At the back of the hill

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


In response to Adrian:

"I'm starting to build up a stockpile of that dark flake. Though at present I'm going through a tin of McConnell's. Either product makes a rainy day special. Two hours ago I sheltered with a pipe in the doorway of Chong Imports (they've moved, so no one can object to my smoke), while rain and fog blattered the construction cranes a few blocks away, sticking up like Japanese Mecha over the buildings of the Financial District, glowing with the spotlights illuminating the work that goes on even at night. Probably one of the most enjoyable smokes this month."

Adrian was having coffee three hours ago. When it was approximately eight in the morning, and 65 degrees. Precipitation there is minimal today.

At that time I was drinking hot milk-tea.
And having my first meal of the day.
I got a very late start.
Tea time.

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During 2012 several essays appeared on this blog which dealt with the Mexican death sausage (Linguiça) that lurked around the corner. With which I experimented several times. Can't remember the brand.
Suffice to say that the product is no longer there.
And the shopkeeper retired.

[All posts detailing the killer wurst are here: Linguiça..]

The amount of venomous ground chili in the mostly fat ground meat mixture guaranteed "adventure". Even though I am a man who uses hot sauce and chilies on a daily basis.

[Sriracha transforms a convenience store sandwich into an exquise (!) delight.]

There is not much to recommend single life, but the change in diet is quite beneficial. There is no longer anyone urging me to eat, eat, eat, and that luscious extra piece of fatty roast duck no longer magically appears on top of my mound of unfinished rice when I'm already somewhat full. And instead of regularly heading over a hill for Indian food, I'm more likely to cook some veggies with fishpaste and chilies.

Since cutting the murgh makhni and chicken tikka masala (with fresh naan bread slathered with butter) out of my routine I have once again become the svelte young man of everyone's dreams.

Mexican death sausage was part of the journey.

[First essay about the beast here: Brutal.]

Monzer El Shawa at Sam's served its tamer cousin as his house Polish Sausage. Somehow he got the concepts "Kielbasa" and "Louisiana Hot Link" confused -- they are so very much alike -- and his customers late at night never objected. Not many of them were heading to a svelte new self, but they all loved adding scads of Sriracha to their pizza, cheese burgers, fish and chips, fries, and grilled "Polish sausage".
Et cervisiam, ingentem flumen.
Post bibens.

This morning I realized I missed both of those sausages. The supermarket down the block closed a couple of years ago, the Vietnamese shopkeepers around the corner retired, and a lot of white techno-yuppies moved into the neighborhood, so now all the nearby liquor stores also specialize in icecream, hot pockets, and frozen pizza. And salad dressing.

Aber ein mann muss sein würziges fleisch haben!

I long for a kinder, gentler, and more toxic city than the present.
Plus girlish company and dangerous meat products.
Food and love should be an adventure.

Suggestions welcome.

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Depending on what you search for, you can find it on the internet. If you're looking for love and romance you may be out of luck -- internet lovers and people that respond to dating site notices are a skeevy lot -- and fetishists abound, so caution is advised. More so even than in real life, where heading into a dark alley with a strange woman leads to your American dollars, passport, and a kidney being stolen.
No, I am not basing any of that on actual experience.
But I've heard stories.

Sometimes, whatever someone was looking for brought them here. Where, spider-like, I sit in my text-web awaiting the next visitor.

Underneath a post from over four years ago a reader appended the following comment:

"I used to smoke cigarettes and mostly cloves blends like Djarum. I was a heavy smoker of menthols like Newport and Marlboro Mild the Blue pack. I was smoking about a pack a day for 18 years. And then one day I decided I would invest in a churchwarden and get a variety of blends of pipe tobacco. And I have never gone back to smoking cigarettes. My house in the evening smells of vanilla and nightcap blends. Now I may smoke 5 bowls a day if that... But to me it is a forced meditation time. Time to reflect and ponder and to rest a moment. I have briar pipes that have long bent stems that I enjoy. But my favorite is the churchwarden ... "

See, that shows that pipe-smoking is a beautiful thing.
And by no means limited to a single gender.
Which is gratifying.

I myself smoke between two and five pipefulls per day, and if anything it contributes to mental health. As well as world peace, because without the benefit of a pipe, this blogger might wish to destroy society.
You wouldn't want that, would you?

There is presently no significant other in my life, regrettably dammit, which there might be if I did not smoke a pipe now and then. But she would then have to put up with a grouchy maniac. Pipes keep me sane.
The world is a better place because of it.
Enforced meditation.

Plus Hong Kong style milk tea in Chinatown regularly.
Hot, creamy, bitter, and intensely up-waking.
But that goes without saying.

I am waiting for my apartment mate to leave.
So that I can light up.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017


For the benefit of the curious, here is the recipe for the popular mixture invented by Tewksbury in Denver: Hobbit's Weed. It consists of two parts BCA, one part Lane's Very Cherry, and one part Sutliff 1M. Both the first and the last of those components are Vanilla tobaccos.

50% - 25% - 25%

I have not confirmed with them that this is accurate, but this recipe has been circulated on the net by reputable sources.

BCA is standard black Cavendish heavily aromaticised with vanilla. The tobacco used is a Green River Burley cooked to a fare-thee-well to darken it, flavouring and sweeteners are added during that process.

Very Cherry is a standard blending tobacco in many stores.
Virginia, Burley and Black Cavendish.

Sutliff 1M is plain Burley, Virginia, and Black Cavendish souped up with vanilla (BCA), and not too unlike 1Q, which is also something that most tobacconists carry, although like the other concoctions it frequently is called by a fanciful name of their own invention.

A duplicate of HW is available from Four Noggins.


