Thursday, September 30, 2010


The way it stands now Dutch firebrand Geert Wilders and his party are slated to be part of the next government in the Hague. This, it turns out, displeases the Netherlands' neighbor to the East.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel uttered tut-tut sounds regretting this development.

Tough. Not really any of her beeswax. Germans especially need to be hesitant with their opinions about the political situation in other countries. There's a history there that might beg some uncomfortable questions.

And given that Wilders' ideas are the direct result of the open-door policy towards unfettered immigration most notably exemplified by Germany, whose booming economy demanded massive cheap labour at nearly subhuman wages - importing millions of uneducated immigrants throughout the past four decades - perhaps Ms. Merkel would be wise to shut up.

Her country pioneered the very policies which have yielded many of Western Europe's current social problems.

DEN HAAG - PVV-leider Geert Wilders vindt dat de Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel zich moet onthouden van commentaar op de politieke samenwerking tussen VVD, PVV en CDA in Nederland. Merkel zei deze week die samenwerking te betreuren. „Frau Merkel, Sie haben kein Recht”, zei Wilders donderdag.
End quote.
[The Hague - PVV leader Geert Wilders thinks that German Chancellor Angela Merkel should recuse herself from commenting about the political co-operation between the VVD (Liberal-Conservatives), PVV (Jingoists) and CDA (Christian-Democrats) in the Netherlands. Merkel said this week that such cooperation was regrettable. "Mrs. Merkel, that is not your right", Wilders said on Thursday.]

Wilders: Frau Merkel, Sie haben kein Recht

CDA-fractievoorzitter Maxime Verhagen is ervan overtuigd dat Nederland en Duitsland „op vruchtbare wijze als buurlanden met elkaar kunnen optrekken” als de Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel het regeerakkoord heeft gelezen. Verhagen, ook demissionair minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, zei dat hij met Merkel eens is dat ze niet gaat over de vorming van coalities in andere landen en benadrukte de goede contacten die hij heeft met Merkel persoonlijk en met haar partij, de christendemocratische CDU/CSU. End quote.

[CDA faction chairman Maxime Verhagen is convinced that the Netherlands and Germany 'can beneficially advance their neighborly relations' once the German Chancellor has read the governing-agreement. Verhagen, also caretaker minister of foreign affairs, said that he agrees with Merkel that she is not speaking about coalition-formation in other countries, and emphasized the excellent relation he personally has with Merkel and her party, the Christian-Democratic CDU/CSU.]

In precisely the same way that the know-it-all opinions of European intellectuals about American politicians irritates me, or the moronic adulation of Geert Wilders by far-right borderline psychopaths in the United States gets my goat - look, dummies, if you do NOT understand the Dutch language or the history and society of the Netherlands, you really have no friggin' clue what Geert Wilders is all about - Merkel's smarmy comment pisses me off.

The Byzantine Dutch political world ain't her ballgame, nor does she understand the rules. Her comments are not helpful, or fully informed.
It would be far better if she kept quiet.

The same, by the way, goes for all of you English-speaking monolinguals here in America who have joined the Geert Wilders fan club. You don't know what you're talking about, many of you are remarkably stupid and strident, most of you lack a nuanced point of view and any ability for abstract thought.
It would be far better if you also kept quiet.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


A few days ago, when I was indulging in melancholy, Savage Kitten said she hoped I would get over it soon and be all-right. She was genuinely concerned. I think she has already gotten over it somewhat more than I have, and my slowness is upsetting her.

Women sometimes do recover much faster than men. They are, after all, the stronger sex.

[No, really, they are! It's a biological factor that contributes to the survival of the species. Just look at spiders - the female is stronger, and once the male has pedipalped his sperm into the female's epigyne, he is likely to be killed and eaten. At that point he has already served his biological purpose, and rendered his acquaintance obsolete.
Plus he's NEVER going to get any juicier!]

Well, another factor is that she has already taken several months to think about matters.
While I was just happily tripping along, la la la, not a care in the world......
Kinda hit me like a ton of bricks.

But anyhow.

I assured her that before you know it, I would be back to normal. Trust me. And PLEASE don't worry. If I haven't got my groove back in several months, I'm heading out to Lowell High School carrying a cooler filled with Bubblegum Vodka and several chilled cocktail glasses - "Come here little girl, it tastes just LIKE candy!"

[For those not familiar, Lowell High School is a highly regarded academic high school with a student body comprising a greater percentage of Asian-Americans than any other high school in the city. Given that for me intelligent women who are shorter and smaller than myself are extremely attractive - I am barely over five feet eight inches tall, short by big glandular galoot American standards - and find myself intimidated by the enormous freaks from the law-offices downstairs when a cluster of big cornfed graduates of the 'MidWest Legal College Varsity Football Team And Business Law Breedingfarm' flock into the elevator, you can understand that Lowell High School symbolically functions as ground zero for normal people in my world.
Savage Kitten graduated from Lowell High School. That's a strong recommendation.]


Probably never gonna do that. For one thing, there are legal issues.
For another, young ladies of taste and discernment should never be exposed to Bubblegum Flavoured Vodka. That's just wrong!

Still. The idea has a certain appealing audacity.
Please imagine a sly-looking middle-aged Europäische type with a cooler, a table stacked with excellent reading material (historical novels, Russian pervs in exile, Dickens, Faulkner, and Jane Austen, further suggestions welcome), plus several comfy folding chairs, on a shaded sidewalk near Lowell high as school lets out. Welcome!

An amusing conceit, no?

Dark sparkly orbs buried deep in a book, pale delicate hands clasping a cocktail glass. A general air of contentment and literary curiosity ("will she EVER kiss mr. Darcy?"). Pretty lips pursed in concern for the future of our heroine, while anticipatorily a finger curves around the corner of the page she hasn't quite finished yet. So involved - it is far too soon to put the book down and head home. Perhaps there's time for one more drink.
Her delicate eyebrows furrow over the fate of Miss Bennet.........

Maybe I should head over to BevMo in a few weeks for some supplies.
I wonder if they also sell comfy folding chairs.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


Every time I get emotional, she gets emotional. At which point I just want to hug her and comfort her, and try to make her sadness to go away. I don’t want her to be unhappy.
When I feel, that now makes her unhappy.
This is truly messed up.
At this rate, neither of us will be able to move on.
I must suppress my emotions.

