole, he enthusiastically supported the concept.


At this time it was exceedingly pleasant to think that he might have infected some very deserving people, in addition to innocent victims. Two bald gits. A callow dude from Southern California who's favourite subject was himself. A sour grumpus who acted too privileged by half.
A senior member of the judiciary who now supports the president.
And a magic zen-master.

For the rest, almost zilch. He ached and hacked, his nose felt like it belonged in a dumpster, his sinus cavities were producing sounds and liquids he did not like, and he was breathing through his mouth.


It would take an act of sheer grit and determination to force him out of the house after midnight to enjoy a last pipe smoke of the day. After the New Year's drunks had stumbled off to snarf pizza and become dehydrated and sick in the bushes.

He would warn any friends he saw not to come to near.

It would be a happy New Year.
An iron will demanded it.




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Sunday, December 30, 2018

CIGAR SMOKERS, CAVEMEN

On weekends I am a babysitter to a collection of pudgy middle-aged cigar smokers yowling at a teevee screen. Ocassionally, someone else (a new arrival) will ask me the score. I don't know, I am not paying attention to that; taught botties in shiny spandex.

It's like studying wild animals.


"Tamanduas manufacture a potent musk in their anal glands which they use for marking territory. They smear the strong smelling secretions on rocks, trees, fallen logs, and other prominent landmarks to announce their presence to other tamanduas."
[Wikipedia]


Yes, that describes these men perfectly.


That, or female Orang utans. Who defecate when startled or excited.


It's a good thing I love animals. They are more acceptable if one imagines them as beasts in a zoo than as living breathing sentient beings of one's own kind. Because they do not often show evidence of that. Giant lizards, perhaps. With spiny neck ruffles, claws, and phenomenally bad breath.


Butch sports are a stupid thing.





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DILUTE YOURSELVES

Yesterday evening's post here was rather mean-spirited. But I'm letting it stand, because those people deserve it. Especially the two bald-headed dingoes for whom the lounge is their treefort.


The NRA funnelled Russian money for the Republicans.
It's so Christian of Rich and Danny to ignore that.
Treason comes in many forms.


Some of them started boozing by early afternoon. And I can understand that; it releases the inner dunderhead and makes it easier to deal with Rich and Danny. You poor bastards.


The civilized man does not imbibe before evening.
And then only in moderation.


Rum after lunch is probably very 'European'.




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Saturday, December 29, 2018

LOVE FOR MY FELLOW MAN

Here is how it works: If I actually wish to discuss something with you odious rightwing dunderheads in the lounge, I'll make time for that. But most of the time I'll just stick my head in to deliver a shitty comment about Republicans or an insulting remark about your intelligence or lack of morals, and then head back out front, so you don't have a chance to respond with one of your usual inane rejoinders. Yeah, unfair, but I've heard pretty much everything you pustules have say (y'all kinda stoopid), and I know you're all too unwilling to lift your pudgy arses out of those chairs.

That lounge protects you all from a harsh sneering world, and insulates you from the bitter reality that your president is a dishonest cowardly amoral adulterous draft-dodging gangster. Putin's bitch, basically.

And that's putting it far too kindly.


Silver spoonism is rampant among you people.


La Terreur gonna get you.


Tumbrels.




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Friday, December 28, 2018

A FINE WOODSY SORT OF SMELL

Over on an internet forum I fondly visit, the lamentation about a certain product's disappearance has started again. Someone plaintively asked why Dunhill's Nightcap Mixture (a smoking tobacco for the pipe) was no longer being made. Surely it was an all-time classic? Much beloved? Well, yes.
But it was something only a minute fraction of an insignificant customer demographic ever smoked.

Anyone who has walked into a tobacconist in the last decade must have realized that cigars pay the rent, pipe tobacco does not signify.


DUNHILL NIGHTCAP MIXTURE

Dunhill's Nightcap was, and I'm just educatedly guessing here, slightly over fifty percent Latakia, between six and ten percent or slightly more black Virginia, and maybe three percent Perique. No Turkish leaf.
The rest was a medium Virginia base.
And bear in mind that that was just in its latest version, produced by Orlik for Kohlhase & Kopp on behalf of the trademark owners.
It had changed over the years.

Full Latakia blends are numerous, but the top three aromatics sell more than all of the Lat blends combined. Aficionados of good quality pipe tobacco are hugely outnumbered by consumers of garbage, there are vastly more cigar smokers, and over ninety percent of tobacco worldwide is turned into cigarettes. And smokers are, ab initio, a minority.

I myself know of only one man who regularly bought a tin of Nightcap.
Which he did once every three or four months.
That's one or two bowls a week.
A veritable addict.
Forsooth.

I cannot remember where the last tin I bought is; I never finished it.


A sentence I hear a several times every week is "you never see pipe smokers anymore, why is that?"

The short answer is that I am shy.

The longer answer would detail lack of numbers, social exile down at the bottom of the yard or in the utility alley between apartment buildings next to the recyclable garbage and the compost, sheer absence of pipe stores in the Bay Area, a lack of standards in the modern age, and your bitch mom or wife who disapproved of the product.


