At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


That pillow will need throwing out. After a little accident with a q-tip last week, my right ear has been leaking (just water!), and because I sleep leaning on my right side, you can pretty much guess what has happened.
There has also been some hearing degradation.
It's probably temporary.

After that intro, you will understand that life in the mansion 'At The Back Of The Hill' is not suburban family of four style, with a dog, a cat, goldfish, and bratty teenagers. Hasn't been for like that ever. As people get older, things deviate slightly or a great deal from the norm.
The older, the more peculiar.

It is slightly messy.
Mm, more than.

When I was still a pimple-faced adolescent I just assumed that life would be an endless progression of coffee and English-pipe tobacco filled days, with tea later on, a spot of reading, then more tea and reading. Plus bicycling hither and yon, and occassional bouts of other sh&t.

Actually, that's precisely what happened (except for the bicycle).

Although I no longer associate with bratty teenagers.

And I am now leaking from my ear.

There is a nearly full tin of Dunhill Nightcap tobacco nearby, my pipe is lit, and a cup of coffee is balanced on a stack of books. In another room the stuffed animals are getting ready to play "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" as a children's game -- they watched the movie recently, and some of them were quite taken with the two women therein -- and the weather outside seems to finally have reverted to San Francisco standard, leaving the rest of the Bay Area to swelter but us denizens of Baghdad to swan around gracefully, at peace with the overcast or fog and the profound fragrance of bucket loads of Latakia tobacco and sphagnum.

I am somewhat disappointed with how little I have achieved as well as the insignificance of my impact, but pleased with the enduring pleasure of life, and the fact the tea and tobacco have not disappeared, there are still so many books I haven't read, and nobody tells me to pick up my mess.

I believe bratty teenagers are over-rated, and don't turn into human beings until adulthood. Which seems to be sometime after the early twenties.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Monday, May 22, 2017


People cruise the internet for cats. Other things too, but the enduring appeal of 'I can has Cheezburger' proves that it's cats.
Which is why I am completely surprised that I have never before encountered Mitchiri Neko.



みっちりねこマーチ - MitchiriNeko March - Cute cat characters in a marching band!

Some people just cry tears of cuteness when they see this.

These "cats" are from a game, as Koukoupuffs details here.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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For the first time in ages I ate Indian food. Tandoori chicken, saag paneer, and garlic naan. Courtesy of my apartment mate. She wasn't impressed by the place where it was made, and I have put the remainder of the saag paneer and also the rice pilaf in the refrigerator.
It shall make a splendid breakfast.

Some time last week she had asked if I felt like a spot of Indian food; she needed to be in the vicinity of a new restaurant elsewhere in the city, and she is very fond of desi khana.
When she was still my significant other, I introduced her to it. Being Chinese American from a severely Toishanese background, it was quite new and startling for her. But she took to it like a duck to orange.
She's Chinese; they like food.

This was not that new restaurant, just one of the nearby dabhas.
Shan't mention the name. She didn't like it.

For years while I worked part time at the Indian restaurant of fond memory (it closed about four years ago, long after I left), I would have Indian food three times a week. Then for several years at least once a week.
Since Savage Kitten (my apartment mate) and I stopped being romantically involved with each other it is something I rarely even see. There is no point in going by myself, and anyway, our two favourite places have both closed.

I've actually eaten far more Chinese food since becoming single again than during the entire time of our relationship.

There are some things that one just cannot whip up easily at home. Anything which really requires a tandoor oven, for instance. The standard San Francisco apartment kitchen just isn't equipped with a clay-lined hole in the ground in which to build a fire. Perhaps as new buildings go up that will become standard -- we now have many more computer-wallahs and engineers than before -- but it will take a while before landlords of older rental units consider upgrading.

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Several weeks ago the Dutch politely assisted Turkish Family Affair Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya back to the border with Germany. She swore that she would have justice! This was an outrage! The Dutch Government had no business objecting to the undesired visit of an important Turkish official! There had been riots before her arrival, there was discord and fury after her departure. Turkish Netherlanders demanded that the Dutch apologize, and the Turkish government announced it would sue the Dutch.

We'll see you in court!

Bad Cheesehead! No candy!

As it turns out, that odious woman left voluntarily, and neither she nor the loathsome state she serves have a legal foot to stand on.

She is, never-the-less, an undesirable provocateur, as well as rabid. Like her master Erdogan, she is repulsive and toxic.

Turkish blowhards like her, of which there are too many, should be personae-non-gratae in the civilized world.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017


Thanks to a "friend" I am now more aware than ever of the loopiness of my fellow Americans. This friend, whom I will imagine as a chainsmoking middle aged woman with curlers, wearing a housedress, and with a long-ashed cigarette dangling out of the corner of her mouth, e-mailed me a link to a long screed on a feelsies site.
She added the phrase "enjoy it; this is why we can't have nice things!"