Why you would want to smoke this is any one's guess, seeing as Burley whored-up with cake essence is nauseating -- although I've smoked all the components, strictly out of perverse professional curiosity, and they're not really "bad" bad -- and there is no evidence that Hobbits even knew of vanilla (or tobacco - where on earth did they get it from?), Gandalf the Grey quite probably enjoyed a dark flake or Virginia & Perique mixtures, and Tolkien himself was a Capstan man, with occasional jaunts into Gold Block and Erinmore (which is a decent product underneath the bizarre topping).

Do you own a churchwarden, you frightful pervert?

Fancy yourself a "Middle Earthian"?

Have tattoos?

Probably well-over eighty percent of all pipe tobacco sold in the United States is aromatic, BCA shows up in many house blends, and most people have no taste whatsoever. But they are an important demographic that no tobacconist can afford to ignore (I do not blame Tewksbury, he kept them happy). It's been that way ever since the seventies, when pipe-smoking was cool, and many syphilitics and sadistic closet republicans discovered that despite their body odour and personal flaws, brainless blonde trollops with just enough pudge would flock to them and drool over their manliness if they smoked a pipe stuffed with shitty tobacco.
Heffner, Sinatra, Josef Stalin.
Pol Pot.

You guys are all monsters.

Good luck, hobbits.

Avoid orcs.

PS.: At this very moment I am enjoying a bowl of Robert McConnell Matured Virginia Folded Flake. In a normal briar. It's very nice.
It is not for you.


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From what can we deduce that she had a big breakfast? From the big porcelain bowl and the chopsticks on the table in the teevee room after she left this morning. A very big bowl, with nary a scrap still in it. Large enough that if it were filled with soup, there would have been enough for four people to have a serving before the steamed fish and rice arrived.

It probably was filled with soup.

I deduce from this that she has recovered from her horrible cold, which kept her well nigh bed-bound for four days, surrounded by her stuffed animals, including the she-sheep with the pretty pink bows and the senior teddy bear. As well as two of the monkeys: 'Sock', and "Control'.

I could hear them in her room whenever I came home.

The monkeys were arguing over bananas.

[The 'Control Monkey' was rescued when the company moved and the insensitive jerks in the Marketing Department left him in the vacated area to fend for himself, all alone and deserted. I saw him, and perched him on the credenzas that I raced toward the loading area. He came home with me, and has been a solid and upstanding citizen of our home ever since. Except when he's too possessive of the Senior Teddy Bear, and offends others by asserting that "the womany thing (my apartment mate) doesn't need a bear, she's too old and knackered". This displease the womany thing, the teddy bear in question, and the she-sheep. He feels their grim aura of menace, and has hysterics. 
Then he sulks. That side of the apartment has far more drama than is healthy. 
Unlike my side, where there is calmness, reason, and sanity.]

She's at the office now.
Everything is quiet.

I am not particularly good with sick people. Largely I like to treat them as normal folks, the only special concern is that they have an extra blanky or throw-rug if needed. Which will then have to be considered infectious by itself, but no matter.

When I am sick I don't deal well with the healthy individuals in my vicinity.
If bedridden, I will grump and say stupid things like "I'm perfectly fine, and no I don't want soup!" The second part is true, but the attention that a bug brings seems so undeserved. I didn't do anything. If I saved the world AND cured cancer, THEN you could bring me a bowl of soup. Chicken noodle.
I'll still feel it's too much trouble, but I will be secretly pleased.
Oh, you actually noticed; all wars are over.
The orphans have been housed.
Discord ended.

Okay then, soup.

I have a suspicion that when I'm old and decrepit I will act disreputable, in hopes that no one notices. The problem is that then they will probably cut me an enormous amount of slack, saying "the poor old dear is on his last legs, might as well allow him to be an animal, just ignore the clumps of hair falling out and clogging the gutters", or something like that.

I shall be the terror of the convalescent home. Filipina nurses will wrinkle their refined little nubby noses when I light up another pipeful out in the yard, sending the reek of tobacco into the open windows, and they will draw straws for the odious task of bringing me an umbrella and pushing me out to the distant parking lot where those who smoke must go.

"He's crabby, push him into the canal!"

Damned Filipinas. No consideration!

I had a cold for several weeks. Other than the coughing sneezing sniffling wheezing hacking and sliming, I don't think anyone noticed.

I didn't do anything remarkable during that period.
Carried on as usual, and even smiled.
A normal death grimace.

For the first time in over a month I feel fine. Better than ever, in fact.
Time to go have some hot greasy tidbits, a really BIG cup of the chosen beverage, and hang out near little children and old people while smoking a Virginia and Perique mixture. Maybe I'll even head down to the Financial District and piss off office workers by smoking near their building.

But first, I have to do the dishes.
A bowl, and chopsticks.

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Monday, January 16, 2017


It is so nice that my friends eat well. It gives me a warm tingly feeling. One of them tends to have late night feasts at the Grubsteak and various other places -- usually in the charming company of 'statuesque' drag queens, the lucky man -- and several others are food mavens too.
They've all got hearty appetites.
And really enjoy eating.

Often with cellphones.

Which shoot photos.

I should mention that in that regard I am a total Luddite. I do not own a cellphone, don't want one either. I'm still using a landline. For a while the company where I worked, while in its death spiral before the filthy hippies from Toronto bought it, forced me to have a device, but when it delayed my morning ablutory ritual I decided that I never wanted to be reachable all the time. If you need to talk to me, you know where to find me. Work. Home. Somewhere in Chinatown. Lurking near the discarded Christmas tree at the corner garbage can (next two weeks only).
Otherwise forget it.

Anyhow, one of my friends had a lovely lunch today.

"...Chicken kathi kebab, kohliwada fish, okra pulao and naan, bhature cholle."


