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Christmas, Tags & Opium Dens . . .

Posted by 2 Dollar Productions Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I finished up all my Christmas shopping and charity giving yesterday, which felt pretty damn good since the holiday is suddenly only a week away.

Now, I can simply enjoy the time of year where drivers lose their minds, store clerks engage in urban warfare and bartenders make money hand over fist from people attempting to escape the madness.

But I am leaving the seedy underbelly behind me. This allows me to focus on the seasonal positives, an outlook I generally enjoy because I have a long-standing affection for Christmas. Giving and receiving gifts is a fine pastime, the once-a-year food orgy is enjoyable and the sight of a grand, decorated tree can occasionally cause a powerful erection to take root in me (must be the smell of pine).

It also affords me time to answer blog tags as I have a streak to keep alive. So, with that in mind, here is one from Pobble:

RULE ONE: I have to grab one of the books closest to me, go to page 56, type the fifth line and the next two to five lines that follow.

I learn in Phnom Penh that there is but one opium boatman left of the many who once plied the turbulent Mekong. He is an old man, and after him, the river trade will end. Every month, he comes down river, stopping at a few ports - Phnom Penh is one of them - where he sells opium to individual smokers and to those who deal in pellets for eating. In these same ports, he buys or barters for cheap clothing, which he brings back upriver to sell. His home port is unknown, but his monthly journey downriver is believed to begin near the heart of the Golden Triangle. "The Last Opium Den," - Nick Tosches

This is a great stocking stuffer of a book as I have used it several times over the past few years. It is far smaller than your average book in both size and pages, and boasts an entertaining exploration of one man's search for opium in a hostile world. It is quite a journey. The author, Nick Tosches, is also a really good writer whose vocabulary is top-notch.

The volume makes a compelling case that smoking a bit of opium - pure, unfiltered opium - might result in a very pleasant existence. My main lament is that there seems to be no opium palaces left on the face of the Earth. At one point in history, they existed and thrived and featured silk drapings, intricate pipes, women and, of course, opium.

Sadly, they have disappeared forever (likely), which is a shame because now that I have some extra time on my hands, I could certainly get behind a little relaxation and silk scarves to unwind.



  1. Heff Says:
  2. I'm sorry, you lost me after "a grand decorated tree can occasionally cause a powerful erection to take root in me", lol !

  3. JLee Says:
  4. Man, you live in Austin a few years and they turn you into a dope smoking hippie. lol
    I'm celebrating Xmas this weekend, so I'm getting the party started early!

  5. Heff - I'm glad I could help. Ha. But I do like me a Xmas tree . . . No lie.

    Jlee - It's the whole process I enjoy: the rolling, the silk drapings, the smoke and the women walking around with hot tea. This could work. Ha. Have a great time starting the celebration early, and I hope you get some good presents.

  6. Boxer Says:
  7. A good Opium Den sure beats a Crack House.

    I'm glad you like Christmas - although I don't think I'll be able to look at a tree this year without thinking of the other kind of "woody" that can happen. Maybe that's why my tree is artificial. And silver. With no smell.

  8. Paco Says:
  9. hey pretty boy, get me an address or no card.

  10. A.B., Inc. - You don't know what you're missing in regards to a real versus fake tree. Ha. Actually, I like either as I usually have a fake one up myself, but I liked the pine line, so . . .

    Paco - Done and done. I've missed out on your correspondence (sp?) for far too long.

  11. nobich Says:
  12. Oh the smell of pine.....

  13. BostonPobble Says:
  14. Thanks for playing! As for the rest, well, absinthe is coming back so who knows. Maybe opium will be next. A girl can dream anyway... Ha.

  15. Are you sure there aren't any in Amsterdam? Wait, they cracked down on all that stuff so they could join the EU, didn't they?

  16. If you get a chance to visit an opium den, go once. Never go again. You might have a nice time. But let's face it, these little addictions never turn out well. At least mine haven't.
    Finally, someone else shares my totally pagan devotion to Christmas trees as a fertility symbol. I applaud. I get erections too. But then again I get erections watching tv so...

  17. Nobich - Indeed. But the sight helps too. Ha.

    Bostonpobble - Thanks for the tag, especially since it was book-related. I've seen absinthe making a comeback (there's a bar in Austin now serving it), but I"ve never danced w/ the Green Fairy. Maybe one day . . .

    Native Minnow - I don't think they have opium in Amsterdam, although mushrooms, crack, pot, etc. are prevelant (sp?). And yes, the country continues to crack down on all of the above as well as prostitution for reasons I cannot fathom.

    Getoffmylawn - A fellow Christmas tree aficianado, eh? I like it. I knew - just knew - that I couldn't be alone in my devotion. It is nothing to be ashamed of my friend. And yes, you're probably right about only one visit as moderation is the key and that is hard to do when it comes to addictions. Now, if I could just have it that one time . . .

  18. Miss Ash Says:
  19. Your task should you choose to accept it is to find a running opium den.

    Or if it's easier just grab some "smokey treats" and have your wife serve you tea while draping a scarf on you.

  20. Anonymous Says:
  21. You get an erection from Chritmas trees, specifically pine Christmas trees? Is that normal? God I've led a sheltered life :(

  22. Blogger Says:
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