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.

Friday, August 28, 2015


As I'm sure will please the Amphibian no end, along with several other readers of my blog (e-kvetcher, Archy, Mindilicious, Dusty, Gnarf, et al), the index of all my pipe-tobacco related posts has been updated to include everything written since August of 2014.

See here:

No, Hello Kitty is not entirely included, though the Hello Kitty packpack in which I carry several briars and tobaccos on Marin County days is mentioned. There's more to Hello Kitty than just smoking.

Nor are all the visits to Chinatown with a pipe detailed; the enjoyment of a fine bowlful of Virginia and Perique was incidental, those posts are not really related to the subject of the index.

Some posts betray my more, errrm, radically randy filthy mind. Tobacco is profoundly sensual, didn't you know? I would gladly recline on a bed of fermenting flue-cured leaf wearing nothing but my charming froggy boxer shorts if requested by a suitable person. Provided a pile of leaves large enough could be found. Otherwise we'd simply sprinkle her grandmother's couch with Sam Gawith, and disport ourselves thereupon.

Many posts are indicative of the neuroses which are particular to pipe smokers, the grand habit being conducive to the development of obsessions and peculiarities.

A number of essays are very informative.

Underwear is seldom present.

There is detail.

Useful search labels, for readers in a hurry:

Baai tabak (Maryland ribbon)
Balkan Sobranie
Blend reviews
Cigar-smoking cretins
Cornell & Diehl
Drucquer & Sons
Germain and Son
Gregory Pease
Milk tea (港式奶茶)
Pipe club
Samuel Gawith
Smoking women
Tea restaurants (茶餐廳)

Naturally, there is some overlap. Several of the articles fall into multiple categories. The post about a suitable pipe tobacco for a woman shows up under several labels. Just scroll down to what you haven't seen.

Not even seven percent of my blogposts are about pipe tobacco, btw. Tea, the Dutch, food, and warm baths are much more common subjects.
Among a multitude of such.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


If a man said any of this about women, he'd be held up to insult, outrage, and public ridicule. Yet I suppose that having a woman say this about men is considered funny. Or, by some, perfectly justifiable.

There is no way of showing how crude and nasty it is by merely selectively quoting.

So I'll just post the entire damned thing, with attribution.

How To Train Your Man
By Gayana Sarkisova, in Elite Daily
Dec 31, 2012 • 10:23am

This may sound demeaning and a bit harsh; so I don’t want you thinking I’m referring to all men as dogs. They are more like loveable puppies that need simple potty training. No matter how crass the methodology may be, the end results will likely perpetuate the making of the perfect relationship that will make all of your friends jealous.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: That right there paints the author as a monodimensional, opportunistic, and slutty sack of shit.]

As per usual I should say that not all men are inconsiderate assholes that need direction; but based on the constant estrogen fueled bitching all over the world, I’ll say that yours probably is. So, for arguments sake, I’ve complied the necessary measures every woman needs to take to train her mutt into a pure bred.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Inconsideration goes both ways, sweetheart. Some women are selfish, self-impressed, manipulative, and insane. You seem to be the embodiment of that type.]

Before I get into the methods of training, it is important to mention that in order to successfully train your man he must never find out that you are training him. This is crucial because if he finds out, not only will it threaten your project, but it will also threaten your entire relationship.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: If you find a man who can't see through what you think you are doing, you've probably landed a dummy or a fratboy.]

Below are the methods of properly training your man:

Holding Out:

As some really smart guy (who I can’t remember the name of) once said, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning, every time your man fucks up, he should experience some form of punishment. Since beating the shit out of someone is illegal in this country, I’ve concluded a different and somewhat more effective solution. What better punishment is there for a man than withholding sex? I’m not telling you to use sex as a weapon … actually, yes I am.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Should you think that's your best "weapon", it says an awful lot about you. And the basis of your relationships. Are sex and greed really the only reasons for you two to be together? If so, you are both beyond pathetic. And rather loathsomely repellent.]

Although drastic, not putting out will condition him to never repeat the same mistake twice, or at least repeat it far less. Yelling at him can be a temporary solution, but he’ll never actually understand the repercussions of his actions unless he feels truly deprived. Also, if you are feeling a little deprived and think you can’t hold out any longer, go invest in a pocket rocket.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: That type of manipulation, once it becomes a recognizable pattern, leads in a fairly direct line to a break-up. As it should. Because it says that there is no other basis for the relationship than what the woman believes she can get out of the man. There is no love or even friendship there, he's just useful, and being played for a sucker.]

Living Space:

This one is for the girls who are living with their man. Men are gross, we all know this; but in reality, they like things clean and neat just like we do. The difference is that they don’t want to lift a finger to do anything about it. So, I’m going to let you in on a secret that my mother taught me ages ago.

If you see that your man is lazy and doesn’t want to help out around the house (doing dishes, vacuuming, etc.) sit your ass down and let the house go to complete shit. Yes, it will drive you up a wall looking at the mess, but it will do the same to him. As the dishes pile up and dust collects, start mentioning how tried you are from work, or don’t feel well, or whatever other bullshit you can come up with. One of two things will happen; he will either get his ass up and start cleaning or he’ll hire someone to do it for him. Either way, you win. Repeat behavior as needed.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Sweetheart, move out! If you are relying on him to "hire someone to do it", you are obviously looking at him in terms of financial windfall. Yes, someone has to support your spending habits as well as your spoiled brat emotional neediness, but have you considered renting yourself out to a fat elderly tycoon instead? Or two or three, just to be on the safe side?]

Lack of Romance:

When you feel that your man is lacking the romance gene, there are a few things you can do to spark the fuse. It’s a biological fact that men are competitive and all strive to be the alpha male. It’s also known that men, like dogs, aim to please. When you use these two together they can pretty much sway him to do anything.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Quote: "men, like dogs, aim to please". Sorry, we aren't here for your amusement. Either it's a mutual endeavor, or it should be heading for break-up. It takes two to tango.]

