Friday, May 29, 2009


If you really want to feel the spirit of shavuos, there are a few things you must know. Remembering, of course, that if you have an allergy to milk-derived products, you might not be truly equipped to enjoy the chag.


The primary one is that it is a minhag set in stone to eat dairy: cheesecake, blintzes. Cream-filled pastries and puffs, buttery flaky goodnesses. Yoghurty things. Clotted cream on scones with preserves, and saag paneer with raita, rice, and roti. Plus cheeses, like Jack, Drunken Bishop, or Manchego. Red Leicester, Tilsit, Caerphilly, Bel Paese, Red Windsor, Stilton, Gruyère, Emmental, Norwegian Jarlsberger, Liptauer, Lancashire, White Stilton, Danish Blue, Double Gloucester, Cheshire, Dorset Blue Vinney, Brie, Roquefort, Pont l'Evêque, Port Salut, Savoyard, Saint-Paulin, Carré de l'Est, Bresse-Bleu, Boursin, Camembert, Gouda, Edam, Caithness, Smoked Austrian, Japanese Sage Derby, Wensleydale, Greek Feta, Bouzoukia, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Pipo Crem', Danish Fynbo, Czech sheep's milk cheese, Venezuelan Beaver Cheese, Cheddar, Ilchester, and Limburger.

[And remember to put the cat outside, she likes the really runny fromages de la belle France.]

I'm afraid I seem to have strayed somewhat from my original brief .........

But never mind.

Everything you NEED to know about shavuos is on Bangitout:
Which I discovered upon browsing into Am Kshe Oref's blog:
Which was immediately after reading some of Dovbear's stuff:

No, I did not stay up all night studying. But I feel like I did - I woke up coughing and itching with multitudes of hives in impossible spots. Here in San Francisco we're celebrating ALLERGY SEASON in lieu of all other periodic festivals. This tends to affect one's sleep. I can barely wait until our regularly scheduled programming resumes.

My exposure to creamy things this shavuos can be described as strictly Cortizone 10, Calamine, and Aveeno.
Oh, plus appreciation of San Francisco Cantonese girls, but that is year-round.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


When speaking to salesreps, remember that they are simple folk, and that real data confuses them. They cannot handle more than one (simple) idea at a time.

If you need to discuss TWO issues (such as A: a past-due invoice; and B: a shortpayment from a previous cheque), please do the following:

Have TWO phone conversations, at least two weeks apart - one for each issue. This will keep them from jumbling both issues together.

Speak slowly and use simple words. They will understand better, and be able to read their own notes.

Ask them to repeat back to you what you just told them. This is to ensure that the words, if not the meaning, have penetrated.

Call them back a day later, to check if they need help, reminders, further explanation, or comforting.

Reward them with positive and reassuring interjections, like "good!", "marvelous", "you're SO smart", and "fabulous!".

Make a note of what was discussed in the file. Whatever you said will change in many ways over time. Do not expect them to remember the details - they're far too busy for that. Unless it involves sports or football.

Other things to keep in mind:
1. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time. Repetition – they may not have heard you the first time.
2. Sudden sounds are scary.
3. Yes, everything smells like fried chicken.
4. Always say hello.
5. Always say please and thank you.
6. Always say goodbye – it tells them to put down the phone.


In the interests of efficiency, here's the programme for the next thousand company meetings. Read it, learn it, and you'll NEVER have to attend one of them again.

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

START: 10:00 AM.

VOICE OF A FAN: Read aloud a letter in which a customer says something that bolsters the point of view of the sales and marketing departments, and coyly suggests that we give them money/free product/emotional support/unconditional love/profitable employment.
Smile - it is charming and ego boosting - but in a good way! Marketing is using it in the promos for the convention in New York! Applause.

INTRO TALKIES: Our industry is suffering, but we're doing good. Not so good that y'all can be full of y'selves, but still good. Not great, but the Marketing Department bla bla bla kudos! Which is real special. Boo competition! Avoid hubris.

FURTHER: New York is gonna be great. Those of us who get to go will boast about it afterwards. The rest of you are losers. Neener neener neener. This message has been brought to you by the truly wonderful people in Marketing, all of whom are going to New York.

MISSION STATEMENT CHANGE: Major rewrites of our mission statement are actually insignificant, 'cause the experts/consultants/magazines support these changes, and it's the new paradigm. We're still the same peace-loving/green/socially involved/cause-oriented/responsible company we've always been, and please don't disagree. Big happy family! They love us in New York! Peace out.

SOMETHING INSPIRATIONAL: Our new non-recycleable design is actually award-winning, and warm and fuzzy. No, it's not green, but we still are. We've spent months talking about it, but we're planning to drop the term 'green' anyhow, with much heart-ache and after even more discussion. We're gonna replace it with "loving caring warmly mutually supportive total environmental degradation", or a vague and meaningless equivalent. Feel good.

FINANCIALS [Gidgett explains the financials]: "Bla bla bla low inventory thanks warehouse bla bla bla less than budgeted because of automobile industry/banks/mortgage crisis/unfair new regulations/the Europeans. Profit is both up and down. Um stutter stutter uh…….", and then with the charming smile of a certifiable half-wit: "We’re doing good, not great, um well, great anyhow, we're like good, but uh not THAT great, even though Sales/Marketing/New York/Industry award resounding success bla bla bla absolutely great." Super.

"Thank you Gidgett for explaining it so nicely, are there any questions?"

The junior marketing dunce poses a bright question about the financials. The CFO answers. Mirabile dictu. Everyone actively looks intelligent.

DEPT ROUNDUP: Sales says the world is great, Marketing bashfully admits that they made it so, and everybody else admits that they've been drunk for an entire month.

FINISH: "Rah rah boom-dee-yay! We're just GREAT! Yay! Thank you for asking!"

END: 11:20 AM

Go get 'em, tiger.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Two supporters of terrorism have been sentenced to 65 years in prison.

"Shukri Abu Baker, 50, and Ghassan Elashi, 55, were convicted of channelling funds to the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. [cut] ...prosecutors argued that the humanitarian aid sent by the charity allowed Hamas to divert money to militant activities. "


The Holy Land Foundation and its founders are not the only ones who aid Hamas by "charitable contributions".

Names such as ISM, Paul Larudee, Cynthia McKinney, George Galloway, Lauren Booth, Anja Meulenbelt (et autres) come to mind.

Perhaps suit against such organizations and individuals could also be brought under the Alien Tort Claims Act, a law written in 1789 to fight piracy which is increasingly being used for human rights lawsuits.

From Wikipedia:
The Alien Tort Statute (28 U.S.C. § 1350; ATS, also called the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA)) is a United States federal law which reads: "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." This statute is notable for allowing United States courts to hear human rights cases brought by foreign citizens for conduct committed outside the United States.


George Galloway and Anja Meulenbelt are classic examples of terrorist supporteurs and apologists. If either of them were hanged for their activities it would serve the cause of justice.
Paul Larrudee might be a different case. It is by no means clear whether his efforts have been more help to Hamas or Hezbollah than hindrance, and it is definitely possible that he is more of an embarrassment than anything else.

The ISM, of course, consists almost entirely of dunces, terrorist sympathizers, and liars, and serves primarily as a holiday tour company for arm-chair revolutionaries. It's effectiveness should not be overstated.


A woman in Lakewood received a stealthy note from a young man. No, it was not a confession of honest love and admiration, nor a passionate admission of hot! hot! hot! yearning, nor even a heartfelt plea that she call him sometime.
It was merely a handwritten kvetch.
It said "your skirt does not cover your nees in back."

and: ]


Somewhere in Lakewood there is a traumatized (!) yingerman. A nice innocent yingerman, who wanted only to concentrate on holy matters, but now sees all of his fond dreams of total purity and saintliness trickle through his hands like so much water, flowing away, flowing away.
He has been corrupted by some hussy's bare knees!

I can definitely feel for him.

Women should NOT expose their knees.

"your skirt does not cover your nees."

It leads to arthritis (especially in San Francisco), and most knees are not nearly as attractive or rewarding as one might think. Many knees exhibit a largeness of bone that is utterly unappealing.

Now, a gracefull adolescent, with delicate bone structure and plump thighs, whose knees dimple nicely, is quite another matter!
I have been known to spend hours keenly observing such knees, fondly wondering what it would be like to be young again. Oh my, would I just obsess over such a lovely pair of knees, the very picture of innocence!
Good heavens.


