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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


When he was first spotlighted, the reaction of Chinese netizens was swift, and on the whole unfavourable; they did not like him. Since then, he's made fewer and fewer appearances, and now seems to have disappeared entirely.

He was shunned because they felt he was ugly, and said as much.

How very mean! And how superficial of them!

He's an auspicious animal.


[Source: Weibo, via BBC.]


Kang Kang the monkey did nothing to deserve such ill treatment, and an apology is in order.

All of you heartless cretins should be ashamed of yourselves.

Is that any way to start the new year?

Well, is it? Is it?!?


NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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In looking over my own recent Facebook activity, I belatedly realize that "grouchy old codger" describes at least one aspect of my personality.
Not that I've ever considered spreading sweetness and light, OR radiating a note of positive encouragement.
I do not wish to inspire.

My Facebook activity paints an unflattering picture of my personality.
One with which I'm actually quite pleased. A grown man should never strive to be 'Little Miss Sunshine', but rather adhere to sane and coldly nihilistic realism. And sometimes, rain on parades.

To review:

On a report that the Stockton Street car ban may become permanent:
"The suggestion to expand it to Chinatown? Great way to kill the neighborhood and make it possible for developers to buy it up and put high rise office buildings there."

"Which, of course, will benefit all the usual people."

San Francisco politicians would love to get rid of Chinatown, and certain individuals may be inspired to get back at the neighborhood for not voting as Ed Lee told them to in the last election. Erasing the place would be immensely profitable, as at present it is little more than lots of poor people not paying enough rent or taxes, and squatting on the best piece of real-estate in the city, which would be an enormous gold mine if all those poor people would just leave. Chinatown only serves one purpose, as far as City Hall is concerned, and that's to provide tourists from elsewhere with a folk-loric experience and exotic thrills. A two block stretch of Grant Avenue -- for instance, between Bush and California Streets -- would do that admirably. The rest of Chinatown looks seedy and run down, and detracts from the sheer commercial beauty of our city, as well as it's appeal to investors.
There isn't even a Starbucks there!

The last time politicians told us something was a brilliant plan, we ended up paying through the nose for Willie Brown's stadium. The time before that, they tore down the freeway and everybody with holdings along the waterfront became fabulously rich while countless businesses in Chinatown and North Beach went bankrupt.

Naturally, one should be paranoid when San Francisco politicians have ideas. That usually means someone is going to get screwed.

On a comment string devoted to a medical visit:
"Never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your butt!"

"Consult a professional in this case. It might help."

Years ago, during a visit to the emergency room with a pipe cleaner jammed in my ear, over a dozen medical people examined me with bemusement, one by one, and each of them gave me the advice their daddy OR their college professor had given them: "never stick anything smaller than your elbow in your ear". That sage advice, though irritating at the time, as well as patronizing, applies to many situations.
It isn't just limited to ears.

Why did I have a pipe cleaner stuck in my ear? Does the phrase "cheapskate Dutchman" mean anything to you? And it seemed like a good idea when I had run out of Q-Tips.

On a sneer that San Francisco built a stadium at taxpayer expense while doing nothing about the homeless:
"Santa Clara is NOT San Francisco, but rich asshats connected with the boom economy."

Everything south of Daly City needs to be gassed out of existence, and returned to cattle pasture.

On the question whether San Francisco should ever host the Superbowl again:
"Please, never again!"

Machine-gun toting security goons scared that if they relax their vigilance for even one moment they will get butt-raped by one of the natives, and a whole bunch of Republican racist asswipes from North Carolina, Colorado, and points further hick, trashing the city, along with opportunistic criminals from Oakland, are in no way anything to have encouraged, and once experienced should never be repeated. It was repulsive.
Please go back to Denver, Charlotte, and Oakland.
And never come back to San Francisco.
You guys suck balls, big time.
So does Ed Lee.

[By the way, one of my friends suggests that blowing over five million San Francisco taxpayer dollars on hosting big corporations and rich shmoes who paid four thousand five hundred dollars on tickets demands an audit and an investigation. He is convinced that Ed Lee and his master Willie Brown will reap mega political bucks out of this, as payback for subsidizing "business". Personally, I think that is an unfounded assertion, and far too cynical. All the small businesses and working stiffs in San Francisco undoubtedly benefited, and most people at the stadium down in Santa Clara assuredly were those very same working stiffs, who had shelled out four and a half K for the occasion, and gladly forked over thirteen bucks for watery beer. Surely Ed Lee and Willie blew all that money out of sheer goodness and civic pride! 
Any attempt to recall mayor Ed Lee in November is just mean.]

On a phrase quoted in reference to Frances Yip:
"BTW: "happiness that overflowing from her heart" is a phrase that makes me want to barf."

Make no mistake, Frances Yip is a stellar performer, whose rendition of the theme song from Shanghai Shoals (上海灘 'seung hoi taan') is still ever-green, deservedly a classic. Her other work is not to be sneezed at. But describing her with the statement "happiness that overflowing from her heart" is just wrong. Very wrong.
Totally pukeworthy.

On a post about rioting and arson on Lower Polk last Saturday night:
"Well, that's in the dmz between "Lower Nob" and "Upper Loin". So it was just techno-yuppies who were high on designer drugs."

This city is being overrun with people like that. To quote a neighbor, something bad is brewing, soon the shitcan will blow up all over the newcomers.