"You never see pipe smokers anymore, why is that?"


It's because we hate you, you Starbucks-swilling parasite. Plus we've lost the ability to breed. Pipe smokers are from a different planet.
Mars lacks women.


A pipe takes time, and one cannot smoke in social environments or public places anymore. The idea of happily lighting a bowl after tea and pastries, for instance, means that I shall disappear for while to brave the elements.
A drink and a smoke? Seriatim, not coinciding with. Plus your bitch mom or wife probably saw me once, and started fanning with her hands in front of her face, coughing theatrically, and screeching that I was killing the little children or puppies...... an incentive to be discreet, honestly, and only lurk around the periphery of your vision. That's why you never see me.


"Oh I love the smell of a pipe, it reminds me of my grandpa."


But you were perfectly okay with the nursing home putting a pillow over his head, weren't you? It saved so much money and left more in the trustfund.


Essentially, the reason Dunhill's Nightcap is no longer made is that that marketing demographic snuffed it in the Great War.




TOBACCO INDEX


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Thursday, December 27, 2018

CROWS; OUR SPIRIT ANIMALS!

On the bus to work today I got to listen to two Caucasians exchanging meaningful information. As Caucasians do. The gist of it was that oatmeal was bad for you, because of something poo related -- can't remember what, exactly, because I was trying to tune their inane conversation out -- and you should not have orange juice in the morning if you value your poo, plus the oatmeal and orange juice remember, karmically, the violence by which they were produced, metal blades and such, and one of them does half an hour of yoga in the morning which makes him feel fulfilled.

During the last hour at work, a white-haired Caucasian fellow in the lounge lectured the sub-continental about meditation, yoga, zen, and how Nepalese people don't go to the doctor because they just meditate, which ups their MegaHerz, and astounds western medical practitioners. He himself learned meditation from one of the original yogis, and has been doing it for years, he does it really well, and his doctor has shared his amazing results with many researchers world-wide, because he has a unique brain, and teaches people for free, as comes naturally to him. The Lotus Position!
It's just wondrous, the Indian gentleman should try it!

At one point, N leaned over and asked me if the talkative spiritual gentleman ever shut up. I whispered back that he didn't.

Naturally, there was a pilgrim on the bus back this evening.
Wearing colourful ethnic clothing, and beads.
Because it's all pure, man.


But the one thing I learned today was that if you really want to have some entertainment, you show your Cantonese female apartment mate the glossy brochure for Shen Yun which I found in my mailbox upon my return. The upcoming schedule of performances larded with appreciative quotes from people who had been to see it.

"That's for white people, you're all into the meaningful shit."

Followed by a short pungent rant about how Caucasians are all about "mystical" and "spiritual" and tend to go goo eyed over such things.

We're like crows confronted with blinky stuff.

Or nicely rotten roadkill.




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JUST A LITTLE WHILE LONGER

Five more days until I have health insurance. And dammit, it has been a hard slog till now. "Hello, doctor, let us talk about circulatory issues. And did you know that more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette? Yes, in a repeated national survey, doctors in ALL branches of medicine, in ALL parts of the country, when asked "what cigarette do YOU smoke", answered..."
It certainly should be a mighty interesting conversation.
Elizabethan Mixture, in a Parker Billiard.
Plus Scotch and water.


Five more days.


This piece of briar was turned into a pipe before I was born. Marty down on Battery Street sold in to me in '04 0r '05, and it's one of my best smokers.
An excellent pipe. Sweet, dry, perfect with whatever I put into it.


Five more days.


The last conversation I had with a doctor was in reference to an infected hangnail. I was told that quitting smoking was important, but the connection with pus coming out of my toe was unclear. "Hello, doctor, my foot. No probable relation to enjoying tobacco, it's my effing foot."


I am a cynical type.


And I no longer have an infected hangnail.

Why don't you try Camels for a month, to see what a difference a smooth, rich tasting cigarette can make to your enjoyment?

Five more days.




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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

FRESH AIR PLEASURES

One thing that convinces me that all is not lost, humankind is redeemable, is the people who thought also of their Smelly Uncle Ed this holiday season. Ed might not be his real name, it could be Marvin or Mike, or, if it's in Marin, Starburst Wonderboy Karma, but they remembered him. Ed is the relative pushed out of the house to smoke his cigars down at the bottom of the yard near the compost heap, in the blustery gale, because of the smell.

They willingly spent money to make his odoriferous exile and misery less burdensome. They bought him fine cheroots.

Petite Corona: four and a half inches, barely an hour of lonesome misery.
Robusto: five inches, slightly over an hour to an hour and a quarter.
Corona: a definite hour and a quarter of soggy outcasteness.
Toro: six inches, roughly an hour and a half of exile.
Churchill: seven inches, nearly two hours.

Smelly Uncle Ed will have been properly impressed. Yes, he's chilled to the bone, and running a fever -- and he may need hospitalization, which he will resist because hospitals no longer allow smoking on the premises, or even anywhere on the grounds, what with not having compost heaps and toxic waste dumps -- but he knows that his kin still love him.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.


