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.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


An enterprising kid, she asked me what I wanted to eat. In this she was probably encouraged by her grandma, who already knew I spoke Chinese, and may have wanted to see the girl's surprised reaction. Grandma must've been totally gratified when the kid finally asked if I also spoke English, as understanding me was obviously a struggle, given the gap between Toisan and standard Cantonese. Or rather, standard accented kwailo Cantonese.
If it hadn't been for her mother, I would've ended up with bittermelon and spare ribs (凉瓜排骨飯) instead of bittermelon and fish (涼瓜斑球飯).
Next time I'll probably have the spare ribs.

We continued our conversation in English, in consequence of which she now knows that the briar pipe which I was filling with tobacco preparatory to a post-meal smoke is, in fact, very much like a seui yin tong (水烟筒), which many people in her home town still use. Large segment of bamboo, small tobacco cup stuck into it above a water line, and you suck on the end of the vertically held bamboo bong. Then you smell smoky. Bad.

She was fascinated by my fingers, tobacco, and pipe.

You're going to do it afterwards, right?

And outside?

She is not sure if she believes in a "deity", but she's going to a Catholic school so she is being indoctrinated. Her natural skepticism indicates that there is a bullshit quotient to reports of the supernatural from her teachers ("they believe, so they say it's true"), and she's heard that before Jesus - Mary - Joseph, people believed a whole bunch of different things.
But she knows that Santa exists, because she saw him.

I don't think she was pulling my leg.

She really did see him.

He favourite after school snack, she informed me, was hard boiled egg with a drizzle of soy sauce. And there's a twirly thing that flies off a thing that contains candy, if you get the angle just right and turn it four times.
Then you press here. And she demonstrated.

Then my food came, and under her mother's watchful eye she reviewed her school lessons at another table, before going next door to see an auntie.

This was probably the best conversation with a female person I have had in a long while. No judgments, no praeconceptions. Just a frank and informative exchange about mutual interests.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017


Our president advocates coating bullets with pig fat to stop terrorism. While the magic efficacy of lard is somewhat in doubt -- in fact its greatest verified success has been to heal a boil on a cat's bum in England in 1970 -- as true and loyal Americans we all owe him our complete and total trust.
The problem is that there is not enough of it.
Withal, an insufficient stockpile.
We lack the fat.


If you care at all about this country and its survival, you yourself possess the tools. Save your bacon drippings and trimmed streaky meat scraps, and regularly mail these substances to: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue North-West, Washington, DC 20500.

If all of us chip in, the problem will quickly be history.
As Mr. Bimmler said, "soon, baby".

From Wikipedia:
"Lard is pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. It is obtained from any part of the pig where there is a high proportion of adipose tissue. It can be rendered by steaming it or boiling it in water and then separating the insoluble fat from the water, or by the use of dry heat. It is a semi-soft white fat with a high saturated fatty acid content and no transfats."
End quote.

Please note that the German version of Wikipedia mentions not only pig fat ("lard") but goosefat and other animal derived greases.
Zitat: "Schmalz (von schmelzen), auch Schmer (von schmieren), ist weiterverarbeitetes Schlachtfett von Tieren, vor allem von Schweinen und Gänsen. Das Schlachtfett von Rindern hat einen höheren Schmelzpunkt und wird Talg genannt."
Zitat ende.

For our purposes, this is of course incorrect.
Goosefat only kills your doctor.

One would have thought that there would be enough pork fat in the hands of our government already, but it turns out its mostly LFTB.

That address again:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue North-West, Washington, DC 20500.

310 First Street South-East, Washington, DC 20003.

Outside the U.S., address your package to:
23, Ilyinka Street, Moscow, 103132
Vnimaniye: rozovaya obezyana.

It's long march from Coventry to North Minehead.

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Friday, August 18, 2017


The best way to trap the cat you suspect is watching you when you are asleep is to put a carboard box with a small pillow inside on the bathroom rug. And if you think about it, you will know this is true.
Bathroom. Box. Pillow. Resultantly, a cat.
I do not know why I believe this.
Nor is a cat watching me.

There are two little black cats that live in the shops along Jackson Street, there's an old orange pussy in the grocery at the bus stop where you get off for dim sum, an affectionate raggedy fur ball further down Stockton Street at the dry goods and seafood flavours place, and a stand-offish scooty mouser among the rickety vegetable bins opposite Sai Ping Yuen.

As well as two felines living inside Ping Yuen.
While it's empty during rehabilitation.

Plus a senior entity that stalks the shadows at ankle level on Pacific, just beyond milk tea and pastries.

I don't think the Chinatown Cantonese have realized that cats are primarily useful for being decorative. Cats, to them, are clearly four-legged people, who do their own things and occasionally interact with other people.
And sometimes they eat mice.
Or not.


Unfortunately none of the places where I go for milk tea and a pastry or snack have cats. If they did, they couldn't get rid of me. Not that I actually like cats -- there is no cat in my apartment other than the three non-self-mobile creatures mentioned as 'roomies' (see posts which describe the antics of the sock sheep, one-legged gibbon, and control-monkey, or the froad and his bouts of madness) -- nor do I go all gushy around them.
They realize that I know where the scritchy part of the head is.
And I smell interesting, like middle-aged white dude.
Do not bug me, I have a feline on my lap.
No, I don't know why he's there.
Scritch scritch scritch.

