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, June 19, 2018


Something which people not raised on a diet of English children's books and mystery novels cannot imagine are the odd comestibles with which the British, and American East-coasters, often fed themselves. But I shall refrain from disquisitioning on Bofton Baked Beans or boiled codfish.
I wish to mention 'paste'.

There is an entire world of fine paste out there.

Anchovy paste.
Beef paste (contains miscellaneous animal protein bits plus boiled down chicken skin).
Bloater paste (thank you, Tim, for bringing that up) (*).
Browned shrimp (!) in a jar.
Chicken and ham paste.
Fish paste.
Ham and beef paste.
Sardine and tomato paste.
Tuna and mayonnaise paste.

If you need a substitute for the bloater, anchovy, or shrimp, consider boiled penguin. It's high in Omega 3 acids. Replace everything else with cat food.
Tuna and mayonnaise paste is a convenience that does not need to exist.

Unless, like many people, you do not know how to make tuna salad, and in any case prefer something with the consistency of ......

Shan't say. We run a family blog here. Don't want to offend. Please do not imagine eating any of this.


We Americans have Spam and chicken in a can. Along with tinned Vienna sausages, these can be easily mashed up with a little clarified fat to approximated fine British pastes, and eaten on white bread.
Or add capers, and serve on toast points.
It's cocktail party food.

I avoid cocktail parties.

*Bloater paste is no longer made, btw.

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There is evil afoot in Casa Atboth. A plot of stupendous magnitude. Snidely. Angus. Bertha. Clarissa. Ms. Bruin. Buckie and a sock monkey.
Plus The Young Lady, and Mr. Big Person.

But first, clarification.

Snidely: the blue-faced head-sheep.
Angus: a she-sheep, who has remarkable common sense.
Bertha: also known as 'Beanie', a large cheerful purple cat.
Clarissa: a little girl hamster.
Ms. Bruin: the head roomie, a bear.
Buckie is a talkative orange beaver.
The Sock Monkey also has a name, but I can't remember it. He lives mostly in her room.
The Young Lady: my apartment mate, a female human.
Mr. Big Person: a giant lizard. Myself.

Snidely is planning to kidnap a little girl hamster to hold hostage so that The Young Lady will obey him, and he will have power. He craves "om knee po tince", and resents the influence which Angus wields in the councils of state. Plus he sees the potential kidnapping victim as a handy way to get rid of the dust bunnies on my side of the apartment, because he has no idea what hamsters eat. Dust bunnies are full of fibre!

We have tried to point out to him that hamsters like milk and little quadratini cookies, and occasionally a bit of soft-boiled egg, sometimes icecream. And further, if he ever gets anywhere near a little girl hamster we will all look at him askance, detail Bertha to sit upon him (she's considerably larger that he is, and has a potent tail), and call the police.
His life will change for the worse.
We might smack him.

Angus has severely reprimanded him, and promised to teach Clarissa self-defense moves, and possibly how to break his arm.

Mr. Big Person has been trying to quietly have his morning coffee.

This has been going on now for several days.
Snidely has an obsessive personality.
Plus he's bit of an idiot.

I do not know how this will end, but if the past is any guide, there will be howls of outrage and pissy whimpers from the miscreant. Who often insists that we are mean to him when we prevent his plans coming to fruition.

This morning both the sock monkey and the orange beaver weighed in.
We are all aghast at Snidely's sheer wickedness.
He yet persists.

It is far from over.

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Monday, June 18, 2018


This evening I caught up on the news, and on the people (many of whom are Israelis, Texans, Christians, or just the very well-to-do) who soft-peddle the caging of kids. Naturally I applaud them; it takes great courage to ignore the human cost of herding children and to actively advocate tattooing the little bastards so that we know who they are if they ever cross the border again. Nuancing president Trump and the backbone of the Republican party is a noble crusade, which must inevitably triumph. Several politicians in Eastern Europe and Italy also think thus, and Bibi Netanyahu looks with favour on his friend Donald's heartfelt cause.
How valiant! Bravo.

[Israelis: you know who you are.]

Frankly, I am surprised at many Israelis of my ken. Clearly they know something I don't. I bow before their superior knowledge.

And applaud their moral clarity.


Dot       Dot       Dot

Fortunately the Irish dingus who fanatically supports Trump was entirely distracted by the World Cup. So I did not have to question his sanity.
I've largely given up on sense coming out of his mouth anyway.
The bald-headed freak was not in today, so his valuable insights into the rightness of barbed wire enclosures for foreigners didn't come into play.
But two rambling wrecks as well as the pothead were.
I tried to avoid the lounge.

There was, of course, loud criticism of Barrack Obama.
Whose fault all of this entirely is. One hundred percent.

At work I am surrounded be pestilence.
My weekend started 3 hours ago.
I am free for a while.

Remarkably, none of the Spanish or Chinese speakers I know stand behind Donald Trump, and as far as I'm aware, my black friends don't either.
It might just be a "white" thing, huh?

On the other hand, the Russians, Saudis, and Filipinos love that man.
As does much of Africa immediately south of the Sahara.
So his appeal could be universal.

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Listening in on other people's conversations can be fun. Sometimes it is educational, sometimes informative. And sometimes it tells you to run screaming from the room and hide under a blanket.
Which is good life advice anyway.