What I had for lunch was an Italian sandwich ("New") from a convenience store, and a drinkable yoghurt (strawberry / fresa). Plus squeezings from the bottle of Sriracha hot sauce I keep at work.
I wish I had eaten the chicken kathi kebab, kohliwada fish, okra pullao, and naan. I'll pass on the bhature with cholle due to a digestive conflict.
Murghi, machli, bhindi, roti. Plus achar and pudina chatni.
Sounds good enough to eat.

Dinner, at this very moment, consists of vegetarian fried noodles.
With fatty pork slivers, and fishsauce. And fried egg.
Plus ginger, chilipaste, and curry paste.
And fresh green chilies.

No photo.

. . .

So maybe it isn't "vegetarian".
In even the slightest.
Let's pretend.

Okay, calling it "vegetarian" was a mistake.
Vegetarian usually is.

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Last night's dinner was a freezer quiche heated up with sliced Gouda cheese on top and Sriracha hotsauce. There has to be a serving size somewhere between single serving (a snack, really) and big fat family dinner. It was too late go buy crackers anywhere, or I would have devoured all the remaining Gouda.

Everything tastes better with hot sauce and cheese.

For over an hour afterward I could not get the idea of more snacking out of my head. A profound hunger gripped me, and life was bleak.

Then I went and consumed the rest of that Gouda.

Later I also located the other cheeses.

They're saltier than the Gouda.

Which is unfortunate.


Not everybody should find cheeses.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017


As you know, I am not a cigar smoker. I do indulge occasionally, but given that most American cheroot-huffers are loathsome swine, vulgarians, right-wing bozos, and carry typhoid to boot, it just ain't my natural métier.
It is not something for individuals who appreciate subtlety.
Such as, opportune example, pipe smokers.
The detail oriented.

My apartment mate is such a person, but I have never been able to talk her into smoking a pipe. She has quite an eye. Incautiously I commented about a bauble on a television show, and promptly got the half hour disquisition on the finer points of gold smithery.
No, I did not take notes.

She's a jewel, but seriously Aspy.
I can't remember the show.
A sixties series.
Spy drama.

She paid keen attention to everything that showed up on screen, including the platinum thingy the actress wore around her neck, as well as the black dress of peculiar cut. Sodium pentothal, miss Brooks, and captain Kovicz. Oddly, what I noticed was a painting of a rabbi on the wall of the palace, probably chosen because it looked Eastern European.

I am a man, and as such a bit unconcerned with precious stones.
Paintings, however... Maybe the Alter Rebbe.
Strange prop department.

PLEASE NOTE: This essay is NOT about cigars, in case you haven't figured that out, but about women. And pipes. I've had quite enough of the cigar smokers this weekend; every time someone puffs a stogey now I see the loyal stormtrooper boots of a bloviating egomaniac in the smoke.
They were screaming in the lounge today, oafs cheering a cretin.


Red Panda. Sanrio's newest creature. "Aggressive Retsuko".

I felt that a binge-drinking death-metal karaoke singing office lady needed a quiet and civilized habit. So I led her into Aged Virginia territory.

Welcome to the dark side.

Two tobaccos come to mind: Dunhill Ready Rubbed, and Dunhill Dark Flake. Delightful, but not overstated. For some reason several reviewers of the first believe that there is Turkish in it, possibly because having read somewhere that some of the leaf comes from India, they jumped to conclusions about the type.

Conclusions are things to which one should not jump.

They are flue-cured, and quite good.

Personally I think that any well brought up red panda office lady would naturally appreciate both of these fine Dunhill products. The sensibility required is such that it does not tolerate charlatanry ('Trumpismo').

[The Dunhill pipe tobacco portfolio is presently held by Kohlhase & Kopp in Deutschland; the quality is better than when Murrays (known for sticks, twigs, crud) bollicksed up the blends.]

The pipe, as you might suspect, is a Comoy, Canadian shape. Perhaps a Grand Slam or a London Pride. A lovely design, and perfectly suited to a person of excellent taste, even if she does belt out hard pounding horror lyrics when swilling beer or sake after leaving the office.
That's just a passing phase. Youthful.
Or a reaction to yutzes.

Young women who take up pipe-smoking need to have more than one briar, of course. Six or seven if it is a daily pleasure, just two or three if an occasional indulgence. But preferably several.

[My own collection contains over a hundred and fifty exemplars, of which around forty or so show up regularly in the rotation. I have numerous Comoys.]

Nice women really should not smoke cigars.
Dangerous women may enjoy pipes.

It's lovely.


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Saturday, January 14, 2017


The other day I left the house with a pipe and tobacco, and the firm intent to purchase my second umbrella this week, have lunch, and smoke a bit before returning home. After picking up some money at the bank, I went to accomplish the second thing listed, that being late lunch. As is the custom at that restaurant, they sat me at a large table which is slated for the people who eat alone. However many that may be.
All the antisocials in one big pile.
Ignoring each other.


Remarkably, there was no one else at that table. Halfway through my lunch (roast pork and tofu over rice, plus a cold beverage), a young gentleman from Shanghai joined me. Initially I thought he was a local born person of Cantonese extraction, and typically non-functional in Chinese, because he addressed the waitress in English. But to my surprise when it came time to order he spoke Mandarin, and asked whether that second character in a dish mentioned on the wall was indeed what he thought it was. It was.

Mainlanders sometimes have a hard time deciphering the long hand written versions of words that they only know in simplified script. So, after he had finished, I asked him where in China he was from.

My Mandarin is lousy, by the way. Fortunately after a few sentences we continued our discussion in English.

Here's where I know I come from a different time and place: after finishing my meal I was going to enjoy a pipeful of tobacco. He planned to visit a strip show and did I have any recommendations?

Forgive me, I am not familiar with the titty clubs of San Francisco. That form of entertainment does not appeal to me. Although if by chance there were a warm, comfortable, classy, and well-lighted place where one could view nice naked women eating noodles, I might be first in line.
I'll have whatever she's having.

