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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

MIGHTY NIGHT

This evening I will not spend much time at the cigar bar, though I do like to relax with one or two pipes at end of a busy day. Why? Because today is Halloween. Not that many of the regulars at my favourite place to let my hair down and light up celebrate this particular holiday, but there's a whole world of insane monkeys between here and Financial District.
If I go there, it would be better to go early.
And return before twelve.

However, I may spend an hour or two around midnight on Polk Street looking for satyrs with enormous glue-on shafts, girls with very realistic bullet wounds and ax slashes painted on their pendulous breasts.
And the ever popular Nasty ("slut wear") Little Bo Peeps.
Or, this being San Francisco, Little Bo Penis.
Plus big black body builders.
All she-male.

A lot can go wrong in a dozen blocks.
Very very wrong.

I shan't dress up. When I leave the apartment, I am already in costume.
Sometimes I spend the whole morning inside, in the buff.
Drying out after a shower.
Pale, naked.

No, I am not a professional nudist, but why put on clothes if nobody can see me and I'm not frying bacon?


I did not ponce around naked when I reamed and re-bevelled my bulldogs. Instead, I wore baggy sleep-pants and a wife-beater.

This must be mentioned, because common sense dictates clothing when doing something filthy. Otherwise you end up with cake and ashes in your navel and crotch.


Work requires clothing. A lunchtime nibble in Chinatown requires clothing. Having a pipeful or two at the cigar bar requires clothing.
Despite the cleanth of these activities.

I can honestly say that none of my coworkers have ever seen me nude.
Same goes for Chinese people in the neighborhood where I snack.
And it goes without saying that cigar aficionados haven't either.
Which is good, because most of them are pudgy and male.
I am a profound sexist, and limit my exposure.
My eyes only, nowadays.


THEY WALK AMONG US

Many of the younger people on Polk Street this evening are not nearly so modest. Consequently I expect to see some flamboyant exhibitionism later on, when the true sex-gargoyles start flocking. Programmers, renunciants, and slut-freak zombies of all five genders.

There will be nipples in all four directions.

Some will be grease-paint green.

Others pierced.


*      *      *      *      *


I do not have a cellular phone or a digital camera.
And maybe I should wear rubber gloves.


I will be the scariest thing anyone will see today.
I am in the tobacco business.
A merchant of death.


Come here little girl, would you like a Havana?



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Friday, October 30, 2015

BIANG BIANG BIANG BIANG BIANG BIANG!

Without even intending to, or realizing how it happened, I memorized the single most useless and complex character in the Chinese language yesterday before going to Marin.
It only has ONE semi-legitimate use. It is composed of nearly sixty strokes. It does not have a dictionary entry, and no actual meaning.

There is no unicode for it yet, although there may be at some point in the future. Consequently it cannot be entered into blogtext.

It is a Shaanxi invention; a type of noodle.
The question is "why?"


From Wikipedia:



The character for biáng in calligraphic regular script.













The character for biáng in a Song font.















Made up of 58 strokes, the Chinese character for "biáng" is one of the most complex Chinese characters in contemporary usage, although the character is not found in modern dictionaries or even in the Kangxi dictionary.


The character is composed of 言 (speak; 7 strokes) in the middle flanked by 幺 (tiny; 2×3 strokes) on both sides. Below it, 馬 (horse; 10 strokes) is similarly flanked by 長 (grow; 2×8 strokes). This central block itself is surrounded by 月 (moon; 4 strokes) to the left, 心 (heart; 4 strokes) below, 刂 (knife; 2 strokes) on the right, and 八 (eight; 2 strokes) above. These in turn are surrounded by a second layer of characters, namely 宀 (roof; 3 strokes) on the top and 辶 (walk; 4 strokes) curving around the left and bottom.

End cite.


Minor corrections: 月 is actually the left-side stand-in for 肉, meaning meat. One version substitutes 糸 for 幺, another version omits 心。

The correct stroke order is as follows: first 宀 divided by 八, underneath which left to right 月 then 幺 on top of 長 followed by 言 above 馬, then then 幺 on top of 長 again, ending with knife (刂), underneath which the heart (心), the whole enveloped by 辶。


Naturally, the residents of Shaanxi disagree with that, preferring instead some absurd sequence that only makes sense to them.
They've got noodles for brains.



AFTERWORD

Dinner last night was a quickly prepared noodly snack. Pork and vegetables with rice-sticks, pan-fried, with hot sauce, curry paste, ginger, chili sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar.

It was not biang biang mian.

Probably much better.




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Thursday, October 29, 2015

ALL THE WEIRDOS HAVE NAMES

As long as my apartment mate and I have lived here, the stuffed animals (hereinafter referred to as "the roomies") have had their own voices. They probably spoke before, but if Savage Kitten (the aforementioned apartment mate) is not around, they are silent. Mostly so.


MS. BRUIN

Five years ago, Savage Kitten and I ceased to be a couple, and became just friends. The roomies were, in their own way, supportive. When Savage Kitten went through a tough period with her new beau ("Wheelie Boy"), the chief roomie -- a valiant and wise teddy bear -- became violently inclined, and was forced to take a sabbatical, during which time the she-sheep (Angus) took over her duties. The roomies sympathised with all three of them, but fell short of co-conspiring to whack the brute.
It was an interesting time.

The guy in the wheelchair had no friends among the roomies.
Still doesn't; they don't want to meet him.
He's not their type.

[Ms. Bruin wished to lure Wheelie Boy with a trail of Swedish Princess Cake down to the pier, where just one small push would topple him into the bay. She thought the plan was failsafe, and it purely was my selfishness over the funds required that nixed that plot. Damn me!
I occassionally bring that up, because the idea does have a certain charm. That, along with giving his wheelchair a good shove down California Street, so that he becomes airborne.
But I am a man of peace, and would never do something like that.]


It's probably just as well that Ms. Bruin never did succeed in offing the sap, as Savage Kitten and Wheelie Boy got back together. And broke up again. And made peace and resumed their relationship. Then had a falling out of several months. And started dating again. Fought. Separated. Reunited.


