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, February 26, 2010

SNAPPING JAWS AND CRUNCHING BONES

This evening, Savage Kitten and I will be sitting down to a sumptuous feast. To be more specific, SHE will be sitting down to feast, I will merely have a snack.
From which I do not wish you to infer that she is in any way a groisse fresser, or bigly built.

[Fine-boned, little over a hundred pounds at five foot four and a half inches. Small.]


I expect that she will have a large steak with two fried eggs on top. Plus whatever comes with it. Probably potatoes, two vegs, and soup or salad to start. And a roll. Plus a side of something deep-fried.
Then a big slice of pie - a la mode more likely than not.
As well as a double or triple vanilla milk-shake.
A veritable battlefield of cholesterol.

My meal shall be more modest, in keeping with my Spartan and unselfindulgent personality.
Maybe a salad. Or a simple bowl of soup.

Did I ever mention that I'm bucking for sainthood?


FEEDING TIME AT THE ZOO

Perhaps you are wondering at the difference in our eating habits? How could two people of such divergent dining preferences possibly be together? What's going on here?

The answer, in one word: PMS

PMS lasts about a week, slightly longer than the event that follows. During that time, the average woman has a deepseated yearning for such things as fried chicken with ranch dressing, double-cheese deep-dish pizza, pint-buckets of ice-cream, huge hunks of broiled beef, family size bag of cheddar cheese potato chips (and a tub or two of dip), the party sampler from Big Bob's Barbecue, whole deep-fried pig, lobster with a gallon of drawn butter, and the entire triple chocolate cheesecake for her alone.

There is nothing subtle or refined about women during PMS.
They need, they feed.
Five meals a day. Extra grease, double helpings.

In between eating and eating and eating and eating, they bark, snap, growl, and bite. Do not disturb them, they are frenzied.
Innocent men have been ripped to shreds for interfering with a woman and her food at such times. Families have been slaughtered and wars started - and both forest fires and tidal waves are the direct result of pms-related hunger.
Fully half of mankind is fiercely dysfunctional twelve weeks out of the year.

It is agonizing. For the rest of us.

Fortunately, Savage Kitten is entirely different, being an exceptionally even-tempered person. She isn't like other women at all. Instead, she is calm, rational, emotionally balanced. A very peaceful and loving companion. Who hardly ever loses her temper.

[No, she doesn't read this blog. Why do you ask?]


Honestly, I don't know how the rest of you men take it, though.
How come you're not all dead yet?

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PRIESTS AND BOYS IN EUROPE

Onverheugend nieuws:

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/02/dutch_don_bosco_priests_accuse.php

Citaat:
"A former member told the NRC that many priests had their favourite boys and had relationships with them."


Juist ja.
Ik kan mij bijzonder goed herinneren dat priestelijke kinderverkrachting jaren terug werd afgeschreven als louter een Amerikaans probleem. Ja ja, die vieze Amerikanen, weet je wel, die jenks kunnen gewoon niet zo rechtvaardig als de Europeanen zijn, het benne maar vuillakken, zoiets kan NOOIT in het beschaafde Europa gebeuren.
Puur Amerikaans. Wat verwacht je ook anders van dat volkje.

Met klem: NOOIT IN EUROPA.


Dus wel.

Blijken die o zo beschaafde Europeanen maar weer eens schijnheilige pissanten te zijn.

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


A MALE PRESERVE

So far, the Irish Church, the German Church, the Belgian Church, and the Italian Church have had their priests exposed as paedophiles and rapists.

Now also the Dutch.

And yet many in Europe still insist that abusive priests are purely an American phenomenon.
Nice folks, those Euries. Veritable examples to us all.


According to the Telegraaf newspaper:

"Paters in een Rooms-Katholiek internaat in 's Heerenberg hebben in de jaren zestig en zeventig kinderen misbruikt, Dit blijkt uit een onderzoek van de Wereld omroep en NRC Handelsblad."
[Translation: Padres in a Roman-Catholic boarding school in 's Heerenberg during the sixties and zeventies (sexually) abused children. This was shown in an investigation by World Broadcasting (- a radio station) and the NRC Handelsblad (- a newspaper).]

"Volgens de beheerder van een boerderij bij het internaat was het seksueel misbruik door de paters van de Salesiaanse orde bekend binnen de orde en werd het ook door de leiding besproken."
[Translation: According to the exploitant of a farm at the boarding school, the sexual abuse by the padres of the Salesian order was known within the brotherhood, and was also discussed by the leaders (of the order).]


Source:
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/6149760/___Paters_misbruikten_kinderen___.html?p=28,1
And:
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/6149760/___paters_misbruikten_kinderen___.html?p=15,1


"De hoogste baas van de Salesianen in Nederland in de jaren zeventig was Ad Luyn, nu bisschop van Rotterdam. De Wereldomroep heeft hem om een reactie gevraagd, maar hij wilde niet reageren."
[Translation: The highest authority of the Salesians in the Netherlands in the seventies was Ad Luyn, now bishop of Rotterdam. The Worldbroadcast asked him for a reaction, but he did not wish to comment.]


THIRTY YEARS OF SILENCE

I can understand the churchman's bashfulness. Everything he says may be held against him. It is, perhaps, best to claim ignorance.
Even in the priesthood, they grasp that.
Innocence, as is well known, is bliss.
And silence is golden.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

PERFECT PERVERTS

Several months ago I wrote a post that was discovered by Japanese sexfiends. It changed my life. No, this is not some startling admission of degeneracy on my part - I believe in clean living and temperance, and regularly flagellate myself for your sins - but a grateful acknowledgement.


Japanese porno-spam is one of the wonders of the world. For one thing, it is quite unintelligible - there you are, staring in flabbergastion at dense lines of text that you cannot read, till at last you give in to temptation and click on the proffered link.
Then presto! A mound of pale peach, surmounted by something pink! Magic!

The other wondrous thing is the choice of post. What was it about the post that attracted the Japanese pervert? Was there a key word that convinced him that this was the place to plant his nation's flag? A fortuitous turn of phrase that said "deviants welcome here"?


I am clueless.

Please read this post:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2009/07/conversational-storm-surge.html

You are baffled too.


The daily visits by sexually twisted Japanese, and their deposits of titty linkage, are sufficiently charming, in an absurd way, that I let the comments stand.
This may not have been wise.
Other spam-commenters, who are NOT as loyal to that one post, are trying to horn in on the deal.
[Perhaps an e-mail went around listing several blogs, mine included, as virgin territory. Sorry guys, comment moderation has been enabled, and someone is minding the store.]


Every day I consign several spammatic comments to the dustbin.
Viagra spam, cialis, London escort services, zovirax tablets, albenza, blue host, pressure washers, singulair, seroquel, shoes ..........


Now, if that last was something interesting, like a shoe-fetish webpage - pictures of the foot unshod, then the foot naughtily garbed - it might pass muster.
But just some commercial site trying to sell kicky little pairs of chase-me-do-me, no, that isn't what the doctor ordered. It bores me.

And there is no reason it should be appended to a post about the Chofetz Chaim.
The Chofetz Chaim was not into ladies' shoes.



THERE IS NO NEED TO WALK IN THEM!

Two months ago, Savage Kitten came home with a new pair of high-heels.
Like many women (and not a few men) she obsessively shops for the one pair of pumps which will transform her, and make the sun shine wherever she walks. Usually she will examine them for a few days and try them on several times, then regretfully conclude that shoe-designers are all sadists and probably unlikeable middle-aged white men, and return the rejected pair for store-credit.

These shoes were special.
When I came home that day she was on the floor trying them on.
To do so, she had removed her jeans, in order to see how they looked.

They looked fine.

I now understand, thoroughly understand, one more illustrated internet obsession.
Those Japanese web sites are quite intelligible even if you can't read the language.

Unfortunately, that day's high heels weren't comfortable walkers either, so, like so many of their brethren, they were returned for store credit.
I hope that she soon finds another pair just like them.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

HOW DO YOU FEEL?

The answer to that question is "seriously affected". Sick, even.
You see, I had a foretaste of Purim last night. No, I did not have a riotous party with the younger members of my shul, and no we did not end up stumbling down Polk Street at four in morning singing 'Yankif der Gonif' at the top of our lungs. That would have been better.


The evening started off quite different than it ended. A friend from the yeshiva was in the area, we went and had dinner at the only kosher restaurant in downtown San Francisco. Over dinner we discussed various things, and true to Godwin's Rule of Analogies, eventually the Rambam was cited.