I'll be a while.


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Thursday, August 17, 2017


During work today I got to overhear the unreconstructed elements justifying slavery (back then, though probably not now, because times have changed), advocating for the retention of statues of Confederate heroes (because that's our history, you know), plus more support of and understanding for the police (we're too quick to judge, that's the modern age), and similar things which make you wonder what planet these folks are from.

Pride, Patriotism, as well as Law and Order!

The other side did not have a permit!

Indeed, I think all of them except the Agreeable Subcontinental Gentleman voted for the fat-faced schmuck. The Agreeable Subcontinental Gentleman damned near shat on himself cheerfully getting along with the others.
Camaraderie among equals, and all that.

I did not get a chance to tell him of my great idea to put a statue of general Dyer in Jallianwala Bagh, because, you know, that's history.
Pride, Patriotism, as well as Law and Order!
I am sure he'll appreciate it.

During the afternoon an Irishman asked a Jew what the highest interest was that could be charged. Because naturally the Jew might know.

It is a tribute to both gentlemen that they both considered the question completely natural.

Perhaps because of post-mediaeval ignorance and Americanism.

For my next great idea, I propose painting blackface on all Confederate hero statues, and giving them the names of Soviet Politburo members. Pointless and absurd, but this way everybody can piss and moan.
Some more than others.

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So, boys and girls, what did we learn over the past few days of being on the internet sporadically?

The following:

Many Orthodox Jews and people in Israel are apologists for Trump and his Nazi base. They are out of touch with reality (if not downright berserk and insane), they read the Jerusalem Post, and they want to believe.

Do not go on the internet when one of those folks in Israel is awake; he or she will say something stupid and get your dander up.
Some of them are blithering idiots.

A video of a pudgy racist weeping and fouling his pants because the cops are after him and everyone is out to get him after the crap he pulled in Charlotteville is probably the best thing you will ever see.
He's such a sad little poo-monkey.

Ivanka has zero credibility till she disavows her father.

The Republicans spent eight years fanning the flames. Now they are "surprised", and scrambling to contain the fire.

Fox News is still garbage.


By the way: on Saturday the twenty sixth of August, the hatefest comes to San Francisco. The racists and true Christians will gather at Crissy Field from two till five to decry the foulness of our city and scream provocative things. Free speech always means that someone will get pissed, and when you have permit for a demonstration that means that active opposition to your point of view is included in that brief.

Expect mayhem.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017


On one point I agree with our current government. Marijuana. Personally this blogger despises and abjures pot and all of its adherents, fore-standers, and missionnaries. It is an evil and noxious substance.

Okay, it does have some medical uses.
So do the opium derivates.
And alcohol.

However, irrespective of its legal status in the great state of California, the majority of its fans are shiftless degenerated hippies, whose not particularly impressive intelligence and acuity has been scrambled, whose morals and intellect are lax, and whose habits are deviant and dis-exemplary.

I passed a pod of them on the pavement tonight.

Limp, no gumption, wasted.

Market Street smells alternatingly like a pot-dispensary and a public toilet.

In all honesty I would not object if pot dealers and pot users were locked up in a rear-end brutalizing prison, and the key was lost.

Therapeutic my ass.

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Here's the background: For several years the bookseller and myself visit a place where interesting food may be had, then we have a beer elsewhere, and end up in a Chinese bar which has a karaoke machine.
This happens once a week, it's a tradition.

Now imagine two ladies screaming at each other in Mandarin. A friend who grew up in the hinterland had never seen anything like it, and was seriously worried that mayhem would ensue. So we pointed several things which he had not taken into account out to him.


The way to win an argument is to vocalize louder, faster, and longer. It helps if you distract the other side by moving jerkily and gesticulating with a bottle of brandy. When she blinks, pour two shots and force her to bottoms up with you, in hopes that her tolerance is way lower than yours.
Hug. And promptly start screaming again.

Repeat for over an hour.

The gangster older brother type who normally sits near the Hunanese lady spent most of that time outside, enjoying some peace and quiet. When he came back in he very subtly marched directly to the other end of the bar.
The thuggish person who several weeks ago had in gleeful camaraderie opportunistically groped some tiddly white titty kept a distance of at least ten inches away from both ladies, and all parts of their moving bodies.
Toisan Uncle sat in the corner bouncing on his seat.
This was so exciting, and entertaining!
Probably the best night ever!

He had the happiest grin on his face.
Wrinkles wreathed in joy.

The Taiwanese proprietress occasionally hollered "stop shouting" (無粗啦!'mou jou laa') in Cantonese at both ladies, but otherwise stayed well away, and didn't bother getting as hammered as she usually does. Which was remarkably pointless, considering that along with the two cheerfully screaming ladies she also was one of three native speakers of Mandarin there, and all the rest of us speak Cantonese or English. Her two linguistic sisters were too busy having their battle to pay any attention to anyone speaking Cantonese, even if they could have understood it.
Besides, both of them were desperate to make their points before slurring set in, and as they had already polished off one bottle of Hennessy and were well into the second, with every passing instant that goal acquired greater urgency.

They are both charming people. Operatic.
Especially the Hunanese girl.
A real firecracker.

[Happy women; eloquent, stubborn, vibrantly alive.]

For most of that time the hinterland friend sat there mesmerized, occasionally speculating that they would kill each other.
Such loudness and animation!

