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.

Monday, May 30, 2016


No. I am sorry, Frenchie, but despite the blandishments I have no intention of dropping by Wingtip to watch the Warriors and talk philosophy. I despise sports and know that any possibility at all of intelligent conversation does not exist at those times.

Instead, I may meditate. Do some yoga.
Explore my navel intently.
With a comb.
Mm, lint.

Actually, I can think of almost nothing as dysfunctional as watching a sports game on television in the company of other people yelling and hooting. If I went, I would probably bring along a bunch of fresh bananas, just like I would if invited to tea by the monkeys at the zoo.
My, this is a lovely simian home you have here, ma'am.
Kindly do not fling your poo at me.
I have bananas!

My long term potentiation associated with sportive activities is to sneer, cringe, and feel irritated. It reflects a very narrow range of synaptic repetitiveness, but with extremely intense strengthening of signal transmission. That holds for absolutely ALL sports.
It gets more so with each iteration, worse as the season progresses.
I may barf if you scream approval of your team.
I couldn't name them if you paid me.
I am not interested.


Having a pipe or two at the Oxxy last night was somewhat enervating. The musicologist was holding forth over at the bar (he really knows a stupendous amount, it's very impressive), so when The Mad Egyptian, Kong Chai, and Frenchie waltzed in, I gravitated toward the window table. The area outside of the Gare Du Nord smells most phenomenally of urine, Paris is a city with majesty, Sam's burgers are one of the great late night feeds of San Francisco, and the complete absence of evidence is not reliable proof of the invalidity or non-factuality of a narrative.
Some people think with their nose: Parfumerie Jacqueline.
Ice cubes in Rosé? Très parisiene!

They were all in higher spirits than myself.
I need a calmer environment today.
Perhaps a place with tea.

I rather like le Marais. Old buildings, lovely konditereien, small eateries, and grand edifices. Cobblestone alleys, narrow sidewalks, old iron street lights. Alas, no place for 奶茶 and a 蛋撻, but one will never be hassled by böse Amerikanischen erde-mütter und wheatgerm freaks if one lights up a pipe and enjoys a smoke at twilight.

It is beautiful when it rains.

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If it weren't for my sweet good-natured apartment mate, I would never know that rich black women are trash-talking bitches, OR that chicken nuggets taste like sh*t.
Left to myself, I would never turn on the Housewives of Atlanta.
During the airing of which a commercial appeared.


Just imagine, I could have lived the rest of my life without realizing that the Real Housewives are a bunch of fancy hos, OR that chicken nuggets were the worst kind of mediocre white-folks dimsum.
I might have been blissfully happy.

Fortunately I was mentally prepared, as I had earlier enjoyed Papa Touwtjie singing 'Miss Bigi Puni' on youtube.

[WARNING: The linked video, while not obscene, is NOT safe for either work or the yeshiva study hall. But is not as suggestive as some of the songs by Trafassi. A flinke meid indeed! Forsooth!]

Papa Touwtji (John Touwslager, 1968 - 2005) was probably one of the greatest Surinamese musicians ever. He died of a bullet wound after a family quarrel, at age thirty seven. His funeral was an event. His song 'Sontin' is also not quite safe for work, but none of your coworkers will understand a blessed word, unless they are from Paramaribo.
It was tops on Sky Radio for five weeks after his death.

If you're wondering how The Real Housewives of Atlanta connects to Surinamese music, it's simple; every single one of those women is Miss Bigi Puni. But not in a good way. Never in a good way.

Afterthought: Kaseko music still hasn't made any inroads into the United States music scene. Which is a great pity. There's nothing quite like Lieve Hugo on the one hand and Bose Krioro on the other.
And everything in between.
Bigi poku.

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Sunday, May 29, 2016


Yesterday she was grumpy when she got home, and sat down in front of the teevee with a big bucket of fried chicken. First she watched murder reportage, then switched on the jewelry channel. A while later she went into the kitchen to scarf down some icecream while glowering, following which she announced "oh bugger it all, I'm going to have a nice long soak!"
Before heading into the bathroom she went on for a while about dinosaurs.

It's getting mighty close to that time of the month. I can always tell.

A friend to whom I mentioned all this asked if she was a werewolf.

I need to point out that I am an expert on women, and thus know that fried chicken is a sign of impending menses, NOT impending doom.
I therefore feel assured that she will not be sneaking into my room late at night with fangs and ripping my head off.

Fried chicken. Period.

I've always felt more at ease around women close to their period than anywhere near werewolves. Sure, they act all possessive about the sources of chocolate, sugar, and fatty snacks, but as long as you do not get between them and the microwave or the freezer, no one gets hurt.

I wonder if her dumbass boyfriend ("Wheelie Boy") has figured out that most of the time she gets pissed at his utter insensitivity is around this time of the month. Maybe he doesn't move out of the way fast enough. Or maybe he does not keep cookies, icecream, and microwaveable fatty snacks in his refrigerator.

