Saturday, May 30, 2009

Something Practical Day

Yes sirree indeed... Something useful today, if your so inclined.

I ran across a DIY formula for an appliance cleaner. Well I had tried a variety of the usual household sprays and nothing helped. Actually, my grain grinder was desperately in need of a cleanup.

So I put some baking soda in the bottom of a cup and poured on a bit of vinegar. Egads only to remember some childhood chemistry as it foamed over. Thankfully I was near the sink. But the resulting paste worked.

Worked great. Cleaned up the grain grinder superbly.

Then I used some on one of those fish grills for a gas barbecue grill. While it didn't get everything off, it was a heck of a lot cleaner. Apparently, vinegar is a good grease cutter.

There is also a formula for baking soda, salt and vinegar....

Friday, May 29, 2009

Climb Aboard the USS Titanic

"Why are the Ancient Eight increasingly irrelevant in the most competitive arena of all?" asks Darren Everson in today's WSJ. Actually, he answers his own question: "the Ivy’s 1981 expulsion from Division I-A, college football’s premier classification, which occurred because larger-conference schools desired greater control over TV-contract negotiations."

EH ? squeezed out by the Big Boys were they ?

Everson continues; "The Ivy League is home to some of the country’s oldest colleges, which once played the best football... Harvard was so good in the early days that when it defeated Oregon, 7-6, in 1920 in what is now known as the Rose Bowl game, the Los Angeles Times called the outcome a “triumph” for the underdog loser."

Hurrah! the Blue Bloods showed them damn Oakies what happens for escaping from the mines and debts at the company store. But wait, isn't that like 85 years ago ? Is this Harvard's contribution to humanity ?

Obviously, single malt scotch is out of reach for the 'wizzards of wall street' and they have gone back to good old reliable cocaine... enjoy it while you can, since after 75 years, Washington will finally win the drug war this year and make Mexico safe for Wall Mart and Spring Break. Snort it up boys and girls...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why the rich should be taxed at 1,000%

First off, I should mention that I'm neither a socialist or a communist. And actually had a grandfather who was a card carrying conservative. As a youngster I was mildly attracted to libertarianism but after subscribing to individualist anarchism pretty much lost interest in anything relating to politics.

And I should mention that I own a copy of Ludwig Von Mises' HUMAN ACTION, and I actually sat down and read the entire bloody 900 pages. Anyway, I'm fairly certain that's hardly true of virtually everybody who quotes Von Miser.

But then I'm neither a believer in FINANCE CRAPITALISM or an apologist for the factory system. If you want a refutation of the myths of industrial progress and innane anti-human theories of the 'division of labor' and 'economies of mass production', read Ralph Borsodi's THIS UGLY CIVILIZATION.

To put it in perspective, during Von Mises time there wasn't any understanding of pollution and there seemed unlimited resources to exploit for the taking. And secondly, Von Mises didn't quite come out and call people assholes and lemmings, nor did he think capitalism was a particuarly good system (ah! the heresies...). But the gist is, that the State and any type of centralized decision making was the worst system and was a disaster just waiting to happen.

So the TAX THE RICH @ 1,000% proposal, isn't some socialist soak the rich fantasy. It's really basically a sound financial proposition and good business.... The problem being is that politicians seem to solve every problem, real or imaginary, by spending money. In fact, the Leadership of this "greatest and freest country" found so many problems to solve, that as of 2006 every individual owed $250,000 each as their share of the existing government debt, and thats not even including the the future liabilities of social insecurity and medifraud programs.

Now if per capita individual income (not household income) is $25,000 a year and they owe 10 times that as their share of government debt. I think it's only fitting that the rich pay 10 times their income in taxes, at least until the debt is paid off.

Of course, We all know that's not going to happen, because let's face it: who owns amerika and who owns the politicians ?

So to make economic history simple and in one sentence: eventually all governments start spending more than they can tax, and then after a crack up boom comes the inevitable: the Leadership tries to paper their way out of a hole...

Raising the cigarette tax 80 cents isn't going to raise the quadrillions needed. I doubt even a 1,000% income tax for the rich would be enough. But that's the point.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bad Brew and Happy Screw-Ups

I was wondering what happened with the coffee. Raw nasty s*** as of late. But it was the same old same old GREEN MOUNTAIN beans. Turns out it was the 1% milk.