See, violence is NOT part of an argument. The goal is to overwhelm with your logic and rhetoric, and Hennessy makes that possible. Final victory is when the other person slides off her seat and wakes up only remembering that you were still upright and scoring points.

Somewhere after two o'clock, having been generously treated to extra shots of whiskey and a shot of Hennessy, we left the bar. As usual when invited to drink too much I had sloshed the excess alcohol onto the floor when nobody was watching. So all things considered, I was quite sober.

The Mandarin speakers were still hugging and yelling.
I'm fairly certain of a total Hunanese victory.
She's got buckets of spunk.

And an extra bottle of Hennessy.


Up ahead of us, between Taylor and Mason, a coyote observed our slowly ambling party, then trotted out of the alley into which it had ducked, went up to the corner, turned to look back at us, and loped off towards Russian Hill. With the disappearance of the raccoons that used to live in this party of the city it probably has no more competition for food and kitty-cats.
At some point it will find a mate and reproduce.
We are surrounded by untamed nature.

[I miaowed several times, hoping to make it curious and come back. No luck.]

I've never seen a coyote this close to downtown.
This was in fact my first coyote ever.
I feel blessed.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017


A few years ago I wrote about savoury Chinese egg custard, that being eggs beaten with plenty of water and steamed till set. Additions can be quite varied, and may include seafood of a size that cooks fast, or if you are as white as I am, meat that has already been stewed or fried.
Bacon that has been slightly crisped, for instance.
Plus vegetable matter of various types.
But the focus is the egg.

I have also written about fragrances, as my apartment mate once remarked that if she smelled anything funny she always had to wonder whether it was me or her sneakers. She is of Cantonese extraction, and like many Chinese people finds white folk sometimes a bit too fragrant for her refined nose.
I had to assure her that it was her sneakers.
Always. I am extraordinarily clean.
And don't cook funky.

It may have been my pipe tobacco, though, as there is a gentle hint of burning fermented leaves in my vicinity at most times.
Which many people find pleasant.

This post is NOT about pipe tobacco, but about food. Specifically the wonderful combination of bacon and oysters, which I cannot eat very often because of a tendency toward gout. Regrettable. The last time I ordered hangtown fry in a restaurant I realized another reason to hold back:
Americans can't make omelettes if their lives depend on it.
Seriously. It should not ever be rubbery.
Learn to cook, you hosers!


Hou si jing suei daan:
Three large eggs.
One and a quarter cup of water.
Ten dried oysters, soaked, drained, cut in half.
Two rashers bacon, chopped and slightly crisped.
Pinch ground white pepper.
Pinch sugar.
A cautious drizzle of sesame oil.
Minced scallion for garnish.

Whisk the egg and water till smoothly blended. Incorporate the bacon and dried oysters, as well as the pinches of pepper and sugar. Pour it into a broad pyrex pie dish and steam it for ten minutes.
Garnish with the scallion and a drizzle of sesame oil.

One clove of garlic, coarsely minced and fried golden in a tablespoon or two of the bacon grease, is also nice on top.

蠔豉 ['hou si']

Dried oysters can be bought in Chinatown, many stores on Stockton Street have them. The best kinds are large, uniform, undamaged. Smaller darker dried oysters can be used to enrich soups, but good quality dried oysters will often be a featured ingredient in congee, or with fatty pork, steamed chicken, scallops and ham, or combined with black mushrooms, and especially at New Year with pork and black moss (好事發財).
They need to be soaked for two to four hours before use.
For the recipe above, rinse them with boiling water.
The soaking will plump them up sufficiently.
The boiling water is precautionary.

Another great dish with dried oysters, for your reference, is 富貴滿盆 ('fu gwai mun pun'), which like 好事發財 ('ho si fat choi') is an auspicious phrase. Both dishes are suitable for festive gatherings, especially Chinese New Year. Fu gwai mun pun ("fortune and honour in abundance") consists of dried oysters, sea cucumber, and black mushrooms, soaked and then braised together with chicken, rice wine, oyster sauce, and often, dried Lycium Chinense (枸杞子 'gau gei ji').

Many such recipes contain the suggestion to plate the food with broccoli florets surrounding it. But cooked lettuce is infinitely better.

There are no dried oysters left, I must buy more.

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Years ago we all became familiar with penguins. Penguin niblets, roast rump of penguin, herring stuffed penguin, crunchy penguin, and braised penguin with a zesty remoulade.
That is to say, we read about this, and were thrilled.
Bloom County excited our passion.
For penguins.

Personally, I think penguin seethed in its own fat, carnitas-style, might be edible. Which brings me to my subject: a lovely condiment made with Habaneros and red onions (cebolla morada).

Absolutely delicious.


Easy to make, all that is necessary being about ten Habanero chilies, one red onion, a cup of lemon juice and pinches of salt and sugar. Optionally, two or three Roma tomatoes (jitomate guaje). Slice the onion, mince the chilies. If using tomato, chop. Mix everything with the lemon juice.
Let it stand for several hours before using.

Great when glopped liberally on carnitas.

Notes from that evening:

"Pure unadulteredated evil. ten miutes of stuggleing the oruhspelss check. effing G, man efffereign g. Oh fudge. And ir shaoudl of knwon. Seee, we ra Yuavotexea moasns, rofugly speakinf,Hav\banare cheiese, which refees to the chile that is anatatatce to hte yucatan.
Habaneneresoso so So.?"