Two thoroughly bad nights in a row. Not enough sleep. This ain’t gonna work.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My Dear,

There is stuff that I can no longer talk to you about, which I now have to hide.
I cannot even think about it in English - I dare not think about it in any language that we share. I've been dreaming a lot in Dutch again these days. You would be the only person with whom I could share these things, but because the relationship between us has changed, you are also the one person to whom I cannot open up about them.

There is much that I cannot tell you, and that I certainly cannot tell anyone else. But I no longer have the right to talk to you about these matters, or even refer to them.
It would be neither proper nor gallant of me to speak of such things.

Also, you might think that I was being selfish or silly, melodramatic or manipulative. In a way that would probably (certainly!) be correct. I do want to be selfish, and I indeed have ulterior motives!
But I don’t want you to distrust my feelings or discount my reasons for speaking.
It isn't safe to discuss these things with you, and if I did, my words would no longer have much weight. Forgive me if I tend towards silence.

I'm trying to maintain as even keel as much as possible so as to not make it any worse for you.
If I fail occasionally it will be because this isn't the easiest thing for me to do, nor is it something that I ever prepared for. How could I?

Your friendship is still infinitely precious to me. What resilience I have, I have because of you.
I just need time.


Very many people do NOT read my blog, apparently. I have less appeal than the gossip rags, less even than soft-focus nudie sites. Even here in San Francisco.

This isn't really a surprise; there are several tens of thousands of blogs based in this city. Being one among a multitude does not attract much attention.
Which is not a bad thing.


Very few of my coworkers read this blog.
Among my real world friends, only four or five actually come here on a regular basis.
Even among my fellow conspirators, few drop by with any great regularity - most have forgotten that this site exists, because whatever I write doesn't appeal to them, and I what I have to say doesn't always synch with their point of view.

[This past Saturday, that was especially evident. I am stubbornly unaware that the Muslims wish to kill us all and have taken away our liberties, that a certain mosque is an insulting and humiliating sign of dominance and victory, or that equal rights for ALL Americans will be our undoing! Such ignorance is a grievous personal failing, and probably indicates that I am unreliable, maybe even a Freemason.
But IF they had read my blog, they would ALREADY have known that - and possibly not have even welcomed my company. Certainly they wouldn't have talked about the 'Evil Mosque World Power' in my presence.]

Some fellow denizens of the internet world do read this blog - for which I am very grateful, and I value their electronic companionability; their insights and friendship always make writing this rewarding.

There is ONE person who doesn't read my blog who falls into a category entirely her own: Savage Kitten.

[Savage Kitten was barely twenty-one years old when I first met her. I was thirty then.
She is now forty-two, and a more beautiful person than ever before. The happy warmth of her smile when she see me still brings sudden sunlight. But we are no longer a couple. That relationship ended recently. We are just good friends now.]


I've mentioned Savage Kitten very often on this blog. All those posts can be found by clicking these links:
October 2005 to January 2008: SK-vol. 1; January 2008 to July 2008: SK-vol. 2; July 2008 to October 2008: SK-vol. 3; October 2008 to March 2009: SK-vol. 4; March 2009 to May 2009: SK-vol. 5; May 2009 to October 2009: SK-vol. 6; October 2009 to March 2010: SK-vol. 7; March 2010 to August 2010: SK-vol. 8 and August 2010 to End-August 2010: SK-vol. 9.

There are two other clickable labels for Savage Kitten posts, both new: End of August 2010 through the present: SK-vol. 10, and, sadly, how I am dealing (or not dealing) with the end of twenty years: Kittens eventually grow up.

[The division into numbered volumes has naught to do with any inherent separation of eras, but rather the fact that blogger only brings up a limited number of posts - so if they all had the same label, you would only see the most recent ones, and never find the beginning. The most recent one in any volume will always be at the top. Scroll down.]

If all posts about her through August 2010 were love letters that she did not see, the ones since then, especially labeled 'Kittens eventually grow up', are break-up letters.
I have not finished writing about her, but she will be even less aware of these posts. Which is a very good and safe thing - they will still be (mostly) love letters, I think, but these will be the ones I may never have the confidence to show her.

She just doesn't read blogs. Mine is no exception. Consequently this blog is in some ways a private soapbox, where I can be loudly ignored.

Heck, there's hardly anyone in San Francisco even paying attention, we're far too busy reading other things. Crap about vampires, for instance.
I understand the entire female student body of Lowell High School is reading the Twilight Series.
['Twilight', 'New Moon', 'Eclipse', 'Breaking Dawn' - By Stephanie Meyer.]

And obviously, that is much better than coming here to watch me fondling my mind.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Monday, September 27, 2010


While enjoying a pipe-full near the wall recently, I listened in on two cigar smokers who also congregate there. Many of the cigar and pipe smokers in the business district will end up at that spot sometime during the day - we need a place of for ourselves where the rabid earthmoms and anti-smoking freaks won't hound us, and we rather like each others' company.
It's a natural behavioural pattern.

Except that cigar smokers are deviants.

The younger one mentioned that it took an awful lot of texting to get some girl to go out with him. His fingers were getting tired, and he hadn't even gotten to first base yet!

If he ever gets beyond first base, he's in for a nasty shock.

Still, just kissing is quite nice too.

The older, and presumably wiser, cigar smoker observed that in his day, people used alcohol. "Introduce her to Martinis - if she demurs, just tell her you'll order her a SMALL one (heh!). Go on, just try it! "
Turns out the sweet little miss in question is a Vegan, healthy, into keeping bad things out of her body, and probably doesn't drink at all.

Now, the question that comes to mind is why then did she even agree to go out on a date with this young man? Even if he has good points, surely he himself qualifies as the ultimate bad thing........ Just about filled with nicotineous substances, probably reeking of Central American leaf, a walking repository of tars! Ick!
His mere touch probably raises welts on the skin.
Psychosomatic, to be sure, but nevertheless very real and painful.

She sounded like quite a handful. The older cigar smoker opined that the Martini method was still so much better, or whiskey, or a few Brandy Alexanders........

[Brandy Alexander: One part Brandy, one part dark Crème de Cacao, one part cream. Shake over ice, strain into a cocktail glass (I use champagne glasses), and garnish with a sprinkling of grated nutmeg.]


Now here's where cigar smoker deviance comes in: the younger smoker wondered about the effect of booze on the frontal lobe, the older one indicated that it would likely override the ability to consider the consequences of one's acts, OR suppress certain societally conditioned responses, and both cigar smokers then rather gleefully speculated on the myriad possibilities this opened up.