Women are least like dinosaurs and werewolves when they get proper nutrition. Besides iron, which plummets when it's this time, the other crucial substances are vitamin D and magnesium.

Chocolate, spinach, icecream.
Plus bananas, of course.
And cheese.

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During that stage between full slumber and semi-doze, hours before the alarm went off, I dreamt that I was an ocelot, happily running through thick layers of fallen leaves in the dense forest along California Street near the crest of the hill, delighting a little girl and her mommy.
There is no dense forest cover there when I do not dream.
And I am not now, nor have ever been, an ocelot.

Ocelots are self-aware, and know that they are ocelots.
This is something that is obvious.
It must be so.

No, there is no significance to the dream. It does not mean anything, and there was nothing remarkable about it, aside from the little girl and her mom, the dense glade with a carpet of crunchy leaves, and the shafts of sunlight breaking through the trees on the street-side .
The sidewalk there is not nearly wide enough for that.
And ocelots are not found in these parts.

I just enjoyed running on all fours, that's all.
Lithe and sleek and at great speed.

And yes, it is still far too early to be up right now. Assuredly all decent people are fast asleep, and many of them will be waking up with hangovers in a few hours more.
They celebrated a monumental sports victory last night.
Madrid won the football match.

It's an improvement over yesterday.
When I dreamt of ground meat.
Including horse.
Extra lean.

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Saturday, May 28, 2016


Upon listening to Louie Gohmert talking in Congress about gay space colonies for over four minutes, I am convinced that Texas is taking the piss. They're having us on. Pulling a fast one. Louie Gohmert, for those still unaware of how many dumbasses the redneck states have sent to Washington, is probably the dumbest rep in the house. Which is a monumental distinction, as the competition is fierce.
But he wins by a very wide margin.
He's a booby.

Louis Buller Gohmert represents Texas's First Congressional District. Has done so since 2004. Keeps getting overwhelming victories in elections down there.

Either the folks in Texas's First Congressional District know something we don't, or they're trying to keep Louie Gohmert far from their homes.

In some cultures, they put the kids who are too stupid to live out in the swamp to be eaten by alligators; in Texas they elect them.

"See, if you send forty couples into space to repopulate our planet after the asteroid wipes out all life, like say a teknunologic Noah's Art, and some of them are same sex couples, then Jesus is going to say 'I don't like that, why aren't you linstinening boy' and it ain't gonna work.
That's just illogical.

That may be a paraphrase. When he spoke of gays and asteroids, this blogger was thinking too hard about large pink rocks hurtling through the void, while also wondering which pipe tobacco to smoke later, to really pay attention to congressman Louie Gohmert and the wise words of an educated Texan Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher.
The sterling example in Washington of which he is.
Large pink rocks, flaming.
Disco ball.

[At 0:10 - 0:12]

Still, that is the content of his message, albeit reduced to comprehensible language. Louie Gohmert truly believes that a space colony with gay couples is against G*d's plan for humanity.
Which is probably why he's sending an asteroid to wipe us out.
Apparently he did that to France already.
Because they didn't listen.

Go on. Read up on Mr. Gohmert. I'm not inventing any of this.
And you too can listen to the video of his speechy.

"A man that didn't know which he was, was ... pitied, loved, encouraged ... "

"What Jesus said when he quoted Moses verbatim"

"Okay, we've got a spaceship"

"Matt Damon"

"Even if you're a secular humanist"

"The United States ... as an instrument to bless the world"

After listening to all of that several times, I sense that there's nothing truly evil about the man. He's just dumb as a brick.
Jesus made him that way.


Credit for the title of this essay: Ron 'Tater Salad' White.

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Friday, May 27, 2016


One of the remedies that no well-run household can do without is 黑鬼油 ('hak kwai yau'), a medical liniment that for those aching tired muscles.
It can also be used for vermin bites, plus bruises, arthritis, swollen feet, and, so I've been told, against snakes.

You don't need to know what 黑鬼 really means, do you?
黑鬼油 is used for many of the same things as 白花油。
But the name 白花油 ('pak faa yau') sounds nicer.
It means "white flower lotion".

黑鬼油 ("Hak Kwai Pain Relieving Lotion") is probably not quite as effective, though. The ingredients consist of wintergreen oil, thymol, and citronella, diluted in a base of turpentine oil (50%). The ethnicity of the gentleman in the emblem on the label is South Asian, not African.

White Flower Lotion is all active stuff.

Like the Maximum Strength Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream which was of such great use years ago, these products should (probably) not be applied directly the anus. But unlike that excellent balm, it does not bear any warning about applying it directly to the anus.
Please take it from me, though.
You shouldn't.

There are very many things in this world which would benefit from such a warning. Several immediately spring to mind.

Perhaps the only things that need not have such a warning ("do not apply directly the anus") are the ones that should be applied directly to anus.

Off the top of my head, I cannot think of any.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016


Regretfully I conclude that when opening the refrigerator, it is best to be entirely naked. The reason for this is as follows: yesterday, having done laundry, I put on my nice clean trousers, and set the kettle on for a nice cup of tea. When the tea was done, I went to the refrigerator for a spot of milk, and promptly ended up with coconut cream all over my front.

