At the back of the hill

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

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

LET US EAT

The other day an attractive woman accosted me. Now, bear in mind that I have been without an amorous interest in my life for ever so long, and consequently am far more vulnerable than the average man, who watches sports on the telly, which satisfies all of his animalistic cravings oh boy big time, so the occurrence of conversation with a member of another species gender is always enjoyable.

And I'm adept enough at reading the signals that I knew she was keenly interested in my hot old dessicated corpse. Adds a new dimension to the concept of 'jumping them bones'.
Except it stood NO chance of happening.

I may be single, but I have restraint. And some common sense.
At fifty-three years of age I am not a teenager.

I cannot get involved with a busty Vegan.


Now, concerned friends may criticize, saying "for crap sakes, man, you're a somewhat presentable fifty three year old AND superficially rather dashing, stop limiting yourself by being so damn picky and blinkered! So what if she's got crazy ideas about food! Find something else about her to like! We're sick and tired of not being able to invite you out on couple's night!"

Or something like that.


But food, you must understand, is the great social lubricant. And if nothing else a deep and abidingly intriguing subject for conversation. In that regard it is often far better than pipes and tobacco, Talmudica, and the history of the late mediaeval Netherlandish butterfly.
Imagine, if you will please make the effort, that I am on a date with a brilliant petite bio-chemist, who has excess IQ points coming out of her ears, reads Sartre for giggles, and does the Sudoku in ten seconds flat. She's cute, thoughtful, and super intelligent. We may have zip-diddly in common, and I'm withering inside from her sheer adorable genius.

Then I mention roast duck.

"Oh I just LOVE roast duck", she will exclaim, "do you prefer it from Gourmet Delight (新凱豐燒臘店) on Stockton, or from Kam Po (港新寶燒腊小食), near the tunnel?" And mere fractions of a second later we are deeply, intensely, animatedly, in conversation.
Within minutes, one of us will suggest "let's go eat... RIGHT NOW!"
Before you know it, it's several months later and we have discovered an enormous range of interesting facets we either have in common or in contrast. Despite my knowing nothing about astro-physics, that French scribbler, and the numbers game.


Aside from the obvious problems, discussing food with a Vegan might be impossible. In addition to culinary rigor mortis, she assuredly also has mental bugs that get her upset over eating anything that originated in the animal kingdom. Even cheese. Now, if she was merely lactose intolerant, that would not be much of an issue. There are substitutes, and I can always refrain from consuming VAST quantities of fromage in her presence lest it make her envious.
But man is by nature meant to be omnivorous. The question you should ask yourself upon seeing a new creature is "is it edible?"
And usually, if the beast is mostly or entirely vegetarian in its diet, the answer is "yes".

Vegans are completely the exception.
Not edible, despite vegetarianismus.


I like women. I like food.


Despite her size, I could only wonder how that busty Vegan had managed to grow so big. Had she mainlined protein supplements? Did she eschew animals and hunt man? Was she, in secret, a member of some twisted coterie of beandip snarfers? And besides the Veganismus, what else was wrong or missing?


What on earth would dinner together be like? Probably an insufferable exercise in self-righteousness, wailing, and bizarre haranguing.
Rather than the joy-filled flight of chopsticks and flashing forks it is meant to be. Everything I cook is wrong, and I should use sustainably green safflower oil to slow-seethe tofu to the hardened plank stage, with no fishpaste, no garlic and ginger, NO MEAT ELEMENTS WHATSOEVER!
It's amazing what you can do with raw cattle feed.
Spiritually uplifting, too.


A meal together without sharing food is romantically a waste of time, and the alternative is purging Roman Orgy-style afterwards, followed by gorging on multiple bacon cheeseburgers somewhere else. While trying to scrub the green planet kittens and Bambi's mother twaddle from your mind with alcohol.


Anyway, she's new to the city, working as a chef and going to culinary school. She loves it here, it's SO different than Maine or Upstate, where she's from, she drove across country huffing American Spirit cigarettes, drinking Starbucks, and sleeping in the desert with scorpions, and her sign is one of twelve.

We did not exchange phone numbers.


I would've been utterly wrong for her.
She seemed like a nice girl.
I wish her well.



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ATTENTION HOG IN HOUSTON - FLY FISHING FOR CAKE

At exactly one thirty four P.M., on Thursday the twenty fifth of July, underneath a post from slightly over five years ago, spam flew against a plate of glass.

Alas.


An anonymous commenter wrote:

"Regards for helping out, wonderful information. I really like your writing style, fantastic info , regards for posting : D. Some really wonderful blog posts on this website , regards for contribution. Well a little about me, I am a fly fisherman and have been invloved in local city govenrment during my hobby time during the day. One of my greatest goals is in the construction of trading markets and stylus pen and applications that are on the inner circle of state of the art technologies. I am sort of a rocket scientist in this regard. I have recently started a website,and am a Top Houston Web Designer The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I genuinely thought you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you were not too busy seeking attention. Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!"

Naturally I recognized it as crap, and deep-sixed it immediately. Note that the underlined parts in the text above now contain no links.

It's a marvelous example of self-contradictory gibberish.


But in some ways I agree with him.

Yes, I'm seeking attention; that is the nature of a blog.
And yes, I likewise think that this site needs a great deal more of it; that is the nature of a blogger.

On the other hand, if the paragraph above represents top web designers and rocket scientists in Houston, they had best re-join Mexico.
Spelling errors.
Mistakes of punctuation.
Random caps.
Spacing problems.
Non-linearity.
Stylistic spaghetti.

Second thought: Mexico will not want them.
Mexico has standards.




ADDENDUM

I left a comment of my own underneath that ancient post, four years after publish date. In a way it's poetry, and it certainly applies to every other post on this blog.


Dear anonymous spam-bots,

Please stop trying to post your garbage here. None of my readers are interested in the crap you sell, and I have an awful lot of patience.
Every comment that you try to leave will be deleted.

Sincerely,


---ATBOTH


Subsequent to that, this:

Okay, you Russian and Polish spambots, apparently you do not understand the concept: this blogger gets to approve ALL comments.

It's simple. If you are validly reacting to something I wrote, your comment (minus real-world names and addresses) will be let through. If you are merely opportunistically trying to use my blog to advertise your own crappy services and miserable products, I will not allow your comment.

The only exception is this: [--link deleted--] which is reserved for Japanese smut link spam.

Why? Because for some absurd reason which I cannot fathom, whole hordes of Japanese pornographers and naughty people decided that [--link deleted--] was a post that strongly suggested naked breasts, assorted pudenda, latex toys, artificial vaginae, and penile shaped implements of non-organic origin.
Plus chocolate cake. I invite you to investigate ALL the links there to find the cake. It is very nice cake.