The first thing I thought is that after a drinkie she would give in to a long-buried urge and order a steak. The biggest beefsteak on the menu. Nicely aged and marbled, oozing hot juices, seared on the outside but still pink within, glistening warmly and brownly on fine ivory-hued porcelain..... the appetizing perfume of grilled meat, flickering candlelight, polished table-silver, sparkling crystal reflecting gleaming dark eyes...........
A slow languorous dinner in the dark comforting bosom of a fine restaurant (I know just the place), lovingly pampered by an attentive wait-staff who sincerely want a nice young lady to be happy.

Such a lovely image, don't you agree?

Really, I hate to disappoint you. That's NOT what they meant.

I have good reason to suspect that those two felt that a first date should go from picking her up at her front door straight to a cigarette.
Or, in this case, a cigar.
I heard them talking!
They even mentioned skin temperature. And velvet. Flame.
Cigar smokers are such deviants!

Take it from me - we pipesmokers are better than that.
Instead of dull and slumped over, we prefer our dates to be bright, lively, and wide awake.


The idea of using alcohol to lower a young lady's resistance has zero personal appeal. Most mistakes that people make are fuelled by alcohol, and if you are too potted to really know what you are doing, you shouldn't be doing it. Any type of emotional involvement should be based on sensible behaviour and due consideration.
There will be far fewer regrets that way.

Of course, IF young ladies ALWAYS thought things through, calmly considered the pros and cons, analyzed the likelihood of emotional satisfaction versus the odds of potential unpleasantness or complications, and then engaged upon a mutually beneficial relationship with a mature gentleman, which might possibly include various athletic actions and conditions by and from both sides (to be specified and detailed during in-depth discussion during the pre-commitment phase), the vast majority of males in this world would never stand a chance.

It's quite a quandary.
Somehow I don't think texting is really the solution, however. Tzarich iyun.

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Savage Kitten and I are no longer an item. We no longer share a bed, we are no longer partners. And I feel that twenty wonderful years have been ripped away.
I cannot yet bear this loss, but there isn't anything I can do about it.
It was NOT my decision - that really doesn't matter, though.

For several months things were not as they once were. She recognized this fact far earlier than I did, and at the time it affected her much more. We have grown apart in some ways, there are now differences where once there was so very much we shared.

She is more realistic than I am. Sometimes I am not particularly clear-sighted.

In August she cut the Gordian knot. It took great courage to do so. She did not know how I would react, didn't want to cause me pain, and was afraid of what I might do.
Even that wounds me - towards people I love I cannot be violent in any way. I do not even want my words to hurt.

I reacted then as I always do when faced with something far out of the ordinary. Shock. Disbelief. Denial. Gibbering.

In retrospect there are more mature ways of reacting.

Most of this month has been an agonizing ongoing hollowness as the reality hits home. Terrifying. Reality is a bitch that bludgeons.
September has not been a good 'place', and at times I am an idiot.

I am bereft. Savage Kitten isn't handling it well either.
What makes it harder is that we are still living with each other. But that also makes it much easier, too. That apartment is our own place, and we are comfortable with the other person around. It is where both of us feel safe. We are at ease with each other's quirks and peculiarities and we enjoy living together.
We've giving each other space, and we have our own rooms.
We occasionally eat together or share coffee.

Of course we are still friends. How could it be otherwise? For more than twenty years Savage Kitten and I have been a couple - we are in so many ways part of each other's lives, part of each other's personalities.
Something that meant, and that still means, the world to me has come to an end. But she remains enormously precious to me.
There is a new beginning here. Things will never be the same, however this, too, will be good.
Home is still home.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Friday, September 24, 2010


When I was in second grade I learned how to read English on my own.
In this I was following the example set by my brother who had done the same a year or so earlier. Both of us had been taught in Dutch – and consequently, due to the very regular spelling conventions of the Netherlandish language, had learned to read at a rapid pace. But in the family environment we spoke English (though many of our neighbors were convinced that we Americans were completely incapable of speaking that language), and my parents were habitual readers who frequently purchased books from Britain or America. Which was understandable, as there was so much more to read in English than in Dutch.

Dutch, though a literary koine for several centuries, and having a mass of novels and poetry, is not the most printed of tongues.
Nor, despite my continuing affection for it, the most lovely of sound collections.
Somewhere twixt dulcet and harsh gagging, mostly.

[Sorry, Dutch readers, that’s just a fact. Everybody has an affection for their own native speech, but finds its relatives nasty sounding. So of course you Dutch people think it sounds heavenly, but the rest of us might have reservations.
Consider how sweet Cantonese sounds to the speaker thereof, and how far less so it is to others. And the Cantonese find Hokkien (spoken in the province to the north of Kwangchow) to be an exceedingly vile racket, whereas in my estimation its beauty is different but not inferior to the Cantonese tongue. All languages may seem cacophonous to the non-native.]


That my brother and I had learned to read English overjoyed my mother. She started buying us books, lots of books. For my brother, chess and history. Plus Dickens.
For me, historical fiction, and literature suited to readers five or six years older than I was at the time. Her theory was that if it didn’t fit my mind then, I would surely grow into it in due course.

[Unfortunately she believed the same about my clothes – growing into clothing that was far too large was not as easy as it sounds. Remember, this was before fast-food.]

By the end of grammar school I was reading stuff quite unsuitable for a child. Somewhere around fourth grade I had discovered the science fiction my mother had amassed (she was a published author herself), and my father’s mystery novels and scientific textbooks. The downstairs living room, in addition to many of my books, also held shelf upon shelf of English poetry. My mother had been at Berkeley for twelve years, collecting books and degrees – that was reflected on those shelves.
There was so much poetry, in fact, that it wasn’t until the last two years that I lived in the Netherlands that I realized that the Dutch also wrote such stuff – amazing!
I never really did like Coleridge and Wordsworth – the English language seemed sludgy with them, and many other vaunted poets, but really sparkled in Merck, Advanced Engineering Drawing, and most notably the Marine Engineers Manual.
Since then, remarkably, I have become fond of Dutch verse. No, it doesn’t resemble Textbookese at all, why do you ask?

[It’s not just the little technical bits in such works that appealed – those were probably just a minor factor. It was the interesting solutions, and the explanations of how things fit together. I am still using ideas years later that I first found in the Watch Officers Guide. Remarkably, those are especially applicable in a restaurant environment.]

My garbling of scientific terms and other words learned from my reading drove my father up the wall. He bought me the Pocket Oxford Dictionary in hopes I would learn their correct pronunciation. He was to be disappointed – instead I used it to learn many more words to torture, a few of which I still cannot say properly, though I continue to use them.