My apartment mate had put an open tin on the top shelf. A bottle behind it tipped over and knocked it off the shelf. It splashed as it fell, hit the floor and bounced upward, spattering all of its contents.

Nice clean trousers.
Coconut cream.

Both of the places I wanted to go for late lunch were closed. No, this had nothing to do with the coconut cream directly. Just an example of what the day had been like. As was the tweaking speedfreak at the laundromat. Whom I later saw trying to rearrange the stained glass in the church window by gesticulating at it.

When I came back home I fixed myself some more tea. I then left the kitchen light on for two hours, just to freak out the young ladies living across the airwell, whose bathroom window is in my direct line of sight.
No, I wasn't even in the kitchen for longer than a minute or two.
I wanted someone else to feel that the world is out to get them.
Ten minutes after my tea was ready I heard their window slam.
Half an hour later it opened up, then slammed shut again.
Before I turned everything off, this was repeated.

Over the years, nipples may have been mentioned on this blog once or twice. Because of which, readers from all over end up here, where they do not find any nipples. This is something that pleases me; I haven't seen nipples in years, no reason why they should have any better luck.

I can think of several uses for coconut cream.
After which we might have a spot of tea.
No, I do not have a dirty mind.
I did my laundry.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016


The internet has not increased insanity in America, but it has given it form and voice. In the past, the crazies would drive Volkswagen buses covered with their beliefs slowly through the neighborhood, sometimes with a jury-rigged soundsystem that let them utter portentous words of doom.
And their choice of music imposed on everyone nearby.
The icecream trucks of despair.
Come for the darkness.

Now they can safely remain in their universe of disconnect, and scream in capital letters, secure in the knowledge that unstable hysterics will forward their message, and guide attention back to them.

Suggestible and not very intelligent people tend to subscribe to the queer beliefs broadcast on the internet, convinced that they have found a truth that puts them in the know, allows them to understand everything, and thus makes them better than the rest of us.

Blame the Masons, Illuminati, Jews, Bilderbergers, and the Democratic National Committee. Vaccines, GMOs, Hormones, Kosher tax, New World Order, False Flag Operations, and the Federal Reserve.

And Obama is gonna take yer guns!

"The religion of the Armenians is fake --- there is clearly an Armenian Master Plan that generates Armenian hate around the world."

-----Samuel A. Weems, on behalf of the Turkish lobby in the U.S.

This blogger is a cynic, but not a dunce, and consequently finds it hard to acknowledge the conspirationalists and their believers are fellow human beings who are also entitled to any respect and consideration at all.
In person, I will more than likely politely change the subject, rather than tell them bluntly that they are batshit crazy and need to be medicated (or vaccinated, heh heh heh), but I am rather less restrained here.

The chemtrailers are a good example of loony tune.

"Futuristic Disguise Technology"



A myriad of toxic constituents causing an increase in autism. That is what some aver is in the vapour trails of aeroplanes, and they are certain that the purpose is to either increase control over society, OR lower human fertility, OR control our minds by seeding us with receptor metals, OR it's a super-weapon program funded by ...

Text found on the internet:

"They have been spraying for many years a particular type of CHEMTRAIL AEROSOL which DOES TARGET ALL female reproductive systems making it very hard for many not all but many women to have if they do at all any kind of orgasm! THEY know this as well as I do myself. THEY do not want HUMANS to feel any real love or universal connection type healing .....  "

[Thanks, Chow Babe. The suggestion that a sage/mint vagisteam followed by a grounded rose quartz yoni egg will cure it is priceless.]

This is not the normative assumption of the chemtrail movement, but a self-serving side-track. The individual whom Chow Babe cites is clearly blaming his or her own failures on an evil conspiracy.

Rather than admitting that he or she is an uptight twat who sucks the joy out of everything.

If there is a tinfoil hat over the clitoris, someone else is to blame.

Universal connection type healing?



For the curious, I can tell you all about the clitoris, if need be. Just let me know. It's not my favourite subject, but I did some research a while ago, and am aware of its function. Think of it as being in the nature of an "on" switch, much like the one that sets off the giant fan at the cigar lounge when there is too much smoke in the air.

But first, you must remove the tinfoil hat.

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Apparently some folks seriously think that throwing away a sleeping person's shoes is just dandy. Why, it's taking a moral stand, and rectifying a great wrong in the universe!

Both the shoe away thrower, and the shoes, were at Xiamen airport.

The insane people who approve of what he did are Chinese.


The unnamed man who threw away the shoes of a barefoot traveller has won online respect.

Many popular comments on NetEase and Sina Weibo users praised the "handsome" man for his actions.

Many comments said he "did the right thing" and that the shoeless man was "breaking public order and morals".

"His approach is certainly right", user "Qing Agoin" says, but she asks whether his behaviour is "a little extreme?"

End cite.