Nothing (!) says 'Christmas' like everyone cheerfully clustered inside near the tree and the fireplace, and one person with pneumonia freezing his nuts off one hundred yards away, with the local raccoons harassing him.


The Bay Area is ninety nine percent tofu-eating healthnuts thinking about the children, and one percent Smelly Uncle Ed trying to give the little blighters lung cancer.



Later today I will head on down to Chinatown with my pipe and tobacco. Everyone there has multiple relatives who smoke -- many of them in fact are the relative who smokes -- and there are awnings under which one can shelter when it rains.

There are still no places to smoke inside. But far fewer tofu snarfing suburban healthnuts worried about the blasted little kiddies.

Milk tea. Fried noodles or congee with a yautiu.
Samuel Gawith's Saint James Flake.
An old Comoy, shape 110 B.
Peace and quiet.

Might even try to find some smuggled-in ciggies from China.
Ng-Yip-San brand. Wuye Shen.


Flue-cured leaf, in an elegant festive pack.
Filter smokes made in Guangzhou.
Yeah, I edited the picture.
That healthwarning.

"Don't smoke around White People"

Or tofu.




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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

MAYHEMIC CONVEYANCE

My apartment mate is in front of the television watching a Poirot movie. Why would they call it the "Orient Express" in Istanbul? It travels to the Occident. And, given that the only purpose of that train is killing eccentric English-speakers, why not the "Murder Express"? Far less Euro-centric.
Neurotic Belgian bachelors measure eggs. Good thing they separated from us Dutch-speakers aeons ago. We now have nothing in common except our language. They get the Euro-crats and cuisine, we get economic success and a nearby fun place to visit where we don't have to speak English.
Even though to the best of my knowledge, very few English-speakers get whacked on the four-hour train trip from Amsterdam to Antwerp.

Because of this flick she is watching I know precisely what a velouté sauce is, and that Russians have coarse, nay, brutish tastes.

Further, Belgian men have mustaches more ridiculous than the Turks.

She was watching it yesterday evening also.

I didn't learn a thing.


In a Saki (H. H. Munro) short story, the train is stranded in the middle of some ghastly Balkan wasteland by snow, leaving our protagonist with only a grim Slavic peasant woman and a dry salami for company. There is the distant howling of wolves. And the prospect of dying of exposure.


This movie, and that story, indicate that to the British, while travel may in fact broaden the mind, it likely shortens the life-span while simultaneously exposing one to Slavic types. Possibly that exposure shortens the span.
What good can come from snow, Slavs, and salami?

The four hour train ride from Amsterdam to Antwerp lacks those three things. There is herring at one end, and excellent cookery at the other.



WATERZOOI - FLEMISH FISH OR CHICKEN STEW

A portion of fish (kwabaal) or chicken is poached in a soup comprising thickened broth, with vegetables and fresh herbs: carrots, onions, celeriac (knolseldery), leeks, potatoes and herbs such as parsley, thyme, bay-leaves and sage. The kwabaal or burbot is a fresh-water relative of cod. Because of the degredation of waterways, turbot, snoek, and carp are now often used instead. The dish is often served with bread. It is delicious.

Poirot, of course, is not Flemish, but a Walloon. So he is more peculiar by far than he should be. Neurotic and detail-oriented to a ridiculous degree, obsessed with minutiae. As well as, in the words of his creatrix, "a detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep".
An overly fastidious height-impaired egghead.



If the British were concerned with good food, Agatha Christie would have made him a chef de cuisine, instead of a detective. Possibly he still would have been balding and obsessed with his patent leather footwear -- those are common Walloon characteristics -- but likely not so freakishly short.



Personally, I think the time is right for a fictional detective who is a grim Slavic peasant woman with an affection or reliance on dry salamis, who lives in Amsterdam (herring) and likes visiting Antwerp (waterzooi).
That would be charming, and hold my attention.

Were I to travel on the Orient Express, there would be dry salami in my luggage, just in case.

I like salami.




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GOOD THINGS, IN TWOS

Three women: The assertive screaming woman, in her own words a "tough ass bitch" who did not understand the concept of indoor voice. The sweet bartendress, who might be described like George Ade's heroine, as having "a forehead which was shiny and protuberant, like a Bartlett pear", good humoured and pleasantly tolerant of all of us reprobates.
And Sunny, whose dog is small, patient, and forbearing.

The staff of the House of Prime, which included the first mentioned, was there. And it was because of the first mentioned that I spent overmuch time outside in the cold enjoying my pipe, as, like many Asperger types, loud screaming drunken good times give me a tension headache.
I was overjoyed when Jackie finally left.

The second mentioned, Sere..... , is because of her tolerance and pleasant personality, always a joy. She maintained her professional composure and her sobriety throughout.


The third woman is my generation. And reads more than is required by her job. Which makes conversation that much more interesting. She and her dog arrived after the screaming first mentioned person departed, and that was reason enough to NOT go out for the second pipe-full.


Plus her dog is small, patient, and forbearing.


Two smokes. Two Scotch and waters.
Two people who are nice.