TYRONE THIBBET

A few months after that, Miss Purr (aka 'Stormee') and Mr. Tyrone Thibbet (the froad) broke up, over the very forward attentions of Louise the Cow, which Mr. Thibbet did nothing to discourage. Sometime later the froad started acting threatening toward the one legged monkey, Urasmus Wazzoo. Who is not, strictly speaking, responsible for what he says.
He has a rich inner life, and is by no means reality-reliant.


Well, neither is the froad.


When I came home this evening, Tyrone was perched on my bed, proudly striking poses with one of my favourite pipes. That being a handsome quarter bent Peterson bulldog with a silver band, nice and squat.
Apparently he is now the famous detective, Sherlock Froad.
That's MY pipe, you green weirdo!
Mine!


The other day I had a panic attack in the morning before leaving for work, because the little black kitty had "found it". Meaning she stole the wallet, and was sitting upon it looking studiously innocent. Naturally I called her names. This was after my apartment mate had left for the day, so the kitty did not say anything, but just glared at me.
She has, at times, called me cruel and unusual.
Manifestly a weirdo.

I came home that evening to find her and the head sheep together manning a machine-gun emplacement on the northwest corner of my bed, with the fearsome weapon pointed directly at where my head should be.

Both Gigi (feline) and Snidely (ovine) have it in for me.
And now the froad is "borrowing" my stuff.
Which magically becomes his.
I feel threatened.


At some point, when the froad is asleep, I shall repossess my Peterson pipe, and head out for a quiet smoke, in a peaceful environment.

Surrounded by cigar smokers shrieking and carrying on.

Peaceful, I say, and quiet.

No weirdos!




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GIVE THEM ALL A BRIGHT RED BALL!

No, I didn't watch the Republican debate last night. Why waste any viewing time on a mooing herd who are not qualified to be president? Should I pay attention in hopes of Mr. Carson saying something insane, or Trump-a-dump insulting yet another bunch of people?
Bush, Rubio, or Carly Fiorina?

Those people will continue to amaze and appall us irrespective of whether we as individuals are looking at them. The media pays attention when we don't and reports with outrage what they do.
We will eventually see something egregious, and be upset.
They're like kindergarten exhibitionists.


Unfortunately yesterday's spectacle was so lackluster that this morning's news is dominated by entirely different things. Apparently a big rig overturned in East Tennessee, and a cat is missing in Florida.
The walnut harvest in parts of Ohio came early this year.

After it was over, hurt feelings were soothed.
And candy was given to the youngsters.
Bandaids, and warm hugs.


You are all winners!



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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

YES, YOU ARE ALL 衰人!

Once a week the bookseller and I head into the dark heart of the city to engage in manly festive behaviour and talk politics. Our first stop involves a place serving a rare vintage (this year's) of repulsive landwein, after which we have a pint of beer elsewhere to get the taste out of our mouths. We always end up at a nearby Chinatown inn, where the whiskey is generous and the singing nightmarish.

Nightmarish, because it is done entirely be white folks.
Young, stupid, and enamoured of karaoke.
Good lord almighty.

"Tell me again why karaoke is a good thing."

At this point, I'm denying I ever said that. You see, my first exposure to karaoke was around the corner from my house, where a bunch of young Chinese would do Cantopop on Friday and Saturday evening, while drinking sodas or coffee. Utterly endearing, very nice, and a jolly good time was had by all.
There was also a piano bar where elderly homosexuals would belt out classics from the golden age of musicals, and later a karaoke bar on California where drag queens did show tunes.
Almost all of these people, from teenage Cantonese to aged gentlemen and royalty, could sing very well, wanted to do credible renditions, and wished that listeners would enjoy the show.

Modern karaoke is NOT like that, dammit. Nowadays, the Marketing Department from a start-up goes out and gets drunk, as part of a team-building exercise, then heads into the yellow part of town to make fools of themselves and scream at the top of their lungs. Because whatever you do in an ethnic enclave stays in an ethnic enclave.

They can't sing, they're blotto, and their egos will not accept that they are insufferable drunk, as well as thoroughly horrible people when sober.

The proprietor of said Chinatown inn is raking in money hand over fist, while her loyal patrons -- that being the bookseller and myself, as well as several Chinese gentlemen about whose livelihoods it is best not to ask too many questions -- suffer, and can barely have conversations for the racket.

Stupid white people should not sing.

Please accept that as a verity.

A rule by which to live.


"Tell me again why karaoke is a good thing."


Errm. Because it keeps these damned fools off the street?

For the past several weeks, before we meet for drinkies, I have been pausing a while outside an opera club located in a basement enjoying the music. Cantonese opera uses more archaic language, stylised physical movements, and an aesthetic that hearkens back to Sung and Ming times. It is one of the great Opera traditions.


唐伯虎點秋香 ~ 書生真系過份!

Let us now join Uncle Tong as he comes upon a lovely servant girl while at the Quanyin temple. You will note that he is quite brash, not at all the reserved literary type that normally he represents, what with being literate and educated enough to make all men green with envy.

He is quite smitten, even more so when he discovers that the young lady is actually cultured and well bred.


TONG PAK FU DIM CHAU HEUNG


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOUw7vM-m_o.]

For someone who is so fong lau ge (風流嘅), our scholar (唐伯虎先生) is quite the seui yan (衰人), eh?

"I'm just here to pray, honestly! Whatever were you thinking?"

As a result of his encounter with the lovely miss Autumn Fragrance (秋香 'chau heung'), mister Tang (唐伯虎 'tong paak fu') ends up being servant in a rich household, in order to get closer to the maiden.
The opera is famous. The allegedly comedic spoof by Stephen Chow perhaps less so, one would hope.

This scene is, not surprisingly, a personal favourite.

Leslie Cheung (above) does the role well.

[Chow Yun-fat and Anita Mui also.
But as a halberd fight scene.]


