Sunday, July 31, 2011


An incident in Amsterdam recently nicely illustrates a common police technique: in order to prevent things from getting out of hand, crack down on the smaller group, even if they are not at fault.
That, at least, is one possible explanation for the Amsterdam police taking 56 members of the Moluccan Motorcycle club Satudarah into custody on Saturday evening, July 30.

[Satudarah ('One Blood') was founded in Moordrecht in 1990. Currently there are ten chapters and hundreds of members. It is closely associated with the South Moluccan independence ideology (see RMS - Republiek Maluku Selatan entry in Wikipedia), though there is little membership overlap with many of the other Moluccan movements in the Netherlands.]

The police feared a confrontation between the Moluccers and the Hells Angels.
According to the Hells Angels, this was entirely unnecessary. Dutch Hells Angels chairman Harold Böhne said on Sunday that speculation about tensions and 'war' between the two bike gangs was exaggeration.

The Dutch Hells Angels are a peaceful bunch.

"It is calm in the Netherlands. We wish to keep it that way"

Another possible explanation is that Moluccers scare the crap out of gentle Dutch police dudes.

After sixty years in the Netherlands, Moluccers have developed a reputation of not taking guff from anybody. A few incidents in recent years involving Arab thugs misbehaving in Moluccan neighborhoods lead to nasty confrontations. Mass bloodshed was narrowly averted, but since then the Dutch police have realized that Moluccers WILL take care of themselves.


Also in years past, Moluccers demonstrating against the occupation of Ambon in Den Haag have 'erupted' when the Dutch authorities acted ham-handed, leading to running battles with the 'mobiele eenheid' (riot police).
So, given that the authorities are always right (and don't you EVER forget it) in the Dutch system, there may have been a certain animus influencing the decision to arrest the Moloccan bikers.

Of course that cuts both ways.

Up to 1949 Moluccan soldiers were the backbone of the Dutch East Indies army, many retreating to the hills and jungles after the Dutch surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 to defiantly continue the war. They waged a savage guerilla against a much larger force for three years.
They fought as fiercely against the Republicans after 1945. Because of political considerations, following Indonesian independence they were demobilized in the Netherlands, very much against their will.
This was a paternalistic decision by the Dutch government which like many Dutch bureaucratic moves was not nearly as well thought out as officials have ever since represented it to be.
Further 'we know better' dictats over the years have been equally 'obtuse'.

Let's just say that the last sixty years have been "educational" for both sides. There have been "issues".

Wherefore the prospect of severely outnumbered Moluccers getting into a rumble with the Hells Angels was so terrifying.
Imagine piles of slaughtered Angels in the streets of Amsterdam.
We can't have that.
It might traumatize the few remaining natives in the city.
And really, Dutch motor bikers NEED to be protected. They're rather fragile.

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


It's been obvious for as long as I can remember that my sense of humour and my interests not only do NOT coincide very much with those of other people, but also baffle the crap out of them, sometimes even frighten them.
Poor fragile little dears.

Bear in mind that I like people. As an abstract concept. I just don't get along with them.
It's like all of humanity landed here from a different planet.
And why DO they insist on speaking?

Yesterday evening I again tried to have a discussion with other people in the bar. An utterly moronic move, seeing as I should know by now that as an individual I am kindly tolerated only after folks have gotten used to me. Which is a process that takes months if not years.
Until then, I am the wild animal you should never feed.
Don't poke him with a stick, he may bite.

Me, bite? You can count on it!

I enjoy the society of humans. But I like it much better when I don't actually have to talk to them. Which, in a crowded establishment, is a status-quo that proves impossible to maintain.
Those two prize exemplars spoke to me first. They started the conversation, so they should bear full responsibility for it.
Just the fact that I was breathing through my nose might have proven to them that we had nothing in common.
Nothing. At. Frikkin'. ALL!

It was not always like that.

No, I probably never had anything in common with them years ago, either.

But back then, Savage Kitten and I were still lovers, companions of the heart, and co-conspirators. There was someone to talk to and listen to, someone whose company was a happy prospect to which I looked forward. Think of it as a social safety mechanism. Being in a relationship softens the edges of the interpersonal gears. It provides support, understanding, amelioration, and healing.
That's just one of those normal things that have fallen by the wayside.

Savage Kitten spent all of yesterday with Wheelie Boy. I saw her briefly in the morning before she left, briefly again long after dark when she returned. Her smile upon seeing me was radiant. She is the warmest person I know.
But I get almost none of her time anymore.
We're just roommates now.
Today she went off to see Wheelie Boy before noon, and she won't be back till late.
She'll likely be tired, and go straight to bed.

[Yes, I'm spending the day hiding out thirteen floors above the Financial District. I like it here. Unlike the apartment, the office is a nicer place when no one else is around.]

On very rare occasions, Savage Kitten and I eat together, maybe once every six or seven weeks.
But we no longer cook for each other, and because there is no-one to share food with I usually slap together a bowl of muck and call it quits.
There's no point in preparing something delicious when I'm the only one who will eat it.

[Let's see, what did I have for lunch today? Shrimp rice sheet noodle, and a flaky charsiu pastry. With some of the worst coffee in Chinatown. That is not too different from lunch yesterday, which was a flaky charsiu pastry and a lowpoh bing. Also with some of the worst coffee in Chinatown. Sad that 'worst coffee' is not only a metaphor!]

Given that food is well-nigh tasteless without a dinner companion, I spend an illogical amount of time thinking about what to eat.
The Chinese restaurant down the street? Naaah, not interested. Vietnamese? No, I'd sit at one of those tables with no one to talk to while waiting for the cold rice noodles and grilled pork. The seafood place? Expensive dining by oneself is pathetic. Pizza? Did that two weeks ago. And three weeks ago. Mexican? Doesn't inspire me. Crepes? Can't go there anymore, 'we' used to eat there. Besides, she apparently took him there a few months ago, so the place is off limits now, it's lost all positive connotation. Thai restaurant? Don't feel like eating an entire portion of anything, and those two have eaten there together - see previous loss of positive connotation.
Heck, the portion-too-large and positive-connotation-too-lost paradigms hold for almost anywhere on Polk Street where I used to enjoy dining. Apparently he also likes the food at her favourite roast-meats place on the edge of C'town, so I've taken a scunner to them too. Unfair, I know - their quality is very high - but it now has an exclusionary colouration to it.
Our places are no longer my places.

On the bright side, Wheelie Boy isn't comfortable inside Chinatown. Crowded sidewalks, rushing pedestrians, restaurants he fears might give him food poisoning.
Plus sloping cross-streets, comestibles he doesn't recognize, locations that are entirely foreign to him, dazed tourists who get in everyone's way, erratic traffic, dried fish, durian, no parking, loud noises, uneven pavement, strong flavours, and... and... and...
I must say, I really enjoy places where that man and his wheelchair will not go. Those are still my places.
Good luck taking that away.

On weekends I force myself to eat. It probably wouldn't be healthy to subsist entirely on tea, tobacco, and whiskey.
Awfully tempting, though.
Fortunately I still enjoy bathing. Being clean is a nice feeling.
Despite the positive social impact.

It's a slow process, but I'm learning stay out of conversations where my input would disturb other people.
There is no need for me to contribute, and not doing so keeps me from feeling burned.
It's far better to listen; it doesn't chase the shy creatures away.
Sometimes language is the only thing we have in common.
Seldom content.

