At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, July 31, 2015

OH, ARSE!

One of my friends is convinced that I spend too much time obsessing over Israel and Netanyahu, and has harshly called me to task, worried that I am somehow over the bend or lurking under the bridge.
He's Israeli, and might have a point.
On the other hand, maybe he just isn't paying attention very well, since ninety-nine point nine nine percent of my FB likes and comments were pursuant cute animal videos, Hello Kitty, black lives matter, and the usual shiznit to which people react.

Another one, recently de-friended, kept taking my comments elsewhere as an opportunity to disagree with things that other people said about Israel, in a contentious and aggressive fashion, as if responding to me (basically pissing in someone else's backyard), and 'friending' my FB friends expressly in order to do so. To such an extent that I was getting negative feedback from quite a number of people. His lack of nuance and subtlety proved a stumbling block of major proportion, and his passive-aggressive attempts to then turn disagreements which he had created or inflamed into opportunities for attempted humour (and surely we all knew he was just being witty?!?!) diminished any respect I once felt for him.

He likewise reacted badly to my Israel-related content.
His internet-stalker behaviour was all about Israel.


Apparently I was far too negative.
I probably had a screw loose.


If you've read my blog for a while, you may at this point be wondering what those two gentlemen were smoking.

As, indeed, am I.


Here's a comparative list of subjects/words mentioned on this blog, ranked by frequency, most first. A total of well over one hundred terms, all of which you have seen here before, or would expect to see here.
The sampling should be more than sufficient to establish that if I have any obsessions at all -- hard to imagine, I know -- Israel and Netanyahu are mentioned altogether too rarely to count.


LIST

Tea: 1800 times.
Smoking (tobacco): 1426 times.
Love (abstract, object, or emotional): 1357 times.
Dutch, The Netherlands, dikes, or tulips: 1071 times.
America: 995 times.
Pipe: 982 times.
Hot sauce, sambal, chili peppers: 902 times.
Tobacco: 732 times.
Chinese: 712 times.
Cigars: 692 times.
Rice: 640 times.
Eating: 630 times.
Egg, eggs: 618 times.
Right wing ('rightwing'): 614 times.
Sex: 602 times.
China: 584 times.
Sauce: 555 times.
Europe: 541 times.
Fish: 529 times.
Meat: 520 times.
Coffee: 512 times.
Israel: 511 times.
Skin: 509 times.
Restaurant: 505 times.
Cantonese: 473 times.
Chinatown: 458 times.
Delicious: 454 times.
France, French, Paris: 444 times.
Utterly: 382 times.
Pork: 361 times.
Jewish: 359 times.
Milk tea: 327 times.
Virginia (tobacco): 322 times.
Butter: 309 times.
Dimsum: 302 times.
Dog: 302 times.
Bathing: 295 times.
Savage Kitten: 288 times.
Christian: 282 times.
Apartment mate: 248 times.
Garlic: 246 times.
Breasts: 239 times.
Marin (place): 233 times.
Hong Kong: 227 times.
Noodles: 227 times.
Fragrance: 222 times.
Berkeley: 209 times.
Naked (or 'nekkid'): 208 times.
Tang (dynasty): 192 times.
Soy: 191 times.
Russia: 188 times.
Pervert: 182 times.
Pizza: 180 times.
Tofu: 179 times.
Chocolate: 177 times.
Indonesia: 177 times.
Whisky (whiskey): 166 times.
Duck: 162 times.
Curry: 158 times.
Hello Kitty: 153 times.
Badgers: 149 times.
Zesty: 148 times.
Dovbear: 143 times.
Oyster: 143 times.
Sri Racha, Sriracha: 133 times.
Amsterdam: 135 times.
Raccoon, raccoons: 135 times.
Beer: 233 times.
Degenerate: 133 times.
Briar (pipe): 132 times.
Japanese girl or girls: 126 times.
Panties: 124 times.
Vietnam: 122 times.
Gaza: 120 times.
Turkish tobacco: 120 times.
Weasels: 117 times.
Dried fish: 116 times.
Guilt: 115 times.
Cookies: 111 times.
Spam: 109 times.
Perique (tobacco): 107 times.
Mitzva(h): 105 times.
Porn: 105 times.
Beard: 103 times.
Pakistan: 103 times.
Vegetarian: 100 times.
Cats: 97 times.
Bananas: 96 times.
Palestine: 96 times.
Vegan: 96 times.
Jesus: 91 times.
Pottery, porcelain, and ceramics: 91 times.
Republican: 89 times.
Rashi: 87 times.
Turmeric: 79 times.
Nipple, nipples: 78 times.
Perversion: 78 times.
Anti-Semite: 77 times.
Herring: 76 times.
Dictionary (dictionaries): 71 times.
Jerusalem: 71 times.
Charsiu: 68 times.
Linguistic: 68 times.
Yeshiva: 66 times.
Parsha: 65 times.
Burley (tobacco): 64 times.
Gout: 62 times.
Congee (粥, jook): 60 times.
Malaysia: 58 times.
Brabant: 56 times.
South-East Asia 56 times.
Rambam: 54 times.
Sexy: 54 times.
Crows: 52 times.
Achar (pickle): 51 times.
Antwerp: 50 times.
Lesbian: 50 times.
Rotterdam: 50 times.
Eindhoven: 48 times.
Manga: 48 times.
Afghanistan: 47 times.
The Philippines: 47 times.
Gluten: 44 times.
Smut: 42 times.
Vladimir Nabokov: 42 times.
Erotic: 41 times.
Mayonnaise: 40 times.
Brassieres: 36 times.
Penis: 37 times.
Kittens: 33 times.
Naan (Indian & Persian bread): 33 times.
French fries: 32 times.
Yenidje (tobacco): 27 times.
Vindaloo: 27 times.
Degeneracy: 26 times.
Rabbi Pinky Schmeckelstein: 26 times.
Shakespeare: 25 times.
Puppies: 23 times.
Utrecht: 23 times.
Syphilis: 21 times.
Netanyahu: 18 times.
Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Brederode: 15 times.
Sfas Emes: 15 times.
Arafat: 13 times.
Satmar: 12 times.
Sharon: 11 times.
Canals: 10 times.
Shomron: 9 times.
Likud: 7 times.
Belz: 6 times.
Brisker: 3 times.
Jonathan Pollard: 2 times.
Duck Dynasty: 1 time.


You will note that Netanyahu is mentioned far fewer times than 'penis', 'lesbian', 'anti-Semite', 'Republican', 'degenerate', or 'pervert'. Way at the bottom of the frequency list, barely above Arafat and Sharon.
But right underneath syphilis.

Yes, Israel is mentioned over five hundred times, and ranks fairly high, but is outranked by coffee, meat, and fish. Plus China, sex, and eggs.




If anything, I write about tea, tobacco products, smoking, the Dutch, and food. As well as hot sauces, the Cantonese, pipes, and skin.
Only incidentally delving into degeneracy and perversion.
And hardly anything else at all .

[In Answer to Mark: puppies 23 times, kittens 33 times, Hello Kitty 153 times.]

Cheese is mentioned 226 times, twice as much as spam, and more than ten times as often as Bibi Netanyahu, Arafat, or Ariel Sharon. It's an emmes important subject, and very well worth writing about.

Perhaps I should say more about cheese.


I am normal.




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Thursday, July 30, 2015

POTTERY AND PORCELAIN: TERMS EXPLAINED

For the benefit of Jonathan in the Shomron, who thinks that I have an undue fascination with crockery, the following text reposted; lifted and more or less redacted from a post written quite a while back.

It is informational, and not meant as narrative.


GLAZES AND FIRING

Jun glazes (鈞泑), Ding porcelain (定瓷), Ru ware (汝窯), Guan (官窯), Ge ware (哥窯) from Chekiang (浙江), Celadon (青磁), 建陽窯, or Ming Era (明代) blue-and white (青花瓷). Jing De Zhen (景德鎮).