I can fondly imagine the drunken white twenty-somethings falteringly trying to interpret this passage in particular at a karaoke event. Whether as Chow Yun-fat's cousin, suspicious of his motives, or as a romantic duet.

Wouldn't any one prefer to be Tong Pak Fu?

Or like Leslie Cheung?

Surely yes!


Here he is singing another piece, The Fragrant Sacrifice, from Flower Princess:

帝女花之香夭


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsRQexThSx8.]


Yep, that's a damned sight better than self-impressed e-commerce yuppies screeching rock and roll anthems.


And lastly, as a lagniappe, Alan Cheng (鄭少秋) and Liza Wang (汪明荃) doing a duet from The Purple Hairpin:

紫釵記


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQpw1JVj1OQ.]

The most famous interpretation of The Purple Hairpin was by Pak Suet-sin (白雪仙) and Yam Kim-fai (任劍輝). Both were active during the forties through the sixties. A movie was made of the opera in 1960.

Please note that for many years I thought that Yam Kim-fai was a man, because those were the roles that she often played.


If I had to chose between Cantonese Opera and egomaniac jerks singing karaoke, there is no question which one I would take.

Cantonese Opera would win hands down.

Not the pickle heads.

衰人!




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AN ARGUMENT IN FAVOUR OF MODESTY

Either I'm an immense pervert, or I just have a very keen aesthetic sense. Yesterday two young ladies stood in the aisle of the bus on the other side of the tacky blonde intently staring at her cellular nipple who was next to me. And, rather than admiring the weasel-faced blonde moo beast -- whose bazooms were of average beef-fed size, meaning bigger than her brain -- this blogger enjoyed the visuals presented by two fairly petite small-handed brunettes heading home after work, with their modest bosoms.

Which were very nicely shaped and proportioned.

There, but not overtly so; restrained.

Slightly above eye-level.

I really like women who dress well. Bosoms should be suggested, evident even, but not boldly presented. Properly covered, meaning within clothing rather than the upper surfaces open to the wind, they leave everything to the imagination. And unlike all those big bare blonde cleavages, no cigarette or cigar ashes will fall between them.
There is less likelihood of premature age freckles.
Or sagging sponge, or wrinkles.
Leatheriness.


Breasts, within reason, are a triumph of natural design.


I flatter myself that I have a highly trained eye.


I'm probably just a dirty old man.




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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

CLYSTERS ON THE MIND

When I came home, my apartment mate asked me what the difference was between an enema and a colonic. This in the spirit of intellectual curiosity, of course. She was neither threatening to administer either procedure, NOR contemplating subjecting herself to one or the other.
She was just curious.

Personally, I do not care to think about such things. But in the spirit of encouraging scientific awareness, I looked it up on the internet, and read her two detailed paragraphs.

No, I shan't cite any of the material here.

I encourage scientific awareness.

Look it up yourself.

Research!


My apartment mate sometimes has only the haziest idea of suitable dinner-table conversation. She was eating soup noodles and chicken bits when she asked, and when I responded.

Two detailed paragraphs ...

I was not eating at the time, having tackled cheung fan with fresh shrimp, chun kuen, and pork siumai earlier in Chinatown, followed some time later by milk-tea and an egg tart. Smoked a big bowlful of Virginia and visited City Lights Bookstore in between those two events.

I shall try not to think about dubious medical procedures when fixing my own dinner later this evening.



I suspect that my apartment mate is spending too much time around white people. Caucasians in San Francisco are a rare breed, being mostly vegan anti-meat activists and retards obsessed with colon health. The World Health Organization may have recently decided that bacon is dangerous, the typical San Francisco whitey overwhelmingly came to that conclusion years ago, and lumps it in with peanut-crusted tofu.
Deep-fried in corn oil.

Most of us are fanatically "tolerant" ambi-sexual anti-vaxxers deeply involved with recycling our chakras. We're green and spiritual.

Save nature, mofo, save nature!

Win valuable prizes.


SUAVE, RATIONAL, AND DUTCH
[Stubborn and middle-aged too, but that isn't germane.]

I usually eat by myself, seeing as I have not found someone with whom to share agreeable conversation during lunch or dinner. By which I only mean intelligent discussion that does not involve strange medical procedures or instruments, goofball health superstitions, or over-the-top crazy ranting about how I'm killing myself by eating meat, or smoking tobacco.

I'm looking for someone who will gladly share pork, steamed fish, lamb or goat curry, crisp bitter vegetables with oyster sauce or abalone sauce, dumplings, charsiu pastries, egg tarts, or food made with butter.
Hot sauce is optional, but never-the-less preferred.
A fondness for hot beverages is a must.

Roast duck, roast pork, roast beef.
And Béarnaise sauce.
Bacon.


She must also be willing to put-up with an eccentric apartment mate.
The small stuffed animals only come alive when Savage Kitten channels for them, and I'm rather fond of the furry nutballs.
As well as the apartment mate.


Alternative medicine adherents, creationists, religious types, angry lesbians, or vegans, will NOT be part of the programme.
Just so you know.


May I offer you some gluten?



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SEEKING SHELTER

The light outside suggests that this would be a good day to drink sherry, smoke dark Virginia flake in my pipe, and spend all the hours before tea time in the study reading mystery novels. It is, of course, far too early to hit the sherry bottle. And there is no study, as we have the modern equivalent: a television room. Nor do I have a tin of dark flake opened at the moment. And, sadly, I have run out of sherry.

More to the point, it would be impossible in any case. My apartment mate is home today, she's taken time off due to a serious cold.

I'm already over that same cold, and I feel dandy.

She's a bit coughy and sniffy at present.


Like me, when sick she's obdurate and stubborn in the "don't mind me, I'll just lay here quietly hacking-up hairballs" fashion, and resiliently refuses any kindness or attention. But what that really means is that she is a bit grumpy(!) and wishes to be left alone.
I can respect that.

