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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


America and the world's most important holiday is coming up: Black Friday. This is when we celebrate the economic inequality that marks our society. Stores will be open hours earlier and stay open much later than usual, and hordes of shoppers will beat each other to a bloody pulp over the last ninety inch teevee screen for sale at a screw-you price.

The president could shoot a man in broad daylight, and no one would care.

It's probably the perfect day for a quiet lunch.

If I really wanted to trigger folks, I'd take a pipe and tobacco down to the shopping district and spark up. But I'm too lazy, and intolerant of people, especially crowds, to do so.

I do not have kids, I do not need an X-box.

I do not worship fat men in red bathrobes.

I think that most of you people are nuts.

A few years ago I worked at a toy company, so I am a bit jaundiced about the holiday shopping season. Any retailer who counts on Christmas to get back on an even keel financially is, as far as I'm concerned, barking up the wrong tree. And your relatives do not like you well enough to buy you what you really want: a flawless pearl necklace, for instance. Selfish bastards.
Just think how delightful you would look wearing only that.
And perhaps warm flannel pajamas.
Because it's cold.

Black Friday: a perfect opportunity to spend all day in bed, with the blinds down, and warm beverages. Just padding to the kitchen occasionally to fix yourself some more buttered toast, in your comfy pajamas and pearls.
With perhaps the cat for company.
Or not.

I'm going to have lunch.
Probably porkchops.
And milk tea.

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Monday, November 19, 2018


A friend posted a picture of himself enjoying a hot cup of coffee and smoking his pipe in the courtyard of an antique building in 浦東 which was evocative. I myself do not take selfies, what with being a Luddite who never acquired a cellphone, so I cannot match that. You'll just have to imagine me in an hour or two outside a nearby public house in one of their wooden patio chairs, smoking some aged Virginia in a handsome pipe I've had for many years. In lieu of hot coffee (a cup now), it will be whisky and water.
And instead of autumnal sunlight, darkness and street lights.
Not anywhere in 浦東新場 but here in SF, 舊金山。
More or less my natural environment.
I shall look gnomish.

Upon returning home from work I always refresh myself with hot coffee. Today there were also a few fried dumplings, and a slice of apple cake.

So I feel better after Marin County than I did when I stumbled off the bus.

And I'm glad I don't have to go back for four more days; off till Saturday.

Four days. People watching. Pastries and milk tea. Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice. More dumplings. Some bittermelon. Noodles. A refined and delightful blend of dark Virginia and bright. Reading. Books.

But first, a post prandial nap.

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In a Facebook discussion about a rainy weekend with someone in Singapore, an Indonesian friend remarked that he missed Hong Kong. Both gentlemen are pipesmokers, by the way. Hence the connection. My input was that we could use the weather to which the Singaporean woke up here in California.
We're kind of parched.

Naturally I remembered Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit Hong Kong back in September, after battering Northern Luzon.



I could have also remembered a hurricane that hit the Eastern Seaboard at the same time, but Hong Kong is closer.

The rain that Jerome in Singapore is experiencing is not that bad.
Though the humidity is high enough that mold on his tobacco is a problem.

Several weeks ago a fellow from Manila was considering purchasing a humidor to keep his cigars in once he returned to the Philippines. I advised him to invest in silica gel packets instead. Much more useful.
Dry cigars are just not an issue in that climate.

Mildew in your underwear might be.

It's like Ireland, with ninety degree heat.
J. P. Donleavy would have loved the place.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018


The phrase overheard this evening painted a picture. Two females who resembled leopards or panthers, discussing affairs of the heart. Normally one tries not to listen in, because it's not really a gentlemanly thing to do, but people do fascinate me.

"It's great to have a big dumb boyfriend!"

I suppose if you need to move a couch, yes.

Or a refrigerator.

On the way home I kept imagining a carnivorous woman needing to change apartments. Probably because she brutalized one of the other tenants. People tend to look askance at that. Landlords, coroners, or police.
Under what circumstances had she confronted them?
Perhaps loud music or queer smells?

Her previous big dumb boyfriend started to decompose?

That would probably require another big dumb boyfriend, to wield the woodchipper. Yes, San Francisco at times resembles Fargo, North Dakota. Except without all the goofy Scandinavian names or snowdrifts.
We have aggressive Russian women and smog instead.
So talking funny is part of the programme.

Both ladies were, I think, Russian.

The easiest way to find a big dumb boyfriend is probably to go down to the neighborhood gym and wave some piroshok at a body builder. Lisp sexily in a Siberian Prison Guard accent when you introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Olga - privet, menya zovut Olga.
Waggle something at the man.

"It's great to have a big dumb boyfriend!"

No, I am not wanted by the SPCA.

I have not moved a couch in years, and have no actual familiarity with woodchipping equipment. Nor have I ever been to North Dakota.
Big beefy piroshky do not tempt me.
Except intellectually.

Don't call me Boris.