When I last visited my father before he died, I spent many hours rediscovering the man by exploring his library. He had changed in those years, but much was still recognizable. The reference works and the mystery novels were still there. Wodehouse. Dickens. Nabokov. Newer cookbooks, and many novels I had not seen before. The parameters of his mind were the same.

The one thing notably missing was the Pocket Oxford Dictionary – I left it in Holland when I returned to the States, and he had never needed to consult it. He still had all of his words.

* * * * * * * * *

I have always enjoyed the presence of people who read. Not people who just read for knowledge or usefulness, but those who read for pleasure, or because something intrigues them – the habitually literate.
Such people often have more twisty minds, and quirkier imaginations. Their sense of humour is more interesting, and their opinions are more fully formed.
One shouldn’t just surround oneself with books, but also with the people who read them. ESPECIALLY the people who read them.
They are delicious.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


If you live in San Francisco you know about panhandling. San Francisco is an expensive place to live, and some people end up here without the necessary support systems. San Francisco can be a very hard town.

I’ll give money to panhandlers – when someone is desperate, it seems utterly heartless to pretend they do not even exist. A dollar here and there really won’t inconvenience me, but it enables them to continue for a while longer, and maybe things will turn out better for them.

Yes, a few probably intend to spend that money on booze or illicit substances. Given their circumstances, I have to assume that even that choice is the result of an informed decision.
Their life, and their need for something to distract themselves from it - anything to make conditions bearable.


A few years ago a new person showed up around the corner from my office. It’s a busy street in the evening, when people head towards the Bart station, so the panhandling chances there are relatively excellent.

This person was an old Chinese woman, barely four and a half feet tall, with white hair, and a very gentle intelligent face – in her youth she must have been just about the prettiest thing. She had small gnarled hands that had clearly done much work, and would have preferred to yet be working.
A very delicate and vulnerable woman, but very much alive – her eyes still sparkled. She could only speak a few words of English, and those so badly that context had to make clear what she said.
She was, with extreme and almost paralyzing embarrassment, asking strangers for spare change.


I did what I always do in cases like that. I smiled, gave her some dollar bills, and wished her a pleasant evening. One has to invest such transactions with dignity and a semblance of normalcy. Things like this feel much better for both people if done gracefully.

Two or three evenings a week she would be at the corner timidly asking the rushing pedestrians for coins. The vast majority studiously ignored her, hurrying by as if no one were there, and they themselves were very important people late for an appointment.
Every time I saw her I gave her some money. While having a smoke near the end of the day I would walk down the street to see if she was there – it’s good to see someone smile.

She wasn’t always there, as she probably did receive a monthly cheque. Which, in San Francisco, does not go very far. But being so incapable of speaking English, as well as shy, she was in no position to figure out the complexities of the system. Funds would run out in a week or so.
I believe that she had been employed in the garment factories (sweatshops) that used to be in Chinatown, and once manufacturing went overseas she was left without many options. There are a fair number of middle-aged and elderly women like that – they came to this country years ago, and found work among the safety of other Cantonese speakers. Where many stayed.
The need to earn a living, the pressure of raising a family, the isolation, all prevented them from learning English.

Pride, stubbornness, and a sense of what is proper all conspire to keep many such people from forcing themselves to rely on their kin, if they have any.

The old traditionally nurture those who are younger than them, and most elderly Cantonese women will put aside candy and food to give to young relatives when they visit. Some women are so tied up in this that they will spend far more on food for their grandchildren than on essentials for themselves.
Elderly Cantonese men will put on their one threadbare good suit to visit their offspring’s families for a few short hours, bringing along treats – which may have cost them much of their budget for the rest of the month.
Being unable to feed people who are younger is unbearably shameful for a Chinese person of senior status
It is better to starve, than to neglect obligations – especially this one.
This is so programmed into many old-fashioned people that going against it is impossible.

Additionally, maintaining a pretence that they are able and secure is so fundamental to their sense of self-worth that elderly immigrant Cantonese often successfully hide precisely how desperate they are from their grown children, the children are so used to respecting the dignity of their elders that they are far too scared to ask any difficult questions.
And beyond the family no-one wants to shame their friends and neighbors by pointing out to their relatives what might have been obvious if everyone wasn’t so good at maintaining a facade. Cantonese parents do not want to be a burden to their children, sabotaging the next generation’s success by having themselves failed. The sad thing is that many of them have indeed failed in comparison - the Americanized children are more likely to succeed than their parents.
The generation gap is not only cultural and linguistic – crippling enough! - it is often also economic.
In consequence, there is frequently a measure of estrangement in Chinese-American families that baffles outsiders, who don’t understand that it is precisely because of the distance between parents and children that safe comfort levels can be maintained for all concerned.


Over the months I found out a bit more about the woman – her home-town dialect and my movie-learnt Tsim-Tung goomba patois were not too very far apart, and I can sound like I understand the proper protocols when speaking with the elderly.
She shared cramped living quarters with another woman, and she had a grown-up daughter far away who was happily married. She did not mention her own husband, so I assume that he had passed away years before. She knew how to sew, and she could make coats, shirts, and pants – especially shirts and pants. She would so much like to work again.
She hadn’t seen her daughter in a long time, but they wrote to each other regularly and occasionally talked on the phone. She really wanted to see her daughter, and her grandchild …….. but her daughter couldn’t visit as yet (translation: the old lady must have been paddling furiously to keep her daughter from finding out just how difficult her situation had become).

Nearly every week she would mention her daughter. She was very proud that her daughter had a nice husband, a bright child, a decent life.
She even sent the kid a present - she was on the corner every evening that month. It must have seriously depleted her funds. She looked far more vulnerable than usual.

One day she demonstrated something new she had learned to say in English. She had had a lot of practice, even though it was a word so very recently acquired. Lung cancer.
She had only two or three weeks left to live; she had delayed going to the doctor for so long that it was entirely untreatable. In a few days she was going into the hospital. Her daughter was flying in, with her grandchild. She was distraught that her daughter was spending so much money – but also very glad that she would finally see them again. She was extremely happy.
She thanked me sweetly for helping her so many times. She would have liked to have been able to do something in return, but ………!

I never saw her again.


Yesterday was mid-Autumn, the Moon Festival. For Chinese people, the Moon Festival is a time to spend with family, and many will travel back to their village or the place where they are from to be with their loved ones. Those who are far away think longingly of their own places and their relatives, and fondly indulge in remembering those who are dear to them. Being able to visit kin means incredibly much to people at this time, family is everything.
In their dreams they go back home.