Consequently, I shall not spend very much time at home today.
There is not enough space for one person with a cold, and one person with a pipe. As well as several small stuffed critters who act rambunctiously whenever the humans are around.
The ones in her room are fairly well behaved. Well, except that the control monkey (a small dark gorilla, Mr. Arabello Oyster) has become rather possessive about Ms. Bruin, and considers the senior teddy bear to be someone he deserves to be close to, not anyone else.
But mostly, they are calm and peaceful.


"We've learned to make do with 'big guy' and his nasty ways."


The small roomies in my area are a different matter.

They are riotous, rude, and quarrelsome.

A mob of furry anarchists.


Both the one-legged gibbon (Urasmus) and the nasty stuck-up little black kitty (Gigi) have discovered the bubble wrap.


Snap crackle pop.


I can hear the constant irritating explosions from my seat in the teevee room, in front of my computer. They are giddy with glee.


Snap crackle pop.


I will do laundry, then hide out in Chinatown for several hours.


Snap crackle pop.


Dim sum on Stockton around noon, I should think.


Snap crackle pop.


It might be a rather long day.


Snap crackle pop.





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Monday, October 26, 2015

GREAT ENGLISHMEN SMOKE VIRGINIAS

Tolkien smoked Capstan. Although some Orcs claim otherwise. Tolkien never smoked a churchwarden pipe, but every budding Gandalf the Grey between here and the Okefenokee ends up acquiring one of those damned things. The cheapest ones are rather drecky Ukranian-made pearwood garbage, which I highly recommend for Gandalf fanboys.

Then they purchase abysmal fruity aromatics.

Real people smoke out of briar pipes.
Of normal length and dimension.
Unperfumed pipe-tobacco.
Not harlot weed.


For the past five days I have been enjoying some epic stuff.


GERMAIN & SON -- ROYAL JERSEY PERIQUE MIXTURE
Crinkly cut, profoundly wondrous, and mild.
Intoxicating and enjoyable.

DUNHILL READY RUBBED
Contrary to what idiots on the internet believe, there isn't even a shred of Turkish tobacco anywhere in this product.
Lesson: Oriental is not only a regional descriptive (very broad sense), but also a very narrowly specific term for a fragrant type of tobacco. Consequently, Oriental is not Oriental. The fact that Virginia and Burley are grown in places like India and Indonesia does NOT make them Oriental. Dunhill Ready Rubbed seems to be around eighty percent various flue-cured leaves ("Virginia") and twenty percent Burley.
Oriental, broadly speaking means Latakia (formerly from Syria, now mostly Cypriot) and Turkish (grown in the Balkans, Greece, coastal regions around the Black Sea, Turkey (note especially Smyrna and Rumelia), northern Syria and Iraq, and formerly Shiraz and Egypt).
In the narrow sense, strictly resinous Turkish cultivars.
Small-leaved condimentals.

Dunhill Read Rubbed is an unremarkable but quite enjoyable all-day tobacco for the smoker who simply wants a good reliable Virginia mixture. No spice, no pretensions, just solid quality.


*      *      *      *      *

I've also smoked a blend I compounded myself. I can imagine Tolkien liking it, but I should far prefer Bertrand Russel.

Bertrand Russell is reputed to have smoked Fribourg & Treyer's Golden Mixture, which is mostly composed of bright ribbons.
Very mild, a suitable all-day smoke.

My creation has a smidge of Latakia, just to add depth.
Not enough to raise any eyebrows, though.
Wouldn't want to do that.


It is, of course, quite unsuitable for pimply Gandalfians, who will willingly stick a perfumed trollop into their crappy poseur pipe, then ponce around uttering Elvish gibberish. While wearing an old carpet.
To the admiring approval of drippy girlfriends.
Who also like Lord of the Rings.
Bollocks. Just bollocks.


One pipe to ruin them all, one tobacco to ... yadda yadda yadda.


Bertrand Russell's main character flaw was his fondness for the poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley, most of which is drivel.
Some of which is horsefeathers.
The rest is just crap.



AFTERWORD

C. S. Lewis was particularly fond of Three Nuns, by the way. A spun-cut mostly Virginia, with a heart of Perique and a special dark tobacco. The original is no longer made, the MacBaren interpretation seems to be lacking any Perique at all, but is nevertheless a decent and likable product.
Similar to Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye.
Also very high quality.
Recommended.


Although it is after nine o'clock, it is too damned early to go to bed.
So instead I shall load up one more pipeful, and wander around the neighborhood growling at young people.

Something from McClellands.
Red, black, and stinky.




TOBACCO INDEX


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IT FEELS GREAT, IT'S A MYSTERY

When I came home last night my apartment mate was marinating some kind of meat in dietetic milk to prepare convenient bag dinners for her noodgy boyfriend, who apparently can't cook. Now, I should point out that despite being Jewish, he doesn't keep kosher by any stretch of the imagination -- so it could very well have been pork in that dairy-based marinade -- and, being a person with Aspergers, mental twists, and a delicate tum tum, he tends to be incredibly kvetchy about food.
Which might actually be a Jewish thing.

The teevee was on.

It turns out that he likes a different Sherlock Holmes television series than she does. He watches the one with Whatsisbucket Bunkersnoot, she prefers Elementary. Which has Lucy Liu as Doctor Joan Watson.

He's never been in the apartment, so I don't know nuttin' about the bad crap he watches. Buntiwick Crumblesnatch, good lord.

While I was preparing myself a nice steaming caffeinated beverage, she discussed the show. Which I've seen parts of when she watched.
It's actually pretty darn tooting entertainment.
Her, advertisements, and Lucy Liu.
A smorgasmbord of stimuli.


Three lines now stick in my mind.


"Hanes Comfort Fit bras; fall in love with your bra."

"Ooh, ooh, yes, that's the hunky dude!"

"We're rotating them."


The first was from a commercial which had some interesting visuals which I caught out of the corner of my eye. The second was her exclamation while channel surfing, when she saw Daniel Craig, who is the current James Bond. Apparently he's a hot piece of yummalishus manflesh oh boy yowza. The third sentence refers to corpsicles at a cryogenic facility that were stacked like cordwood.