That meal was memorable, and so was an episode the next day.
This blogger is by no means a timid eater.
Nor always sensible.

This salsa can also be made using half vinegar and lemon juice, or the juice of a bitter orange (naranja agria). And a little more salt and sugar.

Amashito chiles can be included, chopped or roughly mashed.

I have no idea what I meant to say in my notes.

File under Pibil and Chontal.

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Monday, August 14, 2017


My apartment mate is at times a dreadful dragon lady. Really, I cannot believe that woman. When she is in, I have to smoke in the kitchen.
Which I prepared to do today, but she nearly exploded. It turns out she was preparing food to take over to her boy friend's place, and he is VERY SENSITIVE!

I was standing near her mashed potatoes.

Which are also very sensitive.

I am reminded of that advert from two years where an overweight Stanley Kowalski in the top apartment of a building lights up a cigarette, the smoke whisps all the way around the building, travels all the way to the basement apartment at the other end of the building ten floors below and at the other side of the block, and makes the little black orphan who is deaf, dumb, blind, asthmatic, and in a wheelchair curl up in agony, screaming his voiceless pain, despair, and angst, oh, it is so sad!

Evil heartless Stanley Kowalksi!

The asthmatic orphans!


Her boyfriend is in a wheelchair. And hates tobacco.

Personally, I feel that portraying the smoker as an overweight Stanley Kowalski type, white and crude looking, is fat-shaming and stereotyping, and I'm horrified at the judgmentalism. Plus it's genderist! Far all anyone knows I might have a tall statuesque black amazon within, a proud fluid Nubian princess, of indeterminate and variable sexual preferences!

As far as I recall, her boyfriend is not deaf, dumb, blind, asthmatic, OR given to despair and angst. And rather than living in the building, he's over two dozen blocks away with a hill in-between.
So the heck with him.

I ended up smoking in the bathroom.

Later, when she's gone to bed and her door is closed, I'll enjoy the last pipe of the day in the television room, before retiring myself.

Normally she's not such a smoke nazi.
But, you know, potatoes.

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When I got home yesterday my apartment mate was in her room, reading in bed. In my room, a large penguin was holding forth to a dinosaur and a little black cat, while the one-legged monkey looked on disapprovingly. He finds the fact that the penguin is so much taller than him suspect, and a sign of moral failing. The penguin's size is "unnatural".
He has pointed this out.

The other three penguins -- the short ones with the big honkers and bow ties -- have not commented. Because the new guy is a rather upstanding sort, and they've seen it all before. There are four penguins now, one of whom is wearing a lavender kippah, the others are presumably Goyish.
This apartment has a quartet of 'Peng'.
As well as four monkeys.
And four bears.

I do not know how this happened.

There are only three cats.

Three is a good number.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017


During most of the morning I vacuumed and moved furniture, so that the cigar smokers would have somewhere to be their own vegetable selves without bothering the civilized people. The lounge was an utter mess.
But the wall is better than ever, and even though there are no electronic restraint devices, it kept the sour old crotchets quiet.

Boruch Hashem.

The pipe smokers arrived in dribbles and drabs throughout the day. One of them, new to the pleasant past-time, was called away by his good woman, to whom he had not yet broken the news of a new and lovable peculiarity. But he started it well; one tin of Baby's Bottom (1938), one tin of Standard Mixture. Sound choices, especially if you take the wench-like temptations of 1Q and Captain Black Cherry into account.

Ten pipe smokers and a tub of hummus. That's a minyan.
All adult males, awake, and well into maturity.
There's a blessing there somewhere.

"Please give me four packs of twelve inch long scrubby cleaners I need to pee."

Dude, without a pause or a recognizable comma in that sentence, we will worry about your narrow urethra. As you get older, various things start to fail, we understand that, but four packs are ridiculous. See a doctor?

Try massage, and chanting 'om'.

By the time I was free for lunch, all the salami and striated Italienischer geräucherter schinken were gone. But there was still plenty of hummus, and some cheese.


Had my third pipe afterwards. A bowl of St. Bruno Ready Rubbed, which is pretty much the same as the St. Bruno Flake -- a little darker due to slightly different handling before being cut thicker than the flakes and then broken apart -- and altogether a splendid tobacco for fuddy-duddies and elderly fossils; it is a very stodgy and old-fashioned product.
Both versions have the same topping.
A splendid smoke.

Nick popped open a tin of McConnell's Scotch Cake: red Virginias, very minor inclusions of Perique and Kentucky Dark Fired. After four years of just sitting there before the lid came off, it smelled like orgasm in a can.

Two or three people tried the Stonehenge Flake (by G. L. Pease), and agreed that reports of a chocolate topping were absurd.
Lovely tobacco, highly recommended.

The August 2017 meeting of the Pipe Club was very enjoyable.
Everybody had a jolly good time in good company.
There was wine, but I did not have any.
I do not indulge during work.

Besides, those middle aged old farts drank it all.


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A few years ago a Jewish lawyer of my acquaintance kept posting gun-nut anti-Obama propaganda to a mailinglist. It is because of him (and his acolytes) that I de-subscribed. His paranoia about "dem coloureds" was, after several months, enough to drive me into the arms of Satan.
I have no doubt that he voted for Trump.

