At the back of the hill

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

Friday, October 31, 2008

PONG TEH

WET WEATHER STEW

It always surprises me how much the first rain of the season improves San Francisco. For several months we become used to the dense fragrance of the city, then a bit of rain washes it all away, and the air smells earthy and fresh again. It is a blessing.

Today is not cold, nor particularly wet. In fact, it feels rather like a smooth summer day, albeit one in a far moister climate than here. A warmer climate, too. And it smells like it also.

--- --- ---

Two dozen years ago, in a city inhabited mostly by Chinese.

Downstairs is a Kopi Tiam - a small restaurant specializing in coffee, milk-tea, snacks (including 香饼 Heung Peng - filled sweet buns), and a few home-style dishes. This one also had 肠粉 (Cheung Fan - steamed rice sheet noodles with savoury fillings), which I remember particularly because that is what I had for breakfast - they're very good if you drank too much the night before.
Unless you drench them with chilipaste and dark vinegar. Which I did. My stomach told me I was an idiot the rest of the morning.

After breakfast I went out and was rained upon. The water came down in a steady hard drizzle that cooled the air and made everything smell clean. There were many vehicles, few actual pedestrians. And despite the precipitation it seemed very bright outside.

By two o'clock I was desperate for something to settle my stomach, and I returned. Common sense dictated 河粉汤 (Ho Fan T'ng - river noodles in chicken and ginger broth with fresh herbs).

So naturally I made the worst choice possible and had something rich and heavy instead.


One of the dishes which has the soulfood ta'am for many people of Chinese ancestry in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia is a Hokkien dish that can be made with either chicken or pork. Or chicken AND pork. People with kashrus concerns will probably not want to consider the pork version. But do not worry - it tastes fine made with chicken, and you could even use duck. If the meat is fatty, serve a fresh pickle alongside. It is a very lovely dish.



PONG TEH

One pound fatty pork (ng-faa yiuk, 五花肉), cut in large cubes.
Sixteen dried black mushrooms, soaked in water to soften, then de-stemmed.
Two cups sliced bamboo shoots.
One onion, chopped fine.
Half a dozen cloves garlic, crushed.
A small thumb of fresh ginger, also crushed.
One tablespoon taucheo (salted yellow soybean, 豆瓣酱), mashed smooth.
Two tablespoons sherry or rice wine.
Two tablespoons ketjap manis (Dutch or Indonesian sweet soy sauce), plus a dash regular soy sauce.
Three cups water.
Three whole star anise.
A piece of cinnamon (approx one inch).
One or two whole cloves.


First gild the onion, then add the garlic and ginger. When the garlic starts to turn add the taucheo and sherry and seethe a bit, then add the meat chunks and colour on all sides. Now add the mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and ketjap manis. Stir for a few minutes, add the whole spices and water. Simmer on low for about an hour and a half. Garnish with sliced chilies. Serve with steamed rice and warm crusty French bread for sopping.


Note: if you cannot find bamboo shoots (where ARE you living?!?!), you may substitute potatoes cut in chunks. Add them later, about half-way through cooking, as they will fall apart otherwise. Personally, I feel that doing so is simply making another version of Irish Stew. A fine product in its own right, which I almost never touch. I do not live in Ireland, and my mule has not passed away.

Another note: For a really Cantonese flavour, add a small jigger of oyster sauce. All treif tastes better with oyster sauce. And hot sauce.

--- --- ---

The kids of the family that owned the kopi tiam sat at a table in the back, doing their homework and being quiet, while the customers sat nearer the front, and enjoyed the cooling breeze - the entire front was open, like most such shop-house businesses.

From my table along the wall I could observe the entire place - the pimply young man with an oversized leather biker jacket out front, the Cantonese housewife talking animatedly with (in other words, shrieking at) the owner directly opposite, the elderly skeleton sipping hot milk-tea while reading his newspaper with one foot up on his chair at the middle table, and the three kids in the back, obediently bent over their books.

No fuss, no misbehaviour, no noise. Cute kids - so studious, so well-behaved!

But such deception.

All three of them had skinned knees, and dirt-scuffs on their school clothes.

Two hours earlier I had seen the nine year old chasing a boy down the street, screaming at the top of her lungs 'faan-pei ngoo-ah' (give it back), while trying to whack him with a bamboo pole. Classmates scattered before them as he tried to escape with her school bag. The little spit-fire eventually caught him.
She's probably grown up to be a real tiger by now.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

DOUBLE-DUTCHED

Some of my readers disturb me. I cannot even fathom what odd search on the internet brought them to my blog, and judging by some of the things they write, it is entirely unknowable if they found what they were looking for.


Drugs? Sex? Large men wearing horse heads and cut-away chaps? Beef stew?


It is very much baffling. As, indeed, are the comments they place under some posts.
I'm not referring to Grant Patel and his unique point of view - I know where he's coming from, I think - but rather some of the anonymi and near-anonymi.
The people who are not Grant Patel, who always writes in English.
Other people.


Such as the person who wrote this:
Zingbats der hoopten dutchies. O ja. Ja bezicherds. Wir willen noks das tu bainsulted die frummer dutshen, dey iz die bester poopel in der world. O ja. Vould ich gegegen du liest? Ober guntser nein. Dutch di biyutifullest lengevidje aalzo. O ja. Du a grosser meaner man!

---Grompter Puntillish



The dear lord only knows what he thought he was writing. I certainly cannot figure it out; I doubt anybody can. Perhaps mr. (miss?) Grompter Puntillish used a translation program. He left it under this post: ENKELE VLUCHTIGE OPMERKINGEN, which is entirely in Dutch. What Grompter Puntillish (mr? mrs? miss?) wrote was NOT in Dutch. I think he (she?) is reacting to a perceived denigration of the Dutch - the words 'bainsulted' and 'meaner man' in the comment suggest this possibility.


Grompter Puntillish may be labouring under a misapprehension. I would never insult the Dutch, in fact I hold them in the highest esteem. How could I do otherwise? After all, I spent the best years of my youth living among them in their lovely little country, their language is both second nature and sixth sense to me, and many of my closest friends are Dutch.
The Dutch, in actual fact, are a remarkably civilized lot. I would never write anything insulting about them.
As Grompter Puntillish says, they are bester poopel.

MCCAIN - KHALIDI CONNECTION

Rabbosai, I wish to draw your attention to a Huffington Post article about McCain's association with a known supporter of terrorism - known, that is, to the Republicans, who lifted the lid themselves.....
McCain & Khalidi lovenest


Quote:
During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.
A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank.


The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."


........... McCain could have some of his own explaining to do as he tries to make hay out of Khalidi's ties to Obama.




Oh Jeez. Now the kak is gonna hit the fan.

Or are we talking teflon again?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

TORQUEMADIC NARISHKEIT

Please note this post on Dovbear's blog, in reference to this post on Jacob Stein's blog.
Dovbear is on my blogroll. It is unlikely that Jacob Stein will ever be there.


-------------------------------------------------
Jacob Stein: Secret Orthodox Atheists and How to Catch Them
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/10/secret-orthodox-atheists-and-how-to.html
Dovbear: Jewish Philosopher: Soft on Atheists?

http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2008/10/jewish-philosopher-dangerous.html]
-------------------------------------------------


Not all orthodox Jews are orthodox Jews.

Not all gilgulim of grand inquisitors are Catholic.


There are these four sons, one of whom is wise, one wicked, one simple, and one sheino yodeah lishol......
An atheist is not a rasha, much more likely one of the latter two.
Or, on the other hand, either a myrtle branch or a willow branch. Few people are entirely etrogish.

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THE DUTCH

Every day during lunch, I read the Dutch newspapers on the internet. And every lunch time, I am appalled at what the Dutch think. I am beginning to hate the Dutch.


That is to say, I'm beginning to hate the Dutch much more than all the other Europeans combined. A more venomous bunch of thieves, rapscallions, and blinkered hypocrites is hard to find. No other group, not even the Pakistanis, is as adept at overlooking their own frightful past, and seeing naught but our flaws.


The Dutch were major players in the transatlantic slave trade, murderous colonialists, brutal capitalists, and collaborators and war-profiteers.
Their slave colony Suriname was a byword for the sanctioned murder of blacks and natives, scarce improved when indentured labourers from Asia replaced the chained chattel. What the Dutch did in Indonesia for nearly four centuries can truly be called frightful - among other things, exterminating the population of one island (Banda, 1621), repeatedly decimating parts of Java (most recently during the construction of the great post road, during which millions were killed), scorched earth invasions of Atjeh and Bali, and the hardcore sadistic brutality of their first and second police actions after World War 2 (in 1947 and 1949).
In South Africa they and their descendants invented apartheid and created a society so dysfunctional and brutalized that the statistics for child-rape, sexual violence, and casual murder are truly horrifying, and in New Amsterdam they introduced the American Indians to the concepts of scalping, syphilis, prostitution, and alcoholism. Their rule in Ceylon was so much more brutal than the Portuguese that the natives welcomed the British as liberators. Dutch warships off the Malabar coast, during the hey-day of their hegemony, made the depredations of the Vikings look like flirtation.