Jun ware (鈞窯 'gwan yiu'): a distinct blue celadon-type with opalescence caused by variations in the kiln-temperature during a slow heating-up and gradual cooling-off period in the firing, allowing the glaze to remain viscous for a long time. As with Celadon, there is iron in the material, which gives the blueish hues, and often traces of copper which render purplish streaks.

Ding porcelain (定瓷 'deng chi'): Ivory or cream-hued products famous from the Tang Dynasty onwards.

Ru ware (汝窯 'yü yiu '): Beautiful pale blue crackly glaze with hue variations. The iron oxide in the glaze becomes greenish and blueish when fired in a reducing atmosphere. Ru wares vary from off-white to beautiful pale blues, with brownish crackling due to the different expansion rates of the body and the glaze.

[Iron oxide: 鐵氧化物 'tit yeung faa mat'.]

Guan ware (官窯 'gun yiu'): Thin-walled thick glazed porcelains made under court supervision from the Sung Dynasty, more particularly Southern Sung. The body is brown or greyish brown, the luminescent glaze itself a velvety enamelesque with bold crackles, in shades of white, off-yellow, faint greens, or pale pale blues.

Ge ware (哥窯 'go yiu'): Related to Guan ware, and developed during late Song - early Yuan. Jing De Zhen. Both crackled blueish-glazed ware and yellowish glaze with bold dark crackles interspersed with lighter reddish hairlines.

Celadon (青磁 'ching chi'): The famous greenish - blueish - yellow-brownish hue range is because of iron oxides, the reduction firing makes it crackly. This was most famously manufactured at the Long Guan kilns (Longguan: 龍泉 'lung chuen') in Zhejiang province (浙江 'chit kong'), which is south of Shanghai. It was also produced at Jingdezhen (景徳鎮 'king tak chan'), as well as in Korea and Japan. It is still made in all those places.

Blue and white wares (青花 'ching faa'): White porcelain with cobalt oxide decorative patterns sealed-in by a clear glaze. The blue pigment was usually somewhat impure, which added character and a glowing quality, especially with faint bleeding past the lines during firing.

[Cobalt oxide: 鈷氧化物 'gu yeung faa mat'.]

Rabbit's fur (兔毫 'tou hou'): Often called 'partridge pattern glaze' (鹧鸪斑釉 'je gu paan yau'), these are usually black or dark brown (黑釉 'hak yau') tea-bowls (茶碗 'chaa wun') from the Kienyang kiln (type: 建陽窯黑釉 'kin yeung yiu hak yau') created during the Sung Dynasty, with striations and streaks like partridge feathers (鹧鸪羽毛 'je gu yiu mou') caused by iron oxide "curdling" in the glaze during firing. Prized variations include greyish rabbit fur (灰兔毫 'fui tou hou'), yellow rabbit fur (黃兔毫 'wong tou hou'), silver rabbit fur (銀兔毫 'ngan tou hou'), and gold rabbit fur (金兔毫 'kam tou hou'). 

Oil-spot (油點瓷 'yau dim chi' or 天目釉 'tin muk chi'): Technically this is a variation of rabbit's fur in which the glaze is applied thickly, and as the red iron oxide molecules release oxygen they head to the surface, where the oxygen escapes and traces of iron are left, creating spots. Really thick glazes require a higher proportion of feldspar to stiffen so that they do not run and fuse the ceramic objects to the surfaces within the kiln on which they were placed. At extremely high temperatures, the glaze flows down, creating the rabbit fur effect; naturally these products will have a relatively thin glaze compared to oil-spot, and often the foot is tall and bare.

Imperial yellow, mustard yellow enamel (黄搪瓷 'wong tong chi'): In Chinese the various constituents are not differentiated, but you should know that so-called 'imperial yellow' is lead-antimonate -- three parts lead oxide, one part powdered quartz, plus oxides and binders -- fired at a lower temperature than porcelain glazes, and hence not safe for food service. But the result is beautiful, and vessels with an interior free of the enamel (in other words with a white porcelainous glaze) should be safe.
Often called 'soft yellow' (嬌黄 'giu wong').



See this post for additional explicata of the terms: Porcelain Lookup
Or this post for the material in a previous context: Canton Road



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BAD KITTY

Dinner was followed by a night of strange dreams, which were no doubt inspired by what I had eaten. Which is why I am fully awake at six o'clock on a day off. Possibly I should exercise greater discrimination about meals, rather than approaching the matter so casually.

The problem with being a bachelor is that eventually you must realize that you have, without being cognizant of the development, become a weird-ass goober.


From the other room comes the sound of my apartment mate talking to the stuffed animals. The phrase "bad little kitty" is repeated two or three times. She must be talking to the little black critter with the goo-goo eyes that keeps trying to steal my wallet.


I may have, over the years, had help becoming a weird-ass goober.

Or at the very least, enablement in goobertude.

This was not a singular achievement.

Ill-advised dining was.

Back to bed.



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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

IN WHICH MANY MATTERS ARE MADE CLEAR

You may have seen a previous expression of wonder at the missives readers leave underneath my humble postings of late. Sometimes the missive is longer and more confusing than the essay which inspired it.

A recent epistolic screed underneath a blogpost gives evidence of both alcoholic haze and a profound familiarity with my past literary efforts.

There are at least TWO possible candidates who may have written it, but unfortunately neither one of them is a short Chinese American female college graduate with a passionate interest in badgers, mediaeval Dutch literature, pipe tobacco, fruit bats of Australia and the South Pacific, or Marguerite Yourcenar.

Whether it was a short Chinese American female college graduate who wishes to share a bowl of preserved egg and lean pork congee (with an oil stick!) is also highly doubtful.
Many, if not most (meaning: the overwhelming majority) of my friends and readers are not short Chinese American female college graduates.

Actually, I know of only one, that being my ex girlfriend, with whom despite her complete and utter disinterest in badgers, mediaeval Dutch literature, pipe tobacco, fruit bats of Australia and the South Pacific, plus Marguerite Yourcenar, I am still on excellent terms.
We have shared cookies.

She's probably had preserved egg and lean pork congee with an oil stick, but we've never shared that.

And by short is meant five foot four inches. Not really short, all things considered, but let fine bone structure stand in for minor stature.
I'm only five foot eight and half, so I rather like short.
Being remarkably fond of foreheads.
A question of daled amos.


I am still looking.


Anyhow, here is the missive recently left (in large italics), with clarifying commentary interspliced in square brackets, smaller font - this in lieu of Rashi, with less lomdus, more free-association.

I have given it too much thought.


Dear Esteemed Expert,

Salutes and Greets, meneer, for we have returned from our voyage in old Hon-sing of Kou-lei. While there, we sampled the local six-hundred fourscore and nine varieties of tealeaf. Actually, "abominable interpretations" would be a more apropos term than would befit "varieties", as we found them to be nothing but insipid imitations of the Canton-Chewchow-Fukien Triumvirate of Tea Ritual. But no matter, as the streets were smattered with quite literally thirty shrines on every block to the melange called "keo-pee", which we have been informed is a corruption of the Arabic "al-qahwatu". Upon patronizing one of these (quite literal) qahwaterias, we decided that this was one foreign import that the Chō-sen People have done correctly, perhaps a better improvement than its progenitors in the Harrar Highlands.

[Kou-lei: Reference is made to Korea, which, given modern international relations, means the south. And it is known that the Seoul is passed down through the mother, unlike Koheinus, which is patrilineal. Note that all of the Chō-sen share descent from four matriarchs, one of whom, Ruth, was from Moab, and altogether of outside lineage. From her loinage King David descended, who slaughtered countless thousands in rigorous pursuit of truth, justice, and the American way; he and his successors are a model up to the present. Tea can be taken to mean bsomim, the heavenly fragrance of which recalls both the sabbath, as well as reminder-offerings of the countless dead. Tea Ritual: The tea is sometimes served in small glasses called 'istakhan', but more often in tiny handleless porcelain or pottery cups (piala). An hour or so later, one gets up from one's tushak and goes out back, for what is known as "answering to the tea" (ghare ke piche pishab-karna).  Qahwateria: Sturbacks. A chaikhana favoured by heathens, hence the idolatrous signage. About which we know nothing!
The Harrar Highlands are hot, that being the meaning in the local tongue of Harrararrar. Harribly hot.]

