At the back of the hill

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

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


An inflatable doll found floating at sea was mistaken for an angel by an Indonesian fisherman, who brought it home, where it was dressed by the family in demure clothes (including a hijab), and visited by local people impressed by the miraculous appearance. No, I shall not make fun of them; such innocence of the sinful inflatable peccadilloes of Polk Street is both remarkable and refreshing.

I wonder how many San Franciscans have friends or family of such sterling unawareness? Rather than parents or aunts and uncles who cannot fathom what that thing is, they probably have kinfolk who tell them NOT to bring that "thing" home for family holidays.
Or whatever passes for grown-up playdates.

"We don't want to see your 'artificial' girlfriend again this Christmas, Roger; your aunt Martha really believed she was a brilliant conversationalist last time, and wants to take her shopping at Saks this year."

Poor aunt Martha.

She's been out of it since her fifth husband.

Aunt Martha needs a sex-life to bring her back to reality again.

With a real man. Not a big butch blow-up rubber stud doll equipped with variable speed settings and a new car smell.


One of my relatives is a dear sweet lady, but she would not only prove quite clueless about inflatable sexuality, but probably not even notice whether or not I headed in for Winter-Solstice with a companion, flesh & blood human, insectoid, or reptilian. She cannot recall my Ex's name, but it isn't senility or lack of intelligence. Just an unsettled attention span.

She's more or less a blithering brainiac.
The ivory tower has a bowling alley.

Consequently, just in case I ever travel anywhere for the holidays where there are kinfolk, I should look for someone strong-minded, snarky, and capable of an evil-genius smile.

A woman capable of maintaining her equilibrium.
Despite unreal situations.

Actually, strong-minded, snarky, and capable of smiling evilly sounds just about ideal in any case. On second thought, let's just send them a fruitbasket, and not visit the family this year.

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This blogger has always been envious of people who have bounding enthusiasms. Not the short-term flash in the pantry fanaticism that strikes many people at times -- like rooting for the underdog team who now stands a chance at the championship why yes I've ALWAYS supported Leicester ever since I was a wee toddler -- but the sustained love of affair of years or decades with photography or nuclear physics or whatever that gets them through several stages of life and reflects their present character as well as their entire process of personality development.

I am not a man of such bubbling enthusiasms. More of a gradually building obsession that leads to strange places.

In consequence, I probably know more about certain subjects, languages, cultures, and diseases, than I really should. Without being a bounding expert. More like too detailed by half.


Sometimes I become aware of a conversation only because one of the people involved suggests asking me a question, because they are certain that I will know the answer. After that answer is provided, they happily go back to their conversation and I get to stare off into space again.
Obviously that happens more often when I'm being social.

Yesterday somebody called me a great resource.

Which is rather flattering.

I like that.

No, I don't know quite how to respond when that happens, and prefer to change the subject if it is done directly to my face, or say something denialistic, like "oh nonsense", or "no not really", but it is still nice.

I give good answer, and I know multi-syllabic words.

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Monday, May 02, 2016


There are times when a grumpy middle-aged gentleman needs a burrito.
A good burrito makes everything right with the world, functions as a magic substance, and is darn-near sacramental.
A good burrito is a blessing.

It was an excellent burrito: juicy carnitas, with everything extra cheese no beans, hot salsa, and chiles en escabeche on the side. Plus some extra super-hot salsa de Arbol to dribble on before each bite.
So much a beautiful meditative experience.
Un gran sabor picante.

While I was enjoying this epic masterpiece, two people came in to also have burritos.

One with cheese, beans, rice, no salsa no chiles; the other with beans and rice plus steamed broccoli, no dairy! And no salsa either!

Steamed broccoli is a white invention. Real people do not eat steamed broccoli. Plus how can you call it Mexican when you left out all of the flavour and all of the meat? What are you people? Goths?
Vegetarian cultists? You wanna look pale?

I thoroughly relished every bite of my non-Nordic burrito.
Those people may have been eating out of habit.
Without any feeling or commitment.

Steamed broccoli burrito.
Some people are insane.

The Atkins Diet Burrito, which they don't have yet, would probably make tonnes of profit. No tortilla, no rice, no beans. Just cheese and meat.
They should charge double (at least) the price of a normal burrito.
Because looking good of course had better cost you.
Beyond mere hoi polloi affordability.

It comes with a side of food-harangue.

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Under one post a while back a reader commented "Holy shit you're crazy." A day ago, someone elsewhere accused me of being a gibbering meth freak because of something I wrote. Both remarks betray somewhat less than fully flexible minds. But in truth, there are times when I may seem a little peculiar. Several conversations yesterday went sideways at a rapid clip because I did not control the conversation.
In consequence, attempts at keeping the discussion on track were easily derailed.

It may have been a blood sugar level issue.

Or a low state of caffeination.

I am fortunate that two people in particular did not come in. If they had, talk would have been nightmarishly unreal, as they are at the centres of mighty strange private universes, and one must be firm with them.
Some people should never be allowed to drive.
Actually, make that "most people".

Conversation is a vehicle that is easily steered astray.