Obviously, I am not emotionally vested in the hunkadunk in any way, OR the frozen dead people.



But the following brand name products strongly appeal to me.

'Hanes Perfect Coverage ComfortFlex Fit® Wirefree Bra',
'Hanes Comfort Shaping ComfortFlex Fit® Underwire Bra',
'Hanes Comfy Support ComfortFlex Fit® Wirefree Bra'.

Another stellar product that looks like the bee's knees and the cat's whiskers: 'Hanes Ultimate Smooth Inside and Out Foam ComfortFlex Fit® Wirefree Bra'.

Judging by the joy-filled faces of the women modeling these products, Hanes has a nice-feeling encompassment for every breast.

If I were a breast, I would demand Comfort Fit®!

Comfort Fit® makes for happy breasts.

No other cup will do.


And, if I were a breast, I would have absolutely NO interest whatsoever in Daniel Craig. He's not my type. I am.



ONE CUP, TWO CUP; PINK CUP, BLUE CUP!

In other news, a friend recently queried about dating in the modern era. How to ask, what to do, who pays for food, and that sort of thing.

How the hell should I know?!?

The last time I "dated" was way before Shrubbya became president.
For all I know, it now involves whips and chains, or drug frenzies.

Yes, I would like to "date". No clue how it's done.

I am a middle-aged single man.

Clueless.




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Sunday, October 25, 2015

THE TENTACLES IN MY HEAD

Not everybody appreciates depravity. This becomes apparent when rereading some of my more perverse previous posts, and realizing that A) they seldom show statistically as being regularly visited, and B) there are no comments underneath. Over three years ago I wrote about octopus sex, and NO ONE REACTED!

What is wrong with you people?!? Don't any of you have an interest in how boneless geeks swimming in the ocean reproduce?

Thousands of little octopodes!

With big bright eyes.


Maybe I should immerse a computer in the sea. With detailed instructions for use. And valuable pointers.


"Please do NOT employ your suckers here!"


Octopi are soft and squishy. Not, strictly speaking huggable. Which is a very great pity, because they have excellent taste in seafood, and this blogger appreciates that in his pets, stuffed animals, apartment mates, and girl-friends.


My EX-girlfriend is not interested in octopuses either, but she has a deep and abiding interest in squid.


I cannot remember what any love interests before the last relationship felt about the creatures -- that was a very long time ago -- but I'm sure that if they had any feelings about them at all it involved white wine, olive oil, lemon, and herbs, a la Grecque. Or tomato puree and garlic.

That was both very French and very Catholic of them.

But for that, I should wish to be an octopus.

In the presence of a charming woman.

And employ my suckers well.

Oh Jayzus yes.


As usual, my mind is in the gutter. Sorry about that. It's a low though uncommon denominator. Most people are far too clean-minded.



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NOTHING TO SEE, AND NO SURPRISES

So far, the police in Karnataka have not been able to find whoever killed Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi on August 30 of this year. This may just be rank incompetence, but one doubts it. In today's India, a rational approach to Hindu culture guarantees attacks by proponents of Hindutva, a repressive and intolerant fascist ideology.


America's dear friend prime minister Narendra Darmodardas Modi, btw, is one of the chief modern architects of Hindutva. As a young adult he was a cadre of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an extremist rightwing organization which during the thirties and forties saw Adolf Hitler and the doctrine of racial purity as worthy examples to emulate.
A former member of the RSS, Nathuram Godse, assasinated Gandhi.
RSS culpability was never proven, but is still firmly believed.
Reasonable people eschew any connection with them.

Hindutva supports the killing of heretics as well as discrimination against the disadvantaged casts and adherents of all other creeds. This is a strain of thought which is universal among all Hindu Nationalist groups, not just the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Shiv Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and Narendra Modi's advisors.



M. M. Kalburgi was probably too rational for nationalist tastes.



Wherefore it is perfectly logical and understandable that the Hubli–Dharwad Police, the Crime Investigation Department (CID), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Karnataka State Police, assert that they do not have any leads in his assassination.
They aren't stupid.





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Saturday, October 24, 2015

I CAN SMELL THE CHEESE!

Everything Filipino goes great with beer. That is one possible conclusion. And it's a very valid one to draw. Not that beer is a personal favourite of mine, because I live in the United States and absolutely loathe the behaviour of beer-sodden American yutzes. But the beer elsewhere is better, and people have more restraint.

Beer breath is unconducive to romance.


Koreans are all mild social alcoholics, and beer flows in the streets in their country. Also a possible conclusion, although the evidence is not entirely one hundred percent.


All of this pursuant a video on the interwebs.


IS THERE ANY BEER?


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDn4hWE5FUw.]


I applaud the assiduous research that produced this highly educational video. The girl with the glasses is kind of cute (maybe it's the glasses), and if she were living next door I could easily find myself spending all my money on Filipino snacks.
But not beer.





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Friday, October 23, 2015

PROPER CONDUCT REGARDING THE OPPOSITE GENDER

Someone who hangs out at a place I frequent made a remarkably unsubtle play for a woman who is staying with a mutual friend. This happened with numerous witnesses around, and may or may not have involved a burger.

The burger is somewhat material.

I also think that a burger is an appropriate love-gift, Jesus yes! But a burger should only happen AFTER a relationship involving food and mutual interest in consuming the same with subtexts has been established, not before!


Not that it was actually phrased this way, but the phrase "hello you lovely thing I wish to get into your panties with a hamburger" is quite insane. Even if was a bacon cheese burger (with fries!), the assumed causal connection should not be made, and does not hold water.

SHUT THE THIRD VOICE UP!

Please don't listen to what your squidgy bit tells you.

I firmly believe that one should never listen to one's organ. Not only does it give bad food advice, but it also leads one to offend against nature.
And ethics. And the appropriate code of conduct.

Plus stupid behaviour in public.