The Falash-Mura must be liberated, speedily and in our days.

[The Falash-Mura are among the inhabitants of Yerushalayim, the offspring of Bint Al Jebus three thousand years ago. Bimheira, bimheira; bimheira ve yameinu. Mura means bitter, as in the psuk: 'amar min al handal'. Sukar ziyada is not mura. Always ask for sukar ziyada. 
Their greatest hero is Falash Gordun.]

But of no importance. We have received terrible tidings of our friend in the Middle Kingdom. You might so recall him having been a liaison of the Binleung Israelites with our group. [Through a relay of no less than twenty individuals (call it information-laundering), it has been informed to us that he was detentioned for "unspeakable crimes" (the officiall name of his charge). We have also heard that his punichmentes ranged from "having his stones pulled" and "filling his mouth with cement", but further research illustrates that these are only (gratefully) meted out to those accused of murder.]

[Middle Kingdom: Lotharingia, because it lies between both the Franks and the Teutons. Binleung: a sacramental nut, betel or pinang.
Information laundering: as per the Sfas Emes, you are the guardian of what you hear or see, and you must judge whether what you hear or see is fit or not. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Punichmentes: mediaeval word-association, by means of which the tolerance and guilt of an accused person are measured, much like the cart is put before the horse.]


It happened thusly, and no less: he had promised the Israelites that he would bestow unto them a guide of the delights of Balut, and he had relied on us to deliver him the Good Word. It is why we tasked you with giving this much-needed primer, as we have not the literary clout to persuade successfully as you do. Days and months they waited, but it became clear to even them that he had failed to procure on this information and deliver his promise.

[Thusly: in this manner, according to the details stated following the clause. Balut: balus in classical Ahskenazis, as spoken in Galicia and the Harrarrarrarrar Highlands, meaning an acorn. Strength, power, and ersatz coffee. Good Word: to those who know, a riezige sefer fun Reb Avigdor Ben Simcho Halevi (c. 1725 - 1810), a grammarian who moved from Googlehow to Berlin; davar tov, an instructional manual on speechifying for fun and profit. Tselb-helf vorter. Hence mention of "this much-needed primer".
Clout: strong and powerful unterveish, which is what the Hindus wear. It is much celebrated, and the origin of the modern pantie, such as the French cut, the high cut, the boy short, the granny, and the bikini brief. Orthodox preference is for the classic high-waisted garment (aka: Mormon Temple Clothing), both Reform and Reconstructionists prefer the thong. Days and Months: because every month there are more or less ten days when, due to niddah and subsequent spotting, the woman is gonz farshpetterd.
But we shall not mention that. Niddah, zivah, zavah.

Promise: half an hour to deliver pizza or it's free.]

We were also told, according to local Binleung legend, that an unfullfilled vow is a grave trespass in Israelite custom. For you see it brings dishonour unto those to whom were promised - and as you no doubt know, bringing shame is tantamount to execution in non-Occidental ideology.

[Grave trespass: Trespassing on graves is, in most societies, considered both bad luck and an offense. Mamesh.]

It was for all this that our friend was circumscribed by the Israelites, never to return to this Shangri-la of maize and cacahuetes (its most numerous exports). He has told us personally that he was literally "run out of town", when angry Israelites chased after him yelling "A Shah! A Shah!" We have no idea why the Aryan Monarch would become such a foul epithet, but once again local legend demonstrated that they were likewise chased from their homeland-in-exile, and from that day they would do the same to heretics, informers, and of course, shamers and promise-breakers.

[Cacahuetes: The pinda or guber, a paste of which combines nicely with grape jelly, especially on wonder bread (pan de nissim), but badly with marmelade. Circumscribed: that which takes place eight days after birth.
A Shah! A Shah! Gesundheit! But in the Seifer hamivharim and the Sefer hasheiles, Ibn Ezra shpers that 'shah' is an epithet for Moishe Rabeinu, camping at Yatvata (Yosvoso).]

For our imminent return to Holam-sing, we are now burdened with the efforts of finding a new traductor for which we cannot function. This is a task that strains our resources, something which we would quite like to avoid. When we return, we will no doubt encounter this same question again. Lest we lose another liaison to the highly guarded Israelite honor, we implore you to provide us with a proper thesis, preferably in full post form, to pass down the awaiting Israelites of the deliciousness of Balut.

[Now note that the aleph has a holam in it, wherefore we must mean Omar, an obvious misspelling (scribal error?) of Oman, a land famous for Frankincense and Myrh, referring back to the 'tea' (bsomim) mentioned previously. Traductor: chazzen. Burden: according to Ibn Ezra, the staff that smote his shoulder; something one indeed would wish to avoid. Balut: Beitzim muzarot. Deliciousness: as it says in the Shir Ha Shirim, "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse, I have gathered my myrrh with my spices, I have gustated my honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my lactic exudate; eat, O friends, and drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved." Shlomo HaMelech wrote in English; who knew?]

Or Dinuguan.

[Ibn Ezra did not write about dinuguan.]

They must know the essence of Philippine délicacies!

[Philippine Delicacies: The Yerushalmi kugel and Apple sauce noodle kugel, as mentioned here: what to eat in Kikar Safra.]

Delay no more,

[Tom Delay, a heathen king, possibly Amalek. The gematria of his name spells out 'Mordor', which is a place of shadow and gloom.]

Thirty Day Beer

.   .   .   .   .


My best educated guess is that the person who signed himself 'Thirty Day Beer' is actually a Fratboy ('yeshive bocher') from the Midwest, who celebrated the end of term with a monumental bender.
Beer and pizza, for a solid month.

Both balut and dinuguan are ways of curing a hangover.
Neither are kosher le peysach, as they are associated with rice.
The prohibition is strictly de rabbanan.
See maseches kiddushin.



I had preserved egg and lean pork congee for lunch today.
With an oilstick (crispy fried dough).

Al netilas yadayin, hamotzi, and mezonos.
Plus a shehakol, just to be sure.





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JONATHAN POLLARD: IF HE'S YOUR MESSAIAH, YOU HAVE SCREWS LOOSE

This morning, shortly after my first cup of coffee, I made the mistake of reading (again), about Jonathan Pollard. Jonathan Pollard, for those who don't remember, started selling American defense secrets to Israel after failing to get several other countries to take his bait. He and his wife needed to dig themselves out of debt, and that form of prostitution seemed like a winner. Which, indeed, for a while it turned out to be.

Since being caught, he has tried to portray his actions as motivated by the highest virtues, a deep and abiding loyalty to the Jewish people, and a true love of liberty, justice, and the sheer rightness of Israel.

Which to some makes his disregard for what he was obliged and sworn to protect perfectly alright.
Surely his ahavas-yisroel trumps all other considerations?

[Up to his eyebrows in debt due to his life-style, attempting to sell secrets to other countries besides Israel, and disregarding the conditions of his plea-bargain? Pshaw! A mere bagatelle! The man is a chossid!]


Bibi Netanyahu has spent over a decade stridently calling him a saint, and the ultra-right in Israel have made him a hero.

Many Americans -- no doubt sincerely misguided as well as remarkably stupid -- have taken up that cause, and portray his long incarceration as a gross injustice, as well as proof that the American government is rabidly anti-Semitic.


A rational review of his case shows that he has been treated with remarkable leniency given his offense and offensiveness, and that rather than being a hero, he is a deeply flawed and ethically stunted creature.

His scheduled release in November of this year will be celebrated, and many right-thinking Americans and Israelis will wonder how it is that Netanyahu and others so staggeringly disrespect the United States.


Instead of jailing him, we should have hanged him.


Here's some food for thought:


Dual loyalties.



