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, June 26, 2017

IT'S THE HEART OF CIVILIZATION!

What spells joy, and goes well with all the good things in life, such as ginger, grease, and, frequently, chili sauce? Or, more specifically, what tastes delicious but frightens people with very white bread ideas?
Clue: beloved in Reykjavik AND Stavanger.

Salt fish!


鹹魚蒸肉餅
Steamed pork patty with salted fish.
'Haam yü jing yiuk beng'
Some minced pork flattened, a few slices of salt fish thrown on top, and some ginger sliced into threads. Steamed for ten minutes.
Or twenty if you have made it thick.

鹹魚雞粒炒飯
Salt fish and chicken fried rice.
'Haam yü gai naap chaau faan'
Fried rice with one thing for substance, another for flavour. Available at every Hong Kong style chachanteng between here and Hotpot, Mongolia. Really, so widely available that you need never make it at home.
Just wander happily from one HK eatery to the next.
Avoid places that cater to Caucasians.

鹹魚頭豆腐湯
Salt fish head and tofu soup.
'Haam yü tau dau fu tong'
Precisely what it says, with optional other ingredients like roast meats and stalky mustard, in a chowder. You can even add chunks of tomato to cook along with the other ingredients.

梅香鹹魚蒸五花肉
Fermented salt fish steamed with fatty pork.
'Mui heung haam yü jing ng faa yiuk'
Nice rich chunks of pork made luscious by braising with whole cloves of garlic and "plum fragrance" fish.

鹹魚茄子
Salt fish eggplant.
'Haam yü ke ji'
A simple country dish. Delicious.

鹹魚蒸豬肉
Salt fish steamed pork chunks.
'Haam yü jeng chu yiuk'
Roast pork, salt fish.

柴魚花生粥
Salt fish ("firewood fish") and peanuts congee.
'Chai yü faa saang juk'
Cheap to make and wonderful to eat. Especially good if made with pork bone and chicken carcass broth.


There are any number of things you can do with salt fish, even make a broth out of toasted pieces. Which, if crumbled and moistened, can add a depth and saveur to whatever leafy or stalky vegetables you stirfry. When simmering meats, salt fish heightens the deliciousness.
Add the ginger to the pot.

Such dishes are great for breakfast.

Especially in a hot climate.

Or during summer.



Yeah, I'm heading off to work in Marin in a few hours. I'm just thinking about what I would far rather eat for lunch than what I will eat for lunch.
Other than an affection for mysterioso Eastern shit, Marin is very very white. And really, Eastern Spirituality is also very very white.

Real people don't eat bland muck.



AFTERWORD

Indeed, this IS blatant cultural appropriation. Something we Dutch people do very well, thank you. I am surrounded by carefully manicured minds everytime I cross the Golden Gate, and I hate the effing suburbs.
They disapprove of everything in Marin.
Except for yoga and Buddha.
Damned hippies.




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Sunday, June 25, 2017

SPECIAL DELIVERY FROM CHINATOWN TO SOUTH CAROLINA

On Friday afternoon, while normal people were preparing for Shabbes, or like Kaz 'Xxxxxxx' discovering that Panang curry, a bottle of claret, and Stonehenge Flake are the pathway to heaven, this blogger had an early dinner at the same place where a little over a fortnight ago someone monumentally threw a hissy over General Tso's Chicken.

I decided to have the General Tso's Chicken.

It's quite good.



左宗雞

According to Wikipedia, "General Tso's chicken (pronounced [tswò]) is a sweet, piquant, deep-fried chicken dish that is served in North American Chinese restaurants."

This wasn't that. Instead of battered chicken nuggets with a tangy sauce, it consisted of sauteed chicken pieces with fine sliced onion and bellpepper, plus fried dry chilies for earthy spice, lightly pan-sauced.
Not sweet at all.

"Americans" would be most displeased, but Hong Kong Cantonese would find it very satisfying. It is something that bears ordering more often.


The harmony of a violin and a bamboo flute drifted over the park from the area at the playground where the musicians sat, and from my disadvantage point on the other side of the fence -- smoking is strictly forbidden on city property, and offenders will be violated -- the tune was recognizable as one of those wistful pieces about home towns and the sadness of exiles. Which is a theme that runs sodden through over twenty centuries of Chinese poetry and balladeering, seeing as the civilized world was administered by people who left home, and spent lifetimes posted far away.

A city is seldom thought of as a hometown.


Comoy's make pipe, Samuel Gawith's Saint James Flake, a few loonies and old folks in the middle distance. Plus children, tourists, music, and a naked man. Heaven. It just doesn't get any better than this.

The naked man was exercising on the bars.

Sometimes I am glad that me and my fine old fashioned perfume of lovely matured leaf are on the wrong side of the fence. Alone with the sparrows on Walter Lum, looking in instead of out. If the police need someone to arrest, let it be the bronze exhibitionist flexing his butch manly muscles.
His athletic torso would look splendid in the back of a cop car.


Dang, this tobacco is good! The trick is rubbing it out a few days before it is needed, fluffing it up in a jar, and letting the moisture re-distribute itself.

I'm fairly certain that if the little children in the playground had a choice of proximities, me or the naturist, they would prefer to be closer to me and tobacco than to the glistening sweaty person.


General Tso's Bacon. Now that sounds like a fine dish. Battered bacon, deep fried, dolled up with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sherry, sugar, sesame oil, scallions, and fried dry chili peppers.



PANANG CURRY AND CLARET

Like me, Kaz probably ate by himself. The reason being that his lovely wife's parents dragged her off to London for a fortnight, where she is having a splendid time with her own pipes and tobacco. A year ago I teased her by mentioning a grape flavoured mixture (the Beta-version of Captain Black Purple), because she went through a childhood spell of liking Aromatics and Cavendishes. As many pipe smokers do.

It's part of the learning curve.

She's now smoking Davidoff Medallions. He's smoking Stonehenge Flake, the rebirth of a previous collaboration of Greg L. Pease and John Gawith. That's two flaky Virginia-Perique concoctions. It would seem that their tastes are hitting the mind-meld stage.

