“Salty Dog” (or) sick as a dog

A friend complained about headaches and  being really nauseous. Went to lay down.

A bit later I felt nauseous too.

Now, it¬† was NOT from too much nicotine , since I didn’t have any of those symptoms¬† which are a headache, yes nauseum, but I was noticing the taste of my premium shisha recently smoked was now tasting like charcoal. The other smoke I had before, using my favorite brand of recently found coals¬† was also tasting like charcoal!

The second I stopped smoking, the symptoms went away, but an hour later I still have the taste of coal on my tongue.

This post will be a work in progress in which I came to find out probably a few of the reasons why this hapened to us.
One resaon is “I should have known better”

Nicotine¬† stomach takes longer than that before it gets better, and I haven’t had that in 4 years.

Usually a kid’s first cigarette will do that to him.It must be the Lord’s way of telling us not to smoke ever a second¬† one!

At the cost of sounding hipycritical (I am), I know for a fact that at least  5-10 young  close relatives of mine smoke hookah.In the Arab countries  I know its widespread to smoke nargileh amongst the young. Keeps the hunger pains away too!

Haven’t been¬† to India or Pakistan, but they have the “Hubbly Bubbly” before any culture and kids smoke.

Back to the lousy batch of charcoals. I noticed a few coals out of a package of ten coals last week which were “Bad”.

I keep my coals in a plastic bag or two after unwrapping the  bag of ten.

For sure by keeping them unwrapped  they get bad.

Why? Same as shisha and marshmellows for that mater, or table salt. They will¬† readily absorb much moisture from the air!¬† You’ll see, that is why we put¬† some grains of¬† uncooked rice in with the salt, they absorb the moisture¬† that the salt in the shaker would.

I live  in a very moist area in a low mountain valley which keeps the moisture trapped.

And we see from the article brought down ,above that those charcoal briquettes are made with sawdust which is swept up¬† from the floor and can be quite filthy, and sodium nitrate (that’s found in instant soups and cured meats like salami, blogna,¬† some smokey links, authentically Kosher meat to draw out all of the blood ,which is forbidden to eat. Its got lots of sodium (Duh) in it, and after eating some of the above,even the¬† instant soup mix, I gain in one half day about 2 kilos, or 5 and a half lbs. from the water I drank¬† and obsorbs in the body tissues like a sponge!

So do not eat your charcoals.

Last week I ambled into our community’s general store and saw forthe first time a 2 kilo bag of¬† “Vegetable Coals”. I bought them with the¬† smoking in mind. From this article I see that it is termed ” Lump charcoal. It was hard to light, longer than¬† Jordanian¬† lemon wood natural coals I’ve used and enjoyed, which also take 2-3 minutes to light and make my wife crazy since I lit them on the gas range and smelled up the house.

Outside you’d need to put them into a low fire, or a portable small camping gas range to light the lemon type coals.

The vegetable lump charcoal took even longer to light and not thoroughly lit, either.

Here is a web page created by a particular company warning not to use quick lighting stuff. (Lets keep in mind that the facts here are to serve that firm’s intrests) :


Lets see if our coals use that for the quick lighting outer surface.

And what else is in the coals.

(See”hookah history” in that section here)

Gotta be  saltpetre in that charcoal they make!You know, the stuff in gun powder to make it explode.

Its NOT true that armies used it in thier food to keep the soldiers physical desires to a low level, cuz it doesn’t¬† effect male¬† sexual prowness.Might be someone’s excuse.

I’m doing some research online to find out just what’s in the quick lighting charcoals (coals) that most of us use.

Here is the running progress:

came accross this for charcoal briquettes which are more for cooking on the bar-b-que :


Some fine ideas about quick lites
They mention potassium nitrate as what makes the sparks ignite


