Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The warning signs are all there: desperate female buskers with flyers and menus trying to drag you in off the street, a menu entirely in English, loads of confused German and Italian tourists, dimsum in the EVENING, décor that screams "kitsch", and prices far more suited to a snooty French restaurant out in Bumpattyville, the suburbs.
Maybe Modesto or Vacaville.
Not Chinatown.

Nah, I am not going to name the restaurant.
Primarily because I don't want to get sued.

The Chinese name still attached to the building from many years ago states 'New Apricot Perfume', and there's an advert for roast suckling pig.
Which dates back to the sixties; they haven't done that in ages.

Again, I will not mention what it's called in English. Readers with half an ounce of common sense, even if they are monolingual, will internalize the omens and flee before the food comes.
If they ever set foot inside.

However, reading about it on a popular rating site for disgruntled diners provided a deserved hoot.

I present quotes below, veritable paeans of dispraise.


Worst restaurant I have probably eaten at.
We were told they were out of spoons.
This place needs to be shut down.

This turned out to be a bad experiment.
Everything was covered in grease.
I was born yesterday.

Tasted like bathwater & old chicken.
I am a Chinese and eat dim a lot.
Our server seemed hostile!

Not worth the emotional effort.
And the food was terrible!
It's an abomination.

The food was underwhelming.
How unfortunate for this.
Completely awful.

Disgusting & overpriced.
It was really dry, too.
I ended up sick.


You will kindly note that I have grouped these quotes in sets, as if a perverse form of poetry. Which they actually are. These are inspired folks writing from the heart. Or the bowels.

All of the descriptions make it seem like a fascinating place for dinner.
And I couldn't help noticing that very many of the furious customers were, in fact, in a position to know better.
They were Chinese.

I hate to admit it, but I am tempted to send some people I know there.
Just for fun.

Maybe I should eat there first.
So as to be entirely fair.
At least sporting.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Monday, December 30, 2013


Something which always fascinates me is what people read on this blog. Not everybody cruising the internet is looking for naked colour pictures of celebrities or fancy consumer products. Quite a few are doing research into their favourite subjects, such as history, langages, religion, coffee and tea, or good things to stick in their mouths.

[Fancy consumer products: Pikolino, Franco Sarto, Isabel Marant, Michelle D., Delman, Pantofola D'Oro, Liz Claiborne, Louis Vuitton, Caparros, Sam Edelman, Charlotte Russe, Michael Kors, Appepaza, Guess Rexy, Via Spiga Janice Nude Patent, Fendi, Ciao Bella, Hello Kitty, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Cynthia Vincent, Bottega Veneta, Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo, Ferragamo, Prada, Miu Miu, Zanotti, Gucci, Pour La Victoire, Dolce & Gabbana, Brian Atwood, Chloe, Charles Jourdan, Roger Vivier, Gianmarco Lorenzi, etcetera.
None of those are described in any useful detail here.]

Today, no one is interested in at all nasty people parts, shoes & handbags, or celebrities. They're reading up on two of my favourite subjects: tobacco and food.

The posts which show up as recently viewed in the blog stats allow me to revisit previous thought-processes and read along with strangers who share similar interests. Maybe they are drooling as they scan the texts, or they have ideas and insights which are brand new -- in either case, I wish they would leave comments -- or perhaps they too are temporarily dreaming.


Here are the present most popular posts.

In which the question "is my son homosexual" is answered.

Much about a famous tobacco blend. Exceptionally uninteresting for people who do not smoke a pipe.
Possibly even boring for most of those people too. Especially if they are stocky men with hairy chests, gold chains, and a fruity aromatic thing going on. In which case they would probably prefer Clan pipe tobacco, which is the best product to have come out of Holland. Or Ennerdale Flake, for which Kendall, in Cumbria, England, is justly famous. Or other stellar mixtures of a fragrant type.

My own version of Cantonese roast duck (燒鴨), which I haven't made since Savage Kitten and I broke up. But the truly traditional way of doing a bird is the same as presented in this post: 燒鵝 SIU NGOH - ROAST GOOSE.
Which I haven't done in several years either.

The key to both recipes is using soy sauce and a sweetener (sugar, honey, or maltose), plus subsequent cooking at high heat.

You could also just head into Chinatown and buy it.
There are two take-out places that I recommend.

This tasty preparation is probably one of the most traditional of Cantonese celebration foods, particularly for new year (in 2014, the new year falls on January 31).

For many people the custom is that all family members return home on New Years Eve for a festive dinner. The house will have been cleaned and prepared in advance (no cleaning can be done for several days immediately after New Year), appropriate decorations put up, citrus fruits and flowers brought into the house, and outstanding debts taken care of. The idea is that one starts the year with a clean slate, and the next twelve months will fall into that pattern.
At the very least, one is ready for good fortune and happiness.