As good a cap to the pre-christmas frenzy as one could possibly hope for.

It has turned bitterly cold. Two sweaters, one over the other.

Tomorrow, I think, two pairs of socks.

And the Canadian coat.




In the old days, antique crotchetts like myself could smoke indoors, at the bar, safely preserved from the bitter chill. But nowadays, because of the children, we have to step outside, and leave our whiskey and water unguarded on the counter, whenever we light up our pipes.

Because of the beastly children.

We are a horrid example.

I am not thrilled.




By the way: Screw Christmas. I've got so many layers of clothing on I feel like a polar bear. I am an apex predator, and people fear me.

It's the children.




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Monday, December 24, 2018

SADNESS FOR SUPERGIRL

The problem with too much chocolate is that it isn't good for the digestion. Put differently, it directly damages the soul. Constipation has that effect. Whereas a nice hot cup of tea expands the mind, clarifies the humours, and benefits the stomachy parts. Especially after a tasty curry of potato-mustard greens-meat: aloo saag, more or less.

With chopped bacon. Because I'm a little short on cooking oil.

Honestly, I cannot understand people who dislike tea.

It must be an American failing, mostly.

So I can sympathize.


"WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST TEA?!?"


COPYRIGHT: Mike Maihack
Visit Mike here: Cleopatra in Space


Batgirl, as you can tell, is a bit of an idiot. Not in any way a bad person, you must understand, just clueless. Kindhearted but misguided.
Cozy, but digestive issues.


The aforementioned curry was dinner, about thirty minutes ago. Now I am having a cup of tea and snacking on cheese puffs. Those nibbly things on batgirl's coffee table are NOT cheese puffs. Tortilla chips, maybe?

If I rescued Supergirl, there would be cheese puffs.
And a nice spot of tea. You betcha.




That's just how it must be.





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Sunday, December 23, 2018

THOSE IN NEED OF CANING

On the whole, many of the cigar smokers of my acquaintance are a skeevy lot, and seem to be in love with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. They believe everything that comes out of her mouth, and worship her truths.

Arthur, Daniel, David, Richard, and Jeffrey.

That isn't even mentioning the troglodytes at two places downtown.


I would claim that pipe-smokers are saner and more balanced, and actually capable of reading, except I know far too many smokers of aromatics to go there. Aromatics are often a sign of loose morals and bad personal choices, much like cheap drugstore aftershave and medicated crotch ointment. It's like saying "hi, I'm a sailor, I dress in women's clothing, and my yappy lapdog Mr. Floofles is my best friend".

Say 'hi' to Mr. Floofles.

Jeffrey in particular disappointed me, in that he supports Trump's decision to screw over the Kurds and our other allies, and in a long whiny rant the other day went on and on about tribal societies and thousands and thousands of years, and in many of his assertions showed scant awareness of historical fact and important details. I did not bother responding seriously, because such deliberate stupidity and ignorance is not worth arguing with.
I like the man, but he's lost it. If he ever had it.

I wish I could say as much about Daniel, but all the evidence indicates deliberate stubborn evil know-nothingism on his part.

And David is beyond redemption.


All of these people would be likable, if they weren't so convinced, like Donald Trump, that they had the best brains and were right about everything.


The intelligent and reasonable cigar smokers sit out on the patio.
And avoid the lounge with its collection of dingos.




Sometimes, delusionally, I experiment with aromatic pipe tobacco myself. Latest indulgence: Samuel Gawith's Firedance Flake. Ten days ago I thought I could easily finish it within a month -- even if only by smoking it when Hector was working, just for his pained reaction -- but now I am not so sure. It's flavoured with blackberries, brandy, and vanilla, and is more disturbing the more I smoke it. Despite the fine Virginia base.

It isn't quite as degenerate as Molto Dolce, than which nothing is more indicative of debasement, but less enjoyable than either 1Q or BCA.

Marginally better than Celtic Talisman (cherry liqueur and vanilla, by Samuel Gawith), but in the same vein as PS Very Cherry and Highland Whiskey. Educational. I need a tight lacy man-thong, and so do you.
Or a long cold shower. Carbolic soap.


If I were a woman, I might look like the illustration above. I still wouldn't habitually smoke aromatics, though. No one should. It's depraved.




TOBACCO INDEX


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GUEST POST: JIM MATTIS

Follows the text of General Mattis' resignation letter.
Which Trump has not read.
Too long.


Begin cite:


Dear Mr. President:

I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.

I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance. Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.

One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships. While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies. Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world. Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances. NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America. The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.

Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours. It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model — gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions — to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies. That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.

My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.

Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February. Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.

I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.

I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.

Jim N. Mattis


End cite.


It's a darn good letter. The original, which now has ketchup and Special Sauce stains, will eventually end up in the Smithsonian.




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Saturday, December 22, 2018

THE BLESSINGS

A few years ago an Israeli of my ken asserted that I spent more time ranting about Israel and Bibi Netanyahu than anybody or any thing else.
Not true, Jonathan, not true at all. Because of the Republicans who took over the local grass roots organizations, I largely ignore Israel. Like you, they voted for Trump. Plus they dress funny, eat too much, and smell bad.
I am glad that Bob, Bob, and Masha aren't in the same foxhole.
Because if they were, I'd use pepper spray on them.

