Thursday, May 31, 2012


A discussion with a friend recently about raccoons in his neighborhood revealed that he is paranoid about those creatures. He swears that they wait underneath cars for him to come stumbling home drunk at night, whereupon (so they intend) they will leap out and steal his wallet, as well as that brown paper bag filled with crispy fish tacos he was planning to eat for breakfast.

So far they haven't succeeded, but it's only a matter of time.
One of these days he'll be drunk again.
Then they'll strike.


As a pre-emptive manoeuvre, he has been buying the loyalty of the feral neighborhood cats by putting out food for them during daylight hours, when there are no raccoons about. The cats have gratefully tucked in, and have become really fond him.
His loyal cat army, feline mercenaries.

Unfortunately raccoons wipe the floor with cats. He had not realized that.  One raccoon can whup any number of pussies single handedly. Single pawedly.  Paws.
There are several raccoons. Only three cats.
The cats don't even organize.
He's totally hosed.
His cat legions are no match for the furry savages.
He feels like a Roman emperor, whose borders are besieged by the barbarians.

Vandals! Goths! Persians!

"They're brutalizing my subjects!"

In his mind, it's all about civilization versus the savage Hunnish hordes.
The hordes are enslaving the cats. His cats! It's personal now!
That, and the fact that he's too scared to buy tacos.

I've told him to lock his doors and hide under the bed.
That's the only advice that I have.
I'm rooting for him.
Sort of.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Each man is different. All of them will have something peculiar to them alone. And everyone has different moods, tastes, interests, and peccadilloes.
I realized this while in the elevator today next to a gigantic woman who could probably toss me against the ceiling while kicking down a steel door.
She wore a wedding band.

Her husband is probably one of these three types:

1. Unnaturally short and weasely.
2. A big glandular freak.
3. Normal.

I've always preferred women who are shorter than me. The angle is just right, you see. You cannot admire a nice forehead and an intelligent face when you're looking up at her chin (or if her bosom is at eye level).
Part of it is the lazy man's approach to female appreciation, part of it is sheer practicality and aesthetics.
Intelligent women are so much more wonderful when they aren't threatening.


The ideal woman has a sense of humour, curiosity, and perspective. These three are key tools for getting through life and dealing with society, especially men.

Imagine, for instance, that a momentary lapse of all three of those faculties hitched her to an individual who lazes around the house on weekends in his raggies, watching sports and drinking beer.
Naturally, the logical thing to do is file for divorce.
The marriage was clearly a stroke of insanity; now it's time to move on.

However he might actually be a decent bloke with a keen interest in literature and philosophy, and not realize that his chosen method of relaxation is rather numbnuts. A good man, albeit 'misguided'.

The woman with a sense of humour, curiosity, and perspective will instinctively grasp that blasting him with a firehose is the best thing to do. Not only will it wake him up to alternative relaxational methodologies (and get him to change his clothes), it will counteract the deletorious effect of that six-pack, and distract him from the big heaving gorillas on screen, however briefly. Done often enough, it becomes Pavlovian in its power.
What will he do? Will he change his habits? Let us find out!
Full of scientific curiosity, she turns the water on full blast.
A noble experiment.

Worst case scenario: he takes off his wet clothes and mows the lawn.
Your neighbors needed a goodly dose of realism anyway.
He actually looks kinda splendid in the sun.
All throbbing muscles and sinew.
Except for the beergut.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must inform you that the scenario above is purely hypothetical, and not something of which I have any experience. It is wholly imaginary.
I am not married, I never watch sports, don't ponce around in raggies (nude, yes, raggies, no), seldom drink beer, and I frequently change my clothes, even on the weekend.
Neither a lawn nor a firehose are among my possessions.
I am unthrobbing, and ungutted.

Other than the three characteristics mentioned above, the ideal woman is kindhearted, and courteous toward strangers.  Gallant, and sincerely considerate of other people.
A woman of valour, whose worth is beyond rubies.

Exceptionally rare, too.


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It really isn’t a very big deal, and I should not let it form wrinkles on the spotless tablecloth of my mind.
But it bothers me. My Asperger syndrome tendencies just re-awoke, big time.


One of our major customers electronically transmitted a series of orders to be delivered to a location in Shenzhen.
They mis-spelled the address.
There is no such location as “Shenhan Dong”.

Shenhan? Dong?  Dong?!?

It’s not like the actual building is easily overlooked, though. And to architects it is probably quite well-known.
This is one of the tallest skyscrapers (摩天大樓) in China. Second tallest in Shenzhen. You’d think they would get the address of so impressive and imposing a structure right.

深圳市 羅湖區 深南東路 5002號 信興廣場 ‘xx’ 樓 (深圳市 罗湖区 深南东路 5002号 信兴广场 ‘xx’ 楼).
[Cantonese pronunciation: sam jan si, lo wu keui, sam naam tung lo, 5002 ho, sun hing gwong cheung, 'xx' lau.]

Dudes, the correct spelling of the street is NO secret.
Please consult Wikipedia.

Shun Hing Commercial Centre, no. 5002 Shen Nan East Road, Luohu District, Shenzhen City.

深圳 sam jan (shen zhen): deep ditch.  市 si (shi): city.  羅湖 lo wu (luo hu): gossamer lake.  區 keui (qu): district.  深南 sam naam (shen nan): deep south.  東 tung (dong): east.  路 lo (lu): road.  號 ho (hao): number.  信興 sun hing (xin xing): trust flourishing.  廣場 kwong cheung (guang chang): square, plaza, commercial centre.  樓 lau (lou): floor, etage, storey; a multi-storeyed building.

It's also called the 地王大廈 (Mandarin: di wang dai xia; Cantonese: dei wong taai haa), in case you were curious.  Hence the name it is otherwise known as: 'Di Wang Commercial Centre'.
Of course the address remains the same.
Please get it right!


摩天大樓 (skyscraper) literally means a "scrape the skies big building".
摩 mo: rub, scrape, scour.
天 tin: skies, heaven; celestial.
大 taai: big, huge, very very large.
樓 lau: a multistoried building, but not always - sometimes it's a single storied commercial enterprise grandly named. Such as, for instance, a dim sum restaurant (茶樓 chaa lau).