Herewith a short excerpt from the post which woke her ire:

"Tonight after sending him to sleep and with more calm energy I explained to him why I lost it today.. then he fell asleep and I started to work energetically with him to understand what my son needs from me to grow resilience, kind and in appreciation.
I asked my guidance to show me and connect me with his true potential.
I asked my guidance to guide me to become a better mum to help him grow confident and aware of feeling and emotions and how to show them without feeling weak.
When I started to receive information through my psychic abilities I was blown away from what I perceived.
I was having a hand on his heart and I could feel lot of insensitivity in his system.
When I asked what was the cause of this insensitivity I have been shown the radiation from iPad, phones and computer. I have been shown that the radiation that bombard our electromagnetic field create a sort of barrier and shut down the communication between the heart and the mind.
In our heart there is a molecule that contains all information about our true potential and if those information are unable to be carried around and communicated to the rest of the body and to our brain because external influences we are unable to embody who we truly are which ultimately disconnect ourselves from ourselves therefore we are unable to live authentically."

End cite.

There was more. Much more. As badly written and as berserk.
This special dingbat exemplifies everything wrong.
There are words strung together.
She is very precious.

It's the kind of stuff that people lurking in doorways spout.

She is sincere. Obviously that isn't nearly enough.

My internet "friend" is beastly and cruel. Sending a link to this was the most evil thing anyone has done in a long time.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Early on I got forewarning about the cigar bar. Assuredly it was going to be crowded, people yelling at the screen, vile stogies, and scenes of mass insanity. Plus lucky shirts, body odours, and probably face paint.
The whole thing going down, starting at six in the evening.
By the time I could get there it would be eight-ish.
Several people might be drunk by then.
Conversation? Impossible.

The Warriors!

If that name doesn't excite you, you may be damaged. There is something wrong, perhaps you aren't fully human.

I already saw it. I wasn't too impressed. Apparently it was distantly based on Xenophon's Anabasis.

This synopsis courtesy of Wikipedia:

"..... a large army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Though Cyrus' mixed army fought to a tactical victory at Cunaxa in Babylon (401 BC), Cyrus was killed, rendering the actions of the Greeks irrelevant and the expedition a failure.

Stranded deep in Persia, the Spartan general Clearchus and the other Greek senior officers were then killed or captured by treachery on the part of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Xenophon, one of three remaining leaders elected by the soldiers, played an instrumental role in encouraging the 10,000 to march north across foodless deserts and snow-filled mountain passes, towards the Black Sea and the comparative security of its Greek shoreline cities. Now abandoned in northern Mesopotamia, without supplies other than what they could obtain by force or diplomacy, the 10,000 had to fight their way northwards through Corduene and Armenia, making ad hoc decisions about their leadership, tactics, provender and destiny, while the King's army and hostile natives barred their way and attacked their flanks.

Ultimately this "marching republic" managed to reach the shores of the Black Sea at Trabzon (Trebizond), a destination they greeted with their famous cry of exultation on the mountain of Theches in Sürmene: "Thálatta, thálatta", "The sea, the sea!"."

End cite.

The 1979 movie was of course set in the modern equivalent of Persia: the Bronx. All in all it was enjoyable, but staggeringly ridiculous. Cast of hundreds, colourful costumes, Coney Island.

I find it hard to imagine that modern San Franciscans can fully appreciate Xenophon; what he wrote about was far from their world, a different time, a different place, a totally different set of values.

I may be wrong about all of this.
That's not that unusual.

Stagger me.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017


Sometimes a man enjoys reading about something far more than actually seeing it. Especially if the man in question is not actually patient enough to sit through it. Which, of course, explains why I almost never go to movies anymore, and throroughly enjoyed the haphazardly subtitled Hong Kong films that used to play at the Chinatown theatres.
Reading was involved.

A phrase describing a character in 'What's The Matter With Helen', in a Wikipedia article about Hagsploitation, really excites me.

"An increasingly unstable and violent religious fanatic and repressed lesbian ... "

That promises some solid entertainment.

How did I come to this? What brought me to the article?

Simple. My apartment mate was watching 'Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte', which features Bette Davis as a batshit crazy old woman, a demented Agnes Moorehead as her vicious and near-illiterate housekeeper, and Olivia de Havilland as the thoroughly evil but rather attractive cousin, who is sweetly up to no good, and commits murder.
Oh heck, nobody in this flick has any redeeming qualities.
I found the Wikipedia article by typing the phrase "Dear old papa who killed John Mayhew" into my browser.

It wasn't just Hollywood that made these movies, the Brits also got a slice of the action.

"...the mummified remains in her daughter's bedroom"

From 'Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?' This movie has it all. Orphans, a miserable bitch, a boy with too much imagination, and hacking at a door with a cleaver to get at the brats behind it. Unfortunately the critics weren't one hundred percent kind, and the movie serves mostly as educational material in schools nowadays, along with an army film about syphilis.

Decrepit mansions, repressed lesbians, recycled stars .....

My apartment appears to have enjoyed the movie, much like she did its predecessor 'Baby Jane' a few weeks ago. She's on a Bette Davis kick.

It's fun when she gets these obsessions.
Just look at her face.

The stuffed animals enjoy it too.

Bette Davis was a great actress.

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Friday, May 19, 2017


At present my right ear is oozing. No, it's not a life-change, and I am certainly not going to brief my apartment-mate -- who functions as my common-sense voice and rational balance -- about this, because I would have to explain that issuance of an oil-rich exudate was the new and no doubt temporary "normal", as well as how this situation came to be.
I am going to ignore it until everything is predictable again.
While occasionally wiping my ear.

The stain on a paper towel is distinctly yellow limned, verging on brown-orange. A high fat content. It is a greasy or waxy exudate.