Another reader asserted a long while back that I seemed to mostly write about pipes, tobacco, and badgers. A more accurate statement. Which reminds me that I need to update the index of pipe-related posts.

A few others complain that this blog is filled with herring or underwear.
Altogether less than a dozen essays, but their reading skills are poor.
Plus they are mostly Israeli or Republican anti-smokers.
And very likely voted wrong.


Stück Dreck #1



Come to think of it, that pepper spray would make Republicans and rabid anti-smokers smell better.


But enough of that; Happy Holidays!

As we get closer to Xmas, thoughts of venison and elf-abuse fill my head.
Along with hanging Bing Crosby in effigy, setting fire to plastic decorations, complimenting complete strangers on their finely tuned greed, and locking up fat men in red suits. Plus anybody singing Christmas carols.
Insane asylum, 72 hour observation, electro-shock.

Nothing says Christmas better than drunk driving, frenzied mobs at the mall, rusty iron reindeer on the lawn, and two solid weeks of sugar.

I am filled with sweetness and light.




By the way: Anyone smoking Sutliff's Pumpkin Spice tobacco is a ruddy pervert who should be shot. Killing cute little puppies is more humane and less damaging to the ozone layer, and their adult kin will chain them up in the basement and use iron rods to chastise them.

Degenerate damned Nazis.

JimInks disagrees.




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Friday, December 21, 2018

TRUMP'S GENEROSITY

In the likely event of a government shutdown (over border wall funding), McDonalds will still be open. Even though they feed the president, they are not part of Agriculture or or Homeland Security, and in consequence our beloved president and his household need not go hungry this yule.

Besides, White House staff and members of Congress still get paid.


Yesterday one of the rabid republicans in the lounge ('degenerate Dan') was passionately defending the president over our withdrawal from Syria. Like many of those stalwart gentlemen he is probably waiting for his 'certificate of completion' from Trump University, which will surely come. Except, of course, that the Postal Service is not a part of the government, and probably delays delivery of mass mail.

It's official looking and suitable for framing.

Jeff, allegedly reasonably intelligent, had over the past several months also passionately defended Trump. He's a bit glum now, since the announced withdrawal from Syria. He's smart enough to understand that this was a Christmas gift from Trump to Turkey, Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran, even if Isis were actually defeated. Which it isn't.
He supports Israel. Who have been shafted by this development.
Rah rah, Jerusalem, red heifer, rah rah.
Go team!


THE FESTIVE SEASON

Many government employees will eventually have to starve. Though some of them must continue to work without pay.

41,000 federal law enforcement officers from the FBI, Drug Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and thousands of other law enforcement personnel.
54,000 Customs and Border Protection.
53,000 Transportation Security Administration.
42,000 Coast Guard.
5,000 Forest Service firefighters.
3,600 National Weather Service forecasters.

Over 380,000 federal workers will be sent on unpaid leave, including most of the Commerce Department, Forest Service, and NASA.


Nine federal departments will be shut down:

Department of the Treasury
Department of Agriculture
Homeland Security
Department of the Interior
Department of State
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of Transportation
Department of Commerce
Department of Justice

Many essential programs will soon be curtailed once the money runs out.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), school lunches, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

They too will have to rely on McDonalds.


What with the inevitable home foreclosures and vehicle repossessions, there is money to be made. So if you have invested wisely, like any Trump-supporting Marinite would have done, you will make a killing.
I expect real-estate prices to rise dramatically.
Especially in gated communities.


Fast-food stocks will also go up.


America has to eat.





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Thursday, December 20, 2018

SPIRITUAL WHITE FOLKS

Perfect exemplifiers of 'woo': swilling turmeric tea, lotus birth, incense, and healing crystals.



Basically, middle-class folks of no significance desperate to release the dolphin within.



One step up from meaningful tattoos.
Om, bitches.




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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

FOOD FOR THE HOWLING GALE: BAKED PORTUGUESE CHICKEN RICE

What with the recent closures and transformations in Chinatown, there is only one place nearby for Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice that I know of, and I cannot go there. It's not the fault of that restaurant, but the very nice waitress there three years ago wanted to introduce me to her single friend.

[dot  dot  dot ... ]
 

Though I speak passable Cantonese, the concept of a date with someone who thinks in Chinese rather than English frightens the bejayzus out of me.
I am a middle-aged crackpot with a fondness for Monty Python's Flying Circus, Vladimir Nabokov's prose, odd study subjects like Talmud-Torah, Mediaeval History, the Dutch colonial world, and food (about which I know a lot). A Chinese-speaking immigrant from Hong Kong or the Mainland would find me rather queer, once she got to know more about me.
And we would have little in common other than food.

Besides, I smoke a pipe. Smoking is no longer socially acceptable.
Also, no career. No chance of owning my own home.

So I responded nicely to her suggestion at the time, and never went there again. Unfortunately there are far fewer chachanteng style eateries in Chinatown now.