By his actions, he was of monumental benefit to various foreign intelligence services, an asset of immense value. As well as inestimably damaging to the interests of his own nation, an absolute disaster of staggering magnitude to American intelligence and our strategic position. In all ways the perfect storm, the damage from whose sabotage endures to this day.
He was, to put it bluntly, the absolute paradigm of betrayal.
A disaster that is painful to contemplate.
Despicably anti-American.

I find the hero-worship of that man appalling and repellent.
You may not see it that way, which is your right.
Perhaps you have "dual loyalties".
Or no loyalties.


He is America's very own Mordechai Vanunu.
Also a disgusting man, also scum.
But Pollard is worse.


Please feel free to disagree. I'll start doubting your sanity, morals, values, and reliability, but do please feel absolutely free to fervidly argue a differing point of view.


AFTERWORD

Look, I know that even allies spy on each other, and subvert intelligence assets. I am a realist, and I consider Israel, despite her many and huge flaws to be an ally, and probably the best one we have. And I will not quibble whether Israel may have had a right to a minuscule fragment of the data that that scumbag divulged. That cannot lessen his loathsomeness, and none of it justifies the perfectly despicable adoration he has received, or the irrational accusations of anti-Semitism hurled at the United States for imprisoning him, OR the insistent and petulant demands for his immediate release through the years.

That support and adoration, however, does justify serious questions about trustworthiness, or the ultimate reliability of our allies and their supporters.

Was that what you really wanted?

Please tell me why.




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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

WELCOME HOME, HOW WAS YOUR DAY?

Part of the problem with writing a blog is that you never know what berserk reactions readers will have. It's in public, and you can't choose who sees it. Years ago, when I still posted controversial material, the responses were more predictable -- death threats and insults, particularly when I published recipes for shark fin soup, for instance -- and some of the comments fulsomely agreed with what I had written, but even so, people take offense at the damnedest things.

This morning I bitterly poked fun at the ethically crippled pustules who, despite the generation-long assault on everything right and good by the Republican Party, have jumped ship and swallowed every single lie and calumny that the Republicans have invented, because a foreign politician has been having a temper tantrum.

Frankly, when foreigners spew crap about the United States, my dander gets up. Foreigners by and large haven't a clue about this country, and many of them have simplistic opinions influenced primarily by television shows, Fox news, sleazy politicians in their own countries, ethnic or cultural superiority complexes, and repulsive preconceptions.

Yeah, Americans are all vulgarians with guns.
We're stupid and ignorant, too.


ZE REST UV ZE WORLD IZ ZOOO MUCH BETTER!
LISTEN WE SPEEK, STOOPID YANK.
OBAMA BAD DARKY!


I have shied away from the Iran-nuke issue in recent months, primarily because I knew that several people whom I used to respect have gotten their knickers in a twist, and are presently damning Obama and the democrats in the vilest terms.

The last time I brought it up on Facebook, several people called me names. One of them is still trolling my every Facebook comment to find something objectionable, and is THIS close to being permanently defriended.

Apparently, Obama is a Muslim Jew-hating communist, hand-in-glove with the Mullahs, Ayatullahs, Muslim Brotherhood, Jihadis, and other Free Masons, who wants to destroy the civilized world but especially the United States, take away our guns, bring more Palestinians and Iranians into the country, and declare martial law. We will all be forced to either be gay, or marry gays. He and John Kerry are both completely stupid as well as irredeemably evil, have no brains or balls, and should be tried for treason RIGHT NOW, although on what grounds isn't entirely clear.
They also want you to eat gmos and catch ebola.
Lizard aliens control our government.
The UN will take over.


Frankly, I did not know that we had so many Likudniks in the United States. And how on earth did they get to be the arbiters of American values, loyalties, and foreign policy?

One might almost think that every single one of them entirely agrees with Netanyahu's opinion that Obama is a disobedient house nigger. Certainly they've shown no inclination for cogent analyses, reason, nuance, subtlety, or even temperate statements. Many of them now are firmly in the anti-abortion, anti-woman, anti-gay, Christian creationist, science denying, right-wing gun-nut camp.

We know how they're going to vote next time.

They are going to vote for every sleazy anti-abortion, anti-woman, anti-gay, Christian creationist, science denying, right-wing gun-nut congressperson and local politician there is.

Many of them already have.


Now, what did I come home to this evening, as regards blog comments?


This:

At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…
LIke a typical Democrat you have your head up your ass and are an anticmite, bastard.


At 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…
I always knew you were a whiny closet anti-Semite. It was clear years ago.


Gentlemen, thank you for your feedback.

Now kindly bugger off.




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NETANYAHU, PUNCTUATION, SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND CAPITALIZATION

Sometimes there are good reasons to sit back and merely observe.
Recuse oneself, as it were, from the fray, and let the rabid skunks foam at the mouth, hunkered troll-like over their keyboards, furiously one-finger typing their venomous screeds and thinking of ever more baroque accusations to hurl, with the invective flying like poisoned spittle from their diseased beaks...


Such as during the current spit-fest about the Iran nuke deal.

Side note: Netanyahu has diminished my enthusiasm.

I do not intend to participate for a long time.

In any street-side demonstrations.

Or organized advocacy.

Scr*w it all.


Comments on a recent string proved illustrative of the opposition to the deal that is presently up for congressional consideration between the civilized world and Iran. For the benefit of my readers I have cherry-picked the ones that best represent the Republican point of view.

These are their most cogent arguments against the deal.
Lyrical, succinct, and full of 'unassailable logic'.

Please note that I have omitted the names of the god-fearing stalwarts who penned these statements. There was no need to publicize them, and other than mentioning that they were responding to a Ha'aretz article on Facebook, I shan't go into sourcing details.


"I'm fed up with the disrespect that American leaders show to Netanyahu."

"Bibi's goal is NOT TO SHAME Obubu but rather to defend Israel. Obungho tries so much to destroy Israel in many e.g. proposing the retreat to the pre-1967 borders which will be suicidal. Even the UN granted the post 1967 borders for Israel security. Obummer has shown himself hostile to Israel because of his alliances with the Islamists. Bibi refuses to submit both to the Islamists & their lapdog in the WH for the sake the people of Israel. While Bibi is in-charge, Israel has a fighting chance for survival."

"Obama is not worth any respect. Kudos to Bibi for putting Obama into the line. And Obama should be impeached for high treason."

"Jews liking Obama are either politically naive or are self-hating Jews. Obama is pro-Islamists and anti-Semitic. His wife is no better."

"Obama is a disgrace."

"Obongschort"

"Sounds like your liberal dreams and hopes of peace and love in this world as it is today .
Have blinded you towards identifieng right from wrong.
You are under the SULTANS Spell.
Wakey wakey.
Open eyes please.
Look AT world. Not through it."

"I support Netanyahu in all of his grudges against Obama."

"STUPID QUESTION. ARE YOU TRYING TO CHEAT ? NETANYAHU WAS DEALING WITH MOSLEMS (HUSSEIN OBAMA AND SOME OF HIS ACCOMPLICES) WHO ARE BENT ON ANIHILATING iSRAEL. ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE JEWISH ? READING YOUR POISONOUS ATTACKS ON THE PRIME MINISTER SOUND AS ATTACK, NOT CRITICS. AND BY THE WAY, THIS IS A TIME TO BE UNITED, TOO SERIOUS A THREAT. EVEN THE SAUDIS, EGYPT, KUWAIT AND SOME MORE ARE ON THE SIDE OF ISRAEL. SO IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING POSITIVE, SAY IT. OTHERWISE SHUT UP !!!!"


"May G-D countinue to Bless all of Israel and all that is GOOD Amen"

"Israel has NOT been disrespectful to America. They have defended themselves against a Narcissistic Personality Disordered treasonous Muslim who is occupying the US White House. NPD has a very strong prevalence in people who abuse their spouses. They deserve no respect."

"Pres. Obama has been one of Americas worst presdents I feel. He has been terrible for both the USA and Isarel. Hope Isarel remembers G-d and to always act in her own self interest with or without the USA. Feel Donald Trump would be much more friendly to Israel , the MIddle Easts most democratic and successful country, and the Judeo Christian ethic that has been the glue of the moralit of the West."