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Sunday, May 01, 2016


With shock I realize that I am not an unalloyedly nice person. My apartment mate is padding around in her baggy pajamas, and, as she left the kitchen after a drink of water, I thought to myself "dang that's a small rump".
A true gentleman would probably not consider that.
But instead have his mind on other things.
Something polite and philosophical.

By the same token, like any common man, I observe breasts. Which around me are always fully clothed, irrespective of whose they are.

And hips. And shoulders. And hands and feet. And faces. And eyebrows.
And cheeks. And legs. And posture. And noses.
And hair. And lips. And foreheads.
And dimpled knees.

My outward behaviour may be courteous and proper.

My mind inside is a curious waste dump.

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She made the mistake of telling me where the Oreo cookies were. Which was very kind of her. In direct consequence of which I went out and bought an entirely new pack.
You can probably guess why.

I have great self-control. Just not when it comes to cookies, ice cream, and chocolate. Especially not any combination of those three.

We now also have a new tub of icecream. Super chocolate chunk.
Instead of her favourite: Rocky Road.

No longer will I have to eat around the little white slimy things in the Rocky Road. Can't stand marshmallows. Never stressed how disgusting those things are, and so ended up with a huge tube of Rocky Road icecream. Which I've grudgingly forced myself to tolerate.
Marshmallows are horrible, an Americanism that I refuse to accept.
George Washington never ate icecream, and look at him!
Abraham Lincoln? No marshmallows, ever!
Donald Trump? I rest my case.
Marshmallows are nasty.

In any case, we now have some new icecream too.
So there's an alternative to marshmallows.
Only a third of a tub of rocky left.

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Saturday, April 30, 2016


Apparently people are panicking because Mercury is seemingly headed in an opposite direction. Planets normally head across the sky from west to east, but when they reach a certain point in their orbit they look like they are heading in the opposite direction. In the case of Mercury, because it has a faster orbit than Earth, that happens nearly four times a year.

Astrologers are warning people that things will go wrong when that happens. Don't sign contracts, don't negotiate deals, don't try to link up with a new person ......
Don't buck for a raise or promotion.

You know what?

They're nuts.

Astrology is proven bunkum. A load of hooey. Anybody who believes that stuff is a fool, and has a lot in common with most imbeciles. Their stupid hat is too tight, their sunglasses have cut them off from daylight too long, their brains are soft and porridge-like.
And probably smell overcooked.

No, I shall not posit any arguments whatsoever to prove my point, because I do not wish the fools to change. In their present overwrought state they are the perfect victims for whatever nefarious schemes I may yet dream up -- haven't started yet -- and if all goes according to a plan I still need to formulate, they will fund my retirement.
While thanking me profusely.

In a truly just world, astrologers, palmist and tarot readers, homeopaths, anti-vaxxers, new-age healers, and other charlatans, would be thrown in jail, along with most diet-gurus and members of congress.

For some truly monumental retrograde astro-snake oil, follow this link: Susan Miller and her over-active mind.

Keeping track of Mercury retrograde periods can allow you to increase your productivity and avoid at least some of the frustration they can bring about.
End cite.

Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling, and buying. Mercury also rules all formal contracts and agreements, as well as important documents such as book manuscripts or term papers, agreements, deeds, contracts, leases, wills, and so forth.

Included under this planet's domain are all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping, and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control.

Why does this happen? When a planet retrogrades, astrologically it is in a resting or sleeping state. Therefore, while Mercury naps, the activities that it governs don't have the benefit of a well-functioning, wide-awake planet to supervise them.
End cite.

Since Mercury rules the mail and the conveyance of information, be extra careful when sending important documents. If you send faxes, be sure to call the people at the other end to let them know your documents are waiting for them. Otherwise, they may never see it. If you work in an office and have to photocopy an important document, be sure to retrieve the original. Be equally careful about whom you send email to - you don't want to send a private email to the wrong person or have a sensitive email forwarded to others.
End cite.

Astrology: it's the gluten-intolerance of superstitions.


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Friday, April 29, 2016


It is with barely restrained glee that I observe the British Labour Party implode from the continuing discovery of Jew-hate at the highest levels. They're finally realizing that too many of their stalwarts and rising stars are anti-Semites of the first order, in addition to being blithering cads.

To outside observers, this was evident for years.

Not all anti-Zionists are anti-Semites.
All anti-Semites are anti-Zionists.

Many of them are British.

Quite a few are Labour.

And some are Hamas.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016


For some unfathomable reason, while I was in the kitchen fixing myself some steamed pork and plum vegetable, my apartment mate turned on the news.
She never watches the news. Like many Americans, she prefers to not immerse herself in complicated stuff.

The news was in Mandarin.

There is only ONE person in this two single persons household who understands a lick of Mandarin, and it isn't her. No offense, but she would have a hard time with proper city Cantonese too.

Maybe she's getting in touch with her ancestral culture.

Which is a good thing.


Problem is that as soon as I was finished in the kitchen and had returned to the television room with my beverage, plate of rice and dish of steamed fatty pork -- 蒸梅菜扣肉:五花腩,乾梅菜,花雕酒,薑片,五香粉。-- she went into the kitchen to fix herself some pasta with a fancy Italian sauce, leaving her news program on. All the way through my delicious meal I had to listen to the quacking sound of Mandarin, as, not knowing how committed she was to the program or when she would come out of the kitchen, I decided not to change channels. Though I would have preferred Cantonese.
Maybe the sound of Mandarin is precious to her?
Lord only knows why, but it's possible.
That makes precisely one of us.