If you are NOT busking cake, I may have no interest in what you have to say.

Got it?


The Russians and the Poles got it. Now we're waiting for paint to dry in Houston.

Cake. I must have more cake.



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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A VERY CLEAN PLACE THAT SMELLS LIKE GINSENG

While browsing among the dried scallops, a gentleman who could not read the labels asked me what those things were. He was accompanied by his wife and his son, and neither of them had the appearance of people who could read the labels either.
Seeing as the labels were entirely in Chinese.

Thirty minutes later they left the store with a half pound of top quality moorland chrysanthemums (dried), prize pu-erh tea, a bag of lou hon gwo (羅漢果), some salve for sore joints, and pleased smiles of discovery on their faces.


野菊同其他啲

Chrysanthemum flower tea is reputed to be good for smokers, pu-erh tea (普洱茶 ) aids the digestion and benefits from combination with chrysanthemum, and lou hon gwo is good for what ails you.


I've always liked snuffling around stores that sell medicinal herbs, tea, and dried "sea flavour", and there are a number of shops in Chinatown that cater entirely to people who know what all those items are. By which descriptive you will understand of course that that means mostly non-westerners. The shopkeepers generally assume that non-Chinese are completely ignorant, and that furthermore explaining what the stuff is, how it's used, and why you should buy this and not that, will take far too much time and way more command of the English language than they themselves possess, without yielding any satisfaction for the time and effort required.

Largely that point of view is entirely correct.


A few years ago I passed hundreds of hours at a store on Grant Avenue carefully writing down all the labels of a multitude of products, then going home and looking up the words and researching the ingredients. It was time well spent, and I'm still grateful to the shop owner and his staff for their extraordinary patience.

They also sold tea. Many general herb stores do the same, whereas medical herbalists may have extracts, patent remedies, bottled concentrates and tonics, around three hundred or so commonly used medical herbs for compounding in standard remedies, and a qualified Chinese doctor on the premises.
General herb stores will be somewhat more exposed to non-Chinese than the medical herbalists, and by-and-large have a better idea of what outsiders may want to buy.
Still, catering to the barbarians is largely a waste of time.
So much to explain, so little comprehension.
And there are so many of them!


Most casual browsers are intrigued by an enormous selection of green and semi-fermented teas that range between sixteen and one hundred and sixty dollars per pound, but the gentleman behind the counter will not be able to explain the difference, as he relies on your keenly honed nose to tell you everything you need to know. And the visitor, usually possessed of a totally innocent proboscis, won't have a clue what they are sniffing, it looks green, and why on earth should they spend that amount of money on something that the supermarket sells them in English for three bucks a box?

A small number of people are willing to experiment. Once they've purchased a few things, they start coming back, and veer sideways into other varieties and different products. Curiosity, patience, little bit of research, asking the right questions, plus visiting the library and Wikipedia, eventually pays off, and their lives are enriched.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
Moving your feet is entirely up to you.
Wanna take a walk?


You'll probably enjoy the stroll, and there are flowers and butterflies to sniff along the way.





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Monday, July 29, 2013

CREAMY & ZESTY, BEST EATEN ALONE

Not all bachelor kibble contains chili peppers and spicy condiments. Man does not live by cayenne alone. Indeed, hot stuff is a darn good substitute for a love life, and one can imagine what kind of woman a habanero would represent, but there are other flavours in the palette that also find one's affection.

Several days ago the late night snack consisted of devilled eggs with a smoky chunk of bacon on top. Sheer heaven. That place does a dynamite egg.
Of course, all their other offering are equally heart-healthy. As well as karmically perfect. Vegans and health-nuts should not dine there. The bowl of fried bacon with ranch dip would send them screaming in terror down the street, to be hit head-on by a crazed meat-eater driving a Chevy with a gun-rack and a bumper-sticker informing us that "my kid gives your kid the heebie-jeebies". Your kid may be an honour student and on the dean's list, but do you really want him reverting to pissing in his bed at night? Avoid the heebie-jeebie man, and keep your health-vegan-nutzoid self far away from the bacon place.


On the other hand, yesterday's quick repast did not contain even a scrap of bacon. Toast dipped in a scrumptious compound of yoghurt, barbecue potato chips, and cracked pepper. The chips were there in lieu of bacon. There was no bacon in the house, you see.
And the yoghurt needed a little extra zip.


Yeah, there was some hot sauce in there.

There weren't any jalapeños either.




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Sunday, July 28, 2013

OLD GIN (OUDE GENEVER) - GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU

As an adolescent I discovered old-style Dutch gin, which is hard to find in the United States. Because I was in the Netherlands at the time, finding it was actually quite easy. Just open the refrigerator door, and there it is.
My mother liked a nip of genever before dinner.
Far better than a martini in any case.
It's a healthy beverage.

During the seventies Bokma put a question on everybody's lips that expressed more perfectly than any poetry the cultural fundament of civilized values, Dutch social relations, and domestic harmony:
"Schat, staat de Bokma koud?"
Darling, is the Bokma chilled?

The number of refrigerators with a cold bottle of Bokma must have been millions. Old-style gin contributes to world peace. as the founder of the venerable distillery, Freerk Klaaseszoon Bokma, realized.


STRICTLY OLD SCHOOL

Oude Genever is by law required to be fifteen percent Barley distillate. Many companies use industrial alcohol imported from Eastern Europe for their blend, modifying the taste with juniper and other botanicals, and some well-known names are famous merely because they were cheap, not because they were good.
In the past, the term "oude genever" referred to the alembic or pot still method, nowadays many "branderijen" ('burneries') utilize columnar ('patent') stills, which are more efficient and provide more precise gradations of distillate composition. As the end-product is meant to be drunk without significant aging, there is no need to produce a distillate that reacts with oak barrels; unlike Caledonian and Gaullish firewaters, purity and proportion are more important than alchemy and voodoo.
But for 'echte oude', it's still 15% barley.
Bottled at seventy six proof.
38% alcohol.

[The process of making genever is described more fully here:
GENEVER - A FINE OLD-FASHIONED FIREWATER.]

Old-style gin is not suited to the American taste. But remarkably, "Jonge Jenever" ('young gin') has proven amazingly popular. Jonge jenever usually has no trace of botanicals or barley whatsoever, and is bottled at forty percent for the United States market.
Where it is known as "vodka".
Not quite the same thing; chill it all you damned well want.
It will not, cannot, contribute to world peace.
Perfect for a yuppie martini.
Little else.