But there is another point of view which I entirely overlooked, best expressed in the sincere and heartfelt plea below:

"Please PLEASE PLEASE I beg all you woman to dress tzniusdik. I am a yungerman with terrible tayvos, which r"l I cant controll. You dont realize what ur doing to me and other ehrlich yungerman like me. Yuo are choteh u'machteh es ha'rabim. I see you in the strets and I try so hard and I daven and I try to focus on kapitelach but its imposibel to not see you even for a moment. When this hapens I cant stop thinking about you and the way you looked (even if it's "just" a knee). My learning is ruined for the day I simpley cant consentrate. When my toyvas get so bad worse happens and you cause me to sin in one of the worst ways a man can sin. PLEASE stop making us yungerman sin!!!! Hashem Yeracheim!"


Which is the comment string underneath this post: ]

Knees lead to spelling errors. Quod erat demonstrandum. Ban knees now.



My gratitude goes out to Rabbi Dovbear (, thanks to whose vigilance this nasty situation was brought to my attention - he credits Jacob ( for bringing it to his.

[As Rabbi Elazar said, in the name of Rabbi Chanina: "He who says something in the name of the one who said it brings redemption to the world, as it is written, "and Esther said to the king, in the name of Mordechai". ]

We all look out for each other, and ALL of us look out for the heiliga Yidden of Lakewood.
Hine lo yanum ve lo yishan shomayr Yisroel.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Can I just say that I hate cell-phones? Not because they imply that the person carrying one is so important that they need to be reachable at all times. Nor because they are privacy-invading social-life disturbing agents of the dark side.

Purely because we are not interested in other people's depressing lives.

Sure, if you were to discuss last night at the zesty group-orgy and painted-bodies love-fest organized by your new age church, we might perk our ears. If you were to break up with all three of your lovers in public, with lots and lots of juicy tidbits, we would indeed sit up and pay attention. And if you wept and wailed and demanded make-up sadomaso sex from several random people in your address book, we would listen with avid interest (while mentally resolving to be more careful about sharing our own phone-numbers).
But most people do not live at full blast, and actually lead lives as "calm" as our own.
Hence we are not interested.
Even our own lives can (at times) tire us, how much more so yours.

This is something that idiots who talk on their cell-phones in public seldom realize.

Yesterday I heard about your life for over a dozen blocks.

You had a particularly unpleasant whine to your voice. It grated. I do not care that you have medical expenses for your feet (they look fine to me, and those shoes are kind of silly). Nor that you had to pay for the crutches you no longer use out of your own pocket.
I did not care the first time you told this to your aunt (Clay and Larkin Streets), nor any of the subsequent times (Clay and Leavenworth, Clay and Jones, Clay and Mason, Clay and Powell, Clay and Stockton, Clay and Grant, Clay and Montgomery). I do not owe you any crutches, neither does the world. Please stop implying that we do. Yes, we really do want to break your legs.

Why do you need to tell your aunt several different times about the B you got for English, and why do you sound so bitterly disappointed about it?
I am surprised you didn't flunk that class, as you sound pretty iggerunt to me, and there is a dullness and lack of imagination to the way you express yourself. You sound like you exhale spelling errors with every breath. That you need to hire a tutor over summer because it has been two years since you did math merely convinces me that you are not very bright - hearing that datum eight more times convinces me that your math tutor will feel suicidal within weeks, and will also develop a dependency on prescription drugs. The poor bastard.

That you, oh horrors, have to WORK over summer because of your outlays, does not interest me in the slightest. If I were the author of a scheme to impoverish you, it might.
I am not. But I fervently hope someone out there is.
I really resent the implication that the rest of us owe YOU something, especially those crutches of which you speak. Please stop complaining about the high-cost of painkillers, as it reminds us of how we suffer from that spoiled-brat whine in your voice, and the agony we feel every single time you evince your feeling of entitlement. You are NOT entitled; not by us, not from any of the people who cringe every time you repeat your medical history, your B in English, your intent to hire a math tutor, how hurt you are that you have to work over summer, and that you had to pay for the crutches (which you clearly no longer use) out of your own pocket.
Please shut up. Just shut up, okay? Shut the crutch up, you horrid whiny thing.

All of us within hearing distance fervently wished that you would get off the bus before you did. We would've been so glad to see the last of you at Jones Street. Heck, if you had gotten off anywhere in Chinatown Heights (Nob Hill between Jones and Powell) you would've made us ecstatic.
But you didn't.

You were STILL on the bus at Montgomery Street, where I got off. You were repeating every miserably dull detail for the umpteenth time. You are a truly horrible conversationalist.
If your poor aunt plans to kill you, everyone who knows you will volunteer to be her character witness and her alibi.
Fercraps sakes, shut up.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Today marks the forty-second anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem. During the years when the Western Wall and the Temple Mount were in Muslim hands, Jews were barred from access, and the Hashemite authorities made the wall a public urinal. Christians were prevented from visiting their sacred places in the Holy City. And what had been the old Jewish Quarter was rigorously cleared of a Jewish taste, just as rigorously as the Arabs had ethnically cleansed Jews from much of the West Bank, and most of the Arab World.


The Israelis decided to permit each community access to the holy sites. Morally this was the right choice, but strategically and historically it may have been an error. There has been no Arab reciprocation. And much like in 1929, 1948, 1967, and 1973, the Arabs still insist that they will cleanse the map by blood. First the Holy Land. Then the rest of the world.

Yes, I know that there are peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt. These do not really amount to much. Jordan is in a tight spot, and has few resources. Egypt was drained, and is dependent on the United States as much as they were previously dependent upon the Soviets. Subsidies by Washington are the basis for both peace treaties. Neither Egypt nor Jordan can survive without American funds.

It is to the advantage of the United States to keep paying Danegeld to these two Arab states - at least, while there is oil to be had, and the Arab world still has geopolitical importance. Once the oil is gone, the Arab world will likely revert to brutish backwater, and neither the US nor the rest of the world will pay them scant further attention. In the years since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, we have been exposed well enough to the Arabs that we no longer much care for them, the Romantic image we had of them since Lawrence has been replaced by photo reportages showing howling savagery, brutal internecine slaughter, and beheadings. Oh, and exploding passenger aircraft - can't forget that, as those pictures are truly iconic and represent some Arab aspirations perhaps better than any other pictures.

I like the Dome of the Rock. It is a truly splendid example of Muslim architecture, and a monumental historic and artistic treasure. It is part of the world's heritage, and must be preserved. Which is why I hope that no inch, no stone, no pebble or grain of sand of Jerusalem EVER returns to Muslim rule.
Because if it does, if any part of so-called Eastern Jerusalem is ever given back to those people, I and others like me will advocate blowing the Mosque of Omar to smithereens before hand. Jerusalem never belonged to the Arabs. They were brutal conquerors and carpetbaggers no less than the crusaders. No part of Jerusalem is theirs. And no part of Jerusalem should ever be theirs again.
They can have Bethlehem - I'm sure most contemporary Christians won't mind.

Yawm Yerushalayim mubarak, y'all.



For a clearer picture of my opinions, please see these older posts:




If you are an Arab or a European, you may not like what you read here. For which I am truly sorry.



A friend on the Surinam mailinglist forwarded a fascinating link to an article in the Jewish Daily Forward, charmingly entitled: 'Shake a Family Tree And a Jew Falls Out'.


"There's no question that the Jews, now numbering fewer than 200, once had an outsized impact on the country. The beautifully preserved Neve Shalom synagogue sits in the town center, next to the largest mosque in the Caribbean. Afro-Creole women wear Stars of David. Traditional Surinamese Jewish dishes - like pom, a kind of cassava root mashed with chicken, once eaten by plantation owners on Passover - have since become a national treat. Even Hebrew has found its way into Sranan Tongo, the local language, by way of former slaves. The word treefu - from treyf - still refers to taboo foods and behaviors."

The dish mentioned can indeed be made with cassava root, but taro root is much more common. The name 'pom' is a dialect variant of the 'pone' in cornpone'. A bready substance, or a bread substitute, more or less. In its current incarnation, pom is more of a Creole dish than in any way recognizably Jewish. Here's a recipe.