Rolland-Chinese name,no?
Here I am going to turn you to Shishainfo which is “Shisha info”.
I had seen some of their work a few years ago, but they have up-graded and this website is more than amazing.
I take my hat off to them .
Read about their explanations for hookah set-up, hints terrific tips etc.
Here I urge you to read the short but sweet hookah-set-up pages at at ShishaInfo.com
I will re-iterate a few of thier tips and great points, and probably some of these are the cause of this happening to me for the first time in 3 or 4 years.
Store the coal in cool, airtight place, I do that, but its been madly humid here and maybe they absorbed the moisture?
Put your coals on the outside of the bowl .Moving them around the rim.”The center is the last place the coals should be put”. He or she mentions that the top will scorch and smell the whole sessiom up. Well, guess what I di tonight? I used Smoking-Hookah.com ‘s gigantic brown “Party Bowl” in which you can fit the state of Texas in, along with a slice of all the Michigan Upper Penninsula too. I use it so that I can putin a nice ammount, never tamped down, air flowing well, and below the surface of the tinfoil so that it will not cook and scorch.
“Center of bowl” last place to put the coal?
Well, I heaped them in the middle. Why?
Keep those coals around the outside rim.
They mention an idea I’ve never heard. Punch holes in the foil with a toothpick (done that before), 5-6 holes. Pretty small bowl there! Its mentioned that if the suction is too hard, add some more, with the nice addition here: maybe during smoking the holes got blocked and your shisha is going up the chimney.
Thats why I don’t use anything smaller than a small thin nail, but mostly use the metal sticker from the tongs which I took from the tongs after being lightly burnt when using the tongs to movethe coals and the metal sticker got in the way.
Its my favorite hole puncher.
I’ve noticed that with 3 tongs, of the same manufacturer, the sticker and tongs are exactly alike,but the tip of one sticker is more blunt and so the hole comes too big.
I use a lot of holes in the party bowl, maybe I should try just in the center or vice versa.
Which shows that when you (I) don’t use brains, experience will force me to find out the best way after messing up once.
Again, I will mention about the tiny or medium circular ash trays that go under the clay tobacco head.
The coals if round upon falling will prove that physics law of “a matter in motion will continue that speed and motion until its worn down by friction or gravity, or mommy’s white carpet”
I learned something in 7th grade science back in around 1966.

¬†by mentioning the rolling round charcoal which will continue to roll until it burns the floor a bit, or the rug a lot, or someone’s pants for too long. Known fact. Did you ever see a coal drop and not do damage? Rare!
In researching for this post I heard about “the Lord Charcoal.” com. which has a coal that is not round and hence will not roll.
(wrong this is the “Charcoal Grey Tuxedo” April Fools.)
Here is the real info and link:

alright,I couldn’t resist.
Here you see it from the Hookah Forum com

(I see good old Malthazar is doing research and benefiting world-wide shisha smokers of all race and creed alike!)
Have used lemon tree woods an natural coals which I’ll bet have at least some compressed sawdust in them, but they are round at one side and flat on the bottom.

Which is were my grocer’s wisdom comes into play.
As I loathe the tiny ash trays sold, and would rather sacrifice beauty for pragmatism, I bought a 8 or so wide aluminum foil pie tin. I didn’t want to make the inner hole too big, so I took my own pee-wee tray and wanted to trace its inner hole on the foil to cut.
You can’t believe my suprise when I found the inner round circle marked groove already on the 8 small piesections and my original as tray were exactly the same circumfrence!
99% of the falling coals are captured and 100% of the ash.

And finally especially for fire prevention as hookah smokers alike.
“Who is wise,? he who sees what is being born”.
A SMART person knows that coals burn, and will be careful, but a WISE person knows that when the coal falls in his lap ,or on the family heirloom $23,000 Original Persiam rug he’d better buy a quick plane ticket to Timbuktoo or Kalamazoo!

Hookah 1

“Pipe Dreams”

A pipe dream:
A perfectly clear clay tobacco-shisha bowl? Not yet invented (except for the semi clear acrylic bowls which cost a big $ bundle and break easily too).

So, how to tell if you smoked all the shisha in the bowl?
I guess its up to experience.

1) how much did you pack?
What is usually for you a half-hours smoke? 40 minutes went buy and your tongue is feeling fuzzy-you are long ago finished and if you have a good burning coal, you are getting plain heat and ashes taste.
2)did you pack loosly or too tight?

If tight it will burn for sure, mostly at the bottom.

3)type of shisha being smoked.

Al-Fakher, Al-Ouns ,Al-Qemah,Roman,Fumari,Afzal are loooong ongoing good smokes.
15 grams lightly packed of Al Fakher,Al-Ouns,Al-Qemah,Roman will approximately smoke 45-60 minutes.
The same ammount of Al-Waha, Al-Sultan, El-Nakhla,El-Basha
(same company) will smoke 20-30 minutes lightly packed.
If you have been going on longer, its a burn!
These are just a few hints.

4) when you’ve finished smoking EACH time look at what is left over.
If its ash, then next time don’t smoke that gram ammount too long. Or get a bigger bowl.
The gigantic “party bowl” which I mainly use is big enough for 30-35 grams, and since its bad to add shisha up to the top where it touches the foil and will burn, I still have room left over.

I always check the remains of any bowl to see if its over burnt. There should be left a bit of lightly cooked shisha at the bottom remaining.Throw it out!