[Godwin's Rule of Analogies, also called Godwin's Law. To paraphrase: "As a conversation progresses, the likelihood that someone will mention the Rambam approaches 1", meaning that it is almost inevitable that you will hear the name Moishe ben Maimon today.]


Then the Ramban was also mentioned, as well as a gentleman named Pablo Cristiani. At this point a rabbi from Australia joined in the conversation. So far, so good.

Continuing the discussion after dinner, I suggested that as I wished to smoke, and would rather not do so in a downpour, we should go to the Occidental Cigar Club to indulge in a hospitable atmosphere.
So we did.

Normally I light up a pipe while there but I did not do so last night, because, as I explained to my friend, I was experimenting with a new blend.
The logic is this: normally I smoke two or three bowls while there, which means two or three drinks. This new experimental tobacco recipe is the best imitation of the Balkan Sobranie Mixture that I have ever compounded, and so delicious that I would end up smoking five or six bowls, finally stumbling out at closing with a serious whooze on.
That would mean that I would wake up in the morning with a headache and nausea from the five or six drinks, and a mouth feeling like a camel had crawled in and died a violent death there.
So no. No pipe. Just a small cheroot, and just one drink.

After my friend left for the airport, I went to another bar.

That's when things began to go south.

During the first drink there (my second drink of the evening), a woman entered.



COSSACK SLUT

Meaning, in this case, a deliciously curvy Mongolian girl-person with bad clothing choices and exhibitionist tendencies. She caught my eye from the moment she sat down twenty feet away, and even from that distance I could tell that she was dangerous. Eric, another customer of the bar, was near her, and after ten minutes he moved over to my end of the bar muttering to himself "stay out of trouble, stay out of trouble".
When he went to the bathroom she snaked out a hand and grabbed him by the shoulder. He politely wrestled himself loose.
When he came back, she followed him to our end. Within minutes Eric excused himself and left. So she focused her attention on me.
Now, something you might not know about me is that I am able to have a calm conversation, looking people in the eye, instead of stuttering while staring at their extremely attractive and creamy luscious cleavage, no matter how low-cut and flimsy their upper garment. I'm talented that way.
That flesh looked incredibly soft and warm while we talked. Good heavens.

Her off-kilter looniness and my dry responses cut the discussion short.

Disappointed in me, she headed over to the far end of the room, where she made a succession of men aware of her assets. They were indeed very fine assets - lovely poofy roundnesses, not of any great size, but utterly perfect of shape. And kudos for presentation!
Alas, the sheer craziness of her discourse chased all of the gentlemen away, one after another. At various points she huffed to herself, palm-smacked a table, bent over deeply, twitched, extended a leg in an eccentric dance move, or pouted fiercely (her face looked kissy-poo insane when she did so), before advancing on the next victim.
She seemed to have more tics than a clock, and the spectacle was exceedingly entertaining - I had four more whiskeys while enjoying the show.

When I got home at twelve, I decided to smoke a pipe after all.
Which, as it turns out, was the mistake that made the Purim Fairy come early this year - I poured myself a drink to accompany the smoke. Then I had another pipe full, and another drink. And another. One more of each.
What the heck, one more.


And that, my friends, explains today's very first post. And why I feel like crap.




TOBACCO INDEX


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

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TALIBAN ENDORSE LABOUR PARTY

Since the collapse of the Dutch government last week, Dutch participation in the Afghan adventure is slated to end in 2010 rather than continue.
Which leaves the alliance short the one member with a grip on surreality.


As was to be expected, the Taliban are now breathing sighs of relief.....

'Huzza, the Dutch are leaving, the war is as good as won, we can all go home now, back to our flourishing poppy farms, our various other criminal enterprises, and the brutal repression of our women folk.
Hip hip..... Allahu jolly akbar, old chaps, well done.'


This turn of events was engineered by the Dutch Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid), which is also known as the 'Portemonnaie van de Ander' (someone else's purse - because of their generosity) and the 'Partij voor de Allochtonen' (party for non-natives - because of their generosity). They are also known by several other clever names because of their generosity.
They quit the cabinet over the war, thus preventing any consideration of prolonging the Dutch presence in Afghanistan.

The generosity of the PvdA has now been praised by the jihadis.


Per an article in the Telegraaf newspaper:
"De taliban hebben telefonisch laten weten blij te zijn met de gang van zaken in Nederland. "Het is juist en waarachting dat de Nederlanders beseffen dat ze hun levens niet hoeven te geven voor de doelen van Amerika", zei Qari Yousef Ahmadi, woordvoerder van de Taliban in Zuid-Afghanistan".
[Translation: The Taliban have in a phone call let it be known that they are happy with affairs in the Netherlands. "It is just and righteous that the Dutch realize that they need not give their lives for American goals", said Qari Yousef Ahmadi, spokesman for the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.]


Source:
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/6130398/TalibanblijmetPvdA.html?p=17,1


And also:
"Hij noemt de terugtrekking van Nederland uit Uruzgan verder "een zeer goede beslissing".
[Translation: He (Ahmadi) calls the Dutch withdrawal "a very good decision".]


In addition to lauding the Dutch for retreating, he also expressed the wish that other countries abandon the American enterprise.


It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Labour Party will ride this endorsement to a stunning majority in Rotterdam, parts of Amsterdam, and many neighborhoods in Utrecht in the coming parliamentary elections.
Whether the support of the Taliban will contribute votes for the 'Partij van de Afghanen' elsewhere remains to be seen.

DRINKEN FIR FRIMME VIMMINS

Rabbosai, pursuant the long list of recipes I gave several weeks ago, suitable for young ladies and others of that ilk, I really must repair a grievous omission.

[This post:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2009/12/high-school-girls-now-much-more-zesty.html ]

What was the omission? I hear you ask.
I neglected to provide culture-specific recipes for young ladies (and others of that ilk) going to Beis Yakov! Quite the most insensitive omission possible!

[Not a nocturnal omission; no sitting in cold water till evening.]


I can hear you gasping.
Very well, here for your delectation, three appropriate potables.
Serve them at your next mixer or pajama party.


ZISSE VEIBE KOCKTEIL

Two ounces unflavoured vodka
Two ounces blackcherry vodka
One ounce Amaretto

Shake over ice, pour into a chilled V-glass, and garnish with a maraschino.


DOS PILEGESH

Two ounces Bacardi 151
Two ounces Midori Melon Liqueur

Pour over ice in a pint glass, fill up with orange juice. Garnish with a lime-wedge and an umbrella.


YINGE MEIDL KOCKTEIL

Two ounces unflavoured vodka
Two ounces coconut rum
Heavy dash grenadine

Shake over ice and pour into a young lady.
Garnish with pink lace.
[Or an orange slice.]


NOTE: If too many such are consumed, she will be mingling wool and linen in no time, a bracha levatulla, mamesh. It is best to pour her (and others of her ilk) into a taxi before that happens. Kol haschalos kashos.


SHIKKERE SHIKSE KOCKTEIL

Three ounces unflavoured Vodka

Shake vigorously after drinking.

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


ABOUT MIXED DRINKS

Rabbeinu Tam (Yakov Ben Meier, 1100 – 1170, brother of both the Rashbam and the Rivam) defined Shaatnez as including cloth spun and woven separately, then sewn together, whereas his grandfather Rashi ((Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki,1040 – 1105) opined that it is shaatnez only if the wool and linen are spun and woven together, his argument being that the prohibition against shaatnez is specifically against garments of mixed materials.
Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam lived in France; hence their neurotic interest in clothes.

The point they disputed has to do with the prohibition against kilayim (the mingling of things which it is inappropriate to mingle). Es shteyt in Parshas Shoftim (Judges) in Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:19 "Et chukotai tishmoru behemteicha; lo tarbiya kilayim sadcha, lo tizra kilayim u veged kilayim shaatnez lo ya'ale aleicha" (My statutes you shall guard; do not let your cattle mix-breed, do not sow your field with mixed seeds, and do not wear a garment of mingled cloth.).

Hence there are four categories of things which should not be mingled: plowing by cattle and asses in the same furrow, grapes and other crops in the same arbor, wool and linen in the same garment, and Jews and Midianites in the same world.
According to the Mishneh Toireh, such prohibitions promote peace.

But according to the Rebbe of Prolicz (descendant of the Baal Ha Turetz), this means 'keep fools out of fields, avoid fruit-cake, go naked, and don't invite strangers into your bed - only friends and relatives, or their wives and children'.