This nation, with so few natural resources of her own (syphilis is NOT a resource), grew so rich from its exploitation of coloured people that even the Germans were astounded at the amount of art that could be stolen during their brief occupation of the Netherlands.

And yet these self-righteous pustules criticize all the countries of the world. But mostly, they criticize the United States. The Dutch hate America, they hate the American people, and they loathe and despise everything American - except for whatever they have borrowed or learned from us (for which, most of the time, we will not get the credit).


In the past I enjoyed visiting the Netherlands, having lived there for a while in my younger years. But after two weeks I would wish that the Dutch would just shut up with the anti-Americanism. By the final week, I would concentrate on stocking up on books and cigars to mail back to San Francisco, and otherwise quietly stick to myself, all conversations with the Dutch having by that time acquired a dreadful sameness - expressing the sincere conviction that the Netherlands was the acme of civilization, and that America was barbaric, her people inbred and stupid, everything good in the United States stolen from someone else.
Given the dreary repetition of those themes by so many Netherlanders, it is ironic that the Dutch believe that there is nothing original or imaginative in American culture. It must be the educational system in Holland - it produces little drones. When it isn't producing juvenile delinquents and soccer hooligans. Rotten rote arrogance in any case.



I no longer visit the Netherlands. I have no need to go to a place where I will be hated just because I'm an American.

At some point in the future I may visit Belgium again - the Belgians are too busy hating each other to bother much with us. But probably not the Netherlands.

=====================================


ADDENDUM

I should mention that the times that we went to the Netherlands several years ago, Savage Kitten always enjoyed the place. This is probably because she has an advantage - she does not look American by Dutch standards. Many Dutch cannot grasp that a person can be of Chinese ancestry but also as American as Apple Pie (yet another thing that, according to most Dutch, we simply stole from someone else). Consequently they have always treated her as heir to a civilization, albeit one that doesn't quite come up to their high standards.............

I, on the other hand, am white. No Brownie Points for being a descendant of seventeenth century settlers in Nieuw Amsterdam, as obviously we went native, something a true Nederlander WOULD NEVER DO.
Let us conveniently forget that the Dutch sold the colony and all of its inhabitants to the English in 1674, then never concerned themselves with the place again.

An additional disadvantage is that I am fluent in Dutch. Surely this must mean that I think like them, and must also be a safe listener for them to express their loathing of America and Americans to? When it turns out otherwise, they do not hide their disappointment. A proper person would understand their point of view, instead of being so repulsively unapologetic.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

HOT SAUCE IS A VEGETABLE

When it comes to lunch, the financial district is rather ... ghastly.
Boring. Dreary. Repulsive. Suburbanite. Appallicious.
And treify.

You already knew that that last qualifier doesn't mean too much to me, but I'm just warning you. If you're planning to visit me during working hours, bring your own lunch, please. In fact, bring two - something kosher would really brighten my day.


In the meantime, I have a new favourite lunch.


Two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and chicken curry (with potatoes), from Lee's lunch counter.


Plus a really hefty squirt of Rooster Sauce.
When all you're eating is starch and protein, Rooster Sauce keeps you regular.
Would I lead you mis?

I'm feeling all koosh right now.
Oojah cum spiff.

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SUPERSTITIOUS NONSENSE

Dovbear mentions daemons in connection with Halloween. Apparently a lot of people at his shul are convinced that such beings actually exist, and that they are a threat.......

[See this post: http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2008/10/in-honor-of-halloween.html ]


Pursuant which, Dov links to an article here about home renovations and daemons by Rav Ari Enkin. Es hot ein gevaldikke Feng-Shui taam. Echt, und be emmes.

Don't move your stove. Do not place furniture where your wall should be, open windows for the dying, and don't tell anyone that you can see dead people (that last bit is sound advice).

Pardon me for saying hoo ha.


JS posted a lovely comment underneath Dov's post:There are some opinions that hold demons and spirits roam the Internet and that website owners and bloggers must be very careful when they redesign their website to keep all links between pages intact lest a demon or spirit get trapped or lost as they roam around their God-given path on the Internet.

Sometimes people who are especially attuned to these things can feel these demons or spirits, they usually manifest as a sudden burst of rage at reading another person's comments.


How. Dry.
Heh. ;-D

Many of the other readers seemed similarly sceptical. Dovbear himself considers the entire thing laughable lunacy.

I, however, am not so sure............
Some of Dov's readers are clearly possessed.

In fact, Ira urged Esther not to reveal her true incarnation - and as he normally agrees completely with her, I must assume that he believes that she is indeed a supernatural entity, and that may mean that he is one as well............

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ENKELE VLUCHTIGE OPMERKINGEN OVER NEDERLANDERS (EN ARABIEREN) IN VERBAND MET HUN ANTI-SEMITISME

De Russen gaan in Tsjetsjnia beestachtig tekeer - niks in de Nederlandsche kranten. Soedaneesche Muslim regerings troepen moorden en verkrachten een generatie lang de Kristenen en animisten in het zuiden des lands - niks in de kranten. Het Indoneesisch leger slaat er in Atjeh op los, India schiet om de haverklap Kasjmirische Muslims neer, China is op systematische wijze de cultuur van Tibet aan het verdelgen, de Oeighoeren in Sinkiang in kampen op te sluiten, de Kristenen hunne godsdienst-vrijheid te ontzeggen.

De Arabische heersers van Algerije en Maroc onderdrukken de Berbers, de Thais ronselen jonge sexslaven uit hun minderheden omwille toeristen uit Duitsland en Nederland....

Nou ja, niks in de kranten. Het is van geen belang.

Kristenen mogen Muslims vermoorden (Tsjetsjnia), Muslims Kristenen (Soudan), Muslims andere Muslims (Atjeh), Hindoes Muslims (Kasjmir), Kommunisten de Bhoedisten, Muslims, en Kristenen (China), en ga zo maar door - echt niet de moeite van het Nederlandsche azijnzijken waard.


*Foei! Ongehoorzame Jood!*

Maar laat Israeliers trachten veiligheid voor hunzelve te bewerkstelligen, dan zal heel de "beschaafde" wereld (hetgeen voorgesteld als zijnde voornamelijk Nederland) hysterisch gillen dat ze 'n bloedbad begaan, dat 't rotte Fascisten benne, en dat 't niet mag 't niet mag 't niet mag!

Ik zou haast denken dat de Nederlandsche nieuwsmedia er een door de overheden gezegend antisemieten mentaliteit op na hield - maar nee, dat kan niet; tis puur entertainment, en niemand neemt 't serieus. Zeker niet nuchtere Nederlanders, die wachten tot ze alle feiten hebben voor ze voorzichtig een weldoordachte, historisch en sociaal bewuste, genuanceerde mening op beschaafde wijze kalmpjes uitspreken.

[Dat Nederlandsche anti-Amerikanisme vormde zich natuurlijk ook pas na lang onderzoek naar de feiten, kennismaking met veel Amerikanen, jaren geschiedkundige studie, en bovenal maandenlang de VS zelf te hebben bezocht. Want Nederlanders zijn een nuchter volk, die niet zomaar krantepaplepel-onzin uit kramen.]



Vele Nederlanders beweren zelfs dat heel bewust de Palestijnen een nog groter onrecht is aangedaan dan ooit de Joden.

Ach ja, een half miljoen Arabieren vluchtten in 1948, aangemoedigd door de aanvallende Arabische legers, zodat men onbekommerd de Joden zou kunnen uitmoorden. Daarna bleven ze 'n halve eeuw in vluchtelingen kampen (temidden van Arabische landen, nota bene!), waar ze van die zelfde Arabische landen best mogen crepeeren, mits men maar vergeet dat het de Arabische landen is die hun nog steeds laten verrekken.

Dat is beslist vergelijkbaar met vijf miljoen dooie Joden, en in ieder geval toch zo veel meer waard dan de ruw-weg drie miljoen Joden die in vergelding door de Arabieren beroofd en verdreven werden in de jaren nadat Israel de Arabische legers versloeg.
Maar Nederlanders geloven liever Arabieren. Want die liegen nooit, in tegenstelling tot wat Nederlanders en andere Europeanen overtuigd zijn van die Joden.


Emmes.

Wat mij betreft hebben de Arabieren zestig jaar lang hun eigen geloofwaardigheid teniet gedaan.
Zestig jaar lang het bestaansrecht van Israel tegengesproken, zestig jaar lang zelfs ook het bestaansrecht van alle Joden tegengesproken (met geweld, met discriminatie, met terrorisme, met boycot), en Nederland meent dat ze gelijk hebben?

Ik geef toe dat het sneu is wat er in de veroverde gebieden gebeurt. Maar het kan me in feite ontzettend weinig schelen. Ik bekommer me meer over onrechten elders.
Blijkbaar scheelt het de Arabieren ook niet zo - ze hebben in de afgelopen halve eeuw meer dan zes miljoen van hun eigen volk over de kling gejaagd in hun oorlogjes, dus 't is maar een kleinigheid. Vooral als ge 't vergelijkt met het nogal geringe aantal Arabieren die in strijd met de Joden gesneuvelt is.