And please bring her another serving too.

The women need not be trim, a certain curvy pudginess is also quite okay.
As you would expect on some of the performing artists if their main source of income were devouring pasta. But what is essential is that the kitchen is clean, well-run, and creative. No one can look cheerful when eating muck, or the exact same dish for the umpteenth day in a row.

One of my favourite noodle types is 沙河粉,that being a broad rice stick, very good with black bean sauce clams and mussels, or even just porky bits and chilipepper. Any number of things. It's very easy on the digestion, and soothing.

炒龍蝦河粉 ('chaau lung haa ho fan') lobster chow fun.
It's celebratory and indulgent.

The Shanghainese fellow was likable enough, and also a reasonably good conversationalist. But I would have preferred a naked lady intently devouring a plate of seafood noodles.

I tried not to let him know how extremely disappointed I was.

There are some things a gentleman does not mention.

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Friday, January 13, 2017


What the Republicans in congress have been doing in the past week alone should convince almost anyone that yes, Americans need guns, and they should aim those guns at Republican politicians. But I expect we won't.
Not because the bastards don't deserve to die in a hail of bullets, but because we still believe that our democracy works.

Plus planning to massacre the Republican trash currently in power requires too much effort and attention -- heck, we'd have to be alert, mobile, and not eating delivery pizza -- and we're presently addicted to yuge, bigly, and golden showers.
Eh, bugger it all, what's on telly?

Personally I am resolved to sneer for four years.
It's what I do best.

I am not a constructive team player.

And you might as well admit that you aren't either. You are not vested in the greatest possible benefit for the greatest number of people, you don't even really care for the folks one town over, or two blocks away. Because you realize that despite the rich and corrupt taking over and gutting the country (insert long list of Republican names right here), all you really want to do is either drink cocktails made with designer vodka, OR lie in bed and get nice and toasty warm.

[Actually, designer vodka is SO last year. The hot new booze trend is artisanal rye whiskey matured in carefully curated fruitwood barrels. Just the right amount of char, and reflective of natural goodness. Fiery, but alluring. Rounded, with the slightest bite. This is a thing.]

I can understand that.

You are not alone.

Excluding the designer vodka bevvies, I am right there beside you.
In a very clean and not creepy uncle kind of way.

Scoot over.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017


It turns out that because of the rain we are getting people have cabin-fever. Why, it's depressing, and they haven't been able to jog or run or even walk for days! They've scarcely gone out. They are suffering. The walls are closing in, the light is fading, there is no fresh air, it's so boooooring!


I am a pipe smoker.

Every day for the past several years I have been outside for intervals of half an hour or so. Multiple times. On Tuesday and Wednesday, which are my days off, I was outside for several hours. On Tuesday night I left the house at ten thirty, and I was outdoors when the heavens opened up after eleven.
I saw Grant Avenue in the darkness become silver and glowing from the splashback, and scattered street people running for cover.

Except for that last part, it was extremely nice.

You couldn't see the end of the block.

An otherworldly effect.

All of you wussy health freaks need to get off your fatnesses and go out there. Do you realize how lonely pipe smokers and cigar mavens have been? Well, do you?!? Disregard the cigar folks, we pipe smokers would have liked some company. Preferably nice well-bred and intelligent female company, fresh and sparkling, rather than the crazy druggies and unwashed psychos who lurked just beyond the edges of our vision, or the soggy cheroot-huffers, who smelled even worse than usual.
You do know that unlike pipes, cigars are distinctly putrid, don't you?
It's kind of like fermenting garbage, set on fire.
Pipe smokers smell nice.

"In a way I don't mind people who are gross."

That's a quote from the apartment mate. What's significant is that she was talking about some non-smokers. It makes sense to me, even I will put up with non-smokers, though I don't consider them gross. And perhaps she didn't mean 'all of them'. In rainy weather everyone smells like wet dog.
I have known several people who were complete non-smokers. What they all had in common was a heartlessness and inconsideration of their fellows out in the rain fifteen feet from operable doorways and windows in the financial district. It did not matter to them at all that we were risking pneumonia for their comfort, their pretentious sense of well-being.

If you think pipe smoke smells like home, befriend a smoker.
He (or she) will appreciate your company.

You can hog the umbrella.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017


The entire angry debate over "cultural appropriation" and authentic food versus inauthentic food went right by me, and I didn't even notice.
I was too busy eating, you see.

Two recent conversations however deserve note.

A friend remarked that he went to a familiar restaurant for lunch, and it was packed because of the rain. They turned four tables while he was hurriedly gasakking his food. He didn't say what he ate. Knowing him, it probably contained pork, chilies, and preserved vegetables.

A couple of tourists in Chinatown asked me for a recommendation. I am white. No, that wasn't "so racist" of them, it was understanding that a white man casually hanging about (smoking a pipe) would be much more likely to have a moment than the rushing Chinese pedestrians passing by, probably spoke English (I do!), and might not have a pony in the race.
And knew what they meant.

And yes, if you were to ask a native or a Mexican in Chinatown for advice you would not get what you want. A white local person, eh, perhaps.


Hypothetical Chinatown Cantonese response: "Oh I don't know, nothing here really, there's a Szechuan restaurant on Jackson Street which is very popular, or maybe you like noodles? Cross the street (points).
Restaurant on Washington has dim sum all day.

That Chinatown person may be holding a bubble tea at the time, and had a baked pork chop with tomato sauce over spaghetti at a strictly Canto-style place a few hours ago. Heck, they ate yesterday and the day before too. But they presumed, based on your appearance, that you probably would not like what they like, it would take too much explanation to make the concept intelligible to you, and in any case the boba lounge where they bought the drink has popcorn shrimp (yum!) but you aren't a casual eater.
You are probably looking for something special.
Aren't you?

