At the back of the hill

Warning: May contain traces of soy, wheat, lecithin and tree nuts. That you are here
strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton.
And that you might like cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

PUTIN'S LITTLE TWINKIE

In a response to Donald Trump's recent tweet fit, the Dutch Embassy sent a brief and to the point message out into the ether.


Netherlands Embassy
@NLintheUSA

Replying to @JaydaBF @realDonaldTrump
.@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.
11:26 AM - 29 Nov 2017


What they meant, but diplomatically did not say, was "shut your piehole you orange-faced buffoon. You and your idiot followers are, by your stupidity and downright irredeemably evil dumbness, making this world a perceptibly worse place by the minute."


The crime was committed in the Netherlands. And it has been dealt with.
The perpetrator has been punished. What business is it of yours anyway?
It does not concern you. Piss off, you hatefilled cretin.


Dang, some of the folks here in the U.S. are dumber than a pile of bricks. One of these days y'all might lock the bathroom door and not find the way out. If you don't die of starvation, maybe you'll asphyxiate.




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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

MILK TEA AND BREAD-LIKE OBJECTS

The important thing is tea. A cup of strong Assam or Ceylon, with a little sugar and milk, plus, of course, a cookie. It strikes me that I have no idea what crumpets are, as those have never been part of my world. Unless perhaps they are the same as a Thomas’® English Muffin.
Tasty with cheddar cheese and melted butter.
And a little Jalapeño chili.

Tea and crumpets are quintessentially English.
The Jalapeño is far less so.

Jalapeños are called "pointy peppers" in Cantonese (尖椒 'tsim chiu'), as opposed to "lantern peppers" (燈籠椒 'tang lung chiu', but also 青椒 'ching chiu'). Not really a standard part of a tea-time snack in mid-afternoon among the Cantos. Neither are capers (續隨子 'juk seui ji'), or anchovies (鯷魚 'tai yü'), or, for that matter, Cheddar cheese.
But they should be.

The jury is out on potted shrimp, though. That being small shrimp preserved in ghee with nutmeg and cayenne.

The Hong Kong Chinese are somewhat enthusiastic about many British things, being adventurous and open-minded (especially about fun stuff to eat), but while they have warmly embraced warm sweet strong milky tea, as well as baked goods, they have not developed an affection for muffins, even less so for capers (if at all), and Lancashire potted shrimp would almost certainly strike them as anathema and heresy squared.
They seem to have welcomed the pointy pepper.
It's great in dishes with fatty pork.
As are anchovies.

[In lieu of salt fish.]

Warm milky strong tea is what you drink anytime between late morning and late evening as an invigorating shot of caffeine, with your macaroni in soup, with spam and little cabbage. Or toasted pineapple bun with melted butter and luncheon meat. Or a plate of hot buttered piggy buns.
Not, as of this writing, augmented with chili.
Maybe soon, but not yet.
And no capers.


A very dear pipe-smoking friend, whom I only know on Facebook, proudly asserts that she could eat an entire jar of capers.

She is obviously not Cantonese.

If she and her spouse ever visit the West Coast, I will be torn between introducing them to Chinatown snacks, and simply providing them with tonnes of capers. But they must have the milk tea.
Sometime in the afternoon.



I really think that anchovies, capers, and chilies belong in nearly everything, with or without baked substances.
But that's just me.




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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

MIDNIGHT IN THE WASTELAND

"American scientists have found that breakfast is the most important pizza of the day" (P.M.). Wherefore only derelict parents would deny a reasonable request, irrespective of any toppings other than corn and tuna, which only Middle Eastern weirdoes eat, though ham and pineapple need to go hand in hand with irony, a keenness for which many Americans lack.

Yes, I am on my first cup of coffee as I write this. Synapses dormant since the Seventies ..... ermm, since late last night, are firing wildly, randomly, and rapidly. You don't want to stand too close.


I really should not be up so early. Last night I wandered out with pipe and tobacco, and ended up at the local karaoke bar where people ghastly sing. One drink on the counter to stake my spot, occasionally visited, but mostly outside in the portico with my smoke, the howls distantly behind me, quiet sidewalks left and right, and occasionally a cable car rumbling past.

Cold crisp air.


"I'm finally wearing clean underwear. But I haven't had a shower yet."


Sometimes a man is happy to be invisible. A few overheard scraps were sparklesome. But the details of the Olympic pool were boring, and given how rarely she bathed one would not want to share the same water.

There are women who automatically mention that a pipe reminds them of their granddad or a favourite uncle. Others are too busy talking about their underwear to notice. I am really okay with that.


I felt like asking at what point underwear goes from being clean to being else. Other than the obvious. And assuming that brassieres are different in that regard than lower items. Is it a judgment call? Or a stage which when arrived at automatically assigns the garment to another chapter?
A process? Could one quantify it?

But sensibly one hesitates to approach women whose social skills include explanations of their recent nether garment history. Past experience indicates that other issues may crop up.

Also, such details are on a need to know basis.
Let us assume that I do not have it.


I'll just lean against this pillar here, watching the mice scurrying along the edges and in the shadows during the quiet moments between cigarette-smoking loonies and their underwear discussions.
I have a pipe, and good tobacco.
Life is alright.



NOTES

On the third tin of Greg Pease's Montgomery this year, a blend with a nice balance between blonde Virginia and red, and a subtle addition of fire-cured Kentucky. In the right pipe it shines, though the span is wide. Last night's billiard was a narrow bore, but the squatty pot on Sunday morning was considerably wider, and the big Barling later in the day sang too.
So it's not a matter of dimension. Age of the briar is a factor.
Oddly, not quite so divine in the black blast Dunhill.
I'll have to repeat that today or tomorrow.
It may have been anomalous.

I'll open another tin of it this week.


