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, September 22, 2017


Honestly, what can one say about this year's General Assembly at the United Nations? Other than to praise the signature haircuts of the two star-performers as unique and instantly recognizable? If you saw either man on the street you would immediately know who they were. You might panic.
Your wisest move would be to run away screaming.

Source article: BBC - schoolyard bullies.

Christ on a crutch, those are some f*cked-up coifs!

In a week during which, in the real world, disaster ruined the lives of millions in Mexico and the Caribbean, the war in Syria reached a crucial phase, and Turkey slid further into an abyss of Erdoganic insanity, the blustery rhetoric of these two demented heifers made the headlines.

If at this point you would far rather live in an alternative reality, none could blame you. And one might suggest that you lovingly dwell on the image below, and imagine how much different the world could have been.

Credit and copyright: Shaweesh.

This remarkable photo appeared in a school textbook. Which, upon reflection, presents a gilded past far better than it actually was.

Diplomatic statements

"The mentally deranged US dotard will be tamed, the rocket man will be tested like never before. This situation is complicated and sensitive, all relevant parties are provoking each other, there is an escalation of tensions."

------"the sounds of barking dogs"

In part King Faisal is also responsible, as by co-signing the UN charter he unknowingly became complicit in the forum of feeble minds that the United Nations has for many years provided.

Alas, both King Faisal and the venerable Jedi master pictured above are no longer with us. Both were wise, strong, and calm.

The modern world has few such.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017


This blogperson is anxiously waiting for his garbage noodles to cool down so that he can eat. Seriously, that's what they're called: 垃圾麵 ('laap-saap min'; garbage noodle). Texture and taste quickly slapdashed together with inventivity and flair, and a scant regard for proper procedure and nutrition.
In this case, curried peppers, and bacon in lieu of Spam.

The problem with Spam is that once you open the can, you are committed; there is an entire can of Spam that must be eaten in a limited time.
Even if my apartment mate helps out, this would be hard.
We don't handle that kind of pressure well.
Spam requires thought.


I don't know about you, but I intend to enjoy my dinner. Afterwards I shall go to the karaoke bar nearby to listen to what can only be called the garbage noodles of musical performance.

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Here in the SF and Marin area, the weather today will be quite bearable. Not so in the Caribbean, which got pummeled by Maria, the third major hurricane to hit this season. And in Hong Kong the temperature will be low nineties. San Francisco, you understand from this, is a little warmer than Amsterdam or Paris, much more temperate than anywhere in the Caribbean, and cooler than Hong Kong.

It is an ideal place to be.

Yesterday I could have been in Sham Tseng (深井) during lunch. Roast goose, rice, and a chilled milk tea. Surrounded by tourists. But it was on Grant Avenue, rather than Castle Peak Road (青山公路).

On my way out I told two middle aged tourists looking in that the roast meats were excellent.

['siu ngo faan']

One of these days I'll have to get something else there. The problem is that everytime I go, the prospect of roast goose drew me in, and I order before scoping out the specials on the wall. The black bean sauce stirfried clams (豆豉炒蜆 'dau si chaau hin') would have been splendid with a bowl of rice, and they also have field chicken (田雞 'tin kai', edible frog).
But for one person alone a rice plate special is very easy.

If I went with someone it would be different.

Preventing that happening is that so many people today are strongly food intolerant. Irritable bowelists, gluten phobes, plus vegetarians, vegans, culinary bigots, or very, very white AND all of the above.
You just can't eat with those people.



They aren't Dutch or Cantonese, there's an irrational fearfulness there.

Although in the modern age even those people are becoming nuts and avoiding good things to eat, from all reports. But perhaps not quite yet slurping down kale shakes and turmeric water.

Nor do I think I've seen many younger people there on their own. They only come with their parents. See, no popcorn shrimp, no Jappo ramen specials, no exotic frogurt, no chicken wings in sweet sauce.
And no big boba balls for their ice bevs!
It is so very unhip!

San Francisco is a very pedestrian city.
In all likelihood gustatorily defective.
There's vegan crap and mojitos.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Searching on the net for Chinese food near my apartment found me a whole bunch of dishes that are highly praised, which I present here in no particular order, other than as an opportunistic cut and paste.
They are all from the same restaurant.
Which I never knew about.
Nice reviews!

"Genuine Chinese deep fried saucy goodness"

It's a bit repetitive, but that shows something.
Stream of consciousness spoken word art.

Peking ravioli, Crab Rangoon, chow mein, General Tso's Chicken, Mongolian beef, Orange chicken, Chicken chow mein, Spicy eggplant, Hot and sour soup, Szechuan Beef, Singapore Rice Curry Noodles, Chicken Corn Soup, Sesame Chicken, Mixed vegetables with tofu, Egg rolls, Chow mein, Spicy eggplant.

Szechuan shrimp, Chicken and string beans, Sweet and sour chicken, Crab cheese puff, Curry Chicken, Wor Won Ton soup, Bbq pork steamed dumplings, Mongolian Beef, Green beans and shrimp, Chicken with broccoli, General Tsou's chicken, Hong Kong noodles, Mu shu, Sesame chicken, Shanghai dumplings, Pork sui mai, Chicken corn soup, Chow mein, Singapore Rice Noodles.

Chive Dumplings, Fried wontons, Hot and sour soup, Prawns and string beans, Scrambled egg with prawns, Chicken chow mein, Shrimp fried rice, Orange chicken, Vegetable fried rice, Meatless Sesame Chicken, Brown Rice, Chow fun, Kung pao chicken.