Two women at a table behind me last night.

Woman A: "Can you get food poisoning from sperm?"

Woman B: "Animal or human?"

Stuff like that convinces me that I should remain a bachelor for the rest of my life and withdraw to a desert island.

No, I did not turn around or get involved. After putting a napkin over my drink I went outside to finish smoking my pipe. I am just a visitor on this planet, you natives are demented.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018


When I returned home my apartment mate was in her room, resting, much like a Norwegian Blue after a prolonged squawk is alleged to, assuming that such a creature does indeed recline, and is living, rather than being nailed down, cold ex-parrot style.
She was alive. And gleefully showed me a passage in a Dave Sedaris book. Something about someone's senile maternal relative insisting that Adolf Hitler wanted her pussy. Which is rather like one of my regulars, who insists that Robin Williams was killed because he knew too much about the Clinton Foundation fracking Marin County with the Russians (who can, entirely uncoincidentally, see Marin from their consulate in San Francisco), which although top-secret he also knows. Because he has friends at Quantico.
That's why he takes the battery out of his cellphone.
It keeps the gubmint from tracking him.

You know, I suspect that if he thought himself female, he too would be convinced that Hitler wanted his pussy. Totally.

I shan't mention his name, because he has friends at Quantico.

Who would call him up to warn him.

On his cellphone ...

After a brief chat, I left her and her stuffed animals to doze in their room, or read more Dave Sedaris. She's had a long day. She visited the family graves, and was by doing so a good Chinese daughter. I spent all day at work surrounded by cigar smokers and people who should wear form-fitting tinfoil hats. Which I could make for them. And would most willingly! Because, as you know, I am not a good Chinese daughter.
I am a bad snarky Dutchman.
I have tinfoil skills!

I started the day with a tuitknakje (small Dutch perfecto shape cigar) from a venerable company, I shall finish it with a pipe at a nearby drinking establishment after a casual snack and a nap.
That tuitknakje was smoked while wandering the empty streets near my apartment, before taking the bus to the county now being fracked.

During the height of the day, those streets are filled with people like my conspiracy theorist nutball acquaintance. All convinced of something.
This is San Francisco. It must be our karmic magnetism.

"Prithee, good sir, I be a tinne foille hat maker; hast need for arte such as mine?"

Sometimes these good people are in a fighting mood.

Oh, what sad times are these, there is a pestilence upon this land! nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design tinfoil hats are under considerable stress at this point in time.

I checked in on my apartment mate a couple of minutes ago.
She's fast asleep, surrounded by all of her stuffed animals.
The good Chinese daughter prefers kipping on her back.

She ate all of the cheesy poofs.
It was a giant bag.
Oh well.

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Sometimes cooking is the most therapeutic thing a person can do. Heck, it often is. Last night I fixed myself some baked Portuguese chicken rice like they have in Hong Kong ... but with extra chilies and ginger. And some stewed stalky mustard green ... also with extra chilies and ginger.

Perhaps I overdid the extra chilies and ginger.

But I was cooking for myself.

So, okay.


Baked Portuguese chicken rice as it is usually made in Hong Kong consists of a foundation of egg-fried rice on top of which partially cooked chicken (such as for instance ripped-up leftover roast chicken) and parboiled potato chunks are placed, Portuguese sauce a la Hong Kong poured over, shredded cheese sprinkled generously on top, grated coconut optional. This composite is put in the oven till hot, then under the broiler till the cheese browns.

Hong Kong style Portuguese sauce ( 葡汁) is a mild coconut curry sauce, not too heavy on the coconut milk or the curry, possibly thinned with a little chicken stock. To make it more Portuguese-y I fried some chunks of chouriço first, then added the spices, roux, and liquids.

If the Portuguese chicken is to be eaten as a meal, the chicken is browned, with some garlic, onion, and carrots all added at the appropriate time.
Then simmered in the sauce.

None of this is really Portuguese, you must understand. It's a Hong Kong working men's restaurant re-interpretation of fusion food from Macao.

As I mentioned, extra chilies and ginger.

It was hearty, and comforting.

I'm up early today.


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Saturday, June 16, 2018


The realization that I am not a nice person hits hard. And, by "not nice" what I mean is stubborn, hard-headed, and eccentric. Not fluffy. Not sweet. At all. Please don't hug me unless you know me very well, and we've established beforehand that that is okay. Irrespective of your gender or heartfeltness.

Most of what I dislike is half my age. Much of what I like is also.

The computer age defines my adulthood.

Good thing.

In the past, the dysfunctional element would paint their craziest thoughts on the side of a van and drive slowly around your neighborhood, hoping that you would take the time to read the thesis, and, flash of insight, disrobe and ooze after their vehicle moaning in delight. An acolyte. A follower!
My gosh you're grand, you butch prophet you.

Now they stay online writing in all caps, and nobody actually has to deal with them. Unless they're stoned at the neighborhood bar, where I remain at one of the tables outside with my pipe, observing their antics.

Paranoiacs and incels are worse when fully amped.
Better living through chemistry?
It's a huge lie.

Actually, some of the people I like best are one eighth to one fourth of my age. Already distinct personalities, but not batshit crazy like teenagers, or the importantly unique individuals who feel artistic and entitled that they will become. And if they're reasonably well-behaved, so much the better.

