Tuesday, November 01, 2022


The first rain of the season has hit, and presumably people are freaking out. "It's too early, what is this weirdness, the Repubs are trying to kill us, I forgot my umbrella, dang the lawn furniture is getting soaked!" Whereas I am off work, comfortable at home, and relaxing in front of a crackling computer, all nice and toasty.

Well, not quite toasty. It IS cold.

Hot beverage, pipe filled with tobacco, following a croissant. First decent croissant I've ever had in the United States. Really. I didn't know y'all were capable of it. Normally croissants made by Americans are sodden greasy crap. This one was excellent. My landlady from downstairs gifted us some bakery products over the weekend while I was out.
I'm going to have to ask her where she got them.

Might have to make some special trips to rebel-held territory.
In the good old days, when university men still wore tweed jackets, and had digs up on Telegraph Avenue, a college student would have a few pipes on his desk to while away the tedium of Latin studies and the mathematics textbooks. A calabash, a briar, and a cherry wood. And probably a darkish tobacco mixture rich with fermented flue-cured leaf mixed by the local tobacconist, with a name that harkened back to Yale or Harvard. Despite being out on the West Coast, in a sunny part of the world.

That's sort of the impression I got of Berkeley from my parents and uncles, before I landed there in the giddy days of tie-dye and greasy pizza, when folks fondly remembered LSD and weed parties after the teargas from Reagan's goons. And signs said that any conversations with invisible people were strongly discouraged, and in some cases forbidden.

Nowadays we don't discriminate. Go ahead and speak to the non-existent, and reaffirm their value as members of society, fully realized individuals with solid contributions to the modern world. Even though I am not in Berkeley (allergic to Guatamalan fabrics, as well as vegans), that's what I am doing by blogging in the North East quadrant of San Francisco.

At least I am not on Twitter.
Seriously, that was a damned good croissant!

[By the way: I just told Grace, who is a recorded voice with US Healthcare Benefits, that I was "totally oojah cum spiff" in response to her question "how are you so far?" The spam machine hung up shortly after. Cell-phones are perfect for both Spam bots and Twitter. I get Spam. That's ALMOST like getting Elon Musk.]

Ropp cherry woods were made up till 1987. The company maintained a corpse-like presence for four more years, before being bought by Jeantet in 1991 for off-brands and odd batches of regular briars. The company was founded in 1869. Now there are no longer decent cherrywoods to be had. Which is a very great pity.

I suspect my father and his college friends also had cherry woods. By the time we moved overseas he no longer smoked such pipes, and limited himself to a dozen good briars, and a calabash. The calabash was probably discarded years before I started smoking, as there were no decent repair shops in the Netherlands.

I miss the mythic Berkelely that my parents told me about.
It must have been a fascinating place back then.
My Berkeley was not as magical.

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