*   *   *   *   *   *

One reaction which I did not post, but probably should have, on various pipe smoking fora where members were expressing joy at what was in their briars:

"Why does every single redneck pipe tobacco smell like goddamned fruitloops?"

Real tobacco smells like tobacco; not vanilla caramel raspberry ape barf. Good lord. Some of you guys are sick bastards, candy-huffing psychopaths. Did y'all grow up in houses of ill-repute?
Buch of miserable degenerates.
Real tobacco!

I am a grouchy old codger.
It's a gift.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016


As you know, the Year of the Monkey started yesterday morning, in consequence of which several readers discovered an essay I wrote a few years ago which seems perfectly appropriate for the festive season. Wherefore I would bring it to your attention.
It is informative and educational.

Dare I say it, enlightening.

[ ]

I must correct a misapprehension that I had at that time, and which many people still have, namely that mid-fifties means elderly or even antique.
That is by no means accurate.

The mid-fifties are the 'new Lion King era', albeit primarily for males.
Men of that age have finally matured, become thoughtful, and many of them are ready to settle down with a zesty hot blonde.
Who could be of either gender.
Possibly both.

Being the eccentric that I am, hot blondes (of all genders) do not do much for me -- small zesty brunettes, on the other hand -- but I sincerely encourage all hot blondes who read this to seriously look at the single men around them again. Sure, the scraggy-chinned hipster with the man-bun and the fancy bicycling get-up may look appealing, but he's got nothing on Captain Haddock over there.

Young men, especially nowadays, are largely soulles "shpritz-for-brains" and cannot possibly give you the intelligent conversation and "beefsteak-in-a-romantic-grillroom-with-fine-wine-and tablecothes" that you desire.

They're still eating tofu, kale, and glutenfree pizza at that age. As well as interrupting every single conversation with "hold on, I've got to answer my cell phone", "this is great for your abs", and similar inane utterances.
Heck, many of them would rather play World of Warcraft or Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution than have a conversation.

For your information, I am a vibrant and mature male, with well-formed thoughts, and an educated taste in food. And I never play video games, but smoke a pipe, read books and scholarly articles, and take long walks accompanied by an imaginary dog.

Nor do I have a cellphone; we will not be interrupted.

Remember, monkeys cure gout!
I can prove it.

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Yesterday evening my apartment mate returned home happily vocalizing about ice-cream. Then she had a bowl while watching Home Shopping Network. Rocky Road, made with dark and walnuts.
I'm more of a chocolate swirl kind of guy.
Or caramel swirl. With chocolate.

She was happily oblivious to everything except the intellectual concept which is known as 'mallowmar', apparently an East Coast variation on what civilized people may know as 'negerinnetetten'. We don't have those here. She wondered about them.

Now, kindly imagine what would have transpired if at that moment I had been debauching a young lady with bowls of caramel swirl gelato. She would be lying in my bed, nearly nude, with stickiness around her lips.
It was a warm day, unseasonable, and the partial disrobing is explained the same way as the ice cream: cooling down for comfort. And it allows her to clutch one of the monkeys to her bosom, who is loudly clamoring for banana flavour. Dammit, where's my nana and dairy!

"What kind of a heathen country is this, with banana igloo bars so hard to find?!?

"Bollocks, I say, complete and utter pig bollocks!"

"Honey, I think he's talking about you", the young lady whispers into my ear with her hot sticky rosebud lips brushing my lobes -- it had been a very large and delicious serving -- as she hides completely under a sheet from the now agitated simian.

"Why on earth would you think that?" I shall then ask, "you haven't seen them yet!"

Which is true; our partial undress is "modest".

And only for the heat.

[Clarification as of 11:15 AM: It should be mentioned that I merely removed my socks and shoes, but encouraged her to take off far more, because women are so sensitive to excesses of temperature, and I am a considerate and caring man. The monkey,
of course, is more carefree and disarrayed than either of us.]

Right about now my apartment rate comes leaping in, hollering about icecream, gaily oblivious to the other human in the room.

Who, still hiding from the rambunctious ape, remains entirely invisible. Consequently my apartment mate does not notice her at all. And hands me a big bowl of ice cream: "here, taste this, it is delicious!"
Cautiously I try some. It is indeed delicious.

A small monkey paw comes out of the covers with a spoon, scoops up a bit, and withdraws into hiding again. There are smacking sounds, and my apartment mate stares, mesmerized.

"Who is THAT?!?"

Three voices simultaneously exclaim "monkey", thus blowing believability. Mine and hers, OR mine and the monkey's, would have been logical.

My apartment mate now draws back the blankets, to reveal my delightful debauchee with a furry animal on her chest, who in the icecream interval had managed to reclaim his favourite spot, and now assertively insists:
"I found her, she's mine!"


The beast growls possessively, to protect the young lady from my depredations. I am flummoxed.


The Rocky Road Icecream was very good, even though marshmallows always make me think of little odious bubbles of slime. Unfortunately there was no innocent maiden to have some also, and the monkey merely sneered from the other room, because there was no banana.
So I had to eat too much ice cream last night.
One bowl of swirl, and bowl of road.

The amusing thing is that my apartment mate's boyfriend is lactose intolerant. So she has to share the icecream with me.