I still prefer to observe them from a safe distance.

Last night I smoked more than I should. There was a huggy nut in the bar, in direct consequence of which I spent most of the time outside with my pipe.
He was warm and "interesting", and hugged several people.

Perhaps they knew him, because they didn't clock him a good one.
Some folks really should not do drugs.

Two shots of 'Auld Sodomite' Scotch, with water.
Two bowls of blonde Danish flake.
Home to bed.

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Friday, June 15, 2018


The other day I walked past the location where Yong Kee (容記糕粉) used to be, and remembered their haam daan sou (鹹蛋酥), which was delicious. Yong Kee shut its doors in 2012. But you can still get haam daan sou at other places, as well as variations of the great big Toishan chicken bun.

[鹹蛋酥 ('haam daan sou'): small globular pastries with a crumbly sweet crust pastry shell, that contain a salted egg yolk in a bed of sweet lotus seed paste.]

Haam daan sou are seriously old-school. And go very well with Hong Kong milk tea ((港式奶茶 'gong sik naai chaa'), which wasn't available anywhere in Chinatown till the modern era. Milk tea did not appeal to the Toishanese immigrants two or three generations ago. Now their grandkids swill the Taiwanese version, which is tapioca balls in a weak sugary brew.
So it's not a consideration for them either.

Both of these things make me realize that I have become a crusty old fart.
Which wasn't my intent.


So, as a celebration of my middle-aged intestinal gas, today's lunch will be a selection of dumpling-type items. Several hours later I will enjoy milk tea and a pastry. There will be one or two bowls of tobacco in between those events, aged Virginia leaf in ancient briars.

One block away from the dumpling place, through an alleyway beloved by tourists (NOT the ratty alley mentioned elsewhere) is the herbal medicine store which sells the brand of ganoderma capsules (靈芝膠囊 'ling ji gaau nong') I prefer, where one of the owners has expressed himself favourably over the sheer old-schoolness of smoking a pipe in the modern era.

The re-paving of the alleyway beyond that may have progressed a bit. The project has taken well over a year and a half now, and it's finally starting to look decent. It's not of earthshaking importance, though, and does not affect the white population of this city, or the techno yuppies to whom city hall caters, so it's been very slow and slapdash. After-thoughtish.
The new mayor will not change that.

The great thing about Chinatown is the span of ages represented by people there, from tiny tyke to ancient fossil. Extreme youth to hoariest old age, and everything in between. You will not see that in the financial district or many other parts of the city -- we've become a place where you don't want to raise your kids -- and when you do, whether doddering antique or lively youth, they seem to have very modern attitude problems.

I don't really like people.
Except after lunch.


It's a sunny day, the wind is not too bad, and the alleyways beckon.
I shall ignore the "don't smoke here" signs everywhere.
Twenty five feet away would be indoors!
In a mahjong parlour.

No vegans, health nuts, or triggered bourgies there.

By the way: I used to play mahjong.
I'm just mentioning that.

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There have been violent protests in Vietnam against economic zones and proposed leases to Chinese companies. Yes, some of those protests have been distinctly tinged with racialist anti-Chinese sentiment.

Vietnam has a long history of fighting Chinese invasion and control.

The country also sent a very large portion of its Chinese population into the sea in rickety vessels, where they were attacked by Thai pirates.
Those were the boat people.

I am neither Vietnamese nor Chinese.

Phở, cà phê sữa đá, bánh mì, and bún thịt nướng, are all utterly marvelous.
Still, we know what they are and how to make them now, so realistically speaking we have no more use for the Vietnamese.
None whatsoever.

[ 越南河粉,越南冰咖啡,越式三明治,串燒豬肉米粉。]

I hope the Vietnamese realize that nước mắm now comes from many other places, and that in fact there were already many other fish sauces.

Yü lou (魚露) is native to the entire South China coast.

Fish sauces have been traditionally manufactured all the way from Zhejiang to Kuala Lumpur and beyond, and even in Post-War Holland, well before any Viet exile presence.

I have Viet-style fish sauce made by a company in Hong Kong founded by expellees, as well as Sino-Thai fish sauce made for export, in my kitchen.

The Vietnamese I know here in San Francisco are all pissy and racist.
Kinda like Filipinos, but more ingratiatingly smirky.
They're very "polished" people.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018


No doubt about it; I am magnetic. While smoking on the front steps, three people with issues approached me. I fled to a nearby bar, and three more started conversations. The drunk from Seattle was easy to deal with.

"I'm sorry, I'm stepping outside to continue this pipe."

Admittedly I had to do that twice.
I did have an extra pipe.
It wasn't a lie.

The person with Tourette's Syndrome was a different matter.
I'm afraid I still don't know how to deal with that.

The alcoholic with a leg cast was also quite painfree.
She couldn't move; I'm relatively spry.

I am not a very social person.

The evening ended in quiet and solitude with a delicious snack.
I would have shared, but there was no one to do so with.
All shy bookish nerds were asleep already.
As the dingo says: "sad".

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018


The prospect of food had me in C'town by five o'clock. It should have done so much earlier, but single men of the Dutch and middle-aged variety are easily distracted for long hours by reading material, and my stomach didn't make any noise till tea-time.