No pain, and only very minor swelling.

My apartment mate would panic, and urge me to see a practitioner. Several years ago I took a taxi to the emergency room, resulting in a vast number of junior doctors and stagiarists being very entertained at my having used a pipe cleaner in lieu of q-tips.

This time, it's my barber's fault.

My earpen slipped when I was twiddling a q-tip in my right ear while waiting for the bus, and I frantically tried to keep the pen from slipping. Pain and trauma happened, and it fell to the pavement anyway.
My hair is too short, there is no traction.
I am naked without my earpen.

Yes, I realize that I've just described a bit of looniness, and the idea of a pen behind the ear being essential for feeling clothed makes no sense. But I've always had a pen within reach, from the moment I leave the house till when I take it off at night. It's part of my sense of being decently equipped.
A man should remove his pen for writing, for sex, and for bathing.
That's just the way it is, okay?

It's a Bic round stick med/moy USA.
White shaft, black ink.

Fondly remembered here: Ostrander Bellepoint -- Cogitations

It is no longer made, but I've got a stockpile.

Life rule: Always carry a pen and a q-tip.

In a slightly related matter, the phrase "white chunky discharge" was on my mind a lot yesterday. In the middle of the night I found myself reading articles on the internet, and while that started with Trump news and politics, it eventually brought me to the blog of a person in the medical field. Where the phrase leaped out at me. White chunky discharge is not normally on my plate, but it lurked in my consciousness a great many hours.

It is surprising how many times one can remind a coworker of white chunky discharge. It just bubbles up, with surprising frequency.

Everything relates to white chunky discharge.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017


The other day, before heading off to lunch, I answered a friend's plaintive request for data. "What", Mordechai asked, "is the worst cookbook you've ever read?" Oh boy! Now, before going any further, I should boastfully mention that I have a tonne of cookbooks. It's an obsession.

My response:
Golden Gate Gourmet - volume II" (copyright 1962).


1 cup hot water
1 package orange flavor gelatin
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 lb. can whole, small sweet potatoes
14 ounce can pineapple chunks
2 4 ounce cans Vienna sausage

Combine the water, gelatin, salt, brown sugar in a 10" skillet and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the butter and lemon rind. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and add the sweet potatoes. Cook about 10 minutes, basting frequently. Drain the syrup from the pineapple chunks and put chunks into skillet. Drain the liquid from the sausages and add to the potatoes and pineapple. Cook about 10 minutes longer, or until sauce is thick and glossy. Serves 3.

[End cite.]

Got that? Orange jello, sweet potato, pineapple, and Vienna sausages.
If that doesn't spell school lunch to you, there's something wrong.
It sounds delish. Yummers. Nom nom nom.

I've actually never made it, despite my hunger, because I keep forgetting to buy those one pound cans of whole sweet potatoes.

Mordechai may have regretted asking the question.

He wrote back: "You're a vile person and bad things should happen to you."

In all honesty, I don't know what bad things he has in mind. Surely it can't be that he plans to cook this scrumptious meal and force me to eat it?
Does he possibly think I wouldn't enjoy that?
I repeat: nom nom nom!


What I had for lunch, after sharing the wonderful heirloom "recipe" shown above, was salt fish chicken fried rice. It was super tasty! And looked almost exactly like the stuff below.



No, I shan't give the name of the restaurant. I rather like being able to walk in and sit anywhere. If you knew where it was you might go, and the next thing you know it's filled with white folks ordering sweet and sour pork.
That's something which nobody wants.

Including a generous tip, the whole experience cost less than ten bucks.

Food, tea, atmosphere...  an elderly auntie reading the paper aloud in hometown dialect so thick you could cut it with a spoon.
Tile floor. Clean and spartan. Good eats.
Good people.

They also sell a few dim sum items plus mantou at a counter up front.
I've had their joong, and their cheung fun, but never the mantou.
That must be for Mandarin speakers living nearby.

One of these days I'm going to have the jiffy dinner.
If I ever remember to buy the sweet potato.
Or Mordechai comes to town.

What fun will be had.

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As many readers know, this blogger and an old friend visit the underside of Chinatown late at night once per week, in a misguided tradition of several years standing. He sells books, I used to be in charge of pricing second-hand Asian-language literature at the place where he worked.
Most of which is well-thumbed highschool science.
And some tomes on gardening.


For the benefit of people who might be interested in junior algebra, gardens of ancient Suzhou, and the Book of Mormon as translated into Laotian, we helpfully placed the text "second hand books upstairs" to the immediate right of the front door. It was my piss-poor calligraphy.

Somebody once demanded to buy the sign.

Whatever. Twenty five dollars.

Special price.

One of the delightful musical offerings that crops up nearly every time at the karaoke place is infinitely recognizable. Why, even after hearing it only once, it will stick in your ears like prickleburs in wool.



Other than being afflicted with spastic jerkiness, that singer looks better animated than she does in video. As a human, she seems drippy.
As a two-dee, she has a certain dorky charm.

She's a veritable bright-eyed vixen.
But strictly as a cartoon.