Shenhan dong. Good lord.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Momentary panic when I realized that there were indeed two people waiting outside.
I blame my lack of foresight. I should have known. Often there are at least two of them, one at either end of the block. Sometimes more than two.
See, the lack of foresight applies to the money in my wallet.
Only ONE single!
Normally I have at least six or seven singles, just in case.

I gave the solitary single to the likeable dude with the missing teeth waiting at the near corner. He’s a very gentle person, and always looks somewhat baffled and hurt. Like many of our street people, he’s not quite ready for prime time.
No, I don’t know his story. But it’s fairly obvious that life hasn’t been working out particularly well for him. He keeps himself clean, and probably gets housing assistance or lives with a roommate in a fleabag hotel room.
I never buy the street sheet he sells, just give him a buck whenever I see him and say hello.

The other guy was across the street from the smoker’s wall. When I got there I asked some of the others if they could break a twenty. During the entire time I was there enjoying my pipe, I could see him standing helplessly on the opposite sidewalk, shyly offering his newspapers to the passing lunch crowd. No one stopped.
Perhaps they’ve already seen the latest edition of the street sheet?
That would certainly explain why they weren’t buying a copy.

I have this little routine when I’ve finished the mid-day pipe. After cleaning the briar, I twist the used pipe-cleaners into a little spiky octopus shape. Then I go across the street, give the street-sheet man a dollar, and dump the octopus into the grating between the parked motorbikes. 
There's a five year deposit down there already.
It will be years before that drain is filled.
In the meantime, one dollar a day.

Later on the legless fellow with the equitable temperament will be outside, tincupping the rushing office-workers on their way home. Perhaps the tall thin gentleman with the beautiful smile and warm eyes will be on the other side of the street.
That’s two more dollars.

I haven’t seen Elmo in a while. He always tells everybody it’s his seventieth birthday.
He’s probably been doing that for years now. He looks much older than that.
I hope the old coot is okay, he looks kind of bony and fragile.

There's also a small bent woman on Sansome Street near the Starbucks.
I see her there two or three mornings on my way in. Remarkably, I've never noticed the customers of that coffee joint give her any money.
I have to wonder if they even leave any tips when they pick up their grande frappudrinkies.
Maybe the six-dollars it costs for their daily caffeine is all they can afford.
Oh, and their dry-cleaning. But that's a business expense!

A long time ago I saw someone else also give her money.
That person was not drinking designer coffee.
Which may be a significant datum.

Yes, I guess I encourage the sparechangers in the financial district.
Some of them need all the encouragement they can get.
San Francisco is not gentle for the down and out.

That’s why there’s always a line at Glide.

A long, lean, hungry line.

If you’re not super-enthused about giving money to random strangers in public, despite their extremely low overhead and very negligible operating costs, perhaps you could donate a little bit to a worthy cause?

To donate by mail, please make your checks payable to GLIDE and send to:

Development Office
330 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

For donations by phone, please call the Development Office with your credit card info.

Phone: 415-674-6070

You can read more about Glide Memorial Church here:
I think you'll agree that it's a good place.
That's just a suggestion.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Monday, May 28, 2012


Three day holidays are made for wandering around the downtown.
I’m enjoying the peace and quiet, the sense of not having to interact, and the just general restfulness of a city that’s almost deserted while everyone has gone to the beach or the mountains.
Now if only the tourists would leave, everything would be perfect.
Nobody but us old geezers wandering peacefully through a dream-state, with our various smoking equipments, and beatific attitudes, and kindly glinting eyes, enjoying the silence and the nicotine.

Occasionally savouring a bowl of rice porridge or noodle soup.

So far it's been a very good day. Everyone understood every word I said. You might not think that remarkable, but considering that from Stockton and Clay till I got to the office I did not use a word of English, I'm feeling pretty chuffed about that.
The quest for snackiepoos. 叉燒酥. Looking over a rack of books. Another cup of coffee.  豆沙餅. Discussion about sharkfin and deer antler fuzz. 
A query about a particular word - I know the meaning, but how is it pronounced?
Ah, so!

A full bowl of aged Red Virginia Flake in a favourite pipe, darkened and shiny from much handling. Ghostly whisps of ancient fragrance trailing down deserted streets, finishing with a final ethereal trace of sweetness ere crossing California.  There's nothing left but fine white ash.
Now for a nice cup of tea, and a spot of reading.
Three day holidays are for the internet.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012


Women often complain that we men don't listen. If only they knew.
We actually hear far too much at times, and it disturbs us.
Such as when women talk about men. In public.
Among their girlfriends. In a bar.


I was at a drinking establishment the other day smoking my pipe and quietly keeping to myself, near a posse of talkative office-women.  Heels, cleavages, beer and martinis, plus expensive handbags.  Now I finally know what the ladies of downtown San Francisco want in a man.
The ideal man is silent, ever attentive, and has no personality; he does not have opinions that have not been vetted.
And he must spend way more time and money on the woman in his life than absolutely anything else, including his own clothing, sustenance, hobbies, health, and housing. No, not more than any one of those things. More than ALL of those things.
A man who fails at this basic requirement is a loser that no self-respecting downtown office female should hang around with.

Needless to say I disagreed with everything they said. But I wisely kept my mouth shut, as voicing an opinion when so dangerously outnumbered would not have been a good idea, and the 'lively' (i.e. vitriolic) debate that would have resulted from me opening my mouth would have necessitated associating for longer than necessary with these ladies of good breeding, excellent business school backgrounds, and very reasonable expectations.

I do not wish to associate with such.

Or their very reasonable expectations.

They are merely tourists in my world.

They were right about one thing, however. Men always think of sex.

Which is remarkable, given what a loaded and unpleasant subject it is, and what horrible consequences ensue should a man actually engage upon an act of a sexual nature with a person of the opposite gender, or even do so in the company of same. In fact, if a man ever finds a woman who is nice to be with, and a great conversational partner, just an all-round splendid and loveable person, he would be well-advised to never ever even consider having sex with her, as it might ruin everything. Far better for both of them if there is no suspicion of anything sexual about the relationship.
If he strenuously avoids thinking about it, everything is cool.

Women and sex don't ever mix. 

I wish they did, but I'm a realist.