Ik vertrouw wat dat betreft Arabieren ongeveer net zo als ik Europeanen vertrouw; dat wil zeggen, ik schiet met velen zeer goed op, heb de pest aan de meerderheid, beschouw veel van hun politiek en maatschappij als ettervals, en wil nimmer temidden van die lui woonachtig zijn. Arabieren zijn van het zelfde Machiavelliaansch niveau als de Europeanen.

De Europeanen, overigens, blijken meer een gevaar voor de wereld te zijn dan Amerikanen, Joden, of Arabieren. Weliswaar is er van hun koloniaale imperia weinig over, maar dat komt veelal omdat ze na de tweede wereld oorlog uitgeput waren.
Door de rivaliteit tussen de VS en de Soviet Unie is Europa 'n half eeuw lang opmerkelijk koest gebleven, maar die rivaliteit bestaat niet meer. De Europeanen hebben altijd een overdreven imago van hun belangrijkeid en importancie gehad, en beginnen nu weer kapsones te krijgen.

De wereld gaat onzekere tijden tegemoet.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

BLOWING SMOKE: DUNHILL DURBAR MIXTURE

One of the tobaccos which has disappeared from the American market, and probably everywhere else too, is Dunhill's Durbar Mixture. It was only available again for a few brief years, before being finally discontinued during the British-American Tobacco big temper tantrum of 2006, when B.A.T. picked a fight with the company to whom that they had farmed-out manufacture of the Dunhill blends.


Might as well make y'all jealous by mentioning that I have over eighty tins of it socked away. As far as Dunhill tobaccos are concerned, I won't be running out any time soon.



DURBAR MIXTURE

Made in the U.K. in association with Dunhill Tobacco of London
Hand Blended

Qua appearance, it is composed of small shreds in a range of browns. The tin aroma is very Oriental, with a slight hint of fermented sweetness. The taste proves the Turkish content, the sweetness suggests that there may be a touch of Perique in here as well. Whatever Latakia is present is restrained.

It is nicely unbalanced, rich and veering toward an excess of resinous Anatolian leaf (or is it Smyrna?), but not as depraved as the Presbyterian Mixture. Reminiscent of Balkan Sobranie, but sweeter, and less smoky. Definitely a product for the man who likes Orientals.

Think of a pretty young teenager in a light summer dress, all fresh and sparkly and soft.
But there is something else about her - she moves in a way that suggests maturity, and she's spending far too much time with the Wong boys..... Did she just smile at the younger one? Sweetie, I think it's time for a chaperone. And tell her to put on a cardigan - her lacy edgings are visible.

Contradictorily, if you like this mixture, you can't wait for summer to end. It is suited to Autumn. Last week it was much too warm in San Francisco, but yesterday and today have been foggy and considerably cooler. Even chilly enough to bring a blush to pretty golden cheeks.

In short, this tobacco is just about peachy.



TOBACCO INDEX


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

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CANNED BLAND

In a comment string on Dovbear's blog, I sneered that the last truly great president was a Dutch-American, and that everything since then has been purely mediocre Anglos, and mediocre Anglo wannabees.
I also said that I'm not voting for McCain, as I don't want another mediocre Anglo wannabe; I'm voting for the intelligent candidate.

It very soon became apparent that some readers did not grasp that the term Anglo has nothing to do with English / Anglo-Saxon / Anglican. One of them even offered that McCain was perhaps Scotch-Irish.


No offense to the Scotch-Irish, who are all mighty fine people why even some of my BEST friends are Scotch-Irish.....,
That's the very quintessence of second-rate Anglo. The bargain brand of Anglo. On par with Rednecks, Texans, and Fratboys.


Then somebody else wrote: "Eisenhower had German ancestry; Kennedy was Irish; Reagan was part Irish."


Oh pooh.

Anglo is a cultural category. If you want to be ethno-specific, and more racist, you can use the term WASP. Or even 'Anglo-Saxon'.
Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan were one hundred and twenty percent Anglo (the extra percentage points are because they had to try harder).

All three of them were, culturally speaking, about as Anglo as you can get in this country. Solid white bread, English-speaking, and adhering to the Anglo (i.e. dominant American) value system.

Whoever goes into the meltingpot has the right to come out white.
Just look at Condoleeza.

Jeez, haven't you folks ever heard of assimilation?!?

Yeah, I know most of y'all live in New York, and are culturally Puerto Rican......


But out there in the rest of this country, in the "real America", popular culture has demotized to the great anglo-whitebread commonality - Round Table Pizza: a fake Italian dough disc made palatable to the majority by adding canned bland tomato sauce, ham, and pineapple, constructed in an Arthurian metaphor-environment by generic teenagers, mostly monolingual in 'Mall Speak', whose reading skills extend little further than insta-message.
Much like their parents, who are also as well-adjusted.

Once you've got the phrase "whazzup dude" in your mental framework, you're in Anglo-town. No biggie.


Discuss among yourselves, homies, I'm hellah farklempt.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

HE PROBABLY DESERVED IT; HE WAS WEARING A KIPPAH!

One of my commenters forwarded a link to an article in the Algemeen Dagblad which I had not seen heretofore. I present the article, with an interlinear translation.


[Link: http://www.ad.nl/amsterdam/2718532/Excuses_na_mishandeling_joodse_man.html?pageNavType=all#reactie Source: Algemeen Dagblad.]



EXCUSES NA MISHANDELING JOODSE MAN
Apologies after attack on Jew


AMSTERDAM - Burgemeester Job Cohen van Amsterdam heeft contact gezocht met rabbijn Raphael Evers naar aanleiding van de mishandeling van een 20-jarige joodse man in de hoofdstad.

Amsterdam - Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen yesterday contacted rabbi Raphael Evers concerning the mistreatment of a twenty-year old Jewish male in the capitol city.

De burgemeester heeft zijn afkeuring uitgesproken over het incident, dat afgelopen zaterdag plaatshad. Dat liet het Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israël (Cidi) vrijdag weten.

The mayor voiced his condemnation of the incident, which occurred last Saturday. This per the Centre for Information and Documentation of Israel (Cidi).


Volgens het Cidi heeft de burgervader eveneens zijn onvrede geuit over het feit dat het slachtoffer niet direct terechtkon bij de politie om aangifte te doen. De man, herkenbaar als jood aan zijn keppel, liep ’s middags op het Olympiaplein toen twee jongens hem uitscholden voor ’kankerjood’.

According to the Cidi the mayor also expressed his dissatisfaction that the victim could not register his complaint with the police immediately. The man, recognizable as a Jew from his kippah, was walking on the Olympia Square during the aftenoon when two boys called him a 'cancerous Jew'.

Hij vroeg wat hun probleem was en liep daarna door. De twee kwamen hem echter achterna.
Een andere jongen sloot zich bij hen aan, waarna ze de man te lijf gingen. Ook nadat hij op de grond was gevallen, bleven ze op hem intrappen.


He asked what their problem was, and then kept walking. The two then pursued him. Another boy joined them, whereupon they physically assaulted the man. After he had fallen to the ground they continued kicking him.

Het slachtoffer wilde diezelfde avond aangifte doen op het politiebureau, maar kreeg te horen dat hij een paar dagen later moest terugkomen. De politie liet in een reactie weten dat alle agenten van het desbetreffende bureau die avond bezig waren met een speciale actie tegen overvallers. De korpsleiding vond echter dat de aangifte toch meteen had moeten worden opgenomen. De politie heeft haar excuses aangeboden voor het feit dat dit niet is gebeurd.

The victim tried to register a complaint that evening with the police, but was told to come back in a few days. The police later stated that all officers at the police station in question had been engaged in a special action against attackers. Corps leadership has opined that nevertheless the complaint should have been taken immediately. The police have offered their apologies for this not having happened.

--------------------------------


The reason proffered for not allowing the victim to make his complaint that same day sounds suspect. Not only because of the suspicion of anti-Semitism (the advice given by Dutch authorities in such cases is to stop wearing a kippah, or, if you are Muslim, to cringe and learn better Dutch), but also because the Dutch police standardly regard assaults and street-crime as bad for their official statistics.
Amsterdam officials in particular do not wish their city to be known as the crime-capitol of the country; that is Rotterdam's assigned position. Taking official notice of such an assault will therefore be done only if absolutely necessary.
American visitors should be aware that the Dutch police in general are not enthusiastic about pursuing cases of assault and robbery, even less so concerning anything as unimportant as casual street-bigotry.


Some of the reader-comments underneath the article are particularly interesting......


"Tis natuurlijk belachelijk dit geweld. Maar die mensen die nu huilen, waar zijn die als de joden/israel een volk onderdrukt en burgers doodmaakt en in gevangenissen stopt. Dan hoor je ze niet."

Of course such violence is ridiculous. But those who are now crying, where are they when the Jews/Israel repress a people, killing and jailing civilians. You won't hear them then.