One of the monkeys (the small gorilla) is presently sitting in the teevee room with a box of Lemon Bites from Just Desserts on his lap.
I think he's trying to tell me something.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Monday, February 08, 2016


Given my schedule, it should not surprise you that I am looking forward to tomorrow. Which is when my weekend begins. Normally I head into Chinatown for sustenance, but tomorrow will necessarily be somewhat exploratory, seeing as many places will still be closed for New Year.
Those that aren't may become wonderful new favourites, however.

Doubtlessly many of the Bubble Tea shops will be open; teenagers need their fruity tapioca ball drinks, the world is a cold and sad place if these aren't available!

Several of the emporia and restaurants that cater to tourists will likewise be open for business, because who knows, a rich Iowan or New Hampshire matron of enormous girth and no taste whatsoever may waltz in, squeal in happy discovery, and promptly blow half of her late husband's fortune on Trinkets! And Eggrolls!

The world is also a cold and sad place without trinkets and eggrolls.

Although today is the first day of Chinese New Year, I shall be working. The rules of good luck and bad luck work differently for white people, maybe not even at all, and I am white, so I have no pressing need to avoid potentially fraught encounters.

If necessary, I shall tell people that what they want, they cannot have.

Gently, with compassion, but evenso exceedingly firmly.

Maybe there are alternatives.

You cannot have Cubans because the embargo has not been lifted yet, Denver lost yesterday so sad so sad, our side will win the next election and you will be bereft, it's still bad for your health no matter how much kale you put in it, have you considered putting a raw beefsteak on that eye, and that's a damned ugly motorcar.

All uttered quite sincerely, with a charming clarity to my voice and my diction, like I'm their newly-found understanding uncle or whatever.

I'm actually thinking of what I will have for lunch tomorrow as I say that.

And wondering if a nice strong cup of milk-tea may be had.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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The heck with it; simply avoid cigar smokers as much as possible. Most of them are pricks.

[Petulant whine that occupied this space removed. Anything written so late at night is often rather unreadable. And therefore not worth putting down, save for the cooler headed review afterwards.]

I do not want their bananas.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Sunday, February 07, 2016


We closed at three today so that the cigar smokers in the lounge could enjoy the Superbowl in quiet undisturbed comfort, screaming and yelling, with no incriminating cellphone photos, nor reports of their unseemly hi-jincks reaching their wives.

These are people whom I see nearly everyday. We get along well.
They brought a tonne of food. Arranged a veritable feast.
All spread out, buffet style, where I was working.

They invited my co-worker to eat with them.

They and their food started arriving before two o'clock, serious eating began shortly thereafter. And some of that food smelled absolutely wonderful, even over the cigar fumes. I had to pass by frequently while working.

The fragrance permeated my working area.

I left at five o'clock, having cleaned up nine fine briars after we closed, for a customer who is moving across country.

They were still noshing at that time, there was that much food.


I'm home, and I finally had lunch, moments ago. It was just a convenient microwaveable item purchased from a shop around the corner from my apartment. The uninspiring sandwich I brought to work in the morning from 7-eleven will be still in the refrigerator tomorrow when I get in.

[Here are a few phrases that were never uttered by the organizers of the ad-hoc picnic:
"Have you had lunch yet?" "Would you like a bit to eat?" "Have some of this!"
"Surely you'll enjoy a bite?" "Have some food!" "Please, take a plate!"

"Say, it's right around your lunchtime, why don't you join us!"
"Please eat something!" "Are you hungry?"]

It is NOT that I necessarily wished to be included, but what happened was completely and clearly the opposite.
Done deliberately.

By the time the football game had started, an invite would have been politely demurred with either one of two face-saving lies: "no thank you, I've already eaten", or "no thank you, I'm too busy right now".

If at such a moment I said that I wasn't hungry it would have been the truth.
I had lost my appetite, and wouldn't have enjoyed eating at all.

[In any case, no grudging leftovers were proffered, so that is a moot point.]

Consuming my 7-eleven sandwich anytime between two and five o'clock might likely have been seen as "the insult and exclusion of the individual has been registered and understood", or maybe "what the hell is wrong with him?" It could also have been taken as pissing on every one else's parade. Whatever; avidly interpreted or mis-interpreted, and one should rather not have one's humble crust subjected to analysis and undue interest.

Especially when it cannot compare to the exquisite and varied dainties that every single other person present is having.

[Hypothetical conversation that did not, and will never take place: "Did you have some of the food?" "No." "Why not?" "Because I was not offered any." "Then why didn't you say something!?!" "Hell will effing freeze over before I whine to please be included!" "Don't be so stupid! You could have eaten!" "Am I a beggar?!?" ('And screw all of you cocksure oafs.')]

My coworker, who is staying until the game is over, is welcome to their company.

No, I actually can't stand football, and sportsfans get on my nerves.
They tend to be a crude and graceless lot.
Complete swine.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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A good friend knows someone who is vegetarian, gluten-phobic, lactose intolerant, and just sheerly LOVES sweet and sour tofu.
Vegetarian is a choice, often a rather stupid one.
Gluten-phobic is a mental condition.
Lactose intolerant?

Sweet and sour tofu is NOT food!

Seriously, if you really like tofu -- some people do, even though if they're white they're probably kind of crazy and food-nutzo -- you should know that tofu is totally stupendous prepared ma-po style, with fried chopped bacon still greasy from the pan added. You might even do fish chunks and black bean sauce with chilies and crumbled tofu.
Or even just plain, served with peanuts and Sriracha.
Also pressed, dressed in vinegar and garlic.