[Chicken stew in a taro crust - Surinamese shepherd's pie]

One chicken, two and a half to three pounds.
Half pound salt pork or substitute (good chicken sausage works well).
Two and a half pounds to three pounds unpeeled taya (taro root).
Six to eight Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
Two onions, chopped.
Two stalks celery, chopped.
Two bouillon cubes (use 2 - 4 TBS soy sauce instead.)
Salt, Pepper, nutmeg (or mace).
Juice of one orange and two lemons.
Two or three cloves of garlic, minced.
One tablespoon sugar.
Half a cup oil.

Cut the chicken into chunks, rub with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Soak the salt pork, if using, to remove excess salt.
Brown the chicken chunks and the salt pork (or whatever you are using as substitute), remove to a plate. The meat should not be fully cooked at this point, just nicely coloured.
Fry the onions, to which add the tomatoes, garlic, and celery halfway through.
Cook till nice (at this point, I would a hefty splash of sherry and a jigger of hot sauce - not authentically Surinamese, but I do this with many dishes - it just tastes better to me).
Add the chicken and pork, water to cover, and the bouillon cubes or soy sauce, as well as a fragrant chili pepper (whole).
When done, drain the cooking liquid into a bowl and reserve it, as you will need some of it for the taya. The meat, of course, is also kept.
Taste the liquid - it should be somewhat stronger in flavour than you really like, and a little saltier. This is because it needs to flavour the taya too.

Peel and rinse the taya, then rasp or grate it - a cuisinart is handy. Because of the calcium oxalate in taya, you may wish to use kitchen gloves.
Mix the taya with some of the cooking liquid from the meat and the orange and lemon juices to a thick gluggy paste, adding the sugar.
Scoop half of the taya sludge into a well-greased deep Pyrex baking dish in a thick layer, put the chicken mixture on top, cover with the remaining taya and smooth it down.
Pour the remaining cooking liquids on top, and bake for two hours in a hot oven (one hour at 425 - 450 Fahrenheit, one hour at 350 Fahrenheit).
By adding the remaining liquids to the top, you will end up with a very nicely dark brown surface after cooking. Don't worry about the darkness, worry rather if it lacks that darkness after having been baked.
It is done when a golden-brown juice extrudes when you prick it with a knife.
Keep enough of the cooking liquid from preparing the chicken that you can serve the pom with rice, adding a splash to wetten the serving.
Pom is also a good filling for hot crusty rolls (broodje pom).

Note 1.
If the taya causes a skin itch while preparing, use some lemon juice to counteract that characteristic.
Do not taste the taya sludge before it is cooked! Taya can not be eaten raw!

Note 2.
Some people mix the taya with a goodly quantity of mustard before cooking; the mustard changes flavour considerably, and even standard yellow mustard can be used.
Green banana, cut into pieces, can also be mixed into the taya before baking.

Note 3.
Surinamers use bouillon cubes as a flavouring in many dishes, but soy sauce and strong stock work just as well, without the monosodium glutamate and industrial fake-chicken flavour. Salt pork is also often used. Both are cultural markers of the cuisine, and there are better things to use.

The one thing for which no substitute is possible is the jar of sambal made from Madame Jeanette peppers, which are a fragrant local relative of Habanero and Scotch Bonnet. Just mash the fresh chilies with a pinch salt, a squeeze lime juice, and a dash of water, then thoroughly wash whatever utensils you used to make the sambal. A teaspoon of this one your plate will make it a memorable meal.
You may also want to put a selection of zesty pickles on the table, and several bottles of djindja biri (ginger beer).

For other recipes, see Cooking With a Lizard, where most of the recipes from At the Back of the Hill, are cross-posted without much backstory or extraneous material.
And note that feedback and comments are always welcome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I have a great fondness for hairy men. The shaggier, the better.
In fact, I often wish that there were more excessively furry men walking around naked or nearly so, so that I could point at them and tell Savage Kitten "see, hon, I really ain't that hairy".
I have barely any pelt at all.

"I am a smooth man, but my brother Esau is a hairy man. I am a smooth man."
-----Jacob Isaacsen Abrahamsen van Oer, a notorious inheritance cheat and smooth operator.

The problem with Savage Kitten is that she has a thing for furry anthropomorphic creatures. The froad. The head sheep. The one-legged monkey who stole her finest silk shirt. The various kung-fu hamsters (which were at Walgreens around kretchmuchtime 2003). Louise, Piggelt, and Bucky.

And my stomach.

She calls my stomach 'Fuzz Bert'. And in her presence, Fuzz Bert speaks. Usually he vehemently disagrees with whatever I have just said. Fuzz Bert also says very provocative things, and clearly believes that Savage Kitten needs help against me.
Fuzz Bert, alas, finds me wanting in many respects.
I have threatened to punch Fuzz Bert if he keeps insulting me, but his only reaction was "go ahead, big boy, I dare you".


This morning Fuzz Bert had a very long talk with the Harry Twins - those being, I have been led to believe (by both Savage Kitten and Fuzz Bert), my buttocks. Given that all three of these rambunctious members of the household were fully covered, it would have been fitting if they had modestly kept quiet. But no. Unseen they may have been, unheard they certainly weren't. Making my morning coffee with those three in the kitchen, just chattering away, proved quite a challenge. I am not fully sentient before the caffeine hits me, and am easily distracted. Even confused - can't yet think without that cup of wake-me-up.
Conversation that early adds stress.

Savage Kitten, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed their discussion. Their loud and boisterous criticism of the toad (me) did not interfere in any way with her breakfast preparations. She calmly went about making hot cocoa and a plate of potato nibbles while they conversed, without the slightest fuss or interruption, even interjecting a few cogent comments at times, which Fuzz Bert and the Harry Twins (Alfred and Aethelred) happily seized upon and further developed.

Once my coffee was ready I returned to the other room and sat down. Which shut up Alfred and Aethelred.
I wish it would've had the same effect on Fuzz Bert, but the noisy bugger followed me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Quick reviews of four pipe tobaccos. Two of which are currently available, one of which is an experimental product that Thomas at Grant's is working on, and the last a blend which will probably never be available.

G. L. Pease

Black and red Virginia, Latakia, and Oriental.

This product has a wonderful tin aroma, and smelling someone else smoking it is magic. Rich and peaty due to a heavy hand with Latakia, and it tastes good too. But it is not an everyday smoke unless you are a young man with a soot fetish. Rather, this should be in your stockpile, as it is indeed a worthwhile blend, and you should keep a tin in your rotation. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Dunhill Nightcap, due to the overall darkness, but it has less of the stoved black, and so is not as easy to keep lit. Evenso, damn good tobacco.

G. L. Pease

A full spectrum of Virginias, Turkish, and Latakia, with a smidgeon of Perique.
Medium full-bodied

I am smoking a tin from 2004. So this may not be your experience of the blend..... Aged tobaccos taste quite a bit different than fresh tins, and this is just heavenly. The Latakia and Turkish have lost some of their edginess, the Virginias have developed ethereal fragrances. This is as close to an orgy as I'm likely to come. Ooh-wee!

Grant's Tobacconists

Medium full Latakia, no Turkish. Over twenty percent deep flake with Perique, some blonde ribbon.

This is the second batch, with less bright Virginia. The first batch ended the bowl with a bitter note, the second batch has sweetness and a decent depth all the way down. Good stuff. A pleasant smoke at this point, I'm keen to see what this will develop into - I rather like the note of Perique under the woodsiness.

Experimental, version no. #3

Dark pressed Virginias, Turkish, Latakia. Plus red flake.

I must've done something right, because I like it, and have already gone through several ounces. But I'm not likely to make more due to one of the blending tobaccos no longer being available.
I probably should not have used old tins of dark flake from England for this.
It's actually fairly close to Butera's Pelican, and reminiscent of several of the fine English blends which are no longer produced. Roughly forty five percent Latakia, more than twenty percent Turkish.

The key seems to be use of well-aged Virginia, and good Orientals. That it was blended somewhat wet and then stoved at 225° Fahrenheit for half an hour will also have a lot to do with the end result - the Latakia tastes more rounded, the flavours have melded.
The red flake came from Cornell & Diehl.


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


I am flabbergasted at the conversation currently on-going between Snooky Wong and Grant Patel. First of all, I am flabbergasted that they are even having a conversation, as most of the time they simply spar and insult each other. Grant delights in crude though marginally clean sexual innuendo - nothing actionable, he is far too canny a lawyer for that - and Snooky steams and blows up regularly in his direction because of it.