"We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in, that’s what we voted for, Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back."

-----David Duke

I did not vote for Trump.

One of my friends in Israel did. To whom I direct this question: "Dude, are you mental?"

That question applies to so many people.

It doesn't matter what ethnic fealty you claim, or where your loyalties lie.
If you voted for that orange-faced cum rag, you have issues.
Even if you're Israeli, and think he's the Messiah.

"Are you mental?!?"

I'm a Jewish Homosexual Cat Lady.
And I endorse this message

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Saturday, August 12, 2017


You should know that I am a restrained individual, and admire me for my self control. There were several conversations today in which I could have gotten involved, but didn't. Yes, they were "those" conversations. Instead I let the people who were speaking blather on without pointing out how incorrect their assumptions, incomplete their data, or stark raving mad their premises actually were. Or how downright evil their shrunken souls.
Not only at work, but on the bus back to civilization.
There is no frustration eating at me.
I am not troubled.

If I ever need to hunt down assholes and go postal on them, I will know where to find them.

Undoubtedly some live in Charleston, but Northern California has plenty.

Again, please admire me for my goldarned self control.

I'm actually a pretty good shot.

Trump couldn't be at the rally today, because he had to play golf, but he was probably there in spirit. And the Vitezi Rend sent their fond regards.

From a friend: "Make no mistake about it: the violence in Virginia is Nazis and fascists, many of whom voted for the so-called president and he has not called them what they are. If this and the stand off with N Korea doesn't scare you, make you angry and make you do something, God help us. Justice you shall pursue."

The Republicans do NOT deserve a cookie for saying Nazis are bad.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides."

You miserable wishy-washy un-American weasel!
The display was from one side only.
Your supporters.

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Friday, August 11, 2017


A habit of many years may have to change, because it is not good for mental health. Naturally I am referring to reading the news first thing in the morning and again before going to bed. It leads to extremely bad dreams. While asleep I observed an angry man with an orange face and ridiculous hair being tortured by Mandarin speakers with staplers. They blamed him for the Dutch egg problem, and screamed that it was the meatballs.

In all honesty, it left me shaken.

[Ròuwán ('yiuk yuen')]

A tasty snack I had recently may have had something much to do with it.
Grilled linguiça. Plus toast, mayonnaise, and spicy green sauce.
Highly recommended, but less than fully digestible.
Still, you can't go wrong with sausage.
Solid porky goodness.

The key lessons here are to avoid loonies and right-wing asshats, as well as Mandarin speaking goons and all Dutch egg products.

And don't read the news before going to bed.

[Chicken, by Francois Lenoir / Reuters]

NRC Handelsblad
Het Parool
De Telegraaf
Trouw - de Verdieping
De Volkskrant

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Thursday, August 10, 2017


Wojohowitz complained that the food which detective Nick Yemana was cooking on a hot plate at his desk smelled like garbage.

Yemana objected that it had LOTS of GOOD stuff: fish heads, cabbage leaves, cucumber rinds, celery tops ..... (pregnant pause)
"...come to think of it, that IS garbage."

This was moments after he told Dietrich that he was born in Omaha.

I always thought that that scene was one of the best in the show, and wished that Yemana would have told Wojohowitz to go piss up a rope. When I saw it, in my first year of college, I had already been told by many real Americans that my food preferences were either sickening or downright horrifying, and that truly civilized people just didn't do such things.

This hurt, as I am a rather sensitive chap.

They can all go piss up a rope.

This is the country that invented the Dirty Dog, the Cheese-steak Sandwich, and both the Moscow Mule and the Long Island Ice Tea. Like everyone else, it has no business telling anyone what they should or shouldn't stick in their mouths.

And by the way: both Sriracha and mayonnaise are wonderful.

One cannot eat junk food without them.

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When I got there the kitchen was still open, Basi-lo was disquisitioning loudly about Mou Tsaak-tong and the Gung chan tong, and a convenient table near the back was empty and available.
The only thing that could have made it better is someone with floppity hair and sparkling eyes to keep me company, but that's an unattainable fantasy, whereas the prospect of fried rice with salt fish and chopped chicken is real.

Very real.

It's something to which I had been looking forward since before the Indian tech support wallah called me up several hours earlier.
Salt fish chicken fried rice.

['Haam yü gai naap chaau faan']

By the time I finished eating, the noise had abated. The loud disquisitioner and his audience had departed, sticks of incense were lit at the earth altar at floor level behind the counter, and a Mandarin speaking family with a bossy mom had purchased their snacks and left.

A friend entered, and I invited him to sit and join me. We talked about the neighborhood as it used to be. San Wah Kue, Woey Loy Goey, the restaurant in the basement three blocks away (under the old owner), and other places. The last one to go was New Moon on Stockton Street, where the roast duck was delicious.

[Many of the restaurants that no longer exist except in their patrons' fond memories are mentioned in this post: Fading Fragrance. Yong Kee (容記糕粉) also closed a few years ago. My apartment mate used to get their big chicken bun. The century egg in a flaky pastry crust was orgasmic.]

Apparently his frat-brothers, when they visit, don't eat any of the stuff here, but stick with roasts, and, presumably, potatoes. They are from Orange County, which has a very Midwestern or Southern sensibility.
I am glad no one I know is from there.
Or so limited.