Most of the patrons ignore her and continue playing liars dice or telling tall tales in Cantonese. The karaoke is strictly for the white people. They flock in already drunk, yell "I love you mama" at the owner, and demand to sing Abba or Elton John. Rarely do they do rap (maybe Wutang Clan isn't even in the book), swill tequila and Heineken, and get thrown out when they start pissing folks off.



The song above is the acme of modern poetry.

Recently there was also 'Mockingbird Hill', with a video that broke the previous bounds of surreal. Unfortunately I cannot find it on youtube.
I really wanted to scare you straight!

My friend the bookseller thinks karaoke is an extremely bad idea, and will not entertain the thought that its primary usefulness is keeping stupid white people off the streets and out of trouble with the law.
He feels that they should be outside, instead of in here with us, and if the police wish to arrest them, so much the better.

The Chinese at the bar have not voiced an opinion.

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Courtesy of Kavin Senapathy and Ask An Entomologist, I am now aware of two things. One: Americans are quite startlingly batshit crazy, well some of them at least, and Two: People will put all kinds of things up their hoodiddliwhatsis.

I now also know more about chunky white discharge than is strictly speaking necessary, but we shan't go there.

A medical professional from Canada (Jennifer Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM) begs to inform that certain "stuff" may not be the best thing to put in a certain "place". I would have thought that this was obvious, but as a rational man and a life-long cynic I am naturally more objective about 'stuff' and 'place', than a mystical creative spiritual person or Gwynneth "Jade Hump-a-Lumps" Paltrow.

We live in the age of twinkie heads.

From Dr. Jen's wordpress blog:
Don’t put ground up wasp nest in your vagina

"This product follows the same dangerous pathway of other “traditional” vaginal practices, meaning tightening and drying the vagina which is both medically and sexually (for women anyway) undesirable. Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good). It could also wreck havoc with the good bacteria."
End cite.

In all honesty, I found the essay a bit hard to read. Primarily because of a fit of the giggles, secondarily because of other distracting things. Someone reads tweets in a William Shatner voice? Someone aims to elliminate 'Vaginal Shame'? There are pinecones? Bourbon cocktails?

Mostly, epic fit of the giggles.

The phrase "good freaking lord" definitely came to mind, but wasn't ever uttered, or hollered out in a maniacal cackle, because my apartment mate was already asleep in her room, and I didn't want to risk waking her up.
She had already ranted for twenty minutes about President Orange Face MacFingletwatt, so I needed a break, and I was smoking small cigarillos in the television room, which I am strictly not allowed to do but I can get away with late at night because the stink barely travels.
When she's asleep she doesn't notice.

Still, good! freaking! lord!

Oak gall up yer whatsits.

The woman who does that probably wears meaningful fabrics, eats all organic, chants mantras, and tells everyone about her spiritual beliefs and reincarnations. All frizzy hair and ethnic jewelry.

And owns a yoni egg.

It's magic!

Why the hell am I up at three in the morning thinking about hippie twats?

Read the article.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017


One of the best lines I read this morning was about Ann Coulter finally turning on Donald Trump. To quote: "She is just mad that the wall is not being built and there are still brown and black people in the US".
To which one person responded: "And she hasn't grown a penis no matter how angry she gets at her vagina.".

Ann Coulter per Wikipedia, once opined: "In 1960, whites were 90 percent of the country. The Census Bureau recently estimated that whites already account for less than two-thirds of the population and will be a minority by 2050. Other estimates put that day much sooner. One may assume the new majority will not be such compassionate overlords as the white majority has been. If this sort of drastic change were legally imposed on any group other than white Americans, it would be called genocide. Yet whites are called racists merely for mentioning the fact that current immigration law is intentionally designed to reduce their percentage in the population."

Alex Jones once spouted the theory that evil lizard aliens live among us.
Ann Coulter seems to prove that.

"I like the Jews, I like fetuses, I like Reagan."
-----Ann Coulter, tweeting

Well who wouldn't? I especially like Ronald Reagan now that he's dead.

In case you didn't know, the far right lionizes her, much like they lionize Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and president Donny Dingleberry.
They seem to like limp-dicked he-men.

The feels, man.

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Nearly five months ago I de-subscribed from a certain mailinglist and Facebook group because the pro-Trump batshit contingent vociferated about my undesirability and my general loathsomeness. Over the preceding four years I regretfully de-friended a number of people whose views I did not sympathize with, as those views became more irritatingly apparent.
Susan, now living overseas, had several times attempted to impress upon me that as a non-member of the tribe I just couldn't grasp certain eternal truths. Sometime last year she conclusively proved herself a racist.
And promptly got de-friended too.
Without regret.

In the Autumn of 2012, I quit the steering committee and the closed list of the organization. This was two years after I called it quits on a weekly protest, because of a crazy Russian woman and three poxxy East Bay blisters. Please note that the three poxxy blisters had drunk my coffee numerous times, just like others with whom I no longer associate.
You know, I regret having always bought the coffee.
I've soured considerably on those folks.

It is by that association with many of those individuals that I have also soured somewhat on the cause. It's still worthwhile, mostly, but many of the "true believers" and leaders are not.

For a text-driven group, some of them are remarkably dense.

Life is too short to waste any of it drinking coffee with many people.
One must be selective.

I am still a social creature. But a better one than before.

My calmness and equanimity are considerably improved since I finally made a complete break. Occasionally one of the individuals from that time with whom I am still in contact says something to get my dander up, but life is not about them anymore, and they have largely dis-associated themselves.
Their lives have changed too.