[UPDATE as of 3:16 PM, November 28: Montgomery is also excellent in the Loewe.
Later today we'll try some in a Peterson System Standard 307.]



The remarks about pizza come from a FB conversation in Switzerland, inspired by a small girl who was facing disappointment. My sympathy is, naturally, with the small girl. Because as a single man the concept of pizza for breakfast appeals to me. It sounds right and good, and is a sound choice altogether. A good breakfast starts the day right.





TOBACCO INDEX


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Monday, November 27, 2017

HE SOUNDS LIKE A THUG

The problem with almost all the news articles that mention Trump's latest dumb-ass remark is that they have sound that automatically plays while you are reading. Sorry, no. I do not want to hear that cracker's voice.
He's a repulsive piece of trash.


Anyhow, what he said today was:

"You were here long before any of us were here, although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But do you know what? I like you."


No wonder Putin likes him.


The man is vile.




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TREAT THEM WORSE THAN BABY HARP SEALS

Per the BBC, the government of Pakistan has decided not to use force on the hardline Muslim extremists creating disturbances in Islamabad (*).
This is clearly the wrong move. Once you allow the religious element to riot, civil discourse is over. For the good of society, the proper approach is tear gas, clubs, and bullets.


Muslim riots in Pakistan? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Hindus running amok in Gujurat? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Haredim protesting the draft? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Christian anti-abortionists in the interior? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Family Values-niks snitting over bathrooms? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Angry Buddhists in Myanmar or Srilanka? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Bearded loons in London or Sweden? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Texan conservative voters? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
Bajrang Dal? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.
BJP? Tear gas, clubs, bullets.

Evangelical Christians?

In order for societies to function, rather than become dysfunctional, the religious nuts must be kept in check by the realistic threat of force. We've seen what happens when that is removed from the equation. Just think of Afghanistan, Ahmedabad, Babri Masjid, stone throwers at the Dome of the Rock, Serbian Nationalism, Erdogan, and radicals in Den Haag.


Across the board, trouble could have been nipped in the bud if tear gas, clubs, and bullets, had been judiciously and rigorously applied. The American deep south would look a lot different, Blacks might have gotten the vote generations sooner, and we'd have a president.


If rum, sodomy, and the lash kept British sailors in line and made Britain a super power, you can just imagine what tear gas, clubs, and bullets could do against religious thuggery.




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LACTICAL MUSE

Here it is, nearly two o'clock in the morning, and I am craving cheese.
Perhaps a nice Gouda made by a local company.


Also, it is raining. It was not supposed to rain on Monday.


I blame Alabama Republicans for this.




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Sunday, November 26, 2017

THREE THOUSAND MILES OF MIRACLE WHIP AND VELVEETA!

Everything in Marin needs sambal. As, I am sure, the Mexicans would agree. Here in SF we have flavour, so not as much sambal is required.
But Marin County is the suburbs. So everything is bland.

TGIFridays, Outback Steakhouse, The Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Chili's, Panda Express, and Der Wienerschnitzel were all invented specifically for suburban people. They feel happy and safe there, nothing risky is on the menu. Re-interpretations of Chinese and Italian food, donuts, bagels, cheeseburgers, tofu dogs, croissants, lettuce, and breakfast.

The Herring Godmother hasn't visited them.

Their edibles do not inspire.

Spoodle foodle.



Dinner last night: Mie goreng with chopped kundol and tomato, shrimp paste, roast chicken, blob of sambal, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Oh, and a little ginger and scallion.

Now, THAT needs to sold at late night food stands along Polk Street.

Not sure how the late night crowd would deal with this.
They're young, feckless, and rather dull.
Bacon dogs with mayo.



Not sure what I'll eat tonight. The building blocks I have to work with are promising. Plenty of noodles, various kinds. Meats, dumplings, canned stuff, dried tofu. Vegetables. Four kinds of hot sauce, sambal, shrimp paste, fish sauce, abalone sauce, oyster sauce, dried fish, mustard, spices, chilies .....

Eggs, coconut milk, rice, onion, ginger.

Oh, and cheese.




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THE SPORK GENERATION

It is hard to believe that it took over ten years for me to discover the Penguin of Doom, and to realize that I still haven't seen an episode of Naruto. But, thanks to Isaac G. M. in a group whose name and purpose cannot be mentioned, because it would trigger too many people, I now know of the penguin's existence, and must research Naruto.
At some point in the future.
Maybe.


Quote:

"hi every1 im new!!!!!!! holds up spork my name is katy but u can call me t3h PeNgU1N oF d00m!!!!!!!! lol…as u can see im very random!!!! thats why i came here, 2 meet random ppl like me _… im 13 years old (im mature 4 my age tho!!) i like 2 watch invader zim w/ my girlfreind (im bi if u dont like it deal w/it) its our favorite tv show!!! bcuz its SOOOO random!!!! shes random 2 of course but i want 2 meet more random ppl =) like they say the more the merrier!!!! lol…neways i hope 2 make alot of freinds here so give me lots of commentses!!!! DOOOOOMMMM!!!!!"

End quote.


Actually, it isn't hard to believe. I'm largely out of the loop on much of this internet sh*t. I don't own a cell-phone, and didn't even know about "dank memes" until a few months ago.


If the Penguin of Doom was a thirteen year old bisexual girl in 2006, she's probably finished college by now.


In relation thereto, I should mention that the spork is over a century old, but the spoodle is not even fully defined yet, although it seems to mostly be understood as an eight ounce single serving ladle for portion control, used in the food industry, the military, educational institutions, and prisons.

What's scooped in a spoodle can be eaten with a spork.

The spork generation eats slop.
In rectangular trays.



Spork. Random. Freinds.