I have to inform you that the imaginary girl-friend with the floppity hair and sparkling eyes, IF she existed, would NOT like folks from Orange County.
She would be polite, but distant.
At best.

After we left the restaurant, I lit my pipe, and we chatted as we walked. He got on the bus at Montgomery Street, and I proceeded down to Sue Bierman Park to commune with the parrots.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017


This blogger has become what you hold up as an example to the younger generation. Which this blogger never expected. Apparently all my horrid habits and disreputable praedilections mean nothing, because I can write Chinese. "See, this Lofan writes it! You barely even speak it!" And Sunny Jim looked properly chastened, while taking another deep drag from his marijuana cigarette.

He was probably too zonked to comprehend.
Or even care.


This was, more or less, the inevitable result of trying to tell Toisan Uncle three or four weeks ago that the stick I carry late at night to bash people's heads (打人 嘅頭 'taa yan ge tau') was cherry wood. The word I wrote was 櫻 ('ying'), as in 櫻花 ('ying faa'; cherry blossom). Which is 木 ('muk'; tree, wood), in combination with 嬰 ('ying'; infant, little child) as a phonetic element. The tree in question is 甜櫻桃 ('tim ying tou'; "sweet cherry peach"), or 'wild cherry' in English, which is part of the 蔷薇科 ('cheung mei fo'; rosaceae family), native to the temperate zones.
It was problematic, and I could have saved myself the trouble.
Cherry is 車厘子 ('che lei ji'; "cart mile thingy").
Cantonese tend to borrow words.


Sometimes Cantonese locutions can be as baffling to Mandarin speakers as they are to Anglo monolinguals.


Now I should point out that 嬰 is actually a lovely illustration. It shows a little girl with two cowries -- standing in for bows or clips -- in her hair.
Female, woman, girl, daughter: 女 ('neui').
Money, cowrie: 貝 ('bui').

Note: do not confuse 貝 with 具 ('geui'; tool, implement; to write) or 見 ('kin'; see or observe). The word 具 can be understood as shelves on a stand or a stack of inboxes, whereas 見 shows an eyeball (目 'muk') on legs, possibly running away, or in any case actively doing something.
As in 視 ('si'): to view or observe.
眼 ('ngaan'): the eye.
睇 ('tai'): look.


I should mention that a written character I looked up recently (謙 'him') is a word I have never used, and to the best of my knowledge shows up on only one shop sign in Chinatown. But I've seen in hundreds of times.
The meaning is "modest", "humble".

The shop is 寶謙昌 ('bou him cheung'), the Superior Trading Company, at 835 Washington Street, between Waverly and Stockton. Sellers of 花旗參 ('faa kei sam'; "flower flag roots"), as well as ginseng from China, Korea, and Japan. They've been in business since 1959.

Flourishing modest treasure.


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A friend of mine got a call yesterday telling him he was overdue for a Pap smear, and he should make an appointment. Which I encourage him to do, as I am always open to new educational experiences for him.
I told him to beware the cold speculum.

As far as I can recall, none of my other friends have ever mentioned their Pap smears. I'm sure that is an oversight. But I am fine with that streak continuing.

Pelvic exams are a private affair.

My ex never discussed Pap smears with me, and though I see her frequently, she still doesn't. It would disconcert me if she did.
I have never mentioned what goes on at the urologists.

Sometimes the male specimens in the cigar lounge talk about such things. But they are dubious individuals in any case, and extravagant mistakes during their fraternity days probably still affect their lower parts.
Particularly the two bald degenerates and the coke fiend.

In the case of my friend, though, I want to hear all about it.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017


Rereading a food related rant from three years ago, it struck me that it's still as valid as it ever was. And that maybe today or tomorrow I should have some congee with a fried dough stick.

MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014

I myself am so white that I glow in the dark -- heck, you can read a book in the pallid glow of my pastiness -- but I'm talking about other people.

BY THE WAY: the city is trying hard to make Chinatown better for the tourists. That's why one alleyway has been torn up for months and they will eventually install rectangular concrete planters and seats. Bamboo and sharp corners, instead of the round concrete planters and seats.
Which were ugly. Or something.

Other alleys are also slated for improvement.
The finest design minds are at work.

If they really wanted old people to sit down for a while looking picturesque and photogenic, the seats would have back rest capability.
Like alleys in the financial district.
Real benches.

Trash services, better pavement, and more adult classes.
Yes, that would cost more than concrete obstacles.

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Quote from a conversation: "Why is it that only black people can use the 'N' word, but everybody can say 'Honky'? That's so unfair!"

Well, yeah. So?

"Hey Honky, nice station wagon!"

The reason is the history of the 'N' word. Which as an educated person you should already know. Honky just doesn't have the bite. But if you really have major problems with 'Honky', feel free to take back that word.
Use it. Make it your own. Enjoy the righteous feeling, dude.
In a different conversation someone said that only Dutch people can use the word 'kaaskop', no one else!

Which is because most people don't know it.

And can't pronounce it correctly.

I personally find the term 'randy old goat' extremely rude and hurtful, and will no longer tolerate anybody else using it.

I am a "hormonally vibrant American".

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Monday, August 07, 2017


A couple from the South Bay now own 120 lovely parking spaces in San Francisco, much to the dismay of residents. Tina Lam and Michael Cheng bought Presidio Terrace two years ago. Just the street and sidewalks.
Not the extremely expensive homes lining it.