But, le havdil! The Tzerdraiter Rov (chavruso of Der Prolickzer) hott gezogt azoi: "there are four things that mark the end-times and the possible return of that horrid horrid man, zi seinen: Second Dutch Reformed with First Dutch Reformed and Fourth Dutch Reformed in the same Classis (Hackensack), Gefilte Fish with Mayonaise AND chrein at the same simcha (feh!), plaid ties over striped shirts with a tweed jacket (gottenyu), and your wife, your mother in law, and your mistress at your daughter's wedding (gevalt)".

From this Rabbeinu Gershom naturally derives a prohibition against mixed drinks, because the quality of liquor in mediaeval Ashkenaz was gonz schreklich.

Nevertheless, it is a mitzvah of riezige zechus to shtell a shidduch, as it says "vatidbak nafsho bedina bat-Yaakov va yeehav et-ha naara va yedaber al-lev ha naara".
All is fair in love and war. Nisht?
And meyle our liquor is so much better than what the Chossidei Ashkenaz consumed.

Hence under certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to mix substances that, properly speaking, should never be combined - like cheap Dutch liqueurs and expensive vodka, Bourbon and cherry juice, or tobacco and fire-arms.

The result, guaranteed, is a chuppah in your foreoutsight.


Ich hob es gehirt in a shiur at Yeshiva Chipass Emess - West Coast.
So it's emmes straight from hapehasus.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ANTISOCIAL AND DISCRIMINATING

It is raining today. Which, if you are a normal person, means that you will get wet. If on the other hand you are a non-smoker you will be inside breathing stale recycled air and fervently wishing that your coworkers had never discovered beans. Or lentils. And cruciferous vegetables.
Oh the joys of a healthy life.


WEAK LUNGS

I just finished reading an article by some insufferable Bunt who avers that smokers deliberately discriminate against people with weak lungs. Nothing could be further from the truth!
We do not discriminate, we merely wish them ill. They should choke a bit. Or be brutally whacked by a benevolent deity - in His Mercy.
Weak-lunged people have NO business being outside on the sidewalk, or even in a public place. Ever! They should stay at home and crochet. Near the humidifier.
We consider the weak-lunged to be mendacious, and deliberately provocative.


WHEEZING WUSSIES

Asthmatics are another category of monumental pain in the gand. Horrid sadists and whiners. Stuck up, and 'special'. And yes, all you people who object to the smell of tobacco need to get a life. Stop bellyaching. You already reek of gasoline fumes, regular inner-city funk and filth, and, because you stay indoors (when we are outside), stale recycled air. Plus beans and lentils. Or cruciferous vegetables.
Faugh!

If you sanctimonious do-gooders and puritanical health-nuts absolutely NEED a smoke-free environment in order to feel fulfilled and complete, go to a bar. Please drink as much as you want. It's your liver.
I'm sure you're all so full of beans due to healthy living that you won't even mind the drunken fights, loud and stupid arguments, or the inevitable alcohol-fueled unsafe sex that follows your night out. Why, you will positively enjoy all that - it does NOT involve tobacco!

Feel free to spend every night drinking yourself into a stupor in your fresh-smelling dives, then jumping into the sack with the sodden trollops of either gender who look good to your gin-bleared eyes at closing time.
Puke and have loud disputations on the street after you leave your smoke-free drinking holes.

Please engage in drunk-driving, too.

We smokers won't mind.
Most of us are very tolerant.
That's why we shan't be in the bars when you misbehave.
Besides, we will be asleep at that time; we believe in clean habits, and we seldom drink in public.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

PAKISTANI ETHICS

News from Pakistan has regularly shown that the tribal Muslims in the NWFP are unmitigated savages who commit barbarous acts with impunity. Which, precisely, is what their coreligionists in such diverse places as Islamabad, Karachi, Riyadh, and Dubai encourage, even underwrite.

Usually that savagery is directed at modernity and the West - some people in the Islamic World have a chip on their shoulder a mile wide - but not always.

Sometimes the barbaric Pashtoon kills local Christians, while the corrupt and lazy Pakistani police and judicial authorities look the other way. It's only a Christian, who cares?

Sometimes the barbaric Pashtoon kills a fish of an entirely different kettle.


QUOTE:
Jaspal Singh was seized while travelling in Khyber district a month ago. His body was found on Sunday.
Earlier reports that a second kidnapped Sikh, Mastan Singh, had been beheaded are not confirmed, officials now say.

END QUOTE.


SOURCE:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8527614.stm
[Article: Kidnapped Pakistani Sikh beheaded in Khyber region]


QUOTE:
Officials in Khyber say Jaspal Singh was among seven Sikhs travelling in the tribal district a month ago. He and two others were kidnapped by a group of armed men - four others in the party escaped.
Later, the family of Jaspal Singh received a ransom demand for 20 million rupees ($235,000) to be paid by last Saturday.
His body was found when members of his family arrived in the area on Sunday to negotiate his release.
Two other Sikh men still remain in the custody of the kidnappers.
END QUOTE.


Well, that rather decisively shows that Pashtoons negotiate in bad faith, doesn't it?

Formerly there were more Sikhs in the Pak tribal regions, but due to official venality and the rapacious and treacherous nature of the locals, many of them have left. The rise of Islamic militancy has not improved matters.


There have been reports that Sikhs in the region have been subjected to jizya - an Islamic tax that is collected from non-Muslims.

Does the world really have any use for Pashtoons? Do they serve any worthwhile purpose?

One very well might ask the same about Pakistani politicians - greedily obscuring funds and committing morally outrageous acts is not really beneficial to anyone.
Nor is chussing the Arab gand...... except, of course, for the Pakistani doing it, and the Gulf royal receiving it.

Damn, but Pakistan is a pestilential place!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

BOERENKOOLSTAMPOT MET ROOKWORST

Stephen Tyrone Colbert says that the best way to celebrate Black History month is 'with all things Dutch'. To commemorate the moral leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, he recommends "bewren kewl stahm put met rewk wurst".
[Kale and potato mash with smoked farm sausage on top. Just the thing to fully vest you in the holiday.]

Given that the weather in the middle of February isn't conducive to having a barbecue, and you are probably sick of turkey after the holidays, why not?

Sounds like the beginning of a grand new tradition.



BOERENKOOLSTAMPOT MET ROOKWORST

One pound of potatoes, peeled.
One pound of boerenkool (curly kale), coarse chopped.
One pound of smoked sausage.
Half cup milk or half'n half.
Two Tablespoons butter.
One Tablespoon vinegar.
Half a Tablespoon sharp mustard.
Salt, pepper, and a generous pinch of nutmeg.



Quarter the potatoes. Put potatoes and boerenkool in a pot with lightly salted water to cover well, bring to a boil, turn low and cook for about twenty minutes. Put the sausage on top, cook for another ten minutes or so.
Remove the sausage to a plate and keep warm.

Drain the excess moisture from the pan and mash the potatoes and boerenkool together, adding the milk and butter. Continue mashing while adding pepper, nutmeg, vinegar, and mustard.
Reheat on a gentle flame, taste, and adjust salt if necessary.
Serve with the smoked sausage on top cut into large pieces.

Alternatively, brown the cooked sausage with some minced onion before putting it on top of the mash.

Serves four.


It is good with small gherkins and chilipaste (sambal) on the side.
Strong coffee, a shot of genever, and a Glorie van Java cigar afterwards are a splendid finish to the meal.

Note: If you're a vegetarian, you might want to substitute tofu for at least one of the ingredients above. Maybe all.
Those with kashrus concerns should omit the milk and butter, and use an equivalent amount of good beef stock instead.

Mr. Colbert's final recommendation was to put on the classics of the Dutch funk accordion while you eat.
But no. No need to go there.
Life is too short to listen to accordions.

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


'COME AND CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH HEINEKEN'


That was the advertisement that prompted Stephen Colbert's remarkable (and inspired) idea to feast the month away with Dutch things.
Including rolmops, about which we shall not speak.

"A Dutch beer is a natural compliment to celebrating African-American achievement; after all, without the help of Dutch merchant ships, there wouldn't even be African-Americans - they'd still be just be Africans"
-----Stephen Colbert

Respectfully, I have to disagree. The idea is absurd.
Heineken is a beer brewed to suite the tastes of pretendeurs and people wearing pastel sweaters tied around their waists. You know, Waspy types.
Ick, poo.
If you really must have beer with your 'rewkwurst', may I suggest a fine Belgian ale? Duvel Moortgat? Westmalle Triepel, Affligem, perhaps even a lambiek?
Or try it with Anchor Steam.
You'll be ever so much happier.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

HALAL BURGER BUNCHES FROGGY PANTIES

A fast-food chain in France changed the menus at eight of its 355 branches to halal only. The result is a storm in a demitasse. And, of course, a lesson in the absurdity of the ethnic debate in Europe.

