At the back of the hill

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TEXTURE AND TENSILITY

The ex-girlfriend, who is still my roommate, has been in emotional crisis mode these past few days. It started after Thanksgiving (an evil holiday), though it had naught to do with the worship of the overweight burnt bird.
She's been a bit overwrought.
It's not anyone else's business, so I shan't tell you why.

What I will say is that I rather like it. It gives me a chance to nurture and be comforting.
She's really quite loveable during those vulnerable moments.
No, I'm not going to try to soften her up and get her back between my sheets - it would not be the gentlemanly thing to do. Not while her defenses are down.
And whether it succeeded or (more likely) failed, it would create bad blood. She would not appreciate the breach of trust.

I seriously doubt that I could get her back between my sheets in any case. She's rather stubborn and strong-minded, and once she has made a decision she sticks with it.

Nor do I want to upset the current comfortable and convenient domestic applecart: a reliable roommate with whom I get along very well.

I like having a slim small-boned Cantonese woman floating around the apartment. Especially when she flits off to the shower from her bedroom.
She isn't aware of my glowing eyes staring from the shadows.
While I will bravely assert that this is just keen aesthetic appreciation on my part, you might as well know that I have a dirty old pervert skillset of monumental proportions (it's a gift).
Having a roommate (even if she is now an ex girlfriend) who is nice to look at adds joy to my life.


"Boruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha olam, oseh ma’aseh bereishis."

Especially when she flits down the hall wearing only Hello Kitty panties.
I bought her those Hello Kitty panties last year. Had to look all over town for them. Fortunately Hello Kitty panties come in her size - and ONLY her size. She shops in the girls department, not the big white adult womens section. It is doubtful that Hello Kitty panties come in big white adult woman sizes.
Yes, half of San Francisco is no doubt achingly disappointed over that.
It's so very sad.


DARLING LITTLE BIKINI BRIEFS

Initially she wouldn't touch them - the Hello Kitty cuteness freaked her out. Surely those panties were something only a stalker or creep would gift?
No real woman would wear them, ever! Ick!
Turns out they're quite comfy. It's high quality cotton.
Yes, I compared textures and tensile qualities - for heavensakes don't ask how or why!
Just refer back to the previously mentioned 'dirty old pervert skillset of monumental proportions', and leave it at that.

They fit perfectly, by the way.

This year I have two serious gifting quandaries.
The first and most important one is that with her birthday coming up, I still don't know what to give her. She and I are no longer lovers, so giving panties of any kind is right out. It would be staggeringly indelicate.
The second quandary is much more of an intellectual problem.
Who am I going to give panties to this year?
Both of these problems are taking up a lot of my time.

Reader suggestions are always welcome.


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

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

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 29, 2010

GEERT WILDERS, GEERT WILDERS, GEERT WILDERS, GEERT WILDERS, GEERT WILDERS, GEERT WILDERS, GEERT WILDERS, GEERT ...

Once more, for all the people who do not speak Dutch, have no clue regarding and know less than nothing about Dutch politics, YET PERSIST IN REGARDING GEERT WILDERS AS pretty darn close to the Messiah, click this link:
Unless you are reasonably familiar with post-Napoleonic legal and political developments in the Netherlands, and unless you actually can name most major Dutch politicians, you really should hesitate to say anything at all about Geert Wilders and how he is the be-all and end-all of butch heroic freedom loving manhood. Echt.

Geert is by no means infallible. Though there are some admirable points.

But there is much to make one wary. For one thing, his adulation by outright xenophobes, neo-Nazis, and racists -- a crowd to whom he as opportunistically panders as they opportunistically "adhere" to his ideology.
On both sides of the Atlantic.


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

Labels:

SORRY, BERKELEY!

At the risk of irritating all my readers in Berkeley, I would like to remind everyone that today marks the anniversary of the historic United Nations vote that grudgingly acknowledged the inevitable: The Jewish homeland would once again become a Jewish state.

Possibly further irritating all my readers in Berkeley, I hasten to point out that the United Nations vote in effect did not really mean anything – it was the Haganah and the other organized groups among the Jews in the Land who made it happen, but it was the Britain and the United Nations who were entirely powerless to stop Israel becoming a state, OR prevent the Arab armies from trying to wipe the young state off the map.

[Well, the English did not actually have any intention, ever, of keeping the Arabs from invading - the Arab forces were largely armed by Britain, allied to the British, and led by British officers. Hugely embarrassing that they lost, eh what? So badly, too. Tssk, tsk.]

And also probably irritating to my readers in Berkeley: the Arabs of the part of British Mandate Palestine which was not carved off and given to the Hashemites (gotta park those hosers somewhere, they might prove useful eventually) could have had a state as early as 1947.

Let me repeat that:

The Arabs of British Mandate Palestine COULD have had a state as early as 1947!


That they did not get their state was due entirely to their fellow Arabs and their British puppet masters.
It also proved the United Nations impotent even at that early date.
That the Arabs of British Mandate Palestine STILL don’t have a state is because of their peculiar pathology.
And the help of their friends.

The Arabs of British Mandate Palestine could have had a STATE as early as 1947!

Since then, of course, the United Nations has become a patsy of the Arabs, and Berkeley has become a sanctuary for hatefilled scumsuckers.

Sorry, Berkeley.


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

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

HAUNTING PLACES TO EAT

Some of my favourite dining halls in Chinatown no longer exist. In the two decades that Savage Kitten and I were together we rarely ate at Chinese restaurants, never in the old neighborhood. The fear of running into one of her Mom's friends or relatives was far too great. It was a risk we had to avoid.

Now that I am single again, I would've liked to go back to those places.

Unfortunately they disappeared over time as owners sold or retired, and as Cantonese enterprise shifted to the avenues.

Most of the people with whom I ate back in the eighties are also gone.
Some died, some moved further into the interior to try their luck running restaurants in 'white-people's-America'.
Many have gotten married. Marriage is a death sentence for a lot of the old routines - it dampens the habits of one's dissolute bachelor days.

Going out to eat with a group of casual friends is one of those dampened things.
The responsible Cantonese family man does not spend money on foolish pursuits or casual entertainments. Not with a wife and children who require his investment.
Yam-cha, sik siu yeh, and hoei jau ba must fade from the program.

[Yam-cha (飲茶): "drink tea" - to go eat dimsum, a breakfast or brunch consisting of many types of steamed dumplings, savoury items, small dishes. Frequently done with a bunch of other people. Married men, however, do it with their family and relatives. Sik siu yeh (食宵夜): to eat late at night, to have midnight snacks. To the Cantonese, there is no time when food is not fun. Sik siu yeh is also done with a whole bunch of people, some of whom might be inebriated. Hoei jau ba (去酒吧): go to a bar and imbibe spirits. Likewise a group thing, usually followed by 去食宵夜.]

The Hakka place (梅江飯店) with the wine-lees seethed mixed vegetables and pork curls, which also did a killer mui-tsoi kau-yiuk (梅菜扣肉) eventually became something else - I remember walking past several years ago and noticing that it had changed. The teaplace that served honestly scrumptious dimsum, wide variety, everything freshly made in plain sight - gone.
The restaurant where I feasted at Man-tzai's wedding to the pie-faced girl (three hundred guests!) had been sold way back in the nineties.
The sweet fragrance café is now a Thai noodle shop, Restaurant Tao Tao has become a bookstore, and the Ping Yuen Bakery and Restaurant (superior dinner specials at affordable price) went out of business and become several something elses.
The place where I used to get those nice Northern boiled dumplings (yummy with black vinegar and hotsauce!) changed hands five times (!) over the past several years.