THE HOLY TRINITY

Several bar owners in the Kempen sarcastically refered to a popular combination involving Genever with the term 'Holy Trinity' ("heilige drie-eenheid"). No, it wasn't a mixed drink. Oude Genever should NEVER be maltreated by mixologists. What it turned out to be was a shot of liquor, a demi-tasse of strong coffee, and a fine cheroot.
Enjoying these three together made you religious.
Contemplative at the very least.
And philosophical.

As an adolescent I couldn't afford those as often as I would've liked. Dutch cigars are an acquired taste, much like Oude Genever, and the best were a bit expensive, often costing more than the shot of gin.
Too many trinities and my pipe-tobacco budget was shot to hell.
I would have to smoke ribbon-cut Maryland.
Instead of Balkan Sobranie.

Still, long summer evenings, a café terrace looking out over the central square, coffee and a shot, plus a bowlful of something sooty and anti-social........ best possible way of spending on hour or two after dinner.
And, remarkably, perfect while doing homework.
Teenagers should never drink martinis.
They're shockingly unwholesome.
Try straight gin instead.
It's upstanding.



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NO CHILDREN ALLOWED!

The health minister of France, Mme Marisol Touraine, in a move of which Mr. Hitler (a notorious vegetarian anti-smoker) would have approved, has demanded that beaches and parks be entirely free of tobacco aficionados.

The raging socialist harpy also said she hoped smoking would be banned outside schools and on university campuses.

Entirely aside from the fact that schools and university campuses are almost unthinkable without teenagers huffing stolen Marlboros and pimpled scholarly existentialists fretting over Sartre in a haze of blue caporal fumes, she overlooks the invaluable contribution to the exchequer from people enjoying a pleasant and civilized habit.
Smokers pay more in taxes than many of the rich.
Especially in France.

But she does make one salient point, albeit unknowingly. Her bigotry causes her to ignore the obvious. She's both French and a socialist; she cannot help herself. Too much cheap red plonk, I guess.


Quote:
"Is it normal for mothers, fathers or nannies to smoke in a public park where children play? I don't think so."
----Mme Marisol Touraine.

[Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23418573.]


This blogger agrees wholeheartedly! Children and obsessive parents are a nuisance of monumental proportion, and should not be permitted into nice quiet places like parks. Juveniles especially are disruptive and destructive, changing the ambiance of any public space for the worse with every passing moment. There have to be places where adults can congregate without having to worry what the little savages are up to now, are they ingesting paint again, did they just push that old lady in a wheelchair into the bushes, or do they attempt to injure each other with hard plastic and fallen branches. More glass is broken by children, more fires get started by them, and more crimes against man and nature are committed through their agency, than normal people should bear. And their parents, instead of reining in the little pests, encourage that behavior, and harass all around to tolerate it.

We need child-free parks and beaches. Vast areas where civilized folk can get a reprieve. Take a breather, as it where. And enjoy a smoke.

Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and Maoist China obsessed about children. We shouldn't have to.


The world desperately needs child-free zones.
Ban the little monsters from most parks.




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Saturday, July 27, 2013

WHAT DO OTHER PEOPLE DO ON FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT?

In San Francisco there are more-or-less two main types of folks, with a somewhat large number who do not fall into either category.
The largest segment of the population consists of young adults who go out on weekend evenings to over-indulge in everything which they denied themselves the rest of the week: sex, drugs, painfully loud music, and mediocre food masquerading as "cuisine".

[Please understand that "young adult" is a mindset rather than a narrow definition. It consists of desperadoes aged anywhere between late teens and early forties. Usually single, sometimes messily attached or involved. ]

The second main category are the folks who are or have "committed", with or without offspring. I do not know what you would call them, as the term "adult" is not all-inclusive. Not all of them are 'adult', some of them are amazingly child-like. What unites them is that they realize that they should be responsible. If not to themselves, at least partly to another person who relies on them in some way.

[This second group usually did not want to get so staid, but society and circumstance forced them, sometimes without them realizing that they were manipulated. ]

The remainder are probably more balanced than the two segments just described, and in any case happier. There is less pretense, and far less desperation. If they are attached, their companions are equally sane.


The first category parties in my neighborhood. Not all of them -- there are far too many -- but a large number of them. Early in the evening they may be lining their stomachs in preparation, several hours later some of them are doing the reverse. In between, various temporary connections were made and consummated, multiple beers where drunk, flavoured vodka cocktails flung back, body parts exposed to the elements, and much frenzied activity occurred.

The second category will have gone to a movie, or a bistro staffed by students from the "Academy of Art University". They spent a little more money than they felt comfortable wasting, but one or two after-dinner drinks later they realize it's all good, they don't have to work tomorrow, what the dog did in the kitchen can be rectified in the morning, and next weekend they'll skimp a bit.


I do not fall in either main category.



YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE

During my late teenage years Friday and Saturday evenings were spent at the youth club on the Eindhovensche Weg, getting quite cheerful on multiple draughts of coffee or tea, smoking English pipe tobacco, and discussing politics with fellow students. The music was never too loud, and none of us could afford more than one or two bottles of Belgian Ale in any case. There was reading material on the premises.

[Long twilights marked by the aromas of autumn leaves, tannins, fermenting fruit, shag tobacco, and strong coffee. Often it rained; that added to the fragrance and the mood.]

No, I wasn't dating anyone in those years; all the nicest girls already had boyfriends, and one should not poach. I did mention that they were nice, did I not? Naturally they had attracted nice companions.
One rather has to be a gentleman in those circumstances.
I did not date until I returned to the U.S.


THE STUDENT YEARS

My early adult years were marked by severe fund-limitation. Consequently I spent a lot of time in book stores, often reading instead of buying. First in Berkeley, then for several years in San Francisco.

[In Berkeley the Caffe Mediterraneum was a favourite place for a while. It usually smelled of French cigarettes, and sometimes of patchouli. Early in the morning one could have hash browns, fried eggs, and hot sauce with one's cappuccino. North Beach in San Francisco was fragrant with coffee roasting at three separate places, and in Chinatown food and drink were affordable. The light is California is very different from Holland. It seems less intense, though often much brighter.]

If you asked me what I intended to do on Friday and Saturday evenings, my answer would probably have been "read, and swill a lot of coffee or tea". This could as easily be done at home, and society had already starting to frown on pipe tobacco, so there was precious little incentive to hang around much at the Caffe Trieste or the Roma.
Besides, those places were rather loud at night.
They still are. Seemingly more so.


A SETTLED PERIOD

For a number of years after work on Friday I would return home, and my companion and I would spend a quiet evening together after good food. After she fell asleep, I headed out to North Beach to enjoy a drink or two people-watching with a friend and colleague, while discussing books, languages, Monty Python, food, and politics.
On Saturday evenings I worked at the Indian restaurant and did not return till late. Perhaps with a quiet drink in the interval between closing out and coming home.