Scenario: “Oh my god babe, you’d never believe how sweet [insert name here] boyfriend is. He did [insert action here] for her.” Most women will compare their man to other men when they are mad to try to provide a point; this will only get your man angry. However, if you compare him to other men in a neutral environment, it will spark his competitive nature and get him thinking how he can outdo the other man that you think is “sweet”.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: This is a transparent tactic far more likely to misfire than you could possibly imagine. But I encourage you to employ it, because being manipulative and whiny, more than almost anything else, is as good a reason for a break-up as any.]

Rewards are just as important:

Experience has taught women that men will always, without question do stupid shit. So in those scarce instances that men do amazing things, we often don’t comment on it in the fear of driving the behavior away. Therefore, we often forget that some of the most important training comes from praising him from time to time.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Quote: "do stupid shit". Like blowing three thousand dollars on a handbag, or buying Jimmy Choo footwear, or smearing three-hundred dollar a quarter ounce wrinkle remover on the laugh lines (wait, does this woman have any?!? Shouldn't those be ghoulish scowl lines?), or getting entirely unnecessary plastic surgery, or acting in any way at all like Kim Kardasian and every single one of the 'Real Housewives', or throwing hissy fits in public, or ...... yes, you were saying?]

Not all training needs to be handled with punishment. If your man does something nice for you, and treats you well, don’t forget to reward him for it. Nothing has the power of influence quite like boosting a man’s ego. By rewarding him it will reinforce his behavior and likely make it a constant occurrence. Remember ladies, nothing says thank you like a steak and blowjob.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: That is probably the most disgusting thing you've said yet.]

Sucks in the sack:

I probably shouldn’t go there, but I’m going to go there. It’s such a goddam shame when a man is perfect everywhere except for where it actually matters; your vagina. It’s an even bigger shame when he has the equipment but doesn’t know how to use it. Don’t get discouraged, darling; there’s a way to fix this hot mess as well.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Oh boy, I can barely wait. Be still my beating heart.]

Think of it this way: no trainer expects their animal to behave properly without training them to do so, right? So, if your man isn’t great it in bed, just teach him how by telling him what you want. The mistake many women make is just faking it and pretending everything is okay in fear of scaring their man away. On the contrary my dear, like I said, men aim to please. So, if you tell him (in a nice way) that what he’s doing isn’t working, there’s a 100% chance that he’ll do everything in his power to make you happy; and by happy I mean orgasm.

[BLOGGER COMMENT: And your job is to just lie there like a petulant bump on a log, because nothing is required of you, and you won't take responsibility for your own bang. You know, there's a reason men prefer the company of other men, or women who aren't romantically involved with them, and the advice above illustrates why: far less attitude, far less entitlement, far less arrogance, far less vicious bitchy manipulative behaviour, and far less spitefilled egomaniac New York princess.]

Closing thoughts:

I’m going to tell you all a little secret. Nobody’s perfect, including you. So rather than jump the gun and discard a man for his lack of perfection, take the time out to train him into becoming the man you want him to be. Also, if he is perfect, that usually means the bitch he was with before you did all the work (and that’s not a good thing either).

[BLOGGER COMMENT: Give him time to discard you instead. Because you deserve it.]

Gayana Sark | Elite.


You know, it is because of women like Gayana Sark that men stay at the office rather than go home. Those people unfortunate enough to be married to such a woman, if they have the further misfortune of getting her pregnant before finding out what a shallow and putrid gene puddle she represents, will probably count the minutes till the kid is fully employed, then file for divorce and get the hell out of the marriage. Often the end comes far sooner; women like Gayana Sark are in it for what they can get, and how much they think they can control their victims. Far too often a challenge they cannot resist comes along, or a fish far too tempting to pass up.
Either they compromise themselves, or they foul their own nest.
Sharks are, in the long run, more likable.

Fortunately, most females like that are far too busy being bitches to ever settle for one man. Many of them deliberately stay single until remaining so is no longer a matter of choice.

There was an entire section of such prizes at the office. Remarkably, one or two of them got married in the last decade. And one or two men were clearly the long-suffering veterans of such situations.

Final thought: This is all frighteningly like the advice Christian women receive in some of the more conservative sects, where the smirking semblance of devout wifely obedience hides twisted vagina-based manipulativeness and marital strong-arming. Many fundamentalists never escape, and become so brainwashed that they have no judgement when it comes to sexual matters. Unsurprisingly, adultery and whoring around are rampant in such circles; the products of that environment cannot resist forbidden fruits or the taste of freedom, and are deviant from birth.
Isn't that right, mister Duggar?

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Thursday, August 27, 2015


As Gene says in Bob's Burgers, "what kind of maniac wakes up an hour early to write erotic fanfiction?" Tina Belcher admitted she did. Proudly.
I have a confession to make at this point. I have never written erotic fanfiction. Don't know if I even could. Not at five in the morning.
Tina has a complicated thing for zombies.
That may have some bearing.
Also buttocks.

Apparently, females will notice buttocks.

The fanny pat was invented by a woman.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. If some person of the girl persuasion were to yell "hey studmuffin, nice ass", I would assume that someone else was the target and keep on walking. No, I wouldn't turn around to see who she yelled at, or what pair of glutei maximi so excited her.
Because, after all, it's unheard of to yell something back.
A note of agreement and approval, for instance.
Yes, that welder does have great buns.
So round, so denim, so firm.
We can all agree.

Hear hear!

The buttock thing, of course, explains why all the girls are down at the football field watching practice, instead of assiduously swotting their algebra homework. Geometry and physics are much more thrilling than dry mathematical logic. The only overlap is the Venn Diagram, which is what some bottoms look like.

[The Euler Diagram is difficult to fit into this scheme. I would be keenly interested in other people's thoughts on this issue.]

Being masculine, quite naturally I have my own perspective on the rump. Unfortunately, being a single man, I never get really close enough to have a good perspective. Likewise breasts, waists, the delightful curve of the belly, thighs, collar bones, velvety skin, or small warm hands and kissy cheeks. This interferes with my ability to form an educated and informed opinion on these matters.