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

Saturday, July 30, 2011


During July in San Francisco there are some evenings when even though it's foggy, the temperature is still pleasant, neither cold nor warm. This usually means that it has been exceptionally hot elsewhere - high temperatures inland pull moist cool air in from the ocean; as it rolls in, it turns grey and opaque.
I enjoy talking a walk with my pipe at such times, and often end up at the far end of a Nob Hill cul-de-sac which catches southern light, where the Bougainvillea blooms.

[Bougainvillea, more familiar to Spanish speakers as 'Trinitaria' because of the shape of the bloom, thrives on sunlight that hits south-facing areas. The flower itself is small and rather modest, what strikes the eye is the three-leafed collar surrounding it, brilliantly crimson or intensely purple.]

A woman lives there, on the ground floor. She is ancient, and I think it must be her building, because she has the garden, and there are trees there that have lived a long time. Some evenings she comes out and putters around, weeding, watering, or sweeping the little brick patio under her trees.
I observe from my perch beyond the fence, but I doubt that she has ever even noticed that someone is spying on her.

I first saw her a few years ago when I was scarfing down some snackiepoos at a Chinatown bakery. She sat at a table all by herself, with a cup of milk-tea and a slice of strawberry cake. She would fork a bite, masticate thoughtfully, pause, take a sip of tea. Then after another pause, fork another piece. It was hypnotic to watch.
She may have experienced that confection more thoroughly than anybody else could have, as if she sought to grasp the innermost being of the pastry.

I was somewhat worried that it was the only thing she would eat that day. She looked frail, crumpled, small. Her clothes did not betray any great resources, and she was old, old, old. There are many elderly women in Chinatown, widows whose husbands had worked hard all their lives, married late, then died barely into retirement age.
You have to wonder how some of those ladies survive - left alone with straightened circumstances and narrowed horizons, in a country whose particularities are still so foreign.

When the waitress came to take the empty plate, she asked "Ah-yee-ah, Pong-chai dim ah?" Auntie, how is kid Pong?
Oh good, the old lady is not alone in this world! There's some young relation named 'Pong', and she herself seems known in this coffee shop.

It was pleasing to hear that Pong-chai was quite well.

The next time I saw her she was slowly walking up hill, several months later. A medium-sized fluffy dog was trotting along behind her on a leash, stopping now and then to sniff the tree trunks. It hurked down to make a deposit, and the old woman waited patiently for it to finish. When I passed, she had bent down with an empty plastic bag and I heard her remark in amazement, "wah, Pong-chai..... kam do ge lah?!" Wow, so much?!?
Ah, so that's Pong-chai.

I too was amazed.
I didn't think he had it in him.

It wasn't until several weeks ago that I found out where she lived. She came out onto the patio before the sun set. The trees that gave it shade bore clusters of small orange-yellow fruit among the thick leaves.
Ripening loquats. Possibly her husband had planted the tree many years ago when they first bought the building.
Slowly, as if dreaming, she swept the bricks. Pong-chai ambled along behind her, giving every evidence of being a remarkably happy dog.

Then she put the broom aside, stepped over to one of the loquat trees and looked up, admiring the fruit. So golden, so softly glowing. Such pretty canary orbs in the green green shade, puffs of fog adding gauze to the scene.
Yes, truly beautiful.

Her face seemed softened despite her age.
That may have been the glow of slanting light, the haze, and the forty foot distance.
Or not.

"Ah Pong-chai, ney lai pui ngoh ah."

Obediently the dog stood up on his hind legs and held up his forpaws for the woman to grasp. The two of them moved gracefully, semi-dancing, over the bricks.
I don't know what antique melody still played in her mind, but surely her dog could hear it too - it stepped patiently, surefootedly, looking up at her the while.
They had obviously often done this before.

How wonderful for them to be such good companions.

I would like them to enjoy the bougainvillea and loquats together, at the back of their alley, for many more years.

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

Friday, July 29, 2011


I now have more perspective on the break-up.
For Savage Kitten it had already faded well before the end; when she broke off the relationship she was discarding something that had become worthless - an old rag, as she put it.
At that time it was still infinitely precious to me.
No matter how close you are to someone you do not always think alike.

She offered to move out at the time, I refused that offer for entirely selfish reasons.
I didn't think she would change her mind about us. She's a very stubborn woman, once she has made a decision she carries it through.
I just didn't want to worry about her, it's good to know that she's safe.
Plus, of course, I trust her, as she does me. Having a roommate who has been a known-quantity for several years is comfortable.
Didn't even have to rearrange any furniture - she's always had her own room.


I'm not comfortable with her mentioning her boyfriend so often - partly because I resent the nasty blister, partly because I do not think highly of him. Yeah, they haven't broken up yet, they're still together. Every three or four weeks they go through a crisis, usually caused by him being brutally honest or honestly selfish or some such.
She says she likes his honesty.
That pustule has made her cry more in half a year than I did in twenty years.

That's also one of the reasons why we'll never get back together. When she told me it was over after more than two decades, she was honest.
She didn't intend to wound, but she said things which I would have been far happier not hearing.

The other main reason is that we now no longer love each other that way.
We like each other, and as very good friends we even love each other.

That my ex still lives with me could be problematic if I ever have another relationship.
Might take a bit of explaining.

This is still an entirely hypothetical worry, though, and probably will be for quite a while.


I've realized that I do not like most people of either gender.
Behaviour is part of the issue, but the real disaster is conversation.
There just aren't very many folks out there that one can talk with.

It's not that they are intrinsically unlikeable, but often they are vapid.
Any conversation about sports puts me to sleep, and a disquisition on make-up or what some other woman said will drive me batshit.

I certainly don't insist on profundity and meaningfulness. However a discussion about why a particular author pissed you off, or what you think might be wrong with the shrimp you ordered, is vastly more interesting than any amount of inane blather about your handbag or your precious sports team.
Any handbag. Any team.

Tell me about the time you threw some highly recommended book (for instance, The Da Vinci Code, or Jonathan Livingston Seagull) into the trash compactor. Explain, in great and outraged detail, what a horrid piece of tripe that book is, wax lyrical about the sheer moronicity of the people who love that stuff, compare the nearest compost heap favourably to both that pathetic pile of scribbling and the feeble mind that spewed it forth.
Then with eloquent hyperbole call the value of contemporary culture into question.

Wail about your history professor who disparages the importance of a tongues-on approach to mediaeval languages, sing the praises of the duck at your favourite hole-in-the-wall on Stockton Street, chortle gleefully over a particularly atrocious pun or wordplay.
Cheerfully inform me that my pipe makes the place smell like a third-rate barbecue pit.

"But really, your burning tire stink is SO sexy!"

Then let us go have dinner somewhere, and read together quietly for a few hours.

Brownie points for using terms like 'balderdash', 'horsefeathers', or 'claptrap'.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I worked at an Indian restaurant in the evening for many years. Essentially, it was for liquor and tobacco money, seeing as my daytime job covered all necessities.
No, liquor and tobacco are NOT necessities, they just seem so.

I am not enough of a people-person to go up to tables and pleasantly chat customers into murghi makhni, alu saag, puris, and achaar, plus cutting chai or soda-pani & whiskey.

The Indian climate, Rajput miniatures, and Urdu poems are complicated subjects about which I probably know far too much already, let us not speak of those.
No, I don't know any swamis or fakirs, and I am not a spiritual being.
Please don't tell me about the ashram you visited.
Nor starvation, Calcutta, and camels.

Your allergies to dairy, gluten, peanuts, citrus, and legumes suggest that you may be in the wrong place, unless you are trying to kill your very white suburbanite bourgeois self.
In which case you have my wholehearted personal approval, but I'm not speaking for the restaurant or the other staff.
Please go back to that ashram that caters to Americans.