Grant is a distinctly degenerate Parsee lawyer in his fifties, who is more than passing literate.
Grant's blog:
Snooky is a teenage Cantonese-American girl with a broad spectrum of interests, and quite probably a Lowell High School student.
Snooky's blog:

You can always count on Lowell girls to shatter praeconceptions. They are a brainy bunch.

Grant and Snooky appear to be arguing about the male regenerative organ. Specifically, the male regenerative organ of Richard Becker, possibly also the praedilections of mister Becker and his handy goon Forest Schmidt. Grant and Snooky accuse each other of being obsessed.

See this post by Snooky:

And this post by Grant:


From my vantage point, it looks like they are both indeed obsessed. Though not with whatever fleshy appendage Richard Becker may or may not have within the folds of his garments. They are obsessed with shouting at each other. Richard Becker's miniscule manhood is a pretext, they have no actual interest in his organ, but they are happily whacking each other over the head with it. Rhetorically, of course.

While I wholeheartedly approve of their well-expressed loathing for Richard Becker and his radical thugs, I do wish they would not use mister Becker's handicap as an excuse. Becker can be rightly criticized on any number of grounds. His inadequacy, whether real or merely rumoured, should not be the point. And it is disturbing to me that a teenage girl should write so much about something sexual.
[Grant writing about it at great length is entirely unsurprising, however.]

Please, miss Wong and mister Patel, stop talking about Richard Becker's tiny you-know-what. Write about something else. Find some other subject that you have in common to wage war over.
Shrimp, perhaps?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The anti-Zionists are sad and hurt. The poor dears! And who can blame them? We arrived early to counterdemonstrate against their hate-fest, and occupied the sidewalk space that THEY wanted to use.
Oh, we are such spoilers!

Neener, neener, neener.

And to make matters worse, we refused to move. We just stood there, like oxen, gaily waving our Israeli and American flags, even when they asked us to please go away. Acted like we couldn't understand a word.

'No, we're here now, and we ain't going anywhere. Get used to it.'

Remembering the Nakba 61 years - Mon 5:30pm @Israeli Consulate, SF

Yesterday evening qualifies as a victory. Instead of the pro-Israel side being outnumbered five to one, for a change there were equal numbers on both sides.
Well, the Jew-haters actually did have six more people than we did, but three of them were stoners, so intellectually it evens out.
[" - Hi Rusty! You don't remember me, do you? You're completely out of it, you can't recognize ANY of us! Not a single one. Did they offer you a plate of spaghetti for joining their protest? Musta bin some righteous revolutionary spliff, huh? - "]

The anti-Zionists of the hour were a coterie or claque of Students for Justice in Palestine, who intended to mark the sixty-first anniversary of Israeli re-independence by screaming angrily at the building which houses the consulate.

Except that there weren't that many pro-Palestinians who showed up. Slightly more than two dozen, with an insufficient number of flags, banners, and signs.
Also there: Lily Haskell's angry and dysfunctional Moroccan friend, who glowered and sulked very prettily. And a corpulent gentleman who reminded me of nothing so much as a prissy Bengali law-clerk.
Plus, of course, Rusty - Telegraph Avenue's very own fossil.

Because we wouldn't move, they moved.

I guess screaming anti-Semitic invective requires actually standing opposite the Zionists.
After repetitious chanting and unimaginative megaphonic insults from the other side of the street, they dribbled away. Over a dozen passers-by thanked us during the course of the event for being there and supporting Israel. Several drivers on Montgomery Street cheered and gave us the thumbs up. We handed out leaflets clarifying our pro-Israel point of view, and answered the questions of curious and supportive strangers.

Let's just say it was a very positive experience. For us, at any rate.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Yesterday was a beautiful day filled with strange new things. Thousands of people took to the streets simultaneously doing exactly the same thing, thus proving what totally unique individuals they were.
No, it was not a New Year's party, or Saint Patrick's Day. Or even Halloween.
[All also festivals of uniqueity at which everybody proves their individuality en masse. ]

Yesterday was the Bay to Breakers Race.

It was a very educational day. I learned that Wonderwoman lives across the street from me. Along with her twin sister, who has chubby thighs. They arrived back home from their jaunt looking absolutely pooped. Hot and sweaty, legs still tensely quivering from running up Hayes Street hill and completing the long slog to Ocean Beach. Eight miles in the hot sun, (ninety plus Fahrenheit), in full hearty-party togs.
Even those chubby thighs looked nice and well-exercised. Slick and glowing.
Beer is not good for rehydrating, by the way.

Wonderwoman (and her twin sister) live above the frat-boys. Please do not rent to twenty-somethings, they are loud, they drink too much, they dress badly, and they lower the tone of the neighborhood. They throw beer cans from the roof at people waiting for the bus at night. Might I suggest that you rent to young Cantonese ladies instead? They are a much better quality of people.
And they do not drink beer.

What else did we learn?

ONE: Somewhere near Wonderwoman (and her twin sister with the chubby thighs) is a colony of WASPixicans - twenty something white men who wear tourist sombreros and holler loudly as they return from the race, drenched in beer. Ay-ay-yay, ole.

TWO: There are real people, and then there are 'party blondes'. Party blondes can be heard from over a block away. They sound like geese. Loud, vulgar, geese.

We also learned that there were some sailors in town. That is to say, robust young girlies wearing tight shorts, white fishnet stockings, fetching little navy tunics, and the just cutest little sailor caps. I wish I had seen them, but I never watch the race.

[A friend was still speaking admiringly of them several hours after the encounter.]

And finally, we learned that Savage Kitten is convinced that I am nuts. Which has nothing to do with the race. Or beer.
Or even objective reality.

I had inadvertently left a wad of cash on the kitchen counter. She asked about it, and I explained that I had segregated out the nice crisp bills, leaving only the tacky and limp bills in my wallet.
She rolled her eyes.
Indeed, I had sorted them limpest to crispest.
Sigh, eye-roll.
By denomination.
Deep breath, sigh, eye-roll. Sigh again.
Straightening the corners carefully and aligning them precisely.
Energetic blinking, eye-rolls, asthmatic sound effects.
And yes, in each denomination, whether limp or crisp, it goes from limpest to crispest in the order in which I intend to spend them.
Urrgh, oop aack, eye-rolling frenzy. Aaaah.

As if her eye-rolling didn't say so plainly enough, she clarified at this point that in her estimation, I had completely lost it, gone round the bend.

She then brought up the time when I had requested a larger paperbag at the bookstore for my purchase, removed the new book, rotated it ninety degrees, carefully re-inserted it into the bag while making sure it was precisely positioned along the bottom edge, had folded over the bag to get an inch-wide flap along the top, then evenly folded that over to keep it secure and to give my fingers purchase, and then creased the bag above the top ridge of the book to make sure it didn't shift. Very methodically.
As I'm sure you understand, bags are best folded a certain way, with clean angles and symmetry. This has the benefit of making the eventually emptied bags stackable, or useful for organizing receipts and yellow sticky notes. Clearly labeled, of course.

According to her, my posture settled visibly after I had finished folding the bag, and I grunted 'mmph' in a very satisfied toad-like way. She also says the bookstore clerk observed all of this with eyes agog, flabbergasted. It was an astoundingly absurd performance, why, the bookstore clerk had probably never seen any thing so unusual!

"Don't be ridiculous, dear, he must have seen me do it HUNDREDS of times by now."

In retrospect, that could not have been the right thing to say. She reacted with a veritable eye-ball symphony, plus several deep sighs and throat noises.
I guess she just doesn't understand these things. Yet.

Somewhat related thereto, I still have a nice stack of the red paper bags that the bookstore used until they switched to black eighteen years ago. The red bags are very nice. I should count them again, just to make sure they're all still there.
The larger bag which Savage Kitten remembers is among them.

Friday, May 15, 2009


The elevator stopped and the lights flickered. After a brief pause, the lights came back on and a female voice came over the intercom, explaining in comforting tones "do not be alarmed, we are experiencing a power interruption".
The elevator then continued down.

And at that moment, it struck me. That statement, though voiced by a motherly woman, was written by a man. A real woman would have said "stop panicking (or crying, wailing, freaking out), we have just experienced a power interruption".
It involves an entirely different sense of tense.