Not only did I get to see an intoxicated moped rider get into a fight near an apartment fire, but I also got inundated with advertisements for products I cannot imagine much use for. Finger-nail tonics. Ear cleansers.
Seaweed infused hard liquor.
Fat Koreans.

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I kind of over extended myself yesterday. The day started off with minor digestive discomfort, because the previous evening I ate pizza with ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, weird cheese grindings, and hot sauce.
It meant that the morning after that meal was epic.
Life is all about condiments.

Late yesterday afternoon I enjoyed baked Portuguese chicken rice (焗葡國雞飯), with dollops of hot sauce.

Suffice to say that in the past forty eight hours I should have had more vegetables than I actually did.

Good thing that this weeks schedule has me off today, and on tomorrow.

So, without further ado, festive music!



Man, I love that song. Years ago there was a marvelous piano player (DJ Lebowitz) at the Edinburgh Castle who did a stellar rendition.

Altogether like a real-life version of Marvin Sugs, without the muppaphone, but equally inspiring. And incomparable.

"You can't make music by hitting dead creatures!"

Care to guess who said that?

Eventual digestive peace, and classics of the muppaphone; life could not be better. Later on perhaps some jook, and a pipe-full of tobacco in the wind-still alleyways, where the ashes on top don't blow upward.

Go easy on the condiments.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016


It's amazing what you can find out about yourself when you take stupid clickbait quizzes. Such as the ones some of my Facebook friends are addicted to.

Number one: my spirit animal is a raccoon, nature's little fratboy.

Number two: What kind of woman are you?

You are like music! People have to really listen to you in order to understand you. You're a cheerful person whose good mood is infectious. Just be who you are and you'll see how you make men's hearts simply melt. You're an absolute dream woman!

So wow. I am a dream woman. I never would have guessed. Maybe in an alternate universe, where I am also petite, round-faced with glasses, and have uncontrollable floppity-woppity hair.

And am a different gender.

That last part may seem crucial, but I really like the answer anyway.

And I shall revel in my internet-spurred dreamwomanhood.

I am everything I would like to date.

Kissy poo.

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This blogger is extremely baffled by the weird Southern obsession with sex in public restrooms, and suspects that that must be common enough down there that strenuously not taking a convenience is advisable when travelling below the Mason Dixon line. Clench fiercely, grimace, and just stay away from the hot buttered biscuits! Avoid relief at all costs!

Or at all costs simply avoid Dixie, period.

Because of nasty noises.


I also suspect that very many Southern public restrooms are decorated with crucifixes and rebel flags. In case you didn't take the hint.

It's a different world there.

For anyone not inordinately fond of greasy crap, avoiding the secessionist states won't be difficult.

Both of the great Southern national dishes can easily be made at home anyhow: chicken-fried bacon strips, fricasseed swamp rat with grits.

The first sounds delicious, albeit depraved, and the second can probably be improved by omitting the grits and substituting rice.
[Or potatoes, if you're very white.]

I am not surprised that so many great authors came from the South.
So much material to work with, so much frustration to work out.
The place is, clearly, a literary gold mine.
That's still no reason to visit.

P.1 & P.2

Because I live in San Francisco, I suppose that I have on occasion took the convenience with a gay person or a transgendered individual. Or done so at a time when one of them was doing likewise. Actually, several times. But in the decades that I have lived in this city, there has never been anything even remotely sexual about that. It really makes me wonder how eliminatively focused flirting and f****ng is in the South.

Leaking together is NOT a social occasion. Not here.

Southern Lust: P and P by the bucket load.
Must be all that fried chicken.
Dang, y'all nasty.


After thought: at some future moment there may be an essay exploring the social opportunities of public restrooms across the Deep South, and why a flush is better than a formal introduction at a ball. Why hello miss, the sound of rushing water is infinitely romantic, don't you agree?

Do you like people with healthy organs?

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


When the bus isn't packed with very important people from the Law Offices in the Embarcadero Center, Cantonese grammar school children read. There were six of them within my field of vision doing so, sitting or standing quietly by themselves, intently absorbing the texts in front of them. Fiction, not schoolbooks. The seventh, who was not reading, was overloaded with books and stood by the back door. Also literate, but arms too full to read.
It's so unlike most non-Chinese kids as to almost be un-American.
I'm unfortunately used to other ethnicities acting rowdy.
Or screaming their darned fool heads off.
It is very refreshing.


My apartment mate, at an earlier point in her life, was a Cantonese grammar school kid. She still reads. Often, when I return in the evening, I do not realize that she is home, because the apartment is silent. It isn't until she leaves her room to go to the bathroom, or the phone rings and when I answer it's her boyfriend asking if she is in -- don't know, let me go check -- that I realize that she has been in her room all along, engrossed in printed material.

I really doubt that many White People still read. Conversations recently indicate that some Caucasians are blitheringly ignorant of everything we take for granted, or quite unaware of anything outside their own narrow field of experience.
Including, very unfortunately, spelling.
Plus punctualization and capitalization.