Pot stickers, General Tso's chicken, Pot stickers, Egg rolls, Cashew chicken, Sizzling rice soup, Chicken with broccoli, Hunan Wor Noodle Soup, Chow mein, Szechuan Beef, General Tso's Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Walnut prawns, Sweet and sour pork, Ginger beef, General Tso tofu, Orange chicken, Beef broccoli.

Mongol beef, Mango chicken, Pork fried rice, Sesame chicken, Hot and sour soup, Lemon chicken, Spicy eggplant, Hunan fish, Hot and sour soup, Hunan Wor Won Ton Soup, Seafood Soup, Chow mein, Mongolian beef.

Years ago 'Uncle', who was old and lived by himself in Chinatown, would every night go over to the hamburger joint for a few beers, and doze in his chair. Occasionally he would wake up and make conversation.
One of his opening lines was "Mongolian beef, hot!"
It had been a new experience for him.
Old school Canto American.
He was startled.

It almost never happens that I go to Chinese restaurants with other people, and after reading several of their reviews that is probably a rather good thing. While I like seeing a Chinese family prosper selling food to entitled yuppies and folks with ridiculous expectations, I shall probably not eat there.

"Perfect moist breast meat no weird stuff"

There are some dishes above that I have never tried.
I am just not that adventurous.

"Spicy eggplant" might be 魚香茄子 ('yü-heung ke ji', fish flavour eggplant), and "Shanghai dumplings" are probably 小籠包 ('siu lung bao').

I like quite a number of the American Cantonese restaurant favourites, and often try new stuff. But I am a bit leery of restaurants that cater to mostly white folks, because there are no specials written in Chinese on the wall, no large happy families chowing down on steamed fish, no fatty pork belly, too much kung pao this and that, General Tso whatevers, tofu, and a focus on Orange chicken, Brown rice, and Crab cheese puffs.
Plus special vegetarian potstickers.

I did have "Crab cheese puffs" once.

There's probably a vegan version.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017


This happens all the time: one friend goes eating with another friend, and then a photo of one of them looking happy with food is posted on Facebook.
Guys, stop doing that. It's pissing off your Aspy and not-sufficiently-socialized acquaintances!

From the moment I walked through the door of the dim sum place for a late lunch till when I lit up my pipe outside, NO pictures were snapped.
Also, as you might guess, I ate alone.

That's hardly yam cha.

At the computer company I organized regular trips into Palo Alto for meals, as well as three farewell lunches for departing colleagues. For a number of years I got bunches of people to a coffee shop near a regular manifestation we all took part in, think of it as inclusionary and team building or whatever, and bought everybody stimulating beverages.
Thank you all for coming.

There are many people I know and with whom I associate.

I am by inclination a social eater.

Or I was.

['yat jung leung kin']

Dim sum should have a bunch of people around the table, so that a variety of snacky things can be enjoyed along with conversation and lots of tea.

One bowl of tea and two things from the steam-table (一盅兩件) is, when you think about it, a rather piss-poor excuse for a dim sum lunch.

There was no conversation. I had plenty of time to think, and the afternoon was marked by extraordinary peace and quiet.

'grumble grumble grumble'

Bright spots: making snarky remarks on a Yeshivish discussion page, two pipe-fulls of splendid flake tobacco, the severely stark beauty of empty alleyways, little girls playing with their dogs in a park under their mothers' watchful eyes, middle-aged tourist couples holding hands, parrots loudly quarrelling in the trees down at Sue Bierman Park, and watching crows taking in the last warm rays perched on a row of traffic lights.
Crows, it turns out, really like each other's company.
And are calmy affectionate.

PS.: New rule - all funerals must include free coffee.
Otherwise no one will even show up.

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A friend who never reads this blog unless I force him to went to his second baseball game ever yesterday. This is only remarkable because I have been to one more than he has. All three of the baseball games I attended were company events, the choice being either spend some time getting to know your coworkers and their weird habits, or stay at the office the rest of the day and work. I am a team player.

There was still a smoking area at the ball park then. It was an isolated balcony, a sundrenched Siberia overlooking an industrial wasteland.
Fortunately one of my coworkers had brought sunblocker.

The office had cleaner bathrooms and less beer. I cannot remember the games, and I don't drink beer.

That is to say, I don't drink beer unless I am out with the bookseller once a week and we're digesting politics, contemporary society, modern culture, drunks playing in traffic at the nearby intersection, existenzangst, and ein allumfassender abscheu an zügelloses pot-raucherei und rap-musik.

Plus, in his case, a hamburger.

After one beer, and keenly inspecting the art in the alley, we head over to a dive bar for whisky, where one of the screens shows what's on television and another has videos suitable to the lyrics of whatever song is being misguidedly sung. Howled. Or drunkenly moaned and wailed.

He watches the teevee, irrespective of whether it is the game or the elderly Buddhist abbot with magnificent eyebrows discoursing unintelligibly in Chinese about dharma, and I watch the karaoke screen hoping that somebody will sing something that Teresa Teng sang years ago.

We listen to the yowling and loud dice games, and continue conversing.
It's a tradition of ours that developed over the years.
Keenly relished, yet lamentable.

I rather enjoy horrible performance art, he is strangely obsessed with baseball (and elderly Buddhists), and the Cantonese patrons largely ignore whoever is singing, except if they are white and acting in an eccentric or shocking manner which it will be great fun to watch.

My friend and I are impartial observers.
We're not from this planet.

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Monday, September 18, 2017


What with being an anti-social old blister, my e-mail inbox seldom receives bugger all. Most of the time. Excluding stuff which isn't quite spam, but is impersonal. Two notable exceptions in recent weeks have both been from pipe-smokers with whom I have a lot more in common than just pipes. One of them is a Dutch American, one of them a Talmudic European linguist. It is quite likely that all three of us would get along famously if, perchance, we were in the same room, whether or not smoking was permitted.