Women never think about sex.  It's a fact.  They can't.  The closest they come is handbags.  Even the idea that a woman might enjoy sex is absurd. They just aren't built that way. Instead of thinking about sex, please think about handbags. Many women do.
The handbag is the perfect accessory. Capacious, elegant, comforting.
It will hold everything an office lady could ever possibly need.
Credit cards. Extra jewelry. Far too much make-up.
Cell-phone. Breath-freshener. Car keys.

As well as another handbag.

Mama bag, baby bag.

Nuclear family.

After they left, I could not keep handbags out of my head. Could not, in fact, stop thinking about their conversation. Normally my mind does not dwell on handbags, or any other purse-like things, and very little occupies my thoughts other than my typical masculine obsession with sex. Why, I think about sex two hundred percent of the time, even when I'm asleep.  I've got a very hetero feel for sex.

[Delicate mounds, rosy aureolas, and delightful nipples, oh yes.  The silken skin of the underpart, the gentle swell of the belly around the wine cup of the navel, the tight triangle of cotton, and the sensitive zones from pit of knee to small of back. Silks, velvets, and downy bits. Mustelids. Lovely toesies and soft warm hands. Smiles and sparkling eyes. Napping.
Holding hands, discrete kisses, affectionate glances, or rubbing noses.
Such things almost always drive any consideration of handbags out of my mind.]

I'm unusual in that regard, as most men also think about baseball, football, and beer, but honestly speaking, there is not a single organized sport that appeals to me.
I'm far too happy thinking about sex. Or handbags. Mostly sex.

Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex!

I spend so much time thinking about sex that I really cannot be bothered with the company of the typical financial district woman, or her cousins who shop at malls and watch the real housewives shows on television. Their variegated and profound conversations, much like discussing baseball or football, would distract me from my pure obsession with sex.

It's an intellectual conceit.

Probably not as good as handbags.


This blogger actually knows a few women who are great company. Very real women, with keen insights, who make no demands other than reasonable and thoughtful conversation. If that also yields wit, eloquence, and good cheer with a modicum of whisky (and tobacco or caffeine), so much the better.
Women of character. They seldom, if ever, mention handbags.
I hope their menfolk realize how lucky they are.

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Saturday, May 26, 2012


The other day during lunch I was reading something on Wikipedia, when I noticed a clickable link that looked fascinating.
You may have noticed from previous entries here that I have an affection for small animals, right?
So you will readily understand why a link entitled 香港哺乳動物 automatically pulled me in.

[香港哺乳動物 Heung Kong po-yu dung-mat: "Fragrant Harbour Nipple-feeding critters"; mammals of Hong Kong.]

Okay then. Nipple feeding. I too am in origin a nipple-feeder. And of course, so are you - assuming that you aren't some creepy space-alien reading this blog on a tentacle-held portable module.
Nipples.  Nice.

Nipple-feeding. It's instinctive.
It explains our affinity for breasts, probably also why I like small animals.

The article first informed me that there's a large number of different kinds of bats in Hong Kong.

[翼手目 yik sau muk: 'wingspan-handed category':  棕果蝠 (jung gwo fuk: palm fruitbat),  短吻果蝠 (duen man gwo fuk: short-snouted fruitbat),  褐山蝠 (hot saan fuk: grey hill bat),  東亞家蝠 (dung ngaa gaa fuk: East-Asian family bat),  灰伏翼 (fui fuk fuk: ashy crouching bat),  扁顱蝠 (pin lo fuk: flat skull bat),  褐扁顱蝠 (grey tablet bat),  中黃蝠 (jung wong fuk: central yellow bat),  長翼蝠 (cheung yik fuk: long winged bat),  大長翼蝠(daai cheung yik fuk: greater long winged bat),  南長翼蝠(naam cheung yik fuk: southern long winged bat),  中華鼠耳蝠 (jung wa syu yi fuk: the Chinese mouse-eared bat),  大足鼠耳蝠 (daai juk syu yi fuk: the big foot mouse-eared bat),  毛腿鼠耳蝠 (mou teui syu yi fuk: the furry-thighed mouse-eared bat),  霍氏鼠耳蝠 (fok si syu yi fuk: Horsefield's mouse-eared bat),  喜山鼠耳蝠 (hei saan syu yi fuk: happy mountain mouse-eared bat),  水鼠耳蝠 (sui syu yi fuk: water mouse-eared bat),  小蹄蝠 (siu tai fuk: lesser horseshoe-nosed bat),  大蹄蝠 (daai tai fuk: greater horseshoe-nosed bat),  小菊頭蝠 (siu kuk tau fuk: little chrysanthemum-headed bat),  中菊頭蝠 (jung kuk tau fuk: medium chrysanthemum-headed bat),  魯氏菊頭蝠 (lo si kuk tau fuk: Roux's horseshoe-nosed bat),  黑鬚墓蝠 (hak so mou fuk: dark-whiskered tomb bat),  皺唇犬吻蝠 (jau seun huen man fuk: the wrinkle-lipped dog-snout bat).]

I didn't know there were that many bats there. Far more than we have.
Naturally I feel jealous. Why should they have so many bats?
But we're semi-arid, whereas they are warm and wet.
Warm and wet is very important.
Bats think so too.

Among their other animals are the Andaman rat (印支林鼠 yan-ji-lam syu), the bandicoot (大板齒鼠 daai paan chi syu: 'great plank-toothed rat'), and the South-East Asian porcupine (馬來豪豬 ma-lai hou chyu: 'Malaysian hero pig').


But what really caught my eye was the yellow-bellied weasel (黃腹鼬 wong fuk yau).

It's a weasel with soft creamy yellow stomach fur, distant relative of the badger and the otter. Weasels have been horribly maligned in Wind In The Willows.
They're actually extremely likeable creatures.
Cute, fierce, wriggly, and playful.

Yes yes, granted that they're carnivores. Which means that many other excruciatingly cute beasties are their natural prey. Including peace-loving vegetarians and adorable baby chicks. But if it weren't for weasels - joyful, warm, wriggly meat eaters - we'd be awash with desperate bunny rabbits, angry little birdies, mice, rats, chipmunks, and chihuahuas.
Our planet would be overwhelmed.
Nobody likes chihuahuas.

Wouldn't you rather have a weasel?

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Friday, May 25, 2012


Apparently we have a three day weekend. I had assumed that our office would be open on Monday, despite the banks being closed for the holiday, but I've been informed otherwise.
This presents a problem: what am I going to do?