The first thing that comes to mind is the question where in that hinterland airport will the now shoeless passenger be able to purchase footwear when he wakes up?

The second thing, naturally, is speculation about the circumstance that made him take his footwear off in the first place. Maybe his feet were painfully swollen after waiting several hours at an inefficient airport for a delayed flight, perhaps the air-conditioning was not working either, and rather than bribing random officials for whatever reason the passenger felt that the best thing to do was simply take a nap.

Patience is a virtue. Bribing officials, no matter how common it is, is not. Stealing and throwing away someone's shoes when they will obviously need them to locomote in an inefficient and overheated sh*thole of an airport (in Xiamen) should be a capital offense.

Or at least merit whipping and the pillory.

What kind of cruel s.o.b. throws away someone else's shoes?!?
How vicious, how uncivilised, how utterly depraved!
Is that what his parents taught him?

Personally, I think that the individual who stole someone else's shoes and dumped them in the garbage is both heartless and arrogant, and way too full of himself, an inconsiderate and over-privileged blister.

Who probably was accustomed to comfortable foreign shoes.
Instead of the shoddy and repulsive dogs made in China.
Not a place known for quality shoes.


If I ever visit Xiamen, I will make it a point to include medicated foot powder and soothing unguent in my carry-on luggage, as well as a pair of kungfu slippers, just in case.

I shan't sleep in the airport no matter what.
Can't trust the locals.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016


There's just something about some Mainlanders that gets on one's nerves.
Besides the overwhelming stench of garlic, that is.
No, it is not their penchant for spitting.
It's that belligerent barking.

Mind you, it is not all Mainlanders. Some of them are very decent folks, without a shred of primitive arrogance, nor a rude bone in their body.
And some of them can be absolutely delightful.

But the repulsive types are not thus.

And their language reflects that.

Bark, growl, screech, quack.



This blogger does not like being told that Cantonese is not by any means proper Chinese, but a bastard language invented by the British to facilitate colonial exploitation. If you really think that, kindly take your unwashed tourist self back to b*mf*ck, Shantung, and eat your own faeces.

Crap begins in Hunan, and just gets worse with each step further north.

By the time you hit the Russian border, it's a wasteland.

Nothing but rabies and rotten cabbages.

Oh, and garlic breath.

X你嘅 ... !

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The problem with almost any blog is that because a wide range of words will eventually occur, internet searches tend to pick up an article which is not part of the blogger's main field of interest, and some readers will visit who may end up completely baffled by the site that they so randomly found.
In the case of Americans, their sub-standard literacy confounds them.
For foreigners, the lack of an attuned sense of humour.
Confusion, literalness, and density.

"But what is the meaning of this blog?!?"

Sometimes life and blogs have no meaning. If I fixate one day on the Norwegian Blue, kipping on it's back after a prolonged squawk, perhaps the next day I might wax wroth at the idiocy of political support for Trump among the methamphetamine parkers. Yes, if you were looking for sex or kitten pictures, you may end up here, but by the same token there will be mention of architectural drafting and ancient Egyptian underwear.

There is no unifying theme to the following top searches:

Balkan Sobranie
Imperial tobacco
Maria Cordero song prison on fire lyric
Yuki no shingun lyrics
How to offend a rabbit

That last one brings up a post about noodles and the Caffe Trieste. After leaving Berkeley, the Caffe Trieste became my hang-out for a number of years, when I lived in North Beach. A man must have caffeine.

I seldom go there nowadays, because a large number of the regulars are not safely based in objective reality but have excellent albeit spotty memories, and will re-start conversations I fled from years ago.

One notorious psychopath among the Trieste crowd, who makes his living as a barber, tries to speak Cantonese with me. The problem there is that A) he's nuts; and B) you just cannot use the same five or six phrases over and over again, especially when your pronunciation is completely unintelligible and you don't know what they mean.


Constantly interjecting the expression 搞錯 ('gaau jo') into all of your conversations is NOT speaking meaningful Cantonese, but merely showing that you have nothing to contribute and are an irritating loony. As, indeed, all of your other mannerisms also suggest. Furthermore, stating that something is cocked up, if that is the only thing you can say, is quite pointless, not even a useful empty space filler. Uttering 搞乜鬼 ('gaau mat kwai') as a variation is hardly an improvement.

There are precisely THREE phrases in Cantonese that can be used any number of times. No more, no less. Not two. Not four.
Three. Only three.


This means 'please', 'thank you', 'excuse me hello', 'eh what?', and several other things. It is used when you want someone's attention for whatever reason or you need them to do something, as well as to express gratitude for them having done so. It is essential when ordering in a restaurant or shopping, as well as scooting past people who are blocking the aisle.


Excuse me, sorry, it was unintentional, if you would please permit me, there is no intent to insult here, kindly forgive the inconvenience ....
You can see where this phrase may be used in a number of ways, and almost cannot be over-used.


My hovercraft is full of eels.

Are there any questions?