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From the facebook page of Nerds with Vaginas come the following Meme:

Reasons to date me:
1. I can cook
2. We can stay naked in bed eating pizza
3. I'm hilarious
4. If your not sold on 1-3, look at my butt
If that doesn't work, you like men.

As a single man, I must take issue with this Meme.

I see no reason to eat pizza in bed. Feel free to wander around the house unclothed, but you're not eating that here. There are, as everyone undoubtedly realizes, only THREE things one can eat in bed, and all three of them go well with coffee or tea. Fresh croissants, cookies, and hot buttered toast.

One out of four. That's all.

I can cook.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018


The moon is frosty above the street, like a hook curving over the willow trees. Singing does not requite the melancholy mood, tears fall.
A mother and daughter wander alone, cold and hungry.

That, more or less, is the gist of one of the loveliest songs by Zhou Xuan (周璇), from a classic Shanghai tearjerker from the thirties (possibly 馬路天使 "Street Angel").
I did not remember that song from any of her movies.
But I saw them a long time ago.

It's been covered by several singers a number of times since then, and can be found on youtube.

詞:吳村  曲:張昊

街頭月 月如霜 冷冷地照在屋簷上
街頭月 月如霜 冷冷地照在屋簷上
母女淪落走街坊 饑寒交迫只得把歌唱
唱呀唱 唱呀唱 唱不盡悲歡離合空惆悵

街頭月 月如鈎 彎彎地掛在柳梢頭
街頭月 月如鈎 彎彎地掛在柳梢頭
母女相依沿街走 低彈緩唱唱到淚雙流
流呀流 流呀流 流到了心碎腸斷不憂愁

Little Red (one of Zhou Xuan's nicknames: 小紅) really did have a lovely voice, as the song 銀花飛 makes very clear. There are times when her enunciation seems drenched with honey.

You may not find such songs to your liking.
They are perhaps a bit old hat.
As are my ears.


You could, I suppose, ascribe that to "Old National Pronunciation", that being a standardization of Mandarin as revised during the twenties and thirties, but, going out on a limb, I'm guessing it's more than just that.

Even so, it is primarily for that reason that I did not provide a phonetic transcription of the lyrics; you probably would not sing along, and the tone system might flummox you anyway.

FYI: I'm still having difficulty with the 入聲
There are no glottal stops in Mandarin.

She also sang in Suzhou dialect, FYI.

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Friday, November 16, 2018


The owner of the Indian restaurant where I worked years ago stated in an advertising flyer that we could do Hindu, Halal, and Kosher banquets ... Every utensil and surface in the kitchen would have had to be torched till red hot to make that a reality. And, needless to say, we had no mashgiach.
He had a hard time bending his mind around the concept.
He had thought it was just "no pork".

Work on Sabath, shellfish, buttered roti with your lamb korma?

Snapper ve kaskeses?


Needless to say we did no kosher banquets, ever. Christmas parties, yes.
And a few tasteful Indian weddings.

We had pretensions. Even though, like most Indian restaurants in the United States, our menu selections catered to Sikh truckdrivers on the Grand Trunk Road, possibly filtered through Birmingham.

Slight shades of derelict mansions and their occupants in old Delhi after the Afghans sacked the place, occasional hints of South Indian ashrams for dingbat white people. But not a charpoy in the place. Tinny bhangra and Bollywood music whenever the boswallah wasn't around.
Sheer buckets of masala chai.

During my time there I purchased nearly every book I could find about Indian languages, food, belief systems, and history. One does not want to be the white fellow on staff who doesn't know a damned thing.
Especially not around Indians.
Who know everything.

Dhaba food. Rich, greasy, energy-giving. Chole, saag, palak paneer, kadhai gosht, and butter chicken. Paratha, puri, kulcha. Firni, gulab jamun, barfi.
Great eating, indeed, but hardly strictly kosher.

Nothing Vegan, neither observant Jews or strict vegetarians might ever feel entirely comfortable there, the dairy items could not pass for cholov yisroel, and both Brahmans and Jains might have severe internal struggles.
Strict people of any type should not eat at a dhaba.

But on the other hand, the Lobster Space Aliens would have probably loved the place. Good food, yaar! Fabulous roti-shoti!
We awaited their coming.
Every night.

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Thursday, November 15, 2018


A friend posted "it's hard to flirt with a mask on". Pursuant the horrendous air-quality in the Bay Area at present. Which rather suggests that he is the flirtatious type. I should reassure him that I do not wear a mask. It's hard to smoke a pipe when you are wearing a mask. And, judging by the slightly snockered woman the other evening, smoking a pipe is the sexiest thing a man can do and still keep it decent.

I have seen her before. She didn't recognize me from the bus. Which is a good thing, because while she is probably nice, she is not my type.

In any case, I am relieved to hear that pipe-smoking is sexy.

I always feared that the sexiest thing a man could do would be covering himself with virgin olive oil or wild bee honey and dancing naked and glowing in the moonlight, which I would never do because I am rather crowd-phobic, sensitive to the weather, and don't dance.