If I did actually get close enough, I would need to wear my glasses. My vision is perfectly fine for everything between three blocks and twelve inches away. It's those last crucial twelve inches that count. Without reading specs, I cannot tell the time, and have more often than I care to admit hit myself in the face with a teacup. Or a rice bowl. Or a coffee mug.
Stabbed myself fiercely in the cheek with a briar pipe.
And sometimes I've tried to light my thumb.

It's a lack of perspective.

I can imagine myself being smacked in the face by breasts.
Or thighs, and the delightful curve of the belly.
Small warm hands and kissy cheeks too.

There are worse problems.

If you are up an hour early, please feel free to write some fanfiction in the space provided. I'll approve it for publication, or respond to you privately, when I get back.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


One of my most favourite doleful ballads is the lament of a songbird in a brothel, as sung by Chou Hsuen. It dates from sometime during the thirties, and features three instruments: the Pipa (Chinese lute), the Erhu (Turkic fiddle), and wooden clackers (which you remember from opera performances).

The lute and fiddle are of barbarian origin, and consequently appropriate for disreputable tunes, laments of separation and exile, and the plaintive complaints of oppressed women.

The theme of unhappy femininity is classically approved.
Celebrated in prose, poetry, and song.

青樓恨 ~ 周璇 



Yǔ shēng-er chánchán, fēng-er sòngzhuo chuīyān,
dúzì huáibào pípá dànzhuó āiyuàn.
Rén tóu-er zǎn zǎn, xiào shēng-er tīngzhuo xīnfán,
zhēng yĕn gùpàn, zhǐ juédé yīpiàn hēi'àn.

Xún bù dào, zhīyīn di rén,
zhǎo bùjiàn, zhǎo bùjiàn, tóngqíng di-a liáng bàn.
Zhǐ tàn nuòruò di rén-er, zài qū zhòng shí hái yào,
hái yào, hái yào, hái yào zhuāng xiàoliǎn.

Rain clatters down and gusts chase the drifting smoke,
solitarily I clutch my lute, plucking sadly;
Though the assembled guests are merry, I am troubled,
my eyes stare and find only darkness.

Searching I cannot find any one who knows my heart,
I look but do not spy a compassionate companion;
Sighing I know failure, in the middle of my song I still must,
still must, still must, still must pretend to smile.

Perhaps I ought to ask the gentleman with the erhu who occasionally plays in Portsmouth Square if he knows this tune.
This is not Budweiser music; you will not find it at a karaoke joint.
It's a veritable celebration of being alone in the world.
Besides being heart-wrenchingly lovely.

A bit old-fashioned nowadays.
Times have changed.


On a related note, being a single man for the last few years has meant that I have enjoyed my own cooking more often than not. Yesterday's evening meal was chopped German pork sausage with bittermelon and fermented black bean over kuanmiao oil-noodle (台南關廟油麵 'toi naam gwaan miu yau min').
Touch of garlic and ginger, small jigger apple cider vinegar (in lieu of lime juice), large squirt of Sriracha, and a drizzle of fish sauce.
It was delicious!

Many Chinese Americans do not like bitter melon, because it was a taste that they hated as children, which their mothers forced them to eat. And, growing up with MacDonalds, they had the same yearning for sweet greasy crap that their Caucasian classmates did.

Not being Chinese, I am not so cursed.

Bitter melon is available all over Chinatown at this time of year.

The single man feasts abundantly.

Yes, he bitches about his damned solitude, but he feasts abundantly.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015


This blogger welcomes the new food intolerance. Particularly the trend by "concerned" consumers to avoid dairy, gluten, and animal-derived protein (meat). The reason is because such dietary paranoia inevitably leads to malnutrition, and the lord knows we do not need those obsessive mental defectives poisoning society.

Far better that the intolerant crowd be too wan and energy-less to leave their dens filled with macramé.

There is an Italian restaurant in Sausalito that promises gluten-free pizza and pasta. This is absurd.

Uninformed diet-gurus spouting nonsense are the new Christianity, and I want no part of it.

Go ahead and starve yourselves.

More for the rest of us.

Today I shall have pastries made by people who live better and longer than you, and think you are all nuts.

Tags: #wellness #eatclean #nourish.
Further tags: #neuroses #dingos #Vani Hari is meshugge

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To the grizzly white haired gentleman with the almost unintelligible Cockney accent who got up and insisted that an elderly Chinese woman sit, on the bus yesterday evening, sir, you rock.

And why is it a tourist whom I noticed doing that? Instead of the physically buff professional people from the Financial district, in the prime of their lives, and probably members of various gyms and healthclubs?

Could it possibly be that many white Americans are rather uneducated?

Come from dysfunctional families, and weren't raised properly?

Believe that decency is an artificial construct?

The explanation is probably far more mundane. They all had cellphones, or colleagues with whom to chat, whereas all he had was a banana for distraction. I am mildly allergic to bananas, so of course I noticed that.

I smelled masticated banana for twelve blocks.


Because I do not own a cellphone, rather fervently dislike cellphones, and object to people who use their cellphone when there is no earthly reason to do so, and furthermore despise cellphone users who use their cellphones to tune out everyone else and so "do not even notice" elderly Cantonese ladies all wobbly on their arthritic pins, naturally I also registered the cellphones.

The irony is that whenever I'm on the phone, I'm probably speaking with someone who has a cellphone.

My apartment mate and I share a landline. Whenever she's talking to her boyfriend, she takes the phone into her room. Technology is so advanced nowadays that there are very long phone cords. They actually exist.
The modern age has made our lives so much easier; now, no one has to listen to their apartment mate yacking with Wheelie Boy for an entire hour, boruch Hashem.

The last time I was on the phone for over an hour was with tech support several years ago. I do not do that socially.

Despite actually being rather fond of tech support.
They're very nice people. Altogether decent folks.
Remarkably knowledgeable about Indian food.

Unlike financial district professionals on the bus.

Who probably don't know bananas.

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Monday, August 24, 2015


It is probably inadvisable to have coffee and watch mitzva tanz videos before bed time. Too much stimulation. My dreams were filled with music, and had peculiar things going on.