[North Beach and Polk Street. Hipsters, poets, and transgender working men. Cigar stores, and very happy people. Perhaps a bit too happy, even artificially so. The city does not smell of coffee at night, but our sewer system appears to be working.]


PRESENT LOOSE ENDS

Nowadays I take a long nap on Friday evenings, or doze while consciously dreaming. My previous companion is now just a good friend, and her life has separated quite considerably from mine. Around midnight I will still head over to the hill to meet my colleague, and we still discuss what we discuss. But many of the familiar places have disappeared, others have become louder and crazier over the years, and both of us wonder whether we should not change times and venues. Neither of us is fond of noise and public displays of stupidity.

[At the intersection of Broadway and Columbus many strange things may happen. The Tosca is currently being renovated, so we might sit upstairs at Vesuvio observing the suburban jugend acting out their fantasies in traffic or the high-legged trollops strolling up and down with purpose. Fog often swirls in from the avenues, further strengthening the perfume of a city perpetually in heat. It is colder at night than during the day, and in summer the days aren't very warm in any case. The tourists did not bring their sweaters, the smelly city is ours again.]

The Indian Restaurant no longer exists. Now on Saturday evenings I venture to a comfortable environment after dinner in Chinatown. Usually there are some friends there, and if there's no ball game on the idiot box many subjects can be discussed over cigars.
Well, their cigars; I'm still a pipe smoker.
And I would prefer a cup of tea.

[Dense fragrances from Brasil, Honduras, and Dominicana, faint hints of oaken casks and copper stills. Among the florals also the whisp of aged Virginia, or dark sooty Syrian. If it is early, the afternoon alcoholics may still be there, with their ciggies and depravity. But they will soon leave, they hear the siren sounds of pizza calling them. Occasionally refined young ladies stick their noses in, then scrunch up and persuade their young men to go elsewhere. It seems that adults are icky.]

Cigar smokers are mostly swillers of Bourbon and Brandy.
Pipe smokers are a very much more temperate lot.
And, unfortunately, somewhat alone.
North Beach is a dump.












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Friday, July 26, 2013

THIS IS WHY YOU ARE HERE: ANSWERS

Sometimes this blogger answers serious personal questions. Not very often, as I am a cagey old skeeve, and wish to maintain a sense of privacy about certain matters -- especially if there is no indication that the querent is a nice young female person with good taste, a keen intelligence, and an unusual sense of humour, who wishes to know more about me so that she can decide to jump my bones after a suitable number of dates at coffeeshops, bookstores, and quiet restaurants that serve both pork and seafood -- but once in a while a detailed response to the inquisitive element is required.
Or an interesting thing to do.


Name-withheld-by-request asks:
"Surely there's more to life than endlessly waffling on about milk-tea, pipes and tobacco, and wandering around Nob Hill and Chinatown pretending to be a badger?"

Yes, I suppose there is. However you may have noticed that I am comfort-obsessed. I am a middle-aged man without a girl-friend at present, so roses - violets - gardenias, romantic ballads, dancing the tango, and starlit cruises, must all fade from the picture.
Milk-tea, pipes and tobacco, and wandering parts of the city in a wild-life capacity are consolation.

In lieu of soft soft kisses, a satisfying dose of sweet Virginia flake.

Instead of holding a hot little hand, I grasp a cup of warm milk-tea.

In the place of certain depraved activities which cannot described in detail on a family blog such as this -- suffice to say that they are extraordinarily enjoyable when two people do them -- there are long jaunts down familiar streets, during which I snuffle and growl, and occasionally frighten children and tourists.

A man must find things to do which take his mind off those subjects that have proven themselves impossible to take one's mind off of.
I constantly think of love and sex and hot little hands.
At this very moment I am having milk-tea.
Soon I shall load up a pipe.
And take a walk.


"Surely there's more to life than endlessly waffling on about milk-tea, pipes and tobacco, and wandering around Nob Hill and Chinatown pretending to be a badger?"


Yes, there is more to life than that; for instance, there's doing all of those things with someone else. Together we can drink milk-tea, smoke pipes, and be wild animals.
Between the two of us, tourists and little children will experience both surrealism and terror. Germans, Frenchmen, and very small people, all will run away screaming "alors, les Americains sont assez bestial, il faut s'enfuir, et alerter les autorités!"

Well, except for the Germans. They don't deal well with other people's languages. They might say "wir müssen die behörden alarmieren, den die Amerikaner sind ziemlich bestial", but whatever comes out of their mouths will sound like they are having issues with hairballs.
Strange ideas about personal hygiene, those Germans.
The cleaner ones are contortionists.
It's quite a talent.


There. I hope I have more than satisfied your curiosity.


You wouldn't happen to be female, would you?












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Thursday, July 25, 2013

THE MEANING OF LIFE

Forrest Gump said that life is like a box of chocolates. No offense, but that idiot was a moron. Never take your existential advice from someone who flunked special education.

Life is NOT like a box of chocolates. It's like a plate of school cafeteria spaghetti and meatballs. Rubbery unidentifiable protein lumps on top of slimy things, dressed with canned red gloop.

It's good, so good, so very very good.

You can't resist. Just a little bit more.

Sometimes there's too much oregano.



Just for the hell of it I took a cablecar ride with a bunch of tourists the other day. I think the two elderly men behind me came to some sort of consensus about the meaning of life, despite not being able to speak a word of each other's language. And I'm pretty sure they weren't communicating on a physical level.

Life is like a cablecar; lots of sweaty strangers and complete gibberish. Then you pass something famous and everyone goes "oooooh!"

Both before and after, body parts of other people may be an inconvenience up with which you will have to put.



AFTER THOUGHT

The San Francisco treat is NOT that miserable boxed pilaf preparation advertised on teevee. It's actually thick-sliced bacon in a crusty roll, drenched with barbecue sauce and salsa.
The breakfast of kings.



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NOTE TO THE TA KUNG PAO AND THE WEN WEI PO: KINDLY SHUT UP

Two Hong Kong newspapers that obediently parrot the party line and have never done anything to offend their masters in Peking recently took umbrage at remarks by American Consul Stephen M. Young. Which is not at all flabberghasting. Their editorial boards stand out primarily for being rubber-stamp propaganda pushers with scant interest in fairness, honesty, even-handedness, or reportage.

I'm referring of course to the rags cited in the caption of this post.