Naturally I ended up at the place run by a Toishanese family -- the grandma speaks nearly no Cantonese, but one would assume that she understands Mandarin pretty well, as she's addicted to emotional roller-coaster soap operas from the mainland -- where the woman who is nearly always behind the counter was absent, as was the little girl who comes home from school around that time. That left grandma, her son the little girl's dad, and a female relative of indeterminate connection.

I missed the little girl. She's very bright, and in second grade now.
But she and her mommy were out somewhere.


I place my order from the wall -- lerng gwaa pan kau faan -- and sat down to wait. At the table over from me there were two old people, plus their adult daughter and two school age grandchildren. The kids kept themselves occupied during the wait by reading the Chinese menu.
All five at that table were occupied in that effort.
The grown-ups in the role of auxiliaries.

The children did an exceptional job of it. I often overlook that if one isn't in the Chinatown environment on a regular basis, learning the language enough to read it is an arduous task. Three languages were deployed at that table. The grandparents spoke standard city Cantonese plus English, the woman and her children conversed in English and a bit of Cantonese, and all of them also threw Mandarin into the mix, because, I think, the kids went to a Chinese school where that was the language assigned to the characters and reading material.
Which is fairly common; lesson books give Pinyin, as do dictionaries.
And Pinyin is not particularly hard.

It takes quite a while before Cantonese sounds adhere to characters one has learned in Mandarin. Longer when one's native tongue is English.
Instead of either version of Chinese.

I had forgotten how difficult it is.

Those two children are very intelligent, clearly diligent students, and admirable. They are a credit to their mom and her parents.

It was a joy and a privilege to listen in.

Thank you.

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Why does she do it? She doesn't want to be like them, in fact she was decrying their general lack of manners, good taste, sense, and behavioural standards. As well as their awareness of their societally sanctioned desirability.

Blondes. Why were all the women on teevee last night blondes?

When I returned from eating baked Portuguese chicken rice, my apartment mate was watching teevee and sneering at the people. Indeed, I share her revulsion, pain even, but I'm not the person in this abode who hogs the television with garbage reality programmes, just to be made angry.

If it were up to me, it would be Japanese Shakespeare anime all the time.
Hamlet, or Merchant of Venice, set in a highschool.
You know, quality entertainment.

Like her, I am not enamoured of blondes.
But mostly I avoid them.

Maybe some nature show.
Crocodile eats tourist.
Munch munch.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Under an essay I wrote this past Sunday (about English bad habits, here), someone posted the following comment: "England: It's like San Francisco with better food."

The only food even mentioned in that essay was 'Bubble and Squeak'. Which is basically refried beans, made without beans but substituting cooked potato and cabbage. A very English public school delicacy.

It is the quintessential British food.
Practically a national dish.

"England: It's like San Francisco with better food."

A discussion yesterday involved cioppino, about which several participants had strong and differing opinions. I am awfully tempted to say that cioppino is similar to bubble and squeak or refried beans in some ways.
But really, it isn't. It is quite edible.

The only possible intersections are the grease used in the preparation (lard or olive oil both work), as well as the bottle of hotsauce on the table.
And the suitability of the dish for breakfast.

Adding bacon is a tempting heresy.

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Two drinks, two pipefulls of tobacco, and a very peaceful dog. So started the weekend. Not at the karaoke place with the lovely portico where I sheltered from the rain during the wet season -- two months ago I got fed up with the arrogant snooty primadonnas who behaved like condescending deities, and gave them a piece of my mind -- but at a local establishment where the regulars have fewer issues and are more socially adept.
White people doing karaoke are an unpleasant lot.
Asian Americans and karaoke, ditto.
Attitudes and egos.

I am rather stupid. I like places where I can subside into routine. Which is probably why I tolerated the East Bay crowd so long as well as the karaoke dive (with the portico), and it's the same reason why I like certain bakeries and chachantengs in Chinatown. Places with a boisterous, loud, and engaging Toishanese clientele.

The latter category is far less abrasive than karaokers.

Not as hip, supercilious, and vicious.

And, truth be told, I'd far rather discuss food than whatever garbage subject fills the minds of karaoke mavens. Cantonese people often talk about food. Many of the folks at the "local establishment" also discuss culinaria.
Neither group are overly impressed with themselves.

When the rains come I'll be rather hosed. The karaoke joint had a peaceful and dry portico. That by itself, during that time of year, was a major draw.
But attempts at conversation inside were painful and frustrating.

The local place has no attitude-problem customers.
No brawls, no primadonnas, no "stars".

Also no Am-Filipinos.
Or Mỹ-gốc Việt.

Draw your own conclusion about the last data.
I will not say a damned thing.
I'm diplomatic.

And I have an umbrella.

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Monday, June 11, 2018


This blogger candidly admits that Pepe the king prawn is, totally and completely, the hottest crustacean-American on youtube. Okay?

I just wish I had half his Barcelonean sex appeal.


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Sunday, June 10, 2018


Per reliable reports, chairman Kim's first meal in Singapore will be Hainan Chicken. Which is a splendid representation of the southern Chinese talent for mix and meld, as the ideal condiment is sambal. Freshly made sambal. With a splash of skimmed fat from the top of the stock to make it unctuous.

Donald Trump, of course, is having McDonalds flown in on an army transport. Not because, as the urban folklore holds, he is scared of being poisoned, but instead because he thinks they named the chain after him.
Oh, and he has no culinary imagination.