[This reflects an idea current among many Dutch, namely that it is far less reprehensible when members of certain groups are maltreated, after all, 'that' group somehow deserves it. The groups that certainly 'deserve' it are Jews, Americans, Moroccans, Turks, richly pigmented refugees, and gypsies. Entirely aside from which, the concept that the individual is responsible for crimes alleged to his group is fundamental to much of the discourse about Israel - it's called anti-Semitism in English. Many Dutch do not consider it anti-Semitic in the slightest, however.]


"Kom op zeg er worden dagelijks mensen mishandeld en omdat het nu om een jood gaat is in eens bijzonder."

Oh come on, people are abused every day, and now that it's a Jew all of a sudden it's special.

[What this commenter is suggesting is that Jews get preferential treatment over everybody else, and that Jews should not complain when they get beaten up.]


"Cohen moet zich de ogen uit zijn kop schamen dat hij Rabbijn Evers (een ultra- orthodox Jood) benaderd heeft. Evers is voostander van de liquidatiepolitiek van de Joodse terreurstaat waarbij honderden onschuldige burgers gedood worden. Het is onbegrijpelijk dat Cohen een dergelijk bedorven persoon benadert."

Cohen should be deeply ashamed of himself, that he approached Rabbi Evers (an ultra-orthodox Jew). Evers is a proponent of the liquidation-policy of the Jewish terrorist state, which kills hundreds of innocent civilians. It is incomprehensible that Cohen should approach a person so thoroughly rotten.


Well, that last comment says it all. It is precisely because of the anti-Semitic sentiments in places like the Netherlands that Israel must exist.

Not that all Dutch ascribe to such poisoned viewpoints, far from it. But it is NOT the majority one need worry about. Usually.
The violence and bigotry come from a relatively small proportion of the population; it is the majority who passively allow it to happen, and who choose to overlook it.

The victim of the assault was walking, in broad daylight, in a public place in a nice part of town (near the Bilderberg Garden Hotel, not far from the Dusselhof Garden, about ten minutes or so away from the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum, less than five minutes away from the Vondelpark).
It is extremely likely that there were witnesses. But they did not intervene.

The man was a Jew. And boys will be boys.

====================================

Tussen haakjes, beste Nederlandsche lezers, ulieden denken mogelijk dat ik hiermede Nederland onheus afdoe als zijnde een verrotte kankerland. U bent waarschijnlijk overtuigd dat het allemaal zo'n vaart niet loopt, en die man hoefde perslot van rekening echt niet zo uitdagend rond te lopen met een keppel.
Tja. Dat klopt.
Men hoeft in Nederland niet rond te lopen.

====================================

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

IN THE BEGINNING - THE ARAB VERSION

When in March of 1948 the United States proposed suspending the partition of the Holy Land, and the creation of a trusteeship with an international peacekeeping force (specifically to include a sizeable Egyptian military contingent), the Arabs rejected this in favour of all-out war.
The results were disastrous for the Arabs, who since then have kept up the drumbeat of violence, and forced their "Palestinian" refugees into squalid camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and elsewhere.


Even massive British assistance to the Arabs could not prevent the survival of Israel - the warplanes and other materiel given to Iraq, the training and arming of the Arab Legion in Jordan, the military aid to the Saudis, and tactical assistance and military intelligence given to the Arab forces, as well as the subsidizing of the Arab League (much a creation of the British in any case), did not assure the Arabs of victory.
Rather, despite all this, and despite their overwhelming numeric and strategic superiority, hubris and squabbling guaranteed that the defeat of the Arabs would seem that much more catastrophic.
Since then, the Arabs have maintained much the same posture that resulted in their trouncing sixty years ago, with substantially the same results in subsequent donnybrooks.


From 1948 onward the Israelis have defended themselves against Arab aggression, and the Arabs have concentrated on sinking any hope of an independent Palestine.

The Arabs still demand all of the Holy Land; since that is not possible, they energetically promote factionalism and sabotage each other.

We know what Arab unity meant in Lebanon - the Arabs fought each other by proxy, and that country has never recovered from the kind attention.

We are seeing it now in Iraq - the Saudis and Egyptians fund the Sunnis, the Iranians fund the Shia, the Turks bomb the Kurds, and all parties accept foreign funding to slaughter religious minorities.


Arab assistance to other Arabs is indeed "a war of extermination and a momentous massacre", in the words of Arab League Secretary-General Abd ar-Rahman Azzam.


Key engineers of this eventuality, the unwitting traitors to the Arab side, proved their value in 1948 by their incompetence and chicanery.

Let us briefly list a few of them in gratitude:
Amin al-Husseini, mufti of Jerusalem, who wished for the extermination of Jews like his friend and hero Adolf Hitler;
Sayyid Muhammad as-Sadr, prime-minister of Iraq, who gratefully accepted British aid to that end;
King Abdallah of Jordan, who tried to expand his kingdom by driving the Jews into the sea;
Fawzi al Kawkji, Field Commander of the Arab forces, Syrian mercenary, and ex-Nazi, whose ineffective tactics and sheer incompetence failed to un-impress his employers.

And, let us not forget, all the rulers of the Arab world, who collectively conspired to divide themselves in unity against the Jews, succeeding only in the disenfranchisement of their own people and the despoilation of all dreams of the Arab umma - the violence they have, in sixty years, applied to their own societies, keeps the Arab world down and undeveloped more effectively than any foreign boot ever could.


As a lagniappe, let us also mention Mahatma Ghandi, who exemplifies the mentality that continues to inform the misguided rhetoric regarding this conflict.
To quote: "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French."

It is a remarkably ignorant statement. It betrays a complete lack of historical awareness, and that man's opportunistic concommity with anyone who opposed the British. One suspects that there may have been more than a few Nazi-sympathizers among his followers.

Oh wait. There were.

They certainly enjoyed themselves during the partition of Hindustan, as it gave them a chance to apply the methods of their idols to the pesky problem of refugee columns.
Very effective, gentlemen, bravo - your kind attention to the members of the other side during the "population exchanges" proved how well you worshipped.

As do likewise your modern descendants, the Muslim Jihadis and Hindu Nationalists.


The heartfelt sincerity of those who slaughtered refugees during partition in India matched that of the good Europeans who collaborated with the Nazis, and that of the Arabs who wished to drive the Jews into the sea.
It is a continuing miracle that the rape, pillage, and slaughter planned by the benevolent leaders of the Arab world did not happen.
The beginning of Israel was a blessing.


Without the Arabs, there might not have been such a blessing.


It was the Arabs who created the Haganah and the Irgun during their insurrection against the British before World War Two (1936 - 1939).
It was also the Arabs who by their intransigence and fanaticism created the IDF in 1948.
It is the Arabs who by their continued hate, irrationality, and denialism have ensured that Israel will continue to exist - because there is no other choice.

Gentlemen, you Arabs remain an inspiration (and a blessing).
We are grateful.

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GÖRLITZ SYNAGOGUE KRISTALLNACHT CEREMONY NIXED

As per both the JTA and the Jerusalem Post, a ceremony marking the seventieth anniversary of Kristallnacht in the synagogue in Görlitz (Goerlitz) has been cancelled. The city insists that such a ceremony must have a secular character and be inclusive.

Instead, a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht will be held at the Protestant church in Görlitz, and will focus on all victims of the Third Reich.


There may be more here than meets the eye.


There has been a long-standing struggle over the synagogue - the town of Görlitz actually owns the building, having bought it both before reunification in 1963, and a second time from the Claims Conference after reunification.
They own it, and they restored it, at a cost of over five million Deutschmarks.

An Israeli investor, Avi Goldraich, has in recent years offered a symbolic amount to purchase the building from the city.

The group that wished to hold the Kristallnach ceremony appears to be allied with mr. Goldraich. There also appear to be connections with a business (Bombardier Transportation) located in Görlitz, partnered with an Israeli state-owned company ........ whose co-operation has reportedly been made contingent upon the sale of the synagogue to Goldraich for twenty thousand Euros.

The dispute has been longstanding, bitter, and acrimonious. Some of the verbal frenzy has been incredibly vicious and personal. I shall not repeat what has been said about mayor Joachim Paulick and his posterior.


But wait, there's more!

The synagogue, which is the only one in Saxony to have survived intact, is a festering wound to the local neo-Nazis and soccer-supporters, who have chanted anti-Semitic and anti-American slogans outside it....... And have vandalized it at times. Several times.


Perhaps the town has a point in insisting that a ceremony commemorating Kristallnach be inclusive. And it is not proper that a city government promote divisiveness on city property, certainly not in a town already divided; the section on the other side of the Lausitzer Neiße (the Lusatian Neisse river) is now Zgorzelec in Poland.
Sometimes unity is a fine thing. There's nothing wrong with trying to involve everybody.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MORE THAN JUST WAFFLES

Pursuant my recent expression of warm love and respect for Europeans (here: Savage Euro Trashing), reader and friend of blog Graham expresses bafflement.
I had mentioned that Belgians were good cooks.
He wishes to know why.


Short answer: because it is true.