CITE:
A French council has lodged a complaint against a fast food chain that serves only meat that conforms with Islamic dietary laws at a local branch. The mayor of Roubaix, in northern France, said the halal menu constituted "discrimination" against non-Muslims. The Roubaix branch is one of several restaurants at which the chain, Quick, took non-halal products and pork off the menu in November.
END CITE.

This constitutes discrimination? Are the poor citoyens of Roubaix being FORCED to eat halal food? Is there a legal requirement that they should regularly fress at that restaurant? Is it not entirely a matter of their choice whether or not they consume products from a fast food chain?


"I'm not bothered by the fact that there is a halal menu. But this is going too far because it is the only menu on offer and it has become discrimination."
[Mr. Rene Vandierendonck, major of Roubaix.]


CITE:
Quick decided to take a bacon hamburger off the menu at eight of its 350 branches, replacing it with a halal version that comes with smoked turkey.
It said the move was designed to test the "commercial interest and technical feasibility" of introducing halal menus.

END CITE.


SOURCE:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8524056.stm


CITE:
Several deputies from French President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative UMP party have condemned the move, while Marine Le Pen, a vice-president of the far-right National Front, warned of "Islamisation".
END CITE.


Ils sont fous, les Français!

Mon frikkin' dieu, as they say. Is that what gets the French upset? Muslims eating hamburgers? That is a sign of Islamization?
Dudes, fast-food franchises and hamburgers are American inventions. That they are eating there, whatever they consume, is a sign of creeping Americanization.

Perhaps the French objectors to halal should start their own pork-only fast-food chain. And bonne chance to them.


By the way, monsieur Vandierendonck, shouldn't you be worried about some other foreign culture taking over your town?
Like, for instance, the French?


Les profiteurs

Both your own surname (Vandierendonck) and the name of your town (formerly Robaeys) are of Dutch derivation. Your town, mijnheer Vandierendonck, properly belongs with Flanders. It was stolen by the French in 1677.
Why are you collaborating with that bunch of Gallic interlopers and carpetbaggers?

Do you really prefer the thieving imperialists over honest immigrants? Even when they are going native, as is shown by eating at the local fast-food restaurant?

It seems to me that you are far too Frenchified and Francophilic, my profiteering friend.

A bas la France, vive la Flandre.
Wat Wals is, vals is; slaat al dood.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

FANCY FEAST!

As you may have guessed, this blogger enjoys cooking shows. No, not the competitive ones, nor the ones where some hyper goober goes into antics, but nice calm shows that either present an informative background on something good to eat, or demonstrate how a particular dish is done. I am of course very fond of Julia Child, whose basic instructions always seemed to entail adding more butter to the pan and wine to the glass.


"Soaked for three days in the running water of a stream (it) comes out with its meat white, and I assure you I have eaten it many times "


That is what Italian cooking show host Beppe Bigazzi said. I always wondered what the trick was. Ever since that bit in Around the World in Eighty Days in which Phileas Fogg complained about the curry.
Signor Bigazzi was speaking not of rabbit, or wild goat, or some exotic game, but of the common house cat. Which he avers is a particular specialty of Tuscany.

SOURCE:

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/pawprintpost/post/2010/02/cat-stew-loving-cooking-show-host-suspended/1


After some experiments when I was younger, I had always assumed that cat was inedible. There are some animals which acquire the flavour of whatever they eat, and consequently a cat would have to be lovingly fed truffles and chestnuts in order to be even passably tasty.
Now I know: soak the meat in several changes of water or go whole hog and suspend it in a nice cold Alpine brook.

Any rabbit curry recipe would probably be good. Even jugged hare.


"Who's not fat, kills the cat"


It is a delicacy, he assures the viewer, before going into more detail about kitty stew. His co-host, a typical product of the enlightened modern age, looked stunned - no doubt she would prefer tofu.

SOURCE:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/02/17/2010-02-17_italian_cooking_show_host_beppe_bigazzi_suspended_over_cat_stew_comments.html



LIKE RABBIT..... SORT OF

Now, please do not accuse me angrily of hating cats. I actually love the little creeps, and they can indeed be very charming. Cats are delightful companions.
There's just far more to appreciate about them than all those dipwads trolling the internet for cute cat pictures wish to admit.

Please think in terms of garlic, ginger, and a chicken tikka masala sauce.

Maybe if you fed the little 'rooftoprabbits' on a diet of peanuts and corn they'd be nice and sweet too. It's worth thinking about.
Slow roasted, spiral cut. With a little sharp mustard.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TOBACCO COMPANIES, TOBACCO BLENDS

This post is about pipe-tobacco, and consequently there will not be much here for many of my regular readers; sorry, but I promise that there will be the usual zany antics later on - in particular something quite perverse in time for Purim.

[NOTE: There are several links scattered throughout the text below - clicking them will bring up my own posts on that subject (EXCEPTIONS: GLP and C&D).]


TOBACCO COMPANIES

Since the nineties several of the old tobacco houses have changed, due to the deaths of guiding hands and profound legal and tax developments in Britain.


DUNHILL

Dunhill blends have not been made in the British Isles since the late nineties, and have been unavailable for the past few years nearly everywhere.
British American Tobacco, which had owned the blends since Rothmans ceased to exist, quarreled with the company to which they had farmed out the manufacture.

Dunhill tobaccos were made in England till 1981, when Rothmans (who had acquired the company from Carrerras in 1972) moved manufacturing to the Murrays factory in Belfast. While a lot of later smokers praised the Murrays product in comparison to what Orlik put out, it should be remembered that the early Murrays tins were quite unsmokeable - sourcing and quality control improved considerably over the years.


RATTRAYS

Now manufactured in Germany by Kohlhase, Kopp und Co. KG (who also do Astleys, formerly of 109 Jermyn Street, as well as the blends of Robert McConnel) according to the recipes developed by Charles Rattray in Perth. The Germans are doing a decent enough job. The one thing they cannot reproduce is the microclimate of the Scottish home of these blends - moisture content in the air, temperature ranges, and the eccentric non-standardization of manufacture combined to produce some very fine tobaccos. What Charles Rattray never realized was that combining different batches of the same blend had more impact on smoking quality than his much vaunted panning method. A variety of ages united to produce richness, whereas uniformity of age and heat treatment makes for a mono-dimensional smoke.

[PLEASE NOTE: The Rattray Virginias are described in this later post: RATTRAY'S VIRGINIA TOBACCO: OLD GOWRIE, MARLIN FLAKE, BROWN CLUNEE, HAL O' THE WYND. They are excellent, still. If you age the tin for a year before popping the seal, you will have a treat. There's enough Rattrays of various ages stashed under the bed, in the book shelves, and on the desk to last quite a long while. Good stuff. ------- ATBOTH, August 12, 2013.]


SAMUEL GAWITH

Still the same, still in Kendall, boruch Hashem. An ancient company with all of the eccentricities of previous generations smoothed out by age, still producing tobacco as they believe it should be. Except for a few monumentally odd aromatics, they are right. They also make snuff.
Supplies are spotty at present - no explanation.


GAWITH HOGARTH

Less pronounceable a name than their cousin Samuel, but no less respected. More steampressing, and more aromatic disasters, but a fine company.
They also make snuff.


MURRAYS

The originators of Erinmore. Which has been described as the painted whore among the tobaccos, the veritable clapped-out harlot drenched in cheap cologne that shakes a syphilitic tit at the unwary. The factory closed in 1998 and the blends moved to Denmark. If you ever wondered why Dunhill Flake seemed reminiscent of a perfumed tart, now you know - same factory and same machines as Erinmore Flake.
Which, despite my austere Calvinist tastes, I am actually fond of, though I will not admit it.

Erinmore Flake, calmly smoked, burns down to a fine white ash, and leaves scant funk. If smoked fast, the top-dressing boils into your cake, and you will experience profound regret.


