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, August 16, 2017


Here's the background: For several years the bookseller and myself visit a place where interesting food may be had, then we have a beer elsewhere, and end up in a Chinese bar which has a karaoke machine.
This happens once a week, it's a tradition.

Now imagine two ladies screaming at each other in Mandarin. A friend who grew up in the hinterland had never seen anything like it, and was seriously worried that mayhem would ensue. So we pointed several things which he had not taken into account out to him.


The way to win an argument is to vocalize louder, faster, and longer. It helps if you distract the other side by moving jerkily and gesticulating with a bottle of brandy. When she blinks, pour two shots and force her to bottoms up with you, in hopes that her tolerance is way lower than yours.
Hug. And promptly start screaming again.

Repeat for over an hour.

The gangster older brother type who normally sits near the Hunanese lady spent most of that time outside, enjoying some peace and quiet. When he came back in he very subtly marched directly to the other end of the bar.
The thuggish person who several weeks ago had in gleeful camaraderie opportunistically groped some tiddly white titty kept a distance of at least ten inches away from both ladies, and all parts of their moving bodies.
Toisan Uncle sat in the corner bouncing on his seat.
This was so exciting, and entertaining!
Probably the best night ever!

He had the happiest grin on his face.
Wrinkles wreathed in joy.

The Taiwanese proprietress occasionally hollered "stop shouting" (無粗啦!'mou jou laa') in Cantonese at both ladies, but otherwise stayed well away, and didn't bother getting as hammered as she usually does. Which was remarkably pointless, considering that along with the two cheerfully screaming ladies she also was one of three native speakers of Mandarin there, and all the rest of us speak Cantonese or English. Her two linguistic sisters were too busy having their battle to pay any attention to anyone speaking Cantonese, even if they could have understood it.
Besides, both of them were desperate to make their points before slurring set in, and as they had already polished off one bottle of Hennessy and were well into the second, with every passing instant that goal acquired greater urgency.

They are both charming people. Operatic.
Especially the Hunanese girl.
A real firecracker.

[Happy women; eloquent, stubborn, vibrantly alive.]

For most of that time the hinterland friend sat there mesmerized, occasionally speculating that they would kill each other.
Such loudness and animation!

See, violence is NOT part of an argument. The goal is to overwhelm with your logic and rhetoric, and Hennessy makes that possible. Final victory is when the other person slides off her seat and wakes up only remembering that you were still upright and scoring points.

Somewhere after two o'clock, having been generously treated to extra shots of whiskey and a shot of Hennessy, we left the bar. As usual when invited to drink too much I had sloshed the excess alcohol onto the floor when nobody was watching. So all things considered, I was quite sober.

The Mandarin speakers were still hugging and yelling.
I'm fairly certain of a total Hunanese victory.
She's got buckets of spunk.

And an extra bottle of Hennessy.


Up ahead of us, between Taylor and Mason, a coyote observed our slowly ambling party, then trotted out of the alley into which it had ducked, went up to the corner, turned to look back at us, and loped off towards Russian Hill. With the disappearance of the raccoons that used to live in this party of the city it probably has no more competition for food and kitty-cats.
At some point it will find a mate and reproduce.
We are surrounded by untamed nature.

[I miaowed several times, hoping to make it curious and come back. No luck.]

I've never seen a coyote this close to downtown.
This was in fact my first coyote ever.
I feel blessed.

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


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