[Maybe you do like noodles? Word of advice: a plate of noodles should not cost more than ten dollars.]

You want Hunanese? Peking? Dongbei? Um. No. This is Chinatown. We've got Hong Kong. Cantonese. Hong Kong Western. Dim sum. Chachanteng. Deepfried, stewed, steamed, or simmered. Crypto-Viet with noodles. Bakeries. Ho Mong Lei on Jackson, Shanghai one block down, cheap pork chops with gravy over rice in between. Two or three extremely expensive restaurants that nobody ever goes to, but outsiders like them.
Chicken wings, family style, live fish, rice porridge.
Crispy crap, baked stuff, bad coffee.
Plastic forks.

Many sit down places have a version of general Tso, and sweet'n sour pork. Plus the vegetarian option. Because it is truly authentic to want your business, and hope that you leave happy and come again.

Ho Mong Lei on Jackson does a big steamed bun filled with chicken and stuff. Double A and the Washington Bakery Restaurant have a selection of hot dishes, and excellent milk tea. The steamed Northern dumplings at the Shanghai place are lovely. There are at least four places where you can get baked porkchop over rice or spaghetti, and try the Little Paris on Stockton for a sandwich plus Vietnamese coffee. The folks at the Viet restaurant on Walter Lum will put a fried egg on almost anything, if you want. If you see jung (conical leaf-wrapped rice and meat parcels, called "dooo'oong" by Toishanese speakers), buy a few to take home; they're a great quick breakfast, lunch, or late night snack.

There are a number of places that do claypot rice.
Versions with preserved meat are very nice.
Or the salt fish chicken kind.

For your information, Cantonese people do indeed eat egg rolls, broccoli beef, and sweet and sour dishes. And almost everything else, from several different "cuisines". They see no reason to limit themselves (unlike know-it-all food writers and Chinese Americans with chips on their shoulders), and even the most painfully monolingual person has been exposed to hamburgers, pizza, and French fries.

Now, as regards those snooty Northerners .....

They cook for white people.


In a short while I'm going out for lunch and a pipe. Still don't know what to eat. It might be fried noodles, it might be jook, or maybe a steamed Toishan bao. Something simple. And a cup or two of milk tea (not from a boba place). It's a total crap shoot.

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Normally I spend the first cup of coffee in the morning reading the news. Which, today, is full of Trump. Honestly, I do not wish to read more about that puffy-face small-handed vulgarian. It's bad enough that terms such as 'kompromat' and 'golden showers' are now political concepts.

And likely future photo spreads.

With little more than a week to go before the inaugural circus, this has already become the most bizarre presidency ever, as well as the most ethically challenged. It is surprising that they still haven't found a role in the administration for Louie Gomert, but it's only a matter of time; there are vacancies on the supreme court.


There is one good thing to come out of all this, though.

We won't ever have to worry about Trump or any of his cabinet members visiting our city to raise campaign funds for themselves or other members of their party, and thus causing massive gridlock with ridiculous security precautions. They are massively hated and despised here.

Just sayin': Water balloons could be a weapon of protest.

Water balloons are not always filled with water.

By the way: bitter accusations that Donald and his gang are bigoted are just plain wrong. This administration is inclusive; it contains at least two Jews, one Asian, one black man, and several Neanderthals.
Plus the creature from the Alien movies.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017


It's official: either I should never breed, or I am hardier stock than you ever thought possible, my genetic material is resilient and capable of surviving dynamite. But probably not the latter. After my haircut I had a late lunch, then went outside to smoke a pipe. Let us assume stupidity.
Or some raging tough craziness. That also works.

Whatever excites you inordinately.
I've got it. Yes.

Good thing I found an awning, because it started bucketing down. Man, that bowl of Dunhill Dark Flake was quite delicious! So, against my own better judgment and the suspicion it was berserk to do so, I had another cup of milk tea after I finished, in order that after a brief interval I could go stand outside again in this weather we're having, with a pipe in my mouth filled with the same tobacco, and experience it even more so.

Bigger bowl, more rain, driving wind.

I do not like foul weather.

* * *

Picked the wrong awning this time. But having committed myself, I would not let sanity rear its ugly head, and beaming like a maniac I braved the storm. Dunhill Dark Flake. It is self-destructively good.
Do try some. Today.

Got home with soggy cold feet, stiff leg muscles and wet pants, soaked shoulders. I had an umbrella, but I used that to keep my pipes dry.
Both pipes, both times.

This weather isn't fit for man nor beast.
But it suits pipe smokers.
By necessity.

Years ago, when I lived in Valkenswaard, I would smoke outside in the middle of a rainstorm only if I didn't have the money for a hot beverage at a nearby establishment. That isn't a concern now, but one cannot smoke inside a place of caffeine purveyance in today's San Francisco.


Thank providence for awnings in Chinatown. It's beastly out there in the rain, and lonely, but without those awnings many more people would suffer, and helpless little children would be exposed to second-hand smoke like you wouldn't believe. Because if Uncle Grumpus wants to smoke, there had better be something to keep him halfway dry, or everyone will suffer.
Uncle Grumpus is nobody's fool.
And not entirely crazy.

The only thing better than smoking a pipe outdoors in a horrid rainstorm in San Francisco Chinatown after a hot cup of milk tea would be smoking a pipe indoors during a rainstorm, WITH a hot cup of milk tea.
Indeed, that would be absolutely divine.

There's still plenty of the Dunhill Dark Flake left. Tomorrow I shall head into Chinatown again. Lunch and a pipe full, even if it rains. Maybe two.

Darn good thing I do not live in the High Sierras.
There is probably no milk tea there.
Nor any awnings.