[Chachanteng (茶餐廳) are restaurants that have strong milk tea. Not boba joints, and not American Chinese restaurants. The food selection is Hong Kong western. Chops, casseroles, French toast, fried noodles, stew (市都 'si dou'), spaghetti, and borscht (羅宋湯 'lo sung tong'; Russian soup). Which isn't Russian, by the way.]

The one I went to with Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice has revamped.

Upgraded the menu, and reduced it to one printed sheet.


But as regards one of my favourite dishes, I am out of luck. Their curry porkchops with rice suit me nicely, and they still have a good selection of rice porridge, plus some quite interesting looking new items, so I will continue to patronize them as often as before.

No Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice.
Guk pou gwok gai faan.


焗葡國雞飯

It's a simple dish. A layer of egg-fried rice is put in a casserole, chicken chunks, cubed potato and maybe bell-pepper spread on top, mild slightly coconutty curry sauce poured over. A sprinkle of cheese, and bung it in the oven for ten or fifteen minutes, till the chicken is cooked and the cheese bubbly. It can also be done by simply glopping some mild Chinese restaurant style chicken curry over the foundation of fried rice, and sticking it under the broiler. The approach is flexible, the result is what counts. Rice, egg fragments, chicken, potato, mild curry sauce. With a slightly cheesy golden layer on top.
Ideally one or two chunks of chouriço or linguiça are in it also, for a porky fatty flavour -- at home I'll make it with smoky bacon -- and it should be stressed that it is not, in fact, Portuguese at all, but a typical Hong Kong crossover dish. Nor is it intended for high dining or healthy eating.

Have it with one of two cups of strong milk tea, then head out into the typhoon and scramble up the bamboo scaffolding for another full shift on the highrise, twenty floors up. Energy. Filling. Not high fallutin'.
Formica table food.


Just add hotsauce.
Or sambal.




AFTER WORD

What used to be the New Honolulu (新檀島咖啡餅店 'san taan tou ka fei bing dim') on Stockton Street is now 新品味 ('san pan mei'), but has not yet opened for business. It looks nice inside. And I am curious as to what foods they will serve. Naturally I am hoping that it will be chachanteng food, which is what the Honolulu had -- they were a pleasant and reliable stand-by and fall-back -- and at the very least they should offer Hong Kong Milk Tea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai chaa'), and club sandwiches (公司三明治 'gung si saam ming ji'). Which are great with a little hotsauce. Or sambal.




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HEATHEN FOOD

Paraphrasing an important commentator, currently part of the United States Government and fairly high up: "It should be absolutely unacceptable that bureaucrats with ideological motivations have any control over America's food and drinking water, as it puts an unfair burden on the producer and reduces his profit from his labors. It is a hindrance to the American way of doing business. God-fearing Christians, additionally, will not need this, as the Good Lord has provided us with an abundance of wholesome substances, and only atheist Californians consume Romaine Lettuce or canned corn."
This is true. I myself never touch either of those two daemonic comestibles.
It is paradigmatic that you will not find Jesus in a can of corn.
Whether you will find him in Iowa is doubtful.

Likewise, I would argue that a true Christian should not accept vaccination, as, if the good lord wants your brood to survive and become productive members of society, HE will provide a means.

Food safety, clean drinking water, and medical advice should ALL be divinely inspired.

Also understand that rabies and tetanus do not exist.

The lizard lords lied to you.

Starvation is good.

Spiritual.




By the way: corn is Mexican.
Corndogs are Satanic.
That shape!




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THE RENEWAL

With slight regret I realize that I am risking excommunication. I've mixed up some tobacco that includes approximately twenty five to thirty percent Firedance Flake from Samuel Gawith. Which is topped with some kind of berry liqueur and, allegedly, vanilla. It is, though the flavourings are mild at that percentage, degenerate enough to cast me into outer darkness, and possibly ghost whichever pipe I smoke for at least the next bowl.
Curtis at the Oxxy would throw my ass out.

I would, likewise.

Heathen!


The washington Bakery and Restaurant, where I had a late lunch, has changed. It shows evidence of the younger generation exerting its influence, and while I love the new decor, I lament the reduction in the menu. My all-time favourite -- baked Portuguese chicken rice (焗葡國雞飯 'guk pou gwok gai faan') -- is no longer offered there. It's a classic chachanteng dish!
What I had was curry porkchop and rice.
It was excellent.

Anna and Ah Ping are still there, the Hong Kong Milk Tea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai cha') is still served. So I am not upset.
Merely slightly peevish.


Old farts like myself don't like change. It highlights how disposable we have become.


Again, those porkchops were delicious!


Yummy!




Despite our disapproval of the newfangled modern era, we also like children.
Possibly because they are easily impressed by our antiquity, maybe because they contrast so nicely with our wrinkles.
It needs to be said.


Here's a child. And here's a dessicated old fart.
One looks good.



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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

CANCEL CHRISTMAS NOW!

In a staggering blow to good Christians everywhere, the Trump Foundation, also known as the 'Privy Purse' and 'Putin Orphanage For Unhappy Rich People' will be forced to dissolve itself under judicial supervision.