The shtreimel is a snazzy piece of headgear, and at some point a celebrity, undoubtedly female and of dubious moral behaviour, will sport one at a Hollywood event. This will not be good.

A bekeshe is not a fit garment for vigorous exercise.

White socks indicate a married man.

FYI: In Hassidic terms, the mitzvah tanz is a celebratory hippity hop in lieu of any actual vigorous movement, done by elderly rabbis, as part of a wedding celebration. They are dancing with the bride, but without touching her. She stands stock still, and a long ribbon connects her to the aged gentleman who is cheerfully and happily doing a backward-forward shuffle. It is a mitzva to dance at a wedding and increase the joy of the couple, but modesty forbids contact with the woman, and circumscribes her presence. At some point she will retire to the area where the ladies are celebrating.

At no time does the music get too lively; the arthritic joints of older guests would not tolerate it.

These are not Panjabi Sikhs. I have seen super-annuated old sardarjis energetically dancing the bhangra and having a fine old time, and the only similarities are big bushy beards.
Oh, and bronfen.

For some reason, weddings worldwide often involve a man, a woman, and alcohol.

A bekeshe is not the same as a kapote.

Beards are icing on the cake.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015


This blogger is keenly looking forward to Tuesday, when I shall be off for a day or two, and at leisure. It isn't that I seriously mind catering to the several nicotine-addicted middle-aged paunchy gits ("da solid bidniz men") whom I see at work, it's that there are times when I wish to play old timey communist songs full blast just to spite them.

As you may gather, many of them are right-wing.
A few make Donald Trump look sane.

I am a total expert at insanity. It's part of my psychological toolbox, because I live in San Francisco, and know far too many cigar-smokers.
There is, in this modern day, something peculiar about the breed.

Fifty years ago smoking cigars was fairly common, and in that era even respectable SANE people indulged. That was the day and age when the only crazy people smoking cigars were elderly troll-like men with their pants cinched up to here, and trilbies on their heads.
They often reeked of tuna salad.

All those precious old dears have passed, and nowadays many tattooed freaks and foaming Republicans huff stogies. Plus, I discovered recently, chunky e-commerce pudge-pots celebrating a bachelor party.
Which is probably a good thing; the likelihood that one of their friends will be pulled away from his video game and conceivably have sexual relations with a real live flesh and blood woman must fill them with gladness.
There's hope for the tribe yet!
Procreation may occur!

Multiplication they understand. But simple addition baffles them.
Man plus woman equals does not compute.

May the force be with you, little Harry Potter. Be fruitful.
Nanoo, nanoo.

As an insane expert, I can only conclude that some of the women in this city are completely nuts. Either that, or they figure that a baby elephant seal can't wriggle very far, and can be trained to be a good monkey.

That explains the e-pudge bachelor party far better than biology.
Some women don't have a strong survival instinct.
They take unnecessary risks.

Anyhow, one more day, and then I can refresh my self among sane people. Smoke my various briars without being considered eccentric. Speak happily of voting for a Non-Cro-Magnon candidate in the next presidential election with no fear of a misguided cheroot-sucking parasite chortling about "liberals" and wetting himself with glee.

I like cigar smokers, I honestly do.

It's just that sometimes I get tired of the reek of bananas.

Or the flying poo.

Pipe smokers, such as myself, are completely sane and normal, and have very few peculiarities. I feel I must point this out. Compared even to non-cigar smokers, we are balanced, and refreshingly even-keeled.
You can introduce us to your parents. Always.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


Yesterday afternoon I bought bananas for the monkeys. One small dwarf gorilla, one sock monkey, and a wily gibbon with only one leg. Urasmus (the one-legged monkey) desired the fruit all for himself, but grudgingly accepted my diktat that they be shared among the three of them.

There are over three dozen small critters in this apartment in addition to the two humans. It has always felt a little crowded. My ex has half of them in her room, and sometimes I hear their voices strenuously arguing, before the she-sheep steps in and exercises common sense. They quiet down, and eventually there's just one voice, gently snoring.

People might consider it crazy to continue living with one's former significant other after the breakup of a relationship of many years, but remarkably, it works.

I cannot imagine another person putting up with either of us as well as we tolerate each other.

She speaks with the voices of the stuffed creatures, my space look like a bookshop shagged a tobacco store and together they made a Rosemary's baby.

The stuffed creatures do not like my mess, and keep trying to steal stuff. But they are easily distracted by criticism they feel compelled to make of each other, resulting in fierce quarrels.

I like the idea of eventually having a girlfriend again, but so far there have not been any suitable candidates (and please don't refer to them as "targets", "victims", or "crazy ladies").

Sure, half of this city is female, and many of them are splendid people.....

Not all of them are searching for Mr. "Resembles-a-defective-tweedy-academic-with-enough-peculiarities-you-can-shake-a-stick-at-AND-a-reek-of-pipe-tobacco-adhering", or young master "Makes-a-damned-fine-cup-of-tea-and-then-withdraws-into-a-book-for-the-rest-of-the-evening". If any suitable feminine persons are looking for either of those two characters, I have yet to be informed of it, and possibly they are looking in all the wrong places.

A trail of cake crumbs doesn't work.
I don't eat cake off the street.

It's a big city. Peculiarity abounds. I limit my perambulation ("infesting") to the Chinatown - Northbeach neighborhoods, including Nob, Russian, and Telegraph hills, and a very small part of the financial district.
There are just too many nuts elsewhere.

Compounding the issue, I haven't been looking. Longing, yes, looking, no.
I am a realist. Very few women would be satisfied with a man who stolidly refuses to raft down the Amazon or climb Annapurna, and whose idea of an ideal date is sharing a steamed fish at a comfortable restaurant where food is far more important than décor.

Plus pie or cake. If the occasion arises.
Pastries are very important.

But that's not all! The ideal date naturally includes a walk with a pipe.
No night-clubbing, no overindulgence in alcohol, no public snogging (otherwise known as disgusting displays of affection, or canine rear end sniffing), and nothing that could even remotely be called hip.
I still believe a bunch of nice flowers is a nice gift.
Shared cappuccinos or milk-tea.
Roses or tulips.