Basically, that means I'm not a real coffee drinker, or a real cigar aficionado. Maybe, I don't even exist... EGADS! I forgot existentialism is like so sixties and seventies !

OH! "I AM THEREFORE I CONSUME"... But then like that's so old fashioned now. You know, POVERTY is the new chic.

Anyway, as I've filled up the humidor with dog rockets, I was running out of room for the cigarillos and running out of money. I had sprung for an electronic humidity gauge which set me back $30. I don't think it's really necessary, but it did affirm my suspicions that the stock analog humidity gauge was off a bit, about within the 10% engineering tolerances.

After a second attempt I came up with a simple mounting clip and a bit of fiddling around and adjustments I started getting even more active and creative. There were a few odds and ends of a couple of cigar boxes lying around, and a sawed up some of it to make flat rectangular spacers to go in between the small piles of cigars. Somewhat to protect them from fingers, my own mostly, as well as from resin from the humidor liner. Anyway, it's something to do with junk cedar cigar boxes.

But I did have one nice box bottom left. I cut a piece of glass for the top [well, I had bought a glass cutting tool, and had some stray pieces of glass lying around]. But the point is, now it's a nice little glass top crap-a-dor for the cigarillos. BTW, I glued on a wood knob and stuck the old analog hydrometer in a corner. Will give me something to experiment with, also, can't imagine it being any worse than one of those 'desktop' humidors that go for $30 bucks on EBAY although sometimes the catalog places unload them in bundle deals for an extra $10 or $20.

HEY! but this has a glass top and so it's special....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Cigar BOOM and BUST

HEY ! BOOM AND BUST. Sound familiar ?

Let's see, once upon a time folk bit off the end of their cigar, smoked them with beer and while playing cards. You know, working class, ordinary folk.

I still wonder if it had anything to do with MONICA and BILL ?

It seems around 1992, the Madison Avenue stuff started to kick in... And the cigar boom was unleashed. Okay, once it was either smoking an el premo or an el cheapo; either it tasted like tobacco or it didn't.

"Hint of leather", "wisp of walnut", "touch of spice...". It's not that the REVIEWERS are delusional, because people did swallow that bull puckey, because, you know, this is Amerika. And in Amerika the politicians don't lie, the media doesn't lie, and the big corporations don't cook the books... But if you look closely it's just the CIGAR SNOBS selling with their thinly disguised advertising copy...

Well, next thing celebrities are being photographed with cigars. Then women with unsightly silicon breasts ( I've never seen a woman buy or smoke a cigar) start to appear in the adverts. I'd really like to see that video GIRLS WITH GUNS, remade. Maybe, a direct to DVD release: SURGICALLY & COSMETICALLY ENHANCED GIRLS WITH GUNS SMOKE CIGARS AND DESCRIBE WHAT THEY WANT TO DO TO YOUR GENITALS WHILE DRIVING BIG EXPENSIVE CARS.

And BANG, the BOOM is over and the BUST began. Well a lot of makers went bankrupt, there was a bit of consolidation and well it's just a few big corporations left. I suspect this is what the global economy has left to look forward to: 1 or 2 giant corporations controlling just about everything...

Currently, there's about 350 million cigars sold in the US a year. Maybe, 40 million of them might be described as 'premium'. So, yes 90% of the time the SNOBS are smoking an "alternative". Yes the CIGAR GODS smoke alternatives, and you smuck, smoke dog rockets.

So remember, does it taste like tobacco or not ?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I HAVE A HAVANA

People might think this a bit odd of a posting during the memorial day weekend, but I'm sure that would be the same people who think that it's okay for poor people's children to go off and die stealing oil for the big corporations so that they can pick up their children from school in an SUV.

Well, I was talking on the phone with an old acquaintance. I won't call him a friend anymore since he turned into a bit of a snob and social climber, so I generally do not bother with him and his delusional world of late.

It wasn't long till I hear this monotone voice: "I have a Havana". "That's nice", I responded, and I suspect I asked him "how's the weather ?" Next; "No, er........I have a Havana," in the same irritating monotone.

"What brand is it ?" I asked. "I got it from a friend, er...ah...he got it from a friend, I don't know." "What brand is it", I asked again. ugh! "I have a Havana..."