Sweet and sour tofu is an abomination.

Slice the tofu into large chunks, cut a slit in the side of each piece and insert a teaspoonful of stinky fish paste, then wrap each piece with a strip of bacon, double dip (flour and salt and pepper breadcrumbs), and chuck it in the deep fryer. Serve it with hot sauce (Sriracha), mustard, and a zesty remoulade.

Sweet and sour tofu is weird white sh*t.

Bacon & tofu spaghetti Alfredo.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Saturday, February 06, 2016


An Asian American female, probably of Chinese or Vietnamese ancestry, maybe even Japanese American. About sixteen or seventeen years old, of slight build, with a square and intelligent face, pale-ish complexion. Speaks clear unaccented English, has a good vocabulary. Height around five foot three or four inches. Thin, possibly no more than ninety or a hundred pounds.

Somewhat shy and hesitant, uncertain of herself. Tends to hold her hand in front of her mouth rather a lot.

Encountered at the Marin City Bus Hub at Donahue and Terners Street at six fifteen PM, Saturday February 6th., 2016.

She approached me and asked about homeless shelters or resources, stated that she was homeless, and explicitly requested that I not mention to anyone that she was homeless because she was trying to "keep a low profile". Which, along with her innocence and uncertainty makes pretty plain that she is a very recent runaway.

Not having a cellphone, I called the Marin Sheriff's Department immediately upon reaching home.

Naturally I became more and more worried about her the more I thought about what I had encountered. To put it in dirty old man terms, she's tasty. And very young. And of slight build. Just imagine everything that can go wrong.

I guess she approached me because I look harmless. Or avuncular.

I just wish that I had been fully alert at the time, instead of somewhat abstracted.

Two other crucial data: her clothes were greenish, possibly army surplus type, baggy; and the young lady did not have a pronounced bosom.

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Friday, February 05, 2016


The top three posts that readers have visited for the past week on this blog have been Chinese New Year related.

Feb 1, 2011
Pageviews: 1340

Oct 1, 2011
Pageviews: 268

Jan 30, 2011
Pageviews: 195

[Oh by the way: If nothing else, you really must grasp the the lucky money and lucky phrases gestalt: Appropriate mental frame work. Why? Because if you don't, everyone will think you are an idiot. If you aren't Caucasian, they might be right.]

I am glad to see that people are using the internet to research stuff that is vastly more important than kitten pictures, Donald Trump, smut, or the Super Bowl.

I myself seldom look up three out of those four.

Though I admit a weakness for kittens.

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Martin Shkreli. That is the person you need to always recall when the words "smirky douchebag" are uttered. Because mister Martin Shkreli -- a great American entrepreneur of Yugoslavian (crypto Albanian) ancestry from the bowels of Brooklyn -- completely exemplifies "smirky douchebag", as well as everything wrong with modern American capitalism.

The Smirky Douchebag (Mr. Martin Shkreli) purchased rights to produce a medication for Turing Pharmaceuticals, a company he had started, and immediately raised the price of a single dose.
To seven hundred and fifty dollars.

It had previously cost a mere $13.50.

The Smirky Douchebag in action.

Turing Pharmaceuticals.

From Wikipedia:

"In accordance with Shkreli's business plan, Turing acquired Daraprim (pyrimethamine) – an FDA-approved therapeutic since 1953 – for US$55 million on August 10, 2015, from Impax Laboratories. The drug's most prominent use as of late 2015 was as an anti-malarial and an antiparasitic, in conjunction with leucovorin and a sulfonamide, to treat patients with toxoplasmosis, including in AIDS populations. The patent for Daraprim expired in 1953, and no generic version was available. The Turing-Impax deal included the condition that Impax remove the drug from regular wholesalers and pharmacies, and so in June 2015, two months before the sale to Turing was announced, Impax switched to tightly controlled distribution. In keeping with its strategy for pricing in the face of limited competition, Turing maintained the closed distribution"

[End cite.]

Unfortunately, because Martin Shkreli has so clearly won the title of Smirking Douchebag from all others who were competing for the distinction (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Yassir Arafat, Phyllis Schafly, Idi Amin, Ted Nugent, Vladimir Putin, and a whole diverse host of contenders), the very useful expression 'Smirking Douchebag' can now ONLY be used in connection with his name. No one else comes so close.
Or so perfectly exemplifies the concept.

Martin Shkreli IS Smirking Douchebag.
Always and forever.

His parents must be so proud.

Of course, this is only an opinion. Please feel free to nominate any and all candidates that you think are better qualified in the comments field, and briefly explain why they deserve the honour.
I am all ears.

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Thursday, February 04, 2016


While wondering what there might possibly be to eat or snack upon in this neighborhood that didn't require me to cook it myself -- I'm tired right now, and don't feel like whipping up a sambal goreng, bami, or ayam bumbu rudjak -- I cruised into youtube, and found a food video that spoke to me.

And when I say that it spoke to me, what I mean is that is was rude, crude, and totally spot on.

You've heard me mention that everything tastes better with hot sauce, yes? Even food in Marin, which is where I ate today. Whatever the heck "chicken salad" is, a chicken salad sandwich tastes infinitely better with hot sauce.
If they also added some crispy bacon, sharp blue cheese, and toasted cumin, it might be more than merely edible, but hot sauce is essential.