"Hello you lovely thing I wish to get into your panties! With a hamburger!"


In addition to all those other mistakes, the strongly felt opinions of male organs of reproduction are also complicit in sports commentary, irresponsible driving, and the entire Republican Party.
Yes, that last one is an irrelevant and opportunistic swipe, possibly contumacious, and entirely beside the point. But I felt like it.
Which is NOT the same as giving my dingdong a voice.

If grown men cannot ignore their urges in public, they should use cold showers, ice packs, medication, and restraint devices.
I can provide valuable instruction.
Just ask.


Civilized man does NOT proposition a woman in a social environment with everyone as witnesses. Phone numbers or other contact data may be very discretely exchanged, with, perhaps, the excuse that at some point in the not too distant future, one might wish to share burgers during daytime.
With bacon, cheese (Cheddar, Bleu, or Jack), and fries.
Or without the bacon, if she is a vegan.




Personally, I would be much more likely to suggest dim sum or pastries, in large part because a mutual appreciation for such things would signify to me that we have much in common, and secondarily because watching someone eat a burger is not a pretty sight. It can be horrifying.
I really like dim sum.
And pastries.




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A SHORT BRIGHT TEA-TIME ESSAY

A friend in Shanghai started his day with a pipefull of tobacco and some strong tea. The pot was peculiarly suited to the season, being a pumpkin shaped purple clay item, squatty and bulbous, of pleasingly vegetal dimension.

No, I do not know what he was smoking.
The tea was a lesser souchong (小種).


Over the years I've written some posts anent the subjects of tea and ceramics.

PURPLE CLAY STONEWARE (紫砂壺) AND METICULOUSLY BREWED TEA (功夫茶)
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2014
Dim sum, hairy crab king, firing temperatures, and the civilized tastes of the scholar class.


POTTERY AND PORCELAIN: TERMS EXPLAINED
THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2015
Glazes, hues, and iron oxide, and reduction firing.
Enamelesque luminescence, feldspar!


LAPSANG SOUCHONG TEA AND OTHER TASTES
FRIDAY, MARCH 08, 2013
Terpeneols, steeping bowls, English people, and maintaining the proper caffeine-fueled mental alertness


It is presently early on Friday, a day of rest.
Several days of work are yet to come.

I shall spend the morning swilling a fine pouchong (包種) brewed in a lovely globular pot, the smallest of my bamboo motif Yi-hsing vessels.
Soon I shall be high as a kite.

And I shall smoke a pipe.




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Thursday, October 22, 2015

A MATTER OF OPINION

You may have heard the term here a couple of times over the past few months: hoohah. And you probably did not know exactly what it was. Well, you are not alone. As a noun, hoohah ('hoo-ha') is somewhat baffling, especially if like me you always assumed that it had a sexual connotation, and was an object not a substance.

For a long time I assumed that it was a jocular reference to a woman's errm, you know, that, eh, whatsis. What we shall not mention, this being a blog for churchgoers and other perturbable naifs.

It turns out that in this household, I was wrong.

Yes, it does mean that.


But much more. So much more.


HOOHAH

It is also a Yiddishism indicating scorn, rather like a raspberry cheer made flesh, an utterance of contempt or disappreciation, and thus by extension the object or quality that elicited the sneer.

A descriptive adjective. A quality.
A characteristic or attribute.

The Republican party is a load of hoohah. The weather report is nothing but hoohah. Dialogue on reality shows is, uniformly, rumbling or whining hoohah. White folks tofu cookery is hoohah.


And, as an object, if not necessarily a body part, men also have it.

I'm not quite sure, but I think it's my gentlemanly bits.

Which, according to some, are icky-poo.


As detailed last year:
Nasty, glittering, and shaped like a burrito


"Is it round? Square? Triangular?
Perhaps trapezoid shape?"

"IT'S NARSTY!"


Until that conversation, I had no idea that I had one. Now I do.
Still not entirely sure what is meant by the term, though.
Maybe it's my insufferable air of nonchalance.

Apparently the small stuffed animals have been observing me as I ponce around the apartment in my skin, and they are not happy with what they see. After my apartment mate has left for the day, the froad, sock-sheep, purple cat, and sundry teddy bears et autres are the only other people here, and I would have thought that they would have had the courtesy and discretion to look the other way when I strip, if necessary make themselves scarce, but that may have been too much to ask.

They've been judging my hoohah.

And finding it wanting.



If I had my druthers, I should like a second opinion.




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COVERED IN GLUTEN, SHRIMP, AND NUTS

Time to sound like an old fart. So here goes: when I was growing up, several foods were still perfectly all right. Gluten, peanuts, soy bean products, dairy, eggs, and meat. Fatty pork and bacon in moderation, vegetables bred for key characteristics, mayonnaise, and deep-fried appetizers.
No one had heard of kale, chia seeds, açai berries.
Or doctor Oz.

The notorious snake-oil saleswoman who calls herself "the food babe" hadn't even erupted from her mommy's magical macrobiotic butterfly and wildflower womby-womb.

And no one had yet gestated the horrendous concept "soy free gluten free vegan sausage crumbles".

Or, for that matter, the balderdash known as the paleo diet.

Raw food, alkaline, cabbage soup?

Codswollop!




It turns out that some people are indeed allergic to peanuts, or cannot handle gluten. Not all grilled meat products, crab or shrimp salads, and deep-fried snacks actually contain peanuts or gluten, so there is hope, their lives aren't entirely dreary.

Most folks who claim special dietary needs, however, are special.
There are schools and buses for their kind.




Fortunately, most of those pustules strenuously avoid Chinatown. After just one experience with a counter woman who does not understand the stupid question, gives an unintelligible and irrelevant answer, and then evinces considerable impatience with crazy white people, the pathetic little special dietary needs wusses stay away.
Though not in droves.

Maybe their eccentricity takes a back seat when no one appreciates how wondrous it is. Or when no one is watching.