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Saturday, November 25, 2017

ANTIQUE CHRISTMAS PLANS

No, I didn't join the black Friday frenzy. I had better things to do. First, over the hill to Chinatown with pipe in mouth to find some lunch. On a whim I entered a place filled with elderly codgers having fun -- no spring chicken myself, but they represented many more senior moments altogether -- and ordered a bowl of chicken and abalone porridge with a fried oil-stick.
It was delicious, in all ways the ticket. Cilantro garnish.

[Abalone and chicken rice porridge (congee): 鮑魚雞粥 'baau yü kai juk'. Fried oil stick: 油條 'yau tiu', also called a 'cruller', or a 'Chinese donut'. It isn't sweet, and is meant to be dipped in your congee, although most places nowadays cut it into bite-sized pieces for you, so that you can dump them one by one on top, to be eaten with chopsticks. Cilantro: 芫茜 'yuen sai'.]


Second pipe afterward while shopping. Among other things I purchased socks and tea, so it only seemed fitting to find a cup of naai cha .....

See, gong sik naai cha (港式奶茶 "harbour style milk tea") is also called si mat naai cha ((絲襪奶茶 "silk-stocking milk tea"), in which the second character (襪) means 'sock'.....

Okay, I guess you had to be me to see how that's funny .....


Three pipe fulls while out and about. Too much caffeine. And immensely irritated by tourists. Of which there are far too many. Sometimes I wish that San Francisco wasn't such a nice place to visit.

Tourist children are particularly odious.


On the way home I realized that I am older and more neurotic than I used to be, and far less socially inclined, though the lonesomeness of a four day holiday does drag on me. I thoroughly enjoyed my bowl of congee while drinking in the racket of other people eating and drinking, and relished not having to talk much other than placing my order.

I think on December 26 or 27 it might be good to go have dimsum at the place with all the coughing old people half a block up from the restaurant where I was yesterday. Elderly throats coated in pork grease because of black bean spareribs rice (豉汁排骨飯 'si jap paai gwat faan') would very likely provide enough happy racket that one could entirely forget about the holiday. It's cheap and very delicious, and some of those fossils smoke far too much. Oh, it will be lovely!

[Drink lots of Pu Erh tea (普洱茶 'pou nei chaa') if you eat that; it's very good for the digestion, especially with fatty foods like paai gwat.]

Their other dimsums are also excellent.



For some reason my apartment mate left early in the day. I think she went to work. She returned at 7:30, and brought some food back for me.
Siu yiuk, siu kai, and some saang choi.
It was very kind.



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Friday, November 24, 2017

AS AMERICAN AS IT GOT

As usual, Facebook was filled with people gratefully digging into turkey, gloating over their feast, and posting food porn pictures of the culinary achievements of their wife or husband or mom or crazy uncle with the deepfat fryer mounted on a concrete plinth behind his garage.
Plus all the side dishes that traditionally go along with the bird: biscuits, gravy, corn, succotash, string bean casserole, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn bread, and cranberry goo. Multiple pies.

Food photos all over the place. And heartfelt expressions of warmth, good cheer, happy family hoo-hah, sweetness everybody, and festive spirit.

Except for Stephan Pastis. Who as usual said it best.



As some of you know, I always bah humbug the holiday, seeing as the last real Thanksgiving I had was years ago before I moved to San Francisco.

Yesterday I had potstickers for lunch, tzeet gwa with bacon and peppers over rice stick noodle for dinner. The potstickers were purchased in Chinatown. Dinner I cooked at home.

Three different hot sauces.

My apartment mate went over to the house of one of her brothers, where they all did the usual thing.



The best part of the day was smoking a pipe twice in Chinatown while wandering around, and one on the way back, before dinner.
And also afterwards.




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Thursday, November 23, 2017

DAMNED LITTLE BUGGERY LOONS!

There are times when I consider myself merely a visitor here, listening in on what you humans are talking about. Because getting involved in some of your conversations is the wide open door to insanity, and pretending to be an alien instead is the best way to maintain one's equilibrium.

And, honestly speaking, everybody here is nuts.


Scraps overheard recently:


"Poor Southern Christians care passionately about "Happy Holidays", and will boycott any business that uses the term instead of the obligatory "Merry Christmas". Because it's all about Jesus, and he's an angry redneck, or sumpin'."

"It's all that money, and most of those trailerparks ain't got none."

"Cinderella is nasty-ass and exploitative."

"Hogtied; it's suburban."

"Those clever Singaporeans, and snacks that smell like nail polish!"

"This is a waste of time! There are no tornadoes!"

"I threw up in shop class."


Most of these were uttered by Caucasians in Chinatown, of whom there seem to be an awfully large number. Maybe there's nothing else to do on Thanksgiving except wander around a strange and exotic neighborhood? That would also explain the Mandarin speakers. There are more there than usual. Many of them young and prosperous. And, by their standards, probably "slumming", because Cantoneseness isn't their thing.

Middle-aged Shanghainese women on their cellphones can be extremely loud, and may have irritating voices or speech habits. On the other hand, old white men fart a lot. Boy howdy. And that worries me, because I am white, and will eventually be that age.

Public transit is a slice of life.


Best line overheard:


"Weren't you supposed to be dead?!?"


That last "conversation" is probably something that started long before either of those two fossilized meatbags got on the bus.

I'm cool with that.





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A HEALTHY LOUD SILENCE

You know it's bad when you are the minds of two secondary characters in the novel that you are writing, and you are having a conversation between themselves. In a nice café in Paris, relatively early in the day, over rolls and steaming coffee. A late French breakfast: bread substances, freshly baked. With butter and preserves. A pouring vessel filled with hot milk to add to the black liquid. Plates, napkins, utensils, and a big glass ashtray.
Sun slanting in, everything bright and clean.
April or May, no rain.

The first thing is that I don't actually like those two characters, and secondly, I am not writing any novel. And I felt resentful that they were being lazy and I had to do their dialogue.