Long answer: When Savage Kitten and I visited Europe the first time together, the food was a stumbling block. After a week in England, I had 24 hour acid-indigestion AND constipation - the first was due to the English custom of deep-frying everything (Spam fritter, deep-fried snickers bar, Scotch Egg, Mahogany-hued 'Chimichanga', curried eggrolls....), the latter because there are no vegetables to be found in the British Isles. None.
The place itself is delightfully green, your plate isn't.

The first vegetables we saw in Europe were at a Chinese Restaurant in Utrecht, the evening that we arrived in Holland.
While staying in Amsterdam, whenever we needed veggies (the Dutch ALSO deep-fry everything), we would go to an Asian restaurant. Or Belgium.


Savage Kitten, speaking of food: "The Belgians knock the socks off of you Dutch".


She's right. Raw herring is lovely, so is smoked eel. As well as deep-fried unidentifiable object. All washed down with Genever.

But Belgians actually cook.

Waterzooi. Ardenner roast with mushroom sauce. Shrimps in a cream and white wine sauce. Breadpudding. Pork loin with bockbeer sauce. Baked goose livers with a dry fruit compote. Pheasant with a cassis reduction. Venison tournedos with wild mushrooms and herbs. Veal chops with jus enriched with port. Anguille au vert. Chicken breast stuffed with fresh herbs and summer vegetables. Potato-leek soup with peeled shrimp.
Fried foods, pastries of infinite variety, confections.
Hearty stews and subtle soups, rabbits and nicely larded gamebirds.


Asperges, eels, charcuterie, mussels, potatoes - all in a thousand different preparations.


And seafood. Lots and lots of lovely fresh seafood.


After a four hour train-trip from Amsterdam to Antwerpen, Savage Kitten had low blood sugar (my fault - I had kept her from visiting every herring stand between our hotel and the Centraal Station). It was a cold day, she had not eaten since breakfast (no herring whatso-ever!!!), and even the prospect of shopping like a mad-woman could not cheer her up. So I dragged her to a restaurant near the Grote Markt. She perked up a little from the heat, but not enough to try to figure out the menu. I ordered seafood. Then more seafood. And some more after that. We stayed there for five hours, before waddling back to the station.
She was happy as a clam.

Her enthusiasm for visits to Antwerpen increased enormously after that meal. We went several more times that trip, and again two years later. The Antwerp Cathedral may be the ultimate in mediaeval nouveau riche vulgarity, but the local food is dynamite - the best reason to visit Antwerpen.
Culinarily, Belgians just about knock the socks off the Dutch.

---------------------------------------------

NOTE: Next time we go to Europe, I'm dragging that woman to La Maison Du Cygne in Brussels. Time to introduce her to a family haunt. I regret not having done so yet.

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HELLO ESTHER AND MOSHE! YOU ARE LOVED!

Over on Dovbear's list, there are some commenters who repeatedly cry wolf about Obama. Apparently he's a communist crypto-Muslim, a socialist pro-terrorist, and part Arab - and he became rich off the current financial crisis, in addition to loyally doing what his Stalinist masters in Tehran commanded of him.
That, basically, is the jist of what they keep plonking in the comments fields underneath various posts.


The one thing they have not averred is that he's black. According to them, because one of his parents was Caucasian, he is a white descendant of a Luo tribal slave-dealer who sold real blacks to the Arabs. Not black. White. Why, he's more white than anybody here.
Whitey white white white!


Two people contributed more to this shtuss than any others.
This is for them - This is the post that wrote itself.



“ ‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no. That’s not America. Is something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”
------Colin Powell

Hey Esther and Moshe, I guess the ONLY reason Colin Powell said that is because he too is a Muslim and a Socialist. Besides being black, and responsible for the mortgage meltdown. And a commie pinko liberal homosexual.

Besides being a traitor, and a terrorist-sympathizing crypto-Arab.
Fie, I say, fie!
Stands to reason, doesn't it?

Good luck in November, you Neanderthals (not that there's anything wrong with that).


Post scriptum: I have NOTHING against Neanderthals. They are fine people. Some of my best friends are Neanderthals.
If I had a daughter, I wouldn't mind her dating one. Really.
As long as he was a doctor.


Again, I stress that I have no issue with Neanderthals. Some VERY fine people have been of that persuasion. And they are allowed to vote too! Great people.
Pity about their lousy sense of rhythm, though.
And that they are too short and squatty to play many sports.
Still, we've learned so much from them. Like fire. I'm pretty sure they invented it. What would we do without fire?Or flint axes?
Thank you Esther and Moshe. You are loved.


I sincerely apologize if any Neanderthals feel offended.


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Oh crap, I feel somewhat dirty now. Probably shouldn't have waded into the shallow end of the pool, people do things there. Was that some floating vomit that just drifted by? Dear Esther and Moshe, if you can't swim, perhaps you should stay out of the water entirely. People drown when drunk, you know. I only say this because I care about you. Truly.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MEMORIES SOUND LIKE THIS: ZHOU XUAN

You will not like these songs. They probably do not meet your exacting criteria, and they are rather simple and old-fashioned. And they are in a language that is foreign to you besides.

I first heard them at the house of an elderly auntie. She had listened to the songs before the war, at the movie theatre in the Chinese part of town - which her parents had expressly forbidden, of course, because nice girls do not go there.
After the war she bought the records because they reminded her of happier times, before the Jap invasion and the camps.

When she returned to the Netherlands - we say 'returned', because it was called 'repatriation, even though she had never been there - she brought the records with her. During the fifties and sixties she hardly listened to the music, as it did not suit the refined European tastes of the Dutch, and it was embarassing to be 'too Indies'.

In the seventies she lived alone, and started listening again, trying to recapture memories that were fading.

I came back to the US in 1978. For six years I did not hear these songs, or even remember them. Then one day I went to watch a movie at the World Theatre - this was just after it opened, before the owners realized that there is almost no audience for Mandarin oldies in Chinatown.

The next day I bought an entire collection of songs by Zhou Xuan - a set produced in Malaysia, from old recordings - a bit scratchy, a bit warped. Cheap tapes, probably pirated. But it was heaven. I have since acquired better sets, including a remastered cd set. The songs still evoke.

I know most of the songs by heart. Yes, you do NOT want to go to a Chinese Karaoke bar with me.



FIVE LOVELY AIRS SUNG BY ZHOU XUAN
[周璇, born August 1, 1918, died September 22, 1957.]


街頭月 - Moon Above The Intersection
http://californiadream.com/personal/ZhouXuan/moon.html

街頭月,月如霜,
冷冷的照在屋簷上。
街頭月,月如霜,
冷冷的照在屋簷上。
母女淪落在街坊,
飢寒交迫只得把歌唱。
唱呀唱,唱呀唱,
唱不盡悲歡離合空惆悵,
唱不盡白山黑水徒心傷。

街頭月,月如鉤,
彎彎的掛在柳梢頭。
街頭月,月如鉤,
彎彎的掛在柳梢頭。
母女相依沿街走,
低彈緩唱唱到淚雙流。
流呀流,流呀流,
流到了心摧腸斷不憂愁,
流到了天昏地暗有時休。


五月的風 - May Breeze
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUYPTylKPLU&feature=related

五月的風,吹在花上,
朵朵的花兒吐露芬芳。
假如呀花兒確有知,
懂得人海的滄桑,
它該低下頭來哭斷了肝腸。

五月的風,吹在樹上,
枝頭的鳥兒發出歌唱。
假如呀鳥兒是有知,
懂得日月的消長,
它該息下歌喉羞愧地躲藏。

五月的風,吹在天上,
朵朵的雲兒顏色金黃。
假如呀雲兒是有知,
懂得人間的興亡,
它該掉過頭去離開這地方。


采槟榔 - Picking Betel Nuts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v8R7caOtPo

高高的樹,上結擯榔,
誰先爬上,誰先嘗。
誰先爬上我替誰先裝。

少年郎,採擯榔,
姐姐提籃抬頭望,
低頭又想
誰能比他強,
趕忙來叫聲,
我的郎呀
青山好呀流水長,
那太陽已殘,
那歸鳥而在唱,
叫我倆趕快回家鄉。


四季歌 - Four Seasons' Song
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIEUeMiJBhY

春季到來綠滿窗,
大姑娘窗下繡鴛鴦。
忽然一陣無情棒,
打得鴛鴦各一旁。

夏季到來柳絲長,
大姑娘漂泊到長江。
江南江北風光好,
怎及青紗起高粱。

秋季到來荷花香,
大姑娘夜夜夢家鄉。
醒來不見爹娘面,
只見窗前明月光。

冬季到來雪茫茫,
寒衣做好送情郎。
血肉築出長城長,
奴願做當年小孟姜。


天涯歌女 - The Wandering Songstress
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxu8Kxuf-Sg

天涯呀海角, 覓呀覓知音,
小妹妹唱歌, 郎奏琴。
郎呀咱們倆是一條心,
哎呀, 哎呀, 郎呀咱們倆是一條心。

家山呀北望, 淚呀淚沾襟,
小妹妹想郎, 直到今。
郎呀患難之交恩愛深
哎呀, 哎呀, 郎呀患難之交恩愛深。

人生呀誰不, 惜呀惜青春,
小妹妹似線, 郎似針。
郎呀穿在一起不離分,
哎呀, 哎呀, 郎呀穿在一起不離分。



You will note that two of the youtube videos given above are clearly the karaoke versions - the visual for the betelnut song is rather gooberish.
The last two are from the original movie (馬路天使).