J. F. GERMAIN & SON

This company makes some very fine tobacco, both under their own flag and for Esoterica Tabaciana. Unfortunately it is becoming harder and harder to find either - blame the continentals for that, as the Europeans have become as daft as the Californians and wish to cripple the tobacco industry entirely. A good place to start the final assault is small eccentric family companies, in the estimation of Brussels.
Supplies are spotty, there is no explanation. And that is likely to continue.


BALKAN SOBRANIE

Yes, it was only a matter of time before I brought up that name - you were anxiously waiting its appearance in this text, weren't you? The company was started by an Eastern-European Jew with Russian and Southern Slav connections. He made very fine cigarettes and a limited range of pipe-tobaccos. The Balkan Sobranie Mixture in the white tin was more famous than any other product, and is no longer available. Nor could it be reproduced exactly in any case - European Tobacco laws would prevent it.

In order: Syrian Latakia, Yenidje and other Orientals, a medium flake, a lighter Virginia ribbon, a dark toasted or steamed flue-cured leaf, and something I cannot identify that wasn't tobacco. Probably deertongue, but I wouldn't stake my life on it. Combine everything except the Latakia and meld with light heat, then add the Latakia, age for a few days, and press it into the tin - which means more heat. Like many tinned tobaccos, the moisture level was upped to make it more malleable and less likely to crumble and fragment with this treatment.

Note that the preferred Syrian Latakia in the sixties and seventies was choice Shek El Bint with far more smoke-curing than is used for any Latakia-style tobacco nowadays. Consequently that exact flavour will not be possible. Yenidje may be replaced with other Greek or Macedonian tobaccos - again, not an exact match. Prilep might not be a bad choice, with Samsoun and Smyrna for a better spectrum. It is worth experimenting, but don't get your hopes up too high.
For more about the Balkan Sobranie Mixture than you would ever want to read (no exaggeration), click here: BS CLICK

[NOTE: Because this post discusses Balkan Sobranie, as of this writing it will be the very first post that you see - simply scroll down for other articles.]



Even though these companies and many others have disappeared, the situation is comparatively rosy. Here in the States we have three companies that make enough fine English tobacco to sink the empire.



GLPEASE

Greg Pease worked at Drucquer and Sons in Berkeley nearly a decade after I left that firm. He learned far more than I ever did. Drucquers was known for its English mixtures, and Greg continued that blending tradition on his own. To such commendable result in fact that his nickname on the internet is "The Dark Lord".
G. L. Pease owns Latakia in the same way that McClelland owns flake.
He has in recent years also done some very fine things with pressed tobaccos and Virginia mixtures.

[For all other posts mentioning his tobacco, click here: GLP. This post will also be shown - just scroll down to whatever you have not read yet. Same rule holds for some of the links embedded elsewhere in this post.]


CORNELL & DIEHL - CRAIG TARLER

Despite having a peculiar fondness for Burley tobaccos, Craig produces some of the best blends in the business. As well as manufacturing Greg Pease's blends. If you are so inclined you can purchase many blending tobaccos from his company, or simply order the blends that your local tobacconist does not stock.
I particularly recommend Red Odessa.
Yale Mixture and Old College are also very fine products.
His flakes are excellent and deservedly well regarded.


MCCLELLAND

By now this company has the hoary veneer of respectable age, having been founded over a quarter of a century ago, and many of the other tobacco houses having disappeared since then. This company is famous for pressed Virginia, on which they more or less base all their products. They also employ heat and steam for particular effects. Many house blends at local tobacco stores are bulk McClelland mixtures; many other retailers depend on blending tobaccos supplied by McClelland. Not everyone likes them. But without them, pipe smoking in America might have disappeared.
You can find out everything you need to know about them elsewhere.



With GLPease, Cornell & Diehl, and McClelland in the market, we need not worry overmuch at present. These three are keeping America's smokers more than adequately supplied with high quality pipe-tobacco.



BLENDING A BALKAN MIXTURE

Balkan Sobranie Mixture as made by Gallagher was probably around 36.00% Latakia, 24.00% Oriental (Yenidje etcetera), 32.00% Mixed Virginias, and 8.00% Black Virginia (steamed and baked, rather than pressed or fired), or an unflavoured Black Cavendish.
Black Virginia is quite unavailable nowadays, and unflavoured Black Cavendish is extremely hard to find.

If you simply want to blend a good Balkan, you may increase the proportion of Latakia or Virginia - the Oriental is nearly at full capacity anyhow, and as long as you use some remarkable Virginias you can not go wrong.

Fluffed flake should not be much more than the other Virginias unless you are aiming for a slow and almost boring blend; ribbon Virginias increase smokeability, but also heat and tongue-bite.
Plain Cavendish is smooth, and doesn't add much flavour - it can be used in lieu of too much yellow ribbon.

Toasted Cavendish (actually fire-cured Kentucky) up to one twelfth of the total adds depth and body. Any more and you might end up with something too acrid.

If you use Perique, be discreet. Optimum percentages are between four and eight.

Avoid dark pressed (black) flake as a blending tobacco. It doesn't really work, as it is only narrow-range compatible. Which means Virginia mixtures and nearly nothing else.


Final note: Do NOT create a Latakia dump. While Latakia is a remarkable tobacco, it works best in concert with others, not as a solo. Anything over fifty percent is both juvenile and excessive - maximum 45% is plenty. You can increase the dark component of your blend by adding unflavoured black Cavendish (if you can find any) and Toasted Cavendish (which is actually similar to Burley and other air-cured leaf).
Doing so will produce something remarkably Scottish in character, which is probably what you want anyway.


LABELS

For further reading, do please note all the labels underneath this post. Clicking any one of them will bring up all posts which have those labels appended - today, this post is on top of the heap (and you have already read it) so simply scroll down to the next one.




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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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

STOP SCANNING MY NOBLE ASSETS!

The following thoughts are brought to you by The Fiqh Council of North America:

QUOTE:
The Full Body Security Scanners (also called Nude-body scanners) are being installed at various airports in United States and Europe. Several human rights and religious groups have expressed their concerns and disapproval of such scanners on the grounds of violation of privacy and human dignity. The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) emphasizes that a general and public use of such scanners is against the teachings of Islam, natural law and all religions and cultures that stand for decency and modesty.

It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women. Islam highly emphasizes ‘haya’ (modesty) and considers it part of faith. The Qur’an has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts. Human beings are urged to be modest in their dress. See Holy Quran, 7:26-27; 24:30-31; 33:59. Exception to this rule can be made in case of extreme necessity, such as medical treatment, to investigate a crime or in a situation of imminent danger. There must be a compelling case for the necessity and the exemption to this rule must be proportional to the demonstrated need.

FCNA fully supports the necessary measures for the safety and protection of all passengers. It is, however, deeply concerned about the use of nude body scanners for this purpose. FCNA recommends that instead of producing and displaying a picture of the body, software should be designed to produce only the picture of questionable materials on an outline of the body. Further, other technologies could be used that detect the presence of explosives without infringing on modesty as some European leaders have pointed out. FCNA appreciates the alternate provision of pat-down search (when needed) and therefore recommend to Muslims to avail this option over the nude body scanners.

END QUOTE


[SOURCE: The statement of the FCNA on the ose of full body scanners for security at the airports and other places (Issued on February 9, 2010) - Source: http://fiqhcouncil.org/]


DOES NOT COMPUTE.....

I can already see you shaking your head. Your natural reaction is "no body scan means no boarding...".

But I suggest a test run - no body scanning on any flights originating in the Muslim world.
Lets see how that works out for a while before we consider it anywhere else.
A decade or two will provide a sufficient track-record.

Needless to say, I have no intention of travelling to anywhere in the Muslim world, and heartily wish that that would be reciprocated.
I can barely even tolerate flying Christians (but I grudgingly suppose that they are necessary evil....).

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

AFTERTHOUGHTS

One line especially caught my eye, because it speaks to my own sensibilities.
Quote: "The Qur’an has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts. Human beings are urged to be modest in their dress."


"Human beings are urged to be modest in their dress."


It is a pity that more people do not take this to heart. There is hardly anything more repulsive than a vast expanse of rubbery cleavage or a clear view of some harlot's butt tattoo.

Really, the world does not need to know that your bottom is named Gloria, just like you (and gosh what a marvelous coincidence that is!), nor that you believe that barely concealed nipples and a snake crawling out from between your cheeks make you more of a person. Yes, you are a truly unique individual...... but the rest of us don't care; you are stupid. The fact that you got a tattoo proves it.
Tattoos are for porno-actresses, violent criminals, drug addicts, scumbuckets, and heathens. Not for spoiled spam-brained middle-class suburbanite white kids who cannot think of any other way to express their singularity. That's what skate-boards and yoga classes are for. Idiot.