A good sandwich is sexy. Lovely pastries are sexy.
Cute little lamb chops are VERY sexy.
Dancing, not so much.

I may be seriously old-fashioned or out of touch regarding sexiness.

A woman holding a bottle of hot sauce looks totally divine.

I've been smoking a pipe for most of my life, and never thought much about it, sexiness-wise. I do know that many (almost all) women regard tobacco as evil and a depravity, which is probably why they dump grandpa by the side of the freeway to die of pneumonia, or exile their menfolk to the far end of the garden (near the compost heap) with that stinky thing.

Like most men, I am on good terms with wildlife.
I rely on the wolves to feed me.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018


The lamb chops were delicious. And I was right; they came with a little bit of broccoli on the plate, in the open space next to the mound of cooked rice.
With the savoury pan juices on the side in a little stainless steel cup.
Per the menu: 煎羊扒 (意粉、飯) 'jin yeung paa (yi fan, faan)'.
Choice of sauced spaghetti (意粉) or white rice (飯).
Hong Kong people love spaghetti.

Broccoli is the default vegetable.

My apartment mate also likes broccoli, which I've always considered a minor flaw in her character. If she had a choice between hot sauce and broccoli, she would choose the latter. Which is quite inexplicable.
It must be a Chinese or Cantonese thing.

Broccoli is commonly available under the names 西蘭菜 ('sai lan choi') and 綠花椰菜 ('luk faa ye choi'). "western orchid vegetable" and "green flower coconut vegetable" respectively. It's pretty nasty stuff. Once, when I dropped by some friends after dinner, their place smelled absolutely awful.
Shamefacedly they admitted that they had steamed some broccoli ......
White folks cooking; that, too, is a Cantonese thing.
They like to live dangerously.

Lunch at tea time, with a big cup of milk tea. Then a pipe smoked at twilight on Waverly while watching people hurrying home or congregating outside neighborhood eateries. A splendid afternoon and early evening.

I did eat the broccoli, in case you were wondering.
Vegetables is vegetables.

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There is tea there, and they do have toast. One cannot smoke a pipe there, but after I have had my tea and possibly some toast, I shall light up outside and enjoy the brisk temperature and smoggy air outside. Smoggy, because of wildfires to the north. Brisk, because the weather has changed, and we have entered the season when it is necessary to fire up the heater in the bathroom, so that one doesn't go into thermic shock and accidentally cut oneself while shaving. This is not a problem my apartment faces on any regular basis, but I bet she's damn' glad there is a unit in in the loo.
She used to be more cold-sensitive than I ever was.

Anyhow. Tea, toast, and perhaps even a lamb chop. Or pork foot rice. What they list in English as "Fried Pork Risotto Rice" in Chinese shows as 炸豬扒飯 ('jaa jyu baa faan'), which means that the pork chop has probably been battered and plunged in hot oil, then plated alongside a mound of cooked rice with some broccoli or other green things.

They also have 炸雞亦飯 ('jaa gai yik faan'), which literally translates as "fried chicken also, too, and even, cooked rice", but the astute reader will instantly recognize that 亦 ('yik'; also, too, even) stands in for 翼 ('yik'; wing, conceal). Just like 脾 ('pei'; spleen, temper) must really mean 髀 ('pei'; thigh, groin, buttocks, thigh bone), contextually a hunk of chicken leg, as in 秘制雞脾 '('bei jai gai pei'), which does NOT get you "abstruse system chicken spleens", but likely refers to chicken thighs marinated in Swiss juice (瑞士汁 'seui si jap') then grilled. Swiss juice contains sugar, soy sauce, caramel, and oyster extractives.
It's connection with Switzerland is less than minimal.

One might get 燒味雙拼飯 ('siu mei seung ping faan'); Roasted Duck & B.B.Q. Pork Rice. The quick Hong Kong ravenous man's lunch.

Bottles of Sriracha and ketchup on every table.


The place specializes in desserts and Hong Kong style sweet snacks. The menu section entitled "Stew" has typical juicy treats like longan and lotus seed soup, papaya almond snow fungus, and coconut with peach resin.
And, for the ladies, swallows nest braised with milk.
Very good for a radiant complexion.
Sin naai duen yin wo.

I'm going for there for a hot beverage. I've been there a couple of times in late afternoon or early evenings already, and I like their Hong Kong style milk tea, as well as the people watching opportunities. The name of the place celebrates the as yet far from completed subway station in Chinatown (optimism, I suppose), and they are near some of my other haunts.

No hot scones or Devonshire clotted cream.
Nor any fresh fruit preserves.
Those would be nice.
With milk tea.

A man cannot have everything.


Taiwanese Taro Balls? You've always yearned for Taiwanese Taro Balls.
Life, this whole world, without Taiwanese Taro Balls (台式芋圓 'toi sik wu yuen') would be meaningless and incomplete! Admit it. Admit it!
Grass jelly, mango soup, or coconut milk and sago.
With your serving of Taiwanese Taro Balls.