Would you care to guess what I saw that day at the World Theatre?

-------------------------------------------------------------

Post scriptum: You may be wondering why I felt moved to post these songs. It could be the mood I'm in, but more likely it is the lilies. You see, Savage Kitten stayed home sick today, so I bought her some lilies from the stand at the foot of the street. They are now on my desk waiting to be taken home, and they smell very old fashioned, very evocative. There's just something about that fragrance.

Savage Kitten NEVER listens to Zhou Xuan's songs, by the way.
She listens to Madonna, disco, Broadway musicals. Some classical music, especially when she is driving.
And songs from Valley of the Dolls.

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HOT EUROPEAN LOVE

Regular visitors of this blog are undoubtedly aware that I read the news on the internet, as well as several forums and blogs. As such, they are likely also aware that I have seen a lot of criticism of the United States - especially since our rather heavy-handed approach to getting back at the Arabs for bringing their style of political discourse to our shores.


Much of that criticism is valid, most of it isn't.

We aren't as bad as you say we are, and you lot shouldn't talk in any case.

You are often a lot worse than us.



Let's first take a look at the country where I spent much of my youth until returning to the United States in 1978. It is only proper that I describe that place ahead of the others.


THE NETHERLANDS
Open prostitution and drug-use in the streets, rampaging soccer hooligans, and recidivist perverts released back into society at the drop of a hat, this overcrowded rubbish dump is probably one of the worst pretenses at a civilized society ever. Racism festers underneath the surface here, as well as overweening arrogance. These people should learn to keep their gobs shut about other countries, lest the world start paying attention to the sexual enslavement of third-worlders in their cities, and the endemic problems of teenage prostitution, bondage-deaths, and child-molestation. The Netherlands is the sex-traffic capitol of Europe, but even that cannot make up for a lack of a cuisine.
Shut up you smarmy pissants, and learn to bathe regularly - you smell of rotten fish.


Now let's do Europe alphabetically.


BELGIUM
What an utter failure of a country!
The only thing they have going for them is that they are good cooks, brewers, and chocolatiers. But besides that, bigots, racists, and sexual deviants. The Walloons are too lazy to work or learn another language, and the Flemish too hate-filled and narrow-minded to accomplish jack all other than the occasional beating death of a foreigner or brutal gang rape of a half-wit. This country is not an ideal model of a pluralist society, and will probably devolve into civil war and ethnic cleansing within the next year or two.
A dreckheap inhabited by drunken perverts.


ENGLAND
What can one say about a place where the tea is strong and the beer unpleasant? Other than that one is baffled by the sheer numbers of sodding drunken Englishmen, Dutchmen, Irishmen, and Pakis all over the place? Perhaps they don't drink the tea.
Louts with bad-teeth, arrogant socialists, and snooty conservatives. Sounds like parts of San Francisco, but on a much larger scale, and with less oral hygiene.


FRANCE
Alas, a byword for lack of hygiene, and public intoxication. How French-girls ever got the reputation for sexiness among other Europeans is beyond me - unless it is because of their legendary lack of morals, which would explain why venereal disease is both endemic on the continent, and universally credited to the French.
Several smelly fromages make this country their home, and are indistinguishable from the ambulatory natives. Their wine is not good enough to make the smelliness of this place worthwhile. They do have good soap, however. How odd that they do not use it.
They smell, did I already mention that? Badly.
French men are lousy in bed. That may explain why their women sleep with strangers.


GERMANY
Stodgy troglodytes and elegant perverts cannot hide the essential depravity of this nation. Nor can leaden wurst and a lack of humour distract from it. The only time a heterosexual German is a snappy dresser is when he's occupying Poland.
They themselves acknowledge that there is nothing worth seeing or doing in their ghastly country, that's why they built the famous autobahns - so that you can get through it fast without having to eat the horrid food or congress the nasty natives.


GREECE
Having spent five centuries under the Ottoman thumb, you'd think that they had enough of Frenching the Muslims. Oddly, that does not seem the case. Greece has been the leaky sieve of Nato for decades, and deliberately fails at airport security and counter-terrorism. Long the home of degeneracy and sexual deviants, Greece is now bucking for bottom in a relationship with the Muslims.
Their food is indigestible, and their wine is horrid.


IRELAND
Nasty weather, worse natives. They can boast of introducing cannibalism and lycanthropy to the rest of Europe. Mildew and crotch-rot are synonyms in this miserable armpit of a place.


ITALY
Birth-place of Fascism, pasta, and rude opera audiences, this country would be bearable if it weren't filled with Northern Europeans bellyaching about the food. Just eat the garlic and shut up, you pale foreign sods!


PORTUGAL
A pestilential place with a long history of brutal colonialism, failed cuisine, and ugly inbred natives. Rape is the national sport.


RUSSIA
Hairy drunks. Vladimir Nabokov used to live here. He left.
There have been four generations of hairy drunks since then, almost no other accomplishments.
Except for Chechnya.


SPAIN
Like Italy, except without a shred of class whatsoever. Before soccer, the natives delighted in watching bullfights and executions of communists. Before that, they took pleasure in brutality and sadism in the various colonies they sucked dry and gave syphilis to. Since the death of Franco, they merely give venereal diseases to their mothers - except during the tourist season, when all of Northern Europe comes to visit, and acquires tans, diarrhea, and the clap. Avoid it like the plague - it is filled with illiterates.



There are a few other countries in Europe. I have not mentioned them, as I have no problem with Swiss chocolate, Danish butter, Austrian governors, or Viking helmets.
All in all, these are good things.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

SOMETHING SMELLY THIS WAY COMES

Then - 1976
Dusk and dawn take longer in Valkenswaard than here in SF. At this time of year, the morning mist covers the market square, the glimmer of the sun from the direction of the Hofnar cigar factory is scarcely visible. A flock of screaming marsh birds from the fens south of town circle and swoop over the bricks every morning at first light.

My father has come upstairs to wash. I go down to the kitchen, have a cup of coffee, and head out on my bike to enjoy the first pipe of the day. Along the square, up the Leender Weg, then north past the other cigar factory (Willem II). Beyond the warehouses there is a reek of fermented leaves, pressed and steamed - Java and Sumatra, Brazil and Cameroon. A warm fecund aroma, strongest at this time of day. Now turn west, then south on the Eindhovensche Weg, and back home to Kerk Steeg.
I wheel my bike into the stables (now a garage for the beetle and our bicycles), and open the kitchen door.


My father is downstairs again, having his second cup of coffee and reading the Dutch newspaper before heading to the office. I pour myself a short half-cup, and sit down to read yesterday's Herald Tribune.

His rustles his paper and asks "did you have the boys over yesterday evening?"

Indeed I did - Dion DeLeeuw, Boudewijn de Bats, Herman Ritter, Tom Bouten, Leendert Westerneng ... And one person whose name I can no longer remember, though I could still find his apartment with my eyes closed (he lived one block away from where the pretty Asian girl went to school).

We drank beer and coffee. A late night gathering after closing Parsifal had become our custom. Last night it took place in our kitchen. The boys put up with my horrid pipe-tobacco because I make excellent coffee. It was a very pleasant hour.

My father knows that this is what we do, and does not object when it happens in our kitchen.
This morning he extends a hand from behind his paper while telling me "ask your friends not to leave this here the next time - they might miss it".


He hands me a one kilo brick of hashish.


Lebanese. Nice quality.


With a corner broken off.


Last night, while I had been smoking Balkan Sobranie (the stinky pipe-tobacco aforementioned), the chap whose name I cannot remember but whose apartment I can still find blindfolded had rolled joints - he was the house dealer at Parsifal.
He had left his stuff on the table when he went home. For my father to discover when he came downstairs.
I am fairly certain my father knew what it was. But I wonder how he knew.


I left before my father finished his newspaper. So that I could return the brick of hashish on my way to school. It was already light out by that time.


Now - 2008
Yesterday evening I went into the kitchen several times for coffee and a smoke (last week Savage Kitten gave me a coffee maker for my birthday, the old one having crapped out several months ago). The smells of Balkan-style tobacco and good coffee from Peet's reminded me of those final years in Valkenswaard. That, and the sense of quiet throughout the building....... My mind's nose again remembered that night, that morning, the perfume of the tobacco, the reek of hashish, and the dry leaves on the Market Square. It was very good.

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NOTE:
The name of the Balkan style tobacco is not important, and you probably have your own favourite. It isn't Balkan Sobranie, as that has not been available for over a decade. But if your local tobacconist does not stock a decent Balkan mixture, you can compound something yourself.