It would indeed be miraculous were that to happen, because one of us is in New England, one of us is in the German speaking part of the world, and one of us is here.

The whisky would likely be Scotch, the tea sub-continental.

And the walls would have to be book covered.

Either that or there would laptops.

So we could find stuff.

Citations, data.


Quite likely such a meeting would drive our significant others (if and where applicable) and nearests and dearests (also where applicable) up the wall. Which, necessarily, means they would climb up the bookshelves and sit at the top, hissing and spitting.

I relish that mental picture.

Today little white nipple man visited my place of work again. I am blessed. If that is the right word. On the other hand, a gentleman from Shanghai was also in town, and we had quite a discussion about traditional characters versus simplified forms, as well as seal script variations.

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Pursuant yesterday morning's mention of a "Dutch Culinary Celebration" in Bangkok (see here), it struck me that there are two items which would be perfect for introducing timorous Thais to the wonders of the Netherlandish table. Besides raw herring, smoked eel, split pea soup with smoked ham hock, zure zult, and buttered raisin bread, of course.
Especially because a plethora of deep-fried snacky foods and baked sweet goods could frighten the poor creatures, and Dutch-Indonesian inventions which were never made in Asia when the Dutch were still a colonial power might prove too familiar yet too strange.

These two items are familiar to every Dutchman, and easy to like.
Even many American tourists enjoy these dishes.
And they're a fickle bunch.

A potato salad with fine chopped gherkins and meat.
Sometimes it's shocking pink.

One large apple.
Two or three hard-boiled eggs, peeled.
Two or three large gherkins.
One pound of potatoes.
Half a pound of cooked meat (pork, veal, or chicken).
Five TBS mayonnaise.
One TBS vinegar.
Salt and pepper.
Optional: cooked beets.

Peel and chunk the potatoes, cook for about ten minutes till soft. Drain and let cool. Peel, seed, and chop the apple, chop the gherkins. Dice the meat sort of small. Mix everything, then cut up the hard-boiled eggs and add. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
Dust with a little paprika.
Garnish with parsley.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour at least.

Traditionally some Martini onions are chopped up and included, often cooked beets are added for a disturbing colour.

Serve with toast.

Potatoes mashed with cooked apples and stewed brisket (klapstuk).

Two pounds of potatoes.
One pound plus of tangy apples.
Three or four large onions.
One pound beef brisket.
Two cups of red wine for cooking.
One cup of good stock, ditto.
Salt and pepper.
A bay leaf or two.
Butter or olive oil.

Simmer the brisket in a pan with the wine, stock, bay leaf, and a pinch of nutmeg till good and done, which will be slightly over an hour and a half. Let it cool, then slice it into thick pieces. Reserve the pan juices for jus.
Peel and cook the potatoes.
Peel, seed, and chop the apples, chop the onion also, and cook these with optionally a dash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon if the apples are too sweet. When the potatoes and apples are done, drain them and coarsely mash together, with a little butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. Sour cream or crème fraiche can be added, as well as a pinch of sugar to adjust the flavour.
And bacon drippings if you have that.

In some parts of the country they use dried apples, and almost any meat can be served with the mash, most especially stewed fatty pork, slices of cooked spek, or smoked farm sausage.
Bacon. Bacon is good.

Pears can be substituted for some of the apples.

In Brabant this accompanies blood sausage.

All Dutch dishes benefit from a dash of Louisiana hot sauce by the way, and having both sambal and good mustard on the table is splendid.
Avoid American mustard, it's nasty.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017


The game started at twenty five minutes post one, Pacific Time. By quarter past there were fifteen cigar smokers clustered in front of the television, their little beady eyes all bright and their cheeks glowing.
Oh, the enthusiasm!

I have no clue which team won.
In fact, I don't even know who played.

Those of us not interested in balls and spandex botties sampled some fine products. Specifically HH MacBaren's Latakia Flake, Rattray's Stirling Flake (identical to Peterson's Irish Flake), and GLP Union Square.

The cigar smokers did not notice us behind them.

They would have pooed if they did.

At one point, glancing at the yowling savages in the armchairs, I mistook a pizza commercial on the telly for a car commercial.

I am slightly deaf.


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There is a five-day Dutch food festival in Bangkok going on. Dutch food, in Bangkok. Even if you know zilch about Dutch food, you realize that the contrast could almost not be greater.
Years ago, one of the most common search-terms that brought readers here was "frikandel", which can be described as a staff of finely ground meat with a hefty admixture of binders and flavourings (especially nutmeg, traditional in many meat preparations) rolled in beaten egg white and finely powdered rusk crumbs, deepfried till brown.
Which the Dutch used to eat as is or with hot white mustard, but now often served with a plurality of sauces, on a bun, chopped onions added.
You can still get it plain at FeBo.
Tourists in exotic tropical locales were desperate.
As further research made plain.

The Indonesian 'perkedel', though derived from the Dutch model, does not resemble it in the slightest, being a potato crocquette that goes well with sambal and peanut sauce.

Five days. Dutch food. Bangkok.

The news article describing this bizarre event (in Dutch) can be found in De Telegraaf : Andijviestamppot in Bangkok.

The cuisine being offered is more or less typically Dutch.
But never-the-less carefully selected and presented.

Here are real Dutch food pictures:

From: Wikiwand -- Frikandel.

Surinamese chilies (Adjuma and Madame Jeannette), now grown locally.