Kaz: "She's in London, so she can deal with my solo house party of Thai, wine, and tobacco!"
End quote.

TST: "I look forward to the first time you go on a trip and leave her home alone, so I can send her absolutely terrifying clown horror movies to watch in the dark house every night."
End quote.


They'd probably also enjoy Union Square or maybe Cumberland (both by Greg Pease), and likely also the Saint James Flake that I've been smoking with great pleasure for the past several weeks, hop-scotching it with the Dunhill flakes.

Methinks they would prefer Panang Curry and Claret, rather than loonies nearby and a shiny nude dude exercising in the sunlight.
But that's just an educated guess.



I know, we'll send the naked clown to South Carolina!
It will be the best of both worlds!
Everybody happy.




TOBACCO INDEX


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WE ARE PROBABLY NUMBER ONE

Excluding Bashar El Assad and other Arab leaders, these are most thoroughly evil heads of state in the world:

Kim Jong-un
Vladimir Putin
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Narendra D. Modi
Mitch McConnell

Choose for yourself in which order to put them.




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Saturday, June 24, 2017

DRAG QUEENS, TRANNIES, AND DOMINATRICES OF EITHER GENDER

When darkness falls Polk Street is total Blade Runner. It isn't the perverts, as you might expect -- other than chafing because of their dominatrix garb, and inflammation of the tender areas, they are even-tempered and benign.
It's the wandering solitary eccentrics in the fog, for whom this reality offers scant allure. Their minds have substituted something else, sometimes a very long time ago. Some of them are Alex Jonesian in their alternativity, others merely droid-like.

In a different universe, I would retire to my den after returning home from work, and settle down with a pot of tea (Keemun or Lapsang Souchong), a volume of Tang history or Dutch-Indonesian cookery, plus a selection of choice dictionaries, a tin of Dunhill Dark Flake, matches and an ashtray, and two or three pipes.

Unfortunately, I have an apartment mate who objects to smoking.
And my den is the teevee room we share.
A problem, yes?


No, I have no issue with her as an apartment mate, because we like each other, make allowances for the oddness of the other person, and, crucially, trust each other not to go all druggie or psycho.
This is San Francisco, and druggie or psycho is very common.

Years ago one could head over to a cafe in North Beach for pipe and a pot of tea, but the nut quotient has gone up, drastically, and the other patrons now lead good clean wholesome lives which have no room for tobacco.
Apparently we pipe smokers kill children and puppies.
Even in dystopia there is myopia.

If it meant that I could smoke my pipe and read my book in peace, I might happily do something very nasty to spoiled brats and chihuahuas.
More so if a pot of good strong tea was involved.


What a person needs in San Francisco is a ventilated basement or garage with a fairly comfortable chair, a table next to it large enough for a tea tray and the clutter associated with enjoying a pipe, and a bookshelf. A source of light suitable for reading by, and maybe a heater for foggy nights.

Perhaps two or three fairly comfortable chairs.
Someone else might like to read.
Or a cat.



This blogger is tolerant, and open to other tobaccos and choices of tea.




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EVIL SUBURBAN TASTE

Lunch, when I finally ate, was abysmally bad. Trust me, Americans know nix from bread. And this is the Bay Area, notabene, where edible bread can easily be found!

You know that shitty bread is probably the reason for Trump?
People who habitually eat that crap make poor choices.
I hope you're sorry. Besides really constipated.



What kind of life can you have if key members of your household are okay with mediocre comestibles, especially when good food is cheaper and better? Word of advice: NEVER marry someone with horrid taste.
If food is the glue that holds families together, American chow is what causes divorce, therapy, existenzangst, and unrest.



And you lot are worried about gluten.
Bunch of soft-in-the-heads!



A proper meal has something tasty and reasonably nutritious. Near work there's a McDonalds, a Seven Eleven, and an In-n-out Burger.
Quod erat demonstrandum.

Plus it's deep in Marin County, so decent Chinese, Indian, or Dutch food cannot be found without assiduous searching if at all.

I am very unhappy with you people.

You're precious.




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Friday, June 23, 2017

IT SMELLS LIKE SWEAT IN HERE

This blogger is a single man, and not at all averse to ending that status. But this blogger is also a rather sensible sort, and realizes that at his age the options are somewhat limited.

A few years ago someone seriously advised me to do yoga, because, they said, that's a guaranteed way to meet single women.


Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!


Yoga, good lord.


Why on earth would I willingly associate with dingleberries?


Other "helpful" suggestions were joining a church, taking classes at community college, or learning flower arrangement.


No.




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Thursday, June 22, 2017

REPUBLICANS AREN'T MAMMALS

After a scant half hour of Facebook, this blogger feels that any shooting of appointed or elected Republicans is more than justified. As well as the savage clubbing of much of the electorate and many police officers. And, if you have been following the news instead of Alex Jones, so do you.

Thanks to the Second Amendment, this isn't so unreal.

Or even unlikely. Plus many of them are very recognizable, and pudgy, so they would make easy targets. But if you do, please don't shoot them in the ass, like James Hodgkinson did to Steve Scalise. That's NOT where their brain is located, no matter what you heard. It's actually in their thorax, behind a tough layer of chitin. Aim for the pterothoracic zone.
Don't worry, most of them don't have nociceptors.
They won't feel a thing.
Blattodids.



Seriously, there aren't enough kitten videos or cute pet tricks on Facebook.



The only other mindless entertainment the internet provides is either sports or pornography, and both of those are jejune and require scorekeeping.




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PORK CHOPS OVER RICE ARE A METAPHOR FOR ...

On Tuesday I snacked at a bakery on Stockton Street. On Wednesday dinner was at a bakery on Pacific. Both bakeries are also chachanteng, meaning that they have Hong Kong style milk-tea and a selection of hot dishes from the kitchen. Rice plates, spaghetti or macaroni with something, legitimately Chinese noodles, fried rice, and stuff cooked in fry pans in the manner of the white folks but not intended for the white folks because white folks are quite baffled by that stuff.