And as for blatantly exhibiting huge amounts of deep moundage, ladies, we are hugely appreciative of the fact that you have such things, and we realize that you are proud of them. Damn proud. And you should be - some of you have absolutely nothing else to boast about. We are aware that.
Now please cover up a little, lest I plant my glass of whiskey in a secure location while lighting up. And don't move while I do so - that's an expensive singlemalt, and this is a Joya de Nicaragua.
Are those freckles? Aren't you cold?

Monday, February 15, 2010

READING CHINESE IN SAN FRANCISCO

Recentelijk heb ik e-mails uitgewisseld met een oude vriend uit de tijd dat ik aan het Hertog Jan College in Valkenswaard studeerde. Ik heb, ter verduidelijking, een weinigheidje over de plaatselijke talenwereld verteld........

[Translation: Recently I exchanged e-mails with an old friend from the time that I was a student at the Hertog Jan (Duke John) College in Valkenswaard (mid-nineteenseventies).
For clarificatory purposes I described part of the Bay Area language-environment.....]

Omdat het mischien wel interessant is voor sommigen, wedergeef ik die passage hier.

[Translation: Because it may be of interest to some readers, I reproduce that passage here.]



唐人阜 TONG YAN FAU
SAN FRANCISCO CHINATOWN

Hier in San Francisco is 'n groot gedeelte van de bevolking van Chineesche afkomst, merendeels Cantonezen uit ToiShan (台山 of ook wel 臺山) die van huis uit 四邑話 (Sei-yap hwa) spreken. De 四邑 (Sei-yap: vier regios) zijn natuurlijk die vier administrative gebieden van Kong Moen (江門) waar meer dan 'n half miljoen Amerikanen hun oorsprong hebben.Mandarin (普通話 , 國語) word in SF vrij weinig gesproken...... Shanghaineesch (滬語) nog minder, Hokkien ( 福建话 , 福佬话 , 閩南語) haast helemaal niet - ik heb het hier slechts een enkele maal op straat gehoord.
In Nederland en Zuid-Oost Azie hoort men doorgaans wel Hokkien, daar het merendeel der overzeesche Chinezen oorsprongkelijk uit de provincie Fujian (福建省) kwamen, om precies te zijn van de havenstad Xiamen (Amoy: 下門 of soms ook 廈門).
Hakka (客家話), Teochew (潮州話), Hunaneesch (湘語 ook wel 湖南語), en sommige andere streektalen zijn hier in SF ook soms te horen.
Chikong-hwa (浙江話) sprekers ben ik ter beste weten hier nimmer tegen gekomen.

[Translation: Here in San Francisco a large segment of the populace is of Chinese background, largely Toishanese Cantonese whose home language is the Szeyap dialect. Szeyap (四邑 - the four counties) are of course the four administrative districts of Kongmoon (江門) where more than a half a million Americans have their roots. Mandarin (普通話 , 國語 , 官話) is spoken somewhat rarely in San Francisco, Shanghainese (滬語) even less, and Fujianese (福建话 - Hokkien) hardly at all - I have only heard it one time on the street.
In the Netherlands and South-East Asia one can however regularly hear Hokkien, as the majority of overseas Chinese originally came from Fujian province (福建省), to be precise from the port-city of Xiamen (下門 - Amoy).
Hakka (客家話), Teochew (潮州話), Hunanese (湖南話) and various other regionalects can also sometimes be heard here in SF. Chejiang dialect (浙江話), to the best of my knowledge, I have not encountered here yet.]



讀物 TOK MAT
LEESMATERIAAL (READING MATERIAL)

Een van de eerste Chineesche boeken die ik (in 1983) aanschafte was 唐詩三百首 (Tong Si Saam-Pak Sou).Sedertdien ook andere boeken.... waaronder tweetalige versies van de 四書五經 (Sze Syu Ng Keng).Edoch, de T'ang gedichten zijn mij altijd bij gebleven.

[Translation: One of the first Chinese books I ever purchased (in 1983) was the Three Hundred Poems of the T'ang Dynasty (唐詩三百首 - a standard and much loved collection of regulated verse - see this post for clarification of the term 'regulated verse':
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/11/shi-chinese-verse-with-lines-of-five-or.html).
Since then also other books.... among which a bilingual edition of the 'four books and five classics' (四書五經 - this phrase refers to the four Confucian standard works and the five additional important ancient tomes: 大學 Daai-Hok - The Great Learning; 中庸 Chong Yung - The Doctrine of the Mean; 論語 Luen Yee - The Analects; 孟子 Mang Tzee - Mencius; plus then also 詩經 See King - The Book of Songs; 禮記 Laai Kay - The Book of Rites; 書經 Syu King - The Document Classic, a compendium of official texts and pronouncements from the early Zhou (周朝) period; 春秋 Tswun Chow, sometimes also known as 麟經 Leun-King - The Spring and Autumn Annals).
However the T'ang poems have always remained with me.]

Andere Chineesche boeken die ik bijzonder prijs zijn 浮生六記 (Fau-sang Lok Kei), 芙蓉鎮 (Foe-yong Dzam), 駱駝祥子 (Lokto Seung Dji) en 正红旗下 (Tjeng Hong Kei Haa') en natuurlijk de kleinere stukken van de schrijver 巴金 (Ba Kam).

[Translation: Other Chinese books which I particularly treasure are Six Records of a Floating Life (浮生六記), Hibiscus Village (芙蓉鎮), Camel Jiangtzi (駱駝祥子 - also called Rickshaw, by LaoShe 老舍), and Under the Red Banner (正红旗下) as well as naturally the shorter pieces by Ba Jin (巴金).]


U merkt nu waarschijnlijk wel dat ik beter Cantoneesch spreek dan 官話. Het kon waarschijnlijk niet anders.

[Translation: You have probably noticed by now that I speak Cantonese better than Mandarin - this was probably inevitable.]

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


後記 HOU KEI
AFTERWORD

Earlier I had written about the difficulty and relative ease of learning Chinese, here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2009/12/learning-chinese.html

It might be worthwhile to visit that post, as the Chinese language is not nearly as hard as most people imagine. And learning at least some of the language is very rewarding.

Note also the clickable label underneath this post (中文), which will bring up the other posts so appended, including at the top of the list naturally the most recent one, that being this article at this time - just scroll beyond.



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

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

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Friday, February 12, 2010

MY NAME IS KHAN

I see from various news sources that the Shiv Sena in Mumbai have their dhotis in a bunch over Shah Rukh Khan's latest movie. Or perhaps it is Shah Rukh Khan himself that they are upset about.
Well bully for them.

Can we at long last please put the name of every member of the Shiv Sena on the no-fly list? Keep the bastards out of the United States? Starting with arch-goonda Bal ('Balasaheb') Thackery and everyone related to him?

We have enough religious nuts in this country, we have no need of any more. Certainly we have no possible use for religious nuts who commit violence and murder.


MY NAME IS KHAN

Such is the title of the film which has gotten the thugs in an uproar. The theme of the movie is more or less the attitude towards Muslims which has been prevalent in the United States since September 11, 2001.
Shah Rukh Khan, as his name suggests, is a Muslim. The movie can be said to have a pro-Muslim message, and Shah Rukh Khan has spoken out against the enmity towards Muslims in the United States and India - it is the last that has so offended the Hindu Nationalists.

While I have little tolerance for either Islam or Muslims in general, and no actual interest in seeing growth of that creed or community, I will admit that there are multitudes of practicing Islamites who are in no way either problematic or objectionable. Several of the Mumineen I am acquainted with are in fact exemplary - many Christians could learn a thing or two from them.
Muslims have for years, and, in the case of India, many centuries, been constructive participants in non-Muslim society. India without the cultural impact of Muhammedans cannot even be imagined.


On the other hand, the adherents of Hindutva are almost all unmitigated haramzadeh with little to redeem them.

[Hindutvadiyeh also include the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (criminals, ideologues, and bigots), Bajrang Dal (mostly violent illiterates), the Bharatiya Janata Party (a sometimes harmless bunch of Gujus), and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (unstable thugs). It's not just the Mafia-like Shivsenaks who are dangerous. All of these organizations are suspected of involvement in terrorism, rape, assault, fire-bombings, and blackmail. Among other fine Hindoo virtues.]