QUOTE:
The Beijing-backed Ta Kung Pao voices "strong dissatisfaction and protests" at how a "rude and unreasonable" Mr Young "flew into a rage" when its reporter asked him when the US government would respond to Mr Snowden's claims that it had been hacking into the city's computer networks.

"Well, I thank you for all of your objective reporting at Ta Kung Pao, first of all. And if you don't get the sarcasm, it's there. I do wish you'd be more objective. But I know you have your master in Beijing," Mr Young was quoted by the Post as saying.

Mr Young also criticised the Ta Kung Pao and another pro-Beijing paper, the Wen Wei Po, for questioning whether Washington deliberately staged protests by supporters of Mr Snowden outside the US consulate to cover up its alleged secret funding of the pan-democrats.

"The US has not only failed to apologise, but has made groundless accusations... The US must give an explanation and apology to the people of Hong Kong and stop invading Hong Kong's computers," the Wen Wei Po replies.
END QUOTE.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-23371020


The arrogance of the Ta Kung Pao and the Wen Wei Po is staggering.

Both publications slavishly applaud every action by Peking, and have said not a word about the mainland's heavy-handed meddling in Hong Kong affairs, nor of the data gathering and monitoring of Hong Kong residents by the Chinese government. It is well known besides, that the party keeps an iron grip on the internet in the People's Republic, and regularly acts against people who have stepped out of line.
Have either the Ta Kung Pao or the Wen Wei Po said anything?

According to both estimable feuilletons (if you don't get the sarcasm, it's there), the situation in The People's Republic is excellent. Every day, every week, the situation is excellent. There is no dissent, nor dissatisfaction, the situation is excellent.

Party members do not take bribes, villagers are not pushed off their land to benefit well-connected developers, policemen do not extort protection money, local chengguan never beat up innocent folks.
Because the situation is excellent.

The spoiled brat offspring of important party members never participate in gangrapes, don't recklessly kill pedestrians by driving like maniacs, do not threaten civil servants who are just doing their jobs, and won't get out of jail because their mommy and daddy are very important people. Nay, the situation is excellent.



ADDENDUM: 大公報 & 文匯報

The odious self-serving rant by the Ta Kung Pao is here, their website is http://www.takungpao.com.hk/.

The corresponding venom-spew by the Wen Wei Po is here, their website is http://paper.wenweipo.com/.


The Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po can stick a sock in it.

They make even the San Francisco Chronicle look good.




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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

IT'S ALL ABOUT HOW YOU LOOK

Within an hour of my apartment mate leaving the house in the morning, a strange sight can be seen; a naked man wandering around with a pipe in his mouth. That will be me, after my bath. The reason being that one cannot smoke a cigarillo when nude. A pipe is a self-contained receptacle, whereas the cigarillo yields a long and unstable ash, which, if it falls, will head straight down. Cigar ash has peculiar sticking properties.


Hypothetical conversation which is NOT likely to ever happen:

Other person: "Mr. Atboth, WHY do you have a scorch mark on your Santa Claus?"
Me: "I was smoking and got distracted (by a book), and besides, it's just ash."
Other person: "We should wipe it off, it doesn't look right. Where do you keep the ammonia?"
Me: "Not ammonia! Anything but ammonia!"
Other person: "Glass cleaner?"
Me: "Stop obsessing about it!"

[Notes: It need not be 'mr. Atboth', it could be 'Both-ums', 'Bothy-Wothy', 'Badger', 'Ongle Dongle', or something equally familiar. Santa Claus is either an evil elf or a squid. The book might be 'The Onion Eaters', by James Patrick Dunleavy. Ammonia stings, so does glass cleaner. Don't obsess.]

I like to air out a bit after the bath. Obviously I cannot do so when my apartment mate is still around, for reasons of interpersonal modesty. Besides, my apartment mate doesn't like the smell of tobacco, so earlier I will have indulged in small cheroots while hiding in the kitchen in my bathrobe and jammies while she showers.
And the first pipe of the day is a relaxing affair.
Cup of coffee or tea, pipe, a good book.....
What could be more perfect?

If another person where there it would change the dynamic. Especially if she were also smoking a pipe. Some women do, you know. But a naked man smoking a pipe looks rather cool and rugged, whereas a naked woman smoking a pipe looks cute. Women should always have clothes on while enjoying their pipes -- pleated skirt and crisp cotton blouse, or pajamas, even just panties and a bra with a man's shirt that's way too big -- and they probably shouldn't be sitting on fluffy towels.
Not naked, not with a pipe. It ain't right. It's just too darn cute.
You can take a naked man with a pipe seriously.
Naked woman with a pipe? Not so much.
Cute, cute, cute, cute cute!


This all came to mind because the other day I overheard someone say "men with pipes are just so darn cuuuuuute!". Unfortunately I didn't get a good glance at her, nor did I have a chance to introduce myself. Had I done so, I might have explained that pipes radiate a self-assured masculinity, as well as confidence, gravitas, and good taste. Cute not so much. I seldom if ever think of myself as cute. Mature man, touch of salt and pepper, wire reading specs.
Neither elfin, nor Gandalfian.
Adventuresome.
Maybe.

Not cute.


The second pipe of the day is always after I have gotten dressed. The first pipe may be likewise, but always the next. I saw myself in the hallway mirror after dressing recently. Clean slacks, collared shirt, reading specs, little beard, and pipe.
"Dang", I said to myself, "that's one studly-looking fellow!"
'Cute' was not the term that came to mind.
Please take note of that.

Part if it was no doubt the pipe. A black sandblast poker shape with a tall bowl, filled with Brown Clunee (that being a ready-rubbed brown Virginia by Rattray, three-year old tin) and smoking perfectly. A very manly pipe, if in the right mouth. Second pipe of the day. A woman smoking it would without a doubt have loaded it up with a full Latakia mixture, because with everyone gone she can finally treat herself to something rich, dark, and stinky. An odouriferous bastard among the blends; Margate, by Germain and Sons.
One cannot smoke around the other people in the house.
Thank heavens they're gone! Light up!
It's time to be myself.


And yes, she'd probably look VERY cute.




TOBACCO INDEX


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SINGLE MEN AND FISH CURRY

As a single man I get to do whatever I want. There are both negatives and positives about that. The negatives include a lack of interaction, a complete absence of naughty business, and a rather cold bed late at night.
The positives, remarkably, are also about things which just aren't there; no Hello Kitty crap, no copies of Vogue or Real Estate Times cluttering up the pillows, and no exclamations of "good lord how can you eat THAT at six in the morning!".

A single man can fix himself stuff for breakfast which women will not touch. Such as a tasty plate of fish curry over rice, with some Indian pickle, and toasted cashews thrown on top for a textural effect.

It was delicious.