From a bartender friend's Facebook page: "If Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump were both drowning and you could only save one... where would you take Justin for lunch afterwords?"

Thanks, David D.
I would credit your entire name, but then the Christians would know who you are. And today's Christians do more than pray for your salvation, they shoot schoolchildren and piss on their graves.

Still, it's a good question. Obviously one saves the more useful world leader, but Trump floats. So you'd need a boat hook to push him under.

After saving Justin, dump chum into the water.

Just to be sure.

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In a week in which the Free World displeased Donald Trump, Anthony Bourdain died as well as some fashion figure beloved by many people with whom I have never associated, two pudgy dictators flew into Singapore for noodles, and it was revealed that Moscow is surrounded by out of control toxic waste landfills, the one thing that caught my eye was an increase of the French Pox in England.

"Syphilis might be more commonly associated with centuries past. But it's been on the rise for the past decade in England, with more cases last year than in any year since 1949.
The disease was, in effect, eradicated in the UK in the mid-80s only to re-emerge around 1999."
End quote.

[SOURCE: BBC - Why is syphilis is on the rise?.]

Apparently the cause for the dramatic spread includes dating apps, drugs, and group sex. Almost San Franciscan type behaviour.

"The increase in syphilis was almost all among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, according to government agency Public Health England, accounting for 78% of all cases diagnosed last year."
End quote.

This paints a picture of an England where the social activities of a public school dormitory have broken through to adult life, and cold showers are no longer common. Which is distressing.

As an unabashed Anglophile I naturally blame the Irish.

Now please excuse me as I retire to my booklined study to contemplate the dissolution of proper standards, rise in immorality and sea levels, creeping Trumpism, and culinary improvements that undermine society and make people believe they could actually enjoy life, instead of being miserable and reserved. Which I shall do with a cup of tea and some bubble and squeak.
Than which nothing is more self-chastising.

Those British need birching.

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Friday, June 08, 2018


So as it turns out, pipesmokers are remarkable curiosities, and damned well sehenswürdigkeiten von großem ausmaß. Beachtlich. Or sumpin'. This is the only conclusion one can draw from the episode the other night, when a woman took one look at me and my pipe and started screaming that me and my pipe were fabulous. Absolutely fabulous! OMG!

Well, the pipe is indeed fabulous. A sterling military mount Peterson billiard of great age, but very decent condition, and an excellent smoke.
Shape 106.

And yes, the term OMG is apposite.
It's a lovely pipe.

She really must have meant the pipe. Because the smoker is not nearly so exclaim-worthy. Although he does think he looks rather dashing with that pipe clenched between his teeth. Though alas, hardly OMG.

If she had established physical contact, I would have yelped.
I am easily disturbed.

Seeing a pipesmoker (with a fabulous pipe) was probably the capstone of her evening, especially after the basketball game and her burger and fries.
A walking talking antique, by gum.
This way to the egress.


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Thursday, June 07, 2018


And gluten-phobic vegetarian foodie white women are a monumental pain in the sphincter. Airy-faerie. My apartment mate wishes that they'd shut the hell up. No, I shall not mention where or when this was, as the oppressive persons in question might actually know how to read.
They are not as nice as monkeys.

I'm beginning to think that most white women don't know diddly about food, and seldom visit the kitchen except for more yoghurt.
Or soyghurt, if they're vegan.

"We've been coming here a long time!"

Bitches, bitches, bitches, bitches. My apartment mate asked me if there really was a particular ("white) way to hold a strawberry.
How the heck should I know? I may appear 'white", but underneath my pale dermoid exterior I am a scaly green space alien. I only look this way because it's easier. I can move around on this planet without anyone wondering how to skin me and wear me. My apartment mate ('Chinese American') has to constantly worry about white bitches with crazy tendencies.

Or at least, that's the impression I get.

I, personally, don't know any gluten-phobics. When I worked part-time at an Indian restaurant, the number of weird-ass white folks with food hang-ups who came through the door was frightening. It seemed like every white-ass modahfo was "special". This one couldn't eat dairy, that one couldn't touch bread, she over there would (she said) bloat up if even in the same room as citrus, and that person over there was allergic to chilies, cilantro, and cumin.

So you'll naturally understand that I have an extremely low regard for people with self-assumed dietary needs. Unless you're carrying around medication and hypodermic needles, or a note from your doctor -- NOT the holistic snake oil salesman who soothes your fragile ego or the chiropractor who reaches deep into your wallet while stroking your sense of uniqueness, you little flower you -- I will assume you to be neurotic, in need of drugs.
Or, exceptionally, a savage beating.

Right now I'm thinking about a bacon-cheese burger on a crusty toasted bun, with a thick salsa of chilies, cilantro, and cumin, with a bit of lime juice to make it sloppy.

By the way, I've been told that gigolos are delicious.
That may be a crazy white woman thing.
But I do not know.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2018


During the night I dreamed that San Francisco had become a dictatorship of gluten-phobic vegans. For, you understand, our own good. It is a surprising dream, given how much steak and bacon is served in this town, along with crusty French bread and sourdough, and the prevalence of pizza places.
Though I am sure that some would wish it were so.