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Monday, May 23, 2016


In the past I never thought of myself as such. Although occasionally, when I explained what I did for a living, people would draw away from me and shudder. Especially over a decade ago, when I did collections for lawyers. Which is kind of like being the Anti-Christ.

Since the company at which I worked was sold to the Canadians I have been involved in the tobacco trade. "Come here, little girl, would you like a nice perfecto? It's made by Arturo Fuente, and has a cult following ... your classmates will be envious! It is hip and will make you look pretty!"

None of this is evil.

But during the past two days, I have been goading an anti-vaxxer.
Who has exactly eight Facebook friends. Eight.
One of whom is also my friend.

I have responded to the anti-vaxxer over a hundred times.

My eighth reply to one of his ridiculous statements was that he should PLEASE take the thorazine.


Since that recommendation, every comment I made in response to him was the single word reminder: "thorazine".


His spelling started slipping more than it already had, many more words were capitalized than before, and several of his later comments were to call me names. There were ellipses and exclamation marks.


One could tell that he was ready to punch his computer, and quite likely jumping up and down and screaming.


What was I, some sort of evil monster who would kill children with vaccinations?!?


Didn't I care that thousands would DIE because of modern medicine?


How about KNOWN side effects and autism?


Oh, the numbers!


Thorazine, thorazine, thorazine!

My last comment was something else:

"Or instead, olanzapine (Zyprexa). But consult a medical specialist first, as it is only by prescription. If you have diabetes or a heart condition, it would not be a good solution for you."

Really, I shouldn't taunt him so. Despite his staggering ignorance, illogic, and stupidity, AND his insulting remarks, he is probably not consciously evil. His dreadful sincerity is quite possibly even fairly harmless, as the chances of him having either children to accidentally kill, or anyone who takes him seriously when he speaks his mind, are extremely thin.

I just don't like people who are that stupid.

He has finally asked what it is.


I am an evil man.


Available in tablet or liquid form.

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There are some things that at first leave me completely baffled.

Bagpipe music as a form of puja or seva? Any Scotsman or Irishman will understand that, and, upon a moment's reflection, I too must consider it quite natural.



Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band

"Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band was established in honour of Gurudev Adya Acharyapravar Jeevanpran Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa. With the continuous inspiration and guidance of Acharya Swamishree Maharaj, the band has flourished into an unique international Indian Pipe Band in full Scottish regalia playing both Indian and Scottish Tunes. The five Pipe Bands of Maninagar Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan are based India, Kenya, United States, and United Kingdom."
End quote.


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Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night and realize that the one thing missing in your life, the howling absence of which makes you incomplete and fills you with existential angst, is kitten pictures. "Life would be good", you say to yourself, "if there were kitten pictures."
You lament the lack of them, which wounds you.
They are important.

Dread. Depression. Despair. Dismay. Gloom. Mood swing. Neurotic worry. Psychosis. Sad. Unhappiness. Utter sense of loss. Wailing.

I may have been guilty of causing all that. Three days ago I promised kitten pictures, and failed to deliver. For which I apologize.

Here they are.

You probably realize that I also wake up in the middle of the night, and that that too can be accompanied by 'realizations'. One not uncommon realization is that I shouldn't have eaten something, and another one is that comment strings are often schizophrenic, and, if that was just one voice underneath that article, it would reflect several different voices.

"Life is a parade of absurdities and pain, and then we die, alone, in filth. So, yes, little girl, I shall buy a box of Thin Mints."

------Werner Herzog

The middle of the night is the time to shoo the animals off the bed and hug a naked person, if you have either of those two things in your life, and if not, to drink a nice hot cup of cocoa while reading a book by Stephan Pastis or Bud Grace.

The Girl Scout Cookies are all gone.

There are no more.

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Sunday, May 22, 2016


The key to good television entertainment is people saying stupid hurtful things. And rest assured, thanks to reality teevee, that is not rare. But, due to the pernicious example set by tacky blondes on reality teevee, people now do that in real life too.

Stupid, hurtful, HORRIBLE things.

Where else but in the real world would you hear the phrase "girl, yo behind big as a f*cking house! Yo ass stamp all stretched out!"

I think he was talking to his girl friend.
Or his sister.

As I had not taken a close look at the other passengers when I got on, there was no way of knowing. But when I heard him say that I felt like turning around and taking a long hard gander.
Of course, unless she got up to pummel him, there'd be no way I could gauge whether his assessment was correct. Or if the ass stamp was really stretched out. It could have been poetic exaggeration.

In this world, it just isn't acceptable to holler back into the bus "hey, which of you tacky suburban slags has an ass tat, and is it still legible after all the damned ding dongs you been eating?"

Much as one would sincerely like to do so.

On the number 70 bus, southbound.

Heading to San Francisco.

I am diplomatic.

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When I came back to the United States, which I had left when I was two and a half years old, there were many things about this place that disturbed me. Bread (felt like toilet paper, probably tasted like it too), coffee (weak scorched slop), tea (herbal muck), beer (good gracious!), the drinking age (ridiculous), the complete absence of spices and chilies (because America never conquered a place with good food), the religion (you are all deity-obsessed loons), and girls.