Mmm. Taiwanese. Taro. Balls.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018


The interweb is filled with wondrous things, including Sarah Huckabee Sander's boss. Who lies awake at night in his basement apartment, festering with resentment. And picking his nose.

If he were a teenager, he'd get a tattoo!

"Just returned from France where much was accomplished in my meetings with World Leaders. Never easy bringing up the fact that the U.S. must be treated fairly, which it hasn’t, on both Military and Trade. We pay for LARGE portions of other countries military protection,........ "

" .....hundreds of billions of dollars, for the great privilege of losing hundreds of billions of dollars with these same countries on trade. I told them that this situation cannot continue - It is, and always has been, ridiculously unfair to the United States. Massive amounts..... "

" .....of money spent on protecting other countries, and we get nothing but Trade Deficits and Losses. It is time that these very rich countries either pay the United States for its great military protection, or protect themselves...and Trade must be made FREE and FAIR!"

"On Trade, France makes excellent wine, but so does the U.S. The problem is that France makes it very hard for the U.S. to sell its wines into France, and charges big Tariffs, whereas the U.S. makes it easy for French wines, and charges very small Tariffs. Not fair, must change!"

"The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%. He was just trying to get onto another subject. By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!........ "


"Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!"

It's very nearly incoherent.
Must be the cheap wine.

Oh my god! It's raining!

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Monday, November 12, 2018


Seeing as it's Armistice Day, we left work relatively early, and I got home sooner than normal. The smell of wildfires, strong in Marin, was only slightly less so in San Francisco. It was still pervasive and omni-present.
Which reminded me of my uncle Jan's youth in Java.
Cooking fires long after darkness fell.

His Tempo Doeloe, not mine.

Perhaps I need to point out that uncle Jan was the father of a classmate. We lived in the Netherlands for a while, but I was born in the United States, and family on both sides have been here for centuries. We sold bad ale to Director General Peter Stuyvesant. So none of my actual bloodkin were in the Indies. But an East India sepia-tint suffused our cultural environment, because of our neighbors, my father's colleagues, and my classmates.
Very many had a connection to that time and that place.
Dutch, English, Malay were common tongues.
Often in semi-perfect amity.

German and French too, but without any amity.


So naturally I decided to have bami goreng for dinner. A handful of wheat noodles barely cooked, then drained. A small shallot, sliced. Scallion, ditto. Slivered ginger. Fresh green chili. Some chunked chicken meat marinating in beaten eggwhite, cornflour, and a drop of sherry, like the Cantonese would do. Blanched and coarsely sliced gaai lan. Plus an egg.
Small dollop of oyster sauce.
Half a cup hot water.
Sambal oelek.

And a rather large wok.

Fry the shallot, add the scallion, ginger, and chili. Decant when well cooked, fragrant, darkened. Turn up the flame. Noodles into the pan, stir around a bit till starting to crust, then push to the side. Drain the chicken and toss it into the open area to frazzle briefly, add everything except the egg.
Stirfry with a lot of noise.

Scoop onto a plate. Beat, fry, and break up the egg, dump it on top.

If you have some perkedel on the side, so much the better.

One reason to cook assertive food like this is that it disguises the smell of the cheroot I am smoking, and another good reason is that when there is chili in the process, my apartment mate will stay out of the kitchen.
Where, as I mentioned, I am smoking a cheroot.

She is a fervent non-smoker.

Years ago I was making a big batch of sambal tjabe bakar, the fumes of which sent her coughing and spluttering into the living room, and she didn't venture into the kitchen again for at least a good two or three hours.
Frying chili makes everything magical.

The entire apartment now has that wonderful boemboe smell.

First some coffee, then a stroll with pipe and tobacco.

Whisky and a small dog at my destination.

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A yellow half light at times, and thoughts of barbecued ribs. That's what smoke over the Bay Area from the Camp Fire up in Butte County has meant. Plus, because people are affected by such things, peculiar behaviour. Subdued, yet irresponsible. Quirkiness.
It's not as bad here as during the fires last year.
But those were much closer.
One major reason for the horrendous fires this year and last is Federal mismanagement of their wilderness areas coupled with ill-advised (and vindictive) budgetary cutbacks.

Let that sink in.

Much of the land burning, the major part of the problem, is Federally owned and managed. And, because of current priorities, woefully underfunded.
The people fighting the fires, and the resources utilized for that effort, are strictly Californian.

The problem lies in Washington.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018


When you are single, Saturday night is THE night! Unless you are a realist. Saturday night is when all the hot young bachelors and bachelorettes go out to dance, drink excessively, and make regrettable life decisions.
And, by that standard, I was never hot and young.

Instead, I took a long nap. Didn't go out.
Did a bit of reading long after two.

Years ago, going out on Saturday night meant bright lights, far too much coffee, avoiding crowds, and, occasionally, very long conversations.
All of my regrettable life decisions involved food.

