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Cigarettes, Music, Art, Movies, TV, Hinduism, and Carl Sagan.

April 13, 2018

I don’t smoke much at all, but cigarettes help with anxiety and muscle tension, so lately, I’ve been smoking a few cigarettes a week. I’ve never had a smoking habit though. Just a few here and there during certain years.

There are only two brands of tobacco I really like. One is from Denmark, and called Peter Stokkebye. The other is an Indonesian brand called Djarum. Some of you might remember this brand from back in the ’90’s, when it was really popular among odd coffee house college kids like myself.

Officially, these Djarum clove-flavored smokes are cigars. This is thanks (no thanks at all) to Obama, who somehow managed to get flavored cigarettes outlawed..

.. Except for menthol cigarettes. Menthol is a flavor, in my opinion. Banning menthol cigarettes would have gotten rid of massive profits for American tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, so Obama didn’t push for a ban on menthol smokes, as far as I know – buy menthol.. buy American! (Screw that).

Having to find a way around the ban or go out of business, Djarum, like some other manufacturers of flavored cigarettes, changed the tobacco recipe a little, re-labled their cigarettes as cigars, and sold them in packs of 12, instead of 20.

These “cigars” look like cigarettes, just the tiniest bit wider. Don’t taste quite the same though. In the pre-Obama days, the clove cigarettes tasted better than these clove cigars.. but still.. good clove flavor.

The other brand I like I have to roll myself. Peter Stokkebye, a Danish company. Several blends available. I’ve tried three.

I like Amsterdam Shag, a Dutch blend with a very strong flavor. Much stronger than most Americans are used to. I’m Dutch, by the way, though born here. I remember when I was a kid, a distant Dutch relative came to visit from Holland, and brought with him a packet of roller-yer-own smokes.

I liked the smell of those. He was responsible enough not to let me try one, and I, being a good kid, did not ask for one. An uncle did let me have a sip of Coors beer when I was 7 or 8, though. I didn’t ask, he offered. Yes, I liked the taste of beer, even back then. Too bad alcohol does nothing for me except make me feel more agitated. I prefer a good smoke once in awhile.

The other blend I like is Turkish Export, which is more mild than Amsterdam Shag, but still good.

These tobaccos taste immensely better than pre-made American cigarettes that I’ve tried. These taste better than even the two pre-made brands I favor: American Spirit smokes, and Dunhill cigarettes, which are imported from England. I do miss Dunhill though. I haven’t found them in Boise as of yet.

I don’t know how to roll these smokes with just my hands, so I use a small rolling machine thingy. Yes, I thought it was really cool how John Travolta rolled his own cigs in “Pulp Fiction,” but I don’t feel like putting in the practice to learn how to roll my own without a little device.

Why do I not want to teach myself how to my own smokes? I’ve got a VERY low frustration tolerance. (Some of you may remember Michael Keaton playing a character with a very low frustration tolerance in the classic comedy, “The Dream Team.” Watch it!)

I keep these smokes in a metal case with a classic painting by Monet on the front of it. I spent many hours looking online for a cigarette case with art I like.

We have a print of the same painting on a wall in our family room. Sorry, I forget what the painting is called. There are sailboats in the painting.. but there are sailboats in other, perhaps many other Monet paintings, so I suppose mentioning sailboats won’t help you figure out what painting I’m mentioning.

While I was making the coffin nails, (great name for cigs), I felt I wanted to listen to a certain song by Macy Gray, which I have not heard in many years. The song is called “Do Something.” It is a sad, wistful song, with a chorus that has a positive message. Macy Gray smoked a lot, but not tobacco..

After that song on youtube.. Hinduism.

Why?

I like studying various religions, and don’t know enough about Hinduism yet. Also, three movies I really really like, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” and “The Darjeeling Limited” are set in India.

Another reason.. I was discussing religion with my dad over coffee at the Roastere this afternoon (wonderful place except it closes at 5pm), and I brought up Hinduism.

Lastly, while browsing Netflix this evening, looking for something peaceful and humorous to watch, I found a movie featuring actor Danny Pudi. You probably don’t know who he is unless you, like me, are a huge fan of the remarkable and very original sitcom, “Community.”

Pudi played my favorite character, Abed, a movies and ’80’s pop-culture obsessed guy who is half Palestinian, half Polish, and obviously mentally ill.. suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, and occasionally schizophrenia-like psychotic breaks with reality. I don’t mean he’s psychotic, he just becomes.. unmoored.

Pudi’s performance of Abed was unusual, heartfelt, and often hilarious. Yes, you guessed it, the character Abed and I share a few similarities, though I am not, officially anyway, on the Autism spectrum, and have no schizophrenic symptoms.. thank goodness for that. Knock on wood (the one superstition I have).

The Danny Pudi film is called “The Tiger Hunter.” I’ve not watched it all yet. It’s not about hunting tigers, except at the beginning.

It’s about a guy, who, in 1979, moves from India to find a job in Chicago. Why 1979? I don’t know. No, the Smashing Pumpkins song, “1979,” has not shown up in the soundtrack, considering that song was released in the ’90’s.

Since the film starts off in India, I got to thinking more about Hinduism, so I watched a few youtube videos on that faith.

The most intriguing video on Hinduism that I watched tonight features the late Carl Sagan, talking about how Hindu cosmology matches up well with science.. something like that.

The video is 15 minutes long. If you have the time, and are curious about Hinduism, Cosmology, and how they relate to each other, you’ll find the video worth watching.

I’m going to go have a smoke now. Shall it be a clove cigar, Amsterdam Shag, or Turkish Export? Choices Choices.

Here’s Carl Sagan..

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