[What do chachanteng serve? Things like these: 鮮茄牛肉午餐肉煎蛋通粉 Macaroni with fried egg and luncheon meat in tomato sauce. 餐肉菠蘿包 Toasted pineapple bun with butter and luncheon meat. 公司三文治 Club Sandwich. 焗茄汁雞飯 Baked chicken rice with tomato sauce. 蕃茄豬扒意粉 Pork chop with tomato sauce over spaghetti. 銀芽肉絲煎麵 Pork with bean sprouts pan fried noodle. 牛腩湯麵 Beef brisket noodle soup. 雞絲通粉類 Chicken macaroni. 餐肉蛋公仔麵 Spam and fried egg instant noodle. 滑蛋蝦球飯 Scrambled egg with shrimp over rice. 枝竹羊腩飯 Lamb stew with tofu skin over rice. 咸魚雞粒炒飯 Salt fish and chicken fried rice.]


Tuesday's place is more likely to see white folks wander in, look in bafflement at the baked items because the ONLY thing resembling a cheese Danish has clearly visible scallion and ham, and there are other things which are entirely un-identifiable despite English names -- mo mo chong, and pork floss bun -- bleat a few questions, moo, and block the aisle. Really, most white people should just resolve to get the egg tart and escape. Instead of occupying time and space in groups of three to six.
The Pacific Avenue place is mercifully untainted by tourists.
Except for the occasional Mandarin speaker.


Disclaimer: this blogger honestly likes white people. They are so nice. Some of my best friends are white, no lie. As are all of my blood kin, seeing as I am so very white that I glow in the dark myself.
But when they're slumming, they're a nuisance.
And somewhat irritating.


蕃茄豬扒飯
Faan ke chyu baa faan

Oro nasip makaean enti lengkip. Without cooked rice, it isn't a meal

I had a real yen for tomato pork chop rice. The meat consisted of two thin peppered cuts on the bone, panfried with a little onion, then generously augmented with chopped tomato to simmer briefly in the pan juices. Served with a mound of rice. It was delicious. Dinner came with a bowl of very good soup, and a dinner roll with a pat of butter. Along with a hot cup of milk tea the total bill for a full meal came to eleven fifty.

And holy jayzus was it good.

[Smoked my pipe for nearly an hour afterwards, watching cheeky little sparrows on the street behind Portsmouth Square. Nice weather, light late outside, and at times interesting fellow wanderers.]

Indeed, I could have had this at home. But I don't use our kitchen as much as I should, because my apartment mate cooks for her culinarily impaired and wheel-chair bound boyfriend two or three evenings a week -- often inconveniently on my working days, when I don't have the chance to go down to C'town -- and usually I have to wait several hours to prepare myself noodles or choi po fan.

My apartment mate acts irritated but self-controlled when I enter the kitchen while she's busy. It's obvious that she's pissed, and fervently wishes I wouldn't do that.

Her cooking is a stressful experience for me.
I am sometimes a bit resentful.
But whatever.



Last night she cooked a delicious green pasta dish for her boyfriend, with fresh basil, mushrooms, and herbs. Enough for at least four or five meals.
It was quite the production, and the kitchen was off-limits till after ten.

Darn good thing that I ate already, earlier.




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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A FADING FRAGRANCE

Late teatime at the AA Bakery (永興餅家茶餐廳) on Stockton Street (市德頓街). Then, pipe filled with Sam Gawith's St. James Flake, down to my bank on Grant. After withdrawing some cash I went around the corner and strolled up Becket Street (白話轉街), greeting an elderly gentleman resting there, and on to Jackson (昃臣街).
Noticed that the American Chinese woman who finds my pronunciation difficult to understand was serving at the chop house (新蘭亭) on the corner. Further down Jackson the transformation of the old ABC restaurant (ABC大餐廳) to something expensive and not meant for the local Cantonese was almost complete.
The neighborhood is changing, alas.

The pipe gave me intense pleasure at this point, the smooth slightly spicy tobacco having reached perfect cruising level. Around forty five minutes after lighting up I was tapping out the ashes at Sue Bierman Park, while the wild parrots flitted about and racketed. After enjoying their cheerful noise for a while, I boarded a bus and headed home. An enjoyable tea time.


NOTES

AA Bakery: excellent cakes and pastries, particularly the egg tart and the flaky charsiu turnovers, What I had was a ham and pork floss bun. St. James Flake: an excellent mostly blonde compound of Virginias with a modicum of Perique; too much for Perique haters probably.
St. James Flake is a good summer tobacco.
My Bank: same bank for several years, three different names during that time due to mergers.
The American Chinese Woman who ... : her first language is English with that slight Chinatown twang, her second is Toishanese. She believes that what I speak must, logically, be Mandarin. Which it isn't.
Though I can understand Toisan a little, I can't speak it.
The ABC Restaurant: the new owners are dolling the interior up all fancy, the new menu betrays a Szechuanese influence in buckets. Local people will be apathetic, but obviously it isn't for them. There are a number of other glossy Szechy-style restaurants in C'town now, with dishes that appeal to white folks, tourists, and snooty Mandarin-only mainlanders.
Their attitudes (and prices) are rather off-putting.
I do not go to those places.



ADDENDUM: DISAPPEARING CHINATOWN

Uncle's on Waverly and Clay, in their final iteration closed three years ago. For a long time it had been a lunch counter and bakery with good pies, and endless coffee. It's now a Szechuan something-or-other.
Sun Wah Kue Restaurant, on the corner of Washington Street and Ross Alley, had an orange chiffon pie which no one else does and many people fondly remember, as well as chops, ox tail, and the best waffles. Many old timers fondly remember the waffles. Booth seating, and a side door. Baked goods, daily lunch specials. A great place to dawdle over coffee and pastry on a rainy afternoon. The interior was formica, and plain white paint over wood, yellowed a bit and softened by the years.
New King Tin further down closed after a run of half a century, the restaurant that went in was a chachanteng which is now also gone.
Golden Dragon Barbecue on the upper corner of Washington Street and Waverly became a shop selling tacky souvenirs, and is now a discounter of large porcelain whatchamacallits.
Sun Hung Heung below Grant Avenue became a restaurant which in big bold characters (川味) tells the local people that they should not go there, Szechuan Taste! It caters entirely to gullible tourists and visiting provincials, and from what I hear the food and service are frighteningly awful.
Once upon a time there was delicious suckling pig.
Silver Restaurant changed hands and name, the food is decent, nice people work there, and they are open till ten.
Nam Yuen has been an empty building for over two decades.

