Thursday, December 09, 2021


Something you don't want to see while on the bus heading home from Chinatown is a woman wearing metalic yoga pants bending over to pick up her dog's droppings. Indeed, it's very San Francisco. No, it does not bring me any joy. What I particularly did not appreciate was that she wasn't wearing a mask on the public street. Folks, we're having a little pandemic here, could you kindly cover your ponim? No? What are you, stupid?

Now, reacting to Joe who mentioned that a particular pipe tobacco "fills the room with the scent of urine", I hasten to point out that all the BEST pipe tobaccos fill the room with the delicate scent of urine, it's a mark of refinement if your drawing room smells like a horse pissoir. That's why they put a new university in a certain place years ago: The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 馬尿水 ('ma niu sui'; horse pissing water), which has since been renamed to sound more elegant ('ma liu sui'), and a lovely backstory has been created.
It still smells refined and rare though.
Good Chinese ink can be associated with certain smells: sandalwood, musk, camphor. Plus resins and terpeneols. An excellent old stick of ink will have a feel when grinding it on the stone slab for making ink. After many years of use, an inkstone will have acquired a perfume from the ink made upon it. The scholar's study would have certain echo fragrances that, even blindfolded, would tell you where you were.

Refined fragrances are subtle, not strong, and have only the faintest hint of sweetness if any. They shouldn't be a smack in your face or an assault on your senses. The bookroom smells better for the echoes of the pipe than it does when the pipe is in play. An apartment with the faintest recollective whiff of Latakia or fine Virginia flakes is good. That's why ventilation, and stepping outside for one's smoke if the other person or people in the household are due to return in a few hours, are mighty good ideas.

Living quarters should not smell like smoke filled backrooms.

Perfumes are like that also. A bucket-load of Hello Kitty stankum or football jock after shave and deodorant in an enclosed space (like an elevator) is a horrid way to start the day.

Try to smell 'diplomatic' rather than brash.
Avoid cherry, vanilla, and caramel.
Or actual urine.

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