Her daughter and grandchild surely remembered her this week, and will have placed some mooncakes for her on the family altar.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The Chinese mid-Autumn festival (中秋節 Chong Chau Jit: fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month) falls today this year. It has long been one of my favourite holidays, but not for most reasons that move the Chinese.
Yes, I appreciate the warm family-connotations, the traditional harvest and home motiefs, and even the symbolism that has in three millennia accreted. Even the connection with the rebellion against the Mongols (元朝 Yuen Chiu: Yuan dynasty, 1280–1368 CE) has immense charm - who isn't stirred by the encouragement to slaughter barbarians?

[八月十五殺韃子 "Baat-yuet sahp-ng saa Tat-jee!" Eighth month fifteen, kill Tatars!]

At present, whacking foreigners is NOT part of the festivities. Murder really isn't a traditional method of celebration among civilized people, at least not anymore. And I'm okay with that. Though sometimes it does seem a pity.

My reasons for enjoying the Mid-Autumn Festival are rather simple and self-indulgent. Childish and pedestrian even.


What I really like are the pastries - I've always been inordinately fond of mooncakes. They're only available at this time of year.
Long ago I would stockpile boxes of them, to enjoy weeks or months later after they had become unavailable. As my supply dwindled, I'd become more careful of my precious hoard, finally savouring the last one sometime in January or February. It would not be nearly as good as ones eaten in September and October, but it was the last one for a very long time. And therefore, still utterly delicious.

Remarkably, most Caucasians I know aren't particularly taken by mooncakes.
Why is this? Is there something wrong with them?

Maybe it's that all-encompassing American cultural-whiteness. It affects the tastebuds. They don't like raw herring either. Weird.

The two most popular types of mooncake are double yolk refined lotus seedpaste (雙黃白蓮蓉月餅 seung wong pak lien yong yuet bing) and double yolk red bean-paste (雙黃豆沙月餅 seung wong dow sa yuet bing).

[NOTE: Preserved egg-yolk (鹹鴨蛋 haahm-ngaap dan) - One or more whole duck egg yolks nestled in the filling, which adds richness and a slightly salty note, accentuating the sweetness. It the most luxurious and expensive ingredient - the price is higher for mooncakes that have egg yolk.]

Both the lotus seed (蓮蓉 lien yong) paste and the red bean paste (豆沙 dow sa - literally, bean mud) are sweet and slightly rich. Both are very popular flavours for pastries. Dow sa consists of ground boiled azuki beans with sugar and oil.
There's also Ng-yan (五仁): five nut-kernels: pumpkin seed, melon seed, sesame, almond, and walnuts or peanuts) which usually has chunks of candied wintermelon (糖冬瓜 tong tung gwa) mixed in.


This time of year there are many imported brands in square tins available at Chinese stores in the Bay Area, even though locally made mooncakes are just as good, and often better.

The best sources for locally made mooncakes are Mee Mee (美美餅食公司) on Stockton, and the Eastern Bakery (東亞餅家) on Grant.

1328 Stockton Street (between Vallejo and Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94133.
(415) 362-3204

720 Grant Avenue (btwn Sacramento and Clay, corner of Commercial Alley)
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 433-7973

Now, though I thoroughly recommend both businesses listed above, most of my mooncakes this year as every year will be imported. The reason being the handsome tins that they come in, four cakes per container.
Local bakeries use decorated boxes, Hong Kong and Taiwanese manufacturers package the pastries in tins.
I'm a bit odd that way - I like the tins too. Useful. And stackable.



If you are Jewish or vegetarian, please read the label on the tin or box carefully. There may be treifigkeit present, especially in the dough, and it might also be present in the filing. The Chinese tend to use lard shortening as their baking grease of choice - it makes pastries scrumptious, crispy, flaky, besides adding a yummy mouth-feel.
Pork products have the status of minhag. Just like shrimp and lobster. If you are Chinese.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Some of you have guessed what the recent change in my life actually is. It’s NOT something I ever wanted, and I’m still trying to come to grips with it. But I don’t really want to talk about it now (so essentially this post is about nothing).

There's a great sense of loss. But there is no recrimination. There has been no betrayal, and no deliberate inflicting of pain, so there can be no blame.
There have been "emotions", but no intent to harm or hurt.

Honest discussion, yes, difficult at times. But no intemperate tantrums, and no operatic venting.

Except, that is, for the Monkey – who, blitheringly unaware of everything, persists in loudly demanding bananas. As well as a pet turkey - a fantasy friend that he has anticipatorily already named 'Giuseppe Turkey' - Jewcie Turkey for short.
He will have to remain disappointed on that score.
Banana yes. Live bird no.
There will be NO turkey - those things poo all over the place, and are too stupid to live.
The monkey's ability to emote over his frustration serves, perhaps, as an act of proxy.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Back in February fellow-blogger Treppenwitz posted something charmingly entitled "Just bite me, OK?!" It was a well-written post, which you might want to reread - especially in light of the peaceful noises coming from Israel's negotiating partners.

Rockets, bullets, insulting statements, and threats.
I am truly impressed by the Palestinian understanding of peace, and I wonder what word they use in their language for that concept.

After I had left a comment underneath, some exemplary product of the American school system saw fit to gently castigate.

"At the Back of the Class,
Nice to know that you think English-speakers are too ignorant to inform themselves concerning the incredible complexities of the Netherlands. Did you not know that Dutch is one of that very small number of languages that can be successfully translated into English or that some Dutch-speakers are civil enough to inform the world rather than snark at it?
Here is what we see from North America: the pathetic little republic that now occupies the Netherlands is too gutless and incompetent to defend elected officials like Ayaan Hirsi Ali so the US is forced to offer asylum and security to these victims of official Dutch gutlessness. Now we are offered the disgusting spectacle of a Dutch judiciary willing to whore the rule of law to deny the basic right of free speech to a citizen.
There is nothing complex about cowardice and nothing at all surprising about seeing some portion of Dutch speakers who are eager to lick the spittle of savages and collaborate with bullies. Fortunately North America has two free countries that will and have defended the Netherlands while the gutless portion of Dutch speakers muttered into their tulips about the complexity of matters.
Thanks for accusing Laura of ignorance, otherwise we might have thought you a mere fool and not noticed that you were also a poltroon."

Eloquent, no?

What I had written was: "While I will not argue about Geert Wilders here, I really must ask whether you speak and read Dutch? Far too often English speakers are quite unaware of both the slant and the context of Geert Wilders' remarks, and far too often they are willing to believe that they have an accurate picture of the Netherlands.
The situation in the Netherlands is more complex, and in many ways quite different, than has ever been reported in any English-language fora.