Even in recent years that has been the case. The sheer excitement of a bacon-wrapped hotdog after two A.M. is hard to match, and even though it doesn't answer when you speak, it is, at that hour, intellectually thrilling.
So round, so firm, so fully packed!

If, like me, you add chiles en escabeche, and then take the item home to enjoy slowly in private, with a sploodge of Sriracha hotsauce, the regrettability of that life decision may be soon. Maybe even the next morning. Especially if, shortly afterwards, you have two (big) helpings of ice cream.

The last time I did that was two years ago.

A sensible female companion would have prevented that. She'd be fast asleep at that hour, and there would have been neither a need nor an urge to go out at all. Instead, one would quietly leave her comforting, fuzzy, flannel pajama garbed side -- having enjoyed the warmth of a warmly radiant somnolescent lump beside one for a few hours while dozing -- and pad into another room for a cigarillo, short whiskey, and a bit of a read.

The sellers of bacon wrapped dogs are rarer now.

I thought I smelled one earlier.

It was just smoke.

There have been times when I have gotten up long past midnight to cook something yummy in the kitchen.

So what did I read last night? Hyper Police, a manga by Tachikawa Minoru.
Batanen, a wherewolf mercenary, has a crush on a cute catgirl with a sword, who is totally oblivious to his feelings. Together they battle baddies.
She loves warm milk and dried anchovies.

Small snacks with liquor: 酒小菜。
A term I had not heard before.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018


We were discussing King Arthur and his magic sword outside The Tower when a coyote trotted past and crossed the intersection. Three other people also saw it. At two thirty in the morning, wild animals are not unusual in San Francisco, even this neighborhood. There are parks, there are garbage cans, and there are chihuahuas to eat.

Given a choice between coyotes and chihuahuas, befriend the coyote.
It's more intelligent, and altogether more loveable.
Chihuahuas come with dingbats.

I had taken a long nap after my rice and curry wurst last night. Woke up after midnight, needed people. Which meant wandering down for a drink and a smoke, to a familiar haunt where the crowds had already started dissipating. A mixture of Virginia tobaccos, dark and light. Mostly rubbed blonde.

An ancient perfume in the air; wild herbs on nearby Nob Hill.
The smokiness from the Butte fire having faded.
Fog, and a cold breeze.

I really should have added some coconut milk to the curry wurst.
It would have mellowed and made unctuous the sauce.
Plus I may have used far too much sambal.
I also added petis and nutmeg.
A squeeze of lime.

This curry wurst is not the curry wurst they do in Hamburg or Bremen.
Better. Spicier. Complex. And more savoury.
Sambal is essential.


On a day off one craves a decent bite to eat. Both at the place where I went for early lunch, and at the bakery where I ended up at tea time, they recognize me. Which is good, because I meet too many strangers and queer fish during my working days that I do not relish having to clarify things. The questions "nei sik mat ye?" and "naai cha?" are more friendly and more direct.
And, at the chop place, they automatically bring the hot sauce.

你食乜嘢? 奶茶?

I honestly do NOT understand how my mother survived Northern California when she was a child growing up. Food here was boring (inedible) then, and there were no chilies, sambals, Sriracha, Tabasco, Crystal, or Tapatio.
Everything I like to eat, she would have disapproved of.
We ended up very far apart culinarily.

Also, she only drank tea because my father did so.
A weekend custom, in late afternoon.
An Anglo affectation.

Coffee and tea are constants.
Multiple doses daily.

Here's something interesting: "The present study is aimed to measure the effect of caffeine and capsaicin on the blood glucose level of obese/diabetic model mice. The blood glucose level of KK-A(y) obese/diabetic mice decreased significantly after dietary supplementations with less than 0.031% caffeine and less than 0.0042% capsaicin, while both food ingredients and the combination had little effect on body weight gain and abdominal white adipose tissue (WAT) weight at this dose."

[SOURCE: Effect of caffeine and capsaicin on the blood glucose levels of obese/diabetic KK-A(y) mice.]

In short, it's good for you.

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Friday, November 09, 2018


A while ago, when for some reason I was locked out of this blog, I started another blog, which I've mostly used to park stuff that wasn't super interesting but needed its own space. Here: The Lizard
Over the years odd things have ended up there.

For instance, these very partial samples:

Benaderet's Cigarette, Pipe and Tobacco Shop
Store still extant in the late seventies. No longer there by the eighties.
At one point, they had Egyptian cigarettes made for them.
Their house pipes were usually by Comoys.
There are also Benaderet Sasienis.

Ping Yuen Bakery on Jackson closed very many years ago, and is sorely missed. Endless coffee, open til nine, a very long counter at which a single man could sit after work doing crossword puzzles before going to the Great Star Theater a few doors down for a gangster movie.
The Shanghainese noodle place is gone. The DPD is gone. You can't get those lovely pastries and dumplings at Yong Kee Rice Noodle Co. up the street anymore, they finally quit after three generations. Preserved egg in a flaky puff-crust, chicken buns, and Toishan daai bau.