In the past it would have so easy. At least one full day of snacking, dozing, and nibbling.
Dinner at a restaurant, and perhaps even a trip out of town.
But I do not have anyone with whom to do this now.

One of my friends will be heading down to Monterrey with his new blonde squeezieboo, where the two of them will be doing exactly that.
Snacking, dozing, nibbling, and eating at restaurants.
In between visiting an aquarium to look at fish.
And spending all day out in the sun.

It sounds utterly wonderful.
I hope they have a good time.

I shall probably look for something new to eat in Chinatown for lunch, then wander down to the office smoking my pipe, to browse the internet till evening, reading and drinking tea.
There are no flowers in my life, and there is nothing to smell.

If I were a raccoon, it would be quite different. Yes, raccoons also smoke pipes and drink tea. Don't argue. They do. It's a fact.
Then at night they head over to the dead end street on Russian Hill, where they sit on the wall overlooking the bay, the lights of the city spread out below them, and gaze out at the lovely view, while holding furry paws.
Or perhaps having a delicious fish dinner.

The great advantage of being covered with fur is sheer huggability. That, of course, is why everyone loves raccoons. Even when they reek of pipe-tobacco. As is often the case.
"Oh, that's just the way animals smell, don't mind that!"
Pet, pet, pet. Pet, pet, pet.
"And just look at those soulful eyes, so very very loveable!"
Even more pet, pet, pet.
Pet, pet, pet.

Nobody has ever said that I looked loveable while I smoked my pipe in a thoughtful manner or cleverly lifted a forkful of fish to my mouth.
I do think I'm actually quite presentable at those times.
Exactly the type of person you'd want to be with.
But unfortunately I lack fur and a fuzzy tail.
As you know, that detracts immensely.

Non-furry pipe-smokers just aren't very popular. We rarely figure in illustrated children's books, Narnia, or animated films, despite my soulful eyes.

Betcha my friend and his blonde companion will look at whatever is housed at the aquarium in Monterrey and think "I wonder how it tastes". A veritable smorgasbord of fabulous fresh seafood options. Just crack the tank.
Shark steak. Orange Roughy Parmesan. Crispy Fried Fish Sandwich.
Calamares Fritos. Sand Dabs Alfredo. Étouffée.
Ragoût de fruits de mer.

The closest I'll come to that is observing the wriggling fishy things, fresh shrimp, and live lobsters in tanks at stores along Stockton Street.
Then heading over to office to read all about food online.
Oysters Rockefeller, Mussels a la Mariniere.
Fried squidlibits with zesty dip.
Crevettes en rémoulade.

A pity I can't smoke my pipe indoors anymore.
One has to go outside to light up nowadays.
Evening winds are always cold downtown.
That's why fur would come in handy.
And, conceivably, inspire hugs.

"Just look at those soulful eyes! He clearly wants some seafood!"

Pet, pet, pet.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012


Sometimes a song sticks in your head like a dried brown smear on the sidewalk, becoming "fragrant" once more after rain, when you had long forgotten it. One such melody is Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech, which everyone remembers from that movie about the battle at Roarke's Drift.
Famously, it is also played for graduation at the Defence Services Academy in Maymyo ("Pyin U Lwin").
I've been hearing it all day. Broken record.

Customer calls to complain about their invoice - pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.
I'm on hold waiting for a delinquent customer to remember where they hid the laptop on which they installed Quicken - pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.
Workmen drill through the outer wall - pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.
Washing hands - pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.
Interspersed with Zulu warchants.

Pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.

It was playing in my mind's ear as I got off the bus this morning, when I saw one of the two most beautiful women I have seen today. More beautiful than many other women who have passed my eyes all week.
Beautiful, because she was crying.
Please understand that it is not tears that made her beautiful, but the fact that her face was alive, and consequently entrancing.  Her anguished weeping made me want to reach out and pat her on the shoulder reassuringly, but one cannot just touch unhappy strangers, no matter how much one wants to.
Darn it, there's that tune again.

Pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.

The other most beautiful woman passed along while I was smoking a pipe at the wall around noon-time. That song was playing in my head, so I was not paying attention to the conversation of the other tobacco fiends.
Pum pum pum ......
In consequence of which, I alone noticed the happy woman with a smile on her face running down the street. Like the sad woman several hours previously, she was on her cell-phone.
I'm guessing that both women had been talking to the man in their lives.
This morning he was a thorough bastard, a real cad.
But the one later must have been an absolute doll.
His girlfriend was thrilled to meet him for lunch.
She's a gorgeous woman.

I cannot remember anything about her except the radiant smile, and the warm warm eyes.
Couldn't tell you what she was wearing, or how tall she is.
Her build and body type did not register.

There's something about faces that are alive that makes them enchanting.
Intelligence, mental engagement, emotional vibrancy.
It's far better than make-up.

Pum, pum pum pum, pum pum pum pum.

There's that song again.
It's stirring.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


There are some things you should never talk about near four year olds.
Sex is just one of them.

No, I do not make a habit of randy discussions around the young.
I blame a friend for this particular incident.

He was discussing his urgent need for "medicine", that being in his mind a BIG root beer float made with Mug rootbeer and Haagen Dasz Vanilla. 
Not just any damned ice cream, but the good stuff.


"It's probably better than sex!"

Of course I agreed.  Mug and Haagen Dasz are within reach.
Sex isn't. There hasn't been any for far too long.
A rootbeer float on the other hand.....
It's quite attainable.

Unfortunately little kids listen to everything.
He has a darling little daughter.
With a pink bunny.

She was showing me the bunny when the 'S' word got mentioned.
It's a very likeable rabbit, all fluffy.
With a smile.

"What's SEX??????"

Urrm, it's a softdrink, sweetheart.


It's....  new. They're featuring it on American Idol.
[As well as History, and the Playboy channel.]

"Have you ever had any?"

How do YOU answer an adorable child when she asks you THAT question?

"No, but I've seen it advertised!"

Change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject, change subject!!!


Hope against hope that she doesn't remember that word.

Lord knows I can't.

Sex.  It's bubbly and crisp.

Perfect with rootbeer and ice cream.