Girl Eating Oysters, from the Mauritshuis, by Jan Steen

"Je kan de week natuurlijk ook beginnen met een metertje kapsalon" from the FB page of Kwalitaria Bischopshoeve in Breda.

Kaashuis Tromp, in Amsterdam. Their photo.

Goed stuff. Not exactly what the Thais will be introduced to by master chef (Albert Kooi) at the Westin Grande in Bangkok.
None of this will be served.

I will confess that I am giggling at this concept.

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Sadly, this blogger does not know any place where one may find Chiu Chow Brined Duck (潮州滷水鴨 'chiu jau lou seui ngaap'). Which is a great and good thing to eat with a little garlic chili vinegar dip.
And rice splashed with a little of the liquid.
Late at night.

The process is simple enough: a whole duck is first plucked, then briefly blanched to remove the gaminess, after wich it is simmered in a brine flavoured with galangal, ginger, coriander seeds, dried mandarin peel, fennel, soy sauce, and star anise, for a scant hour on the lowest heat.
The pot is taken off the stove and left to cool for a few hours.
And voila! The bird can be served!

One can use pretty much the same process to do brined goose (鹵水鵝 'lou seui ngo'), factoring in that it's a bigger bird.

Both are famous Chiu Chow specialties available in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia ......

San Francisco is none of those.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017


Good thing I went out to eat yesterday afternoon, because when I finally returned home she was cooking a delicious vegetable stew for her mucky man, and the kitchen was off limits. So preparing my own food would have been out of the question entirely, as I wouldn't have been able to use the kitchen till long after nine o'clock.

She didn't used to be so neurotic about me being in there at the same time that she's making food to take over to mucky man's house, but without her he'd probably subsist on protein bars and non-dairy yoghurt.

My presence can be baleful.

There are cookies in the teevee room in case I get desperate, but this week they are "pumpkin sandwich cookies with pumpkin cream filling in every bite", which, if you ask me, is a repulsive concept so bad that some people are going to burn for an eternity in hell just for inventing them.

Her absurd experimentation with a new snack.
Not mine. I am not that adventurous.
Pumpkins are evil.

Besides, it is far too early for anything pumpkin, despite what Mary Walters back east says. Now is the time for mooncakes (月餅 'yuet bing'). Which are finally available again at several bakeries in Chinatown. The two best sources are Eastern Bakery on Grant and Double AA on Stockton.

永興餅家茶餐廳 ('wing hing bing ka cha chan teng')
1068 Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 981-0123

東亞餅家 ('tung ah bing ka')
720 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 433-7973

Remember, I like double egg yolk, either lotus seed paste or red bean. 雙黃蓮蓉 ('seung wong lin yung')or 雙黃豆沙 ('seung wong dau saa').
In case anyone wants to buy me a treat. Because they are delicious!

The mid-autumn festival is on October 4 this year.
中秋節 ('jung chau jit').

Years ago I would share mooncakes with my coworkers, but I discovered that if they were white and American they weren't as excited about them as I was. Their reactions often amounted to "that's so interesting I do not want another piece", and some of them would stay out my way for the rest of the week, for fear that I would force more new concepts on them.

I remember one blonde, attractive in a way, who never spoke to me again. No, not the paranoid ditz in International Sales at the computer company who became convinced that I had evil voodoo skillz -- I had disquisitioned on kuru in the weeks before the Arkansas chicken ranch cannibal episode ("Chaco Chicken") of the X-Files aired, forgetting that many people are too literal minded, and have no curiosity -- but a woman at an auditing firm.
The mooncake was just too foreign strange weird for her.

Mooncakes fill me with childish pleasure.
Some people don't have that.

My apartment sort-of likes them. She's younger than me, but not as childish. I'll just assume that her boyfriend Old Muckity doesn't.
I don't know. He's as white as I am, but more of an idiot.

Whether he gets mooncakes or not, meh.
Not my concern either way.

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Friday, September 15, 2017


Speculatively, the badger picked up a pipe and the tin of tobacco, thought for a moment, then put both items down. Not now. He would smoke after lunch. Life was good, and everything indicated that it would be a lovely day. Except, of course, that due to modern laws he could not enjoy a smoke indoors except in his own home when the kitten was at work, and lunch as usual would be down in Chinatown.

It was probably a good thing that his apartment mate of many years was a non-smoker, as otherwise his place would stink. It was even better that her love interest was some blinky marmot in a wheelchair who lived over near the wharf, because what with being a bitter hardened cynic, the badger was sickened by other folks's saccharine interactions. Except for the two black gay guys tonguing each other in a bar the other night; that had been strangely fascinating.

The badger was, as you would probably guess, a bachelor. There was no female in his life, a love weasel or humpity beaver, or whatever have you.
He found the gentler sex attractive, but was cognizant of his own image of non-approachability and fearsomeness.

Badgers are irascible.

Besides, ladies who liked pipe-smoking forest creatures and comforts such as hot milk tea, porkchops, and just wandering through forest glades occasionally growling angrily at the pretty butterflies were rare.

There was a grey mouser with beautiful soft fur who lives near the diggings on 新呂宋巷 who allowed brief petting, but the badger could not tell the gender of the beast. It could well have been male, and in any case they spoke different languages.

A beautiful world.

*   *   *   *   *

Yeah, I'm heading into C'town for eaties later. The third tin of Stonehenge Flake is almost gone. The pipe I'll bring is large enough that it should last from somewhere near Grant Avenue all the way down to where the parrots congregate in the evening. Sadly, they've removed all the benches from that particular park, because the street people hiding in the bushes there scared folks, and tended to hog the seating.
While watching a rat scurrying through the fallen leaves there recently I was approached by an individual who entirely unbidden and without prompting told me about his run-ins with the FBI, because they knew his thoughts.
He also shared those details. The rat was far more interesting.