My function at the restaurant was to add up figures, take money, and guard the cash register like a rabid dog or homicidal maniac.
Having lived in Holland, I am very good at being both a rabid dog and a homicidal maniac.
That, in a nutshell, is precisely why you need a Dutchman as your cashier or bookkeeper.

One can indeed be rabid without being barking mad, but it helps.

Rabid Dutchmen are NOT expected to make small-talk with customers.

Unless the customers are children.
Small people.

Indian kid: "Where are you from?"
Me: 'From the Netherlands.'
Indian kid: "Oh (long pause), are you actually alive? "

Indian kid: "Where are you from? "
Me: 'From the Netherlands.'
Indian kid: "You are playing cricket?"

Indian kid: "Where are you from? "
Me: 'From the Netherlands.'
Indian kid: "Aha, a Pakistani, is it!?!"

There's an element of repetition in restaurant conversations, much like an Icelandic honey salesman explaining his product to Londoners (gratuitous Monty Python reference).

Creativity is not advisable.

Indian kid: "Where are you from? "
Me: 'I am not of woman born, but from my mother's womb untimely ripped!'
Indian kid: "HOW SAD!!!"


I'm actually not from the Netherlands but from the Los Angeles area.
I lived in the Netherlands for sixteen years, from when I was two till my eighteenth year - that explains the accent.
No, I do not play cricket, it's a rather silly game.
I am not of woman born, but really was from my mother's womb untimely ripped.
These are the answers.
In case a small person wants to know.

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Several years ago friend of blog e-kvetcher remarked: "Dude, you are well on your way to becoming the next Henry Darger".
Seeing as he's also on occasion compared me to Marcel Proust, other than feeling mildly flattered I paid it no mind.
Well, besides writing a paean to mr. Darger - how can one NOT admire and respect so magnificently sleazy an obsession?

Henry Darger, it will be remembered, wrote a fifteen thousand page novella about pubescent warrioresses and their very nicely illustrated travails.
It took him several decades to do so.

I am envious of a man with so little Attention Deficit Disorder.

Anyhow, I am reminded of all this because some of the bartenders I know are experimenting with fruity cocktails. Drinks containing pineapple juice, cranberry, apple, peach, various puckers, and assorted sickly matters.
I fear that it's only a matter of time before dry ice and paper parasols are involved.
At which point, they will be catering to the girlie crowd.

Heaven forefend.

The girlie crowd are not adult people.

They have pubescent taste.

The sweet cocktails for which I once posted recipes are, of course, not strictly speaking fit for anyone.
Though I will confess a degenerate fondness for grasshoppers, white cotton panties, and the rare pear martini.

[Note: grasshoppers and white cotton panties are described HERE. Properly there should be a cherry in the panties, but that is argueably optional as far as the grasshopper is concerned. For better effect you can add one ounce of heavy cream to the panty.
Remember the cherry - white cotton panties ALWAYS require a cherry.]

Adults, of whatever gender, do NOT drink fruity-poof drinkies unless they are willingly being seduced.
Real people drink Scotch, Irish, unflavoured vodka, or Cognac.
Bourbon is for trailer parkers, tequila is for marketing types, and gin is for the office alcoholic.
Flavoured coffees and teas, as well as perfumed pipe tobacco, are sure signs of degeneracy, depravity, decadence, and immaturity. Such impure tastes speak volumes about the effete post-adolescent riff-raff that prefer them.
Likely they have strange sexual predilections and unhealthy fetishes.

For instance: bestiality, whips, and teenagers.

Liquor, tobacco, coffee, and tea of good quality do not require additions. And as often whatever is added reeks of whorehouse or Hello Kitty, such augmentation speaks volumes about the people that prefer such.

In the main, I eschew morally questionable tastes.

I will, however, grudgingly admit a strong preference for Orientals.

[Samsoun, Smyrna, Soukoum, and the fabled Yenidje. Plus Djubeck. Toutoun, whether Djebel or Yaka, and even Shiraz. Latakia, though nowadays from Cyprus and thus 'European', was originally from Syria, and qualifies fully as an Oriental by inheritance even in its modern incarnation, being of Oriental seed and process.
And speaking of which, I keenly miss the fine Egyptian ovals produced by Kyriazi Frères, now no longer available in California. Khedive Oriental cigarettes (from Germany) were also divine. To recapture that delicious resinous perfume, you may want to try Dunhill Durbar Mixture in your pipe, or alternatively, Presbyterian Mixture, originally from William Solomon, but now manufactured in Germany. Both products are resinously rich in Oriental leaf.
The Balkan Sobranie Mixture, of course, doesn't exist anymore, lack-a-day.]


The one field where all the myriad flavourings actually serve a purpose is perfume.
Nothing is more alluring than a woman whiffing gently of sandalum and vetiver, neroli, labdanum, agarwood, bergamot, opopanac, or 晚香玉.
Your subtle feminine fragrance is vastly enhanced by the judicious addition of a carefully chosen scent. Far better than spending enormous amounts on eye-shadow, foundation, cheek blush, wrinkle creams, and such like, you should instead invest in one or two bottles of choice aromatic.

Such things are suitable, in fact, for any woman between seven and seventy.
From schoolgirls to soured old harridans.
It's infinitely flattering!

Just avoid patchouli, vanilla, and coconut!

Grown men have been known to turn violently sideways and dab-smack into concrete to get away from that sh*t.

We are not perverts, but purists.

Please in all things remember that.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This morning someone cruising the internet for articles about shark fin soup found my blog. Now, normally I am pleased as punch at evidence that there are still people who read elsewhere in the world. The twenty-first century seems to be dominated by folks who text instead, which indicates that the English language is dying as a mode of discourse.
However, this person chose to leave a few choice samples of his or her opinion.
I was less than overjoyed.

[This post:]

I am not always enchanted by people who think differently. As just one example, yesterday evening the street person who hangs out in front of Walgreens was screaming his head off and using cuss words. Normally on my way home, I give him a buck and say "good evening", he accepts it saying "thank you". This time I used the other side of the street.
His voicing of an opinion which, though I have no clue what he was on about, would have likely been at odds with my welt-anschauung, meant that I ventured out of my way to not venture out of my way.

Had I been more tolerant of alternative viewpoints, that person would have received a dollar.

This morning's commenter could very well be that howling loony's kinsman.

"You fucking chink aught to shoot your cruel barbaric ass, what do you think you have the rights to deplete the oceans and destroy the foodchain? Who the hell do you people think you are raping the world?
and if you don't like it here go back to fucking china with your families fuck them all and see how you like it, dammed gook cunt."

End quote.

Not so! That doesn't describe me at all!
While I would gladly have you green with jealousy over what you imagine my sex-life to be, all rambunctious and joy-filled, sometimes loud and destructive to the undergrowth, zesty, energetic, and full of beans, if you were a regular reader here you would realize that there has been no sex whatsoever for a year.
Primarily because of sound judgment and common sense.
I live in San Francisco, where many women cast off their Midwestern prudery and deliberately irritate their parents by engaging in unsafe acts with men who have piercings, tattoos, and severe sanitary issues.
So no, there has been no sex.
The undergrowth has had a chance to recover, the jungle is restored.

"People like you make me pewk!"
End quote.

I am not interested in your sex life! Why are you sharing?

"Layland Yee is a cocksucking chink faggot who shoild never be elected mayor of San Francisco."
End quote.