I really don't know what brand it is either !!!

Well, the claim is that the Cuban soil is so played out that the Dominicans and now the Hondurans are much better. Then as it's Castro's only source of revenue, the quality of AUTHENTIC cubanos is considered to be rather deplorable as of late. And on top of it about 85% of the Cubans sold "legally" in Canada are FAKES.

What's with the Cuban thing ? The mystic ? The criminality ?

Nah! it's about showing off... "he he, I got connections and you don't, he he..."

Obviously, MOST if not ALL the fools are running out and paying $40-$50 a stick for a Honduran with a fake Cuban label on it.

What fools these Gringos Be... fake cigars, fake boobs, fake kulture....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

HABANITOS

DON LINO HABANITOS 3-1/2-in. x 24

This is an excellent cigarillo from a premium cigar maker; just in case you wonder where all the 'trimmings' from cigars go to. Well sometimes they go into the "short" and "medium" filler cigars. Depending on the marketing guy or the "independent" reviewer, it can be described as "floor sweepings", "trimmings", or "short leaf filler".

Anyway, these floor sweepings taste wonderful and are an exceptional bargain, running at $20 for a tin of 50, or so. I'm wondering if the price has something to do with the tab on the cellophane. You just can't open one of these with your fingernail, and so I'm having to remember to keep a pocket knife handy...

Well, the very first one I tried and well, I was quite amused it really did taste like HAVANA; with that distinctive kick. Yeah ! here's the advertising copy:

"You can imagine yourself walking down Havana harbor’s beautiful Malec√≥n, smiling and waving at the beautiful muchachitas and puffing on a perfect gem of a cigar –"

I suspect you would need something a little harder, like cocaine to sprinkle on it to get that imaginary feeling of being 20 again in 1950's pre-castro Cuba and still not being able to get any.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Inside New Hampshire

From three decades living in New Hampshire I can sum up the state in one word: ALCOHOLISM. This former Republican Party stronghold, AKA "Liechtenstein of the Northeast", enjoys the highest per capita consumption of alcohol and the highest rate of alcoholism in the nation.

Of the 10,000 incarcerated citizens, over 2,500 were imprisoned for child rape. And that's probably only the tip of the iceberg. Over the years I have been befriended by a number of incest survivors, and frankly the male victims don't rate much consideration or mention.

New Hampshire also is fairly undeveloped. About 1/3 of the state economy is tourism, the rest of the economy is literally built around WHITE FLIGHT. Essentially, what has happened is that a very large state and local government infrastructure has developed around housing developments and balloning schools, police/fire departments and other ' essential amenities' for the big city escapees. And there isn't any businesses or economic activity to support it, not even in the best of times.

Well, as i remember it. During the early Eighties when I was just starting to adjust to the 'rural' character, well the Reagen BOOM started to kick in. " Hey, we is going to get rich.. ya' know PROGRESS...". The first real estate crash hit in 1990. It took out all the builders and developers as well as most of the Banks.

But still they came. That is white folks with children looking for 'safe schools' and a 'safe place' to raise their spawn. And housing prices started going up 20% a year... "I made a $100,000 on my house this year" a friend once said to me. "I'm going to be a millionaire before i retire".

Of course, the North Country is much different. Besides not being a suburb of Boston. The people there are honest and they don't have those faggy limp wrist handshakes either. But they drink. But that's New Hampshire. And they have good reason for it, at least now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

PETIT sumatra

Was in the big city the end of last week because of a special trip to Home Despot. Don't know why it always seems that even though I buy extra material for a project I usually end up a piece short ! So on the way home I swung by a local tobacco shop to pick up some real cigarillos. It had been a good year since my last visit and I was looking in the display case, and it was just loaded with all the available brands of the cheap homogenized junk... well it was a good selection of the cheap shit. But anyway, I heard a voice: "Can I help you find something ?" And I turned around and looked and egads it's MORTIMER. Very creepy, now I know why I hadn't returned. Looking at the selection, I probably should have said: "You couldn't pay me to smoke this crap much less steal it."

But, hey, I found a pack of the PETIT sumatra small cigars for $16.95. Later I checked and they go for $14.95 on the internet, so this guy actually was reasonable.