The ever-hungry Shanghainese students have all dispersed, the cheerful Cantonese disreputables have reformed.
Ah-Moy went to New York back in the nineties. Huong is in Denver. Lo Tung and Kap Yin Gwai opened legitimate business somewhere back east. Ah-Choy, Ah-Tam, and Older Brother Wing are finally upstanding citizens. Family men. It took a while.
For all of them.

The moon-faced university student married her college sweetheart, I think she lives in Los Angeles.
The nurse may have hitched up with a doctor fella from Texas - not sure. She liked chocolate milk, the whipped cream would end up on her nose.
The Shanghainese girl with the exceptionally generous roundnesses found someone too, probably a wealthy man.
And alas, I have no clue whatsoever what happened to the steaming!!! hot!!! seventeen year old. She's probably the happy mother of multiples by now.

I guess I'm going to have to rediscover Chinatown eateries by myself in the coming months. Should be interesting. But it will take somewhat longer than in the past - I'm not very hungry these days, and food really does taste better in company. So much better.
Still.

The voyage of discovery starts with a single mouthful.

Reviews will be spottily forthcoming. Stay tuned.



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

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

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 26, 2010

POST TURKEY DAY PEEVISHNESS

Folks have been asking me whether I had a good holiday.
It’s an odd question.
I haven’t had a real Thanksgiving since 1983, the year before my finances went into a eight year long tailspin. That was the last time I had a turkey dinner with all the trimmings among friends. By the summer of 1984 things had spiraled out of control, and I started losing my Berkeley associates.

[You may have noticed before that I am not fond of Berkeley? Now you know ONE of the reasons.]

For several years afterwards, Thanksgiving was the usual solitary sandwich and a shot of Bourbon customary among free-floating bachelors.

Even after Savage Kitten moved in with me in 1994 (we had been secret lovers for four years by that time), a real Thanksgiving was not in the cards. Because she never told her parents or siblings about our relationship, she would obediently truck on over to the family home by herself on Thursday to hear how her unmarried brothers should produce grandkids BY NEXT YEAR, and how as a worthless girl-child she ought to get hitched to a real-estate owning financially stable Toishanese professional as soon as possible.
Which, when she came home later that evening, I would hear also.

Had I been the wished-for real-estate owning financially stable Toishanese professional, it is still not likely that I would have ever been invited to these family events.
If Savage Kitten had married me she would have been someone else’s family, and her nasty old harridan mom would never have cottoned to me anyhow, as the frightful old fruitbat wouldn’t have had the chance to personally vet of me, OR inform me in great and blistering detail what a horrid awful disobedient worthless girl her daughter was. Though undoubtedly far too good for me, even if everyone was sort-of grateful that I was charitably marrying the nasty little hussy.
And "goodbye to both of you".

[If the venomous old sow could have known that her daughter decided this past summer that the relationship with the White Devil no longer worked for her and dumped me, it would've given the sadistic old prune great pleasure. That's just one of the many reasons why I am overjoyed that the vicious old crocodile has suffered several strokes and is now permanently non compos mentis.]

As you may have gathered from Wednesday's little screed, I am not particularly fond of Turkey. Possibly that's sour-grapes.
But Roast Duck is much nicer, and in years past, when Savage Kitten and I were still a couple, I would cook up a duck with all the trimmings for our own Thanksgiving celebration on Black Friday.
For obvious reasons that will not happen this afternoon.

Yesterday, before heading over to the family manse, Savage Kitten left dinner for me in the fridge.
It was very kind of her to do so - I wasn't counting on eating bugger-all on Thanksgiving, seeing as the day usually gives me a black mood and a lack of appetite.
Then she went off to "enjoy" several hours with her kin, and some of the worst Chinese food she has ever had. As well as the "stimulating" conversation of middle-aged engineers, plus sisters-in-law whom she thinks of as not being fully developed women - perfect Cantonese wives, in other words.

So no, I did not have a 'good thanksgiving'.
But I had a far better thanksgiving than my ex.
Other than watching a drunken fist-fight between a bar-owner and a patron, it was quiet and uneventful.

I'll have to take her out to dinner sometime soon. She deserves a good meal in unobjectionable company.


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

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

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TURKEY DAY

Tomorrow is the day when all proper Americans sit down to a Turkey dinner, graciously putting up with food that is just okay to downright mediocre, relatives with issues or defects, and questionable strangers that someone recklessly and entirely without asking decided to invite.
More than any other day, Thanksgiving is a triumph of bad judgment.
It is the perfect American family celebration.

Maybe you should have been born to different parents.........
"Who are all these people? And why do I have to put up with them? --- Could this crap taste better if I did the cooking? --- If I smoke that reefer now, I can probably get through the day without gagging --- Teevee, ballgame, beer, and hooting boys? I need a frikkin' valium!'"
All kinds of thoughts go through your head as you prepare to suffer through the feast - some of them quite obscene, and likely involving a niece.

But what if you don't like roast turkey on Thanksgiving? What then?
Do not panic - there is MUCH that you can do with a turkey.
The turkey is a multi-facetted foodstuff that can serve a vast variety of purposes.


TEN THINGS TO DO WITH ROAST TURKEY

1.
Drop-kick it Lord Jesus through the goalposts of life.
2. Use it as a paperweight till "they" start gagging.
3. Re-gift it a month hence.
4. Paint it orange and wear it to Giants games.
5. Put it in the blender and treat it like a frog.
6. It's your baby! Wheel it through town.
7. Airmail it to Africa.
8. Cover it with oil and play 'pervert'.
9. Keep your medications in the cavity.

10. Tinsel and lights for Christmas.


TEN MORE THINGS TO DO WITH ROAST TURKEY
11. Leave it on the church doorstep with a letter asking for a good home.
12. Draw a frowny face on it and put it on your porch.
13. File it under T.
14. Talk to it on the bus.
15. Blame it for your divorce. Then shoot it.
16. Love it tender, love it true; never let it go.
17. Hide it in the attic with grandma.
18. Call it Barbie and give it to your niece, then scream that she doesn't love you when she weeps.
19. At meetings, it's your cell-phone and it's ringing!
20. He's the man you intend to marry and you don't care what your parents think!


If you are a Vegetarian or Vegan, please use a Tofurky instead.

Alternatively, you could just pretend you have re-discovered your proud Scottish Heritage, and loudly insist on something far more culturally appropriate (and even less edible) for the family feast.
You are defiant, you are single-minded, you WILL HAVE YOUR WAY!

With any luck, you will not be invited again. Ever.
Once was enough, keep that kilt-wearing maniac away from family gatherings!

Hah, I didn't like Turkey anyhow!
Bitches.


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

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

Labels:

THE WHITE DEVIL

As you may have noticed, I have posted a lot about Chinatown and Cantonese-American matters recently. Yes, this is a result of the two decades long relationship between Savage Kitten and myself coming to an end.

Actually, it hasn't ended. But it has changed enormously.
We no longer share a bed, no longer cuddle or kiss, and no longer make any significant effort to eat together.

[I do not like eating alone. In any context, it is depressing. In a Chinese context, it sets one apart, outside normal relationships. More than anything else it marks the termination.]

We now have separate lives, and often are not in the apartment at the same time. No longer a couple, we're just good friends and roommates.

In case you were wondering, I have pretty much recovered.

And yes, I would be looking for another panty-wearing person with whom to share my life, if I had ANY friggin' clue how to go about doing that!

[It has been a very long time since I was 'in the market', so I'm rather in the dark here. Suffice to say the lucky victim will NOT be a Berkeleyite, nor someone with eccentric piercings, or tattoos.]


BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME, LET'S TALK ABOUT “THE WHITE DEVIL”!

White Devil being what the Cantonese affectionately call us paler complected people. All non-Chinese are 'Gwai' (鬼), white people are 'Pak Gwai' (白鬼).
Or 'Lo Fan' (佬番).

[Long and slightly bitter note: The White Devil is a clever sort of chap, admittedly, but he is NOT appropriate boyfriend / husband material for anyone’s daughter. Not in this lifetime. Why, the entire clan would lose respect if such a situation were to occur. Obedient daughters only marry financially stable Chinese-American college graduates, then give birth to multiple males, and for the rest shut up and avoid making waves. Someone else's ignorant slut-tramp girl-child may hang out with The White Devil - not yours! Ever.
You may have to beat her in order to make her understand that. Or disown the bitch and diligently make her life miserable for the rest of eternity IF, after forceful familial remonstration and persuasively abusive screaming, she has stubbornly and stupidly FAILED to grasp these verities.
This long and slightly bitter note is posted as a warning, very much like the Surgeon General's Warning on a pack of cigarettes. Feel free to ignore it if you wish, who are we to stop you? If you indulge in the forbidden fruit anyway, despite our cautionary wisdom and sincere concern, you only have yourself to blame for any consequences. You were warned.]


Commonly in Cantonese conversation, the white person will be identified as a Gwailo (daemonic male: 鬼佬), Gwaipo (daemonic female: 鬼婆), Gwaidai (daemonic younger brother: 鬼弟), Gwainoei (daemonic girl: 鬼女) or gwaimui (daemonic younger sister: 鬼妹).
Gwai (鬼) in most contexts translates as ghost rather than devil, but flesh-and-blood ghosts are very dangerous supernatural entities - a category that manifestly includes foreigners.
Note that ‘gwai’ (鬼) echoes the word 'gwaai' (怪) - bewildering, odd, strange, frightening, distressing. This, too, is an appropriate connotation.

[Fan (番 or 蕃) refers to all things foreign, with a connotation of 'barbarian'. It's somewhat old-fashioned. (Lo (佬) means male, po (婆) is the term for a female relative or a harridan, dai (弟) means younger brother, mui (妹) is a younger sister, and noei (女) usually simply means girl.]

Gwai, in any combination, is sometimes merely an identifier, being the most unusual and recognizable characteristic of the person in question.
It isn't necessarily meant deprecatorily.

For instance, your friend might mention Ah-Jun. You wonder if he is speaking of Ah-Jun the murderer OR Ah-Jun the sister of Ah-Pok who ran away with that Shanghainese dude. Perhaps Lam Chi-Jun, with the older son at Stanford. A few minutes into the conversation you are completely confused - which Ah-Jun is it? Sa-sou Ah-Jun (killer-hands Ah-Jun), SeungHoi piu Ah-Jun (Shanghai trollop Ah-Jun), or Pan-kokap Ah-Jun (pretentious stuck-up Ah-Jun)?
Your friend exclaims "none of those, I'm talking about Gwailo Ah-Jun (White Devil Ah-Jun), you dunderhead!".
Aha! Now you know. It's John the tax accountant. The man you wouldn't trust around your kid sister. That Ah-Jun.

Polite terms are rarely if ever appended as modifiers to 'gwai', though I have been called Gwai Sooksook' (barbarian uncle: 鬼叔叔) and Gwai Sinsang (mister barbarian: 鬼先生). Both locutions indicate an ambivalence - obviously I am not Chinese, but as a Chinese-speaker I do deserve some consideration, no?
The problem is solved when I am politely asked how I may be appelled (點稱呼 "diem ching fu?"). Whereafter some semblance of my actual name will be modified by 'sook' (叔) or 'sinsang' - father's younger brother or 'elder born' (先生) respectively.

[Casually, instead of the formal 'diem ching fu', someone may ask 'ney kiu mat meng?' (你叫乜名 "you called what name?"). Both questions may be followed by a term of politeness - Ah Sook or Sinsang - or, in the case of the latter query, include the term of address within the question: Ah Sook kiu mat meng (阿叔叫乜名)? Sinsang kiu mat meng (先生叫乜名)?]


Considering how difficult it is for many Chinese to pronounce multiple consonant cluster Western names, it has been easier to simply introduce myself as Ah Mak (阿麥). It sounds pleasantly "us-folks", and by doing so I become a knowable quantity.
Young people inevitably change it to the respectful yet familiar 'Mak Sooksook' (麥叔叔) - Uncle Mak.


SUPER FREAK

Given the opprobrious terminology outlined above, you might think that associating with Cantonese people offers scant pleasure. But you would be wrong. Cantonese commonly cut the white person an enormous amount of slack, because they fully understand that our kin-groups are smaller or non-existent, our bonds with friends and family don't follow the norm, and that we cannot comprehend the proper relationships.
We're just not Chinese.

Our culture is different, they realize that. We might not even have ancestors.

They aren’t sure what makes us tick. But they know we tick.

A person of Chinese ethnicity is expected to behave a certain way and speak a certain way.
If they don't speak fluent Chinese, there's something very questionable about them. How come they don’t understand normal speech? Why do they not grasp the proper protocols? What is WRONG with them?

Maybe they should’ve been beaten more as youngsters?

White people, on the other hand, represent something disconcerting, yet deliciously different. You never know what's going to come out of their mouths, or how they will react.
How wonderful it must be to have so few restraints! Such freedom!

White folks do have it easier.


AND ON THE THIRD HAND ......

A white person who actually speaks Cantonese is a miraculous beast - just enough unpredictability to be tremendously exciting, but still relatively able to behave like a proper human being.

[When White Devils know Mandarin they are not nearly so engaging. They probably have that Northern snootiness, too. Gosh what a bore. Where did you find this turkey?]

You might not want your daughter or sister to marry the talking White Devil, but you just can't resist flabbergasting friends and colleagues with this splendid find. How marvelous that one of them actually communicates!
And he reads and writes too!

Sometimes it's okay to be treated like an amazing genius.

True, you may get asked all kinds of oddball questions - after all you do present a window into a strange world, as well as someone who can explain or translate the surrounding environment - but Cantonese people really do appreciate wondrous beings.
Taoist immortals, idiot savants, carnival geeks, famous scholars, folks who act outrageous in public, and weird white guys.
They're fun.

It is far better to be on the outside looking in, than on the inside desperately looking out.


AFTERTHOUGHT

Many Cantonese unconsciously overlook the unhealthy skin and frightening daemon eyes, especially if the other person differentiates him or herself by showing interesting traits or evidence of shared commonality - familiar faces are always far less white.
All men are brothers, after all, and the more you know someone, the more you can understand them.

Above all else (except food), the Cantonese are fascinated by people.
All people.



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

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

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

AMONG THE VERY YOUNG

Over on Dovbear’s blog, the Bray of Fundie guestposts his annual Thanksgiving rant. He cites an interesting list of reasons why he will not have quite the thanksgivingest spirit this coming Thursday.

Intermarriage, assimilation, Reconstructionist and Humanist Judaism, sex among the young, absurd chumras, tastelessness, emptyheadedness, soullessness, drugs, indolence, debt, etcetera.
As well as "having the perennially awful Detroit Lions be one of the two permanent host teams for it's Turkey Day NFL Football offerings. The games are NEVER competitive and this is bad for the football fans, Jewish and non-Jewish alike!"

Shoyn.