Tao Tao Restaurant (陶陶茶樓), named after a famous dining spot in Hangchow (杭州), had existed since the very early thirties; the exterior recalled an elegant multistoried mansion in the Chinese style. It shut down a generation ago, and the paint-peeling building housed a bookstore and pop-music emporium for a while. It is now a general services centre, offering translation, tax prep, marriage introduction, job placement, immigration help, official forms, etcetera, while Woey Loy Goey (會來居) next door in the basement changed ownership and Chinese name, and hasn't served prime rib or beefsteak for an exceedingly long time.

New Moon Restaurant: changed hands at the beginning of the year, the Chinese name is different now, the roast ducks, barbecued pork, and hanging chickens are a glorious memory. The duck was that good.
It was delicious. I should have gone more often.
I wonder what happened to the people.
Empress of China Restaurant: closed in 2014.
New Lotus Garden: long time gone.

That place where I got a monumental MSG headache is also past tense.

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.


Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the place which served 'rice paddy chicken'. They brought them out for us to choose, and one them hopped out of the basket, then sat staring at us with big placid eyes.

Ribbit.



All of the movie theatres are gone, of course.




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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

HEAD IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!

Every Tuesday we test the emergency siren at various locations in San Francisco at twelve noon exactly. This is followed by the unintelligible airport announcement.

As my apartment mate translates it: "We are not dead yet, despite the orange-faced idiot's instability. But we might be, and soon, so make sure you've told everyone you like how much you appreciate them, unless you are socially maladroit, because when it happens you'll be far too busy running around in a panic to do so. And a pretty thank you."

We worry about such things in San Francisco. Social maladroitness.

Anti-vaxxers, gluten-phobics, vegans, self-entitled twats, the black block, racists, bigots, tattooed slags, carpetbaggers from the rest of the country, conspiracy theorists, and the entire upper echelon of that other party.

The Venn diagram that shows the divergence of those types, as you would expect, is rather limited. Most Americans are so infinitely talented that they can be all of those things at once.



On another subject, cell-phone usage frequently epitomizes how bad many people are at actually interacting with other humans. No matter the time or place, they are transfixed by the glowing screen. A few people I know seldom use the damned thing, and some don't even own one.
Like me. I don't want or need it.

People have asked "but what if there's an emergency?"

If there is an emergency, we shall be alerted by people around us running around in a panic, because a siren went off, and they can't find the safety instructions (where is that damned App), and can't see where they are going because they are staring at their electronic pacifier.

They have reached their fullest potential.
And will advance no further.
It's bloody sad.



I had a beeper once, but there are almost no pay phones anymore.
If I'm not near a land line, I might be engrossed.
There is no answering machine.





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WARMLY DISINVITING!

For the benefit of people living in the more temperate parts of the world (Schiermonnikoog, for instance), please be aware of the current heatwave.
In much of Holland and Belgium, the temperature will be eighty six degrees Fahrenheit or above today and tomorrow. That's thirty degrees Celsius.
Here in California things are even warmer and more fraught than that.
Novato may go up to ninety (32°C). Fresno over a hundred (38°C).

In Phoenix (Arizona) it will top one hundred and twenty (49°C).

In San Francisco it is sixty five degrees (18⅓°C) right now.
Again, that's 65°F / 18⅓°C.


PLEASE DON'T COME HERE!

There's not enough coolness here for everybody. If you all head to San Francisco, that will cause the temperature to rise, kinda like a cattle barn with all those steaming beefy bodies, and we will swelter.
Besides, we don't really like you.
Don't suck up our cool.

Please go to Phoenix and maybe achieve something.


It is presently 62°F / 17°C in Schiermonnikoog (Skiermûntseach). That's positively frigid. All of you monkeys wouldn't like it. You'd think you were freezing, and there is no way you could possibly enjoy the lovely dunes, the beaches, the half a dozen or so frituurs, plus herring shops, eetcafes, and bar-restaurants serving the bevande più belle in Schiermonnikoog.
There's even a place where you can get pizza!


If you folks decide to wander around in little bikinis because it's so warm, we will gladly view the videos on the internet, and forward the best ones to whoever we know in Schiermonnikoog, where it's insufferably cold.

I hear their seasons are the reverse of ours.



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Monday, June 19, 2017

NGOH JAN M CHITO NEITEI GONG MATYEH FEIWAH!

In response to several gibbering individuals, I cheerfully explained "ngoh jan m chito neitei gong matyeh feiwah". No, it was not the bloated heathens in the lounge, one of whom had threatened another with violence upon hearing the Cambridge Dictionary definition of something, and another one of whom suggested that as over thirteen hundred American schoolkids die of gunviolence every year, children need assault rifles -- only a fraction of the fat toads present took that seriously, praise the lord -- but I've said something similar at times to those same esteemed gentlemen.

Several times today I heard it was one hundred degrees plus in Novato. Or Fairfax. Or Modesto. Or some other place unfit for civilized living. We had the aircon on, and it was only in the eighties outside, so I could have glibly suggested that whatever was just said did not compute.
Unconcerned, uncaring, uninterested.
Aircon, man!


我真唔知道你哋講乜嘢廢話!