HINDOSTAN

India and Indians should realize that in a country such as theirs, where so many different communities have contributed so much, any religious thuggery and intolerance serves no good purpose.
Enforcing an apartheid-like preference for Hindus and Hindu norms will only persuade more of India's best and brightest to reject their own culture, and favour the West. While obviously that would be beneficial to us in the short term, we need those people to remain in India and remain Indian. Thus they will counterbalance the loonies and keep their country from becoming a failed state, a tyranny, and a danger to the world like Pakistan.


India needs people like Shah-rukh Khan. It does NOT need people like Bal Thackery or his son Uddhav, or any of the thousands of ignorant bigots who would blame their own failures on other communities.


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

AFTERWORD

Earlier today reader Mohammad took me to task for speaking well of Salman Rushdie, on this post:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/06/pakistani-ulema-need-to-grow-up.html

The point of that post was that the Pakistani Ulema (religious scholars) were a bunch of shmendricks in desperate need of corrective surgery, as there was a huge painful stick up their collective gand.
I was as positive as is humanly possible about Pakistan, but I indicated that I might be less than tolerant of their various retrograde attitudes.

Mohammad wrote:
"... whatever mr Rushdie has wrote in his book was blasphemy. How can you expect a person to be given knighthood when he has hurt the feelings of a lot of Muslims around the world. But if you have read the book properly in his book not only he has wrote things against the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but he has openly abused Margaret Thatcher not only that he abused Ram and Sitta both figures who were considered very important in Hindu religion. "

I responded at some length, but the gist of my answer was that I had no problem with blasphemy or abuse. And, considering the alternative, I will stand by that.

The right to offend is infinitely precious and should be protected at all costs. Whether the Ulema, or the Shiv Sena (or any other bunch of verkrampte religious pustules) object, das is mir ganz scheiss egal.
They can take their outrage and fold it till naught is left but sharp corners, then shove it where the sun doesn't shine.
Please pound sand up after it.

That goes for Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Muhammadans. And everyone else.
If I left you off the list, I am very sorry - I sincerely hope you are never-the-less offended.

Labels:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

NO JUSTICE FOR NATALEE

Five years ago Joran van der Sloot and his friends caused the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway. In the days and weeks afterwards, Joran's father Paul acted as accesory to the crime by helping his son cover-up his involvement, and likely was instrumental in fogging-over the haphazard and apathetic investigation by Aruban and Dutch authorities.

Now van der Sloot senior has passed away, and with it any hope of ever finding out what that man did to protect his repulsive and despicable son.

[Repulsive and despicable:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/11/joran-van-der-sloot-and-women-flesh.html
'Nuff said.]



HIDING THE TRUTH

Quote: "Peter R. de Vries heeft met gemengde gevoelens gereageerd op het bericht. "Over de doden niets dan goeds, maar ik ontkom er toch niet aan om te zeggen dat ik er van overtuigd ben dat vader Van der Sloot zijn zoon behulpzaam is geweest bij het toedekken van diens geheim", aldus de Vries op zijn website."

[Translation: Peter R. de Vries has reacted with mixed emotions to the news. "Naught but good about the dead, but I cannot avoid stating that I am convinced that father van der Sloot assisted his son in hiding his secret", according to de Vries on his website."]

Source:
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/article6009537.ece?pageNumber=2
[Peter R. de Vries: Geheim nu mee in graf - 'secret now to the grave']


The van der Sloot family, as well-to-do members of the Dutch uppercrust, lived the good life. Van der Sloot senior died while at play in an exclusive neighborhood: "De 57-jarige jurist werd woensdagavond rond 21.45 uur lokale tijd tijdens het tennissen op villapark 'Tierra del Sol' op Aruba onwel. Een ambulance was snel ter plaatse, maar reanimatiepogingen mochten niet meer baten."

[Translation: 'The 57 year old jurist became ill Wednesday around 9:45 PM local time while playing tennis at villapark 'Tierra del Sol' in Aruba. An ambulance quickly arrived, but reanimation efforts proved fruitless.']

Source:
http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/6007822/___Vader_Joran_van_der_Sloot_overleden___.html?p=19,1
[Vader Joran van der Sloot overleden - 'Father (of) Joran van de Sloot deceased']



GOOD RIDDANCE

This turn of events no doubt pleases many in the Netherlands, as the facts of the case are now even less likely to ever be revealed, and Dutch law-enforcement can happily claim his fortuitous demise as an excuse. Had the murdered girl not been an American with a loud and persistent mother, her death would have excited no interest whatsoever, and the case would have been dropped within hours. After all, well-connected burgers cannot be accused of malfeasance without upsetting the societal apple-cart, especially in a tourist goldmine, where any sex-crimes and violence might frighten away the foundation of the economy.

Most of the comments underneath both articles in the Telegraaf are remarkably cold towards the victim (Natalee Holloway) and criticize Mr. De Vries for his statement. Several express condolence to the van der Sloot family, and regret that Mr. van der Sloot died at so young an age (57).

I cannot help but feel that the Dutch don't give a damn about the girl (who was an American, which is manifestly not a virtue in the Netherlands) and that in many ways they envy the van der Sloot's lifestyle and access to sexual exploitation. Certainly Jordan was a hero to many who in the months after Natalie's disappearance refused to believe that he had anything to do with the case and insisted that the girl deserved what she got.
Peter de Vries by his doggedness in pursuing the case showed that not all Dutchmen are swine, and that, remarkably, there are indeed decent people with a keen regard for justice in the Netherlands.

At least the van der Sloot family can bury their dead; Joran and his dad made sure that the Holloways will never have that priviledge. The truth about what Joran and his drinking buddies did to Natalee, and how the corrupt and incompetent Arubans coddled the van der Sloots and covered the trail, was buried long ago.

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TV WATCHING ROTS BRAINS - NOW MORE THAN EVER

A commenter on Dovbear's blog wrote: "Should I get my news from the New York Times? Why don't you look at today's headline.... actually writing that the big snow blizzards and record cold temperatures come from ....."Global Warming?" They must think that we are all retarded!"

[Comment string under this post:http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/02/sarah-palin-is-f-ing-retard-steven.html ]

He signs himself as 'TV Watcher'.



TV WATCHING... WATCHING... WATCHING........

I am tempted to ask if the damn thing moved or did anything remarkable while he observed it.
But I suspect that, like a watched skirt, it never boiled.

Anyhooooooooo....


Tayere TeyVeyGicker,

You could do a lot worse than read your news on line. Not only the NYT (one of the best newspapers in the world, despite your sneering malappreciation) but also the on-line BBC (yes, I know - accused of being anti-Israel, but still more and better coverage of most of the world than anybody else), Ha'aretz (don't say it!), Arutz Sheva (again, don't say it, jes' shaddap!), several European newspapers (assuming you are illiterate in more than just English), the Indian newspapers (more than just curry), and the Khaleej Times on-line (based in the Arabian Gulf, written by English speakers for English speakers).

If, on the other hand, you insist on getting your news from the television, you are misinformed and will probably have both high-blood pressure and indigestion. The format is more sensationalist, the coverage is more superficial and less equitable, the selection is limited, and the newswriters and newsreaders often staggeringly ignorant, not to say stupid, moronic, retarded.
The words 'dunce' and 'evil bastard' come to mind - and that is not just for FOX.

Excepting Jon Stewart, of course.

If you knew anything at all about global warming, you would understand that more extreme weather patterns are inherent in climactic destabilization. And that global warming is NOT some Bilderberger or Illuminati plot, but accepted as a valid scientific theory.... and fercrapsakes DON'T start waffling about 'scientific theories' like several of the ignorami who troll around the J-bloggosphere have so often already done - gravity is a theory, but I would challenge you to deny it's effect; likewise, thermodynamics, astrophysics, and bio-chemistry are rife with 'theory', but again, reject the theories and you prove yourself a fool.


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

ALASKAN WHATSERBUCKET

What is it about Sarah Palin that gets the rabid rightwing so lubricious? And why do they feel this need to defend the poor dumb beast by automatically and instinctively going into attack-Obama-mode?

Is it a gut thing? Too much deep-fried lard?

[Please eschew the pork products, especially the reactionary spam. Yes, I know it has a hechsher, but that is NO reason to swallow it uncritically. And in such large quantities too! What would your doctor say? How about the sane members of your family? ]

One would think that after eight years of Texas bollocks they would realize that if we're going to play 'your politician is worse than my politician', they're gonna lose.

Especially if their favourite political centerfold is a tea-party retard.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

IT'S ALL ABOUT ME!