SEX AMONG THE YOUNG

He's right. Only old people should have sex. They've had more practice.
Problem is, we can hear their aged bones creaking. Often accompanied by weird gurgling sounds and pained yelps. It disturbs us when we sleep.

Apparently, practice doesn't make perfect.

Roast turkey is NO substitute for sex. Unless you're really old. Or really young.
Now step away from the bird, you pervert.
And don't TOUCH that gravy boat! Not until you put the tarp down.

I'm fifty one years old. That's still young.
Still young.

I do not own a tarp.


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

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

Labels: ,

BAD WHITE DEVIL, NO DIMSUM!

This past weekend Savage Kitten went out for yam-cha with some friends.
In over two decades together, she and I did that only once. I probably had more dimsum before we started seeing each other than since.
I would've liked to have gone along with her, but those are her friends.
I have never met them.

[Yam-cha (飲茶): literally 'drink tea', but in the Cantonese context, to go to a teahouse and have a breakfast or brunch consisting of many types of steamed dumplings, savoury items, small dishes - tea is the accompaniment. Dimsum (點心): the generic name for the dumplings and snacks served at a cha-lau (茶樓 - tea pavilion, tea house).
Dimsum means 'dot heart' - that which pleases the soul. Restaurants where dimsum is served tend to be bustling and crowded, as sampling a selection of small snacky things is best done in groups, especially at a place with an extensive spectrum of offerings. Quite often a dozen people will be at a table, and there may be dozens of tables in the place. Tea houses are very popular on weekends, with whole families going out for brunch and getting quite 'cheerful' from drinking so much tea.]

It's part of the 'fear-of-Chinatown' thing. The reason she and I never went out for dimsum together, that is.
When your poisonous bitch mom (臭鬼婆) knows too many people, the chance that someone will report back to old lady that they saw her daughter with some white devil (白鬼) is rather large.

[臭鬼婆: Chau gwai poh (stinky daemonic female relative). 白鬼: Pak-gwai (Caucasian person).]

Had that happened, World War Three would have erupted.


The likelihood of someone betraying us is far slimmer now - for one thing, the old lady is no longer sentient after her strokes, and for another, Savage Kitten and the White Devil are no longer an item.

I would very much have liked to have gone for dimsum. But I wasn't asked. It would have been odd to have insisted that the EX-boyfriend come along when they never even knew that she had a relationship in the first place.
Probably quite awkward too.

Did I even exist these past twenty years? I remember all that time together, but it nevertheless seems quite figmentive right now. There were so very few witnesses.

How appropriate that the Chinese word 'gwai' (鬼) actually translates much better as 'ghost'.
I haunt the past, but not the present.


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

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

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 22, 2010

OUCH, HOT, HOT, HOT! EGG ROLLS, RICE SHEET NOODLES, CHAR KWEE TEOW!

The first time I ever had what Americans insist on calling egg-rolls was before I even hit the double digits.
My auntie Ietje had made them, and I saw the entire process.
Unfortunately I didn’t take careful notes, so I can’t give you the recipe.
Sorry.

What I do remember is that they were small and tasty.
Which I subsequently discovered made them quite a bit different than the abortion sold in 'Chineesch-Indische' restaurants in the Netherlands.
The Dutch Chinese-Indonesian restaurant eggroll is slightly smaller than a burrito, filled with lots of bean sprouts and a small amount of pre-cooked meat scrap. The skin is some kind of soggy compound which bubbles up, and due to the construction of the roll a chopstick has to be shoved through the beast after removing it from the deep fryer to drain the excess grease.
As you can probably guess, it is quite one of the nastiest comestibles on the face of the planet.
The Netherlandish natives love the thing.

What it was modeled upon, it does not resemble in the slightest.


LUMPIA

The Indonesian-Chinese eggroll or spring roll is no more than three or four inches long, and hardly one inch to an inch-and-a-half thick. The filling consists of slivered vegetables - carrot, yard long bean, water chestnuts, black mushrooms, celery, etcetera - augmented with a little meat or seafood, and maybe some minced fresh herbs. What really sets it apart, however, is the skin.

[Lumpia (潤餅) is the common term in most Indonesian and Philippino languages for this item, as well as in Dutch (spelled 'loempia'), derived from the Hokkien pronunciation of the words, and meaning a "smooth" or "generously filled" 'wafer' or dough skin. It is similar to popia (薄餅), which is the name that the non-fried version goes by. In most other Chinese dialects the second word (餅) does not mean wafer or dough skin, and the term 'Chun Kuen' (春捲 spring roll) is used instead.]

The best lumpia skins are made by sweeping a ball of dough quickly over a hot surface with one hand, peeling the skin thus left behind with the other hand and stacking it. It's a sensuous, sinuous process. Shploop with the right hand as the left pulls the damp cloth from the pile already made, pull the dough ball away while the left hand swoops in to peel the new skin off and stack it.
Very spare motions, very regular and rhythmical, very elegant.

If your auntie has arthritis, you can peel the lumpia skin off the hot surface for her.
Go on, be helpful - that's what nice young people are supposed to do.

She'll giggle every time you burn your fingers.

A dough ball yields over two hundred skins.


It is a mark of defeat to use a batter instead of a dough ball - the skins will not have nearly as nice a texture. And commercially bought skins, while adequate, are not really proper, nor as tasty.


OUCH! HOT! HOT! HOT!

So instead, let us talk about Cheung Fan (腸粉). Which is rather similar, intellectually speaking.
Though in actual practice, there is no resemblance whatsoever.

Cheung fan are soft fresh sheets of rice flour dough steamed with a little filling - shrimp, beef, pork, or whatever - then folded over, drizzled with a little soy sauce and sesame oil, minced scallion to garnish. Cut into segments of folded roll and dipped in a little hot sauce or tiem jeung (甜醬) it is heavenly. Very kind on the stomach, the breakfast of champions. Eppes tasty.

The resemblance to spring roll is in the manufacture. There is heat, and there may be scorched fingers.
Oh, and it likewise requires an accurate eye. Let judgment be your guide.

[Don't worry, it will come to you - but if you are uncertain, perhaps best to do the first batch experimentally and quietly deep-six the results, so that you can flabbergast your housemates later with nicely made cheung fan. Let subterfuge be your other guide.]

In commercial establishments, a sheet of cloth is tightly stretched over a rectangular steamer and wetted. A rice flour batter is ladled over quickly, smeared flat, filling is strewn over one side, and within mere moments the cloth is lifted with the skin adhering and another put in place and wetted. Meanwhile a deft hand with a spatula separates the already steamed skin, dexterously jiggling it into a loosely folded wedge or roll. It is sliced across into segments, garnished, and promptly served.

At home it is not made so efficiently, because you do not have a large rectangular vat of fiercely boiling water with a perforated metal plate on top.

You have, perhaps, a really big steamer.

So what you can do is use pie pans instead of taught wetted cloth, either lightly oiled or with a little Pam sprayed on. The steaming time is a little longer, because your cheung fan will be thicker. And instead of nice sharp-edged rectangular rolls, yours will be a little thicker around the middle.
If no pie pans, salad plates will also do - the result will be cute little cheung fan, quite suitable as a mid-day snack.


CHEUNG FAN BATTER

One cup plain rice flour.
Quarter cup tapioca flour.
Two TBS cornstarch.
Two TBS oil.
Half a teaspoon salt.
Cold water.

Sift dry ingredients together. Slowly stir in some water, add the oil, and keep adding more water while stirring till you have a batter that looks like heavy cream - approximately 1¾ to 2¼ cups water in all.
Let it stand an hour, re-stir. It is now ready for use.