A dream just before waking.

I don't know them.


Now that I am awake I am trying to recall their faces, but can't quite see the details. One of them looks like Simenon with a turtle neck, the other resembles Charles Bronson (Charles Dennis Buchinsky).


Breakfast, from Southern Belgium all the way through France, most of Switzerland and Austria, and much of everywhere else that is Francophone or German, consists of rolls baked that morning, which you break open to add butter and jam. Washed down by hot strong coffee with warm milk.
And, back when people weren't so neurotic, cigarettes.

The Dutch usually sliced off a few pieces of bread and topped these with cheese or apple stroop, and seldom heated the milk.

I have never been a breakfast person.
Just give me the hot caffeine.
And a newspaper.



Things that are rare at breakfast nowadays: freshly baked rolls or bread at breakfast, newspapers, cigarettes, and conversation. Also large glass ashtrays. You seldom see those anymore.

I'll have to leave the house for the first pipe of the day. She's home today, so smoking is NOT permitted. Or possible. If I ever switch apartment mates, it may have to be a sailor or a drug addict.

All this clean modern living is killing me.

Even cafés are smoke-free.


At a hotel in England once I had to go enjoy my pipe out beyond the run down coach house, out of sight of the clean people on the terrace. It took forceful diplomacy to get them to allow me to take my cup of tea with me, and it started to rain while I was in that Siberia. An elderly gentleman joined me in the narrow shelter provided by an overhang.
He too had a pipe, but no tea cup.
We smoked in silence.

The ashtrays in the library were purely decorative.
Signs near each of them said "no smoking".
A creeping American effect.




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NASTY NIPPISH PEEVE

A statue commemorating the thousands of women systematically raped by the Japanese as part of their war effort has irritated the modern Japanese: "Osaka mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura wrote to his San Francisco counterpart to protest against the statue and said he might end the sisterhood between the two cities, which dates back to 1957".

[Source: Jap hissy - BBC.]


Excellent.

If they are that pissed that they take such steps, I am perfectly willing to respond in kind by boycotting sushi parlours and torching Japanese commercial offices. Screw them.

I would particularly piss on Sumitomo Bank, but those racist buttwads bailed out of the city long ago.

We only dropped two bombs on them.

It could have been many more.

Up theirs.




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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

PASTRIES AND SNACKIPOOS, REMEMBER THAT!

My apartment mate shares with our downstairs neighbor an appreciation for cake. Given that once upon a time they were both little Chinese girls growing up in San Francisco, I will go out on a limb here and guess that it is a result of not having enough cake when they were kids.
I base this also in part on myself. I was never a little Chinese girl in San Francisco, and my cake thing is by no means excessive.

On the other hand, offer me pastries and snackipoos, and I am all ears.
Pastries and snackipoos have what it takes to hold society together, whereas cake is for anarchists.


Shan't mention how old these two ladies are, but they are both past college age. Adult women. Of Cantonese ancestry. Who must have cake on what appears to be a weekly basis.


Now that I know that, what course of action do I take?


I'll probably just step aside and let them frenzy.


In an animated series years ago, a little girl becomes lost, and lives off of the discarded wedding cakes behind a bakery for several months.
Which my apartment mate thought perfectly reasonable.


I am a middle-aged single man.
Sometimes scared of women.
They're bizarre creatures.





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ALL OF IT IS BETTER WITH HOT SAUCE

Last night when I left I wished every one a good Thanksgiving. But was that really honest? No, it wasn't. I haven't really had a Thanksgiving in very many years. Even when Savage Kitten was still my girlfriend, an honest actual Thanksgiving wasn't part of the programme, and since we split seven years ago it has been entirely off the table.

No turkey, no group feast.
No social event.


Eccentric middle aged white guys do not deserve a Thanksgiving.
Hell, middle aged of any derivation.
White especially.

Do I really want the people to whom I wished a good holiday to actually have one? No. I know they will, but I wish they wouldn't.
I'm not that friendly, or that human.



It's time they grew up. Thanksgiving is supposed to be horribly depressing and unpleasant. The only people who should validly enjoy the holiday are children, every body else should be painfully aware that they stand alone in a cold dark world and nobody really cares.

The bird is dry, the stuffing undercooked. and the side dishes unimaginative and mediocre. Cranberries! And after it's over you will buy overpriced video games and tacky synthetic fabric clothing, then come back to an overflowing sink, and a garbage pail that has started fermenting.
There is stuff in your fridge you never want to see again.


The folks I wished a happy Thanksgiving did not wish it back; they were pre-occupied. Each year at this time every body is pre-occupied.


They'll have such fun.
Oh yes.




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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THAT YUMMY SMELL 鹹魚雞茄子

It's a nice place, even though there's only a limited number of things for the peckish single badger. Other than three Toishanese salt-of-the-earth types, the only people there were an elderly Chinese woman and her daughter speaking English. Normally I have something else to eat, but today I ventured into old-fashioned comfort food territory.

Salt fish chicken eggplant casserole.


鹹魚雞茄子煲
['haam yü gai ke ji pou']

Classic home-town Cantonese, though I imagine it's also eaten elsewhere, where ever clay pot cookery is common. Actually, that would be mostly Cantonese territory, so that settles that. And salt fish is not nearly as appreciated in the frigid sandy north as it is in the subtropical south.

Eggplants, chicken pieces, a little bit of salt fish. Garlic, scallion, cooking wine, douban sauce, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil.


Preheat your little clay pot. Deep fry the sliced eggplant, more or less, till crusty along the edges and dump in the pot. Gild the garlic, scallion, and salt fish in a little oil, add the sliced or chopped chicken, then the wine, sauces, and sugar. Dump this over the eggplant, sprinkle a few drops of sesame oil, lid it, and set over roaring heat for a minute or so.
Serve it sizzling.