There is NO such thing as a vegan San Franciscan crab dinner. Yes, there are vegan "equivalents" of crab, but they are in the same ballpark as gluten-free pasta and pizza, or mock roast goose and soy-steak.
Not by a long shot edible.


Today's late lunch will probably be either baked Portuguese chicken rice or roast duck over rice. They are both gluten-free, more or less, and quite as vegetarian as I wish to ever go.

The first consists of a layer of egg-fried rice, on top of which are chunked cooked chicken and potatoes, smothered in a mild Hong Kong and Macao style curry sauce, with shredded cheese liberally strewn over it, stuck under the broiler till bubbly. The second is a fresh plump duck, killed, brushed with a marinade, then roasted at high temperature, before finally being chopped into large chunks and dumped on a mound of rice with some of its juices.

I might go down to Man Jai Kei for roast goose rice instead.

As you can see, no gluten. So half of you pesky food-Protestants could be happy. The other half may wail about dead birds with loving families that deserved to live, so sad, and how could I, oh heartless brute.

Here's German intellectual Werner Herzog:



"The enormity of ... of their flat brain, the enormity of their stupidity, is just overwhelming --- the intensity of stupidity that is looking back at you is just amazing."

He could say the same things about many other birds.
Penguins are not, strictly speaking, edible.
But that is hardly relevant.

Everything he said about chickens is also applicable to food-Protestants.

Sometime after dark I will have focaccia with crisped bacon.
And perhaps a fried egg.


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The preliminary results of the election are in. And, as was to be expected, San Francisco proved itself largely populated by morons.
In nearly every way.

This year democracy was wasted on you people.

Repressive, blinkered, and stupid.

A total waste of air.

Old socks.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2018


There are times when I wish my apartment mate looked at things with much greater attention and interest. Like when she does the dishes. I often have to rewash things, and stack them more efficiently and sensibly in the rack. And then there are the moments when I am damned glad that her typical Chinese vision casually overlooks things that an anal-retentive Netherlandish house person could not fail to notice. Like, as a perfect example, the fact that I am a bit of a slob, and that there are empty tobacco tins in corners of the teevee room taking up space and gathering dust.
Or that there is a two foot tall native statue of a presumably nautical person with beads and cowrie shells immediately behind her chair.
I can see it. I doubt that she is even aware of it.
It's been there for several months.
He is a presence.

I had a haircut today. She has not noticed yet.

There are things a Chinese person just won't see of which a Dutch person cannot fail to be painfully aware. This may relate to cultural-temperament differences, or some other nurture versus nature thing. I shall not hazard a guess, but I have marked it as a pattern that works well for me.
And I'm totally fine with it. I know what the feather dusters are for, even though I rarely use them. In her case, though she has seen them every day, she probably would not know where either duster is if I asked.
As I mentioned previously, I am slobby.

It also helps that her sense of smell is not optimum. On my days off I smoke inside the apartment with the windows open, letting it air out for three or four hours before she comes home from work. And sometimes late at night, when she has already gone to sleep in her room, I light up also.

So I shall not mention the crud on the coffee spoons from her hot chocolate in the morning. Instead, I'll wash all the implements in the rack again without her knowing. It is best to let sleeping Cantonese females lie.

They can be savage when roused.
But usually aren't.

And she buys cookies.

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When is a good time for a Nicaraguan? People ask me this all the time. "Uncle Stinky Dutchman," they will say, "when is a good time for a Nicaraguan?" And I enjoy giving them an honest answer, because I have thought deeply about the issue. The best time for a Nicaraguan is mid-morning, around nine or ten o'clock, when you are having coffee before going out to vote for anyone else but London Breed as mayor of San Francisco. Mark Leno or Jane Kim, for instance. By doing so you will piss off the real estate interests and the big tech companies who want to maximize their assets by destroying what makes San Francisco truly San Francisco.

San Francisco could do far worse than Mark Leno.
Jane Kim is not really my first choice.
Breed and Alioto not at all.

The key here is that your apartment mate is out of the house, the windows are wide open for ventilation, and her door is firmly shut, because the dear lady does not like the smell of cigars.

Trust me on this. Uncle Stinky Dutchman knows.

This particular Nicaraguan is a toro (six inches long, with a 52 ring gauge), a dark wrapper leaf, and despite the body it is mild. Not as good as the My Father or the Oliva Melanio Series V from a few days ago.
Still, it pairs nicely with coffee.
Strong coffee.

I wish I could tell you who made this cigar, but I cut it and put it aside to smoke yesterday, and seem to have misplaced the band. The appealing wrapper leaf appears to be a corojo.

Pipes later.

Milk tea.
Day off.

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My apartment mate seems a little grumpy because the lengthy break-up with 'Wheelie Boy' (her 'boyfriend') is nearing completion. She no longer wants to deal with him and his bizarre personality over the phone, she's tired, her door is snecked firmly shut. Okay, I sympathize. It's been what? Five months?
A soft and gradual disengagement.
Big. Hairy. Deal.

This pipeful of blonde Virginia that I'm smoking will be over soon too. And is infinitely more lamentworthy. Sympathy for him, for her, and their operatic split, is not something I'm good at.

I have been a single grumpus for nearly eight years. Oh sure, I'd really love someone nice and soft and warm next to me while I doze, or even a nearly naked person flitting in and out of my room when my apartment mate is off at the salt mines, but this is San Francisco, and most candidates are too eccentric to be realistic possibilities.