Whatever, dude. I have no idea what you're talking about. It's all rubbish. Not hot at all. Adjust your attitude. Be cool. It's all 亂講 ('luen gong'; "talk nonsense"), 癡人說夢 ('chi yan suet mong'; "crazy person talking dream"), 亂噏廿四 ('luen ngap yaa sei'; "confused prattle twenty four", totally illogical), absolutely 夢囈 ('mong ngai'; "delirious sleep-mumble"). In fact, 我都唔知你噏乜 ('ngoh do m chi nei ngap yeh'; I have no friggin' clue what you're babbling on about)!


But that wasn't it. It wasn't heat related.

Nor even politics or fake news.

Just linguists at play.


I of course do not speak Rokbeigalmkish nor hyperphonetically correct late Biblical Hebrew (shocking, I know), so I did the next best thing.
Interjecting Cantonese, I have found, is the complete opposite of Godwin's Law, much like a Monty Python reference.
It gets things flowing.





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AN AMERICAN EVIL

It is only at my present age that I realize this: McVitie's Caramel Digestive Biscuits are not a proper substitute for dinner, and there is nothing digestive about them. Nor is there actually anybody named McVitie involved in their production, and the provenance is not Northern Irish, as so Ulsterian a surname as 'McVitie' might suggest.

There actually was someone named McVitie, at some point, who started manufacturing 'digestive biscuits' in Scotland over a century ago.
They are immensely popular in Great Britain.
Great with a cup of strong tea.


Which, of course, begs the question why Americans drink such horrid tea. What should be an invigorating beverage, almost universally is insipid shite.


Proper black tea is made by using one heaping teaspoonful per cup and one extra for the pot, with boiling water poured over. Four or five minutes steeping, and it's perfect. Milk and sugar to taste, or not. Your choice.
American tea is made by waving some herbal muck over a cup, dancing widdershins about an Indian graveyard or doing yoga, and drizzling lukewarm water into a styrofoam.

Widdershins and the padmasana are do not contribute to drinkable beverages, no matter how meaningful or significant they make you feel. Sorry. Good black tea is strong, weak baggy crap is not.
Herbal or fruit-flavoured tisanes don't count.

You lot, kindly stop being such sissies.

Also your bags are too small.

Mingy much?




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Sunday, June 18, 2017

HIDE YOUR FRAGILE SIDE!

Imagine a small forest creature, spitting mad, jumping up and down in great distress. That which he so passionately desired cannot be, it is impossible, oh woe, all hope is dashed, life is quite utterly forlorn.
His snout quivers disconsolately.
He sneezes.

It was so disappointing! His day was ruined!

All this in addition to waves of fever, a sore throat, occasional dizziness, minor headache, and a general lassitude. which, logically, must interdict almost completely all emotional up and down jumping, and any seriously upset moaning. As well as loud lamentations. Though not rolling on the carpet and weeping, although there was none of that.
Because it's a question of dignity.


I tried to smoke a pipe at work today. One third of the bowl of Virginia flake in, and dizziness overcame me. Sure, it tasted fine -- the sore throat is not affecting my palate -- but dang it all it nearly put me on the floor.
Which, because of the dignity thing, was not an option.


Grumpy middle-aged men as well as small angry forest creatures must at all times be conscious of these things, or people will take advantage of them, and before you know it their heads will hang on a wall.


When I am sick, I do not trust the free-range cigar smokers in the lounge to not at an opportune moment hunt me down for a trophy.
Never show weakness.



Someday soon I will be over this damned sore throaty ailment. The sun will come out again (metaphorically, that is; it was well over eighty degrees in Marin today), I will sing and dance, and burrow happily in the undergrowth or the piles of crisp leaves (metaphor: more like tall stands of wild anise and dried grass on yellow hillsides), and do other great things.

I will smoke a bowl of Samuel Gawith's St. James Flake, drink cups of Hong Kong style milk tea (avoid any dairy when you have a sore throat, because it ramps up the mucus and coughing), and be happy and gay.


I will also have gulai ayam at that place in Chinatown run by Malaysian Chinese. Perhaps with a flaky roti, and, if they have it, sambal setan.


Maybe as early as sometime this week.

Delicious chicken curry.

Gulai!




TOBACCO INDEX


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MAGIC MEXICANS!

Last night before going to sleep I advised an internet friend that the best hot dogs in the world were the ones bought at around two AM from an illegal street vendor.
Bear in mind that because of the mother of all sore throats in the past two and half days I cannot swallow and I've barely eaten diddly.

Evenso, I stand by the recommendation.


On Friday or Saturday nights, after twelve thirty or so, there are small fly by night stands -- a metal baking sheet over a gas flame, a small work table with supplies -- on several corners in the neighborhood, conveniently near drinking holes. A young Mexican gentleperson (either gender) will be grilling onions and a row of bacon-wrapped dogs.

"Uno, por favor, con todo."

A slightly charred dog will be flopped in a heat-soften bun, a hefty tong-full of limp and slightly browned onion will go on top, brisk squirts of mayo, mustard, ketchup, and upon making sure you want it you pasty-faced Anglo, a few slices of tangy crisp Jalapeño en escabeche added.
The whole is wrapped in aluminium foil and handed over.
Money well spent, please tip a dollar or two.
After finishing it, one more.
To take home.

See, I have a bottle of Sriracha in the refrigerator. It adds a sabor autentico to almost anything. I'll eat both dogs at home.


Because the San Francisco Health Department lacks a sense of humour, the police are tasked with removing or chasing away these wonderful food vendors. That adds an element of risk. You do not know where the stand will be so you follow your nose (mmm, bacon!), and then anxiously await your turn while hoping that the fuzz don't interfere.
At least until you've had your share.

It's seriously good stuff.
Worth staying up for.
Magic Mexicans.




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Saturday, June 17, 2017

IT'S SATURDAY, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR FRIDAY WENT?

At around ten thirty last night there were over two hundred page views here, according to my blog stats. It is quite likely that those were all spam bots, as most people at ten thirty on a Friday night -- in my neighborhood, at least -- are thinking of donuts at Bob's on Polk Street between Sacramento and Clay.
Before the crowds get there, peaking between one thirty and three.
Spam bots are, understandably, not into donuts.
Instead they come here.
How sad.