Dimsum and anything saucy are almost always artful combinations of glutenous products and soy, which so often contain meat (in addition to dried seafood flavours) as to make the concept vegan inoperable.
Buns, dumplings, noodles.

Peanuts and cilantro are optional.
But very much loved.


Many of you superior and finicky white folks need a fanny spanked. You are intolerably full of yourselves, and have nauseating pretensions.
You are not that special, and far too troublesome.
Spank your fannies good!


But please continue to stay away.
The rest of us will dine.
In your absence.
Very well.





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INDULGING YOUR INNER PERVERT

Nothing is quite so exciting as creating an alternate version of yourself with a peculiar and remarkable personality -- car mechanic, let's say, or an elderly foot fetishist -- and then trolling your "new" self out to see what strangers think.
In the olden days, that might involve a cinched corset, shaving the legs, and widows weeds. The internet has made it easier.

Greg L. Pease, bless him, has created a pipe tobacco mixture that compliments and completes that process. You can relax now, the subterfuge is perfect.


THE VIRGINIA CREAM

Virginias, with smidgeons of Perique and Fire-cured leaves. Augmented with vanilla and Bourbon Whiskey. According to Greg's own blog, it is a favourite of his pet rodents.

No, I haven't tried it yet.
This is not a review.
But I would.
So!


If I do you may expect to see me write about it. Both disparagement and praise. For a purist, indulging in aromatics is like taking a trip to Vegas and "doing stuff". Stuff that might be perverted, shameful, or a very Catholic sin. Stuff you won't admit, but will certainly do again given half a chance, and you hope to Jesus no one has a cell-phone.
Stuff your religious aunt should never hear about.
Queenly drag with falsies and lipstick.
And a purple feather boa.

But if Greg Pease made it, it's probably a very nice bit of degeneracy. Zesty! The kind of tobacco that you imagine wears fishnet stockings, braided strawberry-hued hair extensions, and a scanty neon-furred bustier. Your daughter's dorm-mate at college. The one who keeps her body clean by eating organic tofu and huffing non-GMO marijuana.
Since the divorce from her second step-mom, you've been looking.
Now you found one who might be "fun" to date.
Scandalize your friends.
Naughty!


Greg, I'm surprised. I thought you didn't consort with that type of people. How could you? How could you! Did they hold you down and utter threats? Employ bamboo splinters? Hot iron? And please tell me more! I am fascinated, and my breathing is fast. Heart palps, drooling, and an evil gleam in my eye. Does she also engage in industrial dancing?
Feature in post-apocalyptic punk music videos? Cyber goth?
Is her dream-vacation a trip to the former East Germany for all the deserted and falling-apart factories, train sidings, and abandoned socialist-paradise apartment buildings? Grey cement and cinderblocks?
Does she film everything?
Everything?!?

Good lord!

But I rather imagine that it is a discreet and not quite over-the-top product, something that every one's grandmama smelled like, back in the twenties.
A gay flapper among the otherwise sober line-up, a lithe flat-chested nymph twirling her pearls.


Vanilla & bourbon topping for sweetness and a lovely room note.


Yeah, one of these days I will review it.
It sounds delightful.


I'm actually looking forward to trying it if I can get my paws on a tin.
But I might have to use blackmail.



SNOOTY AFTERWORD

My own most recent blend is a tactful little summery effort, most flue-cured tobaccos, with the natural sweetness toned-down a bit by Burley. The first two iterations were somewhat mild, it definitely need something else. Perique would have required finicky percentages, fractions.
Fire-cured did suggest itself, but I was afraid I would end up with something I would throw out.
So instead, it now has a very slight addition of Latakia.
It tastes like something Esoterica might do.
A restrained all-day smoke.
It's a keeper.




TOBACCO INDEX


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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

MUSICAL MEMORY

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were all combined. That is to say, this blogger forgot all about food till after four thirty in the afternoon, then went and had some eggplant and fish over rice (茄子龍脷飯 'ke ji lung lei faan') at a sehr gemütliche and heimishe restaurant in Chinatown, near where I was already at the time, as I needed to visit my bank and get a haircut.
There's more money in my operational account now.
And dang I look like a leng chai again!
My barber should know.

Yes, I throughly enjoyed my late linchnast.
They do good stuff, mostly Cantonese.

And, as a result, I now know who one of the top ballroom dancers in Chinatown is, and am also aware that she likes to cha cha.
She's pretty spry for a widow in her late seventies.
And happy, because she has a boy friend.
Someone she dances with.


嘩,靚仔!

I've always rather regretted not being able to dance. That scene in Soldier of Orange where Rutger Hauer and Derek De Lint dance a tango together at a Nazi party at the kurhaus ('Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus') in Scheveningen is dynamite, and both men look dashing and fantastic in their black evening garb (tailored SS uniform versus tails). They are stellar and bestial.
Totally butch, too. Much like any man would want to be.
My former girlfriend also loved that scene.
She thought Rutger was dreamy.


No, I do not look like Rutger Hauer, but I do speak Dutch. Which also appealed to her. Unfortunately there are not many women who correctly judge the Dutch language to be one of the hottest, sexiest, and most mellifluous tongues on the planet.


知音妙韻

Late evening saw me back in the neighborhood, listening to Cantonese arias (粵劇 'yuet kek', also 粵曲 'yuet kuk') issuing forth from a basement near a Church. Several times in recent months I have paused there to enjoy the music, because truth be told I like Cantonese Opera. It puts me in an antique mood, even though the lyrics at that level are nearly unintelligible to the kwailo ear. It is archaic and literary, being both formalized (程式 'ching sik') and metaphoric (虛擬 'heui yi').

Years ago I collected cassettes, and saw performances.
It was one of the most enjoyable times of my life.

There's a violinist who plays in the park.
I think I'll see if he's there today.



As a linguistic side note, the Cantonese word 'gau' (嚿) means a lump of something, a thick slice, a piece of. It is a measure word, and can be in some contexts used in lieu of 'faai' (塊). This is important to know.
I cannot remember where I heard it recently.
Or what it was in reference to.