Mental checklist: Do they like porkchops? Do they not mind tobacco too much? Do they like warm beverages which aren't Starbucks, and don't have weird tapioca things? Do they read? Are they okay with Dutch and Cantonese language comments / outbursts / snide remarks?

Well, that leaves nearly nobody.

Vegans and the gluten-phobics can find their own damned vegetable to hug. This rutabaga is stolidly not interested. The closest I've come to other female companionship in recent months is casually commenting on the inebriated conversation of two darling black lesbians exchanging tales of their church-going relatives. Having lived around severe Calvinists telling me I'd go to hell, I can sort of relate. Minus the fried chicken and grits.
With or without hot sauce or creamy ranch dressing.
Severe Calvinists don't eat that stuff.
They disapprove.

This Orlik Golden Sliced is seriously good. There is a subtle sweetness, and an old-timey perfume to the smoke. It's rather like having a wife or girlfriend, but different.

It's nearly three in the morning, and I'm sorry, but it's effing cold outside, so smoking on the front steps is out of the question. Good thing your bedroom door is shut. I'm enjoying a late night smoke while sipping "Old-Syphilitic Bastard" Scotch, and listening to the silence. Three hour nap, the briar that's associated with the intersection in between several places that do good porkchops in Chinatown, and two days off.
My life is by no means perfect.
But it's good.

["Old Syphilitic Bastard Scotch": Loch Seann Phogan Losgadh ('Uisge Beatha').
Cheap Scotch whisky. Peaty fire-water. Paint stripper. Plonkum.]

My apartment mate neither drinks nor smokes.
This is not objectionable.


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Monday, June 04, 2018


It was a sentence that I wish I had not heard. "You mean he's Dutch?!? Oh my gawd, I knew he smelled bad!" To the best of my knowledge, that person was not referring to me. Because I speak impeccable English without a trace of a Dutch accent, and, of course, I don't smell bad.
At least not that early in the day.

It's different matter when I head back home after work. At which time I may whiff a bit of the cigars that are smoked around me all day.

When I got off the bus, I could still smell stogies.

"You mean he's Dutch?!? Oh my gawd, I knew he smelled bad!"

Having had some experience with the Dutch, I cannot say that I associate a particular odour with the type. Some smell delightfully of herring, others do not. A few reek of cheese. But other than that, no particular fragrance.

At times I am in a position to hear the tinfoil hat brigade.
I seldom encourage their conversation.
They'll still say things.

I wish they wouldn't.

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It may surprise you, but I am a complete "realist". Which is why twenty percent of the profit goes to the schools. No, it isn't a cigarette; we call it a "papaveresse". Caramel vanilla clove flavour, with caffeine (for alertness), nicotine (short term memory and cerebral function), taurine (whatever), and morphine. Because it's all about the precious infants, their attention span, and their academic performance.

But really, it is all about the children. A year ago, it was because of youth, minorities, and the LGBTQ community. But now, kiddiewinkies. It helps them perform academically, while calming the little f*ckers down.


This fine product was made in the Amazon Rainforest by little green men who recycle and hug dolphins!

Caffeine, "NO-citine", papaverotinic goodness, and candy flavours, for sheer childlike beneficiality. Feel free to operate heavy equipment, or mega-burst weaponry, while utilizing this product. Remember, twenty percent. The pay-off to well connected friends of Jeff Sessions and the gubmint is an overhead. Some rich white bitch is earning half a million a year plus overseeing the programme (children!) while having cocktails with Republicans.

It's green, gluten-free, and ecological.

Save the planet!

This Tuesday San Francisco votes to ban all flavoured tobacco products. Pot is perfectly okay, and the homeless are defecating in public. Please don't ask me what I witnessed Saturday night just before twelve midnight on Polk Street between two parked cars, I did not know that that was even doable, but the open sores on his hips, glutei, and lower stomach are healing, because this is San Francisco and London Breed, man, London Breed!

She's got great teeth. They're perfect.

Please vote.

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Sunday, June 03, 2018


Underneath a recent post, a Spammanian commenter suggested that anti-aging unguents were the answer. And would prolong life far beyond.
But good lord, nobody would ever desire a well-oiled zombie.
Although at times my cheeks are kissable and silken.
A good shave, and a skin restorative.
That's what's needed.

Or, if you're like my ex-girlfriend, sound genetic stock, a petite frame, and a deceptively innocent face. During the last few years that we were together, people would look at me as if I was some rancid old pervert (evil middle-aged white man), and her like a sweet young tropic flower roped in by the prospect of food. Caucasians do not mature as well as East Asians do.

Despite a mere eight year age gap between us, the difference in appearance was striking. She now looks twenty years younger than me, and I look positively degenerated.

I don't suppose you understand how good that is for the fragile male ego.

Someone seriously (!) advised me recently that I should try to find a female companion of my own age. My response was that two women half my age would be infinitely better. Preferable in any case. Twins.

That should teach them not to tell me what to do.
It came quite unbidden in any case.
Well-meaning, though.

Rendered grease from an endangered species. That's the ticket! It will make the skin lovely and soft. And then my face will seem like a baby's bottom at the end of a stick.

The rare velvet-cheeked iguana.