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A recent reader left a comment underneath a post expressing his or her ire with something I had written. The post in question was about Sharkfin soup.
In it I presented two delicious recipes as a response to previous disapproving comments.
For the record, I am not vested in sharkfin soup, although I do consider it a remarkable culinary praestation, and have always enjoyed sharkfin when it has been prepared well. Turning part of an exceptionally nasty creature into a delicious dish must count as a historic achievement, on par with inventing paper, discovering tea, or developing silk.
Certainly far greater than napalm, the extinction of the dodo and several indigenous populations, or boob-implants.

Again, not vested in sharkfin.
But the racist venom and sheer hatred that the opponents of sharkfin spew rather encourages me to eat it more often.
Did I mention that it is delicious?
Well worth the price!

[See here for instructions on making sharkfin ready for the table: shark fin no. 1.   Plus these posts for other ramblings about the subject: shark fin no. 2shark fin no. 3shark fin no. 4shark fin no. 5,  and shark fin no. 6.
As you can see, my thoughts regarding shark fin are still evolving, thanks to everyone's input on the subject.]

Honestly, how can anyone think that either bigotry or obscenity are rhetorical strategies that will sway their opponents?
Filthy and insulting comments certainly have quite the opposite effect on me.
And typical whitey-white rudeness will absolutely NOT win-over the targets of your ire.

Who, by the way, shouldn't be the Chinese, but the Spanish, Norwegians, English, French, Portuguese, and Italians, as well as the fishing fleets of most Latin American countries. Those being the major suppliers who engage in finning and discarding.
Blame industrial sea-harvesting practises, greed, and the lack of restrictions on shark slaughter in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

And as far as that offensive tone of racialist cultural superiority that permeates the discourse is concerned, do please bear in mind that it was not the Chinese who enslaved millions of Africans, raped the entire third-world, spent several centuries waging brutal wars all over Europe, massively traded drugs during the imperial age, despoiled their colonies, ripped aboriginal children from their mother's breasts, industrialized murder, and efficiently institutionalized cross-border sex-tourism involving minors.

Personally, I have as little use for sharks as I do for self-righteous do-gooders who insist on lecturing the rest of the world.
The key difference is that the sharks undoubtedly smell much better.
Sharkfin need not always be done in soup, by the way.
There are many other ways to enjoy sharkfin.
Stewed sharkfin is also delicious.
So is braised sharkfin.


Lastly, larding your commentary with the "F" word does no more than prove you illiterate.
I doubt that it is meant invitationally, and if you are the type who eschews certain foods based on your own sneering wasp superiority complex or your blinkered fears of the unknown, even if it were a completely sincere offer of sexual congress I would have to turn it down.
I do not engage in lusty escapades with people with whom I can neither dine nor converse, especially if their company would prove burdensome.
Yes, I do realize that lowering my standards would mean a quantitative improvement in my love life – from non-existent to at least some action – but I do not see any point in doing so.
Just because one can't have steak doesn't mean that one should eat cat food.

An acquaintance recommended emigrating to Kentucky because, he averred, the place is filled with “gorgeous young women”, many of whom are “six foot tall and blonde”. That the vast majority of them are dumb as bricks and ignorant besides (his words) would be a small price to pay for all the fun.
I have rejected his suggestion, and I shall not move to Kentucky.
There’s plenty of garbage in San Francisco too.
We do not lack for shallowness.

I restrain myself.

I'll have sharkfin soup instead.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today’s lunch special at the Spring Green General Store and Café somewhere in deepest Wisconsin is chicken korma.
That’s the kind of thing that makes me want to go there.

Tomorrow’s special is Pad Thai salad – no, not quite as exciting – but on Thursday it will be soft polenta with shiitake cream.

Still, korma. Sounds good.


Indian or Indonesian? Afghani?

The term 'korma' derives from a Turkic word that meant to seethe in its own fat, as would be done to goat. Once the meat had been browned, the grease would be extended by the addition of ground up nuts, spices, and yoghurt or cream. Nowadays, Indian restaurant korma is often chicken or lamb in a rich creamy gravy, only mildly spiced.

The Sumatran versions usually rely on kemiri nuts and coconut milk for the sauce, with the addition of the darkly fragrant spices (including both kinds of cardamom), and will have a couple of split green chilipeppers floating in the dish for a bit of extra zing.

Indian versions may use turmeric as one of the spices, but that is something that only a Javanese or Malay cook would do in Indonesia. Turmeric in korma just doesn’t seem quite right. That’s what gulai and kalio are for.

For a really tasty sauce, also add lightly toasted shredded coconut, smoothly ground. And then sprinkle it generously with serundeng before serving.

Plain rice is recommended, but for festive occasions a pilaw is suitable.
Not nasi kebuli, however – too much of a good thing, in that you already have one goat lamb dish on the table.

Judging by the menu at the Spring Green General Store and Café, they eat well in Wisconsin

Korma is also made in Sulu, by the way. The Tausug spice mixture is largely ground toasted coconut.

Coriander, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, star anise, clove......
Garlic, ginger, lemon grass……
Green chilies……

Or chicken.

Spring Green Café
137 South Albany Street, Spring Green, WI 53588

Dang, hungry again!
And I just ate, too!

In other developments, earlier at the elevator:
“Going up?”
Hippity hoppity hippity hop.
“Gotta catch these things when they land!”
Discomfiture on both sides.
Me because of the middle-aged office worker's fairy-like hippity-hopping, her due to my having made a comment that nergens op sloeg.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Monday, May 21, 2012


Mere moments ago a young person called me at work to inform me of a commercial opportunity. Which, given the time of day, and considering that she necessarily had to slog through our phone tree to get to my extension, is amazing.

It is a sign of her budding commercial acumen.
Nay, even perspicacity and perseverance.
I can only applaud her enterprise.

"Hi, I'm selling b*t  h*le!!!"


I would have liked to have asked her leading questions about the merchandise, but she hung up immediately after her announcement. Which is understandable, as telephone advertisements require reaching out to a huge number of people in a short period of time.
The more, the merrier.
Phone sales do not touch as many people as television advertising, and she no doubt had a long list of numbers to call before she could retire for the night.  Thousands of potential customers.

Bravo, the precious young capitalist!

Thank heavens I have caller id!

I wrote down the number.

Before picking up.

Out of habit.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Sunday, May 20, 2012


One of my friends has analysed my love life (det vil sige [i.e.], a "complete lack" thereof) and concluded that what is missing is a woman who is nuts.  Though it was obvious that he meant "stark raving bonkers", the diplomatic expression he utilized was "a certain enthusiastic dementia".