Naturally, most White People text. And glance at Facebook. And watch sports or reality shows. That, too, is a form of culture.
And they're very good at that.

It is good living with a person who is as free of insignificant sports and entertainment facts as myself. I relish returning home to an environment uncluttered with Foot and Baseball noise and fanship.

The only reason I know who the Warriors are is because that information has been forced upon me by savages.

I've got a humongous stack of Manga next to my bed, and a pile of novels and reference works on it, to one side. There is reading material underneath, my shelves are packed, there are stacks in every room.
Not a football t-shirt or baseball cap anywhere.
I feel rather good about this.
Superior, too.

Her room also has book cases.
They are filled.


Later this evening, the bookseller and myself will meet and share drinks. We will observe the hoi and polloi disport themselves at Broadway and Columbus, and quote from Monty Python or The Big Lebowski.
We will not applaud anyone singing Karaoke.
It's a rich full life.

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Much as it may surprise you, I am not in the fine physical condition of a woman half my apartment-mate's age. No doctor needs to tell me this.
Nor is my apartment mate trying to kill me.

There are a number of things that we share. Asian condiments. Ginger, garlic, and onions. Caffeinated beverages. Convenience meat (ie., bacon, spam, pate, and sliced luncheon thingies), dairy, cookies, and ice cream.

She had a physical check-up a few weeks ago, and passed with flying colours. As fit and vigorous as a woman half her age. Since then, there has been more bacon in the refrigerator, cookies in the teevee room, and icecream in the freezer compartment.

Cholesterol-wise, she's doing fine. Piece of cake.

I must point out that I am about twenty percent older than her at present. Which means a woman half her age would be forty percent of mine. And capable of facing the temptation of so much icecream with fewer qualms. Probably no less enthusiasm, but more confidence.

I am made of softer stuff, and cannot resist the naughty wink-wink of a bucket of Dreyers finest. One bowl after my green chili omelette. Two bowls. Even three.

Chocolate icecream is the worst. It has the heart of a sex-bombe.
I go wimp and leak-kneed, then give up completely.
Late at night I guiltily devour.
So good!

My apartment mate is welcome to have some of my dried fish, hotsauce, or noodles. There is plenty! Sofar there have been no inroads.

And she's not eating enough bacon.

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Monday, April 25, 2016


"Currently, a settlement between the offenders and stall owners is being negotiated." Well, that hardly seems satisfying. The offenders get away with being yobbos, and humiliating a defenseless person. Can we instead just get them to pay for everything they destroyed, plus some, and then kick their heads in?

Because clearly they are scum. Infinitely replaceable. Yeah, their moms love them and are proud of their many accomplishments -- any damned accomplishments at all -- but most mothers are a little soft that way, and Chinese moms are far too often the worst, rabidly and insanely so.
When sonny boy shits in his pants, it's an act of genius!
Chinese parents and their sons are a nightmare.
Daughters? Just baggage.


"The incident which took place on Thursday, was caught on camera by a bystander, who told Chinese reporters that the unidentified man and his friend, were allegedly demanding compensation from the hawker for selling him the wrong bun flavour.
In a rage, the two men started to trash the stall and kicked the basket of buns onto the ground. One of the men then started to stomp on all the buns while hurling verbal abuse at a woman, while his accomplice stood by and watched."
End quote.

[SOURCE: Man stomps on hawker's steamed buns, netizens demand justice.]

That's brutality, as well as destruction of property and interfering with someone's livelihood. It would not be at all surprising if the son-of-a-bitch was the brat of someone important. And really, there are far too many of those.

Look at that arrogant stance and that flabby gut. It's highly likely that he hasn't done a day's honest work in his entire life. If his daddy isn't an official, he's probably just the neighborhood hoodlum, and shakes down the local grannies and schoolkids for beer money.

Of course, if his daddy IS an official, then there's an even greater chance that he's just a thug and a brute. It's damned well guaranteed.

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My apartment mate has three peculiarities (four, if you count living in the same apartment as myself, which I don't, and neither should you). She's got Asperger's and obsesses a bit, she's a food-purist, and she has all the conversational skills of an imaginary person (even though she herself is quite real).

I made the mistake of saying "mmm, bean lard mulch" while I was in the kitchen. Bean lard mulch springs from the fertile mind of Don Hertzfeld, the animator behind Bitter Films. Both of us had seen his reel of rejected clips a few years ago, and loved it. For days afterward we were saying things like "my anus is bleeding", and "my spoon is too big" at random moments. Bean lard mulch.
As good as Billy's Balloon.
Or Wisdom Teeth.

She promptly went off on a tangent. She would certainly eat bean lard mulch, it sounded quite delicious (we agree about that). And she would prettily thank whoever offered it or dished it forth. Which she then did, fulsomely in French. At very great length. In French. Fluent, nicely pronounced, and rather eloquent sounding French.

French is an entirely new development.

What has she been reading?

Good heavens.