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Saturday, June 02, 2018


It's not entirely surprising that little Cantonese girls like jaa kai yik syue tiu (炸雞翼薯條). Well, at least one of them. A four year old (with a very pretty mommy), who, I assume, is representative of the class. Quite possibly little Caucasian girls also like 炸雞翼薯條 but call it something else.
Fried chicken wings with French fries.

The gentleman sitting opposite me very hospitably divided his order and gave a portion for the moppet's mother to take over to the little girl, who had been put at a table with a small screen playing a children's programme in Mandarin. In places like this, everyone is, more or less, family, and many folks recognize each other, though not always by correct name.
The cute young mother works there during the day.
An auntie helpfully brought the kid over.
Probably from kindergarten.

Mui-mui, Ah-yi, Leng-neui, Ah-sook, Ah-pak, Kau-chai ...
Und so weiter.

When one of the cooks (廚師叔叔) came out the kitchen, he playfully tried to grab some of the four year old's food. She put her hand around it and stared at him with mistrust. With each feint, she grew more agitated.
Do NOT mess with a Cantonese girl's food.
They will cut you.

Cook Uncle realized that he was skating on very thin ice, and he stopped teasing her. He didn't know how close he came to seriously bodily harm.
As the only native speaker of English present, I would have been a hostile but very believable witness. "She was pushed beyond endurance, Your Honour, she had no other choice".

She would have gutted him with a plastic drink straw.
And steely feminine determination.

Do not mess with a Cantonese girl's food.
I may have already said that.
It bears repeating.


Much of my familiarity with Cantonese girls comes from associating with my apartment mate, who is in fact a Cantonese girl. If Cook Uncle tried to grab some of her fried chicken he'd end up needing surgery for a fractured wrist. And no one, least of all her, would understand how that came about.
It would be a complete mystery.

Cantonese girls should not be compared to Mandarin speakers, many of whom are whiny and altogether lacking in spirit.

My apartment mate and I very rarely eat together. She has her own favourite food places, some of which are also in Chinatown. But she doesn't find people watching as anywhere near intriguing as I do.

Because, you know, it gets in the way of food.

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Friday, June 01, 2018


As an indication of the depth and intensity with which I follow the local team (something something 'Warriors'), it should be noted that when I left work a game was on, when I got home I had a nap of several hours, and woke up for the last pipeful of tobacco after twelve.
So I did not know who won.

The last pipe of the day was a broken blonde flake from Samuel Gawith, lit before heading out to the local public house, finished after I returned. One of my favourite bartenders was dozing at the counter, as a customer.
So it must have been an excellent basket ball game.
I guess the warriors did very well.
The madness continues.

There is no nuance in a win-lose situation.
As a Dutchman, I require gradation.
The neurotic in-between.

I am very glad I was asleep for their victory. Undoubtedly it was stellar, even monumental, and like all right-thinking people they will have celebrated with some aged Virginias, perhaps with Perique. Which may explain why I can't find the remnant of St. James Flake. Those tall athletic types snuck in and stole it. I was positive there was still at least a week's worth left, over twenty bowls, but that would be precisely enough for twenty stalwart six-footers to celebrate an achievement comparable to building the pyramids or discovering the cure for cancer.
I hope they enjoyed it.

The open tin of Golden Glow will be gone by Sunday evening. It's a lovely hot steampressed bright Virginia, rubbed and tumbled, and if you haven't smoked in several hours you will appreciate the delicate old-fashioned fragrance better. You nose-buds will be in the proper condition. If you can smell fresh cut grass or wild anise in the early hours of the day -- or even note that some animal near the gas station died -- you will be receptive.
If, on the other hand, you've huffed more than a dozen pipes since crack of dawn, and have lived off caffeine for that time, maybe you should abstain. Good Virginias require calmness, subtlety, and a capacity for nuance.

Yeah, no. Glad I missed the excitement. I am in my fifties, and I have never paid attention to sports. All I can remember of the last World Cup (soccer) is that we pissed all over the Mexicans. The one before that was won by some country we fought against several centuries ago.
Our tobacco is better than theirs.
Plus we have coffee.


There is one 250 gramme box of St. James Flake left. I should buy it before anyone else does. It's mine, bitches. I saw it first. Much like Van Diemen's land, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Hudson Bay.

If we had co-opted the Zulus, and armed them and trained them, we could have marched all the way to Alexandria and Cairo and kept the British, French, and Germans out.



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Thursday, May 31, 2018


This blogger has never sent dick pics. Considering how many people have done so, I feel a little left out. Even during the several years that I was in a relationship, I never authored such things.

But, if I had, I should wish for the reaction below:

"My favorite is people who send me unsolicited dick pics and then they’re like, “uh, hi? Are you ignoring me?”

It’s just so funny to me. Like one minute I’m designing bioreactors and getting published for heat dissipation in polymers and then I open this godforsaken app to dudes hanging brain who can’t even pronounce “saponification” calling me a slut because I won’t give attention to their limp excuses for existence.

3 billion years of evolution and the greatest form of communication you can conjure up in your fermented omelet of a conscience is submitting your wrinkly ball sac to a stranger on the Internet to substitute the attention your parents never gave their mistake of an offspring."

As near as I can tell, the author is "gettingdinnerandpossiblythinner"

It's epic.

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