Grease a pie pan, ladle in enough batter to thinly cover bottom, and place in the steamer. After about a minute to a minute and a half, add the filling along one side. Steam for another four to six minutes, depending on how thick your layers are. Remove the pie pan from the steamer, and prepare a second pan while the first one cools.
As soon as you have added a filling to the second cheung fan, separate the first one from its pan with a flexible spatula, rolling as you go. Proceed in this manner till all the batter is used up. There should be about eight or nine cheung fan stacked on the plate when you're done. Drizzle a little sesame oil over for fragrance, slash into segments to show the filling, and garnish with minced scallion.


CHEUNG FAN FILLING - SUGGESTIONS

Dried mushroom and codfish silk jerky re-humidified and minced, with an equal amount of lap cheung, also minced, and slight quantity of ginger. Maybe re-humidified dry shrimp, or whole peeled fresh shrimp. Perhaps chopped ham. Or thinly slivered beef.
The key thing is that the filling be slightly savoury, slightly sweet, nicely fresh tasting, and not too much - you are eating a noodle, not a meat pie. So only a tablespoon or two per noodle sheet.


TIEM JEUNG (甜醬)

Four TBS Hoisin Sauce (海鮮醬 HoisinJeung).
Two TBS Soy Sauce.
One TBS sugar.
One Tsp. Chili sauce.
One Tsp. Vinegar.
4 - 6 TBS water.

Simmer while stirring till thick. Serve with cheung fan, lumpia, or popia.


Please note that the cheung fan batter given above can be modified, after due experimentation, as you see fit. Either the amount of tapioca flour can be reduced, replaced with a quantity of glutinous rice flour, or it may be increased slightly. It depends on the mouthfeel that you wish to achieve. So please, do experiment like topsy!
An all plain rice flour batter yields a noodle that isn't very interesting, it has to have some tackiness to it. I'm still experimenting too, in case you were wondering.
The oil, however, is essential, so do not omit it, though you may reduce or increase the quantity. It sweats out slightly during steaming, thus making it easier to lift the cheung fan off the cooking surface.

The same batter can be used for Teochew-style char kwee teow ('fried cake noodle': 炒粿條). Just steam the sheets without any fillings, peel them off the surface, and cut them into broad strips. After cooling they may be used for stir-fried rice noodles with clams, shrimp, and oysters, and bean sprouts. Remember to use pork fat for that real flavour. Add minced scallion (or chives) and thin omelette cut into strips, plus some sweet soy sauce and chili paste, then imagine that you're eating by the side of a busy street in Georgetown.
There are some "cheerful" working men in stained tee shirts next to you with cigarettes and beer. The aroma of wood smoke and gasoline drifts over from elsewhere in the cool air of evening. Some place distant a tire is burning.
Yes, this is precisely how you imagined the day ending. Bon appétit!



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

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

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, November 19, 2010

I WOULD RATHER FEEL YOUR AGE

There are times when Savage Kitten notices that I am downcast, and asks if there is anything that she can do to help. There isn't. She herself is the cause.
She realizes this, but what she cannot know is that she herself has changed so much over the past few months that I have lost far more than just my long-time lover. Something priceless is gone, and I'm not sure what has replaced it. The Savage Kitten I knew is still there, but she is no longer the same.
I am still incredibly fond of the person, but there are now parts to the person that I cannot fathom.

I suppose I should chalk it up to growth. We all grow.
No doubt I have also changed, but for me it is hard to quantify how - I am not an impartial observer of my own existence, and am too close to the subject to have perspective.
I shan't ask her, though - at this time she is not impartial enough either, and I don't really want to hear her perspective on such things as yet.

Savage Kitten and I are friends. Good friends, who know each other better than others.
But we aren't companions. There are things that can no longer be said.

I have become a more private person - that is a development that I do notice. Not a development I particularly like, but there really isn't any choice.


I miss what used to be, and need something new in its stead.


While I like people around me, I don't really like talking anymore. Their joy and vitality is pleasant, provided they mostly leave me alone. I can occupy my mind by reading or spacing out a bit.
Too many people, however, is a distraction and a discomfort.
Group events were never something to which I looked forward, but at present the prospect of a multitude is quite unsettling.

One or two people, good friends, with whom to have dinner or a snack, or in whose company to sit reading - that sounds about ideal. Tea or coffee, quiet warmth. Time together for the mind to wander and unwind, without forced conversation, without the racket of a public place, without the distraction of other people's hyper chattering.
Heck, if I were a dreary old fart, I'd go down to the club and sit in the library rustling my papers and grumbling, in the distant presence of the similarly afflicted..........

There are no clubs anymore, and I am far too young for such a course of action.


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

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ARE AUSTRALIANS DUMBER THAN KANGAROOS?

Yes, I know it’s an odd question. Reason I need to ask is that someone, presumably from Australia, placed a comment underneath one of my posts overnight.
I shan’t go into the reasons I have for suspecting that he is from Australia – I don’t want a whole bunch of wallaby-humpers or smelly croc-wrestlers to come looking for me while they're drunk on Fosters, the poor dears might drown trying to swim here from there – but I will share his amazing eloquence with you.


“Are you an idiot? the ady gill was off, the have just waved goodbye to the Bob Barker and they were waiting for more fuel. THE VESSEL WAS NOT IN A "MANUVERABLE" POSITION! however, the shonan maru no. 2 was, and when you watch the footage, you can see that the shonan took a wide turnand headed in the way that the ady was obviously floating cause that was the way the oceans waves were carrying it. you are a dumb prick. go get some actual facts instead of listening to your chinky nip friends.”
[This comment string under this post from nearly a year ago.]

"Chinky nip friends"

Other than that Haley (the commenter) doesn't understand complex subjects like capitalization, punctuation, and spelling, you will note one other thing: his use of the term " chinky nip".

"Chinky nip friends"

Is that what you kangaroo-buggering gobshytes in Aussie-land call them, Haley?
Well, that's not surprising, you lot are remarkably ignorant and brutish, seeing as ninety percent of you are the incestuous offspring of inbred syphilitic louts transported for penetrating farm-yard animals and exposing yourselves in public, eh?

"Chinky nip friends"

Yeah, I know. Generalization, most unfair.
Probably not all Australians are sodden-drunk bestialists and spaghetti-sandwich eaters. Still, that rather is the image they have, so there must be plenty of that type stumbling around Sydney and Melbourne. The rest have my sympathy.
It can't be easy living with sub-literates like Haley.
Especially sub-literates that habitually drink too much and chunder down their fronts.

"Chinky nip friends"

How are you lot getting along with the rest of the world nowadays?
Perhaps you need some more Fosters Laaaaguh, and another shrimp on the baaahbi? Vegemite?
It might keep you from maltreating the abos, while there's anybody watching.

Say 'hi' to Bruce for me.


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

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CHINESE RECIPES - EIGHT EASY DISHES

A post I wrote a while back about unusual ingredients used in Chinese cooking prompted fretfulness from some of my readers.

One person asked "what if I don't WANT to spend an arm and a leg feeding my family?!?"

Another asked whether there was something less likely to prompt his kids in demanding Jaws I, II, and II as movie rentals, and a third asked if Chinese people also ate normal food.

Those are interesting questions.


"What if I don't WANT to spend an arm and a leg feeding my family?!?"

If you don't feel like spending inordinate amounts of money feeding your family there is NO reason why you should, really. Especially if they are children. Children don't have any taste - that is why despite the crappy toy that they are forced to accept, they still love happy meals. Children are nasty little barbarians who just don't appreciate any effort at all; you might as well neglect the little buggers until they're college age, when you can safely get rid of them. They'll eat pizza and burgers once they're finally out of your sight anyhow. Screw them.