He based his conclusion on my reading habits.

Which do not include anything about sports, romance, flashy jewelry, bridal gowns, handbags, or Las Vegas.  Nor vampyres.

A person's bookshelves speak volumes about their character.
Just looking across the room, what I see includes the following:

Two Sons of Heaven (about a period when the empire was divided).
Sanskrit Poetry, translated by D.H.H. Ingalls.
Understanding Witchcraft and Sorcery in Southeast Asia.
Rubber (a novel set in the East Indies, by M. H. Szekely-Lulofs).
Waltzing With a Dictator (about Ferdinand Marcos)
Vietnamese-English Dictionary.
Faded Portraits, by Breton De Nijs.
Maroon Arts.
The Assassination of Lumumba.
Parables in Midrash.
The Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table.
The Black Jacobins.
The Road to Khartoum.
Picture This, by Joseph Heller.
Stemmen In Steen - de ontcijfering der oude schriften.
Twerski on Chumash.
Born to Kvetch.
Seung Gu Hon-yu Tzi-din.
Mensen Die Ik Gekend Heb, by Fabricius the elder.
And so on, und so weitereres....

There is no unifying theme.
A multitude of subjects, fact and fiction, history and biography, poetry and prose.

I cannot agree with his assessment. A woman who keenly appreciates a variety of reading material is not strange.  Unusual, yes, even a rarity.  Someone much to be treasured.
Among the shallow and superficial majority in today's San Francisco likely a lusus naturae.
Albeit in a very good way. 
I aver that rather than illustrating tastes in reading like a blast of buckshot, as he asserts, and probable baffling and boring conversational interludes, the diverse sampling instead indicates one thing with certainty.

Only one thing.  Nothing else. One key fact.

I do not have enough bookshelves.

This is conclusively PROVEN by the fact that the Shekwan stoneware figurine of a fat bald degenerate is NOT in a place of honour, but instead is partially obscured by the Collected Shortstories of O'Henry and The Religion of Java, at mid-level, and facing a five volume set of Rashi.
Which is next to the Astadhyayi of Panini, and several novels set in the Middle-Ages.
Obese, shiny-pated. With an off-white crackle-glaze garment.
Dumpy pervert wearing a bathrobe.

Not enough bookshelves.

There's also a dried lemon carved into a howling face staring at me from that general area.  One of my many attempts at miniature Halloween decor. 
Please imagine The Scream by Edvard Munch, as a shrunken head.
In the medium of dessicated citrus.
It still smells good.

My library is crowded, but fragrant.

The fat bald degenerate from Shekwan thinks so too.

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

Saturday, May 19, 2012


There was a peculiar smell in the elevator, just before eight o'clock. Some of the Indian engineers several floors below must have sent out for dinner. Indians, as you know, eat some mighty strange things.

Such as vegetarian pizza. Which does have broccoli, but does not have anchovies.
That, at least, is what I think they had.

It surely must be horrible to be an Indian engineer in San Francisco's financial district on a weekend. Other than strange delivery pizza, there's the Golden Arches. No real tiffin to be had.

I hope for their sake that they have a bottle of hot sauce and a jar of good pickle squirreled away somewhere in their cubicles for that cheese pie. They needn't worry about shocking the gora-log with the culinary depravity of achaar and lal-mirchwalli condiments - for one thing, it was crazy white folks who invented vegetarian pizza with broccoli florets, for another thing, modern Wasps tend not to be employed in such difficult fields as engineering and hardly ever any more even in something as intellectually challenging as pizza-making either.

Pizza: it's the culinary equivalent of mathematics.

Actually, I too have little to do with both of those fields these days.
Years ago I made a living as a draughtsman, and I used to enjoy making my own pizza.
Back when, I was accustomed to preparing a lot of basic building blocks for subsequent zesty culinary experiments, and when the ripened tomatoes were plump and sweet, a pizza dough was easily made and set aside to rise. 
Do something else that requires attention for a while, then once the dough is right, flatten it out, stretch it, dress the top, and shove it in the oven.
Some of the lovely tomatoes will have been pulped in the blender for the pizza, the rest are being simmered down to a nice thick goo, with the merest pinch of cinnamon and ginger.
Once cool, it will be apportioned among the ice cube trays so that whenever I want I can add a rubicund touch to a stew or curry.

For the same reason, there was browned bone stock in the refrigerator, condensed to the stage that it resembled marmite. A little bit added meant a lot of flavour.
Home-made yellow curry paste, sambals and chili pastes, even a peppy coconut broth.
Plus various condiments and spicy oil-based pickles.
Home-made hotsauces, nimbu achaar.

The contents of the refrigerator are rather more boring nowadays.

I seldom eat at home anymore.


加少少陳皮, 白果, 及腐竹伴煮
Gaa siu siu chan pei, baak gwo, gap fu juk pun jyu
["Add a little dried tangerine peel, ginko nu, and dried tofu skin to cook along with it!"]

I've got the time to cook, I've got a place where I can do it without distressing anyone.
It's a comfortable apartment in a quiet building. And I enjoy spending time in the kitchen.

Many dishes take too much time to make and so do soups and sauces, when you are by yourself. Good cooking is based on judicious additions, layering flavours, pre-prepping ingredients, and attention plus inspiration. Planning, and work done ahead of time may reduce the actual process to one of assembly at high speed, over high heat.

All of this is rather pointless when one is the only person to eat the results.

My roommate is primarily a breakfast person, my appetite doesn't wake up till long past dawn at the very earliest; our eating habits have changed considerably these past few years, we seldom eat together.
Gustatorily we have grown far apart.

A kitchen absolutely demands company, there must be someone else taking an interest in the food to make it all worthwhile.
Curiosity, conversation, feedback, and happy reactions.
Decent food requires another person who must also be satisfied.
It will keep your experimentation from being all unbalanced and berserk.

I can tell you from personal experience that jalapeño peppers sometimes are a marvelous salad vegetable, as are crisp bacon and dill pickles, but Louisiana hotsauce is NOT a fit substitute for vinegar when making a dressing to go along with it, no matter how zippy you like your food. And anchovies, while totally divine, are not suitable layered on toast. Even if frazzled in butter. With chilies. And garlic. With some sliced tomato on top.
That particular composition would have made a good after-dinner savoury.
It just wasn't advisable in any way for main course.
Though it was easy and quick to make.
It seemed a good idea.
At the time.