Yes, that is right. I had never been on a date.

I was a rather innocent eighteen year old.

And, like all teenage boys, many of my conscious thoughts were about teenage girls. Not that I had any idea what to do about them.
But I knew they were important.



You will be glad to know that I no longer obsess about teenage girls. Unless, of course, they think and act like Ranma, Akane, and Shampoo, in which case I would keenly wish to observe, especially when they kick someone (Happosai) through the roof, but only from a safe distance.

I suspect that that manga may not be based on real world events.

In the years since I first arrived back in the Bay Area, the bread has improved, many Americans have grown to like coffee and it is often available in most large urban areas, and my taste for beer faded.

In the case of women, I have discovered that a conversation is only possible if they've taken hard subjects in school. And even then.

Americans are still drinking sh*tty tea.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016


This evening I shall drink naught but tea. Specifically, Iron Guanyin (鐵觀音 'tit kun yam') brewed in a squatty globe I-Hsing stoneware pot (宜興茶壺 'yi heng chaa wu') with a lovely bamboo motif (竹形 'juk ying'). No whisky at all. I have stopped dropping by the Oxxy regularly on a Saturday night, because smoking two or three more pipes than one should with people screaming at the telly is not, strictly speaking, conducive to mental health, and leaves the mouth feeling like something died violently in there when one wakes up.
Instead, I will have lots of tea, and be wired to the tits.
I shall probably have interesting dreams.

[One really cannot have a conversation with people who are enjoying a sports game; their minds are affected by the flickering lights on screen and energetic behaviour of the athletes, they quiver and spasm in sync with events, twitching and drooling, and are given to startlingly inane statements like "did you see that play", "I parked my car", "oop ack", and "I'm voting for Trump". There is no logic to it. Then they scratch their privates, and giggle sickeningly.
It's like dealing with room full of teenagers coming off a Ritalin jag.]

There are nearly three dozen tea pots in this apartment.
Most of them purple sand (紫砂 'ji saa') I-Hsing.
Yes, I am a bit obsessive; it's good for you.

The Oxxy is still one of my favourite haunts, but given a choice between no conversation at all surrounded by very loud junior executives, OR no conversation at all while the sound of gentle snoring emanates from my apartment mate's bedroom, barely audible, you can easily understand why the latter appeals.

Occasionally I hear thumps as she attempts to fight a mosquito.

If I light snow pear incense (雪梨香 'suet-lei heung') or agar wood (aquilaria sinensis: 沈香 'jam heung'), the thumps will continue, and be augmented be swearing, because that will drive any mosquito out of my quarters into hers. She tastes far sweeter to the beasties than I do, and has not yet realized that I have a wickedness which lets me keenly enjoy her frustration.
Thump, thump, thump, gerdammittall!

If you want to avoid mosquitoes, you should strive to become a middle-aged white pipe-smoker, and have a Chinese American non-smoking female apartment mate.

She has a mosquito net in there, but they still attempt their assaults.

I have not put up my mosquito net in years.

In addition to a multiplicity of tea pots, I also have numerous tea bowls.
Some porcelain ones made by master potter Hsin-chuen Lin (林新春), both rabbits' fur glaze (兔毫 'tou hou') and oil-spot (油點 'yau tim'; 天目 'tin muk'), as well as favourite items by other potters.

[On second thought, maybe I will head down to the Oxxy, after whatever sporting event has been well and done for an hour or so. The septic overflow may have ebbed by then.]

If I am still up by two A.M., there is a good likelihood that I will smoke a bowlfull of Orlik's Golden Sliced, a flake with a soft enough smell that she will not notice it while she sleeps, but which is extremely satisfying. Whether it drives mosquitoes away I do not yet know.
But I will probably find out.


Years ago one of my favourite green teas (清茶 'jing chaa'; 綠茶 'lok chaa') was Pi Lo Chun (碧螺春 'pik lok chun'; "jade snail springtime"), along with Lung Ching (龍井 'long jeng'; "dragon wells") and MaoFeng (毛峰 'mou fung'; "hairy peak"). Nowadays I tend toward somewhat darker brews, often hydrating during the day with several cups of Pu Er (普洱 'pou nei'), and having Assam (阿薩姆 'aa saat mou')and Ceylon (錫蘭紅 'sek laan hong') in the evening. But among my favourites since the beginning are semi-ferments (半發酵的 'pun faat gaau de') like Wu Yi (武夷 'mou yi'; "warlike tribals") or Oolong (烏龍 'wu long'), as well as fun oddities like the Hairy Crab King (毛蟹王 'mou haai wong') and White Fuzz (白毫 'paak hou').

As a youngster, I would often drink Earl Grey (格雷伯爵茶 'gaak leui baak juk chaa'), but that no longer suits me much.

On days off, I will often have a cup of Hong Kong Style Milktea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai chaa'). Before lighting up my pipe.