Don't worry, I have not become a crabby old anti-social grouch. I still like children, young ladies, people enjoying good food, plus wit, insight, and folks who live life operatically. Oh, and tits. Tits can be charming.

Why, even on my days off I tend to seek out the company of bipeds.
I saw several of them yesterday! I'll do the same today.

I hope I see schoolgirls eating French fries with Sriracha again.
That was so cute! And the Sriracha humanized them!

About the tits: unfortunately, half of humankind has them. That rather takes away from their uniqueness, and there is bound to be some repetition.
Even with such things one should be selective.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017


They'll close for good at the end of the month, after twenty seven years. Like many businesses in the old neighborhood, it's the lease situation. Either the rent went up too much, or their customer base has moved away. Rich prosperous white cities cannot afford a Chinatown, and new arrivals in the neighborhood are programmers with beatnik hair and skateboards. Nearly every block has a pod of them.

The problem with such people is that despite their tattoos and artistic personalities, they are too good and too sniffy to eat like the locals, disdaining everything as either too Chinese, or not Chinese enough.
And Hong Kong soy sauce western cuisine is totally baffling.
French Toast? Baked Spaghetti Ham and Chicken?
The Club Sandwich. Iron Plank Steak?
It's not like New York!

['ji juk baan laam faan']

Late lunch: dried tofu stick and deep-fried fatty fish chunks briefly sauced together, served with two scoops of rice, and a bowl of simple garden soup with seaweed. Plus a cup of Hong Kong style milk-tea.
And of course the bottle of Sriracha hot sauce.

The three schoolgirls at the table one over first shared some fries while discussing homework. This necessitated the bottle of Sriracha, and after generously sploodging my plate I relinquished it. Then they had a club sandwich (which came with fries), which meant more Sriracha.

The old man and the young woman (his daughter?) across the aisle had dumplings. More Sriracha.

The young couple NOT sharing food also needed the Sriracha.

You know, if your tastes are that different that you don't want to even try each others choices, a shared love of Sriracha won't be enough to sustain a relationship. Please don't get married.

Three elderly dames having wonton soup ended up with the bottle.
But only one of them actually needed it.

The two people having French Toast didn't need it.
But may have regretted that situation.

My lunch was very enjoyable. The word 班腩 ('baan naam', more often written 斑腩) refers to the belly flesh of groupers (石斑 'sek baan' or 青斑 'jing baan'), though in Hong Kong it nowadays means dragon tongue (龍脷 'lung lei') or green robe (青衣 'jing yi'). Sole, flounder. Both of which are also excellent eating. Dried tofu is good for absorbing sauce flavours, and because it is by itself zero fat, it pairs very well with oily foods.

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So. Three creatures you must understand before we go any further. The Froad, a green furry amphibian who went kind of rogue mentally four years ago. Ms. Bruin, the ultimate arbiter and seniormost roomie, and Eurasmus, the one-legged monkey whom I saved from a post-pumpkin out-throwing at the office years ago.

[The middle-aged poopy-head in Marketing had used him in a Halloween tableau, and the tattooed slag office manager was going to throw him out with the rotting pumkins. His leg had disappeared many months earlier, in Product Development -- no one knew how, those drunk heavy metal freaks weren't talking -- and there was a gash in his neck marked with ketchup.
I took him home, cleaned him up, sewed up the gash, and he's been running riot ever since; there's reason the Froad hates him.]

Yesterday evening ended with the Froad being given a severe talking-to.
I could hear his outraged wailing from the other room. Ms. Bruin was reading him the riot act for being so horribly unkind to the monkey.

The Froad had earlier been demanding that I should spank the monkey till his bottom burst, then throw him out to die. Which outraged many of the other roomies. They responded by rushing to comfort Eurasmus.

The Froad used to be such a nice fellow. Over the past few years he's developed a streak of meanness, often very eloquently expressed.
It's like living with a small furry green psychopath.

See, other people have children and relatives who take up all their time and eat them out of house and home. Sometimes they need to go talk to the Principal, or bail little Johnny out of jail because he set fire to the cop car. Or they have to move to a new state where no one knows what the twins are capable of yet. Several quivering retirees are still traumatized.
Your aunt made anonymous threats to a Republican politico.
Plus she blackmailed the mayor after balling him.
She's hot; the photos leaked.

Myself and my apartment mate lead calm stable lives instead.
The roomies are a handful, but they're small.
An adult can easily control them.

Oh, and the opposable thumb issue prevents them from being dangerous.
Unlike little Johnny, the twins, and your horrible aunt.
That's why YOU need therapeutic pot.
And prescription Valium.

Our lives are uneventful.

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Monday, May 15, 2017


A few years ago I realized that charsiu pork and the perfect woman have a lot in common: vibrant good taste, juiciness, and infinite appeal. I may have shared that insight with some people ..... they weren't impressed. It is too staggeringly brilliant a concept to appeal to the average person.
Most normal men think only in terms of sex and beer.
Normal women have handbags and beer.
The overlap is beer.

Seeing as so many relationships seem to be beer-based, or founded on the commonality and desirability of beer, you will grasp that since the break-up back in 2010, this blogger has not been involved in any way with any one.
The dearth of non-beer-drinking women who resemble charsiu in San Francisco is shocking!