Berkeleyite: a clench-jawed intolerant ideologue, in whose priggish presence all thought and creativity become nearly impossible. Most Berkeleyites are so utterly convinced of their own rightness and worth that their mere presence guarantees a lack of anything and everything good in the universe. Vegans, anti-Semites and Israel-haters, pot activists, puritans, and the frigidly uber-bourgeois.

Lest you think that it is only neurotic swamp-trull gorgons getting their soiled knickers in a twist or spewing slime, here's ex-ambassador Jan Wijenberg ....
Gretta Duisenberg

There is no actual theme, it's rather a crapshoot.
Plus citations from The Book of Armaments.
A good overview of a weltanschauung.

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Our president asserts that he is quite unfamiliar with his acting attorney general. But, per the New York Times, this may not be factually correct (for those of you who have a literal bent, what I mean here is that that is a bald-faced lie). NYT: "Whitaker “has frequently visited the Oval Office and is said to have an easy chemistry with Mr. Trump. On Monday morning [Sept. 24], Mr. Trump himself called Mr. Whitaker, not with an explicit job offer but a reassurance that he has faith in him.”"

The president's staff have "vetted" the man.
He is theirs, they trust him.

"I don’t know Matt Whitaker."

Like Sessions and Trump, Matt Whitaker has no moral compass.
But he is more a toady than his predecessor was.
He is the perfect monkey.

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Thursday, November 08, 2018


Today was quite extraordinary. Both Mad Art and the Hibernian buffoon were staggeringly ill-composed in the backroom, hissing furiously in defense of Trump, whose nuclear temper tantrum yesterday released a plume of radioactive vapours over Washington. If nothing else, it showed that the orange dingo is both completely unhinged and constipated -- too many baco cheese burgers and Trump Tower Taco Bowls, probably -- and the poor bastard may have actually lost it.

I wonder who gets to change the soiled diapers?

The two gentlemen mentioned might have apoplexy soon.
Because they feel that life is so unfair.
Positively Obama-esque.

I applaud their displeasure with reality, and hope that the medical profession will step in and provide them with suitable straight garments, very stylish.


Obviously their bowels hurt. White folks diet.
They need prunes!

Other cigar smokers back there are saner, if only barely. One of the bald ghouls eats enough chilies that there is no fear of gut blockage putting much pressure on his brain, and the other knows his hounds will rip him to bloody shreds if he smells daemonic, so other than hoping that the poor and elderly just die, rather than using Obama care and food stamps, he tries to keep his blood pressure and body chemistry from going out of whack.

I, of course, like the true Christian that I am, heartily wished them all bad dreams, dyspepsia, and erectile problems.

The tin of Greg Pease's stellar flake I opened on my birthday is nearly gone, a splendid tobacco. Despite a slight sadness over the end of it, I thoroughly enjoyed the two bowls I smoked during the afternoon.

Maybe I'll open some Regents Flake next.

Good times.

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Too much time there. But, you see, there was a small dog. Who, as it turns out, likes my lap. So it was necessary. Prince is short, fluffy, and calm.
And has lovely fur.

He does not mind the smell of a pipe smoker.

You can understand why I stayed.

When I got home I swilled some tea made of panax notoginseng and ginger, with pu erh, to settle my stomach and ensure a peaceful night's sleep. Should have added chan pei, but it would have taken longer to decoct.

Slow stroll, puffing a pipe filled with a mixture of flue-cured leaves.
40% dark matured Virginia, 60% medium flake.

It's not that I particularly like dogs. They're just people. Closer to the ground, with a nose thing going on, but otherwise not very remarkable. They recognize that whatever my odour, I do not smell skeevy.
So we get along.

Cats often like me too.

I have no tuna.


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Wednesday, November 07, 2018


Now listen up! It does not matter what you think, Buddha was not Chinese, even though little plastic figures of him are being sold all over Chinatown, and Jesus wasn't a surfer dude.
Despite his tan, baby blues, and long hair.

In fact, Jesus looked remarkably like Anwar Sadat, and never ate holistic shit. Also, Jesus is entirely buggery absent from Arkansas.
Never even been there.

What IS it with you dumbass Christians?


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It may have been bad drugs. The purple-haired wheelchair dude was on the ground, talking furiously to himself, his neighbor was in a sleeping bag gesticulating, and the dog had his head outside the bag, barking at a man down the alley. Only the bunny rabbit seemed content. And also sane and sober. When another man joined them, he got handed the bunny, the ratty sleeping bag was rolled up, and the now bunny-less dogman departed.

Painfully, the wheelchair dude vomited all over his knees.

After fiftfully trying to sleep, the holder of the bunny got up to pace back and forth, in and out of traffic on the main street. The bunny wandered down the alley to a calmer encampment, which welcomed it with warmth and hugs.
The wheelchair dude fell asleep next to his puddle and his wheels.