I used the last of the tilapia, with a fried-onion paste that included coriander, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne. By adding chopped peeled tomatoes the acid balance was rectified, and coconut milk made it liquid. The fish was poached therein. Yes, there were other things in there. One must always diddle with the food. It would have been nice if I also had fresh lemon grass, but that wasn't essential.
Chopped jalapeños to garnish.
Dab of sambal on the side.

The rice took longer to cook than the curry.

It was far better than fried eggs and bacon.

Everyone deserves fish curry for breakfast.


A cup of strong coffee afterwards, and calm contemplation of the day ahead. Sweet jayzis that was good. I'm sitting here with a big happy smile all over my face. Hello Kitty is at the other end of the table, looking speculatively at my empty plate. I bet she's jealous. No one gives her fish curry in the morning.
Heh.



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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

THE MASCULINE PHYSIQUE

Yesterday's blogpost reminded one of my readers of something I had written years ago, after attending the Folsom Street Fair in a discreetly educative capacity. We had been there handing out pamphlets and literature. And we were fully clothed.

The comment string underneath that post devolved into conversational speculation about the hairiness of certain parts of my anatomy.
Which was distressing.
But not invasive.

Investigative journalism only goes so far.

I am a man, and consequently hair grows on parts of me that it doesn't on women. No fertilizer is necessary, men are naturally a conducive seedbed for hirsuculture. We are somewhat more pilose.
Women are normally considerably smoother.
Which is very likable of them.

There's hair here and there.
Not everywhere.

It is not present in frightening quantity.

The common nature of a dusting of feathery stomach hairs is that they are aligned in such a way as to gently transmit microfibers of cotton or fluff from one's tasteful undergarment toward the male navel, where at the end of day there will be a minor aggregation of such, affectionately known as 'the dust bunny'.
It is a small item, and altogether rather insignificant.
Many if not most women do not possess one.
Consequently one imagines that they are either insanely jealous, or quite fascinated. Their smoothness does not catch the free fuzz, nor guide it to a convenient repository.

We feel incredibly sad for them. As men. But we do appreciate whatever modest body hair they have. Indeed.
It's really cute. Charming, at times.
In moderation.


Still. No belly button lint.
How very sad.



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Monday, July 22, 2013

TRACTION

Back in the nineteen seventies, when 'streaking' first caught on, it was usually done by young people, many of whom had reasonably fit bodies. Besides, the sentiment and dominant aesthetic of that time was different. Nudity was less offensively intended, less strident, and far less self-righteously in yo' face.


This blogger is very much in favour of nudity. Done properly, it can be both refreshing and enjoyable. Which means in private, behind closed doors, by oneself.

Or with another willing person of a gender suited to one's own unique praedelictions and perversities. Being quite the heterosexual man, my preference is strictly for the female of the species, particularly one who is younger than me and weighs less.

I believe I may not be alone in that.

Younger than, and weighs less, are key terms for many heterosexual men. We're rather praedictable in that regard. Yes, I do indeed realize that that is dreadfully sexist of us, so insensitive and blinkered, but we are talking about nudity. Not job-applicants, not co-workers, not our elected representatives. If, entirely hypothetically, any of them were nude in our praesence, we would switch from our normal egalitarian totally a-sexual apathy to that typical heterosexist bias for people (female) who are younger than us and weigh less.

We would still feel a bit ill at ease, unless the nakedness was discussed and agreed upon ahead of time, by both of us. Again, I stress that the total number of people praesent should be two. Only two, no more than two. One of whom is older and larger, the other one of which is younger than, and weighs less. This is very important.

Younger than. Weighs less.

Finding someone who fits the bill should be no problem for the gentleman pictured below, who expressed himself sportively at an Australian rugby match this month.


BALD, ROUND, AND DUMB; A MOON-SHAPED MODERN ADONIS



[Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/a-bummer-of-an-end-to-state-of-origin-iii/story-e6frg6n6-1226681002452, The Daily Telegraph.]


At first glance, he looks amazingly like a kangaroo, doesn't he?
Then you notice the shoes. He came prepared for speed.
Sensible footwear is very important.

The game was beamed live to over a hundred countries.

The word 'zesty' does not come to mind.

I'm thinking 'traction'.



Traction.



For the record, I am probably around one hundred and fifty pounds at five foot nine, not bald or tanned, and I own no running shoes.
Nor have I been admired by millions of sports fans.
I never run.


If you're wondering about the multiple 'prae' spellings above, those are my own version of exhibitionism; I felt like doing it.



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Sunday, July 21, 2013

NAPPING UNDERNEATH THE BOOBY TREE

As a single man without even any prospect of naughty business in my life, it is only natural that I disapprove of any and all manifestations of sexuality. Evidence that other people are having it on absolutely nauseates me.
Kindly do NOT expose your bestial passions!
Especially not when I'm around.
It's quite unseemly.

All of that could change. One hundred and eighty degrees, whiplash.

For instance, if I were the object of those bestial passions.

That isn't hypocrisy, but a big smile on my face.

My opportunistic side lives.


There's a time and a place for everything. Nasty business should always be indoors, in private. Unless it's an exceptionally fresh and quiet meadow, and there are no other humans or insects about.
And one of the people involved has a towel.

I don't know about you, but I've always mistrusted people who carry their own towel with them.


My parents' generation was much more discreet, generally speaking, than the current crop of youngsters, twenty-somethings, celebrities, and politicians. Yes, some of them engaged in illicit nooky with the wrong type, or ran-up enormous hotel bills with spouses other than their own. But for the most part they believed that their private affairs should remain precisely that: private.

I'm fairly certain that pre-marital, post-marital, extra-marital, or even anarcho-marital sex took place on a fairly regular basis among all levels of society. They just didn't talk about it.


This blogger does not mind you engaging in whatever shakes your basket. In fact, that is something which I encourage wholeheartedly. But spare me the details, I have no wish to know.
Unless I was involved. In which case I should be aware of that.
If, hypothetically speaking, it escaped me.
Which is not very likely, though.

I am quite observant.


Please, no photos.




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CELL PHONE LOVE STORY

Shan't say which Chinatown bakery it is, but it is one of the best. Reason for not being specific is discretion, or polite concern. I don't want to cause embarrassment, you see. It's a very nice place, and one of my favourite haunts. And I want it to be around for a long time.

Their baked goods are excellent, their Hong Kong Style Milk Tea is exactly what the doctor ordered. And the young lady working behind the counter has a certain charm. Intelligent face, with an easily hurt fragility. She's very sweet.

Her relative who bakes, however, is not nearly so sweet. He's probably an extremely likable guy, but he puts in a hard day's work, and, consequently, is tired at the end of it. His friends should know that. And not call him up and make him angry when he's resting.