I've had beer, though. My friend the bookseller and I have a long-standing tradition of meeting each week for a quick bite after he's off work and has gotten back to North Beach, followed by a beer, followed by whiskey.
So I've had beer nearly fifty times a year.

Charsiu has been on the plate far less often than beer, seeing as my favourite roast Chinese meat is duck, followed by siu yiuk in combination with either mao gwa or taufu. It strikes me that, as charsiu is a metaphor for a healthy relationship, the least I can do is increase my intake.
In lieu of an actual relationship.

As sort of the symbolic approach to normalcy.

Charsiu, rice, soup, and tea.


.   .   .   .   .

Desperation too, but at least it's something.

There's also dim sum, but as a metaphor that's too much like bed-hopping.
One does not want one's snackipoos to recall flower power, pot-smoking, and indiscretions during the summer of love too much, don't you agree?
And fried noodles, well that's like a sleazy fling.
With a blonde alcoholic.


Charsiu: 叉燒 (barbecued pork). Roast duck: 燒鴨 ('siu ngaap').
Siu yiuk: 燒肉 (roast pork). Mao gwa: 毛瓜 (fuzzy melon); benincasa hispida, used in much the same way as summer squash, or zucchini.
Taufu: 豆腐 (bean curd).

Please note that as a meat substitute, taufu is far better than turkey, as it doesn't put you to sleep, and will acquire flavour if cooked properly.
Such as with actual meats.

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Nicely illustrating the schizophrenia of the internet, the two most popular posts here this morning, with the same number of visitors, are the essay which in a neutral and completely calm manner discusses differences in feminine garb, and a piece explaining a Cantonese term for a pervert.

Yessir, research! This shows why the internet is a good thing. Solid data, presented matter-of-factly. It keeps your thirteen year old pervy brother safely in the basement, away from normal members of the household.
We'll disregard your aunt over there, drooling by herself.
She's not loudly bothering anybody at the moment.
And no one uses the couch anyway.

The piece that perfectly describes your neighbor's thirteen year old son, who stays in the basement and obsessively plays youtube videos of anime characters. Usually clips from Girls und Panzer (which shows highschool students with very short pleated skirts and curvy gams driving tanks), with German war tunes. He's far too bright eyed, and not socially polished.
You would not trust him around your grown-up daughter.
He would make an inappropriate remark.
You'd have to smack him.

I would like to think that my readers are all high-minded intellectual types. Some are, of course, but probably not most. Seeing as I really don't write anything high-minded or intellectual.
Can't even claim that I think that way much of the time.

My blog almost perfectly illustrates my mind. Scattershot intensity, a sense of humour between bone-dry and supercilious silliness, and occasional flashes of what might seem like brilliance to some, but on closer examination proves rather unremarkable.

It is mercifully leavened by food. Everybody likes to read about food.
Menus and Yelp reviews are the most popular form of literature.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017


Ever since I got to work today, I've had Shanghai pork chop noodles on my mind. Which, and this shouldn't surprise you in the slightest, are not available within several miles of where I was. That being deepest darkest most entitled Marin County. There are wild anti-vaxxers there, and rabid Vegans, plus pot, and people who eat all kinds of meaningful.

But no Shanghai Pork Chop Noodles.
Which is depressing.

['Jaa jyu baa tong min']

But if you have access to a decent butcher, just get some thin cut pork chops, beat the bejazus out of them with a meat mallet, dip in flour with fine bread crumbs mixed in, shake, and slide gently into the hot oil. Crispy on both sides, remove. Of course you salted and peppered the dredge stuff, and you may have used a beaten egg white to let more of it adhere.
Let it cool for a few minutes, then chop into broad strips.

You will also need pork broth, thickish wheat flour noodles, and either tiny bokchoi or mustard green (which is preferred). Pre-blanch the noodles as needed, cut the vegetable coarsely, combine harmoniously with the broth.
Add a dash of soy sauce and a strew of chopped chives.

Shanghainese pork broth presents a balance of flavours; mostly pork bone, a little smoked dried ham for a fresher taste, dash vinegar, some seafood flavour added. A little sweet, a little savoury. Intense, but light.
How you achieve this is up to you.

Shanghai noodles (上海麵) may be found at a well-stocked market. And Udon noodles, or even Spaghetti, can be substituted. As, lucky choice, can also be Kwan Miao Wheat Noodles (關廟麵), which are very good.
Or look for the name Yangchun Noodle (陽春麵).
That last type, very Shanghai.

A bowl of garnished noodle soup, pork chop(s) on a separate plate, some pickles for added relish on the side, red oil optional, and, naturally and very much NOT a Shanghai phenomenon, sambal or or chili sauce.

Because in fact this is a Hong Kong dish.

Indeed, Shanghainese exiles brought it with them. But it has been eaten in the former crown colony since the fifties, beloved as a quick fix-me-upper at the small eateries along many streets on the ground floors of the fifteen - twenty story apartment blocks, and there is a Shanghainese restaurant within walking distance of almost everyone in Yau Ma Tei.

The same bowl of noodles in soup is also paired with fried shortribs, or red-stewed porky bits, or great big pork ribs cooked various ways, or a sauce of chopped meat simmered with soy and sugar .....