And I understand that you don't want to see any of the Jaws movies ever again. They were very silly, the music was bad, and the happy endings stank.
Rent a Chow Yun-fat (周潤發) gangster movie instead.
I suggest 'A Better Tomorrow' (英雄本色 'Ying Hong Pun Sek').

Chinese people eat normal food. Yes. Where are you from?



CHINESE RECIPES

But, for those readers who really do want to cook something Chinese without losing their mind, here are some recipes.


酸辣湯 SUUN LAAT TONG
Hot and sour soup

Two cups chicken stock.
Two cups water.
¼ - ½ cup meat - chopped chicken or pork.
¼ - ½ cup bamboo shoots; rinsed and drained, shredded.
¼ - ½ cup tofu, small chunk cut.
¼ - ½ cup cucumber; peeled, seeded, chopped.
3 - 4 black mushrooms; soaked, drained, stemmed, sliced thin.
2 TBS wood ear (木耳 'muk yi'), soaked and drained.
Quarter cup sherry.
1 TBS soy sauce.
1 TBS vinegar.
1 TBS equal mixture cornstarch and water.
1 Tsp. hot toban sauce (辣豆瓣酱 'laat touban jeung').
¼ - 1 Tsp. ground white pepper.
Pinches five spice powder, sugar.
Two or three drops Tabasco.
A little slivered ginger.
One egg, beaten.
Finely chopped scallion.
Sesame oil.

Bring liquids to a boil. Add meat, mushrooms, shoots, tofu, and wood ears. Reboil. Add everything else except the beaten egg, cornstarch water and scallion. Bring back to a boil, and while stirring soup, mix in the cornstarch water and drizzle in the beaten egg.
Add a few drops sesame oil, apportion into bowls, and strew the chopped scallion over.


This soup is incredibly popular, not only among white people. The reason is that it is actually very tasty, and warms you up nicely on a cold autumn night.
Some ingredient quantities are very flexible, depending on how filling you want this to be, and how hot. The heat should be primarily dependent on the white pepper, not on the toban sauce (which can be left out) or the Tabasco (which can also be left out).
The amount of vinegar can be increased. The addition of chopped cucumber is not traditional.


鹹苦瓜 HAAM FU GWA
Dressed bitter melon.

2 TBS dry shrimp (海米 'hoi may').
2 TBS sherry.
2 TBS soy sauce.
2 TBS lime juice or vinegar.
2 TBS sugar.
2 TBS oil.
A little finely minced garlic, ginger, and green chili.

Two or three bitter melons (苦瓜 'fu gwa').

Mix everything except the bitter melon and the oil, and let stand for 2 or 3 hours. Heat the oil in a pan and sizzle the steeped shrimp and their liquid. After a few seconds, decant. It is now a dressing that can be used for blanched vegetables.

Cut the bitter melons in half, remove the pith and seeds. Slice across into thick slivers. Blanch in some boiling salted water, drain, and toss with the dressing. Let stand half an hour, retoss before serving.



炒菜心 CHAU CHOI SAM
Stirfried flowering mustard.

One bunch choisum (菜心), root end trimmed, rinsed.
Half a cup finely chopped meat.
Two TBS sherry.
Two TBS stock.
Two Tsp equal parts cornstarch and water mixed.
A small amount of minced garlic and ginger.
Pinch salt.
Pinch sugar.

Heat wok with a little oil. Stirfry the vegetable for one minute with the pinch salt. Add a splash of liquid to steam-flash the vegetable, stir two minutes more, and remove from heat. Arrange on a plate as if it were asparagus.

Stirfry the meat with the salt, garlic, and ginger till fragrant and no longer raw, about a minute or so. Sizzle with the sherry, add the stock and starch water, cook till it becomes glossy, and pour over the choisum, leaving ends bare.



油燜雙菇 YAU MUN SEUNG GU
Double mushroom casserole.

12 black mushrooms.
12 fresh champignons.
One small can bamboo shoot shreds, rinsed.
One cup stock.
3 TBS oil.
2 TBS. soy sauce.
1 TBS. equal parts cornstarch and water mixed.
2 Tsp. sugar
Sesame oil for drizzling.

Soak the black mushrooms for an hour in a little water with a pinch of sugar.
Meanwhile simmer the cleaned champignons in the stock on low heat.
Drain the black mushrooms (trim the stems) and the champignons, reserving liquids.
Heat the oil in a pan, add both sets of mushrooms and the bamboo shoots. Stirfry briefly, add the liquids and sugar. Cook on high till toasty hot, about three minutes. And the cornstarch water to thicken and velvetize, drizzle a little sesame oil over to finish.



紅燒雞翅 HONG-SIU KAI CHI
Braised chicken wings.

A dozen chicken wings.
A dozen black mushrooms.
One cup stock.
Quarter cup soy sauce.
Quarter cup sherry.
Two TBS sugar.
Two scallions, coarse cut.
A little minced ginger.

Trim the tips off the wings, and cut them in two at the joints. Soak the mushrooms for thirty or forty minutes in a little water with a pinch of sugar. Drain, reserve liquid.

Lightly stirfry ginger and scallion, then add the wings, sugar, and half of the soy sauce. Once the wings have darkened, add everything else, and simmer for half an hour.



沙爹酱蛤 SA-TE JEUNG GAP
Clams in saté (peanut) sauce.

One pound of clams, scrubbed and rinsed.
One scallion, coarse cut.
One garlic glove, chopped.
Quarter cup stock.
Two TBS sherry.
Two TBS. oil.
One TBS. smooth peanut butter.
Dash of Tabasco.
1 Tsp. Sugar.
1 Tsp. cornstarch.

Mix the stock, sherry, peanut butter, Tabasco, sugar, and cornstarch till smooth.
Put clams, scallion, oil, and a jigger of water into a saucepan. Cook on moderate heat with the lid on till the clams open, agitating occasionally. When the shell are open, add everything else. While stirring, bring to a boil. Simmer shortly, remove unopened shells, and serve.



回鍋肉 WUI-WOK YIUK
Twice-cooked pork.

Half a pound of streaky pork.
One green bell pepper, chunked.
One Jalapeño, seeded and rinsed in hot water.
2 or 3 cloves garlic.
2 or 3 slices of ginger.
2 or 3 scallions, coarse cut.
Quarter cup stock.
2 TBS. sherry.
1 TBS. toban sauce (豆瓣酱 'touban jeung').

Simmer the pork whole with ginger and scallion, in lightly salted water to cover for half an hour.
Drain, slice thin.

Crisp the pork and bell pepper in a hot pan with some oil. Add the garlic and Jalapeño, toss briefly, and sizzle with the sherry. Add the stock and toban sauce, and turn over high heat to coat the meat. Remove to a serving plate.


[The reason why twice-cooked pork in most Chinese restaurants tastes so miserable is because they substituted lean meat. White folks often panic when fatty pork is used, you see. But it really doesn't work with loin, it needs the streaky stuff.]


炒肉絲 CHAU YIUK SEE
Stir-fried meat shreds.

One pound lean meat, matchstick cut across grain.
One bell pepper, cut similarly.
Two TBS. wood ear (木耳 'muk yi').
A little chopped garlic and ginger.
Tabasco and sesame oil.

Marinade:

Half TBS. soy sauce.
Half TBS. sherry.
1 Tsp. cornstarch
1 Tsp. oil.
Generous pinch of sugar.

Sauce:

Half TBS. soy sauce.
Half TBS. sherry.
1 Tsp. sugar.