The bookseller and myself were out having a late drink in North Beach, and from our mezzanine perch had a good view. But his line of sight included a shapely gammed short woman, whereas I saw the lower depths.

Sometime this evening he'll be listening to a reading of belles lettres next to knee-puke alley. It's all about the arts.

Later, at the karaoke joint, I hummed along to the selection of songs by Zhou Xuan (周璇) in order to avoid conversation with the drunken Spaniard nearby. In all honesty, I find intoxicated Iberians hard to deal with.
The people of Mexico have had the same problem.

Zhou Xuan, it turns out, is also perfect for persuading Johnny's drippazoid younger brother to stop singing Cantopop. Which is an unalloyed blessing; he's an idiot, and he sings horribly.


Earlier yesterday my barber had told me that sheer tonnes of nice young ladies loved handsome older men, and I should go out and kau neui (媾女), why, many girls would just fall over for me! And a female customer in the other chair agreed; it's never too late to get hitched!

From the moment I left the barber shop in early afternoon, till several hours later, late at night, those sheer tonnes of women were quite invisible.
In all honesty, I wasn't expecting them either.

A karaoke joint on the edge of Chinatown is not a place where one would find a nice young lady in any case. Same goes in buckets for an alleyway where bad drug bums toss their cookies.

Let us be realistic about this.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Today is the day that Republicans will steal elections. Or try to. But, if they are successful, you still have your gun, because the NRA fought long and mightily for your right to bear arms and revolt against the man.

Such as the racist white militia members heading to the border, 'coz an army of starving Meskin Komunisses a thousand miles away is tromping toward Mesko Sittee! Where there will be abortions!

Look, if you don't vote, for whatever bullshit apathetic reason, you will only have yourself to blame.

When your healthcare no longer exists.
When your kid learns creationism.
When you can't breathe.


Or, if you're a Christian, rely on thoughts and prayers instead.

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Monday, November 05, 2018


Are there fibres in cheesy poofs? I ask, because when I came home my apartment mate, the small Cantonese woman who lives in the other room and does not currently have a boy friend, was avidly watching The Real Housewives of some place where rather unpleasant entitled white women live, and consequently I snagged the family size bag of cheesy poofs and scarfed them down. They are light, airy, and addictive.

Especially when those bitches are on vacation and acting badly.

I swear, they should have shown the cocaine.

They must have done a line.


If she had a boyfriend, she would have eaten them all. I sure hope there's fibre there, because now I don't feel like dinner anymore.

Left to my own devices, that wouldn't be on teevee, ever, and there wouldn't be a bag of cheesy poofs.

I do not need to see a show about entitled white women.

I work in Marin.

Injected lips and enlarged breasts detract from their emotional validity.

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There is a test on Facebook that, if you take it, will tell you what your spirit animal is. Naturally it's a crock of hooey, pure clickbait, and I refuse to play. The game features a picture of an adorable floofbeast staring straight out at the internet audience with big soulful eyes. To lure you in.


Besides, I already know what my spirit animal is.

A creature with whom I identify.

Talk like him too.





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Sunday, November 04, 2018


Last night smelled vile. I had forgotten how strong a cigar dive can reek. This morning, on the way to work, the nearby tidal flats stank, which was a smell that dominated most of the day. A combination of salty air, dying marsh plants, generic rot, and seagull barf.

Other than smells and physical discomfort, it was actually a pretty good day. The cigar smokers in the backroom behaved rather sanely, except for when they screamed at the television, and a friend dropped by with shortbread.

The most disturbing thing today was Facebook.

Which wants me to 'friend' a woman with big cleavages. Who doesn't speak a language in which I can make myself understood, likes musicians and bands of whom I have never heard, communicates mostly in pictures, and does not share my taste in lingerie and/or undergarments.

My ability in her tongue is mostly limited to requesting carnitas burritos.
But I doubt that she shares either my enthusiasm for or my familiarity with said comestible; likely she would not even know what it is.

It is unlikely that a common interest in lingerie and/or undergarments, but diverging opinions on that subject, can lead to meaningful dialogue.

Like most people, I very rarely discuss lingerie and/or undergarments with anybody. In fact I cannot remember the last time I had a conversation with acquaintances, friends, family members, or my ex girlfriend, about lingerie and/or undergarments.
I tend to think that some people look infinitely better wearing lingerie and/or undergarments than others. My ex does it well, but the majority of my friends probably do not (males should not wear frilly things, underwire cups, or lace, as a matter of course, and if they do I would rather not know), and I have never in my life broached the subject with my Canadian relatives, OR members of the shul which I ocassionally visited for simchas or yartzeiten.
It never got mentioned at Christmas get-togethers or Passover seders.

I have not been inside a church in years, but if forced to visit, I may bring the subject up. "What", I will ask, "were Saint Jerome's thoughts about lingerie and/or undergarments?"