That last comment says it all. Actually, all do.


I did not vote for Netanyahu, I voted for Obama.

In the next election, naturally, I shall again NOT vote for Netanyahu.

I cannot stand with the Republicans cited above.

They give skunks a bad name.





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Monday, July 27, 2015

I AM A BAD MAN THINKING EVIL THOUGHTS

It turns out that Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is of the considered opinion that federal employees waste time by "watching porn all day long." Ms. Fiorina at present looks to be the Republicans' strongest buckaroo for the White House in 2016. Because how can you possibly go wrong with a hatchet-faced baboon who hates people?
Especially working stiffs.

I am not a federal worker, and I did not spend all day watching porn. Which is something I could have done -- Monday is always a day off, and what better to do than indulge one's lazy smut-filled side? -- but instead I spent most of the day researching stuff on the internet that actually interests me. Linguistic stuff.

I am really NOT in the market for a hovercraft and a doodlehorn.

I do not need porn, as I have an active and filthy mind.
My imagination provides me with fatty thighs.
Mmm, warm plump female gams.....
Everything I need.



My apartment mate just came home and without prompting advocated that constipated old folks should replace digestive aids with an apple and peanut butter; "they will poo, whoosh, no problem!"

Most women, like my apartment mate, never think of sex. They find it easier to contemplate apples (and peanut butter). The subject of "doodling", in their universe, is paramount. This is just a very wild guess.

Men think of serious things, in addition to bangity.

Explains why I don't have a girlfriend.

Too many serious things.



There are two or three people who hang around Portsmouth Square who would benefit from internet access. So that they could do what federal employees are alleged to, namely watch pornography. So enriching!
It would calm them down, while cheering them up, buckets.
The medication and cheap coffee aren't working.

One of them makes strange gangster gestures of his own devising. No one knows what they mean. The best guess is that they signify that he likes to contort. Next best: he is completely off his rocker.
He needs to be housed in an institution.
With internet access.

I was down there earlier, contemplating the mystery of nice curvy legs after finishing my pipe. One cannot smoke in city parks, so the pipe required wandering around Chinatown alleys trying to look innocent.
But I just couldn't get the fine huggable female lower appendages out of my mind. It did not help that in this weather many people wear stylish feminine shorts, which expose quite a bit of white, pink, ivory, peach, sandalwood-hued, or mahogany gamflesh.


On Polk Street even sprung butch men wear tight femmy hotpants, but it doesn't have the same effect.


The great thing about Portsmouth Square is that it will automatically put naughty bits entirely out of the mind. Gambling Cantonese oldsters, drugged-out former inmates, and loonies, do not provide an environment conducive of lascivity.

The gentleman with the bent gesticulation, as well as the the fellow who talks back at the newspaper, along with the flying man, provide plenty of visual stimulation that causes breasts, legs, peachy upper arms, finely sculpted knees, and curvy parts, to escape one's cerebellum.

No one can think naughty thoughts while worrying whether the berserk loonie will come any closer. Will he spill his beverage? Does he want to scream at pigeons? Is it likely that he will fixate on me as the only sane looking white person here, and try to make friends?

Do I need to hold onto a durian to keep this man away?

Maybe he just needs an apple and peanut butter.

It could be just a digestive issue.

All that pressure.



In my mind I am in comfy secluded room, which feels cooler because the blinds are drawn. There is a charming unclothed woman there with lots of dark silky hair. She has exceptionally warm and velvety thighs.

We are relaxed, and both smoking pipes.

There are fruits nearby.


I think we're discussing philosophy, but I'm not sure.
All those complicated German names.
They could be poets.



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THE FOG OF MEMORY, AND FUR BALLS AT TWILIGHT

Time and place is everything. In the months that I took care of my grnadmother when she was slowly fading from cancer, I would take the Honda Civic and drive out to the end of the pier in the evening to smoke a pipe while watching the sunset beyond the Golden Gate, blue sky fading through aqua, cerulean, and ultramarine into lapis lazuli and slate-grey velvet, with streaks of saffron and canary yellow, roseate tinges, and glowing orange. The depth and distance made the colours glow, and the fragrance of Rattray's Black Mallory added to the enjoyment.
One could still smoke in public in those days; one wasn't a leper.
There may have been a smell of pot from others there.
In all honesty, I cannot remember pot.
The Rattrays, I can.
Mmm.

Several years ago I mentioned this to a friend, who promptly organized a jaunt. All of us piled into his station wagon and headed out to the area near Cliff House, to smoke our pipes and observe the dying of the day.
Such a lovely idea, of course we have to do that!

We forgot that the fog rolls in there.

Too thick to see bugger all.


We actually did enjoy it, though. Five grown men, five pipes, and not a single horrific aromatic mixture among us. Also, and this is important, no enormous women from Berkeley screaming about how we were nasty throwbacks killing babies with our fumes. Those are a bit more common downtown, and during the day.
There's an infestation of them in the Financial District.

What there was, which was quite as fascinating to watch, were pigeons in love. We had gotten out of the car, because five pipes going at the same time would have made the interior oppressive. We were sitting off to the side, smoking, when we became aware of two pigeons on the hood of the vehicle. The male was performing his strutting dance with the spread tail feathers, showing that he was hot to trot, and the female (at least, we think it was a female pigeon) was doing the usual dithery absent-minded wander-around indicating keen appreciation. Then they went at it. Possibly because the residual engine warmth made precisely that location the most enjoyable and romantic place to have sex.

I had never actually observed pigeon sex before.
It's interesting, in its own way.
But not exciting.

None of us said anything. Being surrounded by darkening fog, watching pigeon-humping, while smoking pipes; it seemed intellectually fulfilling, and likely to induce a contemplative or poetic mood.
A very San Francisco kind of thing.

A raccoon dropped from a tree overhead onto the feathered couple, and ran off with the female in its jaws.

The male flew away, startled.


I can't remember which one of the other four said it, but his remark seemed apposite.


"If that had been humans f*cking, the raccoon would have stolen their underwear instead."


Of course, nowadays that area is too well-traversed for wild passion on the front of a station wagon. And the reek of pipe tobacco would have the young couple fleeing long before they had ripped off their clothes. But the idea of a small furry robber trundling off, clutching panties and boxer shorts to his chest, is charming.

Maybe he's doing it for educational purposes.

Perhaps it's the thrill of the "chase".

And because he can.




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Sunday, July 26, 2015

THE LAND OF SPIRITUAL DOLPHINS

This morning my co-worker was cranky and peculiar till he had his breakfast. Which, regrettably, consisted of a breakfast burrito with three kinds of cheese, fried chorizo chunks, beans, rice, and SriRacha.

He loved every artery-clogging bite, and was a calm happy hamster till the middle of the afternoon.

The only part of his breakfast of which I approve is the SriRacha sauce. SriRacha makes eating in Marin both bearable and nutritious.

Marin County is where tofu, veganism, and gluten-free were invented.

As well as auras, chakras, and medicinal pot.

Thank g*d for burritos.


It strikes me that if European tourists really want to experience America to the fullest, they need to eat chocolate-crusted sugar kruncheez to start their day, along with toasted cheese and fried egg muffins, and greasy breakfast burritos. And then, like my co-worker, cap the delightful learning experience with an expensive cigar. It had a lovely sensuous wrapper leaf.
Nothing says good living as well as acid-reflux and a cheroot.
More American than that you cannot get.

There should be a bucolic country spa that offers precisely that.
Somewhere between Mill Valley and Napa.
Adventure lodgings.


My breakfast, if it can be called that, when I am in Marin is a pack of snack cookies, dark hot tea, and a pipe. This follows the bus-ride from civilization across the Golden Gate, and is three hours after my first cup of strong coffee. Also not particularly nutritious, even with SriRacha.
But not totally suicidal either.

Unlike the typical Yanqui grease-bombe breakfast.

I'd actually prefer crackers and cheese.

Seven-Eleven doesn't sell that.