Trust me, there is nothing quite like contemplatively savouring salt fish chicken eggplant ('haam yü gai ke ji') and rice while Toishanese are racketing in the background. It's a bit of heaven.

Great with hot sauce.


No, I haven't a clue what Northerners do with salt fish, or whether they even touch it. It's probably not high on their agenda, if at all.
Not, strictly speaking, a bucket list entry.

Such a pity for them.

Sad.




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MILK TEA IS A GIVEN TODAY, NO MATTER WHAT

Years ago an affinity with the neurotic element became obvious. Which those who associate with me would not dispute, though by that recognition they tar themselves. Peculiarity is not a disease, save in the eyes of exceptionally normal people. Who are suspect.

Neurosis may be manifested in several ways. Attention to the finer aspects of food, coffee, tea, tobacco, the proper preparation of noodles and seafood particularly, and period or costume jewelry. To the exceptionally normal, much of this is irrelevant, and a pointless obsession with minutiae.
They do not understand detail, and have scant grasp of nuance.

My friend the bookseller is neurotic, my ex girlfriend also, a lot of people in my past, and several of the pipe smokers of my ken, a few of them very much so. One of them makes exceptional shortbread and corn chowder.
All of them are, sometimes, confounding.
It is a good thing.


WITH ALL THAT FRESHLY IN MIND, AND ALSO REMEMBERING THAT THANKSGIVING (COMING UP THIS THURSDAY) IS WHEN WE SHOULD APPRECIATE THE GOOD THINGS AND PEOPLE IN OUR LIVES EVEN WHEN WE ARE RESOLVED TO BE ANTI-SOCIAL -- BUGGER THE BALL GAME, TURKEY, AND THE COMMUNAL SHOPPING FRENZY -- THE FOLLOWING MAY NOW MAKE MORE SENSE THAN OTHERWISE.

Quite.


Cleanliness is godliness.

This morning I reamed and cleaned two dozen pipes, which I shall smoke over my four day weekend, and after that going forward into my work week. The open tins or jars are three Greg Pease products, two Dunhill blends, a Sam Gawith flake, the last of the frog that I opened when little white nipple guy was around, Drucquer & Sons 805, and my own concoctions.

[Addendum as of noon the next day: Plus the tins of Saint Bruno Flake, Giubileo D'Oro, and Capstan. Forgot about those. Oh boy!]

Everyone needs a little round wooden ball (the cap of a Cholula Hot Sauce bottle is perfect) with which to evenize the rim bevel of those pipes which have rim bevels. Butz Choquin, Comoys and GBD are brands that often have those, as well as some Petersons.
The advantage of a rim bevel is that it maintains a perfect circle, even when excessive heat has charred the wall, by off-setting darkening and scorch marks. Which is a problem caused by filling your bowl entirely.
There is no law that says you have to stuff it all the way.
It's a bad habit. Please stop doing that.


Blend 805.

There are a few smokers that I have shared some of the freshly opened 14 ounce tin of Drucquers Blend 805 with, and several more with whom I won't.
That tobacco was bought in 1981, and one does not waste such a product on those whose smoking habits indicate that even the curiosity value would not be worthwhile, let alone any appreciation. Though they are friends.

One of the people I did share it with subsequently inquired what it was, and where it might be got. It was delicious and wonderful, and he wanted more. Alas, Drucquers is long gone. The tobacco that remains is a very finite resource. What I did not mention is that I have enough to last me over a year. But there will be more at the next meeting.


Lane Limited 1-Q.

Anyone who smokes 1Q is probably maltreating his or her briars. Five of my customers do so, and their pipes testify to their crimes. Underneath the filth, gunky carbon, and tar layers inside their bowls are heat-fissures, soggy bits, boiled-in exudate, and probably the last mortal remains of Jimmy Hoffa. Their briars range from idiosyncratic peculiarities which now really should be thrown out, irredeemable wreckage, to exceptionally nice pieces by famous companies and carvers, permanently ghosted by funkum. They are very nice gentlemen, of fine character and interesting mind.

I have committed to pipe mud.


The second cup of coffee.

The first pipe enjoyed this morning was a rusticated no-name filled with Greg Pease's Montgomery, which his tin blurb describes as several grades of wonderful flue-cured leaf, from soft yellow to deep red, combined with just a touch of dark-fired Kentucky for added richness, the finishing touch being a special process which he does not explain. It is very enjoyable indeed, the variegated sweetness combines nicely with an old-fashioned bookish odeur. Very American, yet very English.


SCATTERED AFTERTHOUGHTS

Starting on the second bowl, in a canted Dublin circa fifties. May need a third cup of coffee. Occassionally I pick up one of the reamed pipes and admire the dark inner surface. I really should start thinking about a shave and a shower, and then heading off to Chinatown for a bite to eat.

The pipe in my pocket will be the straight bulldog I bought in Den Haag one summer, and perhaps the tobacco will be the twelve year old EMP.
It is a nice sunny Autumn day, and I may just have a snack at a bakery instead of lunch.

Now where the heck is my lighter?





TOBACCO INDEX


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Monday, November 20, 2017

AN OVERCOOKED DUMB BIRD

Because of the upcoming holiday I have an uninterrupted stretch of four days off, and will not be at work again till the weekend. I had best make sure I have enough potstickers. There will not be any turkey, and I have no intention of countenancing 'tofurkey either. I firmly intend to be antisocial and avoid as many native speakers of English as possible. So I will also stay away from the cigar bar, because nothing is more soul-withering than listening to happy cigar smokers wandering in for a last drink and puff, and burbling (in horrid detail) over what a fine dinner they had with friends, family, and various haphazardly chosen companions.
Oh, how delicious! It was truly splendid!
We gobbled for several hours!