Surely Paul and the later Church Fathers had opinions?
About lingerie and/or undergarments?

Tin Foil Hat Stevie came by early in the day, Little White Nipple Guy was in yesterday. From bitter experience I know that there are some subjects one does not mention when those two gentlemen are about.

Cleavages, for instance.
Or lingerie.

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Friday, November 02, 2018


Someone who is a decent conversationalist albeit slightly loopy, has been banned for life from a nearby food and drink establishment. Apparently he said something about interracial couples to someone's cousin.
I have no idea what it was.

I have experience with such things.
Not much, but it's enough.

I was, for many years, involved in a relationship.

Example ONE:
Louisiana Tony asked me "how can you pollute yourself sleeping with something like that?"

Example TWO:
A random acquaintance: "People like you shouldn't breed."

I am reminded of Dave Chappelle's black Klansman, Clayton Bigsby.

Yes, there were many more instances than just those two I cited, including a Chinese American dude who said that if she and I had children at least they'd be reasonably good at math, though ugly, and the white men who asked me if she was obedient and quiet. But showing more of these would simply belabour the point that people can be remarkably stupid.

You already knew that, I would guess.

I should mention that I am not racially pure. There's a smidgeon of Native American in the mix, though not enough to notice, but a significant amount of Scots DNA, because Dutch Americans regrettably polluted themselves by sleeping with (and marrying) unpleasant other Calvinists, back in the day when people married only within their own religious community.

The Dutch knew about bathing aeons before the Scots!
There's your pollution, right there.

I sometimes do like bag pipe "music".
That's something I cannot help.
A genetic predisposition.
The bad seed.

But thank god I don't have red hair.



No kilts!

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Thursday, November 01, 2018


According to recent news articles, Grimsby, in Lincolnshire, has the worst high street in England, littered with vacant storefronts and fast food restaurants. Including burger joints, hot dog stands, pizza shacks, and kebaberias. Except for that last mentioned, that's American food, and consequently tourists from Kansas will feel right at home there.
As well as comforted by the fact that they speak English.

Very much UNLIKE San Francisco!
Almost no "convenience" food.

What we do have, however, is unpronouncable stuff eaten by folks who don't always speak English. So if you are planning a family vacation, you should go to Grimsby.

They are very welcoming.
And quite unspoiled.

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Growing up overseas I never got to celebrate Halloween, though since I left it has started to become a well-known thing even there. But when I returned to the United States, I didn't quite get into it.
It was an entertaining celebration.
But mostly gay.

Times have changed a bit. Very many adults now dress up.
Especially in the Financial District.
Fun times.

In my neighborhood it is adorable little Chinese moppets dressed like Disney princesses or superheroes with pumpkin buckets, accompanied by responsible adults before darkness falls and the weirdoes come out.


For parents not quite used to the concept, kindergartens and grammar schools send an informative sheet home with little Ah Jen (阿珍) or Ah Ming (阿明), explaining what it is, how it is to be celebrated, and of what to be cognizant.
萬聖夜 ('maan sing ye'), 萬聖節 ('maan sing jit'), 哈囉喂 ('haa lo wai')
It's not the same as 盂蘭節,which occurs in Mid-Summer.

Hungry ghosts in the West require candy.

I do not know what else they tell them. One of these days I shall get my hands on that informative school sheet. It should be a fascinating read.

We do what now? And there are sweets?

I am Elsa, you are Anna!


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Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Over the past few weeks I have realized that my generation have become, by and large, a bunch of sour and reactionary whiners. Indeed, I distrust much of "youth culture", do not own a cell-phone, and am in no way gender dysphoric, but on the other hand I do not spend my time bellyaching about the price of gas, those liberals, and the mommy state.

Sure, I sympathize immensely with the old fart on the bus who announced that everything hurt and all of us smelled bad. That grouchy statement he made is an appealing welt-anschauung as well as an existential battle cry.

But too many people middle aged and older are meanies.

I connect this with enjoying American style team sports, watching Fox News, and swilling beer. All three of those things lead to brain-rot and dessicated gonads, as well as undue sympathy for the overdog, crappy choices, and the slow, inexorable slide into an old age of dried prunes.
And fibre supplements.

Precisely the kind of rancid shitbags who voted for Trump.

On the other hand .....

I'm in my fifties. I smoke a pipe. Everything goes better with hot sauce.
Most days I'm full of caffeine, nicotine, and highly refined sugar.
I do not mumble to myself, or spill soup into my beard.

"Come here, young fellow or little miss, would you like some fine aged flue cured leaf, pressed into a brick and sliced by a venerable British company? It is exquisite!"

At some point I must persuade young vibrant people to take up tobacco, because when I am in my nineties, decrepit, and wheelchair-bound, I will need someone considerably younger to push me and my conveyance out into the only legally designated smoking area left, which will probably be the salt flats bordering the bay, so that I can enjoy a good smoke.

Their incentive will be a similar fondness for briars, rather than my company.
Which might be less than sparkling.

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