Here it is, very much later, and I realize that A) one should dare not interrupt her when she is thanking a non-existent person for the gift of delicious bean lard mulch, and B) if one were to suggest additions, like, as examples, bits of freshly fried bacon and chopped green Jalapeño chilies, maybe fire-roasted, she would take it very much amiss.
NO ONE messes with the brilliance of bean lard mulch!
It is beautiful in its simplicity.
A pure food.

Bean lard mulch.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016


Okay, I did it. I tried a second bowl of Dark Red in my pipe. And, like the first time, it tasted wonderful for about the top third. Oh my, I am in flavour country now. This stuff is growing on me. Like having dried dates rupture their oozy juices all over my psyche. Mmmm, orgasm. After that first part, however, it took more effort to get a pleasant effect, the realization that it was completely monodimensional and didn't even taste remotely like tobacco hit me, and I started questioning my behaviour.

Why must I suffer so?

What the hell IS that room note?

Was I only doing this to piss off my coworker?

Why did I feel the need to apologize to a regular who dropped by?

How many microwave pulses of eight or nine seconds each time would it take before this tobacco had actually dried to smokeable level? I mean, was it so full of goop and propylene glycol that, like Molto Dolce, it would not die, unless you recited ancient Egyptian spells over it?
Was it afraid of cats?

Yep, the last third tasted like toxic waste again.

Dark Red is bound to win lots of fans.

Many people will like it.

And, precisely like the last time, it threw off my entire day's smoking schedule. By now I should know not to do such things. I would much rather smoke four or five bowls of good tobacco than spoil the entire rest of the day with nuclear waste dump mouth. Some people smoke nothing but aromatics, often re-using the same pipe over and over again till the damned thing is drenched and dripping rancid juices, and those same perverts so rarely use pipe cleaners that you are surprised that their mouths aren't filled with canker sores and festering gum death. Plus drooling pus.
Many of those people love black cavendishes.
There's nothing better ever made.
Taste-bud barbarians.

There are at least four people I will recommend this tobacco to.


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Recently a student at Harvard Law asked Tzipi Livni about her smell. The student was none other than the local commissar for a pro-Palestinian group, Husam El Qoulaq, and Tzipi Livni is of course the firebrand former foreign minister in the Israeli Cabinet.

On a local forum, someone posted a link to opinion piece written by Caroline Glick in testy reaction thereto, which pointedly named the smellcaster, that being the aforementioned Husam El Qoulaq.

Comments sprouted underneath.

Borkum Riff wrote: Glick can't write very well. Nor is brevity her strong point.

Rabbit Love asked: Anything about the substance of what she wrote?
Is calling a visiting foreign dignitary smelly an appropriate level of discourse, in Harvard, or anywhere?

Borkum Riff responded: No, not the substance. The fact that she's a shitty writer, Netanyahu's pet arse licker, and went on at inordinate length is objectionable.

Borkum Riff: Shan't comment about Livni's personal odour. She's not French or English, so she is probably quite acceptable.

Borkum Riff wrote: Until recent times, it took nearly an entire year for the average Frenchman to use a bar of soap, now it's probably up to two a year; and as for the English, many of them still haven't heard of running water that's warm, or central heating, so go figure.

Borkum Riff: In the past I would have said that the Dutch were the worst smelling Euries, but someone made the mistake of telling them that they smelled like Frenchmen, so they took to hot showers like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Borkum Riff: Germans, of course, smell wurst.

It is not at all surprising that someone should question Tzipi Livni about her smell, seeing as she probably does whiff a bit odd by American standards. Many Americans reek of either bovine arse (McDonalds) or tofu made by spiritual white people (in places like Berkeley, California, and Cambridge, Massachussets), whereas many Israelis eat normal foods but smoke like chimneys, so I expect that the odour of Eau De Tabac-ranci du Moyen Orient adheres to her or her staff wherever she goes, unlike the delicate Yanqui cattle or beancurd perfume.

Normal Americans and Arabs abhor tobacco in all its forms, and delicate non-smoking nostrils may indeed quail.

Being a pipe smoker who works around cigar afficionados, I feel myself perfectly qualified to talk about such noxious things. Sadly, my own personal smell frequently makes little old ladies on the bus clap bony claws to their face and discreetly barf into their handbags, or grown men blanch and wet themselves.

Savage cigar smoker

In the past, Jews were characterized as reeking of garlic, but that cannot be right, seeing as that is the characteristic pong of Frog Kibble, and darn near all Europeans radiate that in this era, now that they are prosperous and dine out more than in.

Just add dill and paprika, and you have a pan-European stench.

Actually, I suspect that Tzipi Livni smells a little like me.
A profound air of Djubec and Latakia.
Or flue-cured leaf.


Anyhow, Husam El Qoulaq should be commended for going so far out on a limb. Not only is rudely asking ridiculous questions a proud college tradition in America, where even Harvard Law students can safely be assumed to have a high degree of illiteracy and idiotic tendencies, but irreverence and off the wall commentary, such as his feeble attempt at wit (presumably that is what it was), are fairly universally considered part of modern academic discourse.

We shall watch the career of this paragon of free speech with interest.

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Saturday, April 23, 2016


What did we learn from London mayor Boris Johnson's little editorial indiscretion yesterday? Well, if you have been reading the internet comments, you learned that Europeans (that includes the British) still hate the United States. Which should not surprise you.