I was asleep by then. That is, I was trying to sleep, but my sore throat kept waking me up. To bed at seven PM, up again by six AM. The concept of donuts was very far from my mind, as swallowing was incredibly painful.


Crullers, old-fashioneds, Long Johns, strawberry frosteds, buttermilks, shishkys, pampushkys, Berliner, dulce de leche benuelos, coconut sprinkles, custard filleds, old fashioneds, Boston creams, bear claws, jelly filleds, maple bars, apple fritters, cake donuts, chocolate glazeds, coffee caramel creameds, Dutchies, glazed blueberry cakes ....


My infection, which had been at a low ebb for a week, got a second wind Thursday night, in consequence of which I had maybe three hours sleep.
I must be getting better, because last night between seven PM and six AM there may have been as much as five or six hours of slumber.

My Friday was spent convulsing from the pain every time I swallowed, and postponing the agony of hacking and spitting as much as possible.

I know where my Friday went. It went somewhere dark and depressing, and altogether nasty, an ante-chamber to hell, a foretaste of the second Trump presidency. It was in several ways apocalyptic.
As was, unfortunately, Saturday.


I shall blame the existence of other people's children for this.
We all know they're little disease vectors, right?
And I have an urge to blame anybody.


No, I shall not have a donut.
Can't even imagine it.

Two more days to my work week before I'm off.
I was off Friday, and should've enjoyed it.
Bad disease vectors! No donut!




Another reason to suspect that last night's readers were spam bots is that the comments they tried to leave involved World of Warcraft, Hispanic females, penis enlargement, and sure-fire real-estate schemes.
I have an intellectual interest in only one of those.

I've never written about any of them.

When I am well again, and can eat, I may consider World of Donuts, Hispanic females frying donuts, donut enlargement, and donut schemes.
Till then I shall whine in an unlovable manner.




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Friday, June 16, 2017

SMOKE PURE STUFF

Regular readers know me as a man who severely disapproves of aromatic pipe tobacco and flavoured cigars, and I am pleased that politicians in the great city of San Francisco now finally support my vision of hordes of straight white schoolkids smoking pure unsauced products, like our forerunners the Puritans.


Quote:
"My colleagues on the Public Safety Neighborhood Services committee just unanimously passed my landmark ordinance to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in San Francisco. It was sent to the full Board of Supervisors with a positive recommendation. Restricting the sale of flavored tobacco is a forward-thinking, evidenced based policy. Children and young adults, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and LGBTQ people have been selectively profiled, targeted, and ultimately killed by lethal products for far too long. As we speak, the federal government is abdicating its responsibility to protect public health through its ongoing attempts to roll back health care access. It is the right and the duty of states and localities to ensure that our communities are healthy, solvent, and safe. That is what this legislation achieves. The buck stops here."

------Malia Cohen, 14 June at 14:19.


The three most popular aromatic tobaccos are 1-Q, RLP 6, and BCA.

1-Q [Lane Ltd.]
Cavendishes and Virginias, a Vanilla topping plus some added sugars.

RLP 6 [Lane Ltd.]
Virginias, Burleys, Cavendish, with Vanilla, Caramel, and Chocolate.

BCA [Lane Ltd.]
Green River Burley cooked till black with vanilla and syrup to augment the caramelization of whatever sugars occur in the leaf, this is a product that adds stability and coolness to a huge number of house blends.
Everybody has a version of this, even McClellands.

Together with imitations and knock-offs, these three are by far the largest segment of the market, available almost everywhere between here and Nova Scotia, in hundreds of charming old-fashioned emporia.

Malia Cohen is wise to object.


I likewise disapprove of flavoured tobacco, and while the three products are not "bad" bad, they are a gateway to ever more bizarre blends, even such horrors as something drenched in chocolate covered cherries with cherry liqueur, or peachy pecan brickle. No one should smoke these.
They are available in bulk, many tobacconists carry them.
You can also find them on the internet.

When mayor Edwin Lee signs this legislation, schoolchildren all over the city will have to find other products to smoke.


Excepting marijuana, which is made by little green men in the Amazon Rainforest, who recycle, they may wish to experiment with Quiet Nights (GLPease), Nightcap (Dunhill), Balkan Sasieni (Sasieni London & New York), Frog Morton (McClellands), Westminster (GLPease), Early Morning Pipe (Dunhill), and the gold standard of solid reliable English blends, My Mixture 965 (Dunhill).

All of these go well with a cup of tea and a good book, and college men through the ages have relied on the Dunhill products in particular when swatting for tests. Nicotine famously benefits late night study.


In the Virginia and Virginia-Perique category, many of the products of McClellands, Samuel Gawith, and Germain & Son are extremely rewarding. Tolkien smoked Virginias -- Capstan (by D. & H. O. Wills) was one of his favourites, and is guaranteed to put one in a Gandalfian mood -- as did Sir Bertrand Russel, famous philosopher, social critic, mathematician, author, historian, and life-long shit-disturber.

If you like any of these, you will probably like all of them: Peter Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye, Davidoff Flake Medallions, Dunhill Deluxe Navy Rolls, Three Nuns, Escudo. Several brands, but the same factory.

Dunhill produces some excellent Virginas too.
Flake, Dark Flake, Ready Rubbed.
Elizabethan, Ye Olde Signe.
Three Year Matured.


Again: tea, book, quiet time, academic success.


We need a tobacconist in the Chinatown-North Beach section of the city. One that sells nothing but quality merchandise. Pure unsullied tobacco, affordable pipes (the best briar that students can afford), and good inexpensive stogies for enjoyment outside bubble tea places with classmates and friends, of an afternoon.
It would be so wholesome!




I am so glad that Malia Cohen and the San Francisco Public Safety Neighborhood Services Committee are agreed on this crucial point.

Of course, shoppers could just take a bus.
Spend their money outside the city.
Buy in volume elsewhere.