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Somebody recently posted as an argument against women's liberation (or empowerment, or equality) the following clarion call: "have kids get married and be happy - feminism leads down a dark path of cats, pizza, and wine."
That actually sounds pretty good. I need to know more feminists. On a rainy day like today I could call up and say: "do you mind if I stop by?", and a feminist might respond "come on over, I started on the pizza and wine early; me and the cats are watching 1950s horror movies".
As I said, pretty darn good.


On work days I deal with a lot of cigar smokers, of which unfortunately and unsurprisingly the overwhelming majority are men. Who, when women are not around, drop their pants and reveal themselves as insensitive superficial over-entitled middle-class clods. Their company is not as enjoyable as they think, and their utterances prove that you don't have to stupid to be dumb as a bag of hammers. Yes, most of them are decent enough. Some of them also show some likable characteristics. Sparks of sweetness.
But good lord they're a bunch of door posts.

To put it differently, they are typical male fellow citizens, and perfectly suited to the typical female fellow citizen.

The dark path that leads to cats, pizza, and wine, sounds rather attractive. During inclement weather alluring even. Like a door into summer, or a wardrobe between worlds. A dimensional portal.

"Feminism leads down a dark path of cats, pizza, and wine."

Ladies, please raise your daughters to be feminists.
Encourage tool-use and scientific curiosity.
Introduce them to pizza early.

There are cats!

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It seems to attract the ants, and it's probably not a very healthy breakfast. But, being American-born, and having tastes formed by being brought up in San Francisco, with not nearly enough exposure to her ancestral culture, the kouign amann has almost automatically become one of her favourite 'start-the-day' items. Not surprising, really. None of us eat now what our grandparents or great-grandparents ate. I believe my greats sometimes had kidneys, and seldom had coffee. Hers probably had rice-gruel (粥 'juk') with a bit of dried fish (柴魚 'chaai yü'.

Rice gruel with a bit of dried fish, and some fried peanuts, is actually very tasty, but makes a better light lunch. The coffee, however, is essential irrespective. I only have coffee in the morning.

While my apartment mate's great-grandparents were rooting around in the mud of Toishan, mine were leading very staid upper-crustian Anglo lives in New York City and somewhere in the Midwest. In between exploiting the defenseless working classes and possible disenfranchising people.
With kidneys, but almost certainly without coffee.
It was a calmer and nastier age.
No coffee.

Coffee is the great American drink, but it for a long time it was neither universal nor essential. And people did unspeakable things with it.

We now do unspeakable things with other things.

We hardly ever fry kidneys.

I believe that a warm beverage of choice is customary when consuming a kouign amann. A product about which I did not know a blessed thing at all until I noticed the ants.

Tomorrow morning, while I am still asleep, my apartment mate will leave her room and toddle into the kitchen, and discover the ants. Whereupon she will exit the kitchen in high dudgeon, enter my room, and accusatorily wake me up to tell me that we have ants. Which is naturally not her fault (despite the package of kouignoù amann).
She's never done anything at all to encourage ants.
Whereas I am white, and, well, you know.
It somehow HAS to be my fault.

Look, I have coffee for breakfast. Ants abjure coffee. It's too exciting. They probably also don't enjoy salt fish or rice porridge either, and therefore, quod erat demonstrandum, 柴魚花生粥 and coffee must be the chosen breakfast, fit for kings, breakfast of champions.

They're your buttery pastries, sweetie, not mine. You've never even shared 'em with me. So I am going back to sleep, it's my day off, and I'll deal with your ants later, when I arise.

"Good morning ants, have you eaten?"

Tiny little voices, hardly audible at all, will pipe back "why yes we have, thank you for asking, it was very good!"

"I am so glad you liked it."

"Kouign amann."


I shall probably get up at nine thirty, nearly two hours after she has left for work. Coffee, conversation with the ants, perhaps asking them politely to be more discreet, then a bath, and off to Chinatown for a haircut and some lunch. Amble under the awnings smoking a pipe.

I really have nothing else planned.

I shall be a vegetable.

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Monday, January 09, 2017


An acquaintance disparaged the place where I spent many years. Or maybe it was my mental state. Something or somewhere with which I have an intimate personal connection, he avers, is a nasty bog.
As would anyone, I vociferously disagreed.
Plus there is herring there.

But though I was eloquent, I failed to convince him.


All folks from the Netherlands or Denmark have toenail fungus because of the climate and are sick, sick, sick. Plus they are frigid souls. Soggy.

He's a fevered Christian, and feels that the United States is G-d's own country, compared to which all else but faintly flickers. Though it could be better: if gays were banned from bathrooms, Jayzis was taught in all the schools, and Roe versus Wade were overturned. As, now that his people finally control the government, is bound to happen.
Blessed be, and hallelujah.


The best thing I said all weekend was: "If I had a vagina I sure would not want the Republican Congress to regulate it." But I did not say it to him or even mention it. Given that I would have to mansplain it, which would have confused the poor dear. Either that or he would not have appreciated the irony of my detailing what life would be like were I a woman.
He has an intelligence quotient in the high one digits.
Life is so much harder for people like him.
His wife has my deepest sympathy.

"If I had a vagina I sure would not want the Republican Congress to regulate it."

Seriously. What do Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell know about the opposite gender? Can they identify it, if it comes up and bites them?
Or would they blame space aliens?

Please don't regulate my imaginary vagina.
Thank you.

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Sunday, January 08, 2017


Finally Sanrio has given birth to a character with whom we can all identify: Aggretsuko, a red panda who works in a Tokyo office, and is so frustrated and irritated by her idiot co-workers and aspects of her job that she binge-drinks beer in karaoke bars and sings death metal.
I know I can identify with her; it's almost as if she's my spirit animal. Despite the fact that I do not work in an office. Don't binge drink.
And do not scream-roar plangent death metal lyrics.

Heck, I've hardly ever done karaoke.