Judging from what you previously wrote, you have sex on the brain.
It's affecting your judgment.


I think I'll splurge tonight. It's been a while since I soaked shark fin preparatory to making soup, but fortunately there are alternatives. Like restaurants.
Shark fin in broth, with shredded abalone, slivers of black mushroom, fresh herbs....
Perhaps I'll order a tureen of it. Dawdling over shark fin soup would be a glorious way to pass the time.
Quite the acme of sensual pleasure!
In many ways splendid dining is a more than adequate distraction from the disappearance of a sex life.
And living in San Francisco, where many women engage in unsafe acts with skunk-muffins, you will of course understand that in fact shark fin soup is preferable to most sexual experiences. I recommend you try it. It would take your mind off your own inadequacies, and might even cure you of your rhetorical afflictions - such as the ones so abundantly evident in your three comments.

Shark fin soup is infinitely better than wheatgrass, btw.

If you wish to become human again, please consult the 3 recipes below.




The great advantage to learning how to cook these at home is that you need not bathe before going out to eat, and no one will look askance at your personal adornments (the piercings, tattoos, and five day growth of beard).
It still won't get you laid, because you are uglier and stupider than most San Francisco trust-fund refugees from elsewhere, and foul-mouthed besides, but I know that your highly individualistic personal hygiene is very comforting to you.

That, and your typical bourgeois conspicuous non-consumption.

You do realize that belligerently saving the world and imposing your sanctimonious value-system on others perfectly identifies you as hopelessly middle-class, don't you?
Precisely like piercings, tattoos, and bad boy boffing, you muffin-skunk you.

Man is the ultimate apex predator. Bon appétit.


I was planning to flame and out-argue the anonymous commenter, but I kind of got distracted by thoughts of a lascivious nature. Fine food does that, as I'm sure you've discovered for yourself too. Nothing, in fact, is more conducive to romance or lust (or both, if happily they coincide) than something warm and delicious, smooth to the tongue, moist, and sparkling.
Like, for instance, a large bowl of shark fin soup.
Try it. You'll be surprised.

Shark fin soup: it's safer than sex in San Francisco.

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

Monday, July 25, 2011


One of the all-time great entertainment experiences is seeing over-the-top acting, humongous-ego histrionics, and operatic mega-violence at a movie theatre.
So you can probably well-imagine that half the audience at the 金都戲院 wet their panties when seeing the 1987 action adventure A Better Tomorrow 2.

After it was over, we went into the night time air and headed up Columbus back to Broadway. We were not the equals of the tough guys in the movie, but we never-the-less felt inspired and alive.

英雄本色 2

Honour, revenge, and all the finest Cantonese values.
Nearly one hundred people get shot in a climactic gun battle the main point of which might well be gallantry, but by then you are already so foaming at the mouth from the sheer excitement of this rock-em sock-em gangster opera that you probably didn't notice.

Directed by John Woo (吴宇森).
Produced by Tsui Hark (徐克).
Starring Chow Yun-fat (周潤發) as Ken, Dean Shek Tien (石天) as Lung si, Ti Lung (狄龍) as Sung Tse-ho, and Leslie Cheung (張國榮) as his brother Sung Tse-kit.

Rice is my family
The scene in which Chow Yun-Fat proves that he's as mean-crazy a New Yorker as they come.
"You don't like my rice? You don't like my rice?!? Eat the rice!"

A Better Tomorrow II - Hotel Shootout
Ken and Lung shoot their way out of a residential hotel.

"There's only one way out. I want you to fight by my side. If we don't fight... ... we'll both die here. If we win, we'll start all over again."

[Update 03/10/2012: the original clip disappeared from youtube, so you'll have to watch Chow Yun-fat speaking German. Yeah, I know, weird.   Imagine John Wayne and the Cartwrights in German. "zo, boss, wir gehen zerug nach ranch, ja?" "Ja, also denn." " Es iz doch affengeil." "Mensch!"]

It's not surprising that this became a cult film. But it's a bit disturbing that most of its non-Chinese fans do not grasp the ethical warp and woof of Cantonese Gangster movies in general, and this film in particular.

An article well worth reading on this subject is here:
"The Films of John Woo and the Art of Heroic Bloodshed"

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

Sunday, July 24, 2011


The following essay is by Waiman Ko in the Netherlands, whom I am very pleased to have guestposting here.
It presents a point of view which you may not have seen represented on this blog before.
Please read it, and leave your comments.

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


I am honored to be guest-posting at ATBOTH’s blog as for being a reference and thereby able to be contributing to the dialog about interracial relations at this platform.

On the mentioned Facebook page I've shared my experience of having an interracial relation with a white female about five years ago. I would also like to mention that everything I write here is from my own experience and is from my perspective. I've used this experience for this guest-post to show the intensity of the context that is unspoken within the story. And it is with the sources I have used and gained throughout life to write this guest-post. I say this because the next story might feel very private.

I actually made my white ex wait for two months before making it official between us. I said: 'I want to be sure that this is the right choice and that I can take the consequences.' What would the people think of this kind of relationship? Would I be ok with it? Would we stand firm together? How would the families mix? Would they be supportive or not? Could I take the possible damage and fight for our relationship? Having thought it over, I finally said yes. The reason for this is believing the future is uncertain, therefore we would see where the boat floats to...and how hard we would row to save it. Obviously, this is a quite modernistic Western thought or at least here in The Netherlands. As for the two months part, I've graduated on a beta-study and therefore have been educated with analytical manners. I tried to be thoughtful of the possible consequences of the relationship and what I would have to do to maintain the relationship.

At first, I kept it secret for about three months from Chinese people. We would not hold hands on the streets and such. I was very afraid that the Chinese people would know about it and start talking about me and my, at that time, white girlfriend. I've told only my closest friends and nobody else, wailing and waiting for the inevitable. After all....sooner or later people would know about our relationship and the Chinese would catch and judge our story sooner or later.

As three months passed by, my ex became impatient and discomforted by the secrecy of it all. My mom also suspected something was going on as I started to go outside more often. Pressure from both sides made me tell the truth. My ex wanted an honest and a 'nothing to fear' relationship while my mom got enraged about it. She scolded me, yelled at me, told I was an useless kid with a pathetic mind etc. etc. etc. whatever a stereotypic first generation chinese parent would do to crush any identity or character of their children - to show their disappointment and try to instill fear in the child - . To her, she said, it was all about 'my reputation', 'my status', 'my bad competences', 'my lack of money'. I thought she was actually mad about herself, but trying to project her fears onto me.

Since then, my mother would not accept, but 'respect', my ex as a friend that comes by often. Every single day, she would try to talk (then yell) me out of it by trying to make me feel miserable about having a relationship with a white female. About having "mo mien" (no face = getting bad reputation for being with a whitey). Yet, I got raised in a Dutch society with Western, catholic and European humanistic philosophies. And I've thought through my choice, therefore I stood ground and backfired each time with "This is my life and my relationship. I have to learn from this myself. You talk about "mo mien" for me, but you're actually more concerned about having a bad reputation within the small Dutch Chinese social circles yourself! (as she seems to know every important Chinese in The Netherlands...)" Talking about a Westernized Chinese boy right?! Whether it's actually Western or humanistic, I leave that to another discussion because the point is that this was more of a battle of attrition between my mother and me.