With so many shisha brands out there herbal and regular, each company brand has its own burning time.
It depends mainly on how much glycerine is in the mixture.
You’ll find Nakhal is a dryer brand. The premium brands are dripping and smell so good even before you put them in the bowl!
hookah 1

Careful with that Axe, Eugene”

Just in the last few hours I’ve come close to doing some major damage. I’m human sometimes too.
I’m a big fan of milk in my water bottle. I just cleaned it out well pouring the 3 days milk and adding cold.
You should have seen the long tube of blue’ cheese French style that came out.
That is why I use a brush in the tube, and I’ve been cleaning bottle and tube with watered down soap liquid for dishes for years. Do your dishes taste like soap? Probably not if you use rinsing hot water which can be a b— if you rinse the bottle and don’t verrrrrrry gradually make the water rinsisng it colder.Take your time or the bottle WILL break.
Also, never pick your hookah up by the top stem, or the bottle might fall and break. Eugene, as once happened to yours truly.

Another safe hint. Make sure that when you attatch the hose again, there is no ceramic head on the top as gravity or swaying wil make it fall off!

I will make this point separately, but right now I am smoking “Nakhla” cherry and mint mixed at exactly a 50-50 ratio and it wil beat your same mix anyday. How? By mixing in the same bowl, you never get it to blend well . You do get a mix, but if you use a double-clay head, and put one flavour in each side and a coal on each, you are bringing the two flavours from their bowls into a common funnel and actually tasting the 2 flavours as meant to be!
See photo:

Hookah Accsessories.How much is enough?

An important part of setting up your hookah are getting the right parts and accessories.

( waterpipe or is also called shisha in Arabic Nargile, Nargilah in Lebanon and Syria, Hubbly Bubbly in India.)
With people getting on an airplane and flying to other continents the cultures mixed and the names were interchanged.(Don’t forget Marco Polo who opened up trade routes from Italy to China, India and Arabia hundreds of years ago )
Some online companies will sell you package deals with all the basic parts and extra accsessories. I’ve checked out the prices per company-yes buying the package deal will save you a few dollars, but it insures you as a first time hookah buyer that you’ll have ” tires on your new car” when you attempt to drive it out of the store at purchase time!
Of course buying your first hookah you can expect all its parts which from bottom to top are :
Glass Bowl (Holds the water)

Big rubber grommet (to attach and seal to the metal pipe and rod)
Lets make a P.S. here, many new modern hookahsare now screw-in types.

Metal shaft (half is in the bowl of water partially submerged in h2o)
and the middle of the shaft hugging the big rubber grommet with the top of the shaft (designed and colored as you ordered) on the top…

Holding first the metal flat dish :
which gives outwards flare , pleasure to the eye and most importantly will hopefully catch any falling charcoals, and ashes.

Next step up is the
clay, pyrex, glass or ceramic shisha tobacco -holding bowl.
Originally the only bowl offered online was the basic brown clay glazed bowl holding 15-20 grams of shisha tobacco and tended to make you try to pack in 2 more grams ” for the road”-thereby guaranteeing you an over hot and too cooked smoke !
I had about 12 of them, not in case they broke, but if I wanted a long smoke, I’d have to change to a second bowl. I tossed em all in the garbage happily when “Smoking-Hookah.com” was the first to sell these little cuties on their web site :
Large-Clay-BowlAs you see, these come in various color and you canput 2 or 3 times the size of a regular bowl.
Soon they offered the double-bowl
This an ingenious idea first from “Smoking-Hookah. com” based on their knowledge of actual smokingscience.
The double bowl is not for lazy smokers who can’t mix their banana flavor with a cool mint for example. We learned how to do THAT at age 4!
No, the idea is simple but no one thought it out- if you mix say, Al-Waha com. cherry flavor with nakhla com. “Coca cola” to make a classic “Cherry-Coke” inthe same bowl you’ll be sorry.
Al-Waha has a certain percentage of glycerine which they mix into the fruit and honey to help blend it even and insure a wet smoke that never is suposed to burn the shisha, but the glycerine assures the DISAPATION or vaporizing of the shisha mixture.
“Nakhla” com adds their certain percentage of glycerine.
So being the two of them in one bowl will never burn uniformly.
I found this out years ago from actually doing it. I only found out a year later the scientific reason.
An added intesting note:
In Germany to order shisha online it has to be under 5% glycerine.Each country has their own funny laws, but most of the shisha we are merited to buy is made in the Arab countries at 25% glycerine,sometimes more along with tobacco ,fruit and honey.(see this link)

I’ve seen now triple head bowls but my logic says that 3 flavors mixed wil be like having a “Bloody-Mary” with added in banana juice! Vodka and tomatoe juice are a nice mix, add spices if you’d like, but sweet banana will kill it.
Then again, I’ll discuss mixing shisha in another area.
There are also some nice one headed bowl with 2,3 or 4 sections. The same principle and a fine idea.
Here we are almost at the top of the hookah and I’ve let you hanging….
After packing your shisha, how to tips or not to do things will also be in another space on this blog.
Here we come to the Skullcap of the shisha bowl. A thin piece of aluminium foil, punched in theoretically certain patterns to give you the smoothest, coolest burn in the bowl and the thickest smoke.