I like animals somewhat better than humans.

There are benches on 襟美慎街 near the 關帝廟 as well as a small park where it is pleasant to sit, and by the time I've finished lunch (should I have pork chops and rice?) the office workers will be few.

There may be a feline who lives nearby.
It looks like a cat kind of area.


Spofford Alley, Commercial Street, and a temple dedicated to Lord Guan.
GLP's Stonehenge Flake is mostly Virginia, complex and mild.
The pipe is a Peterson System Standard, shape 307.
It's a private park, smoking is allowed.
Tomato pork chop rice.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017


We do not need your lunatics, we have our own. I came home to women who were overweight and underdressed. As well as drunk. Habitually.
My apartment mate was watching The Real House Wives of ... Someplace Gerdawful. She herself weighs half of what those ladies do, but then she's Cantonese and not an alcoholic. Other than some minor peculiarities she would not make good television. You'd have to know her.

Knowing her is a good thing. Knowing me, likely far less so.
I tend to have obsessions more intense than hers.
And I can't seem to drop subjects.
Plus I'm too full of myself.
Like Peter Ustinov.
Bad Poirot

A friend in New York has said "the heck with cholent, we're having beef bourguignon for supper on Saturday". Which is a very lovely idea.
It sparked my recollection.

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012
No, it isn't a recipe, but a description of procedure and eye-balled proportion. It always works, though.

Cholent, Beef Bouguignon, Dhansak (also part of the memory string), and several dishes that since becoming single again I never cook anymore.
I miss them, but there is nobody with whom to eat.

Instead of complicated stuff, I had fuzzy melon and pork soup, with garlic bread for dinner tonight. Home made, and easy to prepare.

Sort of Chinese meets Italian American.

It was good.

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While eating lunch and watching the television in the corner I also scoped out the specials on the walls. For most of them a translation was provided, but there were five listed near the teevee with no English.
Breakfast noodles.

I should go there for breakfast sometime, but I had already decided on the Thai gravy pork chop rice (泰汁豬扒飯 'taai jap chyu baa faan') and the kitchen stops doing breakfast at around eleven. Much of their business is early in the morning, and lunch is mostly the icing on the cake, and a far more casual thing, seeing as they close at three thirty.

This was one of the very few times I got out of the house early enough to have lunch there and dawdle over my hot beverage.
Which is a precious pleasure.

Their lunch specials come with soup of the day, garlic bread, and Hong Kong style milk tea.

In any case, the Chinese-only breakfast specials did not strike me as in any way racist or discriminatory, seeing as I too will assume that most if not entirely all Caucasians and many American-born Chinese would not consider them suitable food for the crack of dawn.
Maybe even not ever.

蠔油豬肚湯麵 Oyster sauce pig stomach soup noodles.
蠔油豬肚米粉 Oyster sauce pig stomach rice vermicelli.
蠔油豬肚河粉 Oyster sauce pig stomach rice stick.
蠔油豬肚瀨粉 Oyster sauce pig stomach laaifun.
蠔油豬肚公仔麵 Oyster sauce pig stomach insta-noodle.

[Explicata: 蠔油豬肚湯麵 'hou-yau chyu-tou tong min' 米粉 'mai fan' 河粉 'ho fan' 瀨粉 'laai fun' 公仔麵 'gung jai min'.]

You can see now why I am determined to go there for breakfast, and soon. It sounds scrumpty, even though pig stomach is something impossible to eat. Perhaps they'll do a substitution? I'm thinking oyster sauce PORK CHOP laaifun. As just one thing that comes easily to mind.
蠔油豬扒瀨粉 'hou-yau chyu baa laai fan'.
I'll gladly pay more for that.

638 Pacific Avenue,
San Francisco, CA 94133.
(415) 392-6688

For breakfast they have things with bacon and eggs, or ham and eggs, steak and eggs, pork chop and eggs, or spam, sausage, and eggs .....

AND they have Sriracha hotsauce!

I'm also thinking that I should ask about 港式咖哩豬扒。
Curry pork chop ('gong sik gaa-lei chyu baa').
Maybe for lunch next time. With rice.

Please note that I post their name and address with enormous trepidation, because my places are so often not other people's places, and this place is seriously old-school Hong Kong Cantonese. Besides, Caucasians, Indians, Europeans, and Americanized Chinese, all delight in slamming restaurants where something was not up to their impossibly high standards OR they weren't treated like some deity shat them out, and will find anything imaginable to belly-ache about. Especially young urban types.

Shan't even mention the Filipinos.

Am I obsessing over pork chops?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017


There are some things one hesitates to do in public, because they give other people murderous impulses. One of those is smoking a full Latakia mixture in one's pipe. If one were to do that in Berkeley, for instance, one might get pummeled to death by full-on Feminist-o-vegan dumptrucks, or triggered willow-men, also vegan. Plus earth-mothers and sun-fathers.
Moonbeams in Mayan shirts.

So, for the third day in a row I shall studiously avoid Berkeley. And like yesterday head down to Chinatown, where men are men and women are fairly tolerant of peculiar old farts. Lunch, then a bench in an alleyway.

I am smoking Dunhill's Nightcap, which reminds me of my youth.

Thoroughly misspent, and enjoyable.

It's a Lat bomb.

But that brings up another question, namely the list of pipe tobaccos that a newbie really must try. And everyone has seen such a list. Here's mine, in alpha order, with why you should try these.