Instead, troll-like behaviour. Pursuant which, this description was the best line today: "socially inadequate seedy men sitting in their basements ranting". It expresses the paradigm perfectly.

Well, no basement..... think den or bat cave instead. But yes, socially inadequate, and by the standards of many people probably seedy.
And ranting is my natural condition.


I was originally planning to go have baked Portuguese chicken rice in Chinatown around mid-afternoon on Thanksgiving, but I do not want to make plain my lack of family and social network to the people working at any of my favourite restaurants; I want neither sympathy nor possible distrust of my disconnectedness. And it would be too hard to explain that Caucasians in the United States are often loose ends at the frayed edges of kin groups, and that while this is not the common condition, it is sort of normal.
Not just bums, criminals, and crazies.

Instead I'll make Portuguese chicken rice at home. My apartment mate will probably clear out of the kitchen by early afternoon, so I'll just bide my time till she leaves for Thanksgiving with her relatives.


Four days of being a wild solitary beast.


Oh joy.




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THE MOST POPULAR FLAVOUR IN AMERICA

Yesterday I was a bit out of it. A lack of sufficient rest for two days, plus the caffeine affecting me weirdly, brought me to a point where it seemed I was more aware of reality and more divorced from it. Naturally I had more caffeine when I got home. Leading to an elevated enervated state.

Scoping out the evidence of some one's snack-o-riffic bender, such as my apartment mate's, tells you things about them you never knew.


Banana cream wafers from Khong Guan, and Cheez-its. Among other things.

I think she lived off chicken soup and junk food all weekend.

And I know she drank a lot of milk.

In between napping.


For years her eating habits have disturbed me, because I am the one supposed to be fressing like a carefree bachelor, while she is in a relationship. Yet I have been indulging in nice romantic dinners (by myself), while she still eats like she was in college. And for someone who weighs only a hundred pounds, she's strong as a horse.

Must be that tough peasant stock she's told me about.

That, and a Chinese digestive system.



The great thing about Cheez-its is that when you place them on your tongue, the savory saltiness is noticed first, then a sweet and creamy chemical taste, followed by greasy crispy goodness. And then you chew. Because if you wait too long it falls apart and there is no crunch.

The noble Cheez-it should be included in a salad bar.

As an alternative to all those damned beans.

Right next to the bin of bacon bits.



By the way, some popular brands of bacon-flavoured crumbly crap are actually texturized soy product dyed with caramel color and red number 40, that last one a petroleum derivative. Add maltodextrin, lactic acid,disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate (either or both), yeast extractives, and "smoke", plus sugar, dextrose, brown sugar, sodium phosphate, and potassium chloride, and you have sheer crusty vegan goodness.
Better stick with real bacon.

Real bacon goes well in salad, and is great with steak.
Bac'n Flavoured crumbdoodle is for tofu.
Fit food for veggie-heads.
Not humans.




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Sunday, November 19, 2017

REPROBATICAL STIMULI

Getting home from work I am usually bushed. But one cup of coffee or tea later, and the beast feels restored. I might even have a bite to eat -- there are some purely excellent potstickers in the freezer at present that I picked up in Chinatown, which this evening are out of the question because I ate lunch very late -- or go out dancing. If I danced. Or enjoyed dancing.
Or was inspired to zany jollification.
Hypothetically.

Last pipe of the day out on the front steps; dark flake. In a very English canted Dublin. I think I'll make a habit of this. The weather is pleasant. Warmish, though Autumnal. Hardly any people about, because it seems there is some game that folks who don't smoke a pipe must watch.
I shall not research that matter, as I am uninterested.

The last pipe while at work was McConnell's folded flake in a big apple made by Comoys of London for an establishment that is now long gone: John's Pipe Shop, 524-524 1/2 South Spring Street, in Los Angeles.
At work I normally swill tea by the bucket-load, but I was too busy talking with two other pipe smokers to make myself enough to drink, and consequently faded a bit during the bus ride home.
I am pleased to discover that both gentlemen are, in their own ways, as neurotically detail-oriented as myself. And quite as disapproving of bad smoking habits.


One of them missed the last meeting of the pipe club due to illness. To a large extent I missed it too, as it occurred during work hours, so despite being in the vicinity of the puffing gentlemen at all times I was otherwise engaged, and haven't a clue what was discussed. At least four bottles of wine were drunk, plus a quantity of Scotch, and several Boddingtons. Which is slightly shocking (alcoholic beverages during daylight hours!), but not at all surprising. Several men with their briars and tobacco, ranging in age from late thirties all the way through older than the pyramids?
Of course one of the reprobates will pull out a bottle!
It might not even be one of the fossils.


It is both right and good that pipe smokers with sound habits, and tastes in wood and tobacco, should gather to talk smack about the rest of society.


Next time I will offer them tea.





TOBACCO INDEX


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WHERE TO SMOKE IN SAN FRANCISCO

Recently a cigar smoker complained that there was nowhere to light up. Poor baby. His wife had ordered him to enjoy those nasty smelly things at the back of the yard, and the rainy season has begun. He cannot indulge anywhere near her or the dogs. And others are even worse off, because either they have no yard, or they live in areas which ban smoking anywhere near doors, windows, common spaces, other apartments, shared walls floors ceiling and airwells, or triggered people.

Much of the well-to-do suburban Bay Area is like that.
Basically, anywhere the middle classes live.
It keeps reprehensibles away.
So, for the benefit of liberty-deprived fossils and pipe smokers, here's a list of places where I smoke when I am not at work. I hope it helps.


PRIVATE PLACES FOR PIPE SMOKING

1. My home, when my apartment mate is at work during the day, or fast asleep in her room late at night. Her schedule is a normal Monday to Friday stretch, mine isn't. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I can fume as much as I want, provided I allow four hours for the place to air out before she returns.