He might not use his indoor voice.

At one point his daughter or niece or cousin or however she's related to him was indicating frantically that he should calm down and soften his tone. He went into the kitchen instead. Yes, his voice did go down. But that conversation with his pal -- friend -- old classmate -- investment advisor or whatever, was not the most pleasant thing on his plate.

The young female relative is a very patient person. She understands my version of Cantonese, plus she speaks fluent English. Her older male kinsman speaks accented Cantonese, and a very loud hometown dialect that I cannot fathom. Scarcely one word out of every ten is intelligible. I wish I understood it, however, because I would really like to know what got under his skin.


你唔好亂講嘢!


The phrase above is the only complete sentence I understood. It came from the kitchen, and it was quite distinct and clear, given that his conversation was the only sound in the place. It was NOT his indoor voice. His young kinswoman did her best to pretend that it didn't faze her, but every time he said something in there, she winced.

"Don't talk horse pucky!"

Well, that's a paraphrase. You get the idea. Whoever was phoning him should have got the message. He's not a man to be trifled with after a long day at the ovens. And given that he's solidly stocky and has strong shoulders, maybe you don't want to get him angry. But he's probably a pussycat. His daughter or niece has a much more stubborn look to her, despite her vulnerable sweetness. One of these days she'll likely tell him clearly to quiet the heck down. Darnitall.
Before he scares off the timid white people.
Nei m-ho luen-gong yeh!

Obviously I'm not one of those. But I think the next time, I'll go there closer to closing time. He will have headed home for supper by then, and the only person remaining will be the young lady with the pretty eyebrows.

She makes an excellent cup of milk tea.



[I suspect that the exceptionally loud dialect may be Hoi Ping (開平、開平話). Though I might be off-target by a fare-thee-well. Most home-town dialect speakers in C'town are from Toisan (臺山), which like Hoipeng is Seiyap (四邑). But that does not mean that their speech is mutually intelligible.]



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Saturday, July 20, 2013

WHY DOES YOUR NERDY SISTER SMELL LIKE HAVANA CIGARS?

Years ago, at the Indian Restaurant where I worked, the big Punjabi headwaiter and the girl who had breasts like ripe mangoes were an item.
I did not envy him. Not only where those ripe mangoes the dominant part of her personality -- probably the most intelligent part of her anatomy, too -- but I could tell that she would turn out like her sister. Whose husband I knew from somewhere else. A very patient man.  I am sorry that his children are half her.
But I hope they take after him.

If not, they'll have the intellectual capacity of a basket of ripe mangoes.

America is a society obsessed with breasts. Understandable, but what is truly baffling is the size factor. Bigger is, in the eyes of the average male, better. No matter the actual shape or structural design, irrespective of colour, tensile quality, or texture.

The only thing that rivals big boobies as an American male attention grabber is blonde hair.


Having grown up in the Netherlands, where blonde is a dime a dozen, that particular hair colour does not particularly excite me. Here in San Francisco, seeing through the buttery fluff to the shallow sneering "I'm so special" attitude underneath is an easy thing.
Most Americans fail to understand that blonde is the result of a certain level of inbreeding. Especially in the United States, where outside of certain areas populated mostly by Scandinavians and Dutch people, it takes several generations of constantly crossing genetic strains to maintain blonde.
It is quite possible that being related to yourself several different ways through both sides of the family also causes a crappy attitude -- are horrid personalities hereditary? -- but be that as it may, the average American Wasp seems to think the sun shines out of her cavities.
And if she has big breasts too, all is lost.



Quite conceivably, the attraction to big breasts is a mother-complex. If so, it is one of immense proportion. It suggests that many men have unresolved issues, and may very well be self-conscious, weak-spined, and infantile. As well as hugely insecure. That would also explain why despite the nasty attitude problems they are attracted to the undesirable element among the females. There is naught there to challenge them, and consequently they feel safe and acquire a sense of achievement.
"Hah", they will say, "I may be lower than dog vomit, and have nothing to boast about, but I have scored a prize heifer!" And they will think themselves mighty fine specimens of humanity in consequence.
Their wives will moo approvingly.

Both elements in that pairing will naturally feel threatened by a woman who shows signs of great intelligence. The husband because it suggests that despite his trophy he is still dumber than a box of rocks, and his darling wife because even though she cannot understand half of what comes out of the other woman's mouth, she feels outnumbered, outmanoeuvred, and outclassed.
Intelligence is naturally more competitive.

In the struggle for men or food, the brainiac has advantages.

If at this point you remember the last time some pouty dingbat showed cleavage to here and jiggled her titties, you probably realize that there was an intelligent woman nearby at the time. The wattle-heifer felt threatened, and consequently displayed her battle flag.
Ruffled her neck-feathers, so to speak.
Not a challenge, but a hissy fit.
Expressed by boobies.


It is Saturday night in the city. The carnivores are out, searching for mates. Plumage is being fanned, nipples are being hardened, and flavoured vodka is being drunk. At the cigar-bar in the deserted financial district, mature individuals are hiding out, avoiding the fray. We do not require the titty wave, we don't feel that anything needs to be proven. Yes, there are some yobbos here too. That's inevitable.
Even the meatballs smoke cigars and pipes.
But they will soon depart.
Booty calls.



Unintelligent women seldom smoke cigars or pipes.
All things considered, that's just as well.




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Friday, July 19, 2013

IF YOU DON'T, THEY WILL SAG

While one is growing up, the adults in one's life will supply one with all manner of advice. Some of it less than useful. Which, really, one would rather they wouldn't; one's peers already perform that service most magnificently.

Food, culture, coffee, tea, tobacco, cheating on exams, sexual matters, and alcohol are all part of the informative programme. It may take years to get all the mis-information out of one's head.


One priceless bit of nonsense delivered in all seriousness by several individuals who were convinced of its truthfulness was the datum that IF you went out at night without a hat, and you had long hair, bats would get entangled on your head, and you'd have to cut them out.
I suspect that in the day and age when European country folk were unwashed, that may have occasionally happened, what with the fleas, lice, flies, and moths, swirling in a dense cloud around the village virgin. But since the advent of soap and luke-warm water it cannot have been an issue of any magnitude. Besides, insectivorous bats zero-in on their prey using sonar, so they would easily be able to tell the difference between a moth (edible) and a peasant-girl (inedible), no matter how empty her little head.
They are very clever fliers, too.
It just wasn't credible data.
Except to simple minds.