To the man who wrote the text, it all overlapped. A woman could have understood that the recorded message would only be heard after the power interruption was over.
Afterwards. Not during.

Men are all about Venn diagrams, women are about loose ends. The male perspective is that this and that are on the some plane or in some significant way comparable, the woman knows that there is likely a sequential progression involved. Maybe that explanation is not entirely sound, but it goes a long way towards clarifying why men and women have such hugely different approaches to social talk.
Comparison versus narrative conclusion.
We may seem to speak the same language, but we really don't.

This illuminates Savage Kitten's strange ideas about conversation.

Last night we were lying on the bed in states of undress - no, none of your business, we are both elderly virgins, I am a priest, and we were practicing brahmacharya (ask e-kvetcher if you don't know what that means) - and she started talking.
It was, in a way, strangely romantic.

First she started picking my brains about msexcel. Apparently I am an expert, a veritable Rick James of excel. Both of us use that popular spreadsheet program at work, and she had been discoursing about her job earlier in the evening. You may take it from me that msexcel is NOT proper pillow-talk, had nothing at all to do with the golden glow of her skin in the reflected light, and at that time seemed more than a little non-sequitorial to what had gone before. But she was tying up a conversational loose end.
So I elaborated about msexcel for a good ten minutes, explaining how certain things that she asked about could be accomplished.
As soon as I started about programming issues, she cut me off - no loose end there.

Then, because my hives were acting up (skin allergy to certain types of tree pollens or air-born exudates), I sat up and started applying soothing ointment. Whereupon she remarked that the black spot on my back had grown bigger, my heavens, the lump itself was larger too! The size of a dollar! And that when I finally have Doctor 趙 in Chinatown lance the darned thing, she wants to be there! She is quite fascinated by it! And yes, she will bring her very own splatter guard, but she wants to see! Oh please!
Please please please!

No, sweetheart, I am NOT explaining to the nurse that this little Cantonese female is here with the big white toad as an observer. Please imagine that conversation: "Hi, I need Doctor 趙 to kill my evil twin Skippy, who is growing out of my back, and Savage Kitten here simply wants to watch, being possessed of avid curiosity, emmeser sadisten-freude, and the spirit of scientific inquiry...."
Nope. Ain't gonna happen. Ever.
The loose end in question is that she has long been convinced that if I allow her to apply gentle (meaning: extremely rough and painful) pressure, something interesting will happen.
She swears it will alleviate, but I know otherwise.

[My evil twin Skippy is the mother of all sebaceous cysts, and lives near the ridgeline of my upper back. He erupted once before, subcutaneously, and it hurt like hell because the surrounding tissues objected to this invasion of their domain by what was in their eyes an obnoxious stranger. I had him lanced back in 2004. The cute little nurse attending that operation in a support function was so startled that she dropped a tray of instruments. You can probably figure out for yourself what role a splatter guard plays in this scheme of things. And thank me for sharing.]


Somehow we got onto the subject of circumlocutory terms for body parts, and I wondered aloud how a certain orifice shared by both genders got the nickname 'cornhole' - I'm fairly certain I've heard it called that. She asserted that she had NEVER heard of it by that name. Where on earth? What the...? What DO you men talk about? "Hi, dude, how's the wife and kids and the cornhole?" "Nice weather we're having, how does it affect your cornhole?" "Here's the keys to the car, I hope your cornhole likes it?"
The more she speculated, the clearer it became that she has no clue what men say to each other.
Men and women just aren't on the same page.

After all, I never talk about my evil twin skippy. Or the wonderful features of msexcel, which is truly the spreadsheet program to end all spreadsheet programs, indeed, a veritable miracle of spreadsheet software.
Or even, chasvesholom, cornholes.

For comparison, here are some representative snippets of recent male conversations:
1. "Whut?"
2. "Dude!"
3. "Wow, man, boots!"
4. "It's stuck."
5. "Huh?!?"

I think you'll agree that these reflect an entirely different intellectual world, no?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


As usual I was reading the Dutch and German newspapers during my lunch. One of the newspapers I always read avidly is the Algemeen Dagblad - basically a piece of poorly written dreck that makes the SF Examiner look good - because of the reader-comments underneath articles.

Admittedly, there is no tradition of thoughtful commenting underneath newspaper articles anywhere - if you read the SF Chronicle or Ha'aretz on the internet, you must realize this. But it's always 'interesting' to see what a segment of the population with too much time on their hands and acid in their veins thinks. If, indeed, they can be said to think.

Dutchmen typing comments underneath Algemeen Dagblad articles prove their 'un-think' well and abundantly, and I must wonder where that thumb is.
Any article that has anything at all to do with America will usually attract comments like faeces attracts flies.
If it mentions American politicians, the angry Cheese will be all over it like fire ants on a cadaver.

Today, one of the articles mentioned our president.

The love affair between the Europeans and Obama is definitely over. Most of them think he's Bush light.
[No no, dear Euries, surely he's Bush dark!]

And they despise him.

The amount of anti-American venom is as high as it ever was. The Europeans still hate us. They hate us more than they ever hated the Nazis, more than they ever hated Stalin, and probably more than they ever hated the Inquisition.
[Well of course! All three of those were EUROPEAN. And therefore civilized!]


I am beginning to wonder why I even bother to read anything in Dutch. Perhaps it would be best to loose that language entirely - it has been of no benefit whatsoever in the last three decades, conversations with other speakers of Dutch have been made unpalatable by their stubborn ignorance and bigotry, and, frankly speaking, Netherlandish is no longer a world-class literary language.
[Some would opine that it ceased to be a world class literary language back in the sixteen hundreds.]

Dutch has, for me, been a profoundly foul and displeasing experience. It would have been better if I had forgotten that I ever spoke the language. The only Dutch people whose company and conversation I enjoy speak fluent English anyway - albeit with that irritating accent.

Seriously, I do not need the frustration borne of a constant whining, kretshing, smarming, and bellyaching from the mouths and pens of that language's habitual users.

Perhaps the only reason I still speak the language, and still read it, is that when I write in Dutch I can be a far nastier person than you could possibly imagine in English.
It is the toxic tongue of daemons and fallen angels, indeed, Dutch is the most poisonous language in the world. If hell has a lingo, it is Dutch. If depravity and viciousness have voice, it is in Dutch. Sneering, sarcasm, cynicism, and sheer sadistic knife-in-wound twisting verbage, along with backstabbing, treachery, gall, and cowardice, are best expressed in Dutch.

The infinitely bitter taste of Dutch is, because of these characteristics, still addictively appealing.
That alone buys my loyalty.

Dutch is also a superior language for speaking of love. But as no young lady in whom I could ever possibly be interested speaks that tongue, this is a facet of the language that has no importance.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Men are not known for nice nether garments. In fact, many men prefer underwear that has reached a distressed and antique stage, favouring museum pieces that had already outlived full functionality while they were still in college or when Moses was trying to moor the Zeppelin with all the animals on Mount Nebo. That old. Yes.

One of my colleagues, when I was at the computer company, had undergarments so utterly praehistoric that he had to use duct tape to keep 'em from sliding down his trouser legs. Another prided himself on his sewing skills, and offered to show us his latest handiwork at the drop of a hat. Boruch Hashem the hat was the only thing dropped - we men do like our own underwear, but absolutely not that of other men.
Ragged boxers are NOT a competition sport.

When it comes to women's underwear, it is of course a different ball game. But that is not the subject of this post.


This is not something I planned to do today. What happened is that Savage Kitten noticed how severely low on functional underwear supplies I had gotten - there is nowhere near the house to buy boxers - and on her own decided to augment my meagre clothes closet.

Underwear has changed a lot since I was a lad.

These boxers are show-off pieces. Party togs. Happy pants. The kind of thing that would not embarrass you if you felt it necessary to take off your blue jeans and swing them around your head when the juke box bursts into a Jerry Lewis song (quite inappropriate if it's Great Balls of Fire).

You could also wear your long pants down around your knees, like many young folks do nowadays - how on earth you're gonna get away from the cops is a mystery, and you'd look mighty retarded besides - but you would be showing off some mega-fancy duds by doing so. These are GREAT boxers! They are terrific!

The pattern shows little blue octopuses (octopodes) with smiling eyes swimming in a green lagoon filled with lots of good things to eat (for cephalopodoi, that is).
These boxers are very comfy. I had forgotten how comfortable new underwear could be.
I can't wait to put on the other pair.