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Friday, May 20, 2016


Immediately after a hilarious video about Vegans (Nicole Arbour), I read an article about a leopard seal trying to teach a human how to eat penguins. Which naturally restored my faith in carnivores.
Of which I am one.

I would have tried to eat the penguin.

You do NOT want a large nurturing animal to feel depressed because you are too stupid to eat penguins.

Except for weird molds, lard-free bean dip, and lentil patties cooked by pasty white people, everything Vegan can be improved by the addition of bacon or cheese. Sometimes both.

Apparently penguin tastes like tinned cat food mixed with a soupçon of cod liver oil. And either veal chops or herring. You can see where the addition of bacon and cheddar would nicely round that out, can't you?
Especially with some pickled Jalapeños.
And tarragon cream-sauce.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking Sunday Dinner right now. The all-American family tradition: roast bird, potatoes, a bottle of ketchup, and a medicated elderly relative waffling something about Jesus.

I eat meat at least ten times a week.

But I refuse to eat Vegan.

Too alkaline.

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Like all middle-aged men I am a pervert. Every night I go to bed thinking to myself "maybe tomorrow I will discover a hot young twenty-eight year brainiac college graduate who will suddenly conceive of the notion to jump my bones because I am good company, and, now that she has her degree and is at loose ends, upon meeting me she realizes that the time for innocence is past, it's time to start living." Which, is, more or less, rather remarkably similar to the thought I wake up with.
It never happens, of course. Because a hot young brainiac has better taste than to go for someone out of her age group, who doesn't work out, and does not look like Kurt Cobain.

Today is the twenty second anniversary plus forty five days since the death of Kurt Cobain.

I still do not feel strangely moved by the event. Possibly because I am heartless, more likely because I am not a very hip dude.

Oh, and because the entire 'Grunge' phenomenon seemed like a bunch of middle-class poseurs being as precious as they could possibly be.

Grunge, Smunge.

John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, Prince. Sure, voices of their generation, if you felt that way. Even Elvis, if you presently have blue hair and arthritis. The loss will be lamented, their deaths were tragedies, and their creative genius will be missed.
The voice of a generation!

Real people lament the loss of John Belushi.

He truly was the voice of a generation.

Hipper, grungier, and wilder.

Thirty fourth anniversary and fifty six days.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016


Large parts of this country are beyond a doubt insane. Almost like the zombies took over. Chief among those being, of course, the states of Mississippi, Utah, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.
I list them in order of sheer repulsiveness.

Many people there will insist that Mexicans, Transgenders, and Jewists, were behind Nine Eleven and the election of Barack Hussein Obama.

Well, if so many good Christians believe it, it must be true.

And I will finally admit it. Dang. You found us out.

We're also behind chem-trails and lithium in your fast food.

I say "we", even though I am not Mexican, Transgender, or Jewistic.
But I feel a great spiritual oneness with their agenda, which is to take over the schools and turn your children into atheist homosexuals.
Who will obey the socialist lizard aliens from Outer Space.

Some of my best friends are atheist homosexuals.

Many of them fabulously obedient.

That's important.

No, I am not being paid to write this.
I live in abject fear of Vegans.
I've been vaccinated.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016


What is most noticeable about the Bernie Sanders campaign is how cavalierly it treats the Democratic Party, and how many Sanderites would wish to destroy the party that they claim they belong to.

Most of Bernie's acolytes and devotees refuse to accept that defeating the Republican candidate is far more important than their unrealistic goals, and that their threats of boycotting the election if their hero is not the candidate, when put into action, will give us Trump.

I do not like being blackmailed by the "Occupy" movement.

This is an election year. Now is not the time for a structural overhaul of the Democratic Party, nor for obdurate threats of destruction and sabotage. Especially not by people who until Bernie Sanders entered the race were not even remotely concerned, only barely involved, and, many of them, too apathetic to do anything before now. As reviews of their personal histories on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the internet attest.

Boys, please consider that if your behaviour allows Trump to win, you will be in very real danger yourselves.

Probably not just from Trump.

BTW: How nice that you are finally paying attention to politics! And after all these years! That's just so precious!

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My parents and my brother almost certainly never enjoyed Cantonese Roast Duck, so I am more or less making up for their lost opportunities. Because Cantonese Roast Duck is a very great good. And Cantonese Roast Duck was yesterday's supper, consumed with extreme pleasure at tea-time in a place which has fowl and flesh hanging in the window.


Cantonese Roast Duck (燒鴨 'siu ngaap') is NOT difficult to make at home. Acquire the fresh duck two or three days beforehand. Trim it, rinse it. Heat up a solution as follows: Three cups water, six tablespoons soy sauce, four tablespoons of sugar, one or two thick slices of ginger, three or four whole star anise. When it boils, hold the duck over a broad basin and ladle the solution over it and also into the cavity, catching the liquid underneath. Reheat the solution to a boil, repeat. And do so again.
This will tighten the skin and let it crispen up when roasted.

Now shove a big bottle or funnel up the backside of the bird, and place it, sitting thereon and touching nothing else, in the refrigerator.
Let it dry for a day or so.