2. Chinatown, before or after a late lunch or tea-time snack, afternoons and early evenings, while the apartment airs out. Chinese people have more relatives who smoke than white people or vegans, and are consequently a happier bunch, equitably tempered and tolerant of other humans.
Eat well, then light up outside.

3. Private parks, of which there are two near the pyramid. Plus alleyways in this part of the city, and under awnings in the rainy season when stores close, though warm clothing and an umbrella are necessary.

4. North Beach. Have you ever told an elderly Italian he can't light up?
Try doing that sometime and see where it gets you.


Additionally, for your reference, there is a nice bar in the Financial District where no children or whiny white healthnuts are allowed (other Caucasians are okay), nowhere near a Greens or a Chipotle, or even a healthclub or other modern interpretations of the Christian Women's Temperance League. Yes, they'll charge if you bring your own cigars, but as a pipesmoker that does not apply to me. Flavoured stogies and aromatic pipe tobaccos are not allowed, though. That's for fruit-in-the-heads and wheatgerm freaks, and damned offensive besides. Feh, gottenyu, and gevalt.
They open at noon, for the lunch crowd.

The Occidental Cigar Club
471 Pine Street, SF
415-834-0485

Union Square and the shopping district are almost entirely no go areas. The Mission District, Haight Ashbury, the Castro, Marina and Cow Hollow, and the club scene south of Market are too sodden with hipsters and righteous immigrants from elsewhere in the country to be safe, and because of middle class breeders and their whelps out in the avenues, those places are largely Mau Mau country also. Very much like Marin, Berkeley, and Oakland.
But you can buy plenty of organic non-gmo "food" there.
Assuming, heaven forefend, that you want to.
And pot. Pot is always good.
"Therapeutic!"






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A NEGATIVE STATEMENT

Sometimes, as you would naturally assume, dealing with the American-born can be problematic. For me that would be the American-born Dutch -- "we grew up eating boiled lettuce which our Oma prepared, so we naturally know more than you" -- and many of the American-born Chinese -- "we only understand a primitive country dialect of Toishanwaa, so your fancy pants city speech must be stupid and badly pronounced, you dumb-ass Caucasian person" -- as well as almost all the American-born Mandarin and Indonesian speaking ethnics -- "bah, we fart in your general direction, you nasty unreconstructed pale fossil" -- but it is rare that one encounters someone with a completely repulsive and putrescent attitude.

Recently I did.

An East Coast female.

Who considered me "white". Offensively so.

Her own white-ass self not.

Okay.....


Eine Atlantic city frostikke yenta, mit eine farshtinkende putire paskudnye grobkeyt! Sie kon ihre snotty stuck-up attitude in ihren ungefilte fish arein shtuppn biz es brent, and pound chrein after, sachif al kalba.

She should go back to Atlantic City for Thanksgiving.
And croak of food poisoning there.


You know, many Americans are putrescent shits, but some of us take the rotten cake in that regard, they make Euries look acceptable. Rigid arsed Anglos, Amer-asians, sinitic Yank-o-philics, Kelto-trash, Scandifockers, the entire Slavic shmear, pigs from Poland, Germany, Slobovakia; Serbs, Grekistanis, russ-o-rapistinians, and carpetbaggers from all those other shitty places where we dredged the pissy dissatisfied masses from.

Also the gorhelpus Baptists and evanguckingelicals. Or child-molesting Alabamian fundy-wundies. Damn, you folks are crap!

But some are far, far worse than others.
Kozzakken megn sie kriegen.
Particularly that one.



And her draggy-ass freckled boobs.




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Saturday, November 18, 2017

SOFT WHITE MUCK BETWEEN THE EARS

If it seems like I am always living in the past, it is because I am. Yesterday morning was quite delightful. After a full and restful night's sleep, I got up early, had coffee, and as soon as my apartment mate left I lit up a pipe.
The tobacco, as you might guess, came from the past. A tin purchased in 2005, finally opened two weeks ago. Something that would make many more men jealous than women. In some aspects the equivalent of a trophy blonde, but in all ways a much wiser choice of companion.
Absolutely wonderful!

No, shan't mention which splendid blend from an estimable company it was, as there is no need to know. It isn't a blonde twit which needs to be trotted out every single time for others to admire.

Or a cigar with a famous band.


Hypothetically:

"It was a lovely Autumn evening, as I sat enjoying a glass of Bunnahabhain 18 year old, with a Davidoff Salomone delicately smoldering in the crystal ashtray on the table next to my comfortable armchair, in my well appointed living room, and my big breasted young blonde wife playing with the Golden Retriever, her perky nipples sparkling in the last rays of the dying sun ...."

It need not be a Davidoff Salomone, it could very well be a Cohiba Siglo VI, or even a Behike. But everything else remains the same, possibly excepting the time of day.

The perkily boobied blonde baggage is imaginary, just so you know.

Unlike the blonde, the cigars mentioned are multi-dimensional, presenting deep earthy notes, hints of leather, spice, cedar, and a pleasing finish.


Plus I've learned that I should not have a bottle of decent singlemalt near my chair, as I am more likely to use it for cleaning my briar pipes of an evening, while actually swilling tea.



In my callow youth, many young ladies of my ken seemed so much more intelligent, and they were far better read, than most people I know today. Indeed, I am gilding the past, but they probably were brighter, and in those days we were happy with just cheroots from the local factory, dark shag for cigarettes, oude genever, and fine English pipe tobacco.

Plus coffee and tea. Life was an unending cascade of freshly made caffeinated beverages, because the Netherlands drinks coffee at every opportunity, and warm pots of tea are so comforting in a beastly climate. The mind works better and faster when awake, provided there is more to work with than just text-messages and tweets.