It de-borifies it.

There are not enough Mexicans in Marin.



Now, please understand that Jus Reign, who made the video, lives in the middle of Canada, where spices and flavour are hard to come by. Their cooking started off as British, and then improved on that by removing anything even remotely eye-brow raising.

And, sadly, he didn't even feature the national dish: Poutine.
Just add hot sauce.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Now here's the thing. I spent several hours in Chinatown yesterday.
I purchased my necessities and essentials, I ordered a Hong Kong stye milktea, and two pastries to snack upon, and I interacted with an elderly Hokkien-speaking gentleman while in a Cantonese bakery.
I even translated for two disoriented French-speakers.
Without using one word of English.

Yet according to John K., who is "old Chinatown", older than me, and part of the generation that fought against racism and anti-Chinese sentiment in the sixties, I am faking it.
Because I don't know what I'm talking about.
And cannot possibly speak Chinese.
White guy faking it. Yep.

If so, several shopkeepers and coffee-shop counter girls, two old geezers, and a twenty something year old are too. Because they understood everything I said. In my "fake" Cantonese.

Know something?

Screw you John, screw Frank Chin, screw Maxine Hong Kongston, screw Amy Tan, and screw all of those "we so special we speak-ee old style Chinese we long-time Californ' we real Chinatown" types. Y'all grew up with your parent's ridiculous Toishanese country bumpkin dialect in your ears, you go into Chinatown and utter your transplanted rice-paddy squawks, and you insist that everyone listen to you, but you don't realize that you sound like turds, your accents and horrible diction mark you as old hat, and your godforsaken primitive dialect paints you into a corner of bitter stuck-up pretentious 'me so special' second generation expert on everything Chinatown.

Okay, you grew up in the sixties.

When Chinese folks were not accepted as real Americans.

The world owes you, you're genuine, you resent having been just "Chinamen". Proud American Chinese-ness is your commodity.
No one else is so utterly perfect at Chinese OR American sh*t.

I am sorry all of you have acid indigestion; maybe too many hamburgers? Milk shakes? Too much cheese? Bubble tea go down the wrong hole?

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016


My apartment mate has declared that the reason she should eat lobster is because it is low calorie, and very healthy for Cantonese people. She is Cantonese. "So why", she wails disconsolately, "is there no lobster?!?"
This poses the question: is she having her period at present?
Strange food cravings may mean menstruation.
Pregnancy too, sometimes.
Which is it?

I know what the answer is only because I can recognize what packaged sanitary pads look like. It's just one of those things that sets true geniuses and the previously romantically involved apart.

A very long time ago I was romantically involved.

The absence of romance in my life has directly or indirectly informed the greatest burst of creativity in history, that being well over two thousand gibberant and borderline creepy or insane posts on this blog over the past several years. Yeah man, trust me; a relationship was a horrible distraction that prevented me from doing anything at all.
Especially writing.

I honestly wouldn't mind being distracted again.

I am willing to supply lobster.

And mayonnaise.

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Speaking of karaoke, which we were, please refer back to snarky comment in a previous post about hanging out in a kaa laa o kei jau baa (卡拉OK酒吧) in Mongkok (旺角) till the wee hours, except that that did not happen, but the bookseller and myself did drop by a dive we've been visiting once a week for many years this evening, there are some songs that automatically excite viewer comment.

"Oh for heavens sake, don't make a cake! You've got a bad record with cake!"

"Have you ever had cake delivered by a hot pastry girl?"

"He should stick with the cake lady!"

"Yeah, she looks nice."

And trust me, the cake delivery girl does seem like a much sweeter and nicer woman than the somewhat insipid 'good girl' he ends up marrying. Neither the bookseller nor I could figure out what his problem was.



Alien Wang sings 搞砸了 (gǎozá le), in which cake plays a role nearly as great as his Donald Trump hair-do. Personally, rather than the dripp-o-riffic e-commerce yuppette he persists in courting, I would have gone with the cake girl. She looks rather sparky and intelligent, and someone with cake smeared all over her bosom just screams loveable and zesty.

His desperation to make good with his pissed-off girlfriend defies all reason. Dude, cake! Doesn't a smooshed delivery cake mean ANYTHING to you?!? What on earth is your problem?

Other than the name 'Alien Wang'?

Anyhow, he and the pissy drip end up getting married, which, of course, involves more cake. He's got a lousy track record with cake.
Cake and him are totally NOT simpatico.

His hair looks like Donald Trump.

It's after three A.M. Coffee and cake sounds real good right now.
Well, maybe not the coffee.
Just cake.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016


For the last month, numerous visitors have ended up reading stuff here about festival food for New Year (春節 'chuen jit'), much of which was written a while back. New Year is coming up in a few days (February 8 in 2016), and remarkably, that's one day after the Superbowl, which this blogger will NOT be celebrating.

Other things I shall not be doing at all (which you probably shouldn't either) include not only any dealing with all the screaming yutzes cheering on their football team -- strictly to be avoided, especially here in San Francisco, where city government has welcomed the imminent arrival of multitudes of such nasty creatures at tax payer expense -- but also consuming certain foods which are just not considered lucky during the two weeks following the beginning of the year.

No, I'm not superstitious. But why go against tradition?

There is no benefit to snarfing those leftovers.

Throw out those buffalo wings.

And the bean dip.