And none of it is available in Chinatown anymore, because the Shanghai Soup Noodle lunch place on Jackson near Kearny has been long gone.
That section of the block now has a lovely cake shop, a sea cucumber vendor, and a few other more recent businesses. Yat Pin Heung (一品香) on the corner of Kearny has been replaced by a bubble tea place.

So of course you will have to make it at home.
Be sure to disable the fire alarm first.

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Dear Donald, did you tape former FBI director Comey? If you did, come clean and release the tapes. Because whatever you do as president -- a position with which you still seem shockingly unfamiliar -- interests all of us. Taping Comey would of course have been something that goes against the very grain of your pretensions, but we all know by now that your grasp of reality is tenuous at best, and while you are shocked, SHOCKED! at the concept that someone would record you, except as a reality teevee star comparable to the tacky hos of Real Housewives, you yourself probably do not consider it faithless and dishonest to make recordings of your opponents.

But it is. You made it so.

Release those tapes. You mentioned them, they became germane the moment you opened your mouth, the American people deserve to know more about your decision to axe Comey. You have made it an issue.
Your subsequent ridiculous statements made it more of an issue.
Further wafflegab crystallized it as an issue.
A twit-shit storm even further.

We want to know what you said, Mr. Trump. We trust that Comey acted properly, but many of us have no such presumption about you. Because too often you denied that you said something, when you were on record as actually having said it.

It doesn't take an Einstein, Mr. President.

Photo: Molly Riley - Pool/Getty Images

Apparently we cannot trust your spokespeople either. Spicer is on record as gibbering, Kellyanne Conway took leave of her senses ages ago, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is a dunce, and your entire cabinet is a joke.
There is no decency in any of your crew.

Come clean, Donald.

"We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity."

Oh by the way: America is losing patience with your daughter. We lost whatever tolerance we had for your repulsive sons ages ago.

Think of them. They'll have to live with this long after you've croaked of aortic disaster. Or brainrot.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017


Usually I avoid the sites that have attitude written all over them, like Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs, or anything featuring Alex Jones and Richard Spencer. Sometimes I get lured in, by a friend's remark.

Such as recently You Offend Me You Offend My Family, where Erin Chew posted a pissy article about someone else's pissy article.

This, then, is a pissy article about that.

Regarding the essay 'Why This White Guy Writing About The Racism He Receives For Being With An Asian Woman Is Problematic' by Erin Chew, spewing about some dude in the Midwest.

How about the Asian men who feel slighted to see this? How about the emasculation of Asian men in the West?
End quote.

Anyways, I won’t harp too much on this but will say that his article is just full of white privilege… nowhere did he mention that he is trying to “understand Asian culture”, or that “he is trying to learn the language” etc… it’s all about how discriminated he feels… it’s white privilege written all over it.
End quote.

But hey, maybe I am just over sensitive to this… I don’t know but feel free to let us know what you think.
End quote.

Yeah, Erin, maybe you are being over-sensitive. And maybe you are being just a prick, as are your readers who left snotty comments.

Two things from when I was still in a relationship: "How can you bear to pollute yourself by sleeping with THAT", said by a cracker from Louisiana about my Chinese American significant other, and then the fact that she (my significant other, not the cracker) didn't introduce me to ANY members of her family till two years after she broke off our relationship (and then only as "my best friend").
So okay, I may not be totally receptive to the whole "oh god there's that white entitlement AGAIN" attitude that oozes from Erin's article, or the snippy over-sensitivity of the author. Been there, done that.

Do you want to talk about my Chinese American co-workers years ago who gave me hell for seeing a Chinese American woman? How about the fact that it was always assumed my ability to converse in Cantonese had to be because she trained her dumb kwailo, despite the fact that she is barely able to speak her parents' language (Toishanese), and thinks Hong Kong Cantonese sounds wrong? Or how about whenever we went to Chinese restaurants the waiters automatically ignored me, and addressed her brusquely in Chinese?

How about the snooty Mandarin-speakers, with their crappy attitude?
"We're vastly superior to the Cantonese, and you are too stupid (and white) to realize that, that's why you've got a mere peasant woman who doesn't even speak properly, neither of you could have done any better!"
Or the Filipinos, Koreans, and Pacific Islanders?
I'm sure she remembers all of that.

And if I mention the Asians ("Asian Americans") specifically, Erin Chew, it's because the Caucasians were no less dumb-ass, on the whole, but a lot less vicious and mean-spirited.

We are no longer each others be-all and end-all, just very good friends.
And you know something, Erin Chew, people precisely like you were blistering a-holes during the time we were together.

You and your type are a pox.

And by the way, Bruce Lee put paid to the entire "emasculation of Asian men" thing. You shouldn't let it effect you so much. It's not very manly.

Further by the way: I've heard that Matt Damon will play the starring role in the Bruce Lee biopic 'Little Dragon'.

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A century ago Russians fleeing political discord in Moscow and St. Peter's Burg crossed the Manchurian border, and set about finding something to eat. Alas, there were no beets! And no red cabbage! So they made do. The result was a dish that a few years later had deviated considerably from the original, and perfectly suited the cosmopolitan tastes of Hong Kong's working classes far to the south.