Admittedly the people I knew were the Atheneum and Gymnasium crowd, and even then only a limited subset of that, but caffeine, brilliant minds, and tobacco, are a dynamite combination. Add bookstores, and the thrill of discovering new material splendidly written, and you have blast-off.



For a few years I would head over to the cigar bar on a Saturday night to smoke my pipe and enjoy some conversation. But it is very hard to discuss anything except balls when everyone is yowling at the screen and checking their cell-phones, and there are many more people there now, doing precisely and only that.

My apartment mate is a non-smoker, so I will put on a sweater and head out into the cold for a while. This may trigger some people, but all the best characters of literature smoked, and often indoors in front of women and children. Many of them smoked pipes. As did their authors.
Twitter hadn't been invented yet.
Nor tofu either.






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Friday, November 17, 2017

PRETTY!

One would be hard-pressed to call her glamorous. For one thing, she had an intelligent look in her eyes, and seemed curious about everything.
For another, there was no air of mystery about her.
And she wasn't standing still.


"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid."

---Hedy Lamarr


In addition, she might not even have been five years old yet.

I took a quick bus down to Chinatown after work yesterday, because my apartment mate was in the kitchen cooking up something scrumptious for her boyfriend -- poor bastard can't cook, or something, and has no clue about food and nutrition -- and the smell was making me hungry.
I picked the wrong time to go. It started raining.

At the second stop up the hill a little girl and her dad got on, and sat across from me. I noticed that she was staring at me, and while from women of a certain age that can be alluring, when a tyke does so, it is disturbing.
Do I have a moustache hair sticking up my nose?
Or is one of my eyes bloodshot, perhaps?
Hasn't she ever seen a white dude?

She was the cutest thing, all clean and bright and twinkly, and her clothes were neat, and she looked a real little lady sitting there all proper and well-behaved. But then there was that determined face and the gimlet gaze, which was firmly fixed upon me.

No, I didn't have my Hello Kitty backpack.
So it wasn't that.

Had to break the ice somehow, her concentrated and unwavering focus on my face was starting to freak me out. As being stared at by a women of any age might, to any man. Not just a middle-aged white guy with what must have been obvious defects to a little Chinese girl.


I screwed up my courage, and gently asked "妹妹,你叫乜名啊 ('mui mui, nei kiu meh meng ah')?"
Which is Cantonese for "what is you name, little girl?"

She looked at me as if I had gone off my nut.

Then said happily "I have pink rain boots!


I think she was very pleased about her boots, which were indeed pretty, and wanted to share the joy. They were a very bright pink.


If I were a small female Chinese person of that age, I too should wish for boots of that exact hue.




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Thursday, November 16, 2017

WHAT WILL I DO WITH THESE FRUITS?

Collect all the monkeys, we have bananas! Because, of course, you cannot buy just one banana. Well, you can at Trader Joe's, but they deal with white people, who are weird. In multiple gibberant ways. Normally you have to buy a hand of nana. Three, four, or five. From which it logically stands that one should have three, four, or five monkeys.
Especially if one avoids bananas.
They make me itch.

Cooked bananas are safer, but the monkeys do not like them that way, what with being opinionated purists, and stubborn to boot.
They don't even like yoghurt with their bananas.
Or whipped cream.

Actually, I do not know about the whipped cream, because I never asked.
But if I were to offer it once, they might demand it always. And I don't feel like whipping it up every time


Four monkeys:

Urasmus: The one-legged gibbon who was maltreated one Halloween by the evil head of Marketing.
Curious George Jr.: Who decided to perch near my phone at the law office and kick it when it rang.
Arabello Oyster: The control monkey, who has gone all batshit sweet on the senior roomie, Ms. Bruin.
The Sock Monkey: No, I don't remember his name, I just call him "Sock". Nice fellow. Likes the cat.

[The reason why I sometimes can't think of his name is because her boy friend Wheelie Boy is the reason why he's here, whereas the other three live on my side of the apartment. It's a mental block.]


On a whim I bought bananas. Which I don't eat, due to the itchy itchy scratchy scratchy dang 'fudge' aaaarghh! Skin flakes, red welts.
But monkeys do not have that problem.

Sometimes I'm a decent guy.

The monkeys think so.




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THE CAT IN THE ROOM

There are no pets here. Which I regret, because when I was small we had numerous animals. The dogs, of course -- and I am sorry I wasn't kinder to Ladybird, who really was a very loving hound -- the guinea pig (small, black, ate a lot), and cats. The cats were there because we fed them and gave them warmth. Dogs have blind loyalty, but cats are practical realists. Which is a very likable characteristic.

The reason there are no cats here is because it stipulates so on the rental agreement. An exception was made for the old lady who already had one, and when she passed away our landlords adopted her cat, which has now also gone on to better things.

I am quite fond of cats. They are so understandable. Whereas a dog is very much like a cheerful and pleasant idiot. It's not that you never know what's going on in his head, you know it's simple and rather dull.
Me woof. How bone? Hump leg!
Sniff rear ends now.
Stick!

If dogs have any complex thoughts at all, it is to pity us because we do not have wet noses and can't appreciate their smelly things. How sad!
Then they'll slobber to show sympathy.


A cat, however, has investigative curiosity, cynicism, and a psychopathic box thing of monumental proportions going on. Still no ability to formulate any thoughts using correct grammar and complete sentences, but there is something there.


Plus they like comfortable laps. Or shoulders.


The human dwelling is like a giant box enclosing multiple other box-like things of various dimensions, some more boxxy than others, and a number which are only semiboxes or incomplete boxes. There is food, a place to pee, and there is warmth. Things to push off surfaces, other things to unravel or vanquish. Plus fingers and toes which must be bitten.
The resident bipeds are quite eccentric.
And they can open cans.
Round boxes.


It tastes like toes in here.




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