Sorry, just imagining what your house must look like after the forty drunken sportsfans have left. Half empty bags of potato chips, huge platters of rancid and overly greasy chicken parts, rumaki, ribs, and eggrolls purchased from Panda-Monium, strange spicy dipping slurries, greyish guacamole, and your elderly aunt Agatha asleep in the easy chair with her hair in disarray and a slice of pizza on her bosoms. Plus empty beer cans everywhere,
and food stains in the drapes. You sportsfans are weird.


For your information, these are the Chinese New Year food posts mentioned above: Dried oysters and black hair moss (好事發財 'ho si faat choi'), sea cucumber (海參 'hoi sam'), pork knuckle and sea cucumber (海參燜豬手 'hoi sam mun ju sau'), Singaporean New Year fish salad (魚生 'yü sang'). There is an entire list of propitious dishes mentioned here: 吉祥話 ('gat-cheung wa')

Please do note that all transcriptions of words reflect the Cantonese pronunciation. That's a personal preference, seeing as my Mandarin is pretty damned bad, and I have no idea what Northerners do for New Year in any case. Other than mob train stations in Guangzhou.


Tea-eggs: one is not supposed to do any cooking on the first day of the festival. Tea-eggs, consequently, are a good thing to prepare in advance, especially as their preparation changes them from white (associated with funerals and other sad events) to a lovely mottled golden brown.

Seeds: Sunflower, lotus, and pumpkin seeds: these represent lots of children, plus of course the prosperity that that implies.
Can be bought in many Chinese stores.

Nin gou: new year cake, which is a steamed fairly stiff pudding of glutinous rice flour, palm sugar, and a touch of oil. Available all over Chinatown, and there are recipes on the internet.
Thick slices can be pan-fried.

Noodles: no cut or broken ones, just extra long ones. Long noodles symbolize longevity. With Obama Care finally in place, that might be a good thing.

Chicken: cook it whole, with the head and feet on. Plain boiled chicken should be put on the altar as an offering (not something I do, but you should), and a whole roast chicken is propitious at the family dinner.

Tangerines: good luck, wealth, fortune, and all the rest of that.
Oranges are equally traditional, and whole blemish-free pomelos are suitable for the family altar.

Avoid squid, as when it cooks it curls up, precisely like a bedding roll, and hence symbolizes being either fired from your job or or forced to go on a long journey.
Also do not eat rice porridge (粥 'jook')), as that is commonly associated with poverty. If you are a Northerner, this means that breakfast may be a bit of an issue, and if you are having a late night snack in Mongkok (旺角) after drinking at the karaoke bar (卡拉OK酒吧 'kaa laa o kei jau baa') all night, you must find something else to settle your stomach and soak up all the Rémy Martin .


This blogger is a Caucasian living in San Francisco, presently single.
Consequently, the weight of tradition does not press on me, and as I cook for myself now, I have not prepared any of the special dishes in over five years. And I shan't be doing any significant house cleaning before New Years, or hanging up scrolls.

In fact, I will enjoy the festival while ignoring many of the traditions.

Nor shall I be hanging out late at karaoke bars in Mongkok.
I abjure and loathe karaoke, most of the time.
Perversely, I shall eat jook.
I love jook.

Spellcheck did not like this post at all.
It objected fiercely, then it failed.
I apologize for its oversights.

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Last year one of my friends described a restaurant dish he had eaten on the recommendation of the waiter as too gingery. The kitchen (white people, and Mexicans doing precisely and exactly what the white people had told them to do, better than an equivalent number of white people would have done) had gone overboard on the ginger, big time. He did not like it; coming from a culture that uses a lot of ginger, he felt that there were natural limits to its use. Like typical Anglos, they did not understand that.

Many white people go to excess when they bust out of their shells.
We've all met the weirdo who puts buckets of garlic in everything he cooks, as well as the people who insist the hotter the better, and repetitiously make themselves suffer in consequence.

This is often the result of bad white cooking.

I will admit that I too grew up with bad white cooking. Except for when my father took over the kitchen, or I snacked at the house of an "auntie". For "auntie", please read 'exile from Indonesia, living in the Netherlands after the revolution forced her and thousands of others to leave'. Valkenswaard had a fair number of such people (they're referred to as "Indos").
Some of them were 'uncles', of course.
Their food was fun.

Bad white cuisine can be alleviated by adding sambal (chilipaste), peanuts, fishpaste (trassi, blatjan, or petis), and a touch of garlic to almost everything.

Even tuna fish sandwiches.

Or salad.


Nowadays one of my favourite dishes is pork or fish slices cooked with bitter melon and fermented black beans (dousi), served over rice with a generous shploop of Sriracha sauce. There's just something incredible crisp and fresh and greeny-green and herbal comforting bitter about bitter melon.
It's so good!

I'm also incredibly fond of seriously fatty pork chunks steamed with lots of ginger. Hot sauce -- either a homemade sambal or the bottle product from Huy Fong Foods -- plays a serious role in enjoyment of the dish.

Lovely pork siumai in Chinatown? Sriracha!

Oystersauce over vegetables?

Just add sambal.

It's not that I use huge amounts of hot sauce, but if chilies, ginger, and fish sauce suddenly became unavailable, I would feel obliged to commit serious insurrection. What kind of horrible ghastly barbaric primitive pissant place lacks those essentials?

Buncha damned Midwestern pablum snarfers!