She 'already knew' that it would not work out between me and my white ex because she was simply.... white. The families would not be able to communicate with each other and that showed when my parents had dinner with my ex. I would be the translator while my mother looked with dreadful eyes, asking why we're together, how it happened etc.. Any deep or serious conversations were simply impossible. Yes, I already took that into account in the two months of thinking. I simply believed it was possible to bridge cultures as long as everyone would cooperate. After all, everybody's intention should be for the happiness of the two people together right? utopian and naive dream went *poof*. When instigating deep conversations, it would lead both my ex and my mother to holding on their own culture, respectively their norms and values. I was very unfortunate to see the differences in cultures and not being able to bridge between them. I could blame it on me or on the others. Point is that from my experience, culture does influence the worldview every person receives towards others.
The attitude of the girl's family might have been innocent and humorously intended with the "ah, at least we'll be getting free egg rolls"-pun. I can't say if that's stereotypical, because this isn't my empirical result. Just a single experience. What I can say is that I do understand what the family has said and that I do believe they've intended to keep it as a joke. Yet, for my ex and for me, it felt quite humiliating. We didn't feel supported by her and neither by my family.
Our friends thought it was brave to stand ground, believing in a relationship possible between two races. However, they didn't know what to say about our relationship. We could presume that they didn't have frameworks to relate to or say that they were too immature to have thought about having an interracial relationship. Or that maybe they wouldn't have ever thought about the possibility. Whatever reasons there might be, they weren’t throughout supportive because they didn't know how and if they could support us. This shows the mindset of Dutch and Chinese adolescents in The Netherlands in 2006 from my experience and what I have seen in similar cases with interracial relationships as subject.

As time flew by, scars started to show in our relationship. Influenced by our own words and deeds as well as the environment, namely the differences in culture or better yet, the differences in norms, values and principles. We were also in a stalemate where the Dutch parents still haven't met the Chinese parents and the Chinese angry mother still didn’t accept the Dutch girl. My mother still hated the fact that I was in a relationship with a whitey because she could not boast about it. She felt ashamed and did not want to even try to understand what I was saying or explaining to her by repeating her statements over and over again.

Then me and my ex eventually broke up. We grew tired of fighting for our stalemate relationship every day. I cried my heart out for a minute and didn't sleep for a night. My mother found out as I stopped going out and she....laughed and said: 'You see! I told you, you stupid kid! You just didn't listen to me. I was right, because I already saw it fail before it has even begun. You just didn't listen to me because you're so stupid! Chinese and Whiteys CANNOT be together. They were never meant to be. You will lose even more face now within your social circles and you're now a laughing stock for everyone. No one ever would want you hereafter and how are you supposed to find a new girl now? huh? You're a worthless son! You can't do anything right. Look at x and y, they have found beautiful wifes and you? You're 19 and still are not married to a Chinese wife. You don't understand the world. You foolish boy.'

I would backfire in anger, saying it was my life, not hers, and I had to learn from it and experience it in my way. This reaction - I couldn't understand - was supposed to be protective towards a son. Yet I could and still can only see it as a incredible destructive way of 'raising a child'. With my perspective, I tried my utter best to border my thoughts between hers and maintain my own beliefs. She might be right though; cultures probably don't mix (well). But I still believed that love shouldn't have boundaries. At least I now knew I had to value those boundaries more. And yet, I'm not sorry for having had a relationship with my ex, or having fought for it every single day.

I deliberately wrote this experience in detail to show the happiness and joy of a Chinese mother when discovering the breakup between a white girl and her little boy. The power of her belief and how strongly her norms and values are embedded into her world view. But also the difficulties I went through by having an interracial relationship with a 'whitey'. It's not strange to start hating my mother for her (psychopathic) verbal reactions, but what I want to point out is the consequence I got from breaking up with a whitey. A relieved Chinese mother who lived in anxiety and shame, playing the victim and perpetuator in eroding my relationship .... and as if fate has struck.... luck comes around and saves her from falling to a fate where she could not boast about her single child and yet-to-be successful son. And I struggled with the hardship of fighting for my ideals every day, perhaps putting the relationship as example and on the line for it.

We could discuss if this is an exceptional case or not and talk about the issues between me and my mom. But if we put this personal experience in a more abstract perspective, we undeniably see the collision of two individuals formed by their cultures they've been raised in. I got raised by Chinese parents in a Dutch (catholic and European humanistic philosophized) society and culture. My parents were raised in China by their Chinese parents and are now living in The Netherlands. Our beliefs are different because my belief is more individually orientated while the belief of my mother is family and reputation related.

Following the stories of 2nd generation Chinese in The Netherlands I have conversed with and have heard of. Their parents wish for a Chinese partner for their child. The spoken reasons are ‘difficulty in communication and misunderstanding the culture’. But I think there are underlying reasons. I would speculate that unwillingness and mistrust in each other’s faith and cooperation would be more basic reasons. Partly because of thinking in fear constructions (‘what if’). Partly because 1st generation Chinese seem to be very sensitive to their environment. And partly because, in my experience, the 1st generation Chinese seem look down on non-Chinese people. “The government always picks on us. You can’t trust whiteys. Only trust Chinese. Whiteys are egocentric. Chinese are always family-orientated. Whiteys backstab you whenever they can." etc. are actually very common (un)spoken thoughts I've been hearing among Chinese people here in The Netherlands. Not only from my family but mostly other 1st generation as well.

I frequently counter this talk by simple mirroring “Oh, so Chinese never backstab? How about gossiping? Blackmailing? Chinese murderers don’t’ exist? The Triads are a myth? Or how about egocentric Chinese (examples)? Arrogantly proud about their rich history? Aren’t those black marks?... have you ever looked at it from the other side? Have you ever thought about looking from the inside AND the outside of your world view?” ....Sadly, when the roles are reversed by me, I’m suddenly a disrespectful big mouth. Isn’t this just plain hypocritical? Yet, you could say it isn’t the wisest choice to counter like that. It could’ve been done more diplomatically. I am just saddened by the disrespectful and ignorant view and presumptions of a lot of 1st generation Chinese in The Netherlands about caucasian cultures, relationships with other cultures and identity. And I know that they know that I was right of showing a different perspective.

Unwillingly to being humble their selves while looking down on other people just for their other line of philosophy and culture. They, luckily, aren’t the only ones in the world and will have to consider respecting other cultures (multiformally). Now, I do want to press the other side of the story as well. The Dutch aren’t as cute, tolerant and nice as you’ve most likely seen the news last couple years about strong right-winged politics in The Netherlands. I wasn’t there when my parents were being bullied and discriminated by racists. I wasn’t there when Dutch people looked down on Chinese immigrants working as waiters in Chinese restaurants. I haven’t seen and heard a lot of things what bad things the Dutch have said about the Chinese in the 1970’s. I've been bullied myself in elementary school. But I can imagine and see that the Dutch would somehow look down on Chinese. Yet I think it’s for a different reason, as the Dutch never really had a ‘Dutch’ history with pure Caucasian Dutch people. They’ve always known multiculturalism and can nag about everything, that’s for sure. This is why they are searching for an identity in good and bad ways while they never had one, in my opinion. But that’s also for another discussion. The point here is that both cultures are for several reasons ignorant towards each other and yet the philosophies (and thereby the world views and frameworks) could learn from both. It’s just that most people (subconsciously) deny that time is a dynamical phenomenon and prefer to stick to their comfortable safe biased ‘only-race-in-the-world’ view. Politically they might say pretty words, but it’s in bad times when you see the real faces. If there would be a human embedded law, I would believe this is one. And if I used this law to reflect on cultures, I would say: both are guilty of being unwilling.