And no, I ain't showing them to anyone! Except for Savage Kitten.
She sometimes worries that I don't wear the clothes she buys me.
I gonna hafta prove that such things are much appreciated.
And that I am indeed wearing them, though at that time perhaps naught else.
Yes, please do imagine that I will look dashing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009



Modified 09:49 AM 05/13/2009

International ANSWER, known for subverting the peace movement with their anti-Israel agenda, appears to be trying to hide their tracks. Posters up and down Market street have the ANSWER address and phone number, but show the name "JUSTICE FIRST" - alleged to be "a newly formed national organization that is dedicated to fighting for people's economic, social and political rights".

[The brick-and-mortar location of Justice First and International ANSWER is at 2489 Mission Street.]

International ANSWER may have tanked their reputation with the public by their over-the-top "blame Israel for everything" antics, but they have most certainly made enemies of the Department of Public Works with their littering and nuisance-postering in several parts of the city. The latter issue has caused a legal problem for ANSWER.

The posters on Market Street were probably put up by ANSWER activists heading to the Federal Building to pack the public seating at ANSWER's Court of Appeals hearing on illegal postering.

Per the rebuttable presumption clause of the relevant ordinance, if an illegal poster has your organization's name and contact info on it, there is a rebuttable presumption that you are responsible for the posters that were put up. The burden is on you to prove the contrary.

The six elderly communists 'packing' the courtroom are merely there to create a threatening environment, as there will be no input permitted from the public in today's hearing.

------Sleeping Bunnyrabbit


Here is part of a message that was sent out on behalf of the swine at ANSWER:

We are appealing for your support as our struggle for free speech with the San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW) reaches a critical stage. The DPW has imposed fines for postering violations against the local ANSWER Coalition that now total more than $45,000! Similar circumstances also exist in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

There was an initial finding for the DPW in Superior Court, but the ANSWER Coalition and its renowned civil liberties attorney, Carol Sobel, have relentlessly pursued an appeal in order to protect free speech and the First Amendment. Our appeal is set for oral arguments before the California Court of Appeals this coming Tuesday, May 12, 9:30 am, 350 McAllister St. Division 2, San Francisco.

Ms. Sobel, who lives in Los Angeles, has very generously taken our appeal pro bono, but there are still many expenses for filing fees, travel and organizing work around the case. You have been instrumental in supporting previous campaigns, and we are asking for your help again.

Nearly all of the citations against us are for flyers and posters posted in the Mission District of San Francisco. We view the city’s campaign against us to be an integral part of the continuing gentrification drive in the area. Political and cultural notices are regarded as nothing more than "blight" by the developers and big property owners, and their friends in city government.

There are hundreds of volunteers who work with the ANSWER Coalition. We have a notice up in our office published by DPW regarding sign posting requirements, and inform people who pick up our material about the legal ways in which material can be posted. Our flyers are also available on-line, as is common practice these days.

We have no way to control what anyone does with the materials we make available. Yet, in the administrative hearings held in DPW, whoever's name is on a cited poster or flyer is presumed guilty under the doctrine of "rebuttable presumption." Before April 2003 when the ordinance was amended, there had to be an actual link shown between an individual and an illegally posted flyer. Not anymore.

In every case that we, or our attorneys have witnessed, the cited party is found guilty—whether or not they posted the offending flyer—and usually fined the maximum—an astounding $150 for each flyer and $300 for each poster! The DPW's position is that they don't have to show anything more than the name on the literature in question. There are no rules of evidence, in fact there is no real due process at all in these hearings.

That the DPW adheres to this "process" is hardly surprising given the fact that under the April 2003 amended ordinance, DPW now gets to keep all of the fines levied, instead of them going into the city's general fund. The fines of $150 to $300 for each flyer taped to a pole are ludicrous. If one is cited for a few flyers, the fines can easily exceed those assessed in many serious criminal cases..

The ANSWER Coalition, as you know, has played a key role organizing many mass protests against war, racism and bigotry of all kinds in San Francisco.. We have already been forced to divert from our real work far too many hours and thousands of dollars from our very limited funds. Now we are threatened with tens of thousands of dollars in fines, which would be impossible for us to pay.


NOTE: International ANSWER and Richard Becker (Western Regional Coordinator of ANSWER) have been prime instigators of anti-Semitic actions in the Bay Area for several years.
An overwhelming majority of their events singled out Israel, no matter what the purported raison for the actual protest, and mister Becker himself is on record as having thrown a monumental tantrum in public at one point, screaming that the Zionists were behind it, the Zionists were behind it, the Zionists were behind it!

One of the things that International ANSWER has recently attempted to do is blame the Israelis and the Mossad for the police-shooting death of a black man in BART at New Year.

Previously, when certain city supervisors were covering for Richard Becker and his revolutionaries, charges against ANSWER's egregious littering, thuggish behaviour, and promotion of hate never went anywhere.
Fortunately the skin-blemished haramzad and most of his cadre of morally corrupt acolytes are no longer in office, and their influence has started to wane.
Still a few more to go before the city is entirely free of that lot, though.

Those who have been at ANSWER rallies can attest to the nauseatingly high level of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel venom.
The speeches by International ANSWER leaders and guest-speakers (most of which are findable on the internet) mark them as egomaniacs and psychopaths.
Except, of course, for that insane performance by Cindy Sheehan - I am still not quite sure what the heck she was trying to say, and no one else who listened to her that day has been able to figure it out either. She may have been on medication.

Monday, May 11, 2009


There is no better way to put it: the pro-Palestinian side are a bunch of monkeys. Who else flings poo? I'm not talking metaphorical poo (yes, they fling that too), but very real poo. Smelly poo.
Faeces, fewmets, caca, skyte, and shizzle.


It happened this past Saturday in front of the Grandlake Theater in Oakland.

Every Saturday the anti-Israel side holds a dreary one hour vigil on one side of the street, the pro-Israel side has a happy get-together with signs and flags on the other side of the street.
The anti-Israel side consists of Jews of convenience (Jewish only when it is convenient to be Jewish), old Presbyterian sourpusses, random Jew-haters, and the two lonely oldest surviving Anarcho-Syndicalists in the Bay Area.
The pro-Israel side includes a broad spectrum: Jews of INconvenience (Jewish at ALL times, not just when it is strategically useful to have a Jew in the ranks), lefties, righties, non-Jewish religious, atheists, anarchists, new-age, conservadoxim, reform, and of course the erev rav.
Real people. People like you and me.

Occasionally, pedestrians or drivers-by will holler something egregious at either side. Or voice some kind of encouragement. Or just scream. Loud and long.

This past Saturday, however, the Jew-haters hit a new low. Air-borne poo.
The hastily flung horse manure bounced off a sign, the pooflingers vehicle sped up and disappeared.

Oh crap. Flying poo.

The horse turds rolled a bit, breaking up. We kicked them into the gutter.

The rhetoric of the anti-Israel side is aptly symbolized by horsepuckey, as are their morals and ideas. The Palestinian students at UC Berkeley standardly voice horsepuckey, the Women in Black who vigilate against Israel on Friday at Sproul Plaza trade in little else, JVP is constructed around a firm base of it, and Richard Becker of International ANSWER just about wallows in it. Poo.
They cannot counterargue, so they fling poo. Their thought processes are that narrow and hateful that they have no other recourse. Poo.
Yaman Salahi expresses himself? Poo. Lily Haskell threatens to throw Zionists down an elevator shaft? Poo. Richard Becker has a naughty dream? Poo. Kate Bender blogs? Poo. Paul Larudee opinionates about his dear friends in Hezbollistan and Gaza? Poo. Medea Benjamin, anything at all? Poo.

Stephen "Lynched G.I. Effigy" and his lovely wife Virginia? Poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo, poo,poo!

I'm used to Berkeley being full of poo. But it's overflowing, and drifting south into Oakland. Poo. There is just too much of it. A veritable surfeit. Things are getting desperate. If Berkeley is unchecked, all civilization and culture in the Bay Area might be drowned in poo.

I have heard that baseball bats can cause constipation - that may be a mighty measure against the tide of poo. I shall have to consider it.

Friday, May 08, 2009


With the release of the latest Star trek movie, a matter of some halachic import presents itself.
Ship-board kashrus!