Like anyone who grew up in the Netherlands, I still dip my French Fries in Mayonnaise. But Sriracha is also in play, and always takes the place of the ketchup which bad white people add to everything.

I have NO good words for American mustard.
That stuff is extremely vile.

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Monday, February 01, 2016


Ted Cruz won the Republican side in the Iowa caucus tonight, because he shamelessly pandered to evangelicals. Personally, this blogger doesn't hold with those folks, and wouldn't trust them anywhere near him.
They make his skin crawl.

The same could be said of Mr. Cruz.

Actually, all of the Repudidates.

It is hard to be disillusioned with the Iowa Republicans, however, because there wasn't anyone on their side significantly better than Cruz.
And, truth be told, the Repudidates all spread their legs for Bible thumpers, especially when they go down south.

This blogger will never go to the deep south. I just don't get along well with flat-earthers, science deniers, creationists, and similar country folk living in the least educated states of this country.

It's not their fault.

Some of the finest people in this country are ignorant and stupid.

Bless their hearts.

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Suppose, for instance, you realized that you had a mouse problem. And also suppose that rather than dealing with it yourself, you wished that someone else would.

To which end you put up a job listing on Craig's List.

And someone applied for the position.


[SOURCE:, NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land.]

This Norwegian woman was born in the wrong species.
She's actually a cat.

"I have been running a lot after animals that can be seen in the shadows."

Far be it from me to sneer at someone else's rich inner life. And if I did, it would be both unseemly and out of place, besides hypocritical.
I too have a rich inner life.

There are times when I am glad I am not Norwegian.

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Sunday, January 31, 2016


Sometimes my ears play tricks on me. But at other times I'm absolutely certain I heard right. When traveling on the bus -- a favourite activity, given that I enjoy marveling at my fellow humans -- strange things are often to be heard, especially with people nowadays more likely to publicly engage in phone conversations than they were before cellular communication.

Nice blonde teenager talking to someone:

"Gigolos are necessary; Eskimos live in them!"

Yes dear, I'm sure you're right.

She looked sort of cute and sexy, but not particularly intelligent. Which meant that she did not look like someone one would like to know.
Intelligence is an absolute prerequisite.

And intelligence is often manifested by speech.

By that standard, none of the actual candidates in last Thursday's Republican debate are date material. Or even close.

Neither is Donald Trump, who refused to attend and instead had a debate all by himself elsewhere. He lost, in case you were wondering.
His opponent was just so much more forceful.

One thing that marked both "debates" in Des Moines was the unmitigated cynicism evinced by all politicians present. That, and their universal hatred of "foreigners", are hallmarks of this campaign.

Their definition of "foreigners" should frighten almost everyone. It is tailored to exclude anyone who isn't dyed in the wool tea-party trailer trash. And evidently it is okay for Joe Shmoe to rough up "foreigners" occasionally, just so that they know their place. This crop of Repu-didates is the most blinkered clatch of hatemongers in a long time.

As are their supporters.

Not very long ago we didn't want any Irish, Italians, Chinese, Jews, or Mexicans to enter the country.

Parts of the Republican Party evidently still feel that letting any of those people in was a huge mistake.

Although they make exceptions for Cruz, Fiorina, and Rubio.
Who are our kind of foreign.

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The question is "why?" Apparently the two teams in the fracas are the Seattle Seamonkeys and the Denver Johns, not even the local team ..... which is based in Santa Clara anyhow. So for no discernible reason, the city is throwing its bra into the air for a bunch of freeloaders from Washington and Colorado, plus all the drugdealers and pickpockets from Oakland and the rest of the East Bay.

Total cost? About four million.
Profit? Errrm, not so much. None directly to the city, although saloonkeepers will rake in a fortune.
Inconvenience to residents? Between "some" and "enormous".

You do know it's just a silly game, right?

Such excitement is bad for your digestion.

If any sports fans run riot, just shoot them.

[EDITORIAL UPDATE AS OF 1:11 PM ON WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 3rd.: It turns out that it isn't the Seattlers fighting the pot-huffing butchweasels, but some team from North or South Carolina I have never heard of. My bad.]

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Saturday, January 30, 2016


The porkchops over rice were tasty, but the waitress, though properly dressed, had me wondering what she would look like wearing a bathing suit. Perhaps one piece. This did not distract from my dinner, but added to it. There are times when my inner dirty old man has a field day.
My inner dirty old man and I afterwards went out into the rain to smoke a pipe, because it's part of my regular afternoon jaunt.
People do not wear swimsuits in the rain.
Not in this climate.

Unfortunately my inner dirty old man got rained on.
Not sure, but I think it's the weather.
A downer for the inner geezer.

It is good that the inner dude does not express himself. He's not allowed to. It would almost certainly be embarrassing if he did, because he ain't exactly as socially polished and adept as the outer man (which is me).
He would say things that might get us in trouble.

One of the people on the bus had the exact opposite thing going on his life. Ten blocks of crazy puffed-up white guy reading off the street signs and telling people to sit down now or get up. By the time he himself finally disembarked, I wished that someone would slap him. Other than muttering "shut up you tiresome bore" under my breath, however, I didn't react.

Being quiet and poker-faced has advantages.
Even my inner Neanderthaler knows this.
In that regard we think alike.

Still, she would've looked dynamite in a bathing suit. A sleek one piece black number. Someone should tell her so.