BALKAN BLEND

Eight parts Latakia
Five parts Turkish
Four parts medium flake, rubbed and fluffed
One part plain cavendish
One part bright ribbon

Let it age in a tightly closed jar for at least a week before smoking. If you added a shpritz of water while mixing, the flavours will meld better.

[Half a part to as much as one and a half parts Perique may be added. Perique lessens tongue-burn.]

Do not smoke it in large pipes - a regular size bowl is best.

Have some good strong coffee while enjoying a pipe full. Peet's is an excellent merchant of beans. As regards the kilo of Lebanese, however, I have no recommendations. I'm afraid you are on your own there. House dealers in the US are not the kind of people you would want to visit you late at night. This is not the same environment as the Netherlands, dusk and dawn are also different here.
Tobacco and coffee however are universal.




TOBACCO INDEX


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NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
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Friday, October 17, 2008

THE DUTCH AND THEIR MISSING MARBLES: AHMED ABOUTALEB APPOINTED TO TOP JOB

It has been decided that the next burgomaster (mayor) of Rotterdam shall be Ahmed Aboutaleb, who is of Arab origin.
Mr. Aboutaleb is the son of an imam, and was born in Morocco. He has been a resident of the Netherlands for twenty-two years. He has dual-citizenship. And he is a practicing Muslim.


There are TWO problems with this appointment!!!


The first is that he is an Amsterdammer - not a positive thing in the heartland of FC Feyenoord. The Rotterdam soccer team has always been a rival of Ajax (the Amsterdam team), and the supporters of both teams are not at all averse to whacking each other. Several times over the last few years confrontation has become brawl, brawl has turned to murder. There are violent tendencies at play in Dutch soccer fandom.

The second problem is that his appointment is causing all the retrogrades to come foaming out of the woodwork. If you thought racism was a factor in American politics recently, you have not looked at the Netherlands, where being a Moroccan is nearly as bad as being a Jew in Czarist Russia. Consequently, the appointment of a Jew Moroccan as mayor of Rotterdam has got the bigots all a-flutter. Loudly so.


One would not have thought that the denizens of the world's first modern democracy, where the laissez faire approach to societal administration was born, would prove themselves so...... barbaric.

But no.

The internet commentary shows many of them to be utter scumbags. Anybody wading through the river of Dutch bile that has been dumped in recent days on the internet will have recoiled in disgust at the sentiments that, like fermenting cadavers, have risen to the surface of an already rank and putrid sewer. Even the Flemish nationalists are adding their sickening slime to the flow - Flemish Nationalist blowhard and politician Flip de Winter (Vlaams Belang) wrote that "de aanstelling van een Rotterdamse Marokkaanse burgemeester overal in Europa de arrogantie van de Marokkaanse allochtonen alleen maar zal doen toenemen" ('the appointment of a Rotterdam Moroccan mayor will only cause an increase in the arrogance of Moroccan allochthones everywhere in Europe').

Shut up, Flip, you're an idiot.


I would like to point out, at this juncture, that mr. Aboutaleb is Dutch.
He became an adult in the Netherlands, he was educated there, and his entire political career has been there. He lives there. His future is there.
At this point he is as Moroccan as I am.

Furthermore, even his political opponents have admitted that he is a very capable and intelligent man. By all accounts he is eminently suited to the job.

If his ancestry or his religion are enough to disqualify him in the eyes of many Dutchspeakers, then Dutch society is more poisonous than I had heretofore imagined.


When I was living over there, I had to put up with any number of horrendous comments about Jews and Americans - I am an American, and thus by the peculiar logic of the blinkered cretins in the Netherlandish bog, I am probably also a Jew - and I am relatively sure that most Jews in the Netherlands have likewise been held accountable for American sins. Especially in recent years.

Muslims in the Netherlands are probably not unaware of the festering hatreds beneath the bland and 'polite' surface of Dutch society either.


But to hold a person's ancestry and religion against him?
In the United States we may be considerably more advanced than the Dutch.


That he is an Amsterdammer should be the ONLY objection to the man.
And it is a very valid objection, because as everyone knows, the Amsterdammers are all Jews - that's why the Feyenoord supporters customarily offer to gas the Ajax fans at sporting events (traditional chant: "Hamas, Hamas, alle Joden aan het gas").
It is therefore not likely that mr. Aboutaleb can give Feyenoord his wholehearted support, certainly not without a feeling of nausea in the pit of his stomach.

He has my sympathy.

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Attentive readers may remember that I mentioned mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb nearly two years ago in this post:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/01/ahmed-aboutaleb.html
I recommend that you re-read that piece - it will give you a better idea of the man.
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Thursday, October 16, 2008

A WINGNUT AND A PRAYER

For the past several months I have, at times strenuously, tried to avoid talking about American politics on this blog. I have not always succeeded - and some readers have ceased visiting here because of that - but in the main I have not spewed my gall at the gang of republican thugs and deviants that have dragged both a fine party and a great country into the mud.

[Yes, I know that sounds partisan, and will offend those of my readers who despite their excellent taste in blogs still have loyalty to the grand old party, no matter how frightfully misguided that is. I'm sorry. Why don't you take back your party from the slack jawed yokel base of bumpkins that have hijacked it? PLEASE take back your party, we really do need a plurality of thoughts and ideas in this country - we just aren't getting anywhere with only ONE party run by sentient beings.]



Nevertheless, sometimes I will post something political. In this case, it is the stellar comment by Conservative Apikoris (CA) under a post on Dovbear's blog.

[Dovbear: http://dovbear.blogspot.com/
The post under which the comment appeard: Curtains for McCain.
Conservative Apikoris is a regular reader of Dovbear, and Dovbear should be among your regular reading.]


CA wrote:

"I never supported Senator Mc Cain, but there was period during the late '90;s and up to the middle of 2003 or so when I had a great deal of respect for him. Then he started frenching Bush in the obvious hope of geting the 2008 presidential nomination. His record in the Senate of vocal criticism of Bush's worst policies and total support for them in his votes made his final descent into wingnuttery not too much of a surprise for me.

I strongly recommend Tom Dickingson's article in Rolling Stone about the man:
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/make_believe_maverick_the_real_john_mccain

Make-Believe Maverick
A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty



The best line is this:

"In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot."



After reading about Senator McCain's disastrous career in naval aviation, as a taxpayer, I'd like to bill him for the government property he wrecked. "


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Please note that by posting this I do not intend to sway you. If you did not know for whom to vote before yesterday's debate, you are still a moron and an ignoramous today, and you should not vote by any means.
As it says in the odd book: "because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out."
Really, you should've made up your mind already, what's wrong with you?


I can cheerfully accept people who are wrong. People who are wishy-washy, or waffling idiots, excite my bile. I shall pray that they get distracted by blinky things on the way to the voting booth come November.

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MISS PATEL IS DRUNK!

After spending several hours yesterday evening researching dirty words in Indonesian (my heavens those people have foul mouths, they're worse than the Dutch!), I retired to a drinking establishment near my house.


The night of the final debate is not a good night for karaoke joints. I never would have guessed that. At ten-thirty in the evening, there were only about a dozen customers there. Usually at that time there are at least seventy or eighty Elvis-wannabees and their victims.

It was an even gender-spread, if you ignore the staff (all male - bartender, kj, security goon). One of the ladies was a beautiful and shapely Vietnamese woman whom I usually ignore because she is fairly sharp and shallow, there were several women I had never seen before, and a cute short Indian woman with long hair and curvy bits.


Typical Patel face, BUT NOT typical Patel behaviour.


She had been drinking like a Punjabi.


No, not riotously disreputable drunk (Safdar Ali). Not smash the furniture and heave a concrete urn through the window drunk (Darminder-ji). Not pick fights and offer to smack everybody drunk (Joginder-bhai).
Nothing like that.


She was instead feel-up the white-guy drunk.


I really must say that she had good taste in men.


The white guy she was feeling up was a good foot taller than her, and well-built (yes, I'm NOT talking about myself).
From my perch in the corner I could see her go over to his table, lean on him, rub his chest, trail her silken long hair over his head...... Pity for her he wanted to sing instead. She kept returning to her seat at the bar, then a few minutes later going back over to his table. She had her hands all over him at several different times. He was just too sober to appreciate it.


She left eventually, obviously disappointed. Her white guy sang a few more times after that. Badly.
I finished my drink and departed halfway through some ickey-poo love ballad.
You know, if she had really had excellent taste, she would have headed in my direction instead of wasting all that time on that boy.
I don't sing.

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NOTE: One of the reasons I like bars is the opportunity for people watching. Some people are really educational once they have gone over their limit. Quite recently, Xxx took off his pants and swung them around his head during a song. He went one better than his buddy who simply took off his shirt for that purpose.
I am so very very glad that Savage Kitten does not drink, and does not go to the Karaoke bar - after half a glass of champagne, that woman would be likely to go up on stage and belt out 'Like A Virgin'.
I have heard her sing - I am so very very glad she does not drink or go to the Karaoke bar.
I just cannot cope with bad Madonna in public.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

IF YOU DON'T SHUT UP, I'LL KICK YOU IN THE NUTS!