The various stuffed creatures have more active love lives than I could possibly imagine. The small black kitty mistakenly believes that the big black spider is her paramour, and will not admit that he and the little she-sheep with the pink bows are an item. The dwarf gorilla is goo goo over the senior teddy bear. And mister Froad has not yet realized that his caddish behaviour has ended his long-standing affair with the kitten, who would far rather draw blood than play cave or sailor with him ever again. The cow is a bit of a loose woman, and tries to snag the Froad, any one of the monkeys, the orange beaver, as well as the big black spider. She is French, and therefore considers herself irresistible. As all French bovines are.
One of the Totoros (there are three of them; one is taciturn, the third is missing) is determined that we shall have either gigolos or sailors!
He grins when he says that, and sounds utterly enthusiastic.
He probably thinks both of those things are candy.

"Cinnamon gigolos are the best!"

They're sweet and spicy!

It is rarely a quiet apartment, certainly not when both of us are in.
Such as, for instance, right now.

It would get very complicated if a third human were to enter this scene. My ex has just finished arguing with Louise (the four inch tall bovine), and is resplendently indignant in a red bathrobe in the television room.
I believe the discussion was about dairy products.
That cow has NO standards.
She's 'French'.

Kindly imagine a strange young lady reclining on my bed (but properly dressed!) trying to read while this racket is going on. No book can keep one occupied for long when small furry creatures riot.

A woman of spirit and resolve would feel compelled to plunge right on in. Neither she nor I would ever get any reading done. The tiny roomies have way too much energy.

There are times when I need to go outside just to collect my thoughts;
if I remain in the apartment they will be scattered.

It would be ungentlemanly to leave a sweet thing (who is trying to read) by herself to face the conversational and social mayhem of the roomies.
She would stand no chance against the one-legged monkey or the cow.
The small black kitty would run roughshod over her.
A gallant man stands by his companion.
And faces the approaching storm.
The terrifying distraction.
Arguing animals!

Let us not even mention Hello Kitty. She's a dangerous shit disturber, AND she has opposable thumbs. I have seen her eyeing the knives.

The Froad likes to strike poses with my pipes occasionally but hasn't figured out how to use pipe tobacco, matches, and a tamper.

I must strenuously deny that I used to rob banks with the jaunty hippo. He has an over-active imagination, and isn't clued in to reality.

That's MY wallet! Keep your paws off it!

No, I shan't buy you vodka.


Surely you can now understand why I head into Chinatown for delicious snackipoos and warm caffeinated beverages around tea time.
It's for peace and quiet and a smoke.

Mid-morning to early afternoon, on days off, are usually a good time for novels and tea, by the way. Sometimes the crazy furballs are still asleep. And remarkably, they don't say much when my apartment mate isn't around anyway. They're plotting mayhem and anarchy for later.

Sometimes I am not a very social man.
Or just want humans around me.
Not savage furballs.

Are there any questions?

And is there any cake?

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Friday, August 21, 2015


The internet works in ridiculous ways. Somewhere a spambot trolling for sites to seed found an old post of mine, and forwarded the link to all of its little electronic kinfolk. In consequence of which devices all over electro-golus know that my computer has a kippah.

They are presently as enchanted with that datum as they were years before with a post I had written about the Chofetz Chaim.

Unfortunately, their comments about how delightfully unambiguous my post was, and the unexpected preservesnessocity that reminded them of their old college room mate and how he was always looking into things of this nature are as transparent now as then, and easily recognized as attempts to ascertain whether coming back later to leave links to penis-enhancing chemicals or hacking popular computer games will be worthwhile.

Computers may have mastered chess. But they are not yet human.

Their little fuzzy brains don't work quite right.

Sadly, neither does mine.


A real reader, almost certainly flesh and blood, neither a computerized search-bot nor a lizard, forwarded a link to an essay on Mark's Smoke Blog in hopes that I might find it exciting. Probably because I have in the past indicated that I like the idea of women with pipes and cigars.

Yes, I like the idea. But not quite that way. It's the boldness and independent-mindedness of a woman choosing a pipe or a cigar that appeals to me. The image of stubbornness and spirit.
Not the actual smoking.

That's why despite there being a subset of erotic pictures on the internet devoted to women clenching a briar or posing with a lit cheroot (while possibly doing other things), those photos do not do much for me.
Especially not when there is an attempt at sultriness.

I am a clean-minded man.


"The light outside was already fading by the time she finished writing. She went into the kitchen to fix herself a cup of strong tea, and wondered where she had left her favourite pipe. Oh, there it was, next to the pot. When the tea was ready she returned to the living room with the steaming cup and the briar, curled up in the easy chair, and grabbed her well-thumbed copy of The Crucified God in the Carolingian Era: Theology and the Art of Christ’s Passion (Cambridge University Press, 2001), and started reading where she had left off the previous night.
Almost without thinking, her small deft fingers stuffed a wad of Rattray's Hal O'The Wynd into the Comoy. As fragrant smoke drifted towards the ceiling, and twilight outside faded to darkness, the conceptions of fraught iconography in the middle ages took hold of her imagination. Oh, how she wished she had had the chance to major in mediaeval art history, rather than something so mundanely practical as biochemistry!"

You can just picture it, can't you? She's an elfin woman, probably dressed comfortably albeit at-home sloppy. The apartment is quiet, and there is no one else around, nor does she expect anyone to come home and disturb her. Her feet are probably bare, slippers kicked off so she can pull her feet underneath her in the barcalounger.

To continue:

"Crisp page after crisp page, her thoughts encompassed the magic of the tome: "the interpretations that Christian, Hrabbanus, and the anonymous exegete propose of the Barrabas episode, which express in some ways similar ideas while highlighting different portions of the story ... "
'Hrabanus' commentary, probably written in 821-822 and consisting chiefly of blocks of excerpts from Patristic sources, stresses Old Testament prophecies of the passion and its divine ordination.'
Fascinating stuff! Her brow furrowed, and the fragrance of the aged Virginia in her pipe seemed almost to recall the frowst of the feverish unwashed mobs demanding of Pilate that HE be crucified; herbal, yeasty, tangy as if with ancient sweat; manifestly the ancient world reeked."