So… is everything cosy and good now having a Chinese girlfriend? Well, no… not really my mother now fights with me everyday about being ‘overdue marrying’ and ‘still having no status, reputation or money’. She actually spoke over the phone with my girlfriend’s mother ‘to try out her mom’s willingness of giving her daughter’s hand’. Well, luckily her mom’s view has been individualized and therefore countered my mom with: ‘HELL NO, she needs to finish her study first and DATE your son before settling down.’ It’s very unfortunate, but it seems it’s the reversed situation for me now. * BIG SIGH * haha. But oh well. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard thoughts of her parents about interracial relationships, so I can’t say anything about that.

My mother can’t wait for my girlfriend to poop out her grandchild. However, me and my girlfriend take our own pace. In love, I believe the most important are: communication, trust, connection and willingness to accept differences. There is no 'parent's wishes' included. And so, as usual, I tell my mom the same thing:“It’s my life, my relationship, my girlfriend….my love.” So……yeah, there are still issues even if it’s a Chinese-Chinese relationship. This is also why I can say that it’s not just culture but also philosophies, cultures, frameworks, worldviews, individual norms and values have to be taken in account in answering to the subject. If anything, I would say in a romantic manner that love would be the answer. But as through time and literature shown, love isn't something that can be conceptualized. How are we to love, in rational terms? No one has been able to answer that and perhaps no one will. Therefore we will have to find our own individual ways to love each other as humans, as speaking in terms of individuals, cultures and races. At least, that's what I think.

I believe that time will fade most of the problems of interracial problems away eventually. It is, what I believe, the old 2nd generation, the new 3rd or perhaps the 4th generation that will show at least two kinds of people. One that will try to find back their ‘real’ roots and the other will accept the post modernistic thought and therefore accepting the relations with and within the environment. I prophecise that the difference in cultures will matter less to 3rd generation, but that their own cultures will also matter strongly for their identity in Western countries. I believe it’s because the secular (and humanistic) philosophy is embedded in these countries and promote autonomy (and connectedness between each other). As the European humanist would say: “Look at the individual human. Think for yourself and work together”. Therefore, in overall, I think it will matter less to the next generations if they should marry a bounty, a banana, a chocolate, a whitey or whatever. I can’t say anything about this kind of development in Chinese countries because I’m not too familiar with the Chinese history and philosophies, but I hope to see such development happen in China and Chinese cultured locations, through their own philosophy.

Waiman Ko
Guestwriter for Chinese Youth Organisations in The Netherlands
MA student Humanistics

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In many ways Waiman Ko's story mirrors the experiences of American-born Chinese. While even here in San Francisco some of the attitudes towards relations are changing, Chinese Americans born before the eighties remember how unusual it was to date outside one's own community. In this day and age there are still parents who will be absolutely horrified at the prospect of a non-Chinese spouse for their son or daughter, and if the child actually marries an outsider it will be a continuing issue within the family.

I made reference to Waiman Ko in a previous post:

I've written about the issue from a different angle, of course.
Those posts can be found by clicking this label:
Savage Kitten.
At some point in the future I may ask Savage Kitten to guestpost on the issue.
Don't know yet. Still reconstructing myself after our break-up.
She's in the process of re-inventing herself too.
So we'll just have to see.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2011


My ex-girlfriend's Teddy Bear (aka 'the senior roomie') is trying to rope me into a plot to whack Savage Kitten's current beau. Push him off the end of a pier, or hack him to pieces with a chainsaw.

I must admit, the concept has a certain fey appeal.

There are just two minor problems with the scheme.

The first one is that I would have to do all the heavy lifting - a ten inch tall Teddy Bear just isn't very able in that regard.
The second one is that Savage Kitten and I are no longer a couple. Even if 'Wheelie Boy' were to magically disappear (cease to exist, go on to meet his maker, push up the daisies, join the bleeding choir invisible), that wouldn't change.
That relationship is over. So what, precisely, is in it for me?
The only person who would be happy is ten inches tall - a Teddy Bear with issues, who really needs to get over her feelings of abandonment.

Wheelie Boy's demise - desirable to small ursines though it might be - will not change matters.
I sympathize with the bear, really I do. That is why I have welcomed her over to my side - her young lady is hardly ever in the apartment nowadays, and small bears are apt to get mighty lonely. Distressed, even. She needs company, and a sympathetic ear. It is a pleasure to give her sanctuary, and help her deal with her small ursine anger over recent developments.
But I cope with things differently.
An adult has to approach issues in a mature fashion.
Unlike the Teddy Bear, I am a sober realist, and am moving on.

Meaning that I'm gloomily hiding out at bars and the office, interrupted by snack-visits to Chinatown eateries, long walks with a pipe, and a stinking attitude - oh wait, that's the pipe also.
Not precisely anywhere near young ladies, most of the time. Well, other than the bars, that is. But women who go to bars hardly appeal to me.
Pleasant enough to chat with, not really people you would want to know better.
In any case, not likely to sympathize with a Teddy Bear lurking in my bed.
Nor, for that matter, would she (the aforementioned TB) approve of them.
At times she has a mouth on her, and she's likely to curse them in Cantonese.
Very blunt and expressive Cantonese.
She's rather stubborn.

The senior roomie really would like to eliminate 'Wheelie Boy'. A charming and delightful conceit.
I wouldn't mind dumping him off the end of the pier myself, but that isn't the kind of thing that would be attractive to a prospective sweet young thing.
Homicide is not a love potion.
Come to think of it, most women don't approve of murder.
It's an inexplicable fact - they will look askance.
I don't need any more askance looking.

So the Teddy Bear will just have to do it on her own, and not rely on me.
I sure ain't gonna whack the shmoe.
The past cannot be redeemed.
This Toad is moving on.

Now, if only I can convince some sweet young thing that I'm completely sane, stable, and in all ways both deliciously risky and utterly safe, things will be perfect.

Perhaps I should offer her some bubble gum vodka?

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

Friday, July 22, 2011


Like many MOST people in San Francisco, I spent the entire week completely unaware that much of the country is experiencing a heat wave.
Sorry, you people really aren’t on our radar most of the time. We didn't know.
We have been mildly warm. Except at night. When it’s been quite brisk on occasion. Or around the cocktail hour, when the hilltops have been foggy. Or in the morning. Or when chill winds are whistling through the canyons downtown.
Well, let's say that we’ve been sort of warmish from around ten o’clock in the morning till five or six in the evening.
It has been very pleasant.

But I have been told that many of you want to take your clothes off.
So I have to ask, are the percentages of good-looking people (of either gender) in your neck of the woods (95% of the country) large enough to merit my coming out there to scope you all out? Or would I be ogling a vast assembly of beached whales, and perhaps a few sweaty hens?

On second thought, please don’t answer that, and don’t bother stripping.
After all, I am NOT going to get naked either.
Not because I disapprove of nudity.
But because of the coolth.

Besides, not wearing any clothing at all is fun only when done in good company. By oneself it is rather pathetic. It says that despite one’s on the whole decent, even foxy, good looks, distinct lack of a beer gut, and social graces (wit, eloquence, not too much conceit, and daily bathing), one has not found a person of the right age, gender, and personality type, to make frisky business a realistic prospect again.

Oh wait, if you folks get naked, it’s because of the heat!

Sorry, I forgot. That’s not an issue here.
In San Francisco, complete nudity is more for entertainment value than anything else.
I myself have not seen a naked person in aeons, and nobody has seen me thus in as long.
Indeed, ‘tis a sad regret.

I don't watch much television either.