Which apparently surprised the people who own mansions there no end.
They are upset, and outraged.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill."


"Past homeowners have included Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her financier husband, Richard Blum; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi; and the late Mayor Joseph Alioto. A guard is stationed round the clock at the stone-gate entrance to the street to keep the curious away."

Source: Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street

This is what America is all about: two Chinese immigrants bought a street that until racial covenants in real estate were banned (in 1949) they would not be allowed to live on, and that the guard at that gate would have kept them away from before they acquired it.

Further quoting from that article:

"The couple’s purchase appears to be the culmination of a comedy of errors involving a $14-a-year property tax bill that the homeowners association failed to pay for three decades. It’s something that the owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco are obliged to do."


"Two years ago, the city’s tax office put the property up for sale in an online auction, seeking to recover $994 in unpaid back taxes, penalties and interest. Cheng and Lam, trawling for real estate opportunities in the city, pounced on the offer — snatching up the parcel with a $90,100 bid, sight unseen. Since the purchase in April 2015, the couple have been quietly sitting on the property, talking to a number of land-use attorneys to explore their options."


"He and his wife see plenty of financial opportunity — especially from the 120 parking spaces on the street."


"They didn’t learn that their street and sidewalks had been sold until they were contacted May 30 by a title search company working on behalf of Cheng and Lam, said Emblidge. The title search outfit wanted to know if the residents had any interest in buying back the property from the couple, the lawyer said.

“I was shocked to learn this could happen, and am deeply troubled that anyone would choose to take advantage of the situation and buy our street and sidewalks,” said one homeowner, who asked not to be named because of pending litigation."

[Oh boo hoo!]

"Last month, the homeowners petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a hearing to rescind the tax sale. The board has scheduled a hearing for October."


"Fried said that as far as she knows, the Board of Supervisors “has never done a hearing of rescission” — and that because it’s been more than two years since Cheng and Lam bought the property, it could be tough to overturn the sale now.

As for the threat to charge them for parking, the residents suspect it’s part of a pressure campaign by the couple to force the homeowners association to shell out big bucks to buy back the street.

The couple, however, say they’re in no hurry to sell".

[End cite]

[Matier & Ross, SF Chronicle, August 7, 2017]

I suspect almost no one in this city has any sympathy for the homeowners, and is instead warmly supportive of Tina Lam (originally from Hong Kong) and Michael Cheng (from Taiwan), who look extremely cute together.
Far more than the residents of Presidio Terrace, they represent us.
And all of us are probably more than a bit jealous.
We would've like to have done that.

If it were me, I would charge at least one thousand dollars per month for each of those 120 parking spaces. Which is below market, btw.

Pay up, or my fleet of disreputable used vehicles will be in front of your house every day.

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Every Saturday in my parents' house was Spaghetti Night. I think it was my mother's way of reminding us that though we were living in Europe then, we were Americans. Tomato and meat sauce over boiled noodles, plus garlic bread, and grated cheese. The uplifting food of a hallowed tradition.
My eating habits now are not so predictable.
And neither is my spaghetti.


Chopped fatty pork fried to render some grease, vegetables -- last night it was fuzzy melon (節瓜 'jit gwaa'), which slightly resembles zucchini, but it could have been anything -- added to the pan, plus chopped green chilies, and curry paste. Over Chinese wheat noodles.
With a grind of fresh pepper.

I prefer the flat noodles that look like fettuccine.
The Chinese types cook much faster.

What makes this queer concoction virtually and karmically the same as the all-American 'Spaghetti Bolognese' that my mother cooked?

Simple; it also contains tomato paste and a bay leaf.
The bay leaf makes all the difference.
That is the tradition.

Literally, this is "tomato meat sauce Italian noodle", 番茄肉醬意麵 'faan-ke yiuk-jeung yi min'. And it's quite safe for modern wussy White people, because despite the presence of meat, gluten, and flavour, it is mysteriously Asian, and contains ginger and turmeric, which they firmly believe cure everything besides nurturing your chakras.

You wouldn't criticize something that natives have eaten for thousands of years, would you? And chilies; a shout-out to the people who were here first, whom Donald wants to keep out! Solidarity!

You could use tofu. But what's the point?

A while back I heard a customer at the nearby taqueria asking if they could make his burrito with a gluten-free flour tortilla.
Yes of course he was White.

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Sunday, August 06, 2017


The political situation in the tea-growing region of Darjeeling (West Bengal) is looking grim, with strikes and violent protests seriously interfering with production of what appears to be the only crop worth harvesting.

Which, personally, affects me little.

The tea I drink is predominantly from China, and even among black teas there are a large number of splendid ones which come from there.
Plus there's Ceylon, and several areas of Java and Vietnam.
Kenya, Tanzania, and Thailand.

Really, I'm okay with chauvinistic Ghorka agitators pissing on their own shoes, economically speaking. Sure, for the Germans and the Japanese it may be a disaster, and the British will also dread the prospect of Darjeeling running out sometime later this year and remaining unavailable for a few years more, but in all honesty my piles don't bleed for them.
Or the separatist Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.

From China the following are well worth drinking: Keemun (祁門 'kei mun'), Yunnan Black Tea (雲南紅茶 'wan naam hung chaa') Lu An Red (六安紅茶 'lok on hung chaa'), Dian Hong (滇紅 'din hung'), Yingde Black Tea (英德紅茶 'ying dak hung chaa').