If you notice me blushing, giggling like a schoolgirl, and shyly hiding my face in my hands, please think nothing of it. I am, as they say, farklempt.
Tawk among yesselves.



SEARCHING FOR TRUTH

Earlier this week E-kvetcher kindly gave me a shoutout by posting a gratuitous link to my blog in one of his posts:
http://search-for-emes.blogspot.com/2010/02/visit-to-dubbelin-town.html

For those of you who relish the peculiar loshon of the Irish in their own ir hakodesh, it's worth a visit.
Especially for you, Spiros.



URSINE BLOGGER AND FRIENDS

Then yesterday, after I had quibbled with one of the commenters on Dovbear's blog (http://dovbear.blogspot.com/ - where I impart my dubious insights under the moniker 'Bad Penguin! Bad Penguin!'), someone anonymous wrote this in my defense:

"You're new here, so here's a brief into to our friend the Bad Penguin:
First, if you knew our Penguin the way we do, you will know that he has a very low tolerance for "hipster-douchebags," and has skewered them numerous times here in the comments.
Second, in order to fully appreciate Penguin, you have to have read him for a while. Give it time. I think of him as our resident raconteur. He's lived in various parts of the world and has stories from all of them. He often weaves them into his comments. Sometimes his comments are a little obscure, sometimes they are very biting, sometimes they are outright hilarious, often they are insightful, but, agree with them or not, they are anything but boring.
As for pipe tobacco, it's one of his great loves in life, and its a theme he brings up from time to time. If you were familiar with past comments of his, his bringing it up would have made more sense to you.
You yourself might find yourself disagreeing with him when it comes to US politics. If you are pro-Israel, however, you will love his comments. With respect to Israel, not only does he talk the talk, but he walks the walk, too. "

[SOURCE: The commentstring under this post:
http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/02/palin-at-tea-party-convention-prepare.html .
It's about Sarah Palin, who is mentioned again in this post:

http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/02/sarah-palin-is-f-ing-retard-steven.html .
Please do join the conversation - Sarah Palin is a fascinating subject.]

Oh my. That's eppes some praise!
That's also a far higher standard than I can possibly live up to.



MUQATATATATATATA!

Moments ago I saw this in a comment-string on Jameel's blog:

"Btw, there's only one non-Jewish "Dutchman" I'll accept moral lessons from. You know who you are, penguin. :) "

[Jameel's blog: http://muqata.blogspot.com/ ]

Thanks, Jonathan!
But rather than moral lessons (I am not worthy, I am not worthy!), how about small arms training? I'm actually a pretty good shot.



THE DIDACTIC FUNCTION

All of this reminds me of various high-school teachers insisting that I should shut up. My being the smart-aleck in the back of the class hissing the answers was, as it turns out, not helpful. At all.
Imagine my surprise - I thought I was being charmingly gifted, and smart as a whip.

The classes were English, History, Bible Studies, Physics, Algebra, and Geometry. Those being subjects in which I got top grades.

I was extraordinarily silent in French, German, Latin, and several other fields. As you can no doubt guess, I was at the very bottom of the class in those subjects.
No gain in highlighting that, it will be painfully apparent at the end of each year.

The point here is that when I keep silent, that might be because I don't know Jack.
On the other hand, when I do open my mouth, I may just be a smart-aleck.

The only exception to that would be BIOLOGY.



BIOLOGIE: KLAS I & II

Having Mijnheer H as our biology teacher in high school was a strange and beautiful thing. He had the reputation of being a monumental eccentric, unlikeable, odd. His cold fish-eyes would stare off into the distance while he monotonously droned on about stamens, pistils, cell walls, carbon, .......... an intense and boring flow of data. During that first year several of us would liven-up the class by making snarky comments about taxonomy, mutation, ribosomes, organelles, and speciation.
Mijnheer H didn't notice, and these antics kept everyone else from falling asleep.
As humour it was exceedingly juvenile.

Second year biology, however, was quite a different kettle of fish.
Human reproduction.
Oh my.

Dot, dot, dot.

Mijnheer H could not bring himself to mention various words. Ovaries (eierstok, ovarium). Testes (teelbal, zaadbal, testikuul). Vagina (schede, gleuf, vagijn). Penis (lid, plasser). Belly button (umbilicus, navel).

His excruciating embarrassment caused him to stutter uncontrollably whenever he tried to get those things out of his mouth. "Ovovavavavavavava......"
Someone would helpfully volunteer 'ovaries?' after having seen the word in the textbook.
Mijnheer H would then hiss "yes, thank you, I meant ovavavava... vaaaa... va...".

Imagine how utterly crippled he was as regards the erectile tissue (zwellichaam) in the corpus cavernosum (pl: corpora cavernosa) and corpus cavernosum urethrae.


"COCOCCOROCRAPUH-PUH-PUH-PUSS CACCA CACCA CAHAVARVARVARRRR ... AR ... ARRR ..."


What should have taken less than two weeks according to the lesson plan lasted over four fun-filled months.

We had discovered that by NOT helping him with the words, the entire two hour class would consist of him hissing and gulping as he fought his way into the third or fourth sentence of the paragraph.
The poor man was red-faced and drained at the end of each class.
It was enchanting.

Even the girls in the class got into it - imagine a fresh-faced young thing innocently asking him about the septum pectiniforme. Or, heaven forefend, the FRENULUM!!!!!


"FREHFERRUHFREFRERREFERFAGAFURRA... NUH-NUH-NILOOOH NUH-NUH-NUMMMMM!!!!"


Unfortunately the school administration eventually solved the problem by switching him out with the big curvaceous blonde who taught the same subject.
She had no issue with any of the vocabulary, and even though I had memorized all of the Latin terminology for the reproductive organs by the time I was nine, I still learned an enormous amount from her lectures.
Especially after she visited a slaughterhouse and brought in the bull pizzle for dissection.

If you will forgive the simile, comment-string conversations are like biology classes - sometimes you have to dissect with care and attention to the fine details, and sometimes you just gotta grab the bull by the horn.
What matters is your grasp of the subject.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

THE NOBILITY OF THE FROG

When I was fifteen I found some Americans in the middle of Eindhoven. Now, there are millions of Americans, as you know. And they do travel. But Eindhoven is not on the beaten track for peripatetic Yanks, being in nowise exotic or picturesque. There is nothing there of interest.

Of course, these Americans were Missionaries, trying desperately to interest the most cynical type of native in an area that exports more surplus cynicism than any other part of the Netherlands of the truth and beauty of their faith.
Glowing religious dreamers versus hardened skeptical peasants.
They were not having any luck.

Part of it was no doubt due to their particular use of the Dutch language. Rigidly bookish, lacking any colloquial flavour entirely, and spoken exactly as if it were a version of American English.
No one understood them, and no one wanted to even come close.

I made the mistake of speaking to them, and consequently ended up with them visiting our house every Monday for half a year, where I would give them orange juice and blow cigar-smoke at them while they talked.
They would cite passages from their tract, I would refer to something in the Pentateuch that completely contradicted their nonsense, we would move on to the next dubious factoid in their religion, and I would have some more coffee.
And light another cigar.
Or pour myself a shot from the genever bottle.
I would hospitably offer them coffee, and cigars too.

"Oh do just try them - they're made in this part of the world. Quite good, the locals swear by them."
They never drank any coffee or took any cigars, and they were HORRIFIED at the genever.
Abstentionism probably also worked against them in that neck of the woods, given the local fondness for cigars, coffee, and a shot of genever (often called 'The Holy Trinity' at local bars). Abjuring any one of those three marked one as both a rigid Protestant and a frightful bore.

[Local warmth was marked by hot coffee, cold genever, and an open box of cigars. Things have probably changed since then, but in my mind Brabant is still that way - 'bakske koffie, scheut jannevier, en 'nen bolknak. Schuif maer aen, joh'.]


My parents and my brother avoided the two missionaries with the same single-mindedness of the natives. Not even the thrill of speaking to other Americans could lure them into the sera while those gentlemen were there.

After their third visit my mother took me aside and reminded me of the times in Switzerland when I had caught frogs in the forest and brought them back to the hotel, placing them in the middle of our table on the terrace. She then told me "I very much preferred it when you brought back frogs."

After a few more Mondays I understood why she had said that.
Frogs are infinitely more conversationally gifted than missionaries. More useful too. Plus, unlike missionaries, they are likely to leave suddenly.
Marvelous creatures, frogs.



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