I should also mention, by the way, that very few of us Dutch-speakers wear clogs, live in windmills, or grow tulips.

This in response to someone who huffily stated that she AGREED WITH EVERYTHING GEERT HAS TO SAY.

I do not agree with everything Geert has to say. But then, I have actually read more of what he has to say than the average dumb-ass Tea Partier (insult intended). Far more.


"Nice to know that you think English-speakers are too ignorant to inform themselves concerning the incredible complexities of the Netherlands."

As, indeed, your response seems to prove.

"Dutch is one of that very small number of languages that can be successfully translated into English or that some Dutch-speakers are civil enough to inform the world rather than snark at it?"

On the one hand, that is incorrect - Dutch does not translate well into English without tweaking (I have spoken Dutch and English as 'first' languages my entire life - please don't lecture me about either of my native tongues) - on the other hand it is quite clear that you have not read my blog. Had you actually read it, you would notice that I am one of those Dutch speakers who are 'civil enough' (as you put it). Please read my blog before you harangue me - you will find the labels 'Dutch' and 'Rottekaas' particularly useful.

"the pathetic little republic"

You mean 'constitutional monarchy'.

"Now we are offered the disgusting spectacle of a Dutch judiciary willing to whore the rule of law to deny the basic right of free speech to a citizen."

Please be so kind as to study the history of the Netherlands - freedom of speech has always had limits on it in the Netherlands, as indeed elsewhere in Europe, that would not be accepted in the United States. Mein Kampf, for instance, is not legally available. Lèse Majesty carries a prison sentence. Speaking against the monarchy is not advisable. And, for your information, laws against hate-speech do in practice cut both ways.
Do not, from this, assume that I am defending limitations on freedom of speech - for my view on that, read my blog - you will find the labels 'GeerWilders' and 'Fitna' particularly useful.

"some portion of Dutch speakers who are eager to lick the spittle of savages and collaborate with bullies."

Care to say that to my face?

"while the gutless portion of Dutch speakers muttered into their tulips about the complexity of matters."

Please be so kind as to get stuffed.

"Thanks for accusing Laura of ignorance, otherwise we might have thought you a mere fool and not noticed that you were also a poltroon."

I did not accuse, I asked whether she spoke Dutch. Too many people define the Netherlands either as Geert Wilders OR as tulips and clogs. Several more, mostly Americans, think in terms of hashish and the Amsterdam red-light district. Such simplistic views are as irritating as the European idea that all Americans are Indian-killing cowboys and Rednecks. Geert Wilders is not the be all and end all of Western Liberal Humanist values. To think that he is, is to overlook both the complexity of his political evolution and the norms of Dutch politics. Mr. Wilders is perhaps best understood as providing the regular kick in the pants that 'sGravenhage ('The Hague', to you) so desperately needs. Other than that, Dutch politics has a depth and viciousness greater than you seem capable of understanding.

As to who the fools and poltroons are, I maintain that that is still a matter of some debate.

And, further to both the Geert Wilders adulation on the one hand, AND the ignorant comments about the Dutch on the other, this:
"Voor de PVV is het helder: weg uit Uruzgan, weg uit Afghanistan. Natuurlijk moet de Taliban worden bestreden, maar niet meer, voor zover we dat al deden, door Nederland. Ons land heeft meer dan genoeg gedaan. Het is mooi geweest. "
End quote.

Translation: 'For the PVV it is clear; get out of Uruzgan, get out of Afghanistan. Of course the Taliban must be fought, but no longer, insofar as we actually did fight them, by the Netherlands. Our nation has done more than enough. It's been fine.'

Those are Geert Wilders' own words. Either he is right, and the Dutch have indeed done more than enough, or he's a spittle-licking gutless etcetera.
Please clarify which of those points of view you endorse.

Labels referenced above:
Rottekaas --- Dutch --- Geert Wilders --- Fitna

Of course, I never heard back from the gentleman to whom I had addressed my reaction. Possibly his acid-indigestion finally ate his brain on the way out.
But it is much more likely that, like so many worshippers of Geert Wilders, he couldn't find his way back to that comment string.
Not to make an unwarranted assumption, but that type usually can't tell the difference between their xxx and a xxxx in the xxxxxx - he probably wipes the xxx in the xxxxxx.


If anyone who reads this also worships Geert Wilders, or has the misapprehension that a luminous orb shines out of his xxx, I will be more than willing to explain all of the long words in the post above - everything over four letters. Because I love you.

Oh, and just so you know - I've lived in the United States most of my life, so I am quite familiar with 'what we see from North America'.
The words 'myopia' (1) and 'tunnel vision' (2) come to mind.

1. MYOPIA = it mean: sight short, eye bad.
2. TUNNEL VISION = it mean: see only what in front of eye, think only what in front of mind.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


There are just some things that men do automatically that we don't realize women also do.
After all, we DON'T do the things they do, right? They're wired differently. And certain details cannot possibly be the same.

Well, actually, the details are, in the end, mere details.
Degree, not content.

Straight men are hardwired to notice panty lines. And we LIKE panty lines - attention, ladies! - because they accent the area in question very endearingly, and give it spatial definition. Panty lines are charming, warm, and wonderful things.

Men like panties, period.

Women like boxer shorts.

No, they REALLY like 'em!

A while back several women were talking disparagingly about tidy whities. When you see a man wearing tidy whities (aka men's briefs) it is a complete turn-off. Unless you're into snogging granddad, in which case it might be quite the visual ticket. Nothing, apparently, says crusty old-git like a pair of men's briefs. Especially if they're baggy.

A man wearing boxer shorts, on the other hand, looks hot. Especially if they are dark blue and nicely patterned. HOT!!!


I mention all this because I was seated in the back of the bus today, which put me roughly on eye-level with a number of posteriors (it being a crowded bus, with many standees).
A lovely view improves any trip. Nice young ladies heading to work or school are better for the soul than any amount of morning-coffee.

[For reasons which I shall not go into now, I have rediscovered that I (still) have all the eye-skills of a dirty-old man. I'm more keenly observant now than I have been for a long time. Let's just say that I am newly in-touch with the fact that I am indeed a very sensitive man. Leave it at that.]