On days off I do not need solids in my stomach to enjoy that first pipe.
I actually don't eat anything till early afternoon, or quite a bit later.
Two cups of strong coffee, a pipe, the internet, and at least one screen tab open to Wikipedia at all times.
Often, on such days, I am a wee bit wacked by the time I roll into a lunch place.

It's still better than Marin, though. People there club you over the head with imaginary coeliac disease, an overweening sense of entitlement, and fantasy re-interpretations of reality that include re-incarnation, spirit guides, and extra-terrestrial communication.

Then tell you how happy you will be once you stop eating gluten.

You have to liberate your inner-pizza.

Hug the tree within.


Fortunately there are enough Mexicans doing all the things Marinites can't do for themselves to keep real food from being banished entirely, but a breakfast burrito is NOT authentic, except for truck drivers.

[There is also a nice woman who occasionally indulges in a pipeful of tobacco, whom I saw today for what must be the second time. She'll be trying some bullseye and flake, and I am keen to hear her feedback. That by itself indicates that Marin is not totally irredeemable.]


For dinner this evening I decompressed from three days over in Marin with sautéed 雞肶菇 ('gai bei gu'; "chicken thigh mushrooms", pleurotus eryngii), some bittermelon, garlic and soy sauce stewed chicken legs, and wheat-flour noodles. Plus SriRacha.

Real food.




I actually rather like Marin. It's like a strange foreign culture where nothing is real, whose inhabitants worship peculiar deities and strenuously experiment with new forms of navel-gazing.





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DIMSUM: THE LONG AND SHORT

The most visited post on this blog is one I wrote over three years ago in which were listed over two hundred kinds of dimsum. As posts go, it's a curiosity, because most teahouses will not offer so vast a selection. In fact, a restaurant that does dimsum can easily prosper with only a dozen different dainties. Many do.

The lunch places in Chinatown, which cater to an audience in a hurry and the single muncher, will often have even fewer.

Variety may indeed be the spice of life. But as long as the basic items are offered, most people will be plenty happy. Steamed chicken buns, steamed pork buns, meatballs, shrimp bonnets, steamed minced pork dumplings, and two or three kinds of rice sheet rolls. Maybe also spare ribs, glutinous rice and chicken in a lotus leaf packet, and a few variations on the enclosed dumpling, the rolled items, and a fried object or two.

Yes, there is an enormous possible range. But many people will have firm favourites within the basic range, and if they do not get what they love, they will leave disappointed.


The full list is here: DIM SUM LIST


You probably just want some of these:

雞飽 'gai bau'; chicken filled steamed bun. The filling will also have some ginger, black mushroom, and a sliver of Chinese sausage for flavour.  叉燒酥 'cha siu sou'; flaky charsiu turnover.  蝦餃 'haa gau': shrimp bonnets.  燒賣 'siu maai': steamed pork and shrimp dumpling.  豆豉排骨 'dau si pai gwat': black bean spareribs.  牛肉球 'ngau yiuk kau': beef meat ball.  鹹水角 'haahm sui gok': fried sticky dumplings.  鳳爪 'fung jau': phoenix claws (chicken feet).  蝦膠釀青椒 'haa gau yeung jing chiu': bell pepper pieces stuffed with fresh shrimp mince.  腐皮捲 'fu pei kuen': stuffed tofu skin roll.  糯米雞 'lo mai gai': glutinous rice and chicken steamed in a lotus leaf.


Do not expect a choice of hot teas unless you went to a sit-down restaurant. The Chinatown lunch counters have coffee.
That's what most quick customers want anyway.



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Saturday, July 25, 2015

MEN'S SHORTS

If you like the sight of bony knees and hairy calves, this the season for you. Because it is summer, and men with scant sense or taste all over the Bay Area are wearing shorts.
As a San Franciscan with plenty of taste and common sense, I am of course horrified -- dang some of my brethren are ugly gits! -- as well as garbed in long pants.

[For the past two days, very mature men with ghastly gams wearing flamboyant shorts have been a dime a dozen. Pink shorts. Stripey shorts. Cargo shorts. Tight cut-offs. Baggy campaign shorts. Sailor Jerry shorts. My eyes hurt, and every time I come back from Marin County my stomach aches. Bony knees. Paunches. Liver spots and flab. Wattles. 
Gentlemen, stop airing yourself. Dress like you mean it. Feh.]

Truth be told, I do not have the right physique for shorts.
No, even if I did, I wouldn't ever wear them.
And my legs are quite nice.
Thank you.

The last time I wore shorts was down in Menlo Park, over a decade ago, when the Glynn sisters and two brilliant Filipina Americans talked me into participating in the inter-departmental volleyball game.
They then sat on the side lines making humorous rude comments.
Something about British tourists at the Costa Del Sol.

Dark socks were part of that image.

I am not proud of that.


When I say I don't have the right physique, what I mean is that there is no way in heck anyone could confuse me with an athlete.
I wear slacks well. Not shorts.

The only people who should wear shorts are athletes, children, and attractive young ladies.  Athletes look perfectly fine in shorts, and attractive young ladies also look fine. Mighty fine.
Exceptionally fine.

Same goes for summer dresses.
Athletes, children, and attractive young ladies.

On anybody else, shorts and summer dresses look ridiculous.

I do not ever, in this life time, wish to see any of the cigar smoking old farts who infest Marin wearing a summer dress. Even if they do stuff the front with convincing falsies. Actually, I can think of nothing more likely to upset the masses and cause unrest.

But let us limit our conversation to shorts.

No matter how acceptable the shape and dimension of each of my legs, or even the surface texture of said appendages, I have this perfectly reasonable paranoid suspicion that my friends would utter all kinds of nasty albeit funny comments if they saw me in shorts.

As would I with them in the same circumstance.

Dang you look like a fratboy!

Are you drunk?

[Unfortunately I do not know any young ladies who wear shorts. Which is a pity. I have always thought that college girls looked their sunniest and brightest best when jauntily dressed.]

In fact, the only plump thighs I wish to see underneath shorts had better be adult female. Adult males with plump thighs -- such as many of my friends who smoke cigars -- are quite displeasing aesthetically.

[By the way, ladies, your thighs are NOT humongous, but curvy. And consequently your knees look correctly proportioned. I know some of you have this weird hang-up about your weight and the thickness of your legs, and want to have scrawny gams like some of the anorexic stick-insects walking around the city. But their knees seem enormously knobby because they have no flesh, and they look painful to know, and likely to break. Trust me, you look fine. Just ask any man. And please feel free to ignore your various women friends regarding this matter. Can I offer you some more pizza?]


No matter the weather, one should attempt to look socially acceptable, dignified, and not ridiculous. In other words, not like a druggie or a fratboy, nor like a trollop or crazy cat lady. How you dress affects how you will be treated by strangers, and how comfortable or not your friends and family are in your company in public places.
Yeah, it's your right to dress like an idiot.
We'd rather not be seen with you.
So please don't.

[If, for instance, you wished to swan around wearing boxer shorts or hot pants, that is perfectly fine, in private. If you are a young lady of anywhere between twenty and forty who decides to try boxer shorts, very few people would mind being seen with you, provided there was no one else around. Go for it.
Heck, I wouldn't mind your company either, you would probably look fine.
And if you are a man so garbed, somewhere some young lady probably wouldn't mind seeing you thus.
I wouldn't know, as to the best of my knowledge I am the only person who wears boxer shorts, and I never wear them on the outside. Again, it's a question of taste and common sense.]



One of the reasons I do not like hot weather is the smorgasbord of visual ghastly parading around in public.
Too many people flashing wads of ugly. Large Midwesterners, milky white Scandinavians, and flaccid suburbanites of either gender.
Wrinkles, flab, freckles, wobbly bits, and sponge.
And cleavage you can drop coins into.
Men, women, and others.


On the other hand, all those young ladies who were wearing yoga pants previously are now wearing shorts, and that is an improvement.

Men in shorts look bleeding ridiculous.

For crapssake, wear a kilt.



I'm actually rather jealous of women who can wear summer dresses well. It always looks so fresh and festive. Like one should offer them tea or something.