If any of you people sweltering in the rest of the country are youngish, intelligent, emotionally resilient, and also have a sense of humour, you might consider visiting.
Heck, feel free to take your clothes off too!
But it’s cool enough that you don’t have to.

Unless, of course, you really feel like it.

I wouldn't object.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011


A while back I started paying attention to my blog stats and discovered that a whole host of strange people visit this site.
An essay which I had innocently titled 'fat little virgins', because I liked the delicious hint of naughtiness in that name, attracted a steady stream of readers for several years.
That post was about herring as the Dutch prefer it - within its first year of life, before it has ever produced offspring, and while it is storing up fat for winter in the North Atlantic.
The fat content is the key, as it is that which makes it delicious and flavourful.
It has not gone through a reproductive cycle yet.
And it is immature.

Dutch raw herring is, in every way, a "fat little virgin".

Fish-flavoured baby fat. Yum.


[Warning: people who easily blanch may want to leave at this point. It only gets worse.]

Herring was probably not what the wayward visitors who found my blog were actually expecting.
Same goes for the people looking for "sex with horses Netherlands", "I can see your nipples", or "bestiality blogspot".
The nipple phrase steered curious deviants to a post about not speaking fluent French, the equine Dutch post mentioned in passing a loophole in Dutch law, and the word "bestiality" may have cropped up occasionally whenever I was being petulant about some outrage in the rest of the world.

Obviously these folks were immensely disappointed. Because they aren't my target audience, that does not sadden me. As a demographic they do not meet my specs.
But I do very much enjoy teasing them at times.
Which, of course, explains some of my more peculiar posts over the past two years.

[All search criteria eventually pull up something depraved, all subjects eventually attract the attention of a degenerate.
The internet exists for three things: recipes, kitten pictures, and pornography.]

And, on that note............


Not everyone knows a man with two penises.
But you, dear reader, do.
You know me.
And I know two other men like that too.
One of them is deceased, the other is in Massachusetts.

This I mention in part to titillate the degenerate random reader.

I once owned two penises, I knew the previous owner, and I know who has them now.
The penises were in a very handsome presentation box.
I actually no longer have the penises.
But I should've kept ONE of them as a conversation piece.


Tiger penises are believed by many Chinese to be beneficial for the male sex drive. There is no evidence that they have any effect whatsoever, but the spiky appearance of the feline progenitive organ is fearsomely impressive, and that created the idea.
Cat-family phalli have cartilaginous barbs that "stimulate" the females, and cause the release of ova.
In addition to being a quite objectionable sensation.

They look sexually phenomenal.

Before you start squawking about perverse Chinese male obsessions with sex, let me remind you that Hugh Heffner is a white man, and so is the publisher of Hustler. President John F. Kennedy, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Roman Polanski - all as Caucasian as they come.
And Sildenafil was invented in the Western World.
We are quite as twisted as they are.
Just not into the soup.

I should also point out that when you dry a tiger penis, normal tissue reduces far more than cartilage - so there really is no mistaking which animal that thing came from.
You cannot fake a tiger penis.


When I still lived in North Beach I once helped two women clean up their dad's apartment after he had passed away.
I had known him during his last years of life, and he lived nearby. His daughters were people I had met a few times in Berkeley years before. One of them was the mother of a classmate.
I was the person who discovered the old gentleman on his kitchen floor after the stroke and called the ambulance.
After he got to the emergency room I contacted his family, and went back to the apartment to collect his medication so that the doctors would know what he had been taking. He recovered consciousness a few times over the next two weeks in the hospital, but faded in and out.
The last time he just didn't fade back in again.

Several weeks after the funeral his daughters decided to pack up what should be kept, donate what was not treasured, and clean the apartment thoroughly so that the building could be sold. Their parents had moved in after both women had left home, and had lived there together for two decades. There was a lot of stuff, including everything of their mom that their dad had kept.

They discovered the presentation box of tiger penises in the kitchen cabinet.
I had to explain to them what those things were.
They were surprised and disconcerted. Plus appalled.

Two penises in a box are odd. It is highly unlikely that they were a matched set, but who knows. The presentation box was bright pink, and had butterflies surrounding the clear plastic window that allowed one to inspect the items within.
The characters 虎鞭 were printed on in gold, so I know that it was originally intended for that precise penile purpose.
Not just some empty bonbon box re-used.

[Many Chinese will prefer to give two identical items when gifting, because that shows attention to detail and cultural nicety. So a pair of penises in a nice box makes complete sense. But most other precious tonics are also sold in gift-boxes.]

Both women were in their fifties. Neither had ever seen a tiger penis. They knew that many elderly Chinese men were notoriously rampant - but surely not their father?!? Why, it wasn't even that long since their mom had died, and they had always believed that Dad was a decent moral man!
Why would an eighty seven year old widower need sexual tonics?

I pointed out two things to them. The first being a picture of their parents dancing during their fiftieth wedding anniversary several years before, the second being that the presentation box was unopened - there was still a sticker promising two genuine all-natural tiger penises sealing the lid.
And look at how dusty that box is!

The photo of the two old people dancing showed a trim elderly gentleman in a tuxedo holding a slim, petite, elfin looking woman in a skin-tight cheongsam, who had white hair but no wrinkles. Clearly she was one hot mama at sixty seven, why look at that figure!
Was there any reason to believe that their father had been interested in anyone else? What made them think that the old couple had not still felt passion for each other?
If their father had bought the tiger penises (though more than likely they were a gift from a friend), it may have been simply so that he could keep up with his wife. In the photo she looked like she was still quite lively.

The suggestion that their mom and dad remained madly in lust with each other into old age elicited loud groans from both of them.
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea that their parents are sexual beings.
But they conceded it was possible. Likely even. Shudder.
And it would explain why the seal on the box was unbroken.
The old gentleman hadn't needed any tiger-penis soup after his wife died.

When they wanted to throw the leathery things away I argued passionately that it would be a sin! Those things are expensive! Precious even, especially now that you cannot get them anymore. It was illegal to sell tiger penises, had been for several years.
They just weren't available at any price, and it would be such a horrid waste!
A number of local herbalists were busted because they didn't know the law.
Don't throw away the penises, just find someone who can use them.
Re-gift the penises! Someone will want them!

The box was set aside.


As we continued sorting and packing up stuff, one of them remarked that the tiger penises reminded her of the time she discovered a vibrator in her daughter's room. She had never seen one of those things before either, but because of what it looks like, one cannot mistake the purpose. When her daughter came home during spring break, she confronted the young woman.
Why did she have something like that? Was she that sex-crazed that she had to have it?
Was there something physically abnormal about the girl?
Did she really need that horrid thing?!?

"Of course not. And it's broken anyway. That's why I forgot it when I left."

Broken? How on earth does one damage a dildo?

Well, it turned out that there was a machine inside, and moving parts. Eventually things spin out of control. The mother had never thought about that. And there aren't any places where you can get it fixed when it stops working.
That, too, was mildly surprising.
White people were so wasteful!
Chinese people would still find a use for it even if it was broken.

"That's probably why she didn't just throw it out, huh?"

Instead of reacting, the woman happily speculated that sometimes when those things break, wheels inside go flying off violently, splintering the plastic from the inside, so that it looks kinda like a tiger penis! How awful that would be!
Shards, teeth, and sharp cutting edges!
Not at all what you hoped for when you switched it on!

The woman blamed herself for her daughter's unfortunate appetites, as the girl's father was a white man.
"You know, hairy, not like Chinese." I think she was implying that her child had inherited animalistic tendencies from the Caucasian parent, but I didn't press the matter, as I was beginning to suspect that there was more here than met the eye.
Wild animalistic tendencies? Hmmmmmm.