Okay, that may be a little too detailed. But what I wish to stress is that the young lady I describe is thoroughly involved, mentally active. All senses are ringing, all burners are on. Tea, tobacco, and a book, all enjoyed in an environment where, though sexual activity might be a part of her life, there is not even a hint of that. Even food (and let us imagine that there is enough delicious charsiu noodle soup for two later in the evening) is not mentioned, despite her needing to eat at some point.

Lord knows, food excites me.

The enjoyment of good tobacco is incidental; it's just something you do.

She's probably wearing a plaid skirt that reaches slightly below the knees, which makes her seem more girlish than any PhD candidate is really supposed to be. A man's shirt, two or three sizes to large, and not tucked in, complete the ensemble, she has spectacles which accentuate her bright eyes though that is not their purpose, and her hair is slightly mussy; she scratched her head pensively several times since early morning.

Further details: The table next to her seat is one of those rickety-seeming rattan constructions, with two or three more books upon it, one of which is almost certainly a dictionary of a dead tongue. The ashtray (necessary!) is a big porcelain object with a cigar brand blazon prominently displayed (consider the irony AND common sense of a pipesmoker using that!), and the kitchen beyond the living room is rather functional and constricted, like many apartment house kitchens are. Woodwork painted white, slightly yellowed from age and fumes.

Possibly this is the second floor of a building on a San Francisco hill, overlooking an unkempt garden. Or on the street-side of the building, with trees outside.

Ficus microcarpa, purple leaf plum, gingko, red bottlebrush, chestnut, carrot wood, arbutus, quito palm....

There may or may not be a Persian carpet somewhere in the dwelling, and the hallway has a clutter of coats and shoes (sensible flats, loafers, and deck shoes).

We shall not speculate about what is or may be in her bedroom.
That must remain entirely private, and none of our business.

Like Eve, there is an apple core on her bedside table.

I might be able to suggest other books for her.

Some innocent. Some a little less so.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


There are times when the mature badger (or weasel) comes home to San Francisco from his job in Marin and just wants a nice soothing cup of coffee, and perhaps a foot rub. The latter might be hard to find, as I do not know any foot fetishists I would let into my apartment, but the first ought to be easy, right?
Well, coffee shops are right out; they all have wifi, and are filled with the deafening racket of people yacking on their cell-phones. My favourite hang-outs in Chinatown are closed at this hour because strangely the Cantonese don't swill coffee after dinner.


My apartment mate is Aspy, and she's got a mouth on her.

[Aspy: this means that she has Asperger Syndrome, also known as "high-functioning autism", a common affliction of geniuses and obesessed types. Basically, it means that there are flaws to her socialization. While I myself am marginally Aspy, she is a case. A dear sweet woman, brilliant and witty, but also capable of going on and on and on and on about a subject, expressing the same set of thoughts in different ways until it has been completely clarified ....... without realizing that after the third or fourth (or fifth) time it had jumped the shark, been beaten to death, had become monotonous, veered into repetition territory, started to pall, ceased to thrill, no longer engaged, acquired a matte finish, made eyes glaze over, become a ringing in the ears, started eating its own tail, paled to white noise ......']

It's that mouth.

How can two such delicious lips spew such problematic stuff?

She's currently reading a murder mystery that involves a severe woman-hating protestant preacher whose wife supports him in his in his clerical vocation. No one's snuffed it yet, but if any one gets whacked, it should be the man of god.

My apartment mate is a bit of a women's libber.

And holy Jesus does she have a mouth.

The minister is a right xxxt.

Like many such.

I used to think it was because she was Cantonese, seeing as when those people talk among themselves almost every other phrase contains a reference to 'amagehai', or a creative variant of burying someone or slaughtering their whole family, but I've since then recognized that even if she weren't Cantonese there would be still be buckets of appalling stuff coming out of her mouth.

She and I used to be a couple (that ended five years ago), and during the years that we were in that kind of relationship it sometimes bothered me that once she had gone off on a tangent it was hard to change the subject back to something more mutually appealing. Honest, sweetheart, I did not need to hear then about your crazy bitch boss and her reprehensible attitude towards whatever the heck it was for forty minutes, just like right now when I would rather not discuss the misogyny of Saint Paul and the early church fathers and how they consistently misused quotes from scripture for their own hate-filled AND nefarious purposes, thus making the Christian Creed the horrible repressive and barbaric instrument of tyranny which it still is today, in all of its multifaceted byzantine ghastliness.

None of which have any connection with body fluids, menstruation, phlegm, and the peculiar symbology of blood in Nicene ritual.

Besides which, talking shxt about Christians is MY job.

I am the guilty white liberal, remember?

Yes, I did have that soothing cup of coffee. It helped me recover from the conversations I had overheard earlier in the day while in Marin. Though I'm still baffled how the subject there changed from the babies born to illegal aliens to the best way to roast potatoes (rubbed with olive oil and rosemary, oven at four hundred degrees, and I am now certain that at least one of those gentlemen is also Aspy), and how any of that related to the size of Hillary's backside (which seems quite immaterial to either the issue with illegals OR kartoffel cuisine).

Someone also brought up problematic wiring. At which point I snapped that that was precisely what illegal aliens were good for, many of them understood electricity far better than high-school graduates OR the self-entitled dildo-heads of Marin.
But the game was on, and none of them reacted.
Someone had scored or hit a homer.
Or else it did not compute.

One of these days, as a refreshing change, I would really like to have a sprightly conversation about nipples. Not with the men in Marin, as their thoughts about that subject are probably pedestrian in the extreme, nor with my ex-girlfriend and present apartment mate, because it would be thin ice as well as hugely uncomfortable.

Nipples are a subject for a good-natured private discussion.
Not a public place, and with no prying ears about.

Nipples are a fascinating subject, I think.
Better than strong coffee after work.
A perfect subject for relaxation.
Nipples are a happy word.

Nipples, coffee, and cake: The perfect way to unwind after work.