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Thursday, June 15, 2017

FOWL PLOTS

It struck me that regular readers are probably at ease with what they think they know about me, but probably don't know very much. Oh sure, the milk tea, the pipes and tobacco, the pigsty that has been my bed for the past seven years, the fondness for hot sauce, and the stuffed animals.
Did you know I have a large metal bird perched on the telly?

No, it's not a penguin from a Monty Python sketch.

And it isn't likely to explode.

It just is.


It is no more peculiar than the vicious little nursey christmas ornament, or the fat flat frog. Or the two racing nuns.


What IS peculiar is the calendar from over a decade ago on the wall, given to me by a grocery store which no longer exists. The picture is of a mama panda and a baby panda in a forest with a lot of bamboo. Two months, July and August, during which I lost interest in flipping the page. Which means that for at least six months prior to that I maintained chronicular correctitude.

There has been scant reason for calendars for a long time now. You just turn on your computer, and it will inform you what the day and date are.

I never bothered to take the thing down.

On the other hand, I did not endeavor to hang the picture that is leaning against the wall below it. Other than out-of-date calendars, there is absolutely nothing on these walls.

There are good luck scrolls on doors, however. Both on my apartment mate's bedroom door, and on mine. They're in Chinese, which she can't read, but I can. She's Chinese, I am not. They are eternally aplicable, in a sort of optimistic kind of way, meaning that they are near-meaningless.

I do have much better stuff to hang, if ever when.

One of these days I'll get organized.


I need an exploding penguin.




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WISH LISTS

Yesterday a republican politician got shot by a person who was upset at the republicans. While I acknowledge that this should disturb me, and that I should have something akin to sympathy for the victim, quite frankly it leaves me cold. Today's republicans are such a hateful destructive bunch that all I can really feel is that it's a pity the victim is such a nonentity.

My first thought when I heard was "who?"

Right off the top I can list nearly three dozen republican politicians, and several protestant preachers (mostly Southern Baptists and their fellow travellers, all of them loud and rich), whose lives would be immensely improved by a bullet in the back of the head.



No, I shan't mention names, because that would legally constitute a threat and would get the authorities down on me in no time. But it should disturb the republicans that in today's America so many people feel thoroughly disenfranchised, and threatened enough, that we keep mental lists.

Thanks to the NRA we have more access to weapons than ever before.

We don't have access to therapy, but we can get guns.

You can buy them at Walmart.

Think about that.



On a different note, I wonder how many republicans have a condom stuck to their shoe when the wife walks in. Probably a large number.



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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

STUPID WHITE CHILDREN

A few days ago, residents of Hong Kong demonstrated against sharkfin at a local restaurant. This would not interest me, except that several signs were in English, and many of the participants were white and juvenile.

There is something smarmy and unbearably superior about little white kids and their parents marching in Hong Kong against local food.

Don't these imperialists have anything better to do?

Where are the water cannons?


SPARSELY ATTENDED PEEVISHNESS

[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd1C4wICA2g.]


No, it's not cute. Or good. A rancid bunch of pampered little shites telling the locals what they can eat never is.


Do you notice how many among that crowd are Caucasian? Far out of proportion to their miniscule percentage in the Hong Kong population.
Which sick entitled pricks thought this was a good idea?
Pissing on the locals is just rude.


It's typical of a certain class of middle class Caucasian that not only would they get their knickers in a bunch over what people they look down upon are doing, but they'd be so self-righteous that they would stage a happy little protest, complete with children acting precious and superior.
It's not too late to expel all of them.
Foreign twats.


For another example of dietary terrorism, see: Pub Owners Harassed.

If after reading that you feel like a nice bit of veal, or wish to viciously torment a Vegan, I really cannot blame you.


Veal, shark fin, and foie gras are delicious, by the way.
I know how to prepare all three.
Mmm, shark fin.



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BUT WHAT IS THERE TO EAT?

One of the Chinatown standards closed its doors at the beginning of this month, due to their lease ending. Now, whether it's a case of the new rent being too high, or the clientele fading and becoming poorer over the years, is immaterial. They are gone now, and some damned Szechuan concept restaurant is going in. Probably staffed by snippy barking Northerners.
Nothing ruins a Chinese neighborhood like Szechuan concept.
White folks, Mandarin speakers, idiotic food.
An insane excess of chilies.
Pig slop.

Same goes for Hunan.

Not that anyone can tell the difference. Instead of subtle flavours and an expression of culinary talent, what is highlighted is brash insecurity and a simplistic reliance on peppers and customer ignorance. It ain't fit for man nor beast, but the mainlanders and white yuppies think they're getting something special.


But no matter, back to the ABC Bakery & Cafe. The milk tea was stellar, the Hong Kong style western food was in a few cases extraordinary, they had Sriracha hot sauce on the premises, and the wait staff was calm and competent. Indeed, one had to select one's food and drink from a basis of knowledge, otherwise one would get surprised -- sometimes a little less than endearingly so -- but if you wanted French toast with peanut butter between and a drizzle of condensed milk on top, this was the place.

Their Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice wasn't that good, but the Black Pepper Pork Chops were 100% excellent.

Curry seafood fried rice, Amoy fried rice, fried chicken, spare ribs, baked seafood spaghetti, Singapore style fried rice noodle, Sampan congee, ...

Hainan Chicken: famous, fresh, and beautiful.


Two dishes that I regret not trying were Mixed Vegetables and Mushrooms Soup (田園雞菌魚湯泡米) and Tofu and Salted Egg with Seasonal Vegetables Soup (魚湯豆腐鹹蛋浸時菜). Both were offered among the Mother's Day Specials during the entire month of May.

Just the names alone sound scrumptious!

I do NOT regret avoiding the dish with "haslet". Haslet is defined as the heart, liver, and sometimes also lungs and pancreas, of the beast, whether pig or cow, and besides not being that fond or organ meats, these excite my gout. I shall eat haslet only with a 'short French bastard'.
A tribute to the Aubrey-Maturin books.



They had been in business on Jackson Street for 27 years. During the last five months of their existence I ate there more than a dozen times.