That was the succinct message delivered in a shrill girlish voice, with a slight Chinese accent. It was uttered during a momentary quiet on the bus, and consequently everyone heard it. I saw several people trying not to smile.
I saw the person who had uttered those promising words too. She was standing right next to me.


Fortunately, she had not directed those words at me, but at her companion. Who was probably at least three or four inches taller. And also female. Not even five feet high herself. Both girls were in their early teens, both of them wore glasses. Neither one of them resembled Eric Cartman from Southpark in any way - too small and petite.

I had surreptitiously listened in on the conversation that lead up to the threat against the nuts. It had started with a perfectly innocent detailing of spending money immediately available, and items that desperately needed buying. To whit: twenty dollars and coins, versus 'A Gal's Guide To Dating A Geek' (I think it's about fourteen dollars) plus a Hello Kitty Halloween something-or-other (fifteen dollars).

It's interesting listening in on innocent little maidens talking about spending like maniacs - at their age, maniacal spending is so very much more modest, and much more eccentric; they have not quite settled into a pedestrian adult appreciation of clothing, tattoos, and lipstick.

They were at odds about the book - apparently it is only available on the internet, and neither one of them has a credit card.
Maybelle (the one who rhetorically at least owns the nuts) has a brother named Percy who has a credit card - but apparently he's a 'conniving creep', or something, and Winnie (the shorter of the two) doesn't want to impose upon him, or be in any way beholden to him ("Why not? He LIKES you!"), because he's a 'total jerk'.
Maybelle is desperate for the book ("It's like a total roadmap, you know?"), and ambivalent about the Hello Kitty whatever-it-is ("EVERYONE has it already, so what's the point?") and heck, the "only reason YOU want it is so that you can give it to Jason!" .

At this point, miss Cartman solicitously offered to kick her in the nuts. Maybelle then offered to 'step' on her, bee-aitch. The argument went no further because they noticed they were already at Stockton Street - "Homes, let's go get some NOODOOS!"


The noodles probably helped them resolve their difference of opinion (in addition to wiping out the surplus cash). Nothing speaks so much to the Cantonese-American female as food. It is the great be-all, end-all, answer-all of Cantonese-American feminine life.....
Food. Food! FOOD!!! Don't interfere with my food, unless you want to DIE!
Chinatown is aswarm with chopstick-packing mamas on the prowl for something to eat; don't come near if you look edible.


Savage Kitten is like that. The prospect of a delayed dinner makes her wail, and whenever I ask if she needs anything at the store, she hopefully suggests lobster. The word 'cake' is the ultimate expression of a happy prospect, the phrase 'deep-fry that sucker' is so innate to her that she utters it in her sleep, and 'soooo-o-o-oup!' is almost the ultimate utterance of temptation and comfort. "Soup! With noodoos! And tasty bits!"
The word 'delicious' is often replaced with "got any more?"

Cantonese girls like food. Did YOU know that?


If the lobster-aliens ever land their spaceship in Chinatown, we will never know. They'll be hunted down by small Cantonese-American women wielding clackitty chopsticks, and not even scraps will be left to show that they had even visited.

Heck, it has probably already happened. They did not stand a chance!
A swarm of hungry females swooped down upon them and used their flying saucer as a giant wok - Now we'll NEVER be allowed into the Intergalactic Alliance!

On the other hand, we won't be herded into pens and sold to bug-aliens for fertilizer either.
Yes, you may go ahead and thank the small Cantonese-American women wielding clackitty chopsticks.
Their hunger saved us.


"Got any more?"

=========================================

Note: A large part of the speculation above about Cantonese-American women is based on Savage Kitten's personality. Other Cantonese-American women may not be entirely like that. I have been blessed.

Further note: If you are dating a Cantonese-American woman, FEED HER! There is no more damning a statement about a date than "he didn't feeeeeed me!" uttered by a small Cantonese-American woman. The man may be nerdy, pudgy, and short, but all is forgiven if he makes pronto with the food. Food is the great social lubricant, the great pacifier, the great diplomatic overture. Rather than planning a night's entertainment, decide upon a restaurant, and make sure that there is a tempting variety of dishes. She will like you if you do. And after you've seen her safely off home (before nine o'clock!), she'll have warm happy feelings about you. It's the most effective approach you can make. It shows you care.

Yet another note: Cantonese-American women have bird-like appetites. Some birds can eat up to twice their own body-weight on a daily basis. Especially if they are cold. This is valuable information to have.



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NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

IN PRAISE OF TAKING HEADS

Apparently, my readers have problems associating vicious tribal murder with something good to eat. The link between the bloodshed and the dinner may be too strong, too vibrant for them. Judging by the dearth of commentary under a recent post

[Please see here: HEAD-HUNTING CHICKEN. It is about a mild chicken dish which you would very much like to eat.]

Other than Grant Patel with his unique viewpoints, the only person who left a comment was Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) , who wrote:
"Sorry, man... associations with head-hunting aren't good for whetting my appetite."


I may have suggested to Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) and a few others that the dish would be perfect for Sukkos - It being an outdoorsy and primitive-dwelling associated holiday. Reminiscent, on one level, of living in the wilderness, rather like the tribal peoples in parts of Borneo still do. And a longhouse is like a sukkah, albeit a sukkah on pillars that raise the living quarters above the ground away from shrotzim and predators, and with a long common veranda, plus fire-pits, family quarters, and holes to ventilate and let out the smoke.

[Longhouse: Puranibo. Long common veranda: Daramba. Fire-pits; Kuipang. Family quarters: Balayak. Ventilation holes: Tingkapen.]


Besides, headhunting is a fine old tradition, and fine old traditions are always associated with food. Headhunting in more ways than one.

Taking heads has naught to do with cannibalism. The hunting down of other humans in this case is not to use their meat, but purely to utilize the powerful energy that is concentrated in their kapala. Think of it as harvesting batteries from a rival tribe downriver, a tribe with the utter chutzpah to compete with us for limited resources.
Whichever head gets taken will not be involved in planting fields, or gathering wild protein from the forest, or spying on us as we eat, wash by the river, or procreate. That head will not harm us nor use what we could use, but instead will inspire our crops to grow, our men to be virile, and our women to be fecund.

That head is far less use to us still attached to a living body from that other tribe, than nicely polished in its own specially made basket up in the rafters of our longhouse, watching us drinking rice wine and dancing during our festivals.

Steg, please reconsider. The association with headhunting is propitious, and will add to your pleasure. Yes?



NGABAENG PA BUNGA GALURA
[Evocation of the crimson flowers.]


Ulite gadis neang tandak dang kapala, ki bunga galura na parang; kranda na litenen sehi umbang-tasek, kasanakan na puranibo purno tan marido. Wirang wirang na kibong tagpulang mawangi na djuwang, ura-mura tan nila tuwa. Tagatso iha maalik-mera, neang dene enti sama wahana.
Ri tarang na parampui puwan puwan marakanadja, kalinda, kalintik; djenti-wata hu!
Gurumos ti taa pa lalaki wiyang banta pratama - palimanema lahang kaga, mata dingin laho. Bunoan impa dapet uba, kaingitan djadi taengso materem. Tuwang-tugeng maputi re rewanon, dagat magkareng sa lalang tan daon; neang luwa matadjato lelem sametek, karong wara djawonen wiyang mawo bala. Dahulo mata-li buwana entero, maale kabog sahadja. Uho.

[Translation: See the girls that dance with the heads, the crimson blossoms of battle; the noise of the watchers is like breakers, the enjoyment of the longhouse is complete and zesty. The warriors of the group have returned smelling of the conflict, youthful-ruddy (ura-mura, also refers to the red of warrior turbans) as well as aged-blue (nila-tuwa, the wise elders who wear dark turbans). Success, verily, is appealing, whatever else is not likewise. In the glow of the torches women are high-breasted (marakanadja: prominent, of noses or breast; high, of trees, hats, banners, signs; projecting, of roofs, overhangs, bosoms), sleek (marakalinda: gently swelling, of breasts or low dunes; fading into the landscape or tree-line, of scrub and undergrowth; unremarkable of prominence, of roofs or gables), and perky (marakalintik: up-perked, of cute button-noses and nipples; sticking out slightly like knobs on furniture or trimmed branches; projecting somewhat like nuts and bolts); how utterly charming, oh!
The joyous noise does not reach the males who have fought for the first time - their hands are still clenched, their eyes remain cold, killing must create change, the memories become sharply graduated. Bones (tuwang: bones; tugeng: large pelvic and leg-bones) are whitening in the wild lands, blood dries on grass and leaves; the distance becomes dark entirely, now there are outsiders who wish for revenge. While before the entire world was within sight, now all is fog only. Oh!]


Headhunting is customarily limited to the period between the two lumeri festivals, when the rice-wine is ready, and agriculture is at a standstill - November, December, and January. This is the first part of the wet season, when tempers have not gone dull from the incessant rain, and men are still vibrantly alive. It is a joyous and cheerful season.


It is said that the Moshiach, when he comes, will come during sukkos.
But until he does, think of headhunting.

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