Apparently there had been a rather inconsequential pattern of law-breaking involving the foundation, illegal co-ordination with the presidential campaign, repeated self-dealing, and really very minor chicanery.

The Foundation functioned largely as a personal chequebook for its officers.
Exactly as it should. Because that's what charities are for!
Ivanka and the droogs are heartbroken!


Like all of you, I am horrified.


This is a blow to Republican kindness, and must not stand.



I, frankly, don't see how we can continue the Festive Season now.
It's nothing more than a charade, and all celebration must cease .

The foundation was a splendid resource for settling business lawsuits as well as a valuable and necessary political tool, protecting our near god-like leader from being distracted in his sanctified task of tear-gassing infants, assisting Saudi savagery, tantrums, pandering to the Russians, and other crucial nation-building activities. Sadly, there may be millions of dollars in penalties against the president and his three oldest children.

I join all loyal Republicans in outrage and grief.

Stop your Christmas jollifications forthwith.

If you continue, you are a foreigner.

Disloyal, and un-American.




Sorry, is my giddiness too broad?




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DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM?

The conversation dealt with Little White Nipple Guy, Tinfoil Hat Stevie, and several other things.  Because I was giving a friend the low-down on my workweek, and the spectrum of dysfunctionals that cross my horizon, but without mentioning the Irish Trumpite, the Evil Hobbit (who smokes Tatuaje Coronas Gordas Negro), or the bald space alien.

Or, in all fairness, whom I should have also mentioned, the gentleman from Karachi, originally from somewhere in India he cannot go back to (very nice fellow, old-school, that generation and that class, now Canadian), or the erudite Iraqi gentleman newly getting into pipe-smoking.
Both of them were sane and very pleasant.


As a San Francisco resident, you will naturally understand that many of the folks I deal with on a regular basis are somewhat dysfunctional.

I tempt the fates.

Daily.


Yesterday I was waiting for the bus to Marin when Chelsea waved at me, to which I was totally oblivious, being, at that time of day, probably in a "fudge all of you" mode. Which, given that that is is the neighborhood where the elderly alcoholic importunes every one for cigarettes and the soup-bowl haircut tattooed fake blond douche bag with his plumber's crack showing frightens little Cantonese kiddies waiting for daycare to open OR elderly Anglicans in front of the church, would not be unlikely.

One can understand what made them what they are now, and even sympathize, but like one's fellow Americans who support Trump, one does not have to like them. Their disease does not sweeten them.
There are reasons for their mental state.
They're still crap.

I like the little Cantonese kiddies.
Elderly Anglicans, meh.



The little Cantonese kiddies and I myself are normal.
Every one else considerably less so.
And some people not.
Remotely.




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Monday, December 17, 2018

ELDERLY OBSESSIONS

For the second time in five days I've had to endure listening to a long detailed discussion about colonoscopies. This time, polyps were in play. What IS it with old people and their invasive procedures?!? You know, I do not wish to hear what went up your nether end. Or what had to be removed. That isn't a subject dear to my heart, nor do I spend any time speculating about it, or imagining things. Please keep your arse in your pants!
Out of sight, out of mind. And out of my ears!

As an aside, I should mention that one of the enthusiastic participants is, in fact, a few years younger than myself. And female.


The one thing that all these people share is that they are involved with cigars. I suspect that they also like country music -- there's something depraved about that -- but the common denominator is cigars.

I am a pipe smoker. My experience of colonoscopies is nil.

I do not feel any the less because of that.


Well, the female participant smokes cigarettes more than cigars, but she's probably at heart a cigar maven who listens to country music. Having been twisted by long exposure to all these cheroot huffing wombats.

I no longer go to the tobacco-friendly place across from Bank of America.
And I realize now that's a good thing. Think of the conversations I am missing. Sports. Trump. And snake-like devices with lubricant.




Of course I hear all of that at work anyhow.





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POND SCUM

In an irony of history, the device was named after an opponent of the death penalty who simply advocated for a less painful way to execute criminals.
And it is, arguably, extremely efficient, and very modern.
A clean cut separating the head from the body.
And considered egalitarian.

As a nod to the equality which we idealize, and seldom actually practice, it would be a sweet, even lovely gesture to bring back the guillotine.




Appropriate, too, given present circumstances.
The weight of the blade allows it to go through bone, the sharpness smoothly cuts through hard waxy fat, and because of its even and lubricated descent it removes the need for a strong man to exhaust himself, get splattered, and possibly have a repetitive stress injury.


An immediate and humane death, minimally damaging to the subject.

Can easily be installed in government buildings.

Clean, efficient, and modern.



Not pictured: Paul Ryan, Elaine Chao, Rudy Giuliani.




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Sunday, December 16, 2018

SCANT MODIFICATION REQUIRED

For her birthday dinner, my apartment mate wanted chicken wings and black forest cake. Okay. Can do. She is, like me, not particularly social, so there would not be anyone else eating this delicious repast in front of the teevee while both of us browsed the news on our home computers.
Computers. Not cell phones. Yes, we are not that generation.
She has one, her brothers insisted a few years ago.
In case mom had a medical crisis.
'
Her siblings still do not know that she is reachable by a land line. Precisely like my kinfolk have a hard time understanding that I too do not have a cellphone (they keep calling her message number).