On dining day, take it out of the refrigerator and heat the oven up to four hundred and twenty five degrees Fahrenheit (220 Celsius).
Bung the bird in the oven, and roast for about an hour to an hour and a quarter, about twelve minutes per pound.

Rotate the bird a couple of times. For part of the time it is best to cover with kitchen foil to prevent excessive darkening.

Remove the bird from the oven, and let it stand for thirty minutes.
To serve, chop it into large chunks.

燒鴨飯 ('sui ngaap fan')

On the other hand, why go to any great effort, when a good Cantonese roast meats place will do it so much better? And, if you like to decide on lunch at the spur of the moment, and habitually eat by yourself due to a regrettable singularity, it is so much more convenient to visit Stockton Street or the corner of Powell and Broadway, with your only advance preparation being the choice of an appropriate briar and a pouch of tobacco for the long smoke afterwards.

Roast Duck Rice is a portion of chopped duck, a mound of cooked rice, and some blanched vegetables underneath the meat to soak up some of the wonderful juices.

The blanched vegetable underneath, this time, were broccoli florets.
I dislike broccoli, as I believe I may have mentioned.
I ate the vile weed anyway.

Next time, I may ask them for some honey mustard, to accompany the broccoli. Broccoli with duck juices is, admittedly, not bad, and infinitely better than Newman's least favourite vegetable normally tastes.
But it is, nevertheless, broccoli.

It was probably the very best roast duck I have ever had there.
Rich, juicy, bursting with savoriness, and utterly enjoyable.
I waddled out with a smile on my face.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016


A letter from a an eleventh century Chinese scholar recently fetched a top price at an auction. And deservedly so. Not only was Zeng Gong (曾鞏 'Jang Gung') a great essayist -- one of the eight masters of the Tang and Song dynasties -- but he was also a calligrapher whose pen produced that which is pleasing to the eye, as the example below shows.

Guk Si Tip: a note about events, a casual scribble mentioning the hurly-burly of life at the writer's current posting (in some provincial burg).
A friendly message from one scholar to another.

[Copied from the BBC, who got it from China Guardian/Weibo.]

The characters are balanced and elegant. What particularly catches my eye is the regularity of the diagonal down-left strokes, which form a rhythm, as well as the contrast with the down-right strokes, often shorter, and weighted near their termination, giving a springy vibrancy.
The overall stroke-patterning is lively.
The ink-weight is even.

No, I do not expect you to understand that; there is no real terminology to describe Chinese calligraphy in English.

Paraphrase: Life is okay, rather uneventful, but I do feel isolated and out of it. My three year assignment here is coming to an end soon, and I can hardly wait, even though my reviews have been rather unfavourable and there might be hell to pay. I'll be passing by your neck of the woods in Autumn, and expect to see you then. Hope that everything is going well for you and that you are healthy (and if you could put in a good word for me should that prove necessary, I would be very much obliged, by the way).

[Please note: what I have translated as 'toodles' (再拜 'joi baai') is actually much more formal: to bow or reverence, as one would to a superior.]

One imagines the brush held in the skilled hand skipping evenly and consciously down each line, holding pace with thought.

I wish I could write like that.

Alas, my best calligraphy is on cocktail napkins.
Frequently whisky is a requirement.
In modest quantity.

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The former Crown Colony is a bit tense right now, due to the visit of a top-ranked Northerner, who is well known to be a leading hands-on trouble shooter for Peking. Security is on high alert, and all the members of the constabulary are on duty. Authorities fear embarrassing incidents and confrontations.

They need not worry. Mr. Cheung Tak-kong is merely doing a spot of shopping. Possibly all of the boutiques in the capital are fresh out of his favourite bourgeois consumer goods.

Quite likely he and his lovely wife San Syu-sam also plan to enjoy some fine cooking, as good food is seriously hard to find among the Mandarin speakers, unless one heads to the expat hang-outs where all the drunken foreigners gather. There are plenty of drunken foreigners in Hong Kong as well, but most of them party and vomit near Lan Kwai Fong (蘭桂坊), rather than in the splendid seafood palaces, and in any case are not politically inclined, what with being rather apathetic and a-moral.

You will not find many 佬番 at 明閣。
香港 旺角 上海街 555號
朗豪酒店 6樓。

Naturally the natives are agog and atwit over the visit. Much like the employees in the bath house in the movie Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し / 千與千尋) when NoFace arrived. They wonder what he will buy, where he will dine, which karaoke club he will patronize.
And at which cigar lounge he will light a Havana.

One fully expects that new trends will be set, restaurants and bars will carefully note what he consumes for showcasing after he leaves, and countless happy locals will wish to have their picture taken with him.
Why, it will be huge! Positively Trumpesque!
A fabulous extravaganza!

There will be special commemorative chopstick sets.
As well as Franklin Mint plates.

Anyhow, I hope he brought lots of money; the loot in Hong Kong costs more than a simple bureaucrat can normally afford.
Or should be able to.

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