This morning I discovered something else; men ALSO show panty lines. If they are wearing briefs. There was a young gentleman in the aisle with well-cut slacks, a trim athletic form, and good posture. And briefs. Thick sturdily sewn briefs.
A Sears-Roebuck ridge across the rump is VERY emasculating - it took his possible male competitiveness right back down to zero; his panty-line detracted from the image he could have presented.

Everything he says in that business meeting will be for naught once he turns to the visual projected on the board.

Yes, women will look at him. But NOT that way.

I, on the other hand, really enjoyed the view. Imagine my face scrunched up like Kermit the Frog with that quizzical expression.......

You see, I am wearing boxers.
Dark blue boxers!
With a very NICE educated pattern.
Ladies, feel free to imagine me wearing ONLY boxers. Please dwell upon that image if you wish.
Thank you.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Well, not a chance of Indian food anytime soon. Bollocks.
Don't think I'm particularly hungry right now.

I'm going to miss going out for dinner with her.

Some people just make a meal festive by their presence.

I regret not having ever taken her to the place where I was part-time cashier for so many years. I would have liked for her to meet Jeet Singh Rawat and Gopal-ji.

Of course, the long-time presence of the Tamil she-devil and the over-sexed headwaiter rather precluded that.

She would've ended up throwing gulab jamun at them.
Her aim is excellent. Dab hand at flinging.

It's too late for that now.


Sometimes you wake up from a dream and everything has changed.
And you wonder why you cannot get that dream back.
She would've loved the dum aloo vindaloo.

Thank god that man has very white tastes.
A surfeit of ghee would probably kill him.

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

Thursday, September 16, 2010


The title is self-explanatory. Think of this expression as the mating display of a particularly filthy bird – it attracts attention, and no matter how much the eye wants to pull away it cannot. The mental image of a half-decomposed zombie with a golden aura, studiously avoiding his own putrefying flesh, is ……… a remarkably religious experience!

The very epitome of saintliness, in fact. Comforting. And wholesome.

I am not Zombie Jesus. This post, consequently, is more than a little bit masturbatory.

Now that I have your complete attention, here's a sampling of recent comments left under this blog. Some by me, some by my readers (few of whom come here for the corpses). Go ahead and speculate on the nature of my readers, and what rich inner lives they and I have.

1. September 1, 2010.
"I doubt that the living dead could metabolize alcohol efficiently. Given that many of their body functions would have shut down due to them being, technically, deceased, alcohol would probably go straight through to the intestines and kill the complex flora and fauna needed to digest complex proteins such as brain matter, necks, shoulders, arms, guts, or goo."

2. August 26, 2010.
"My roommate installed a clock in our bathroom, which I find baffling. If there is one place in the house where time is irrelevant....."

3. August 19, 2010.
"Of course they're puffing themselves: that's their job."

4. August 13, 2010
"Or, as described in the hitchhiker's guide, "New York City in the fall smells as if someone has been frying a goat in it" And yes, I do know that quote from memory."

5. August 5, 2010.
"Well, you ARE a weird white man. I will give you that. Cootch bucket, eh?"

6. July 30, 2010.
"Oh, you'd be surprised how many people that offends, on all sides."

7. July 27, 2010.
"Maybe they could move in with the ops department from your work."

8. July 18, 2010.
"Don't they realize how truly anachronistic they are?"

9. June 30, 2010.
"I would like to think that the colony of raccoons would be sharing their church with a colony of bats."

And, because Atboth's law states that the longer a comment string continues, the greater is the chance of a Monty Python reference being thrown into the fray.....

10. June 24, 2010.
"People called 'Romanes' they go the house!"

See, in a way these ten quotes are an entire discussion which makes just as much sense contra-chronologically as it does in the order given.
We've all had such conversations........

If you're really lucky it isn't all in your head.


NOTE: This post is dedicated to the voters of the Delaware Tea Party, and the Republican they have chosen to represent them as their candidate in November: Christine O'Donnell. Who is FOR the dear lord, and AGAINST masturbation.
No doubt she would be a far happier person if she was FOR masturbation, and she would almost certainly not have ended up the winner of the Republican Senatorial primary if the voters of Delaware had unequivocally been AGAINST it.
Bless them all.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


In Delaware, a state with a long history of opposition to masturbation and science, the Teaparty has scored a major victory. As of today, their Republican candidate for the Senate is an angry woman who never graduated college, and has spoken in public about masturbation.

Let me clarify that: Christine O'Donnell is an anti-masturbation crusader. All masturbation should cease.

Apparently it didn't work for her.

Or her hypothetical husband.



You know, I never thought I would ever use that sentence. But now is the time. If casual sex leads to unwanted babies, obviously masturbation leads to Christine O'Donnell.
Don't ask me how.
It's just a theory - like creationism.

QUOTE: "Well, as the senator from Tennessee mentioned, evolution is a theory and it's exactly that. There is not enough evidence, consistent evidence to make it as fact, and I say that because for theory to become a fact, it needs to consistently have the same results after it goes through a series of tests. The tests that they put — that they use to support evolution do not have consistent results. Now too many people are blindly accepting evolution as fact. But when you get down to the hard evidence, it's merely a theory."

That's from Christine O'Donnell, stalwart citizen and conservative people's choice in Delaware, on one of her favourite subjects.
Likely she will demand the repeal of evolution once she's elected.
Which she will be, oh yes she will, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Not because the people of the Great State of Delaware are poltroons, or complete imbeciles, or just plumb bat-shit loony, but because in addition to all that, they really want to be entertained.
They're like regular Americans in that respect.

We Americans like our politicians to be rather amusing and not significantly smarter than ourselves. We'll vote for candidates who provide us with funny material, or 'can you BELIEVE he said that' moments. It explains Bush, Schwarzenegger, Gingrich.

People in Delaware resemble us greatly.

Except that they're willing to push the envelope much farther than we would.

They'll make Christine O'Donnell their senator. She's a chaste woman, a creationist, someone's daughter, and, in so many ways, representative of the people of Delaware.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I now face several choices which I did not expect to have to make in my life, certainly not at this time. Situations have changed, and certain things which were fundamental are now less so.
Forgive me for being coy – I do not wish to share the details yet, as I am still in the process of digesting matters, making sense of it all, coming to terms.
I just want you to know that if things seem a little strange here over the next few months, it isn’t you. It’s me. And I apologize.


Life changes, and developments force you to grow. Sometimes great flexibility is required, but if you face issues saying gamzu le tova, you may be surprised at how much personal resilience you can muster, and how different circumstances lead to new things and pleasant discoveries.
Over time some of those new things will probably appear on this blog.
[Heck, that's pretty much guaranteed. ]

Please bear in mind that I will impart my view and impose my interpretation. It may be transparent, but that does not mean that it is insincere.
A certain level of dissimulation is natural, and I am a devious man.