Fortunately there aren't very many of those types around these parts.
Other than the tourists, of course. Who are always displeased to find that San Francisco is filled with Americans.

The good news is that they have finally realized that people who aren't white are also American. It took them an immensely long time, and they still refuse to acknowledge that their own black, brown, yellow-ochre, or purple fellow citizens over there are English. Or Dutch, or German, French, Spanish, Italian, what have you.

But yes, non-white "Americans" are also American.

Acknowledging that is might white of them.

They deserve a Happy Meal now.

This blogger actually likes Euries, but sometimes they can be a bit trying.

I lived there for sixteen years during my youth, and for the last decade of that period there was not a day that they let me forget that I wasn't normal, and had killed the Native Americans, nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and was slaughtering the Vietnamese.

And that Americans were Satan incarnate.

No, I don't hold that against them, it's human nature to dislike whatever is strange and foreign. And I still like going over there, to eat the good food, admire the beautiful buildings, and suck up the culture.

I'm just disappointed every time to discover that the place is filled with Europeans.

That really cheapens the entire experience.

Most Elvis impersonators are European.
How very odd.

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This post is not suitable for anyone looking to spice up their second seder with deep and meaningful insights that would make a kiruv rabbi spouting simplistic mussar proud. You will not stand up and say, "a vort what I heard by Rabbi Pruzanski last shabbes hot es azoy ...... "
Well you could. But only if your listeners knew that Rabbi Pruzanksi gives you the willies, much like Rabbi Kolko, and most especially Rabbi Yosef Mizrachi. And that you were going to vote for Hillary or Bernie, because the Republic candidates are in many ways far too much like Messrs. Steven Pruzanski, Yehuda Kolko, and Mizrachi.

Earlier today I had asked Evil Dan B. (a self-proclaimed Bad Jew™) what he did for his first seder, which would have been yesterday evening.
He mentioned a pork chop, and in the same breath stated that he was Modern Orthodox. Then he took a long drag on his cigar and muttered that that was enough of the Jew-talk.

Tonight he's fixing himself a bacon-cheeseburger with chrayn between two pieces of matza. Because half a mitzva is better than none.

Other than mumbling that there is a brocha for that I had no real response.

So, for the benefit of the lawyer in the painting -- also a cigar smoker, but NOT the aforementioned Evil Dan B. -- for whom there is still hope, even if, or especially if, he continues dating the Chinese schoolteacher, here are links to interesting Passover posts on this blog.

Featuring scholarly commentary on a well-known Passover message circulating in Teaneck. Not suitable for rabbis of delicate sensibilities.
Or any kind of frimmer leit, really.

The Godol Hador (author of a tiefe un riezige blog elsewhere) had a fit about a hotel. I sympathized with him then, I still do so now.
Especially because I favour srugies.

There is a symbolic connection between Monty Python (And Þe Holy Grail), and Passover. Which scholarly readers probably realized.
After downing a fifth glass of wine.

There's also a peculiar correspondence between Pesach and Purim, which is that four glasses of wine leave you too shikker to know the difference between Haman and Mordechai. Or Moses and Akhenaten.
Especially if the maggid goes on too long.
And the brisket grows cold.

Although, if you are following the cookbook of R. Simeon b. Yohai, that's probably just as well; in addition to being a notorious mechutzef, he was also a Litvak, what I have heard by Rabbi Mizrachi.
A misnagid of monumental proportions.
Or so I have been told.

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Friday, April 22, 2016


In order that that I could be completely fair, and not accused of slamming it because it's an aromatic, I actually stuffed some of Lane Ltd's new black Cavendish "Dark Red" into my pipe and smoked it.

First half of the bowl was really enjoyable, and not just because I felt sleazy blowing it out and my coworker kept exclaiming "dang, you trollop, what the heck, shee that craps nasty smells like pimp in here you're a monster".
And similar blandishments.

It was sort of like inhaling an entire box of the dried California dates that relatives used to send over when we lived in Holland. Later they started mailing us gift boxes of fruit preserves for Christmas instead, and I still fondly remember the neon green one. What fruit was that?
My mom would have preferred me not to eat it.
The unnatural hue freaked her out.

It wasn't bad at all.
Kind of fruity.

The second half of the bowl was not so enjoyable, verging on bitter and putrid, but not in a very good way.

That was five days ago, and the bowl of that briar still has a whiff of massage parlour.

Gonna repeat the experiment this coming Sunday, same pipe.
There may be a follow-up post.
Or not.

In any case, because the whole thing reminded me of perspiring wrestlers, here's a video of every gringo's favourite luchador:



Aromatic pipe tobaccos still confuse me. There's something about the honest old-fashioned reek of unflavoured leaves that is immensely evocative, why would you bugger it up with a teenage hooker smell?

If you don't like the taste of tobacco, maybe you shouldn't smoke?

You could just use a nicotine patch......

Doomp, Doomp, Doomp.

Doomp, Doomp, Doomp.

Doomp, Doomp, Doomp.

Doomp, Doomp, Doomp.