Some individuals may remember when I sang "All My Exxes Live In Texas" with Dildo Bob, and others possibly recall the ghastly rendition of a ballad by Teresa Teng I did once or twice.

They need to drink more.

I drink sparingly, unlike most Caucasians, and I actually rather like my job. Today I spent several hours in a smoke-filled environment listening to pudgy middle-aged specimens screaming over football, but I was far enough away from them that I could hear myself think. The only time I came closer was when I asked Jeff about the raw sewage cascading over the concrete floors of his office.

"Yeah no I'm on the fourth floor, but down there they were putting plastic shopping bags around their feet."

To the best of my knowledge no raw sewage has ever swirled over my docksiders. I would have known. Details, you know. Still, I and everybody else can thoroughly sympathize with Aggressive Retsuko, and see her as a Hello Kitty-esque icon for modern adults such as ourselves.
Male or female, es macht kein diefferenz.

As far as the death metal is concerned, that's in Japanese, so it is probably not quite what you can do either. But it's never too late to learn.


Probably the best Sanrio character ever. Edgy. Angry. Office worker. Female. In other words, possessed of a non-threatening even cute exterior, but a seething cauldron inside. Meek, mild, playful, yet justifiably filled with a burning rage that might just boil over at any moment, incendiarizing the nimnos and twizzle-heads around her, and take it all down, baby, till yer dead and burnt to crispy ashes, oh yeah.
Yep. Adorable.

When my Hello Kitty backpack in which I stash pipes when commuting wears out, I will replace it with an Aggretsuko item of similar dimensions.

Hello, little Death Metal Panda; we are ready for your merchandise!

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Not entirely sure why she does it, but the apartment mate watches bitchy women shows on television. She calls it "life-styles of the small-souled".
It's arguably about female empowerment. And white folks sex.
The golden haired individuals headed to Montauk.
Not sure where the heck that is.
I could look it up.

"I haven't had a birthday trip in like two years!"

They are no stranger to recreational vehicles, these twenty-somethings. Oh em gee. And they will not stop for cosmetic damage. Montauk is, like, the perfect place for them to, like, get away. Give them the veranda.
Stop bitching. And don't bottle, like, anything up.

I am resolved to never go to Montauk.

Snapchat and ocean-front view.

What IS this show?

Because of what went on in this episode, the apartment mate is now aware of jock straps, crotch rot, man smells, award-winning vodka, and "weird bacteria fermenting". Plus hip collective inebriation.
Not sure that this is a win-win.

She's learning way too much about Caucasians.
And big white person cleavage.
Oh dear.

There will be consequences.

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Saturday, January 07, 2017


Sometimes situations come up which are ... "peculiar". At least to one of the people involved. Like, erm, romance. And one is confused about the proper way to proceed. The work-supervisor of a friend of a coworker had some interaction with me in a professional capacity before the holiday, and has since expressed an interest in me to her subordinate with a request that he should ascertain through his friend (my colleague) whether I was perchance single and available.

Which I am.

But as I explained to my fellow employee, I didn't know the woman from Adam. He needed to give me more than just describing her as a redhead. So he messaged his friend, and an hour later showed me a photo on his cellphone. And asked what should he tell his friend on my behalf?

"Just say I'm mildly interested."

I realize that that did not sound enthusiastic, but in all honesty I still didn't know diddly about the woman. She could be all kinds wonderful, brilliant, engaging, extremely tolerant of the fact that neither my life nor my living arrangements are perfectly neat. She could also be an axe-murdereress who wishes to harvest me for streaky meat.
And I still cannot remember her.

Years ago an acquaintance got married after a whirlwind romance. Lordy, he was smitten. Within a year he regretted it, and it took over five years to extricate himself. "Fred", we would ask whenever we saw him, "how goes the divorce?"

It was a mess, but very entertaining, as such things are.

Heh heh heh.

I should also mention that the world's cutest cigar smoker is a divorcee. And one could see where a man would have easily been smitten by her, but I suspect that after a number of years she got unsmote, and realized that mere smite was not enough for her to continue that relationship.
Yes, I strongly suspect that she decided on the split.
She's very strong minded and intelligent.
I shan't ask, ain't my beeswax.

I am not a spring chicken, as you may have already surmised, and I'm odd of habit and rather set in my ways. Furthermore, it has been a while since I dated anyone, and even then I was not a dab hand (though at one point I was seeing three women concurrently; don't ask, it just happened).

I do not know how to proceed.

I am only mildly interested.

And I am chicken.



The last time someone inquired whether I was single and available, it was for a friend of hers. At a restaurant, to which I have not gone back since, despite their nice food. That tells you something.

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Thanks to the intrepid Dutch press (De Telegraaf) I now know that my fellow Dutchmen (randy perverts, mostly) are intrigued by lesbians and teens, whereas our more staid southern neighbors the Belgians favour stepmothers and stepsisters, though not in the same scene. This was clarified by the 2016 search statistics published by Pornhub.
Which is an endlessly fascinating document.
First time on my radar.

Let me clarify at this point that I never search the internet for smut, and obsessively watch sports on television. Oh, those rounded football bottoms, men in tight spandex, the sheer excitement of watching pigskin fly!

And those beer commercials!



Icelanders watch more porn than Canadians.
Belgians are very similar to Americans.
Most visits are around 9 minutes.
Lesbians, MILFs, moms.
Cell phones.

Please note that Mississippians watch far more than Oregonians. Either because of slow synapses or rain, would be my guess.
But this is not a hard science.

From eleven to midnight are peak traffic times.
When many people are drunk and alone.

Pornsurfers in India put the word 'Indian' in almost all their searches, and like teenage lesbians. Perhaps these are bhainchoot fantasies, but I dare not speculate. The Japanese naturally prefer 'Japanese', and 'amateur'.