It is the considered opinion of this blogger that there should be at least FIVE dedicated food replicators on board the Starship Enterprise.

[Backgrounder, from Wikipedia: A replicator works by rearranging subatomic particles, which are abundant everywhere in the universe, to form molecules and arrange those molecules to form the object. For example, to create a pork chop, the replicator would first form atoms of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc., then arrange them into amino acids, proteins, and cells, and put it all together into the form of a pork chop. (]


Question: Why are five dedicated food replicators required?

Answer: One each for milchediks and Fleishediks. One for treif for the non-Jewish crew members. Plus two more for Peysach.

Question: Why are dedicated Peysach food replicators required?

Answer: The warp-drive traverses light years. Under normal (non-warp) speeds, Peysach will be celebrated every year, and while it would clearly be onerous and impossible to observe Peysach for every light year traversed at warp-speed, at least one full Peysach will have to be celebrated during each warp jump.

[As the bubble of 'normal' space-time surrounding the ship during warp is artificial, and therefore objects in normal space can still interact with space craft at warp velocity, normal halachic conditions for space-time must be presumed.]

Note, because Starfleet ships are as big as a small city, the search for chometz may be limited to quarters within the eruv. If, however, all crew members will attend a seder, chometz has to be removed from the entire ship excepting the warp core.

[Bedikas chometz should be completed BEFORE the beginning of the day during which warp velocity is reached. Remember, the day begins at night fall, so the search must be performed no more than twenty five hours earlier, and while there is still a presumption of darkness (so that the chometz may be seen by the shadow it casts on surfaces when illuminated by a candle) before the light part of the day prior to the day on which warp-speed commences.]

Since no complete warp jump is possible within Israel (because of the distances traversed in warp mode, either it would take you OUT of The Land if it began in The Land, or it would deliver you into The Land from a point far outside The Land), warp drive almost by definition means chutz l'aretz - this means two seders.
Hence the need for two dedicated kosher le Peysach food replicators, and an on-board mashgiach because even with two dedicated food replicators for the chag, there will be a need for kashering for Peysach.

Libun chamur for both meat replicators, libun kal for both dairy replicators. Irui (hagala) all surfaces, followed by a layer of aluminium foil for preparation areas. And make sure that your tablecloths have been thoroughly washed recently, as cloth may attract dust and kleine shrotzim that render it unfit for the festival.

Question: Why kashering for BOTH meat and BOTH dairy replicators, even if only one of each will be used?

Answer: Because the obligation is that your entire household should be fit for Peysach, not just the items that you intend to use during the festival. It is by that reason that chometz must be gotten rid of before the chag. Please note that as the halachic status of Feringhi is still in doubt, it is best to sell your chometz to a Klingon (or, even better, a Netureikartanik). This is to avoid any inadvertent transgressions bein adam le’chaveiro.

Regarding koshering the facilities, it is very likely that the onboard mashgiach will be a chabadnik. Chabad is well known for providing kitchen kashering services for people who are far from an established Jewish community, as well as Jewish-outreach to far-flung kehilim in addition to kosher for Passover matzos in even the most out-of-the-way locales.

[NOTE: shmure matze can NOT be made during warp speed for obvious reasons.]


An additional issue is the need for separate dining halls for Jewish crew members, and a lavishly appointed tea room for the hours in between meals.
The non-Jewish members of the crew, when fressing their treif, should mamesh be discouraged from doing so in either the kosher dining halls OR the tea-room, lest one mistakenly assume that treif is replicated there, OR be misled into believing that what they are eating is actually permitted.
This is probably a matter for the unions, and should in any case be including in contract negotiations.


It has been argued that the food replicators do not actually create meat or dairy foods, in that they take 'raw' nutrient material and shape it and flavor it so that it looks and tastes like whatever is desired. The analogy is with the mon that the Hebrews ate in the midbar.

Another argument is that the food replicators do not replicate the actual foods, but turn 'matter' into the requested food during the beaming process. And that therefore the issue of kashrus is immaterial.

These ideas are both koferdik, mamesh!

If it has both the same nutritive value, AND tastes the same, as either meat or milch, then logically it IS meat or milch.
The alternative is that you argue that it does not have a meat or milch origin and THEREFORE cannot possibly be meat or milch. But if that were the case, it could not possibly be kosher either!

Now, you may aver that if it is neither meat nor dairy it can yet be kosher: Parve.

To which I will respond that if is NOT of a food origin, then it cannot be kosher, whereas if it is parve, hechshering (of the matter of origin) becomes an issue.

One has to assume that what comes out of a food replicator counts in all ways as food, wherefore kashrus, lechatchila, has to be maintained.

If not, frumme leite could not go into space at all.


Further exploration of Halachic issues relating to startrek are discussed in the comments underneath this post:
Other matters relating to Chassidus in deep space may also be found at that blog (
I encourage you to read Dovbear's posts and learn from the discussion, but as always, consult your local rabbi on kashrus and other subjects when there is any possibility of doubt. To err may be human, but it is not Talmud.


Thursday, May 07, 2009


But Grant Patel probably is. This in fierce rebuttal of an assertion made by miss Snooky Wong, who wrote: "Most of my regular readers are perverts. There are four who comment frequently: Grant Patel, the Amphibian, Spiros, and Atboth. [cut] And I enjoy their comments, so I guess that means I like sharing myself with perverts."

Again, I am not a pervert. I stress this.
I just have a healthy interest in young ladies BLOGGERS who live in the same town as myself. All perfectly normal.

The remark was made in regards to her sex-life. Which appears to be either "not sure" or "other". As is perfectly appropriate for a person of her tender years.

She describes her probable lack of hanky panky here:

As you will note, the e-mail which prompted her speculation was innocent enough.
I wrote: "Here is what is possibly the most interesting survey ever! At least, from mister Patel's deviant point of view. Actually, ONLY from his devpov.
You will probably want to NOT respond to a single one of these questions. Mister Patel should under no circumstances answer any at all, though he would almost certainly wish to wax at length.

Quite innocent, no? Speaking for everyone except mister Patel, who most splendidly rose to the bait (and revealed himself a degenerate in nearly all particulars), I can say that other than a mildly avuncular curiosity, we (myself, Spiros, and the Amphibian) have no interest whatsoever in Snooky's love-life. Or the complete and utter absence of same - which she confirms in a subsequent post:

"Some of the questions are easy to answer, though if this was a test, even a multiple choice one, I would probably fail.
See, that's why Chinese American kids don't do sex surveys, it's performance anxiety! We're afraid we won't get into Berkeley or Stanford if we give the wrong answers!

On second thought, strike 'mildly avuncular curiosity' and make that 'avid fascination. Especially after she mentions that she is a "blond sex-type thing". You have our attention now.


In other news, we have been informed that Stas Feldman is the glue that holds the universe together. Something about the second law of thermodynamics, stuff going blooey, and the third kommisar from the back. We entertain doubts about all of this, and seek proof. Musk oxen are involved!

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


The title of this post is a sly reference to e-kvetcher's blog. If you do not know what I mean, just cruise in here and keep reading until enlightenment strikes.
It will soon. Emmes.

Sometimes you wake up with a tune stuck in your head.
Early last week I had the Marsellaise playing in my mind. And several days later it was the Internationale.

[La Marseillaise :; the Internationale:; but the national anthem of the USSR is also a goodie:]

Obviously I like rousing tunes. And I am fortunate that I have a mental playlist.

This morning was different.

I woke with the words to Superfreak ringing through my head.

"She's a very kinky girl,
The kind you don't take home to mother;
She will never let your spirits down,
Once you get her off the street....
Ow girl!

Superfreak is NOT on my mental playlist.

Savage Kitten was in the kitchen singing while she made herself breakfast.

"She likes the boys in the band,
She says that I'm her all-time favorite!
When I make my move to her room it's the right time
She's never hard to please !"

This from someone who is fixing herself a really BIG gloppy flapjack - she is VERY particular about breakfast. I can smell the pound of butter that she has melted. Mmmm, butter!

"That girl is pretty wild now!
The girl's a super freak!
The kind of girl you read about,
In a new-wave magazine!

That girl is pretty kinkeeeey!
The girl's a super freak!
I really love to taste her,
Every time we meet. "

Okay, this is maybe not quite as bad as a hangover.....