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

Friday, May 18, 2012


I suspect that tomorrow the badger will be eating jook in C’town again. Probably fish slice jook, with a fried dough stick. Ideally, that would be followed by a chilled Vietnamese coffee, but unfortunately the places that have both jook and fried dough sticks do not offer that.
Mmm, nice cold and milky! With ice!

Starbucks is not a substitute, nor a rational alternative.
And this is NOT because there is a policy barring pipe-smoking badgers from entry – they have a sign that informs the unwary that they are a non-smoking badger environment – but because froofy coffee drinks made by slackers for slackers are both unpleasant in taste and immensely fattening.
I cannot remember the exact figure, but I think I read somewhere that the average frappoo contains about ten million calories, maybe more, which would account for the fabulous jelly rolls of so many hip and with-it folks in the general vicinity of ‘Bucks.

Gotta keep your energy up, so have another frappoo.
It’s your fifth one today. But who’s counting?
The barrista finally knows what you like.

Frappoo – the perfect cap to a delicious lunch of salad with zero-fat dressing.
Pipe-smoking badgers do not eat crap like that.
And will not drink frappoo.

I don’t think we have even one salad bar in all of Chinatown.
That explains why so many of the tourists look ravenous.
There’s nothing to eat!

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Thursday, May 17, 2012


There’s a direct correlation between porches and raccoon populations.
I am convinced of this. The reason being that anyone enjoying a nice bit of sunlight out on their back porch would naturally put out some snacks for the local wildlife, especially personable creatures such as raccoons.
Raccoons are far more likeable than marmots, chipmunks, squirrels, and possums.
The proof of my contention is the Deep South.
It’s totally filled with porches.
Tons! of raccoons.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

All of this came to me because I purchased a Vietnamese sandwich for lunch. And nothing approaches perfection more than a Vietnamese drip-coffee over ice afterwards.

[Bánh mì thịt nguội. I would have liked a Bánh mì xíu mại, or a bánh mì kẹp thịt ga. But those weren't an option. Nor was the coffee.]

You have to wait for the coffee to finish dripping through the filter device, which may take a while. Which is why they aren't suitable for early mornings, when you need that cup of jazz immediately, and want it warm in any case. But from around ten o'clock onwards till early evening, it is ideal.
Savouring the sandwich fills the dripping time.

And what better with a nice cold glass of coffee - condensed milk - ice cubes, than a pipefull of tobacco?

Except that this is San Francisco, and you have to smoke outside.

Which requires a porch.

I'm fairly certain raccoons would also appreciate Vietnamese drip-coffee. And unlike marmots, chipmunks, squirrels, and possums, raccoons are thoughtful creatures, who will take time to enjoy their food and drink.
Those other creatures simply scarf things down in a state of nervous tension, which causes acid indigestion and high-blood pressure. No wonder they're miserable and flighty. Their little tummies are upset, and they twitch.
There's no way they would be good company while I'm smoking a pipe.
Raccoons also have hands. Ergo they are much neater.
No mess, no crumbs, no spilled coffee.

Besides, I would rather not imagine a squirrel (or a marmot, or a chipmunk) wired on caffeine. Panic, tantrums, and jumping up and down. Immediately followed by smashing the glass and maniacal screaming. Or evil titters.
Inevitably, the cops would be called because the little bastard was creating a public disturbance and upsetting the neighbors. "Evil man, getting the furballs all wired to the tits - I told you he would lower property values by moving in!" Huh!
Whereas the raccoon might even want a smoke to go along with his or her beverage.
Perhaps a small cigarillo. No problem.

See? Raccoons, tobacco, and Vietnamese coffee.
They're logically connected.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012


While the Tang Dynasty (唐朝, 618 CE to 907 CE) is rightly considered one of China’s golden ages, because of the huge amount of art and literature that was created during the long prosperous years of peace under able emperors, there were always pockets of flame flickering here and there in the empire. Not all the barbarians brought under the imperial sway were equally pleased to be part of the most cosmopolitan society that existed on earth, nor were some of them even remotely capable of appreciating the warm embrace of civilization.


This is not surprising, when you consider that many malcontents were Turks. Their ancestors had assaulted the borders for over a millennium, bent on slaughter, rapine, and pillage. It wasn’t till very many generations after the fall of Tang that some Turkish tribes would actually acquire a written language and more acceptable manners.
During the eighth and ninth centuries they were still vicious savages happily despoiling all settled societies within reach.

The Chinese frontier, even during the height of Tang power, always tempted confederacies of horse-borne brigands, who would search out weak spots, and strike at opportune moments. Sometimes they succeeded in breaking through the wall, and laid waste to entire provinces.

Yes, I know. It isn’t politically correct to talk about an ethnic group in such disparaging terms. Even the Turks.
But were it not for their greed, bloodlust, depraved savagery, and brutal opportunism, the thousand mile wall to keep them out would never have been necessary, let alone built.  The Great Wall more than anything else preserved China, and persuaded the heathen desert demons to expand westward, where their descendants eventually raped Russia, destroyed the Caliphates, and conquered Byzantium.

Until the extermination of the Zhungar Khanate by the Ching under Chienlung (乾隆帝) in 1755, which served as a splendid object-lesson to the other wasteland terror-ethnicities, the eastern Turks and Turco-Mongols were kept at bay at best, feared as inhuman monsters at worst.
The three thousand year struggle to keep the heartland from being ravaged by the barbarians beyond the wall occupied the government of every dynasty, created an undying cultural memory of threat and immense sacrifice, and also inspired great literature.
That last far outweighs any contribution from the other side.
Whose impact worldwide has been mostly desolation.

Now, having riled up your liberal sentiments, possibly offended you (ESPECIALLY if you are a cultural relativist, a socialist, or simply ignorant), and having also perhaps insulted your ancestors, if you have the ghastly bad karma to actually be descended from the bestial hordes, here are a few lines of poetry from the height of the Tang period that express beautifully what the long frontier meant to the Chinese.


誓掃匈奴不顧身, 五千貂錦喪胡塵。
可憐無定河邊骨, 猶是深閨夢裡人。

Sai sou hung-nou bat gu san, ng-chien diu-gam song wu-chan;
Ho-lin mo-ding ho pin gwat, yau si sam-gwai mung-leui yan.