Soak the wood ear for 30 or 40 minutes and drain.
Marinate meat while the wood ear is soaking, then stirfry briefly in a hot pan to change the colour and remove from to plate.
Gild the wood ear, bell pepper, garlic, and ginger. Before the garlic turns evil, sizzle in the sauce ingredients. Add the meat, toss to mix and mingle, add a dash of Tabasco and a drizzle of sesame oil, and plate it.


NOTES


When stirfrying, the wok should be smoking, the hand quick. As with everything else, pre-prep is everything. The actual cooking time is very short, but you should have all ingredients ready before you turn up the heat.

These eight dishes are authentic, although the addition of Tabasco is, of course, a heterodox touch. Real Chinese cooking would use 辣酱 (laat jeung) instead, and Cantonese people would eschew even that.
Sherry is a more than reasonable substitute for Chinese rice wine, having the same strength and an almost identical taste. Here in California sherry is native, but rice wine isn't - so why not?

If you want to go the whole nine yards, prepare most or all of these dishes as a full meal for your friends. Or do a few of them, and get some roast duck from a Chinatown takeout, along with some charsiu or siuyiuk.
Remember to send your kids off to Mickey D's for a happy meal in the meantime. They'll be happier. So will your friends.



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

Labels: , ,

IT TASTES SOUR, IT TASTES SWEET

When Savage Kitten and I first started going steady neither one of us was well-funded. That, necessarily, put a major crimp on our dates – there isn’t a whole heck of a lot that you can do together when money is tight. In those first few years we took a lot of walks. We’ve probably walked in each other’s company over all of this quadrant of the city. Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill. The Union Street and Fillmore Street areas. The wharf, Fort Mason, and all over North Beach.

The one place we NEVER walked together was Chinatown. The reason being that she did not want her parents to find out about the relationship. They never would’ve approved of her seeing an impoverished white guy instead of consenting demurely to marry a real-estate owning Chinese American professional who spoke Toishanese.

A stony-broke kwailo snarkmeister living in a flea-bag hotel who spoke Cantonese like a Hong Kong thug was definitely NOT on the programme.

Later, when our finances improved and we had moved in together, we still kept the relationship secret. We would walk all over the city together, but not in Chinatown. Nor even near Chinatown.
Just too damned many people there who knew her parents. It’s like a village in that regard.


PIE?

In the early years we would occasionally head over to Geary Street, ending our jaunt at a coffee shop where they had excellent pie.
There was also a good pie place on Fillmore. As well as a comfy coffee place on Polk with pie. Plus a pie shop on Union. And a very nice breakfast and lunch place on Columbus, with pie.
Pie a la mode, two forks. A cup of coffee, and a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream.

When our finances improved, there were many more things we could do together. We still took long walks together (though not as regularly), but somehow the pie fell by the wayside. Once in a while I miss the pie, but not very often.
The taste of poverty, for some reason, is easily brought back by pie.

[Much more by spaghetti and instant noodles. It has been nearly nineteen years since I’ve tasted instant noodles. I have no wish to refresh my memory of the taste or texture of instant noodles, they probably haven’t changed much. Buck fifty for a pack of three in assorted flavours, on sale. Used to be half that price. Or even six for a buck.]

A WORLD AFTER PIE

We broke up a few months ago. The split is solid, and we’re never going to be together again as a couple.
But we’re still good friends, and we still take walks together.

Now more often even than when we were lovers.

Some days she just tries to get too much accomplished after work, and there is no time to stroll. But on other evenings we might hike all over Russian Hill and Nob Hill, along streets we’ve known all of our lives….. and even, recently, Chinatown. We’ve crossed the hill at Jackson or Pacific, and gone down to Grant and Stockton. Sat on the benches in the park on Powell.
We've scoped out the menus of eateries on Washington, window shopped on Grant, and stared politely back at tourists……

The past few days we haven’t done that. It was too late, and both of us were tired.

But this evening we will walk together. It will be much earlier than usual.

Tonight we will have dinner.
As friends.
Not all walks have to end in pie.


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

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SANCTUARY

When I was still in school, I preferred to do my homework with caffeine and minor noises. The caffeine, obviously, stimulated the cerebral tissues. The noises are self-explanatory - the anonymous evidence of other humans in the vicinity is pacificatory, but one doesn't really desire their conversation or involvement.
What this meant was tea, in a restaurant, café, or similar environment.

[The tea was mentioned in a previous post that involved a MONKEY. The restaurant, café, or similar environment is described HERE, the praise-worthy habits of a proper school boy are mentioned HERE, and touched upon lightly elsewhere on this blog.]


Many of my classmates preferred to hit the books in the platform cafés at the station while waiting for the train back to Bladel, Budel, Tegelen, or Tilburg. Others headed straight for the old-folk haunted café-billard right outside the school, or retired to a convenient auberge in their own neighborhoods.
In the middle of the afternoon, a quiet young person applying him or herself to their studies is a low-maintenance customer who doesn't take up much time or space, especially given that there are at that time of day so few other people in the place.
There was the required amount of minor noise, and certainly there was caffeine.


Today's students are not so lucky.

One cannot get much done in a San Francisco coffee shop. Too much noise, too many people high as a kite, far too many loonies. And the prices make it too expensive as a regular indulgence - most students cannot afford six dollar espresso drinks every hour for the dubious luxury of sitting amidst tumult.

Anyone doing their homework in the cafés of North Beach will probably be lectured by a pompous bore besides.
Probably some bearded wallah who asserts himself an expert on the very subject of the textbook in front of the student, and who will creatively reinterpret mediaeval history or eighteenth century English literature to fit a Crypto-Marxian-Existentialist agenda. At great and blithering length.

If there were station platform-cafeterias in this city, they'd be occupied by the overflow from the bus terminus. Drug addicts, whacked out weirdoes, conspiracy theorists, and Berkeleyites.

The neighborhood auberge is likely a drinking hole with oversexed trolls at all hours of the day.

[Bear in mind that I am discussing students in San Francisco, not Berkeley. If they are in Berkeley, they are probably not studying but plotting violent insurrection or listening to eppes heavy lectures by Arab intellectuals. Berkeley is not really America, you see, but an outpost of the Heroic Revolutionary Masses™ seeking the overthrow of the First World.]


Years ago the public libraries were choice sanctuaries for students seeking a quiet place. Today, with the numbers of the publicly mad increasing, and the policy of driving whores and homeless people from the streets, libraries are perhaps less than ideal environments. At least in San Francisco.

So I have to ask: where do today's students hang out? Where do they pursue their studies, swot their books, or scratch their intellectual young rumps thoughtfully while pondering the mysteries of Hegelian Philosophy and Keynesian Economics?

Where do YOU read?

I see so few scholars in my usual haunts that I have to think someone ate them all.
This used to be a city that both drank and read more than any other United States metropole.
Now it seems like it merely drinks more.
Where have all the students gone?


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

JVP ASSAULT WITNESSED

One of the people who was there witnessed the assault on Robin by the JVP’ers Sunday evening in Berkeley very clearly.

This is what he wrote:
"I witnessed the assault on Robin Dubner on 11-14-10. I heard a fracas to my left and behind me. I turned and saw a blonde woman with short hair and a man with glasses pushing Robin backwards, toward a wall of windows and a plaster wall-- a corner, essentially. Robin had both hands above her head and the two JVPers were shoving her backward and grabbing at Robin's hands. Another two persons were behind the two assailants, all moving forward on Robin, who was retreating backward from them. Robin was screaming words to the effect of: "Don't touch me; let go of me." I didn't catch the JVPers' words, but several people were yelling at Robin at once.