Remarkably, my health plan has no problem grasping that the best way to reach me is by e-mail. They are used to dealing with Luddites.

Many of their members are stubborn foreignese-speaking fossils.
Which is why I chose them.


Anyhow, the chicken wings were from the Capitol Restaurant (京都餐館 'king tou chaan kwun') on Clay between Stockton Street and Waverly, the Black Forest Cake came from Lotta's Bakery at Clay and Polk.


CAPITAL RESTAURANT
839 Clay St, San Francisco, CA 94108.
Phone: (415) 397-6269

LOTTA'S BAKERY
Address: 1720 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109.
Phone: (415) 359-9039


Both participants enjoyed their dinner immensely.
One of them added hotsauce to his wings.
As, naturally, you would expect.


Here it is, after three in the morning, and I am keenly aware that there is Black Forest Cake and a box of chicken wings in the kitchen.
Quite likely that is the breakfast of champions.



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Friday, December 14, 2018

IT AIN'T CHRISTMAS!

At work we have a blinky metal reindeer that must go out on the lawn every day during the festive season. Today is one of my off days, so I asked my colleague The Heckman electronically whether it had been put out.
His response was negative, captain.
Seasonally appropriate decorations are essential, and I am furious.
Never mind that it was raining, put the damned thing out!
He's an important part of the team.
As well as a giver.





Without Rudolph the Rusty providing a warm and seasonally appropriate welcome to our visitors, it just isn't Christmas. We'll be forced to say "Happy holidays, bitches" instead of wishing the bitches a "Merry Christmas", all meaning will depart, and the outrage will be greater than Fox News and the U.S. Border Patrol teargassing pilgrims and performing child sacrifice.

Dingbat David will call us all godless communists and leftards.

Well, in the case of The Heckman, he's darn right.

I can't think of a greater heathen.

Put. Out. The. Reindeer.


Tomorrow, when I come in to work, I want to see blood on the lawn.


Do you think I want 'David the Ranting Republican' inviting the Protestant Inquisition down on us? Statues of fat men and rabid reindeer are what this time of year is all about, and cigar smokers more than anyone understand that for the past two years the phrase "merry Christmas" is obligatory. Without Rudolph the Rusty, it's just "happy holidays", and nobody wants that. Happiness should be out of the picture entirely.

Krampus gonna get you.
Or David.

You effing Stalinist.


Betcha even the evil hobbit who smokes Tatuaje Coronas Gordas Negro will be upset. Please reassure him that it wasn't your love of Hillary Clinton that inspired this temporary lapse.


The Christmas Season is about over-eating Chinese food, something-or-other how new kah, and tetanus because of Rudolph. As well as glitter on your sweater and blood on the grass.


If you don't do it, the Commies will win.
And the Golden State Warriors lose.
No Superbowl this year.
No Baby Jesus.



And White Folks Tacos. Nothing but White Folks Tacos for twelve solid months. With only Newman's Own Salsa and Pace "Picante".



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Thursday, December 13, 2018

GREAT GLOBS OF BUTTER AND BLAH

Sometimes the conversations among the cigar smokers in the lounge leave a lot to be desired. Today, however, they did not discuss politics. Instead, home remodeling. Followed by colonoscopies. No, I do not know how the conversation segued into that! But no doubt there is a link, and they are of an age when all of them have experienced such a thing. Unlike childbirth, there are probably no home movies -- though I would not be a bit surprised if videos get circulated among medical professionals with "would ya look at that" commentary appended -- and I shan't hunt around on youtube for any examples.

After that they talked about food. Quite naturally, because the man among them with the most colonoscopy experiences under his belt is an avid gourmand, albeit old school in his tastes. Steaks. Corned beef on rye.
Beef Wellington. Chicken Kiev.

Besides, he had just finished eating.


For the life of me, I cannot have conversations about colonoscopies. Consider it a social limitation. I don't make friends easily.


How the heck does one go from new kitchens to full rectal in two minutes? When I left for a moment they were all about butcher block and sheetrock, when I came back they had a probe and drugs going.

One of them described it in glowing terms, as the drugs they gave him were wonderful.

I suspect that Valium must have been part of the cocktail.

He's normally a little tightly clenched.

"Here, dude, just relax."


They are fully up to speed medically. All tested and examined. Nothing found wanting. And, judging by their conversation, well equipped with colons.


I was not part of this round table. I seldom discuss anything at all with those gentlemen, because I often cannot keep up with them, though I am quite familiar with steaks, corned beef on rye, beef Wellington, and Chicken Kiev. As well as the cigars that they smoke. Tom, who hails from some place in the MidWest, was also subdued; I doubt that certain medical matters are part of his small talk either.

He's too gentle and reserved for that.


He's just there for the company.


Neither Tom nor I customarily insert recta into our chit chat.




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