Note of dreary reassurance: No, this is NOT job-related. Nor an ideological shift of any kind. And no, I am not joining the Foreign Legion. Or any freakazoid cult.
I have no intention of doing a Michael Jackson, having ill-advised plastic surgery, disappearing into the jungle, or undergoing a complete sex and identity change.
[Although if YOU intend to do any of those things, I will be fascinated by all the dirty details you wish to share – please send pictures.]

Again, there may be odd things here over the next few months. Think of it as a project in process. There is no real plan as yet, that will come with time – but I’m flying by the seat of my pants at present.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Fellow San Franciscan and blogger Steffy Chou has put up a post baldly telling people what she wants for her birthday.
It is quite the verbal portrait of an individualist, despite her claim that "ALL teenagers are alike". Perhaps so, but some are clearly far less alike than others.......

"Maybe another big book about Italian food? Or a copy of the Larouse Gastronomique in English."

The post is a remarkable document, as the people who read her blog have almost certainly never met her, and the people she knows personally probably have no clue that she blogs.
So it’s really an exercise in imagination, or wishful thinking.

"Please do NOT get me anymore Hello Kitty stuff. When you’re not even five feet tall, Hello Kitty shit just makes you look infantile. Not feminine. It's kinda silly. Please think in terms of chocolate."

I have never met her.

But I think I can describe her pretty well.

“You are long-haired, and fairly small. You probably stick your tongue out at people often, mentally at least. You don't particularly like most adults, though there are some you get along with well - primarily if they aren't boring. None of the friends and relatives you described above are boring, though some are not entirely comfortable with your interests or obsessions; your burning curiosity sometimes gives them a feeling of disquiet - less so if they are older and have long been elsewhere in the world.”

For some reason I'm thinking of *CHOCOLATE* right now.

It’s probably a good thing that we’ve never met, as she would probably smack me fiercely in the face with a pie. Over the past year or so I’ve pushed several envelopes in the comments underneath her blog posts. Feisty teenagers do NOT react with equanimity when teased.

Still. Meeting a person like that would be fun. And despite the danger of ending up with sticky fruit-gloop all over my face and a broken jaw (say, what kind of pie WAS that?), it would probably be worth it. At the very least I could dare her to lick off the crumbs, after which I would buy her strawberry cake. She sounds ... nice.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


I am in receipt of an e-mail which made me smile. It’s always nice when someone takes time out of their busy schedule to send you a compliment – especially when it’s for a remarkable quality, skill, or characteristic.
As one of my coworkers did today.

"You are a very bad man, and I mean that in a good way."

See, stuff like that nearly makes me cry. It's so sweet! Thank you!
I had suggested that certain young visitors to the company needed rigid supervision in order to have fun.

Controlled fun. Strict guidance. Laugh on cue, dammit! Now clap and squeal!
Here's some sugar.
It's educational.

We still had some cake left over from Shank Dog's farewell party last week. It sat out on the kitchen counter from Wednesday till this Tuesday afternoon. I believe some kind soul must have refrigerated it since. And obviously it would be ideal for the little dears - surely they weren't expecting anything better? Cake with an image of an assault rifle on the icing. Perfect.

I also had a vision of running them around the block several times, but today's juveniles are just so out of shape. Pudgy. There's no way they could pull a chariot with a middle-aged man yelling "mush, mush". At least not with any great speed.
Fat lazy little peckers.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


"It is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy. I don’t mean mentally ill. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 26 percent of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. So, basically, that’s just normal life. I mean crazy in the sense of “Thinks it is a good plan to joke with the flight attendant about seeing a bomb in the restroom.”

There is nothing you can do about the crazy 5 percent except ask the police to keep an eye on them during large public events ......... "

Taken from an article in the NYT.


Naturally this is relevant to both the Mosque and the planned scriptural combustion.

I'm not vested in the five percent figure - judging by some of the things I've read in recent weeks, it might be more than fifteen percent. Either way, a substantial and totally unreassuring number.

NOTE: If you wish, you may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Le shana tova tikasevu ve sechasemu le chayim tovim u le shalom, be sifran shel tzaddikim gamurim!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Palestinian warlord Mahmoud Abbas yesterday demonstrated his inability to negotiate in good faith.
This was not surprising – Abbas knows that his political life is circumscribed by two things:

1. No yielding on the intemperate demands of his hardliners (not only among the Palestinian terrorist factions, but also the other terrorist groupings so generously supported by Arab governments).

2. No peace. Ever. Even if it means continual violence and chaos.

Abbas, showing the characteristic duplicity of his mentor, insisted that he will not agree on realistic borders, refuses to accept the right of Jews to build in their land, demanded that several million people who were never in British Mandate Palestine be admitted into Israel pronto, and restated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Abbas knows that yielding on any of these points will result in either his own demise, or being forced into exile. Peace would also bring far greater scrutiny and limitations on the endemic corruption of the Palestinian Authority, and might even make the Europeans realize that their generous support of this rapacious clique has resulted in an entirely new class of Arab millionaire.
In this day of diminished expectations, the doctrinaire socialists among the European legislators might have to answer hard questions from their constituencies about such counterproductive spendthriftiness - which explains of course why the Europeans are upset that they weren't invited to the negotiations; one can do much more damage on the inside.
No sitting European politician sincerely wants peace.

Evenso, the chance of these negotiations succeeding is remote. The only possible outcome is a number of photos that show the US president smiling between Netanyahu and the Palestinian warlord.

Followed eventually by pictures of the Secretary of State smiling between Netanyahu and the Palestinian warlord.


President Obama sides with the PA on many issues - perhaps in an effort to pander to the Arabs, whose oil and quiescence we still need. But cognizant of the damage it would do to his image and his party's prospects come November, he has not made any overt declarations. It is in Obama's interest to keep the veil on this farce from being lifted, and the smoke and mirrors from being exposed, for another two months.
For that to succeed, both Netanyahu and the PW would have to keep up the energetic public pretence of bland good-faith diplomacy. A certain level of subtlety is required of both men.
Mahmoud Abbas, by demanding that Obama intervene and force the Jews to continue the building freeze, may have ruined the prospect of any further charades. By so crudely playing to the extremist peanut-gallery, Abbas did Obama no favours.

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For some reason which I cannot explain I thought about the Shanghainese girl this morning. I knew her years ago, we drifted apart, and lost ...