Bengal Slices.
Both the original and Russ Oullette's version are damned fine smokes, though the latter is way stinkier. Remember Berkeley?
This will get you killed there.

Borkum Riff -- aromatic Cav. mix.
Named, appropriately, after the location of numerous ship wrecks.
Mediocre mouth-burning sog-pew.

Capstan -- flake.
Solid stuff. Good-o.

Captain Black Grape -- grape soda Cavendish.
Not one iota of tobacco flavour, smooth and mild, and virtually bite free.
It may ghost your pipe and prompt your friends to stage an intervention.
I hope they use whips and chains.

Captain Black White -- rhymes with 'shite'.
Some pervert will recommend this to you. Only reason to smoke it is probably bragging rights, like riding a mechanical bull.

Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop -- Burley based.
The late Bob Runowski created this splendid blend. Good when fresh, but gorgeous when aged a year or more. Like Bob's many other creations this is old-fashioned Americana, and perhaps not to everyone's liking.

Cult Blood Red Moon -- Cavendish Burley Cherry.
Mary in the Carolinas loved this when she was a wee lass about a year ago. I think she's grown up since then. I smoked it once. Only once.
Tastes like chocolate cherry, emphasis on the cherry.
I despise such things, and so should you.

Dunhill Early Morning Pipe -- mild English.
Good stuff.

Dunhill Dark Flake -- a mahogany-hued Virginia.
Almost perfumy, and quite mild. A contemplative smoke, perfect in cold rainy weather or the quiet after midnight.

Dunhill Flake -- a standard Virginia.
Decent tobacco, good as a palate cleanser.

Dunhill My Mixture 965 -- medium Oriental.
This has become the standard medium Latakia mixture by which others in this class are judged, though Dunhill's London Mixture is quite as valid, and Greg Pease's Westminster is better.

Dunhill Nightcap -- full Latakia mixture.
Pretty wonderful stuff. May get you killed. Worth it. The recipe has changed since the seventies.

Dunhill Ready Rubbed -- Virginia, and a little Burley.
The leaf was grown in Africa and India. Some people mistakenly detect Turkish. It's an unassuming and pleasant product, which will not impress you on first smoke, but once you have finished the tin you will wish you bought more.

Erinmore Flake -- bizarre fruit fragrance flake.
Bragging rights and nightmares are the only reason.
I have a year's worth stockpiled.

Esoterica Penzance -- full-press Latakia crumble.
A cult tobacco, reminiscent of the old Bengal slices. The perfect smoke just before dawn, but some people fetishize it ridiculously, and as soon as Arango has received a shipment from Jersey they start calling up every tobacconist they know and making nuisances of themselves.
It is an over-rated must-have.

Esoterica Stonehaven -- Burley & Virginia flake.
Cult tobacco, again. Why?!?

Germain & Son Brown Flake OR Medium Flake.
Both are classic Virginias which you should acquire whenever you see them in the United States. Incense-like tobacco.

GLP Haddo's Delight -- Virginias and aircured stuff.
Smells wonderful when someone else is smoking it. A cult tobacco.

GLP Regents Flake -- Virginia and Turkish.
There was a sample tin from the sales rep. Which I pocketed because it's lovely stuff. Finished that over a year ago, and persuaded the local store to stock more of it. Some of which I now have stashed.

GLP Stonehenge Flake -- Virginias, Perique.
Grassy and creamy Virginia - Burley - Perique compound, top notch.

GLP Union Square -- Virginia Flake.
If you don't like Latakia, this is the best thing Greg has ever done.

GLP Westminster -- medium full Latakia.
If you like Latakia, this is the best thing Greg has ever done.
Very old-fashioned. What a tobacco should be.

Half and Half -- aircured and fluecured.
A decent smoke can be coaxed out of this in a cob.

McClelland No. 5100 Red Cake - Virginia.
The classic red Virginia to judge other red Virginias by. Solid, respectable, and altogether pretty good.

McConnell's Folded Flake -- Virginia and Perique.
People tend to ignore this, but it's a very nice product.
I found several ten-year old tins.

Orlick's Golden Sliced -- thin Virginia flakes.
A solid regular tobacco, the choice of all shrewd judges.

Peter Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye -- sliced coin.
A very respectable and satisfying staple at most tobacconists, and an excellent fall-back position.

Peter Stokkebye Balkan Supreme -- bulk Oriental.
Also a staple, or it should be. One of the very best bulk blends.

Peterson Irish Flake -- dark flake.
Smells lovely in the tin. Strong. I hesitate to open it because it wallops me. What aftershave should smell like.

Peterson's Perfect Plug -- block.
Men or women who smoke this habitually have issues.
That aside, it is a solid product.

Rattray Red Rapparee -- medium Oriental.
Solid stuff. One can understand how Rattray became so well-known. In the seventies and eighties it was manufactured by McConnell, now it is made by Orlick for Kohlhase & Kopp.

RLP 6 -- slighty fruity Medium Cav. mixture.
Like 1Q, it is on every list, and shares with that crap the distinction of being incredibly popular.

St. Bruno Flake -- firecured leaf and Virginia, topped.
A tobacco for elderly fuddy-duddies with only a modicum of depravity and bad taste. Smokes well, enjoyable, rather monodimensional.
By the third tin you will need a vacation.

Samuel Gawith Full Virginia Flake.
Solid stuff. Needs drying after rubbing out a supply. Very satisfying. If you like this, the Best Brown and the Golden Glow will also please you.

Samuel Gawith Squadron Leader -- medium Oriental.
If you were somewhere where this, and only this, were available, you'd be in a mighty fine place. Don't leave.