I think I'll head out to the Oxxy tonight after all. The surreal twittering of cigar-huffing bozos seems like just the ticket. I've got the day off on Friday, so getting up at eight in the morning won't be a problem.
A bowl full of Virginia flake will do me good.
Perhaps I'll have congee around noon.
With a nice fried dough stick.
And a beverage.

But unfortunately, no nipples.
Can't have everything.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Sometimes it distresses me that my ex is so thoroughly Americanized, despite being Cantonese from San Francisco's Chinatown, and having had all the childhood exposure to fun food. She usually eats very white.
I am not like that at all. No, I will not claim that I am Cantonese in any way. But good heavens, American Wasp Cuisine is not, strictly speaking, very interesting.
Everything with potatoes and overcooked vegetables.
Deep fry that sucker and put it on a stick.

The mature and discerning individual wants something else. Something better. Something you can eat with chili paste (sambal).

Like, for instance, dried fish eggplant. Over rice.

Gotta make it a bit saucy.


Ingredients (材料 'choi liu'):
About two or three Asian eggplants.
Between a half and one tablespoon dried fish (梅香鹹魚 'mui heung haam yü').
One clove of garlic, chopped.
A piece of ginger, chopped.
Half a teaspoon hot bean paste (辣豆瓣酱 'laat dau baan jeung').
Jigger of sherry or rice wine.
Dash soy sauce (老抽 'lou chau').
Cooking oil for sautéing.
The merest pinch of sugar.
A little cornstarch made pasty with water.

Cut the eggplants into thick wedges lengthwise. Heat up some oil in a wok, and fry these till gilded but no further, drain. Crumble the dried fish, and boil in a little water. When the dried fish is thoroughly softened, strain it over a bowl (reserve the liquid), and dump it into a greasy pan to sizzle, along with the ginger and garlic; when it starts smelling fried, add the soaking water, hot bean paste, and a pinch of sugar, then cook till dry. Dump in the eggplant, stir around, and add the dashes soy sauce, rice wine, and a splash of water, plus the cornstarch paste. Cook till liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about three or four minutes.
Garnish with chopped chives, serve.

You could substitute shrimp paste (鹹蝦醬 'haam haa jeung') or fish dew (魚露 'yü lou') for the dried fish, perfectly acceptable (call it 海味茄子 'hoi mei ke ji'), but plum fragrance salty fish (梅香鹹魚) has that real sexy flavour.

And you might add ground pork at the appropriate stage.
Or preserved pork belly (臘肉 'lap yiuk').

I guess the reason why she eats so Waspy is that there are plenty of Chinese eateries near her office, whereas I work in Marin, where the nearest Chinese restaurant is Panda Express, gottenyu, and everything else is equally washed-out. I am desperate four days a week.
Actually, disappointed. Culinarily unexcited.
Marin is white cotton sponge.


She also eats Indian food on occasion (yes, I introduced her to that!), but if you think about it, that too is frightfully Anglo.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Manfully I resisted reading about this until fairly late in the day. Instead of jumping on it first thing, I smoked several pipes, had meals, drank a few caffeinated beverages, walked around town, hiccoughed, and pondered the mysteries of the universe, before finally falling on an article entitled "'Female Viagra': Libido pill Addyi approved by FDA" like a starving man on a bottle of Irish whiskey...

"The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a libido-enhancing drug for women ... "

Assuredly, this is a giant step forward for gender equality. Next thing you know there will be female priests. And possibly, altar girls.

Ladies who previously were utterly bored by sex will now be able to be less bored, without the help of marijuana and alcohol.


The drug in question works on the brain rather than on the circulation in the venereal region. Given that women consist of about fifteen or twenty highly unpredictable erogenous zones, some of which may or may not be out of order at any given time, that approach was probably best.

" ... trials had shown an increase "in the number of satisfying sexual events", although experts suggest the test results were modest."
End quote.

"Versions of the pill have been submitted for approval in the past but never passed; it was rejected by the FDA twice for lack of effectiveness and side effects like nausea, dizziness and fainting."
End quote.

Yes, I know I shouldn't laugh. But just like Viagra, it will be misused, and must therefore be the butt of jokes.

The other night a friend and I were walking down the street when an entrepreneurial gentleman offered us Viagra pills for five bucks. What is it about two fairly decent looking youngish middle-aged fellows that suggests Viagra (or Cialis) might be a desideratum?

We're not frat-boys, we do not screw in the street.
To the best of my knowledge neither of us screws.

An increase in the "number of satisfying sexual events", besides sounding like something a South Indian Ashram would encourage, as well as a United Nations program, is indeed something devoutly to be wished.
But count me out. I am not interested in the slightest. No girlfriend, ergo no sexual events in several years, satisfying or otherwise.
In all likelihood, I am precisely like previous versions of the drug.
And may cause nausea, dizziness, and fainting.

You know, there's a condom in one of my jacket pockets. And in the same way that lighting up a cigarette immediately gets the waitress to come over and take your order, or the bus to turn the corner and come to a screeching stop right where you had been waiting, or nowadays an angry Berkeleyite earth-mother to pop out of nowhere screaming about how you're ruining the planet, giving her heartburn, asthma, and a rash, plus killing babies, a condom in the pocket is potent magic; it absolutely guarantees that I will NEVER be left wishing I had a condom.
The dark aura it emits chases away all happy drunken poon.
As well as brilliant sexy brainiacs with glasses.
Or cute little PHD candidates.
Even Vegans.

A condom in the pocket is a talisman that wards off sex.

A female version of Viagra will guarantee desperation.

When there's no connection, no "events" will occur.

Should've stuck with the nausea and dizziness, ladies. Those are more easily achieved. A few cocktails should do it, and there are far fewer potential regrets.

I would offer you a smoke, but you'd probably kill me.
And turn my skin into a neat-o handbag.

You know, I cannot get excited about a female sex pill. Just like the invention of Viagra left me cold. All I can do is react sarcastically.
I am entirely uninvolved in "events", I do not care in the slightest whether they result in any effing satisfaction; good, bad, or indifferent.