Anyway a delightful little smoke from Denmark, but for 85 cents a stick, and the accompanied indignity I guess you could say: THAT'S ALL FOLKS.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

DOG ROCKETS

Well that's the other exciting news this week, my order from Thompson's TCC (10 days)arrived. And over all I can't complain, but the POWER25 sampler turned out to be a bunch of robustos. I went back and they were advertising a nice looking selection with Torpedoes, Churchills, and Longsdales. Disappointing or deceptive, not sure. Hey, but at a buck a piece I really didn't expect anything but dog rockets.

All this started again with the SCHIP tax. I had put away my humidor last year and had just been buying the occasional pack of Garcia-Vega Whiffs at $1.99; but they went up overnight to $2.79. At which point I figured why smoke the cardboard shit anymore when I can get better for less.

So after placing my order, I took out the humidor and went to set it up. The first thing I noticed was cedar wood resin. Hey, like it's a $100 crap-a-dor, so now I understand why the CIGAR GODS/ CIGAR SNOBS insist on $500 and up ones. Anyway, I scraped and sanded out the resin, because I mostly smoke cigarillos and I'm not going to be buying any boutique stoggies.

If I remember correctly I didn't start smoking cigarettes until after I had become a pot smoker. Gee, the great things you learn in College: doping and binge drinking for instance. Though, my first introduction to cigars might have been from some former 60's antiwar bigwig I met in So. Cal. during the 1980's.

I eventually turned to handrolling cigarettes, and even experimenting with adding herbs like coltsfolt to pipe tobacco. Then I started in with the real imported cigarillos and the occasional cigar. Some of it was economics and some of it was a search for the 'real' tobacco experience.

And when I say 'real' I mean just plain old tobacco. A lot of people don't know what "homogenized tobacco product" really means. That's also called "sheet tobacco" in the trade. That's where tobacco leaves ( and I assume stems, pieces and roots) are thrown in a vat with water, sugar and who knows what else and is pressed into 4' x 8' sheets like plywood. This is then shredded and put into cigarettes and little cigars. Just look for "homogenized" and say: "BARF ! No thank you..."

Spend a little extra for real tobacco products and you'll save money in the long run because you won't be getting the additive 'addictive' chemicals either.

So anyway, I did find my ice pick which will work as an improvised draw-poke, so you'll be hearing about the dog rockets eventually.

Guitars and American Monoculture

Just a quick note about my music activities. Most of the time after describing what microtonality is to people and their increasing looks of disdain and derision inevitably I get asked: "Well do you make any money at it ?"

I pretty much guess that sums up what Americans are all about. God forbid that you would have the nerve to actually utilize your "freedoms" and do something different and be "individualistic".

"Got Money ?"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What no Grinder ?

Well it's a nice day today, the rain has stopped and the sun has come out. It's afternoon and I decided to replace the getting real old afternoon cup of coffee with an old standby: cayenne pepper tea. And yes it's 'spicy hot' as well as having those old herbal manuals claiming that it's good for the heart.

Of course, use just 1/8 teaspoon in a cup of hot water. I had to use either cayenne pepper in capsules from the health food store until I sent off for 1/4 lb. of organic. The stuff in a tin from the supermarket may taste okay in a bean dish, but apparently the big corporate brands cut it with sawdust, and it really makes a lousy tea.

This week has started out much better than last week. The first thing last Monday morning I remember loading up the coffee maker, pushing the ON button and nothing happening. BLAH ! It was resupply day so the first place I looked was at SAM'S CLUB, and well they seemed to have dozens of combo cappuccino/coffee makers, which I doubt even PT BARNUM could sell in New Hampshire. However, there was exactly one type of coffee maker on the shelf. I don't know if all the SAM'S CLUB REPUBLICANS love their freedoms and all use the exact same model of coffee makers, but then they must all use the same canned cattle dung coffee, because there wasn't any automatic bean grinder. Really what respectable social climber is going to drink shit coffee ?

So next stop was TARGET. Well there was an aisle full of coffee makers, but alas no attached bean grinder. DOUBLE BLAH! Now we are talking PANIC !

Next stop was BED BATH AND BEYOND and well there was a passable CUISINART that seemed worth buying. A bit more than I had expected to pay even with the 20% discount coupon. So that crisis did pass too.

Buzz