Samuel Gawith 1792 Flake -- Good lord!
Assertively flavoured with tonquin, this smells like your elderly maiden aunt. It's good, in a questionable sort of way. Most people find it peculiar.

Solomon's Presbyterian Mixture - Orientals.
You are a degenerate and you do not mind others knowing that. Your wife or apartment mate may harbour evil intent towards you. Go smoke near the ruined church with the weasels and hobos.
Good stuff. Stinky.

Sutliff Molto Dolce -- aromatic and eternally moist.
This is mummified tobacco that does not dry. A disgusting experience.
It is the best example of what a smoking mixture should never be.
Popular among neckbeards and mamma's boys.

Sutliff Mixture 79 -- Burley, urinal disc.
Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and even Hugh Heffner smoked this. The last time I tried it, it ruined my mouth for the rest of day.
Sock drawer bug repellant.

1Q -- medium Cavendish mixture with caramel.
This is shit tobacco, but available everywhere under different names, and while it's basically crap, repulsive and odious, it is not too bad. Though it does lead to insanity.

Over the weekend I did a few bowls of Penzance from my gloat-stash ("ha ha, I have it and you don't"), but nightcap is much more fun.

[A previous essay mentioning Penzance indirectly taught me the meaning of 'neckbeard'. Regarding aros, what I wrote about McClelland's Honeydew is still valid.]

I honestly do not understand why Penzance is a must-have. Blakeney's Best Latakia Flake (by McClelland) is just as good, and reminds me more of the old Bengal Slices. And it goes very well with a glass of Oloroso. Some of Greg Pease's pressed Latakia mixtures are better by far, and MacBaren's HH Latakia Flake is damned well perfume-candy-incense in the pressed Latakia compounds category, intoxicating and musk-like.
All of these smell like heaven.

"J'adore l'arôme unique de Clan ... "

In a world where women exclaim that the smell of Clan Pipe Tobacco (now made by STG) makes them, like, totally lubricious, it stands to reason that aromatic garbage is the largest category of smoking mixture available.
Such women are sluts, their pipe-men depraved.
Or vice versa.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Nowadays it looks like the only civilized areas of Asia are Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. Which is a pity, because after the end of both colonialism and the cold war, that region showed such promise. As just a highlight of things being wrong, consider Burma (ethnic cleansing on a massive scale), the Philippines (extra-judicial killings on a massive scale), and Thailand (sex slavery on a massive scale). Admittedly the Australians and Europeans are partly responsible for the last item, given that they can't brutalize juveniles quite so blatantly in Amsterdam and Sydney, but while the tourists are the customers, the Thais supply the commodity.

India, of course, has become a basket case under Modi.
Lynchings, rape, and journalist killings.

The Philippines are probably the biggest disappointment, for a variety of reasons. But the problem is, largely, that they are idiots.

"Lawmakers in the Philippines have voted to give an annual budget of just 1,000 pesos ($20; £15) to the public body investigating the country's controversial war on drugs. The cut to the budget of the Commission on Human Rights was supported by a margin of 119 to 32 in Congress."

Source: Duterte drug war - BBC

The last time I was in the Philippines it was a shitty banana republic, under Marcos, but we all thought things would get better when that CIA stooge and his shopaholic wife were eventually removed.
We were wrong.

Since then the list of offenses wreaked upon Philippinos committed by their own people has grown beyond comprehension. Timothy Mo once wrote a novel painting the place and the natives in a bad light. Justifiably, but he didn't tell the half of it.

They have great food. They are extremely nice people.
Their society is vicious, rotten, and depraved.

Twenty dollars isn't nearly enough to buy a handbag.
Not even a bootleg Louis Vuitton.
Made locally.

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Sea cucumber is delicious! One of my apartment mate's coworkers gave her some sea cucumber to take home that she had prepared herself, and my apartment mate made disgusting nom-nom-nom sounds while eating it. Naturally I was jealous. Nobody ever (!) gives me sea cucumber, and my colleagues wouldn't recognize it if it came up and bit them in the gand.

Most of them start screaming hysterically when they barely look outside their culinary comfort zone. One of them has a hardboiled egg in his lunch several times a week.

The only points of difference, at times, seem to be the degree of hot sauce and their wildly divergent cigar preferences.

Personally, I can understand people not being on the same page regarding hot sauce -- there are so many types to choose from -- but besides adding a necessary vegetable quotient to one's diet it does tend to make food in the suburbs at least passably edible, which without it far too often isn't.
So I am surprised that the egg man doesn't use it.
Hardboiled eggs and salt.

There are packets of ketchup in the work refrigerator. That's pretty much universal in the United States (and probably nowhere else in the world), because everybody always grabs extra, just in case we run out when someone needs it, which is obviously a common fear.


There is almost certainly a correlation between gustatory adventurousness and mental acuity or breadth of vision. That probably explains why many groupfeeding rituals are dominated by boring shit and pizza. Much more so, and much worse, when it involves company lunches. Which is one good reason why I am happy not to work in a "normal" enterprise, and I still shudder when recalling the choice between vegetarian and vegan.
Two or more kinds in each category, good grief.
How more San Franciscan can it be?

Of course, in the rest of the country, the choices are between beef, beef, beef, and beef, so the vegetarian-vegan-vegetarian trichotomy is an understandable reaction, but still.

For lunch today I shall have rice, or noodles, or rice sticks, or mien pao, or mantou, or even a kong si saam man ji. Stirfried, steamed, boiled, baked, or simmered, with a plentiful choice between two and four legs, feathers, scales, shells, carapaces, and none of the four vegetables that all white people in this country agree upon: lettuce, tomato, onion, and broccoli.