Same goes for the Viagra the idiot tried to sell me.

Do I look limp and desperate?

Or just grouchy?


There are far too many of those in the world as it is. Why would anyone think that increasing their number would serve a useful purpose?

The economy will come to a halt if this is allowed.

Productivity will plummet.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Yesterday was beautiful. After four days surrounded by cigar-smokers in Marin, a day off is a slice of heaven. As well as an all-too brief re-acquaintance with my own sanity.
Now, that last part needs some explanation, no doubt because you dear reader presume me sane at all times, a veritable source of rational and balanced perspective on the universe.

Little secret: it's an act; half the time I've lost it.

By the second day I was already disturbed, having had less than four hours sleep the night before, as well as barely five the previous night. Coupled with an excess of caffeine, the heat added to the madness.
By the third day, I wasn't able to formulate my sentences in as perfect a manner as I normally expect of myself. On the fourth day, the cumulative sleep-starvation coupled with the oppressive heat contributed to a general air of fluttering loopiness, similar to Apu Nahasapeemapetilam tweeking in the Quicky Mart after working ninety six hours straight.



Now, what other than heat contributed to my late hours?
Well, the caffeine. Of course.

Like most of the present generation, I am hepped to the gills. Except, unlike all the acolytes of Starbucks, my beverage of choice is not chock-full of fat and sugar.

I drink tea. No milk, and no sugar.
Non-fattening, anti-oxidant.
Strong hot tea.

So I am not a lardbutt either. Had to poke another hole in my belt to keep my pants from slipping down. Daaang I'm trim.
I do not look like a programmer.

If I were a woman, I'd wear yoga pants and show off my camel toe.

It goes without saying that, as a man, I absolutely loathe yoga pants.


1) Someone wearing yoga pants.
2) A woman with a tramp-stamp.
3) Angry black lesbians.
4) Vegans.
5) Republicans.
6) Harridans.
7) White vegetarians.
8) Anti-vaxxers.
9) Anyone who believes in auras, astrology, crystal healing, aliens, angels, past-life regression, or similar namby pamby cottonwool hooha.

There should be a tenth category, but I can't think of anything right now.

Women who don't floss between their toes.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


It has become apparent that I am a grouchy old fart. Not always, and not severely so (my own estimation), but never the less and evenso.

My first thought upon hearing that another famous Englishman was being investigated for perversion was "of course he is a pervert; it goes with the territory!", followed almost immediately by wondering "is there ANY celebrity who doesn't engage in nastiness?"

Not until half an hour later did I start compiling a list of famous Englishmen and celebrities who were not thorough cads.

It's a short list, but there are some.

Compile your own.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Monday, August 17, 2015


This afternoon I had a long conversation with a gentleman from Shanghai regarding pipes and tobacco. As well as many other things. What became evident is that McClelland and GLPease products are known over there, along with Esoterica Tobacciana et autres, and aficionados have also learned about Sasieni, Comoy, Dunhill, and diverse other desirable brandnames. It wouldn't surprise me if within a few years many of the best collectable briars disappear into mainland China, and some mighty fine collections result that will fill us with envy. Of course, with anti-smoking fervor reducing our numbers over here and in Europe, that is probably a good thing. Many of the great tobacconists are gone, and several famous names have been so debased or entirely whored-out by modern management and marketing departments that their pipes or tobaccos are, on the whole, not worth acquiring. But having a huge new market open up, and enthusiasm for pipes and fine tobacco blossoming in China, can only be good. Much as it may distress the tobacco-hating "health" puritans, this brings renewed life to our hobby.

The San Francisco Bay Area is ground zero for anti-tobacco fascism.
We are surrounded by disapproval and resentment.
Thank heavens China is fertile ground.

What was also apparent, and I am ashamed of this, is that the two main languages we had in common were spoken English and written Chinese, as logically he could not be expected to know Cantonese, and I have most regrettably neglected Mandarin. When we talked about food, we relied upon the characters for certain items. Bittermelon (苦瓜 'fu gwa', also called 涼瓜 ''leung gwa'), dioscorea opposita (淮山 'waai saan'), which he knows as 'shan yao' (山藥 'saan yeuk'), and others.

[Note: It is the season for moon cakes, so of course those were also discussed. One of the best places for locally made moon cakes is Eastern Bakery (東亞餅家 'tung aa bing gaa') at 720 Grant Avenue in San Francisco, on the corner of Commercial between Clay and Sacramento.]


Which naturally brings me to the character for his surname ("just call me 'Q'"). Which is rather rare. Indeed, it does show up in the list of ancient name-characters, but given that ninety percent of the Chinese share about two dozen more common family names, and his isn't even in the top one hundred, you may readily grasp that while I recognized it, I could not remember how it is pronounced in Cantonese.

It wasn't until I got home that I remembered that back in the eighties and nineties one of the hottest actresses in Hong Kong had the same surname, and the correct pronunciation came back.
She was hot enough to make a man remember.
Chingmy Yau (邱淑貞 'yau suk jing').

Smoking? Oh Jesus yes.

Yau. Qiu in Mandarin.

A tumulus or mound, being the same as 丘 but with the addition of 阝(full form: 阜) on the right-hand side. That second character (阜 'fau'), which means hillock or sometimes outcropping often shows up in place names as well as ancient state names. By some authorities, both 邱 and 丘 are the same surname, the difference being a protective change when the simpler character became reserved for just one purpose: the given name of Confucius: 孔丘 ('hung yau') also known as Master Kung, 孔子 ('hung ji') and 孔夫子 ('hung fu ji').

Confucius lived two and a half millennia ago, whereas Chingmy Yau is alive today. Which one would I rather meet?
I'll leave you to guess.

The calligraphy at the top of this post is 邱 in seal-script. It reflects an older version of the mound which shows two people back to back (丠) on top of a small rise, like guardian figures or warriors facing a surrounding force.
Seal script is more curvilinear than chancellery style writing, but I think I've never-the-less captured the proportion and flow expected of a brushed character.

I probably need to practise more, though. A lot more. My strokes are stiff, and the brush does not feel natural.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.