['lo sung tong']

Hong Kong Borscht, as served in chachantengs and dining halls, is made be rubbing meaty beef bones with oil, browning them in the oven, and drawing a stock. While the cauldron is simmering, one chops and sautées onion, garlic, celery. When fragrant, chopped tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and tomato paste, and a dash of Worcester are added, the bony beef stock is strained, skimmed, and poured in, and the pot set to simmer.
Many cooks also add chunks of oxtail, as well as potato.
Some eccentrics also include diced carrots.
A daring few add cabbage.

Barely at a bubble for over an hour. Skim occasionally. When done, adjust the flavour with salt and sugar.

[If adding potato, peel and cube, and put them in fifteen minutes before the end.]

"Gauze" "Song (Dynasty)" "Soup"

One or two onions, two or three stalks celery, three or four cloves garlic; choppity chop. Plenty of beefy bits; bones, stewmeat, or tail. One or two cans of chopped tomatoes, four or five fresh. Then just use your culinary common sense. Hearty, tomato-red, not too tomato-y. Salt, pepper, wooster, and a pinch of sugar.

If you were expecting anything like the tart Slavic product in a Hong Kong style chachanteng, it is possible that being in touch with reality is not one of your strong suits. Perhaps not even part of your skill set. But by the same token, borscht today is not the borscht of hundreds of years ago either.

"This beautiful pagoda that, sour dairy grease."

For the benefit of the insane, the Chinese word for 'smetana' is 斯美塔那酸奶油 ('si mei taap noh suen naai yau'), whereas commonly sour cream is called 酸忌廉 or 酸奶油 ('suen gei lim', 'suen naai yau').

Southern Chinese have a hard time considering such dairy products as edible, and you will not be asked if you want a dollop on your borscht.
It will just be assumed that you don't.

At a chachanteng (茶餐廳) the version served is sometimes a little thinner, at Chinese restaurants in Holland instead of beef bits and ox tails, the meat component will be delicious marble-sized meat balls, and the soup made a little more silky with corn starch.

It isn't Russian or Polish, it is Chinese, and the recipe has been word-of-mouthed for generations, skipping from one coastal metropolis to the next. It had reached Shanghai by the late twenties, Hong Kong by the mid-thirties. Like toast and Christmas pudding, it had adapted.
It isn't Russian or Polish, it is Cantonese.

麥兜 [Bliss Distribution Ltd.]
Regent Lane Ltd.

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Friday, May 12, 2017


The weekend a few days ago infected a friend with something he cannot shake. Specifically, an earworm. And I am to blame. He was happily smoking his pipe (a bent Charatan of excellent old briar) when I cruised into youtube and found the precise tune for another visitor.

Vadim is from Odessa. Naturally some songs suggested themselves.



I am always a sucker for sleazoid Slavic types and gangster songs.
Millionchiki is about striving for that big pot of gold.
This song I know because of e-kvetcher.

It was followed by the Lake Biwa Lament.



Several university students drowned while rowing.
Sad. Long time ago.

Seeing as Vadim was in a stinky mood, one more.



Murka is about a woman gangster who has to be whacked because oh heavens she's fallen for a cop, and can't be trusted no more.

There's a sexual undercurrent to the song.
But she gets killed.

So, something cheerful and full of hope.



See, this is why you don't want me disc-jockeying at your party. At least one of the musical stylings might be off-kilter.
Not safe for the kiddies.

Speaking of off-kilter, perhaps even worse than the one previous.



By the same token, you don't ever want me babysitting your brats or singing at your karaoke party.

Something rousing to cap it off.



In direct consequence of myself being in charge of the music, Vadim bought some more pipe tobacco, Martin had an earworm that lasted several days and lost a pipe tool in the parking lot, and the cigar smokers may have left earlier than they intended.

I never even got a chance to play one of my favourite tunes!


The sovereign people advance!

In between dealing with cigar-smokers and catering lovingly to the pipe men, I fantasized about breasts, such as are shown in the image above.
Revolution always makes me think of nipples.
Saucy, French, and rubicund.
It's natural.

That was last weekend.

The pipe club meets this Sunday.

I can hardly wait.

I think Martin's earworm might have been Russian.

But really, it's a complete crap-shoot.

Could have been anything.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017


In what should not surprise anyone, Donald J. Trump allowed the Russian press/intelligence agency to take pictures of his meeting with someone who may or may not be telling him which end is up. It's not entirely clear which.
We hope, however, that he IS taking diet advice from this man, because it can't be good for his heart.


Source: Tass. Okay, I stole it. As I encourage you to do likewise. Russian agencies are fair game.

Dang, that's one big ole bull-Russian!

Let's see him again.


Source: Putin's butt monsters.

As you can see, Trump has a little way to go before he has the girth of his betters. That Russian is almost Texan in size. Normally I do not engage in fat shaming, in case you were wondering, and this is NO exception: I am full of admiration for a Russian who eats enough for a family of four.
Or is it a dozen?

American reporters were barred from this tête à tête à l'estomac, and justifiably so, because the free press has no business knowing what goes on in "mercantile affairs", as they can't keep a secret; they'll talk.
And that would do the Republican cause no good at all!

We'd find out that those folks are a bit shifty.

Which would come as a revelation.

And upset us no end.

BTW, that's the new director of the FBI.
I have it on good authority.

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