She was glad her daughter was herself married now - the young husband should never even suspect that her daughter had wrecked a vibrator.
But in any case the crazy girl didn't need it anymore, having gotten a large kwailo.
It was a secret mom would carry to her grave. Her lips were sealed.
No one would find out about it.

I wondered how many other people she had told about the busted appliance - judging from the older sister's face, she had already heard.
By the pained boredom evident in her expression, probably several times.
That's one secret which is well on its way to becoming a treasured part of family history.
Probably a sacred narrative by now.
Good thing the girl's husband is also white.
There are just some things you don't tell Caucasians.


A few days later both women took me out to lunch to thank me for my attentiveness to their father when he was still alive, and the help I gave them after he had passed on. I had already refused any recompense for my time, they had tried to force payment on me repeatedly out of a sense of obligation, recognizing that I had gone out of my way.
But I didn't need the money. The old gentleman had been a friend.

When lunch ended, one of them handed me a shopping bag, and said "here - I'm sure he would have wanted you to have this".
One doesn't examine gifts in the presence of the giver, so I just thanked her effusively. Too kind!
After they left I looked inside the bag.
It was a presentation box.

I few years later I got rid of the tiger penises. I wasn't going to use them, and I didn't want them hanging around my quarters. Those items were likely to scare visitors or give a completely wrong (i.e. 'nutsoid') impression to any young ladies who might possibly drop by.
Truth be told, they were rather creepy, and I felt guilty keeping the things.
So I gave them to a friend who was moving back to Massachusetts.
Last I heard, they were on display over his mantel.
I'm not surprised he's still a bachelor.
He's kind of perverted.


Two or three weeks from now there will be a post on this blog entitled "naked schoolgirls".
That being another search-criterium that pulls in strangers.
It will be entirely safe for work, despite the provocative, nay, zesty! subject.
Pervert taunting - it's what pure-minded young lads like myself excel at.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011


There are fruit trees behind the houses in my neighborhood. They are lovely when looking toward the building on the other side where the young people party, especially at this time of year. Little bright canary-yellow flecks among large dark green leaves, drupes of a warm golden hue.

The first time I saw a loquat tree was in Berkeley, as such things do not grow in the Netherlands.
My neighbors had loquat trees, and in the heat of July and August it was exceedingly pleasant to sit in the shade of their garden, admiring the glowing orbs above. The clustered leaves of the loquats shattered the strong sunlight and created a patch-shadowed hollow that seemed timeless till even late in the day.

That particular summer I spent a lot of afternoons next door.

Their daughter once mentioned a man she had known a few years earlier.
The two of them had gone out together often while he was at U.C. Berkeley, but even though they seemed to have much in common, she never let the situation go anywhere. She had not felt that he was right for her - he was a bit too old, and not even a graduate at that. If she waited for him to complete his degree her own life would have been put on hold. Yes, he was a handsome man. Interesting, intelligent and kind, too. But there was that age difference!
Surely there is more to a serious attachment than just enjoying similar books and movies, isn't there? One has to be able to plan a future together, a commonality of progression. Degree, career, house.... children, car, mortgage. Old-age eventually, roughly in synch. Besides, stability and values are too at odds with being a student. Especially, being a student again.
It makes sense to get your education over with first, before thinking of love.
Less complicated that way, don't you agree?
And certainly more suitable.

She blinked and looked away before continuing. Despite being older than me she looked startlingly young at that moment. All pink.

They had dated for over two years when she cut it off. She had felt that things were getting too close to what she called a "real" relationship. And she knew that that wasn't what she wanted, not with him. Or at least not with a man who had decided to finish his degree so late in life. He was already in his thirties!
She admitted that she had taken the cowardly way out. When he went to grad school in Southern California (because a lab that he associated with was down there), she had deliberately let their correspondence slide, hardly ever spoke to him on the phone, and then pointedly changed subjects and talked of things and people that he could not know about. As time passed, phone calls became more and more inconvenient, strained even.
A family crisis was the pretext for relinquishing all communication, although at the time she indicated that it might be only temporary.
It was permanent.
Precisely as she intended it to be.
She went out to dinner a few times with someone they both knew.
Word reached her "ex" in Southern California, and they never talked again.

That had been over six years ago. She herself had already graduated, and was working in her field at an office in Oakland. She wasn't happy with her job, advancement seemed like it was too slow or not happening at all, and the field she was in was, let's face it, neither very interesting nor very meaningful. She was seriously thinking of going back to school to get another degree. She could work part time for a consultancy and pay her own way.
She was, finally, wondering what to really do with herself.

I don't think she wanted to admit it, but the man she used to know was on her mind. He had his doctorate now, and had been snapped up by a company in New Hampshire. It was unlikely that he would ever come to the West Coast again.
Well, maybe for conferences.
But probably not to live. His field was sufficiently intriguing to him that location would not mean much.
Then was then, now was now.
It felt like there were more years than ever between them.

What she had done was the right thing, of that she was still sure.
She liked living in Berkeley, and could not imagine moving to the East-Coast, ever.
She shuddered as she speculated about seasons there - sharply differentiated weather patterns, freezing in winter, hot and humid in summer. So limiting!
Her parents had moved out West to get away from that.
They had relatives back East they hardly even knew.
It was a very different place.

As she was talking, a small fruit fly circled her head. Finally, shaking her blonde hair with irritation at the pesky insect, she snapped "what use are these trees, if you can't even eat the fruits?"

"Oh, but you CAN eat them."

"What?!? I thought they were just decorative!"

Her parents had bought the house many years after the previous owner had planted the trees. They had never asked what those things were, and she had not wondered either. They were just trees, surely those colourful things which were NOT plums or apples or apricots were only for pretty pretty, like the poisonous berries on the bushes at the far end?


The modern term in Chinese is 枇杷 (pei pa), which is probably a borrowing from an extinct Malayo-Polynesian language once spoken in Southern China (where the plant is native), long before the Han expansion. The characters are composed of two phonetic elements combined with the tree radical (木), and by themselves do not communicate anything. Only together do they have meaning.
Originally the fruit was called 蘆橘 (lou gwat). That, too, is a bi-syllabic construct, but each character does have its own significance: 'reed' plus 'orange'.
As fruit trees, loquats are unusual in that they flower in late autumn, produce fruit in early to mid-summer.
To eat them, one peels off the thin skin when the loquats are soft and ripe. What may look like rotten spots are often mere surface discolouration of which no trace remains in the flesh. They are sweet and aromatic, and can be used for lovely preserves.
Loquats are considered calming to the nerves, tonifying, and beneficial to the throat and lungs.
The seeds are large, comparatively speaking, and inedible.

[A well-known Chinese cough syrup (枇杷膏 'pei pa gou') contains loquats as a primary ingredient. It is described here: Some Cantonese opera performers use it to keep their throats healthy. It is available in every Chinatown, at both herbalists and regular stores. Along with 潘高壽 (pan ko sou: loquat and fritillary extract), you could do far worse for a tussive condition.]

Right now is when loquats are fully ripe in San Francisco. It is wise to harvest most of them soon - it's healthier for the plant to do so. And because they are sweet and fragrant, rats and birds will get at them if left too long on the branches. Plus fruitflies and ants.
Loquats are high in pectin - use the unblemished ones for jam, and the firmer specimens for little pastries.
Sweet warm fruit. There is no better season than the present.

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

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