Darjeeling is sometimes called the 'champagne of teas'.

None of the tea I drink comes from Darjeeling.

So whatever, little bandy-legged dudes.

Riot all you want.

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After a long day of dealing with the poopy-heads in Marin County, a man might want some comfort. Which meat and vegetable noodle soup most definitely is. It's better than cocktails, but not quite as good as a steamy romance, so all things considered it's pretty darn swell.


Last night's dinner. Bellpepper shreds and coarsely separated great green vegetable, (大青菜 'daai ching choi'), a smaller amount of slivered pork, soup stock. Sliced green onion, slivered ginger. And chili peppers.

Precook the noodles as per the package directions, drain and rinse.

Sliver the pork, marinate in a little sherry, cornstarch, sugar, and soy, for fifteen minutes. Heat some grease in a pan, briefly cook the green onion and ginger, then add the pork and bell pepper and a drizzle of the marinade and stirfry. At the right moment add stock and water, bring to a boil, dump the great green vegetable into the pan to blanch, then add the noodles for a brief reheat followed by decanting everything into a suitable bowl.
Garnish with chilipeppers as desired.

Do please note that the chilipeppers can also be added at any time during the cooking, and that most Chinese would not add the bellpepper.
But I also had bellpepper, and I like the crunch.
It adds a niceness to the dish.

All quantities are based on common sense.

In both written and spoken Chinese, unless particularly specified, all meat (肉 'yiuk') is pork, all vegetables (菜 'choi') are cabbage, and all noodles (麵 'min') are made of wheat.

Per the dictionary, the bellpepper is 柿子椒 ('chi-ji chiu'; "persimmon pepper"), but at Cantonese markets it will usually be called 甜椒 ('tim chiu'; "sweet pepper"), or 青椒 ('ching chiu'; "green pepper"), sometimes 燈籠椒 ('dang lung chiu'; "lantern-basket pepper"). Hot peppers (chilies) are 辣椒 ('laat jiu'; "pungent pepper") or 尖椒 ('jim jiu'; "pointy pepper", Jalapeño), black pepper is 黑椒 ('hak chiu'; black pepper) or 胡椒 ('wu chiu'; "Turkish spice"). Anciently 胡 ('wu') meant the Turks and other savage heathens from the wastelands, but nowadays it is usually used for recklessness, stupidity, and things that are not quite done.

On Friday I didn't think to eat until after teatime, and ended up having two little pastries at a bakery in Chinatown. I do not do well on low bloodsugar, it may have affected my sanity yesterday.

I also don't do breakfast. Except for coffee.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017


Until today I had no clue who Lena Dunham is. But a friend is outraged that Lena Dunham is trying to get two American Airlines employees fired over anti-transgender remarks in a private conversation that Lena overheard.

Frankly, I don't give a damn. Some self important twat tweeting stupid things doesn't cut my gristle. I do not understand why Lena Dunham is famous, I have never watched her shows or movies, and it's of no import whatsoever that she has all the charm of earth-moving equipment.

She should go piss up a rope.

And devil-worshipping transgenders overwhelmingly(!) supported Trump, so they can go piss up a rope too. As indeed can all those neurotic New York noodges of whom Lena Dunham is the archetype, and for whom Lena Dunham is the one whose coming was foretold.

Today someone assured me that we were all under the control of Admiralty. He also can go piss up a rope.

One person today inquired about "the most organic tobacco".

"I'm sorry, it's all vaccinated AND gmo."

Go piss up a rope.

Caitlin Jenner, Jenny McCarthy, Vani Hari, Gwynneth 'Goop' Paltrow, Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco, Vladimir Putin, Michael Farage, Geert Wilders, Texas, Benjamin Netanyahu, Caroline Festering Bio-hazard Glick, Narendra Modi, the Bharata Janata Party and their gau rakshak goondas, Fox News, New York, Hollywood, and Bernie Sanders can all go piss up a rope.
Milo Yanniopoulos can go piss up a rope.
So can Alex Jones.

Trump can't, but that's only because his brain and bladder are old, decrepit, and dribble a lot, plus he's full of something else.
Ooze up the rope.

Somebody informed me recently that the reason why German tanks rolled all over the French tanks in World War Two was because the French tanks were veneered -- brilliant and stylish furniture finishes are what the French are known for -- whereas the Germans had steel. Cold hard steel.
Ford motor quality. If you know what I mean. Hint, Hint.
A novel and charming idea, but totally berserk.
That person should piss up a rope.

Pissing up a rope leads to greatness. When architect Domenico Fontana was installing the famous Obelisk in Saint Peter's Square, it was the simple sailor Benedetto Bresca who saved the day on 28 September 1586 by yelling that they should piss up a rope. The friction lessened, the cords tightened, and the work was completed. True story. Look it up.

Per Wikipedia, "organic matter makes up between 65% and 85% of urine dry solids, with volatile solids comprising 75–85% of total solids. Urea is the largest constituent of the solids, constituting more than 50% of the total. On an elemental level, human urine contains 6.87 g/L carbon, 8.12 g/L nitrogen, 8.25 g/L oxygen, and 1.51 g/L hydrogen. The exact proportions vary with individuals and with factors such as diet and health."

By Jmarchn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I also have other useful suggestions.
File under "life hack".
Just ask.

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