Flying Camels and Patricia Highsmith

Diary, 5/6 to 5/7/22: Multiple Scott Ritters; lunch with Pablo; breakfast smoothie; tangerine seeds bitter; fruit messiness; a dream of flying camels and playing catch; Highsmith quote.

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995)

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{5/6/22} Continued.

Maybe I have solved the mystery of why so many people are zeroing in on my blog post titled “Scott Ritter on the Ukraine War” (258 views; I think the previous high was 29)—though perhaps the mystery is only deepened.  In my stats today I found that someone had found my site by a search engine, having entered as a search term “Scott Allan Ritter.”  When I entered this into DuckDuckGo, my blog post came up first.  [This morning he comes up sixth.] Looking a little further, it seems that Scott Allan Ritter is not the Scott Ritter mentioned in my blog; the latter is “William Scott Ritter.”  Scott Allan Ritter seems to be a common citizen with no particular claim to fame, unlike Scott Ritter.  What’s puzzling now is why people are searching for Scott Allan Ritter.  If that is indeed the reason for the stampede to my blog (not that I’m complaining).

If I search for Scott Alan Ritter, on the possibility that the search engine is going by sound rather than spelling (“Alan” is my first name), then my blog comes up seventh on DDG.  So the mystery continues.

Pablo returned to Bakersfield from San Jose on Wednesday.  Today (Friday) I went to his place to deliver three books and some groceries that he had left at my place, since he is now “banned” from being here.  Apparently harboring no ill feelings, he invited me to lunch, and I accepted.  We went to the Tandoori Grill, “American and Indian food” (i.e., Asian Indian, not American) where I had fish pakoras.  Unfortunately, I did not take a picture—this from the Internet looks very like what I had (plus rice, salad, and flat bread):

Fish Pakoras

The food was good, not excessively spicy or salty.  I’ve rarely had Indian food, but this place is half a block from Pablo’s place.  The conversation was not interesting, though he did manage to ask me what I’m reading and how my writing is going.  I wanted to talk about The Batman, but decided to save it for tomorrow’s Hemlock Club.

I stopped at Albertson’s on the way home to get a small knife, but they had none.  Perhaps they’re concerned about stabbings?  It is a rather poor neighborhood, though not as bad as mine.

My breakfast smoothie this morning was very similar to yesterday’s (orange juice, half a banana, and protein powder), but this time I added a heaping teaspoon of salsa and a small carrot, scrubbed and broken into pieces.  I also had my usual Cheetos and a Mounds bar.  This smoothie was not too different than yesterday’s, though a bit harder to get down because it was thicker.  This is the first entire raw carrot I’ve ever eaten, I believe (if indeed this counts).  I’ve never liked raw carrot, but this was passable because I couldn’t taste it.  If I try this recipe again I’ll add more orange juice to thin it a bit.  I could not detect the presence of the salsa; I should try adding some fresh cilantro before I end up throwing it all away.  I’ve also got tomatillo salsa that I merely sampled, and it’s getting old.

I put five apples and five tangerines in a bag and left it by the dumpster for the homeless or poor neighbors, since I’ll never eat them all, in smoothies or otherwise.  After buying three pounds of tangerines, it occurred to me to wonder if the seeds are toxic, as so many fruit seeds are.  Here’s one source I found:

“Orange seeds can be blended in smoothies, but it is best not to eat them in large quantities. Tangerine seeds are very bitter because they have a higher amount of the cyanide toxin. Though fruit seeds have some fabled medical properties, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that fruit seeds cure cancer. Many varieties of oranges are seedless, including clementines, navel oranges and satsumas.”  From; Link.

Well, the bitterness puts them out of bounds for me, regardless of the potential toxicity, which, according to other sites, is negligible.  So I’ll be trying to dig the seeds out before putting my tangerines in smoothies.  Tangerines are probably the only fruit, aside from bananas, cherries, and grapes, that I’d bother to eat raw.  Oranges and peaches are too messy (an area in which I am rather fastidious), and apples generally disappoint me.


A dream this morning:  I was in a prison setting, outside on a large paved area, with a group of men.  Someone mentioned “the flying camels.”  I looked up and saw two camels with wings, flying towards the area, and finally landing and standing erect, like humans.  There were like odd-looking large dogs, now on four legs, and I played with one by throwing a tennis ball.  The dog caught the ball and threw it back (with his mouth), perfectly, to my great surprise.  I threw it another time or two, and each time it was the same business.  Then I threw the ball a long way, and the dog gave up in disgust, as though this had been an insult.


The ball went under a chain link fence.  I couldn’t see the ball, but someone pointed it out to me.  It was at the right, where the fence ended next to a building.  I went to that part of the fence and found that I could reach something lying next to the fence by reaching under the fence (the lower edge was somewhat loose).  I got this thing and sort of thought it was the ball, but it was ragged and black.  I tried to shape it into tennis ball size but someone pointed out that it wasn’t the ball.  He pointed out the ball, which was lying on the far side of a kind of shallow channel in the pavement, just a depressed area full of water.  I went to a gate in the fence and found that, though it was locked, I could squeeze through.  A crowd was leaving the fenced-in area, going through an opening in the fence, while I, wearing only my boxer-style underpants, squeezed through the opening and went for the ball, the crowd seeing me.  I got the ball and came back.

After I returned to the area with the ball, the dogs were not in sight.  I may have morphed into a guard or I was just a viewer, of a guard taking a drink from a pocket flask like the one Brian (the dog) on Family Guy uses; a boss said, “You’re fired.”  That was it.

Another quote from Patricia Highsmith, Her Diaries and Notebooks: 1941-1995, Anna Von Planta (ed), Liveright/W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2021:

“Europe teaches an American infinite patience. Something is always dirty that he expected to be clean. He trudges [several] blocks to a museum and finds it closed. He rushes his dinner to be punctual at the theater and discovers the French and the French actors are quite casually half an hour late themselves. One must either blow up or become infinitely patient.”  2/6/51, p. 509.  Previous quotes here.

I copied this out to give to Olivia, who, according to Pablo, will likely be at Panera Bread today for the Hemlock Club; she is going to France sometime this year.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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