I might even find me some sea cucumber.

Or peanuts, gluten, and meat.

Plus hot sauce.

And I still can't believe that the ONLY condiment that all of you ever agree upon is ketchup. Salt, sugar, vinegar, preservatives, red food colouring.

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Monday, September 11, 2017


This day is strange. It is raining right now in San Francisco, and there is thunder and lightening. Yet the apartment still feels too warm, and I am presently wearing only zesty boxer shorts, you should see me.

Actually, you shouldn't. I am actually a fairly modest man, my exhibitionist tendencies are a private affair, and I'm afraid that only the stuffed animals have seen me thus these past few years.

They are usually properly horrified, and have expressed the opinion that human beings are on the whole rather repulsive, unlike their own fine fuzzy selves when naked.

Still. Thunder, lightening, rain.
Since before seven o'clock.
Intermittent squalls.

Our banana slug president blames the Chinese, Rush Limbaugh opines that it's a liberal plot, and Alex Jones is convinced it's an evil conspiracy to impose a global government by the Bilderbergers and lizard people.

I'll take 'the Chinese' for a thousand dollars, Mr. Trebek.

I heard one of those Chinese people go on and on today about little white nipples. He sounded halfway insane, even if you factored in that what he actually meant was the adapter that made a standard can of butane suitable for an old-style Dunhill lighter. The little white nipple.
Everybody else calls it the little white nipple too.
It's not just him.
But never mind that. Normal people do NOT spend over forty five minutes hectoring another person about little white nipples. Thanks to that fine exemplar of obsessed Chinese manly consumerhood, I still have the phrase "little white nipples" stuck in my head.
I myself, as a Caucasian male, have relatively small white nipples, though they used to be even bitsier. The only person who has seen them in several years is my apartment mate, presently in her room asleep with the window open. She has no interest in my little white nipples.
Unlike her queer fellow tribesman.

The nice little white nipples.

Of which there are two.

Rather pinkish.

Time for strawberry ice cream.


There is no strawberry ice cream! Nor any Rocky Road, or Cookie Dough! She ate all of it! What's left is a triple chocolate, which is delicious but a bit heavy. That Chinese woman must have had it for dinner, no wonder she's so exhausted. And on second thought, she does have a thing for some little white nipples, because her boyfriend is white, but I do not know how his little white nipples compare to my little white nipples. They are probably better. He is younger, more boyish, and immature.

I have never in my entire life talked about nipples for more than ten minutes.
White or otherwise.

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There are two issues which more than any other fuel discord in American households, and because of them I think you are all nuts.
Irreversibly insane.

Toilet seats and how to hang the roll.

Fastidious struggling of the inner soul, moral torture, and existential crises. Special ops. Cerulean trousers. Chins up, men, and trousers down.
And little personal things like smelling your own armpits.

My apartment mate and I have never argued about this, and solved both problems admirably without realizing the sheer heresy of doing so.
Or doing it in the manner we did it.

The seat goes whichever way is best for the person in the bathroom at that moment, the roll stands on a nearby surface.

We are both from outer space, and observing this planet for the invasion fleet; when our job is done the ship will come to take us home. Okay?

The rest of you are quite batshit.
You know that, right?

"There's that marvellous unpunctuated motto over the lavatory saying, "Gentlemen lift the seat". What exactly does this mean? Is it a sociological description, a definition of a gentleman which I can either take or leave?
Or, perhaps it's a Loyal Toast?

---Jonathan Miller, The Heat-Death of the Universe, Beyond the Fringe

All of this comes to mind because I have not seen or considered the nudity and frequently linked thereto bathroom usage of any man or woman other than my own self in one hell of a long time. And, consequently, I have no idea how other households cope with either issue (seats and bumwad).
In this apartment we have not devoted much thought to it at all, and we use bathrobes to maintain propriety, but it is, apparently, a major source of tiff and howling among the masses. Who at this hour are engaged in screaming at each other over the bathroom, and plotting vengeful mayhem.

Or so many people tell me. Mostly women.

Gentlemen lift the seat.

The first cup of coffee does marvelous things to the mind.
And makes one think of bathrooms and rolls.

Rather rangy marsh birds.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017


One of the truisms I heard several times today was that you can find death in five inches of water. This, it seems, was most particularly relevant to the flooding and storm surges brought by Hurricane Irma in Florida. Though of significantly less value as urgent information or warning in deepest Marin, where it was repeated.

Most of us have spent our whole lives not being face down in five inches of water without even trying. My own survival till now is largely because at no single time did I remain face down in five inches of water long enough for it to be a issue. That was just one subconscious strategy.
There have been others.

While Florida was getting a sprinkle, we sweltered. The heat came back. This blogger is presently wearing baggy boxers and a wife beater and nothing else. Parts of me that should not itch, itch.

"My blood is too thick for California: I have never been able to properly explain myself in this climate."
-----H. S. Thompson

A friend in Florida cheerily informed us that he has a sufficiency of alcohol, coconuts, and the possibility of instant noodles, as his approach to coping with five inches of water, and that as far as he was concerned that was a traditional and typical Floridan answer to hurricane-type problems.

I have little doubt that during the last presidential election he had recourse to the same shopping list, augmented perhaps with plywood for boarding up his house to keep the rioting zombies out.

It would not work here.

Such things only work in Florida.

Where there often is five inches of water.

I'm thinking of putting icecubes on top of all my chakras right now.

Cold wet chakras; traditional, and typically Californian.

Hä ... wir können hier nicht anhalten!

Das ist fledermausland.

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