By Chan Tou (Chen Tao)
"Sworn to crush the Hsiungnu without considering themselves, five thousand clad in fur and silk lie buried in the Tatar dust;
How pitiable, those bones by the river of shifting sands, that still populate their widows' dreams."

[Notes: 匈奴 hung nou: an ancient term for the barbarians; 'Hun'. 貂錦 diu-gam: sable and silk, metaphorically the splendid accoutrements of imperial service. 可憐 ho-lin: how sad, how pitiable! 深閨夢 sam-gwai mung: dreams in the women's quarters. ]


回樂峰前沙似雪, 受降城外月如霜。
不知何處吹蘆管, 一夜征人盡望鄉。

Wui lok fung chin saa chi suet, sau-hong seng-ngoi yuet yu seung;
Pat-chi ho chyu cheui lou gun, yat ye jing-yan cheun mong heung.

By Lei Yik (Li Yi)
"The sands before Hui-Le Peak seem like snow, beyond Accept-Surrender city the moon shows frost;
Not knowing from where the flute sound comes, all night long recruits think of home."


歲歲金河復玉關, 朝朝馬策與刀環。
三春白雪歸青塚, 萬里黃河繞黑山。

Seui-seui gam ho fu yuk gwaan, chiu-chiu maa-chaak yu dou-waan;
Saam cheun pak suet gwai ching chung, maan lei wong ho yiu haak saan.

By Lau Jung-yung (Liu Zhongyong)
"Year upon year returning to the Jade Pass, age after age of horsewhips and sword hilts;
Three springtimes now snow has blanketed green graves, for a thousand miles the Yellow River girds Black Mountain."

[Notes: Dense visual imagery posed in contrast - snow versus the grasses growing on tombs, as ceaselessly the troops come to guard the frontier; though just the latest recruits in this eternal war, the writer states that for three years they has seen the seasons shift here, but the heartland (Huang Ho: 'Yellow River') will remain constant and timeless.]


The phonetic transcription I have given is based on the Cantonese language. This is fitting not only because many of the Chinese in San Francisco speak Cantonese, but also because the Cantonese are the only group to refer to themselves as 'Men of Tang' (Tong yan: 唐人), and their language as 'Tang-speech' (Tong-wa: 唐話).
It is also suitable, because the poetry of that era still mostly rhymes when voiced in their language, the last and greatest descendant of the koine of Tang

The barbarians are yet at the gates, by the way. But they are vastly outnumbered now, and have become rather less relevant since the conquest of Chinese Turkestan (Xinjiang: 新疆) by the Ching Dynasty.
Other than occasional outbursts of irredentist violence, they have no significance.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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It's been a while since I checked out my blogstats to see what my readers are looking for when they come here.  Not that I shall cater to anyone based on statistics, but I am interested.
What brings you here?
Which potent mix of zesty subject and badly written gibberish caught your eye?

Apparently this week you like food.
And Chinese subjects.

Friday, November 11, 2011
A brief description of a refreshing beverage. The post also mentions Irene Wan (温碧霞), who in some movies is quite adorable.

Thursday, November 15, 2007
Night mooring at Maple Bridge (楓橋夜泊) by 張繼 (Zhang Zhi), Evening Rain on Mount Ba (巴山夜雨) by 孫善齊 (Sun Shan Qi), and Question and Answer About Living in the Mountains (山中問答) by 李白 (Li Po).

Wednesday, October 05, 2011
A wonderful bird, with an almost miraculous ability to calm the savage carnivore.
I applaud your excellent taste.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
If you want to think of this as an instructional text, please do.
Not that I would recommend it, though. Acting like a ham sap lo creeps women out.

Thursday, March 29, 2007
Unfortunately there is no place in San Francisco where you can get zebra steak with pommes frites, or zèbre à la Bourguignonne. We lament this oversight. Clearly San Francisco is not as high fallutin' food-wise as we boast ourselves to be.
But you can cook the beast at home.


Today's top attractions, per the stats, were also educational.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Okay, someone is visiting Hong Kong. I understand that. You want to know where to go and what to do, and perhaps you also want some lovely French pastry (at The Saint Honoré Cake Shop, on the corner Flower Market and Yuen Ngai), stellar cheesecake (at The Supreme, right next to the 7-11 on Prince Edward Road West) or fluffy fried space monster face at Uncle Fong's.

Saturday, April 23, 2011
This article is about Kermit the Frog. Cantonese girls LOVE handsome amphibians. There is no one sexier and more romantic than Kermit, and all the average healthy Cantonese young lady REALLY WANTS is to hold a cold green flippery hand and cuddle on moonlit summer evenings.
Occassionally looking deep into the handsome frog's bemused eyes.

Second choices: Vincent Price, Clark Gable, and Andy Lau.

I'm actually rather upset at these results. I was hoping that it was me that drew you in. Or the mental image of me taking a long hot bath, with a cup of coffee and a mystery novel, and something to nibble on. Or even the fantasy of me out there hunting for food, chopsticks poised at the ready, when suddenly across a crowded tea house our eyes meet and lock. We hold our breaths for a few seconds...... the temperature rises..... then both of us dive madly towards the very last fresh shrimp bonnet.
There is a crack of splintering chopsticks.
Afterwards, only dreamy silence.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This blogger likes thighs. On occasion, I have even been known to wax lyrical about them.
Ideally of course a person should have two.
Some people have more than two thighs in their life.
And a fortunate few even have a large number of very fine thighs.

The Chinese word 'gu' (股) among other things means 'thigh'.

Taai gu tung: majority shareholder, partner, or owner.

If you're me, you automatically translate that as 'great thighs in the East'.

Yes, the third word (tung 東) does mean East.
But as East is the position of the host, of fortuity, and of mastery, it crops up in some expressions to indicate the dominant party involved in something. For example: suen tung (船東) and choi tung (財東), a ship's master and a shop owner respectively.
And 'gu' also means part, portion, share. Plus haunch and rump.
So a better translation would be 'largest share boss'.

Still, I like the mental image that the term 'taai gu tung' evokes.
Possibly because I am immensely fond of thighs.

Among other things.

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It was rather cold in the city yesterday. As you would expect. Kind of March/April-ish. Which reminded me of the time I came down with a hor...