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Thursday, April 21, 2016


You, dear reader, are already used to me describing in far too much detail what I ate for lunch. Or dinner. Or as an ill-advised midnight snack. The words 'bacon', 'Sriracha Hotsauce', 'noodles', 'fresh green chilies', 'oyster sauce', 'curry paste', 'pickled green mango', 'stinky fermented goo', and many others, have entered your vocabulary from reading this blog.
They fester in your food-subconscious.
And infect your dreams.

So I shan't even mention that dinner, mere moments ago, consisted of zucchini chunks and bacon with ginger and hotsauce, accompanied by toasted cheesy bread, which was very good indeed.
Plus a cup of strong coffee right now.

Instead, let me describe what a co-worker ate for lunch: Stale ham and egg breakfast muffin. Followed by a pint of ice cream.

Stale breakfast muffin, and a pint of ice cream.

No, not a pregnant woman. A man of approximately my age.

I presume that it was all delicious.

Maybe I need to start bringing half a dozen crunchy fresh Jalapeños with me whenever I head across the Golden Gate Bridge from SF.
Just to make sure he gets his vegetables.

My own lunch was unmentionable.

That's Marin, bugger it all.

Food purgatory.

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If you didn't know it already, obesity rates are enormous (horrid word play intentional), diabetes is sky-rocketing, and Americans -- especially in the rust belt states and the dip south -- are second only to Pacific Islanders for girth and waddle waddle waddle.

Sentence found in an article:

" ... more than a third of all children and adolescents living in the country still eat some form of fast food on any given day, a number that hasn't budged in decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

[SOURCE: Striking new side effect from fast food, Wonkblog, Washington Post.]

It's true; you are all fat-axe folgers. In adulthood you still eat like that.

I, on the other hand, am a thinnish man. Pipesmoker, middle-aged, and likely to live a hell of a lot longer and happier than most of you people.

Would y'all mind terribly not leaving a mess when you croak?

I am far too lazy and unwilling to clean up after.

I really think that instead of raisinets and greasy stale popcorn at the concession stand, they should sell bowls of stirfried mustard greens with shrimp paste, or fish-flavour eggplant. Of course, they'd probably charge ten times more than the nearest Chinese restaurant, and your bloated little sponge-monster brats would whine that they wanted candy, but it would be better for you. Much better.
Tastier, too.

America: country of elephant-size undies.

And sweaty rolls of pudge.

Ick poo.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Four and a half years ago, police officers drenched students at U. C. Davis with pepperspray. Chancellor Linda Katehi then tried to get the video of that incident buried in the search rankings.

In those four and a half years, most of us forgot about the spraying.
The world moved on, other things hit the headlines then faded, horrible things happened elsewhere ......

It just wasn't in the forefront of our minds.





The campus pepper spray incident happened November 18, 2011.

"After asking the protesters to leave, University police pepper sprayed a group of demonstrators as they were seated on a paved path in the campus quad. The video of UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike pepper spraying demonstrators spread around the world as viral video and the photograph became an internet meme."

Well golly gosh, that looks just like delousing or DDT. Until you turn the sound on, and realize that those students are just sitting on the ground, and the campus police hold all the cards.

In hindsight, we should have been more careful in reviewing some of the more unrealistic and ridiculous scope-of-work claims in the written proposals of our outside vendors, what might be accepted industry hyperbole in the private public relations world falls far beneath the high standards of a public institution of higher learning.

-----Linda Katehi, Chancellor of UC Davis

You think so?

During Katehi’s tenure, the university increased its communications budget by $1.6 million, including $800,000 allocated for new and existing employees to work on social media, Web development, videography and news. The school also paid $1 million for a statewide advertising campaign highlighting its contributions to California agriculture.

And that's in addition to the money paid to the officer (Mr. Pike) doing the pepper spraying for his suffering: $38,000 in workers' compensation.
The officer acted according to the highest standards of his trade.
As we have been reassured by people who know.
Who are we to judge him?

"I have never seen such an inappropriate and improper use of chemical agents"

-----Kamran Loghman, developer of pepper spray and architect of guidelines for law enforcement on its use, in the New York Times

Perhaps Linda Katehi would like to put this unfortunate sequence of events behind her. That might prove difficult.


Huffington Post article by Bob Ostertag here: "How is this unlawful?"
One of the key links in that article no longer works, so you will find the Reynoso Report here: "What law are we breaking?"

Bob Ostertag, Professor of Technocultural Studies and Music at UC Davis, gives as good a post-scriptum as you will find on the incident and the subsequent shilly-shallying dilly-dally.

Speaking of money, the University of California paid Kroll $445,879.40 for its report, and anther $100,000 to a “reputation and risk-management” consultant in NYC the Davis campus coped with the worldwide attention brought on by a viral video of the pepper-spraying. The Davis campus is paying another law firm billing at $250 an hour to run its own investigation.

Random key words: Dysfunctional. Arbitrary Arrests. Inadequate. Clowns. Comedy of Errors. Leadership. Controversy.
Excruciating. Mis-management.

Oh jeez. Sorry, Ms. Katehi.

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It's become a pattern: every time I walk into my barber's shop, he makes absolutely certain that every single other person there knows that I speak Cantonese, and he jokingly warns them to not talk smack about white people. Maybe he worries that they will. Or otherwise would.

It does not worry me.