The French are a bunch of right degenerates: anal.
All I can say is I am shocked. Shocked.
They are just like the Germans.
But unlike the Brits.

Russians, Spaniards, and Brazilians, are all sick.

What is monumentally frightful is that Kim Kardashian is a favourite subject. Truly my fellow human beings are horrifying. Quite. What on earth is wrong with you people?!? You are all insane! You disgust me!

Most people who watch smut are young.
Alas, this makes me feel old.


This post was written courtesy of the link provided by De Telegraaf newspaper, which understood that serious readers wished to research these matters, and news mavens would need substantiation.
Especially for that claim about the Belgians.
Who are mighty queer.

What I search the internet for is food, kitten pictures, linguistic terms, and tobacco-related material. Plus pictures of Totoro or Hello Kitty.
And sometimes articles in Chinese or Dutch.
I visit Wikipedia and Snopes a lot.
And various news sites.
I am restrained.

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Friday, January 06, 2017


Had to explain to a very dear cigar smoking gentleman yesterday that the single greatest advance in civilization and leap in progress for society was cleanliness. Followed closely by heating. And warm beverages.

It surprised me that he did not realize how far we've come because of these.

Cleanliness = potable water, sterile equipment (less contamination), safe food, and you don't stink.

In the Middle Ages you could drink the ditch water, which would eventually make you sick or kill you (it's natural), or you could start, continue, and end the day with ale or wine. You'd live a little longer, but the drawback was you'd be English by lunchtime, and blitheringly Roman by dinner.
Blotto and out by nightfall.

Sterile equipment means you made good beer and didn't die of lockjaw or gangrene. Both of those are major improvements, don't you agree?
Oh and your mom didn't expire in childbirth.

Shan't detail the last two contributions of cleanliness, because you should be getting the point by now, and there are many more than just those four.

And surely heating and warm beverages speak for themselves.

One of the side-benefits is that more than ever before, we can choose our personal odours. Mine is a discrete whiff of good pipe tobacco, with an undertone of cigarillos, and just subtle hints of brimstone and soap.
Other folks, understandably, prefer Aramis or Versace Eros.
Bad decisions will be made.

I have decided that today I will focus ONLY on the positive.

I am not dying of food poisoning, malnutrition, liver damage, tetanus, or festering wounds. The apartment is warm, I've got nice pajamas, and the plumbing works so there is no fermenting sewage cesspool in a nearby midden or dirt road. Remarkably few of my fellow humans are wearing clothing so caked up with crud that they crackle when they walk, plus they don't leave a trace of foul greasy slime on bus seats or door handles.

And though I am out of cookies, I know where to get more.

Did I already mention the personal smell issue?

Matured Virginia leaf primarily.

And small cigars.

Please note: without caffeinated beverages none of this would be possible.
And I assure you that I appreciate all the benefits of coffee and tea.
The enlightenment, industrialization, and the computer age.
Less murder at dawn's first crack than ever before.
Existenzangst has always been with us.
But you are saner now.

And just remember: I smell good.
It's important that you realize that.

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Thursday, January 05, 2017


Mordechai in New York/New Jersey asked his friends what their favourite beverages are. Mordechai, it turns out, knows some extremely hardcore alcoholics. Of which I am not one. Yes, we are Facebook friends. But judging from the responses he received, a number of his other friends may be passed out cold at this hour.

Or gibbering.

Scotch. Absinthe. Mojito. Whiskey & Gingerale. Fireball in apple cider. Bombay Sapphire. Vodka. Jaeger bomb. Long Island Ice Tea. Glenfiddich. Rye. Laphroaig. Box wine. Pina Colada. Screwdriver. Washington Apple. Strawberry Daiquiri. Fuzzy Navel. Bourbon. Equal parts whiskey and Amaretto. Tequila. Sloe Gin Fizz. Cosmo. Lagavulin. Glenfiddich. Whiskey Sour. Eagle Rare. Woodford Reserve. Rum. Rumchata. Sweet Fruity Bullshit. Balvenie Single Cask 39. Glengoyne. Pickle Back. Brandy Old Fashioned. New Orleans Hurricane. Pink Lady. White Russian. Pappy van Winkle. Abuelo 12. Knob Creek. Manhattan. Mexican Bulldog. Bunnahabhain Cruach Mhona. Gin & Tonic. Jameson Mule. Black Basil. Screwdriver. Brass Monkey. Harvey Wallbanger. Root Beer Schnaps. Drambuie and Baileys. Glenlivet French Oak. Abelour 10. Isle of Jura. Lagavullin 16. Ardbeg.

Either Mordechai is planning the Purim party that goes nuclear, OR they tapped him to host the kiddush club at his shul. In either case, there were far too many horrid fruity drinks, and Long Island Ice Tea seems to be a dominant theme. Many of his friends are obviously twenty two year old blondes or eighty year old grandmothers.

The appropriate brocha is mi sheberach, and after a sufficient interval (24 to 48 hours) has passed, birchas ha gomel.

These folks will drink anything.

Long Island Ice Tea?!?

Good gracious!


Now is the appropriate time to mention that I myself am an abstemious man, of fiercely Calvinistic sensitivities and restraint. I hardly ever drink.
Once in a blue moon, maybe.

My answer to the question he posed was: Cheap bar Scotch and a splash of tap water. Single malts late at night. Sherry sometimes with spicy food. Wine occasionally. Jameson's Irish Whiskey at the place owned by the crazy lady after hours when pubcrawling with the bookseller.

The bookseller is an abstemious man too.

The crazy lady is not.

I hope Mordechai invites me to that party. I would be honoured, damned well pleased as punch, but there is no chance that I would go. For one thing, it's the East Coast, and one has to be smashed to contemplate it.

Blessed is Mordechai.

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