I saw Robin's camera fly out of her hands and the attack on her let up for a moment. When Robin picked up her camera from the floor, the attack started again, with more pushing, grabbing and screaming at Robin by multiple people. Robin took out her pepper spray and sprayed the blonde woman; I didn't notice her spray the man but I understand he was also sprayed. At that time, Robin was able to move away.

I can testify in court that this was a brutal attck by multiple cowards on a disabled person (Robin) and that Robin was justified in protecting herself with pepper spray. The spray was used solely in self-defence. Even I feared for Robin's safety at the hands of these thugs who unjustifiably, physically attacked Robin."

Comment string underneath this post:
http://proisraelbaybloggers.blogspot.com/2010/11/jewish-voice-for-peace-and-bully.html.


Bear in mind that there are also other witnesses.
Unlike JVP, they will tell the truth



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

YOU CANNOT SEE ANYTHING HERE

Occasionally I check my stats, to find out where my audience is, and what they are looking for.
Yes, I do want to cater to my loyal readers. Really.
Actually I'm fascinated by their search criteria.
What pulls them in?

Apparently, my loyal readers want nipples.

According to my stats, one of the search criteria people use to find my blog is "I can see your nipples".
Every week. Every day. Even right now. It's an all-time constant.
Readers type "I can see your nipples" as their criterium, and promptly find this normally nipple-free blog.

Given that that particularly post was actually about drinking coffee on a Parisian terrace, I have to think that it was purely the eloquent phrasing that stuck in my readers minds.
It wasn't the nipples themselves - they were never actually described - but the situation wherein some poor traveler focused on something only marginally nipplish at best. He was in France, and the style and pizzazz of French waitresses reached deep into his subconscious and playfully tweaked something there.


"I can see your nipples!"

What you actually wanted was some cream for your coffee. But the waitress was pert and charming, and this deranged your tongue. These things happen. Nipples have a tendency to do precisely that.
Don't try to deny it.


THE APEX OF THE MAMMARY

But that brings up a good point. If by any chance you can see a woman's nipples, and you are neither another woman (who can diplomatically alert the nipplesome one that her raspberries are showing), nor involved with her physically, it is probably a darn good idea NOT to say "I can see your nipples".
Nor anything else involving nipples.
Just don't say what comes to mind, let it go.
Be Zen.


"I can see your nipples!"

The fact that you can see her nipples means that you were looking. And if you admit that, it tells her precisely WHERE you were looking.

"My face is up here!"

"Yes, but your nipples aren't"


See? That isn't a conversation that you really want to be involved in. It won't lead anywhere good. Please stop thinking about her nipples. Think about strawberries instead. Rice cookies. Or coffee.
Concentrating on her nipples will take you to a very dark place.
It ain't worth it.
Trust me. I've been there.

Under almost all circumstances, saying "I can see your nipples" will get you in a load of trouble.

Perhaps it is best to tell yourself that nipples are dangerous, nipples are evil, nipples are the anti-Christ made breast.
Drop the word nipples from your vocabulary, and resolve never to mention nipples again. Do not think of nipples, or even things that resemble nipples. Nothing pink. No chocolate covered strawberries. No fruit yoghurt. No light switches. You cannot see nipples. The nipples are invisible. Nipples? What nipples?
There is NO mammarial acme.
Please convince yourself of that. For your own well-being.

Be nipple-free, little bird, be nipple-free.

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

AFTERTHOUGHT

One of the best ways to keep from thinking about nipples is to concentrate on something else.
Perhaps you should think of Bic Lighters? Lizards? Twitchy wiggly lizards, tails flicking, tight little scaly torsos twisting and curving in your hand........
Oh crap, that will remind you of nipples!
There's something just too sexual, sensual, slithery about lizards. Your mind can ONLY think of nipples when you think of lizards.
Don't think of nipples.

I know, think of Hello Kitty! There are NO nipples on Hello Kitty. Nothing is more gender-free than Hello Kitty. Nice sweet cute Hello Kitty has NO nipples, none at all.
Hello Kitty is entirely sexless, neuter in all details. Not a shred of nipple.
Yes.

Think about Hello Kitty.


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

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

Labels: ,

Monday, November 15, 2010

KEEP YOUR MIND OUT OF MY CROTCH!

It isn't often that I get to start a blogpost by talking about my penis.
But, this being San Francisco, it was bound to come up.
[Please excuse the startling images conveyed by that sentence.]

Well, actually, this isn't so much about MY penis, as about the penises of little children.
Many penises, many little children, all colours and creeds of penis.
Lots of infant wangly-dangly.

It turns out that the citizens of the City by the Bay may be thinking about foreskins next year.

"If a San Francisco man named Lloyd Schofield gathers a shade over 7,000 signatures, San Franciscans will actually get the chance to vote on whether or not to ban the practice of circumcision."
[From 'San Francisco Circumcision Ban Aims to Spice Up Your Sex Life' by Joe Eskenazi, in SF Weekly blogs.]


Given what else we've banned in this city recently, I have to conclude that foreskins are the moral equivalent of a happy meal. Or smoking.

Or perhaps the opposite. I'm not sure.

Either way, no littering is involved, and that's a good thing.


PREEPOOZ

Personally I would be just as happy if Lloyd Schofield kept his attention off of the end of my penis, and everybody else's. How our members terminate is, strictly speaking, not any of his beeswax.
I've always been mighty pleased with my penis ("hi there, you handsome fellow!"), and have never lamented the removal of my praepuce.
I don't miss it, and wouldn't wish it on anyone else.
But Lloyd Schofield has 'aesthetic' issues about it.

I can understand that our early hominid ancestors probably benefitted from having that little roll of skin protecting their glans as they ran through the savannas of Africa trying to get away from sabretooths - waisthigh thorny spiky shrubby things and all that in the undergrowth - but in the modern world, that extra baggage just isn't very useful. Besides looking rather ugly.
Lloyd Schofield would disagree.

In the locker room at school, I was always amazed at how animalistic many of the natives looked, and how ridiculous and impractical foreskins really were. Do I need to mention that little boys are not very fastidious even at the best of times? A foreskin does not add to their cleanliness, and argues very much against employing Italian plaster statuary to decorate your apartment.
Lloyd Schofield would disagree.

I would actually quote him on this issue, but I can't be bothered to ask him for a statement. It's doubtful whether someone so obsessed with the final few inches of a penis can actually say anything I want to put on my blog in any case, and hell will freeze over before I allow some loony to go on and on about the appearance and sensitivities of the male regenerative organ in this space.
Lloyd Schofield would disagree.

Men who are uncircumcised are more likely to have a variety of infections under the foreskin, and the inflammation from those infections could increase the risk of ulcerations, which could also increase the risk of infection
[From Circumcision Ban Could Make Ballot in San Francisco, by Althea Fung in the National Journal.]


Prickly burs, mister Schofield, prickly burs.
Don't ever go camping.

If Lloyd Schofield's foreskin-loving proposition passes, there will be illegal circumcision parlous springing up all over the city, you can be sure of that. Not only will the Muslims and Jews see eye to eye (or external urethral orifice to external urethral orifice), but many others will spontaneously decide that, like tattoos and body-piercings, circumcision is a delicious exhibition of rebellion against the squares, and a cut penis visibly proves the unique individuality and independent-mindedness of the bearer.
Why, it's positively Bohemian!

Lord knows, I don't want that.
I'm perfectly happy keeping my penis in my pants in public.
Really, no one should be encouraged to flaunt their penis as a statement.
Not even Lloyd Schofield.


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

Labels:

 
Newer›  ‹Older