I'll admit that it was fun on occasion to tell the bat thing to a young lady who was credulous enough to believe it. Then mentioning that one had several well-trained pet bats (a complete lie), that the last victim was now wearing a wig, and finally offering to bring the beasts to visit the hatless girl, why, the reactions were most gratifying!


My dad was able to deliver utterly unreliable bits of knowledge to Tobias and me with a completely straight face. Far better than I was capable of doing then, and even now. During the several years when we were the only people around the kitchen table, those statements would crop up after dinner was over, and I never learned to read from his expression whether it was true or complete horsepuckey. Several times my brother Tobias would turn green upon hearing it, and I would brightly absorb the information, till the logical corollary cropped up and I realized that I had been had.
My dad, as the reputed roué of Beverly Hills High before the war, was surely a man with plenty of worthwhile advice regarding the opposite gender.
I should avidly listen to his words and learn from his wisdom.
Problem was that he wanted us to stand on our own two feet.
Learn from actual investigation, not hearsay.
And he was always circumspect.

I knew from things I had heard from other people over the years that he had been a lively young man, and after he returned from bombing the Germans he had cut quite a swathe. He could have been an instructive example to his sons, except that he himself seldom gave any juicy details of his adventures, other than to mention that once a charmingly zesty woman in Panama had offered to provide him with room, board, cigarettes, and five dollars whiskey money per day.
Panama sounded like an exciting place.
They have a canal there.
It's famous!

A certain perfume reminded him of her.


It's probably a darn good thing he never had any daughters. It would have made him even more "diplomatic". And riotously straight-faced.
I can well imagine him retailing the bat and hair nonsense (as good a reason for young ladies to stay home after dark as any), along with the warnings about beer ("grows hair on your chest"), eye-shadow ("made from dead weasels"), immodest clothing ("itchy prickle burs in your nethers"), drugs ("pimples!") and several other cautionary untruths.
Things every young person believed at the time.
Knowledge, even if wrong, is power.
Although whose is the issue.

Oh, and always sit upright. Good posture is everything, and proper young ladies should not slump or splay their legs in public.

If you do, your breasts will sag.





Actually, almost anything leads to sagging breasts, NOT just slumping and bad posture. Going out after dark, beer, eye-shadow, dead weasels, short skirts, prickleburs..........
Basically, everything except pipe tobacco.
I'm an adult, I can say these things.
And I know all about sagging.


Boys! Boys especially lead to saggy tits. Stay away from boys!
You know what's good for you. If you don't, they will sag.


Trust me.



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Thursday, July 18, 2013

BRAND NEW CERAMIC OBJECT

I purchased a lovely oil-spot bowl last weekend, I wish I could show it to you. But there is no cell-phone anywhere in my vicinity -- If I'm not near a land-line, I probably do not need or want to talk on the phone -- and there's no way to load an image up. Nothing easy. Despite my often excessive use of the computer, I am at heart a Luddite.
Bring on the rocks and faggots, we need to kill a witch!
No modernity, no new-fangled technocrap!
Pitchforks and oxen work just fine!


It is a truly lovely bowl, made by Hsin-Chun Lin, whose ceramic talents have impressed me for nearly two decades now. I have a lot of his stuff, but this is the first time I've seen oil-spot glaze.

It was a wee bit expensive.
But worth every penny.
It is beautiful.

[Oil-spot (油點瓷 or 天目釉) is related to rabbit's fur: an iron oxide glaze is applied thickly, and as the material changes in the kiln, the oxygen is released and escapes at the surface leaving traces of iron, thus forming markings. This and other porcelain terms are detailed better in a post I wrote this past April, in which I made sneering comments about trashy consumerites shopping in Hong Kong. There's more to HK than just that, you know. There's food. Art. And interesting people. This post: Canton Road. Jun glazes (鈞泑), Ding porcelain (定瓷), Ru ware (汝窯), Guan (官窯), Ge ware (哥窯), Celadon (青磁), Blue-and white (青花). Rabbit's Fur (兔毫), Oil Spot (油點), and Imperial Yellow (黄搪瓷). Oil spot glaze was invented over a thousand years ago.]



Mr. Lin is a master potter, and a very great artist. And also, I suspect, now the owner of a kiln that sustains considerably higher heat.
So I am keenly looking forward to future production.

I ran out of space for my porcelains long ago.
The collection just keeps growing.
It's painless.


There were around two hundred artists down at the Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival this past weekend. In less than one hour I had found what I wanted, and was packed up and ready to go home and gloat.
I'm still gloating.

Hsin-Chun Lin. Dick Lumaghi. Ross Spangler. Harry Nakamoto.
Two items for me, two presents for people who also love pots.
And a teabowl by Paula Prekowitz for my apartment mate.
Which she won't know about till her birthday.


Did I mention yet that I'm gloating?
Because, you know, I am.
Gloating.



Oil spot.
You really should see it.




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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MENTAL HOT SAUCE

My uncle Jerry once told me that he wished to die of heart failure with a beautiful young coed on either side. Presumably naked, though he did not specify. And I can still imagine the big silly grin on his face if that had happened. No, he wasn't a pervert, just a normal healthy man, albeit one with an over-active imaginary sex-life.
And that, too, is normal.

I myself would settle for just one coed. I have no desire to suddenly leave because of heart-failure, you must understand.
Actually, I prefer not to choose any means of untimely demise.
Instead, I want to live forever.

An additional factor is that one is enough. Attentiveness to one woman is likely to be an easy affair compared to keeping two of them happy. And I'm not talking sexually, but instead referring to what it takes to get along with another person, appreciate her, and respond appropriately.
One woman can be quite a handful, adding in another might make the whole thing impossible. And at that point it's not really too much of a good thing as a question of trying to juggle bowling balls.
Or hand grenades. With the pins wobbly.
And heap-big anger issues.


Fortunately I am a single man, so there are no live explosives that I need to consider.


Although if I had to imagine dynamite, that would be the sweet young miss with the small-looking hands who sat next to me on the bus last weekend.
I tried to keep my eyes rigidly fixed frontward, but I have truly excellent peripheral vision. She seemed like a very gentle woman, and when I had heard her conversing with her red-headed (nice dye-job, btw) friend earlier, both of them had spoken with subdued voices, rather than making an unholy racket such as one expects from most people nowadays. That by itself was both remarkable and pleasing.

When I got off the bus at Stockton Street, there was a moment when she and I were looking right at each other.
She has intelligent eyes.

Afterwards, dinner at the Utopia on Waverly tasted especially good. Something lovely in the mind adds greatly to flavour in the mouth.



My uncle Jerry wasn't a pervert, just a normal healthy man with an exceptionally vibrant imagination.
I should wish to follow in his footsteps.
Though not so much.




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