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Friday, July 24, 2015

PUTRID CRAB SPEECH

Two old men speaking Toishanese can reasonably presume that no one is going to tell them to keep it clean. Even if they are cussing up a storm. The reason being not that no one understands -- we do, and we're horrified -- but that we take the recurrence of a particular earthy phrase for granted. In fact, it barely registers a blip on the horizon.
It is punctuation, exclamation, and colouration.
As well as potent expletive.

[The rest of this post should NOT be read by delicate well-brought up ladies, or anybody who finds it hard to tolerate the unvarnished vulgar speech common among dudes, bros, sailors, bikers, and elderly gentlemen from Toishan. You have been warned!]

The phrase salts and peppers their every waking hour.


"Tiu nei ah maa ge chau haai."


Which consists of three separate concepts.

The active verb, the pronoun and possessive, and a physical portion of the maternal relative referenced. For the linguistically and culturally curious, it is written thus: 屌你阿媽嘅臭閪。

The possessive between 'nei and 'ah maa' is implied.


屌你阿媽嘅臭閪

The clean words are:
你 ('nei'; you), and its possessive form 你嘅 ('nei ge'; your, yours).
阿 ('ah'), which is commonly prefixed to names and familial terms.
媽 ('maa'): mom, mother, mommy.
嘅 ('ge'); a word that does not occur in Mandarin, but which functions as the possessive postfix much like 的。
臭 ('chau'): smelly.

There are, as you can see, only two words which are unclean. And they are filthy in any context. You, dear reader, would do well to NOT learn either, and forswear their use at all times. The gates of hell will open up and release boiling bile and burning sulfur upon you otherwise.
They are NOT to be uttered.
Ever.


臭蟹話

Usage of the phrase is quite fexible, as it can come before, during, or after the actual sentence, entirely subconsciously in the case of most elderly Toishanese gentlemen, and without any of their friends hearing it or taking offense. It can be broken up. Tiu, where did you come from? Ah nei ah maa from the doctor's office. Wah, nei ge what is wrong? Well, it turns out I have tiu nei aah maa ge chronic ulcers. Chau haai what rotten luck, tiu! Indeed, tiu nei ah maa. Ai-ya..., ah maa ge, hai-ya.
And so forth and so on.


Yesterday afternoon, after purchasing some comestibles on Stockton Street, I had a pastry and a hot cup of milk tea at one of the local chachanteng. A pick-me-up, and the pause that refreshes.

Other than a pigeon that came in and wandered around, the only other sentient beings in the front near the windows were two elderly relics enjoying the far yet resplendently golden twilight of their years.
They were full of piss and vinegar, and very voluble.
I listened in for half an hour at least.
One day I shall be just as fluent.
Though more circumspect.


Smelly crustacean.



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Thursday, July 23, 2015

PIPES, TEAPOTS, BOOKS

A visitor whom I strongly suspect of dealing in second-hand reading material left the following comment: "Count your belssings". Yes, "Belssings". Oof. Abraham van Belssing is a minor character of horror fiction, first seeing the dark of night in Bram Stoker's rather worse than mediocre novel Dracula, as limp and turgid a piece of drivel as was ever penned. That paper cow-patty between two covers is an over-rated accretion of balderdash and blather. Sexist, two dimensional characters, very weak plot.
It would never get published nowadays.
Very badly written.

Van Helsing. Sorry.
A Dutchman.


I've got a bit of indigestion. It's affecting my perception. Dinner last night was seven ginger snaps and some coconut cookies.
And I'm on my third cup of coffee.
I apologize.


"BELSSINGS" TO COUNT:

I've got an ex-girlfriend who is still my co-conspirator as regards cookies, a supply of pipe-tobacco which will last me through the next earthquake and beyond, and a huge number of books crammed into the small apartment which I share with a cookie-co-conspirator, who has her own room and books, and hates pipe-tobacco.

She also has a poor sense of smell (and direction, different issue), and her schedule gives me full opportunity to light up around the apartment three days a week. If I open the windows, firmly shut her door, and let the place air out for several hours before she comes home from work at around eight in the evening, all will be well. Sometimes I'll fry or boil something to "mask" the lingering perfume of Latakia.


I've also got a recurring throbbing ache in my right leg, which one of these days I'm going to tell people is my old war injury acting up. If they are substantially younger than me -- which is increasingly likely as I get older and they get younger -- they'll trust me, because everybody with a tinge of grey took part in our country's great experiment with organized violence back in the Twentieth century.

World War Two, Korea, Vietnam, Nutmeg and Mace, plus Iraq One.
It's all one big blur of old geezers fighting.

I am not an old geezer, as I am only in my Forty-Mid-Teens, but they don't know that. It's the tinge of grey. It's magic.


In addition to the "blessings" listed above, there are over two dozen small stuffed animals in the apartment. I'm not sure whether they are a blessing or not, as they keep trying to steal my wallet, and demand foodstuffs which I've never heard of and wouldn't know where to get anyway. They tend to disrespect me, and hardly listen to a word I say.
Little furry anarchists and socialists.
My wallet, bitches.


I also own over thirty teapots. Most of them are small purple clay items (宜興紫砂), many bulbous with a bambooish motif.

Tea is one of my "things".

The modern world would not be possible without caffeinated beverages. Which are tea, coffee, and cola.

Johnson was whacked on tea twenty hours a day and wrote his great dictionary under its influence, the end of the dark ages and the industrial revolution happened because of caffeine, and the Europeans stopped drinking wine and ale for breakfast and went out to conquer the world and destroy civilizations while all perky. Further, the greatest art, literature, music, and technological progress can be directly ascribed to the wondrous liquid stimulation of coffee and tea. Cola, far less so.
Maybe 'Flower Power'.


This blog would not get written without caffeine.

Count your blessings.

Or not.



EEN THEE EN TABAK'S BEḮNVLOEDE NAWOORD

I'll be in Chinatown later today for a bite to eat and a warm beverage.
Did I perhaps already mention tea? If not, I really should have.
It's made my life thrilling, it can do the same for you.
You need something good in your life.
It's a blessing.




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A WOMAN LIKE A STREUSEL TORTE: FILLED WITH CRUMBLY GOODNESS

There is a clichéd quote out there, and I cannot remember who first said it, about a man liking his women like he likes his coffee: black and bitter.
It's a berserk statement, and I have scant clue what it means.
I would rather my women do not resemble coffee at all.
My coffee is unsweetened and slightly milky.
I do not like bitter women.

More like hotsauce is perfectly alright, though.

I also like my women to like hotsauce.

Or, like a peeled lychee.


Women, you will understand, in this example, is a loaded term that reflects either wishful thinking or an over-active imagination. I like women.
But I do not have "women". Nor do I want "women".
And usually, I do not "get" them either.
Most of them are bent.

The singular woman is far better than the plural.

Women, as a collective-concept, like handbags, flowers, anything named Vuitton or Prada, and fully paid vacations.

Individual exemplars may like other things, like Russian novels and Dutch pancakes. A few might even have a fondness for fast cars or slow dancing. And crazy ones even love football and baseball.
Many of them like doctors.

I do not like women like I like my coffee. Nor do I like near-illiterates, right-wingers, superstitious people, folks who believe the pyramids were built by space-aliens, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, vegans, law-office personnel, Berkeleyite leftwingers, self-absorbed twats, neurotics, sex-crazed alcoholics, fundamentalist Christians, artistic types, evolution deniers, hysterics, sports fans, beer-swilling college girls, or psychos.
Belly-aching whiny weeping types.
And Oakland.



What I particularly despise are folks who talk about puppies, butterflies, angels, and the sweetness of little babies.


Just sayin'.




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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

RICE PORRIDGE AND FOOD FOR THE SOUL

She's only four years old at most, and already she's absolutely charming. As well as completely bi-lingual. A brilliant little stunner, in fact, though she doesn't know it. An adorable lively flashing-eyed moppet.
If I were five years old, I would want to know her.
Mostly because of her personality.
And zest for good food.
Joyousness.