(at this point, let me state a fact, not opinion that is quite basic).
There are many experts like wine snobs who smell the wine blindfolded and on tv or the movies will crow out “ah- yes a good Bordeaux, must be a vintage 1978 from…yes Alsace near the fork in the old road….” I will never claim inthis blog to be an expert, but I’ve been followingthe best of hookah forums from the US of A, Middle-East, UK Great Britain , one German forum which is also “big” enough to publish in English too. French I don’t understand, “well, shut my mouth”. This section on forum info and great hookah shisha references, postings and such is so vast, but its all here at my fingertips and waiting only to type up under”Hookah forums” if you’ve got about 5 hours a day for 4 years running, you’ll vacumn up what I’ve read and digested too.
This is to say, some experts say punch “21-25 holes” in the foil
(oh no, I’ve punched 26, now what?), or to punch in a star pattern, Is that Surius, Star of David, Bethleham or the Crescent of Islam? We don’t want a religous war starting in the hookah lounge nor with your hoomies either!
Ever heard the saying : “Different strokes for different folks”? Well that’s the approach I prefer. Do whatever is working good for you add your own personal input as long as its working.
There is a great scientific idea which is smart chemistry knowledge (I flunked basic chemistry) in the wonderful ,well set up RollsRoyce of all hookah forums hookahforum.com
If you look in its vast archive under “tobacco (or) shisha conditioning” or “acclimitizing” you’ll see that “Tangiers” of “Tangiers” shisha tobacco fame explains all of his secrets to the whole world including how he is making (had made) his new brand and flavors.
I’ve yet to taste any of his brand.
Maybe “Tangiers” will give out free samples to some of this blog’s subscribers and those who have added comments. (hint,hint, nudge,nudge, wink,wink)
The foil.http://www.smoking-hookah.com/Products/Accessories/Hookah-Foil-(100-pcs).asp
I bought my first very cheap pack of 100 foils 3 years ago.
“Wow, they sure packed one-hundred foils thinly ” as I saw at first glance.
Suprise when I opened the thin box and found an added touch. In order for the foils not to stick together they packed between each aluminum sheet a waxed paper cut the same size with orange letter writing….I’m not making this up the orange print was-you guessed right if you are married or have a girlfriend or are female. “TAMPAX”.
That was no advertisement, sometimes there were 2 or 3 waxed Tampax sheets in between each foil.
As the son of and grandson of the first re-cyclers way back in the 1940’s until the 70’s (yeah, scrap-metal dealers). It takes a genius to make money out of junk.
As the son of a man who graduated from junk dealing to selling the wax that went on a mid-western paper mill and upwards from there, some wax paper dealer had each company’s extra pages to get rid of, and business from the U.S. met Jordan in the Middle-East! (not my father’s portfolio this time around) but its a true story.
Maybe you’ll be lucky and get “Fannie Farmer Candies com.waxed wrappers with the chocolate flavor smell still in.
Life is so sweet and often funny.
http://www.smoking-hookah.com/Products/Accessories/Hookah-Foil-(100-pcs).asp in case you didn’t look the first time around at the link.
These nifty foils are great and easy to use.
I remember reading on “Abulehleh co. il” forum site somewhere in the middle-east 4 or more years back. This smart one had a great idea to take a rubber eraser and painfully force pins into it all the way of the number and design you’d like to use on your foil Wwll, same hole pattern each time. Now don’t prick yourself sticking 20-35 holes in a rubber eraser.
I knew it was a nice idea and never tried it.
Came again. the experienced purveyors of great hookahs, tobacco and designers of progressive accsessories….again
look here at this screaming-yellow zombie light plastic pre-hole puncher. Scientific march of hookah progress!
I’ve much more to add on accessories and since thse are the basics, I’ve dealt withthem at length.

See you al soon for more accssesory ideas.
Maybe I’ll read a few comments hint hint by the time I log in again.
Arrivaderci, Salaam,Shalom,bye,syonara shisha-san.(hookah1)