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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A VERY NATURAL MAN

Attentive readers will know by now that I like several things which are not, strictly speaking, significant in other people's lives. Rice porridge, red bean pastries, hot milk tea, bitter melon, aged pipe tobacco, briar pipes, fine stationery, seal-script calligraphy, ink, brushes, steel nibs, blotters, erasers, dictionaries, mediaeval history, small stuffed animals, and wandering around unclothed in hot weather.

Four days a week I am in Marin County, and you may rest assured that while over there I do not wander around unclothed. At least, I haven't yet, and it is doubtful that I ever will. Although a very long time ago I did have the opportunity.

Marin, in this blogger's life, is NOT conducive to nudity.

Nudity is strictly a San Francisco thing.



Being more-or-less a gentleman, I always make sure that my apartment mate has left for the day before skipping about in the buff. The appeal of nakedness is an airy sense of freedom, plus, in hot weather, ventilation.
It is innocently meant, and never exhibitionistic.
A few years back there might have been something naughty about it, but for the past half decade I have not shared that nakedness with anyone.
Nowadays it is merely a very pleasant private peculiarity.
There are no tickets, there is no invited audience.
And only when the weather is oppressive.
A protest against the heat.


I would not advise you to picture me nude. An unclothed middle-aged man smoking a pipe and striking poses is not a pretty sight. At least, we can assume that that is so. If I were to find such an unclothed middle-aged man in my apartment, OR on the public street, it would disconcert me, and maybe even diminish my appetite and zest for life.


NAKED MIDDLE AGED WHITE MAN

Think of me as an elderly monk, or a teenage girl.
I do not need to see nudity, please stop.
Especially not male nekkid.

I keep the blinds drawn as I swan about. Occasionally I might fix myself a hot beverage, then return to the teevee room where my computer is. Sometimes I write e-mails in the buff, if it's very hot weather I compose songs, construct poetry, and write blog-posts in that state.

At present it is not nearly warm enough for that.
Feel free to picture me fully clothed.
Rumpled but comfy and decent.




Countries where I have been naked: The Netherlands, Belgium, La Belle France, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, Singapore, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, HK, Japan, Canada, and naturally most often The United States.

I regret not ever having disrobed in Taiwan, but Philippine Airlines couldn't land there that year because of a Marcos' hissy fit.
Oh well. It's something for the bucket list.
Along with India, Ireland, and Iran.
Three fine naked places.



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REPREHENSIBLE TENDENCIES REVEALED

This past Sunday I was subjected a noise barrage of stupendous proportion, as a room-full of pudgy middle-aged gentlemen with cigars vociferated loudly and ululated in front of a television set. Largely because of that, I have even less regard for their brain-power than I already had.

I am not a pudgy middle-aged gentleman.
And have no interest in sports.


Sunday would have been a good day to go shopping, but I am not a pudgy middle-aged woman either.


People like me are caught somewhere in between, inhabiting a grey no-mans-land of non-pudginess, far from sports or fancy shoes. Neither ESP nor QVC cater to our type, as there is no money to be made.

Somewhere on this planet, there might be a channel that aims its valuable added content directly at us, but it sure isn't here.

['Here' being the urban San Francisco Bay Area, twixt Novato and Palo Alto, on the civilized side of the Willie Brown Bridge, far from trailer parks and Berkeley.]


Imagine, if you will, the television programme that we would watch.

"Join us now, as misses Ephaedra and Imogene Bucquet-Brainly enact the Fat Woman scene from The Importance of Being Earnest, whilst smoking a Comoy Blue Riband filled with thirty-five year-old Balkan Sobranie and a Dunhill Root Briar circa 1951's with Sullivan Powell (G's.M.) respectively.
Both pipes were formerly part of the collection of Reverend Doctor (D.D.) Otis Pudnatick, rector at Saint Biblius.
"


The lovely pipe-smoking thespian sisters performed at the annual ball of the West-Rutland County Tobaccianists and Morris Dancers, last held at the Uppingham Millers Social Hall seven years ago. As there is no train service anymore to Uppingham, celebrants trekked by bus and lorry from Oakham, Corby, Leicester, Peterborough and Stamford.
A sumptuous dinner was served.

Uppingham, not far from Oakham, lies in the Midlands, a largely rural area to the North of London. The last garage and tobacco shop closed in 1964.
One of the local crafts of particular note is horse-shoe smithing.
There is a tea-lounge on Main Street.
Pipes permitted.


No, that will never be on televison, and I probably wouldn't even watch it if it were. But I would alert fellow members of our local pipe club, and request that at least one person Tivo it (see, I am technologically aware after all!), to be played when next all of us convivially gather at The Hall of the Fat Wooden Dwarf, which is slightly east of Pickleweed.
The monthly meeting of our group.
In Marin.

That might not be an evening that I would be present for.

Nor an entertainment to which I'd take a date.

Even if she were a pipe smoker.

Or wished to be.


Yes, there are women pipe smokers. Not a single one has joined the local fraternity since the willowy Chinese lady departed two years ago, more's the pity, and I don't know how the members would react if one did.
Some might resolve to leave their wives, initially. Or panic.
They didn't do that when the willowy Chinese lady was a member, because she was already happily married (to a pipe smoker), and from New Zealand, so we could barely understand her.

[If you are curious about New Zealand accents, watch the Lord of the Rings movies; Orcs talk like that. It's quite unintelligible.]


But my point is that when sports are on, anywhere far from cigar smokers (the aforementioned "pudgy middle-aged gentlemen") and sports bars is remarkably peaceful. Especially during Autumn.
I used to be in the city on those days.
Different schedule.

Wandering around Nob and Russian Hill with a lit pipe in my mouth was a blessing. Empty streets, except for the rare stray raccoon or child, balmy Fall temperature, the loamy earth air rendered damp and smelly from the fog the previous evening .....

Nothing but badgers.

And leaves.

Hah!




TOBACCO INDEX


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