"She's all right! She's all right!!
That girl's all right with me, yeah!
She's a super freak, super freak!
She's super-freakeeeey, yow!

Or maybe it is.
Just in case I didn't get the message about 'that girl', she joyously repeats it at the top of her lungs.

"...Super freak, super freak! "

The words 'superfreak, superfreak' must have a meaning I am unfamiliar with. She invests them with feeling, she sound rapturous. She's in the zone now, baby. Surely that pancake is almost ready?

"She's a very special girl,
The kind of girl you want to know,
From her head down to her toenails!
Down to her feet, yeah!

And she'll wait for me, backstage with her girlfriends,
In a limousine,
Going back to Chinatown...

Three is not a crowd to her, she says,
"Room 714, I'll be waiting"!
When I get there she's got incense, wine and candles....
It's such a freaky scene! "

Where does she get all that energy from at this hour? I can't even mumble yet, and she's loudly laying the freak on big time. Urghhhh!

Super freak, super freak!
That girl's a super freak!
Oooooooooooooooh!!!!!!!! "

Years ago I walked in on her lying on the bed twitching with a blissed-out expression on her face, eyes closed. She was grooving to Madonna.

She really gets into her music.

Today I've got the immortal Rick James in my kitchen. Eating pancakes.
And now I can't get the freak out of my head.


The British government has picked a fight with an old hippie. The man in question, an associate of Timothy Leary and beat-poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, has been banned from entry.

[Note: Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti are famous - though why that is so is baffling. Their poetry is jejune and trite, and they are very overrated. But San Francisco styles itself a literary hotbed, so of course we have to play along with the charade. Trust me - Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti are both crap.]

The man in question, now a much-reformed hippie, is Michael Savage.

This per the BBC - see this article:

Quote:"Conservative political commentator Michael Savage, real name Michael Alan Weiner, is one of 22 people barred for fostering extremism or hate. "


I shall not speculate on whether mister Savage has indeed fostered extremism or hate. It is not germane.
Instead, let me just remark that a country that has several thousand hate-filled Pakistani and Arab extremists, and a substantial subcultural strain of anti-Semitism (plus George Galloway), probably has no business vetting what people say. It suggests, by omission (those several thousand hate-filled Pakistani and Arab extremists aforementioned, plus George Galloway), that the British government in fact approves of the racist and bigoted statements made by several thousand hate-filled Pakistani and Arab extremists. Plus George Galloway.

Any nation that elected George Galloway should spend more time investigating the subculture of extremism and hate within its own borders, and far less effort making itself look silly with pretentious PC poofle.

For the record, I disagree with almost everything that comes out of Michael Savage's mouth.

On the other hand, I really do think that George Galloway (a member of parliament, nota bene), is a dangerous sociopath whose unceasing efforts to spread hate and promote terrorism make him the perfect candidate for a drive-by. The man is a morally bankrupt smear of ambulatory compost that the world would be better off without.
Yes, seeing George Galloway's hate-filled face shattered and ripped by bullets on the evening news might give me great pleasure (same goes for Lauren Booth and several other trolls), but would almost certainly not discomfit me - no matter how raw the footage.
Go ahead and make it as graphic as the splatter-porn favoured by Galloway's extremist Muslim friends - I shall force myself to watch it.
At least twice. Gladly.

If you are not willing to curb your own rabid dogs, you should shut up about everyone else's barking.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Astute readers will have realized that this blogger occasionally needs to scream and shout. Or plot something evil. Either of those two approaches to problem-solving works.

Hence the previous post on this blog (yes, directly below). In which I let my 'gift' for bland yet poisonous verbiage come to the fore. I am sorry if you cannot understand what it says. If you don't read Dutch, you were not meant to understand it; you are not the target.

Just skip on past, and continue reading the intelligible posts. There aren't many pieces in Dutch, and our regular broadcasts will remain in English. Well, mostly English.
As always, feel free to comment in whatever language you wish - even Dutch.


Daar zit ik dus mijn middagmaal te genieten, onderwijl het Algemeen Dagblad lezend.
[Ja ja, een Amerikaan die leest - en in het Nederlands zelfs! Wat leven wij toch in een wonderbaarlijke wereld!]

En wat zie ik?

Reacties onder het artiekel zijn van dien aard dat men niet eens van 'borrelnoot iekuutje' kan spreken. Lang niet genoeg borrelnoten, teveel jannevier.

Tevens, het antiamericanismus van de doorsnee Dutchman begint het verschijnsel "obamafilie" te overweldigen. Dat viel ook wel te voorspellen.

Dankzij (of 'te wijten aan') het internet hoef ik nooit meer Nederland te bezoeken.

Met vriendelijke groeten,


PS.: Azijnpissen, etterzijken, galspuwen, en mierenneuken - vier gewoontes die ik over het algemeen slechts in de taal van Vondel en Brederode bezig. Ook daarom.


A correspondent on a mailing list wrote about the remembrance of the war dead in the Netherlands. As what he said is rather interesting, I have translated it and posted it below.

A. B. writes:
"Yesterday there was a broadcast of a ceremony remembering the war dead. At the event, Wim de Bie spoke to those present, which included the queen and (crown prince) Willem-Alexander, about his memories of the Second World War. He observed that the Germans hid in residential neighborhoods in the Hague to launch V2 rockets towards London. De Bie said that it was clear that already then human shields were used.
The reaction of the English was not a surprise: carpet-bombing of the city, which killed more civilians than Germans. No 'precision-bombing' whatsoever.
This seemed somewhat familiar - yet the reactions of the world are so different now

Note: Corrections in the translation made at 12:30 PM, as per recommendations of author.

[Original: Gisteren werd een ceremonie uitgezonden ter ere van de Dodenherdenking. Daar vertelde Wim de Bie aan de aanwezigen, waaronder de koningin en Willem-Alexander over zijn herinneringen uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Hij nam waar dat in Den Haag schuilden de Duitsers in bewoonde wijken om vandaar hun V2 raketten op Londen af te vuren. De Bie noemde het nog duidelijk dat de menselijke schild toen al toegepast werd. De reactie van de Engelsen kwam niet als een verassing: tapijten van bommen
op de stad, waar meer burgers dan Duitsers omkwamen. Niks precisiebombardementen of zoiets.
Toch komt het mij ergens bekend voor. Alleen de reacties van de wereld zijn nu wel anders.]

Yes, I could wax sarcastic about double-standards and hypocrisy. But there is no need. Probably everyone reading this is capable of reading between the lines and forming their own conclusions.

Yesterday the Netherlands remembered those who did not survive the war. Today the Netherlands celebrates liberation.
What they do the other 363 days may be baffling.

Monday, May 04, 2009


I am still not sure why I joined Facebook several months ago. Was it because of peer-pressure? If so, it merely demonstrates what a wuss I am. Facebook is a social networking site - I am completely antisocial, and 'networking' to me is what spiders do. The flies they catch are that which is networked.
Lip-smacking must be the result of successful networking. Yes?

I actually rather like spiders - for creatures with a disturbing plurality of eyes, and a mouth that goes the wrong way, they have extraordinarily intelligent faces.
If they had only two eyes and smiled more, everybody would want one as a friend. We all want our friends to look nice.

Maybe I actually joined because I wanted to creep someone out. The daughter of a friend mentioned that most adults in social networking groups are perverts and deviants (well, she's a teenager, so she probably thinks that about all adults anyhow). And for some reason, that appealed to me.

"Hello Sweetie, candy?"

I like the idea of scaring juveniles. They startle so very nicely, squealing and screeching like abandoned infants at the merest boo. But the internet is not a very good medium for this. It is far better to hang out in bookstores wearing a flasher-coat, staring at them from the recesses of the law stacks, or while gliding on to the psychology - pathology section tightly clenching a copy of The Bell Jar.
Flap coat. Utter boo. "BOO!" Then watch the young nerdling start to cry.
I like them at that skittish age. So tender.

Bookstores are much better for creeping out the young than 'social networking sites'.

"See my real face, and look, I'm holding an actual book! Scary, huh?"

When you visit my facebook thingy, you cannot tell that I am wearing an evil coat. One with flaps and a vast interior. One in which I can hide you while spiriting you across state lines.

"What's that, officer? No, there isn't a teenager in here, I am very fat."

"Those extra legs? Why, I am just an innocent friendly spider, honest!"

I'll smile when I say that. Everyone likes smiling spiders.

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