The only table at which I could sit was near the back, just outside the kitchen. At the table ahead of me a mother and her little daughter were having lunch, which in the case of the mom meant something I could not see, because her back was toward me. But the little girl first enjoyed a small bowl of chou min, then looked overjoyed when some fresh sau yiuk cheung fan arrived from the kitchen. At that point her mom's phone rang. The child happily exclaimed "ah daddy, nei hou!" while mommy answered the call.

Because her mom took too long talking to Ah Daddy, the little girl started looking at the cheung fan in the most antsily anticipatory way. The mom indicated that she should go ahead and begin.
Slowly the child poured some si yau over the glistening mass. Looked at her mom. And separated a bit with her plastic fork. Without hurrying, and very sensuously she devoured small bits carefully forked off, savouring each slithery mouthful. At one point it was so good that she started singing softly to herself. Her mom continued talking on the phone while the child chewed. She did not eat greedily, clearly she wanted her mom to enjoy it too.

The kid had a mop of ravenblack hair, with that feathery quality which marks extreme youth. Rosy pink lips, and very definite eyelashes above warm peachy cheeks. Deep dark brown eyes, almost black.
Tiny hands, of course, that deftly and with practised ease wielded the fork over the plate of cheung fan.
She looked very soft, very fresh, and she had a lovely smile.
There was a chain of pearls around her neck.
Fake, no doubt, but very elegant.

After happily singing to her food, she ate some more, then went nearly catatonic from the soul-quieting deliciousness of it all. I have seldom seen that effect in others, though it happens to me fairly often when I'm enjoying something yummy. The mouth and tongue go into full alert, all other senses slow down, and the taste and texture impact with extraordinairy intensity.
Most people only get that with ice-cream, before the brain-freeze.
Or while slurping down silly parasol drinks.
And then passing out.

The woman finally stopped talking to her husband and began to eat. Happily, between the two of them, they finished off the very best plate of cheung fan on earth.


Because the kid was so intent on her food, she did not notice me observing her from one table away.

After finishing my jook and yau tiu, I filled up my pipe, downed my coffee and departed.

You know, I have no doubt that my lunch also was delicious.
But I didn't notice, being totally preoccupied.
The pipe, however, was excellent.
Life is very good.



WORDS AFTER ...

Chou min (粗麵): thick pushed wheatflour noodle, served cold with savoury toppings OR sweet and salty sauce. Also sometimes called laang fan (冷粉). At least I think that is what it was, not entirely sure.
Fresh sau yiuk cheung fan (瘦肉腸粉): rice dough sheets steamed with an inclusion of lean pork mince for flavour.
Si yau (豉油): soy sauce in Cantonese. In the north it is called 醬油 ('jeung yau') or 生抽 ('saang chau'). The best brand in the United States is Kikkoman (龜甲萬 'gwai gaap maan') from Japan, but many people also like Pearl River Bridge brand (珠江橋牌 'jiu gong kiu paai') from Canton.

Jook (粥): rice porridge, congee.
There are various kinds.

For your reference:

CONGEE 

鮑魚粥 ('baau yü juk'): abalone rice porridge.
鮑魚滑雞粥 ('baau yü kwat kai juk'): abalone and chicken rice porridge.
柴魚花生粥 ('chai-yü faa-sang juk'): dried fish and fried peanuts rice porridge.
猪肝粥 ('chyu gon juk'): pork liver rice porridge.
猪骨滚生粥 ('chyu gwat gwan saang juk'): pork bone poached rice porridge; a selection of fresh and dried mushrooms with ham cooked in a rice porridge made on a basis of pork broth.
豬紅粥 ('chyu hong juk'): rice porridge with cubes of gelled pig's blood ('blood pudding').
豬肚肉片粥 ('chyu tou yiuk pin juk'): pork liver, tripe, and fresh pork slices rice porridge.
豬潤粥 ('chyu yeun juk'): pig gloss jook, an alternative name for rice porridge with pork liver.
豬什粥 ('chyu sap juk'): pig whatevers jook; miscellaneous pork oddments rice porridge.
帶子粥 ('daai-ji juk'): "belt jook"; scallops porridge.
火鴨粥 ('fo ngaap juk'): rice porridge with roast duck.
滑雞粥 ( 'gwat kai juk'): chicken chunks (often bone-in) rice porridge.
虾粥 ('haa juk'): fresh shrimp and cilantro rice porridge.
香菇肉鬆粥 ('heung gu ngau song juk'): black mushrooms and pork floss rice porridge.
蠔豉瘦肉粥 ('ho si sau yiuk juk'): dried oysters and lean pork rice porridge.
海胆粥 ('hoi daam juk'): sea urchin rice porridge.
海產粥 ('hoi chaan juk'): mixed seafoods rice porridge; shrimp, clams or mussels, and squid.
海参粥 ('hoi saam juk'): sea cucumber rice porridge, made with dried holothurid.
海鮮粥 ('hoi sin juk'): mixed fresh seafood porridge.
雞球粥 ('kai kau juk'): chicken rice porridge.
羅漢粥 ('lo hon juk'): Arhat ("Luo Han") rice porridge; a luxurious vegetarian preparation made with carrots, bamboo shoots, dried mushrooms, wood ear, straw mushrooms, and white fungus.
牡蠣粥 ('maau lai juk'): fresh oysters rice porridge with pork and garlic.
銀耳粥 ('ngan yi juk'): white fungus rice porridge, mildly tonifying.
北菇雞球粥 ('pak gu kai kau juk'): black mushroom and chicken porridge.
皮蛋牛肉粥 ('pei dan ngau yiuk juk'):preserved egg and beef porridge.
皮蛋瘦肉粥 ('pei dan sau yiuk juk'): preserved egg and lean pork rice porridge.
三黄粥 ('saam wong juk'): three yellows porridge; soy bean, sweet potato, and millet gruel, served with a little golden sugar.
三元及第粥 ('saam yuen kap tai juk'): three candidate ranks rice porridge.
生滾蝦球粥 ('sang gwan ha kau juk'): jook with fresh shrimp cooked by the heat of the porridge.
生滾牛肉粥 ('sang gwan ngau yiuk juk'): rice porridge with sliced beef poached in the hot gloop.
生滾肉片粥 ('sang gwan yiuk pin juk'): jook with sliced pork cooked by the heat of the porridge.
蝦球帶子粥 ('sin haa daai-ji juk'): fresh shrimp and scallop porridge.
爽滑肉丸粥 ('song gwat yiuk yuen juk'): rice porridge with pork meat balls.
碎牛粥 ('sui ngau juk'): rice porridge with minced beef.
艇仔粥 ('teng jai juk'): small boat porridge, sampan congee.
田雞粥 ('tin kai juk'): fresh frog rice porridge.
窩蛋免治牛粥 ('wo dan min ji ngau juk'): "nested egg evading control cow congee"; minced beef and egg porridge.
魚片粥 ('yü pin juk'): fish curls rice porridge.
魚片豬紅粥 ('yü pin chyu hong juk'): sliced fish and blood pudding porridge.
魚片皮蛋粥 ('yü pin pei dan juk'): preserved egg and sliced fish porridge.
魚片瘦肉粥 ('yü pin sau yiuk juk'): sliced fish and pork porridge.

The most commonly offered types are preserved egg and lean pork porridge (皮蛋瘦肉粥 'pei dan sau yiuk juk'), abalone and chicken porridge (鮑魚滑雞粥 'baau yü kwat kai juk'), and sliced fish porridge (魚片粥 'yü pin juk'). These are all very satisfying.
A stick of airy fried dough (油條 'yau tiu') for dipping is customary, for extra good. Sometimes fried peanuts may be added.


The pipe tobacco was mostly rubbed-out medium Virginia flake, with equal amounts of plain Cavendish and and Red Ribbon added, plus a pinch of Perique for a touch of wickedness. The pipe was a Peterson, shape no. 312, made before I was born, with lovely refraction (折光) in the briar.

The experience was delightful



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