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Friday, January 29, 2016


In the years before the computer age few of us could have imagined how it would change our lives. I myself for instance had no idea that one day kitten pictures, pornography, and real-time food photos would be at my fingertips, all a mere click away.

I am especially grateful for the kitten pictures.
Technological progress is beautiful.

The food photography not so much. Seeing as I have an extensive collection of cookbooks. Food is serious business. As for the pornography, I miss the liquor store on Broadway in its previous iteration, when it was fondly referred to locally as the 'DBS'.


Beer, bourbon, cigarettes, cigars, candy bars, chewing gum, and serious smut. One would perhaps go there for a sixpack and a pack of cowboy cigarettes, then get distracted by the multitude of dusty paperbacks with straightforward promises of nastiness and filth. Magic.

[Yes, indeed there was also photographic fornicativia. The usual magazines, and unusual one-ofs. A limited colour palette, shot through vaseline-coated camera lenses.
The great American bald spread-eagle.]

Titles like 'Hardhat Chicken', 'Strawperry Pie', 'Saigon War Orphan's Torment', 'Spanking Miss Daisy', or 'Strapping Young Lads'.
Hours of reading fun, no illustrations.

Eventually all of these paperback novels will be uploaded to the internet so that scholars can research our past peccadilloes and write in-depth analyses of our primitive perversions. We will occasionally re-visit the dusty nastiness now passed, and our browsers will keep track of our searches, much like Amazon and Youtube, then suggest likely other things we might be interested in.

Cookie-functionality is built in. No real cookies.

"Honey, why does your computer want me to visit "Chicken Pot Pie" and "The Leather Underground""?

"Nothing, dear, just market research I did for work."

You will understand, of course, that the ONLY reason I ever went into the DBS was to purchase a Kitkat bar. Because I have always been very clean-minded, and just not interested in lovely poinky nipples, perky bottoms, or curvy thighs. But the fact that one could find out all about such things seemed a great and delicious freedom, and plain brown wrappers consequently suggested mind-expanding reading.
It was a kinder, gentler age.

In the present day, the old DBS is a boring place, and has fresh fruit available late at night instead of licentious literary exploration.

I still have a trench-coat, but I never wear it any more.
Modern twenty-somethings are cleanminded.
They lack the adventurous spirit.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016


It turns out that San Francisco is not only hosting the Superbowl, but also allowing the building of something called "Superbowl City". Which is very disturbing. Native and long-time San Franciscans are famously ambivalent about visitors. We stand to be inundated by out-of-towners during the nearly two weeks leading up to this ridiculous sporting event.

It could not be worse if Donald Trump came to town.

According to the informative internet site for Superbowl City, it (SB City) will be "Loud, proud, inclusive and authentic, just like the Bay Area itself".

Why are we modelling ourselves on the rest of this region?!?

Lets start with a few significant examples.

Berkeley: this is the hellhole that invented arrogant know-it-all disapproval of everything, as well as belligerent and self-righteous demonstrations against stuff they don't understand, or in favour of violent scum of which for some deranged reason they approve. Other than some unbearable hipsters and ultra-left dickheads, mostly in the Mission Street area (and their supervisorial representatives), we are not like that.

Oakland: a high crime zone with one hell of a sh*tty attitude problem, where no one civilized lives. There is no there there, but there are plenty of vegans and murderers there. We are not like that.

South San Francisco and Daly City: suburbia squared, no culture, no reason to visit, and except for shopping malls with a large number of Asian restaurants, nothing to eat. We are not like that.

Richmond: possibly the arse hole of the known universe. Explorers are still mapping its tundric wastes. We are not like that.

Fremont, San Leandro, Hayward, San Pablo, Piedmont, Redwood City, and other places: Thank heavens we are not like that.

That stretch of lumpy dung behind the East Bay Hills:
Bleah. We are not like that.

San Jose: it smells bad and eats too much. We are not like that.

And, last and deservedly least, Marin and Sonoma Counties: hot tubs, vegans, whiny poseurs, and potheads. We are not like that.

Other than the tattooed freaks, trust fund trash, and internet yuppies, who have immigrated here in the last few years, we're mostly working class meat eaters, and those weed-snarfing losers on Market Street are the worthless retard-offspring of Midwesterners and other cis-Sierans.

San Francisco: come for the steak and whiskey.
Light up a cigar while you're here.
Piss off a douchebag.

Please don't smoke marijuana or wear leisure suits during your visit; that's what Colorado is for.

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Whenever even remotely possible, I point out that we Dutch bought the entire continent for twenty two dollars worth of tchotchkes, we own it now, and everybody else should kindly leave. That usually sends the conversation off into the twilight zone.

My first Dutch ancestor came over in 1630. An Englishman from whom I am also descended arrived before that. Unfortunately several million other people in the United States can claim as much.
I probably wouldn't like them.

Due to this accidental family history, I am related to several American presidents. Regrettably I am also probably related to a large number of the Republicans embarrassing themselves in pursuit of that office.

And possibly Charlie Manson.

I am sorry. Those are the branches of the family we do not associate with. You know, the syphilitic inbred distant cousins, whose behaviour and mores are beyond questionable. The cornfed folk.
Please don't lump me with them.

I barely even eat potatoes.

We all have relatives we regret. The great thing about being an American is that many of those people are in Deventer, Toishan, or Gujarat.


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