For two reasons. I am remarkably thick-skinned when it comes to casual conversation, and I normally pay scant attention to any remarks that do not concern me.

The term 'kwailo' is used often enough that his calling white people 'lofan' when I'm around stands out. Lofan is a more sterile sobriquet, but really, we are kwailo. I am one hundred percent kwailo; 真係十分鬼佬.
I also use the term kwailo to refer to other kwailo.

It's all in the context.

Lofan doesn't sound right.

Not quite proper, somewhat off.

Kwailo is a familiar thing, something accepted as being normal and part of the general ambiance of the city, much like trees and cars and people. Lofan (佬番 / 老番), as it is used, posits the person as distinctly other, not Tongyan (唐人).

The point is that the Cantonese never had to come up with a neutral and common term for Caucasians other than kwailo, because kwailo almost never learned how to speak like normal people, and being 'kwai' always was their most salient characteristic.

Cantonese 'kwai', Mandarin 'guǐ'. Approximate pronunciation: k+why, or g+way if you're attempting to speak Mandarin. Meaning: ghost, devil, daemon; terrible, frightful; sinister, sly, crafty; too clever by half.

The 'lo' (佬) part is simply the male person who embodies what the preceding word implies, like in 'Kwongtunglo' (廣東佬 Cantonese dude), 'Fuklo' (福佬 a person who speaks one of the Minnan languages, a Fujianese), 'Seunghoilo' (上海佬 Shanghainese fellow), or 'Pakfonglo' (北方佬 a despicable Northerner).

[Minnan languages: 閩南話 ('man naam waa'), the koine from the north-east of Canton province (廣東 'gwong tung') through most of Fujian (福建 'fuk kin') and a small part of Chekiang (浙江 'jit gong'). The mother tongue used from Teochow (潮州) to Foochow (福州), as well as Hainan (海南 'hoi naam') and coastal Taiwan (臺灣 'toi waan').]

In the overwhelming majority of contexts, it is a rather neutral term.
When preceded by dead (死 'sei') or stinky (臭 'chau'), it is not.


Anyhow, I am please to announce that I've had my haircut, and now look and feel ten years younger. Yessir, this kwailo has style and pizzaz! Ming always makes my head look fabulous, and girls, you should take note!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Apparently the money expended on Ching Ming can be taken out of the family trust. Which, understandably, surprised my apartment mate, because traditionally in her family the various siblings just cough-up the necessary dough and visit the family graves without paperwork, receipts, investment advice, and taxplanning.

My apartment mate comes from a different breed of Chinese American than many recent arrivals, consequently she is a bit old-fashioned and behind the times.

This despite her fairly shocking behaviour, like contributing to charity, doing volunteer work, and voting regularly.

Or dating a white dude, and having a middle-aged Caucasian bachelor for an apartment mate.

I don't know how Wheelie Boy (her love interest) feels about having a raving anarchist libertarian as his girl friend, because I never talk to him, but as the apartment mate I am rather chuffed, because it's great fun listening to her express outrage the shenanigans of her own people. I too am surprised that Ching Ming expenses are a valid family trust outlay.

Even so, family trusts are a Chinese American phenomenon that indicate sensibility, solid values, and years of effort. Third or fourth generation, of Hong Kong or Toishanese origins, plus careful husbanding of resources.
A family trust is a culmination of the acculturative process.

有一善,從而賞之,又從而詠歌嗟歎之 ...

Thoroughly modern mainlanders probably have everything squirreled away in Panama instead, and enter all disbursements on the books as maintenance costs for the real estate they bought with the money they smuggled out. Even if it was junkfood purchased with a two-for-one coupon.
Consequently they haggle like moereneukers and demand receipts for everything, ask that the entry be changed to something like "steam pipe sheathing" instead of Christian LaCroix or Louboutin, and whine petulantly when they have to pay for sales tax too.
Despite the contradiction, they'll show off designer brandnames, expensive watches, fancy duds, and status objects, plus profound knowledge and familiarity with such things, while simultaneously bitching up a storm about spending one penny more than they think they can get away with, waste your time for several hours until you finally cave in just to get rid of them and see them finally leave, all the while keeping up a kvetching monologue about how much money you must be making off of charging such outrageous prices, everything costs too much here and is badly made! Then they'll pretend that they are poor and possibly Laotian when they fork over the dough. To be written off as a business expense.
And claimed on their taxes.

I'm fairly certain that most of the residents of SF Chinatown do not have family trusts or huge hidden bank accounts stuffed with the rewards of whatever free-enterprise and 4 modernizations related finagling their highly-placed Hunanese relatives or Szechuan ganster uncles engaged upon.
And they have better manners.

If this sounds judgmental, rest assured that it is. Many Mandarin speakers here in the United States are a thoroughly corrupt bunch, kind of like the warprofiteers of the modern era. Sleazy cheapskates, vapid consumerites, vulgarians, and arrogant. Yeah, I know that some of them are descendants of the old guard that fled to Terrace Bay after Peanut lost the war, but far many more are priggish provincial snoots who inexplicably became rich in the last generation and came over for the safety of their money.

If you hear Mandarin spoken, that tells you something.

Decent folks speak Cantonese.

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