Yeah, I asked for the bottle of Sriracha nearly every time. I like hot, but not being insane and stupid, I avoid Szechuan concept. As I shall also do regarding the restaurant going into that location now.
湘川菜,成垃圾咁。



焗葡國雞飯

Yesterday I had the Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice at one of the few chachanteng that remain in the old neighborhood. It was very good (potato!), and I got to observe the other customers from my corner. Five single male diners, a family without electronic devices, a man with beautiful hair who took photos of his food with his cellphone, and a table of elderly worthies dawdling after their meal with more milk-tea than is healthy.
And a woman reading the newspaper.
十分之十好食。


Today I'll probably have bitter melon fish and rice (凉瓜蘢脷飯) at a curiously misnamed place up on Powell Street.
也好食。




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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

SCROLLING THROUGH 'NEXT BLOG'

Occassionally one wishes to know what the rest of the world is thinking. As good a way to go about finding out as anything is to hit the 'next blog' link on the top left hand side, under the banner.
This brings up another blog, chosen more or less because of the subject matter of the post you are reading, and often not at all related thereto.
A lot of people write about clothes or their kids; all of them boring.
Some don't, and aren't. Food and children.
Weird eats, little monsters.
Food horror.


Semi-random citing:

' "My name is Miranda", the raccoon presented herself. She was wearing a white blouse with a black skirt and had her hair fastened underneath a small hood.'

[from Viktor's All-purpose Blog, which is mostly about reading, and the books Viktor likes or not.]


"An unidentified woman in a video that has gone viral was seen rubbing the fruits she sells in between her legs before packing them for sale."
and:
"The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, gave indications on Wednesday that Nigerians of 30 years of age would soon be eligible to be President of the country."

[from Gistexpression, Nigerian stuff.]


'I remember when I was a kid, I asked my dad, "Dad, how come you never compliment us on anything?" He said, "Whenever I'm not saying anything, that's a compliment." '

[From Bitter Melon Girl, an illustrator from Toronto in San Francisco. It's mostly about food. She's Cantonese, which means, naturally, food.]


"在互網無孔不入的今天,楊舒平的演講並未隨著畢業禮結束而淡去,反而是在網上大爆發,中國網民(也包括海外的華人)指責之聲如驚濤駭浪般衝向楊舒平。"

[from 傳媒人心聲, mostly political, from the perspective of a Hong Kong person in the United States. Mainlanders may not like this.]


"Help! Help! The Globolinks may be a weird film, but it is also a weird film with a pedigree. Commissioned by the Hamburg State Opera, it’s a television film of a children’s opera written and directed by Gian Carlo Menotti, an Italian-American composer who was American composer Samuel Barber’s librettist of choice. Menotti’s most well known work is another children’s opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, the filmed version of which, commissioned by NBC, became the first television Christmas special to be aired on American TV on an annual basis (this was obviously quite some time before the advent of Rudolph and Charlie Brown.) That it is not quite so well known is perhaps due to the fact that, while Amahl had clear biblical overtones, Globolinks is about psycho-surrealist space aliens whose spoken language sounds like Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music."

[from DIE, DANGER, DIE, DIE, KILL!, a text and illustration rich exploration of pop culture.]


These were the rewards for putting up with much else.

On the whole, scrolling through random blogs is like a roller coaster ride, albeit one with immensely long flat spaces. There is only so much yoga, personal exploration, natural living, and tortuous existential musing that a man can tolerate, and fashion, clothing, poetry, and pictures of lovely dresses and shoes, or pineapple upside-down cake, as put on the internet by "normal" people, can be painfully dreary, even excruciating.
Most people just aren't very interesting.

I am like Jesus; I suffered so that you don't have to.

Please worship my holy blog.

Thanks.




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JEFF SESSIONS IS A CROOK



Photo: Jeff Sessions, By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


*         *         *         *

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A SONG FOR HALFWITS

The world has become a strange place. Underneath the calm placid exteriors of many people lurk the minds of madmen, which, if you but scratch their surfaces, come rupturing forth in foaming madness. Social media encourages this; just think of tweety retards with thousands of worshipful followers.
It's not just Gwyneth Paltrow and David Avocado Wolfe.
Full-blown batshit, with a herd of fans.
They know words.
Sad.


A certifiable human being of my ken recently posted this on his page:

"I have friends, intelligent, well-educated people, who honestly believe that Donald Trump paid Russian prostitutes to pee on him, and that this was recorded and is being used for blackmail against him by the Russian government. At the same time, these same people believe that his "pussy grabbing" statement, in all its glorious context, was a legally admissible admission of sexual assault.

These are not stupid people, nor are they poor people. I can only explain their cognitive dissonance as an actual poor person, sometimes stupid, who has at times had contact, for one reason or another, with the (as Kurt Vonnegut liked to call them) "fabulously well-to-do", and this is merely to assume that these friends of mine, gated communities, higher educations and all, have never actually met anyone truly filthy rich.

On the plus side of all of this, I am thoroughly chuffed that almost overnight, with no warning or explanation, it is now totally acceptable to say "pussy" in polite company, without even using air quotes. I hail this as a small step in the right direction."


Well, what can one say about that? He lives in Israel, and like many people there has a shit-eye view of the world. And he probably still believes that Barrack Obama was a Kenyan socialist hellbent on destroying Israel, whereas Donald is a friend, who will give Netanyahu everything.
AND move the American embassy to Jerusalem.

Oh, and he's a fan of the Grateful Dead.

That last item is reprehensible.

Reactionary potheads!


Now, I know this man, and he's genuinely decent. But he grew up in the hills of Kentucky shooting possum, and since moving to Israel he's started reading Caroline buggery Glick. He just doesn't understand that the last decent prime minister was Ariel Sharon. Everybody since then has been very far south of the scum line, Bibi is the rock bottom of the iceberg.
And judging by his recent writing he's a fan of Alex Jones.
As well as the spew of Messianics.


It is never acceptable to say "p*ssy" in polite company.


If you think it is, you're hanging with the wrong crowd.




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