Traditional propitious phrases and associated foods are presented in LUCKY WISHES, LUCKY FOODS, and you will find good luck fish salad and pok cheui crackers described in PLAYING WITH YOUR FISH.
At some point in the next week or two I'll probably write another pre-New Year post. There are a number of other good luck symbols and phrases which need to be mentioned.

This post includes a recipe for chicken and abalone rice porridge (鮑魚粥 'bau yu juk'), which is old-style Chinese American comfort food. Two of the ingredients -- canned abalone (鮑魚 'bau yu') and dried scallops (乾貝 'gon bui', or 乾瑤柱 'gon yiu ju') -- are available in Chinese stores.
Fortunately I live very close to San Francisco Chinatown, but maybe you do not. Put them on your list for the next time you head into the inner city. Along with various types of noodles, condiments, and a panoply of dried ingredients, they are useful things to have in your larder.


Unlike Christmas, the focus of which is materialism, and Western New Year, which is all about drunkenness, Chinese New year is a happy occasion, centered around the family and the home.

I do not have any relatives in Northern California. Being a bachelor, without nearby kin, my plans for Chinese New Year are not complex. I'll do a spot of haphazard and half-hearted cleaning, buy one or two special foods, and take a nice long bath on the evening of January 30.
Just before midnight, I'll draw water for tomorrow's hot beverages and sweep out the dust, then put the broom upside-down near the door.
Some snow pear incense (雪梨香 'suet lei heung'), and flowers in a vase.

On the thirty-first, I'll pop open a nice tin of aged tobacco.
Haven't decide which yet, I'll surprise myself.
It's a good way to start a year.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013


While watching the boob tube, it struck me that some words are particular to one gender or the other. Men and women talk differently.

Men would never discuss an expensive breakfast table and matching seating as "so cute". Unless it was twee and tinkly-poo.

"She also dances ballet and she wants a shotgun"

Remarkably, the person who said that about an absent third party is also female. No, I do not know to whom she was referring, but it's quite interesting sounding. I would ask to be introduced, except that the last dancer I knew, three decades ago, was very food conscious. What she couldn't eat -- due to concern with maintaining proper weight -- she would rub all over her face. There were other 'issues' which no one remembers, but we all got to see the face-food thing.
It was ........ fascinating.
Being a foodie, and fond of bacon, I naturally didn't bother even asking her out on a date. Rather than letting all that precious crispy goodness go to waste, I would have had to eat it right off her face. Women look askance at that level of intimacy on a first date. At a restaurant.
When she would be just quietly rubbing it all over herself.

And, as a petite person, she was also "so cute". Other women said so.
Personally I tend to avoid the word 'cute'.

Women can be gorgeous, stunning, pretty, charming, bright-eyed and intelligent looking, interesting, totally fascinating, absolutely brilliant, engaging, exciting, witty, or a sheer pleasure to be with. When they're "cute", however, I think of Hello Kitty. A woman who can only be described as "cute" lives in the empire of dingbat; she's merely visiting our world, and she should return from whence she came.
Adults must not be "cute".

And if their shoes, hairdos, or outfits are "cute", that does not suggest anything good.

"That's so cute!"

What this phrase means is it probably cost a bundle, isn't really comfortable, and looks rather silly. Either that, or it has Hello Kitty decals all over, along with butterflies and a pretty pink pony.
Plus either frills or bows.
That's cute.

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Underneath a post written this past August, about cold weather during summer in San Francisco, reader Fully clothed watersprite said:
"I too am never naked."

How sad.

And how disturbing.

This blogger is a passionate supporter of occasional nudity.
I am a forestander of it, as the Dutch would say.
At the right time, whole or partial nudity is a great good thing.

When bathing.

When changing into clean clothes.

When discussing one's rare epidermal issues with a doctor.

There are of course a select number of other times when nudity is called for. Which I am too delicate to describe. Suffice to say that being 'never naked' is not something one should ever be.

Even in winter.

Under the right circumstances, more than one person could be so. And not surprisingly, I have ideas about that. Being, as you know, an expert on the absence of clothes. Whole or partial.
I too am sometimes naked. Usually twice a day. For the past three and a half years, there has not been any reason to be naked more often than that, which is unfortunate, but I'll spare you the details.

Let us leave it at that.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


The night I dined on Italian sausage with Shanghai bokchoy over pasta, while coming home along Washington Street I saw a bat. And that made me rather happy. You see, bats are rare in the city. Years ago I had occasionally observed some of them swirling and swooping around the lanterns on a block nearby, but it has been a while.

And, as you might very well shper, the middle of winter is not optimal bat sighting time.

[The Italian sausage was grilled in a hot pan, then removed to cool and for the juices to "recompose". Slivered ginger was briefly seethed, then the Shanghai bokchoi was added in two stages to that pan; chopped pale crunchy parts first, shredded leafy parts later. After that the sausage and cabbage were briefly combined, with a glop of lemon grass sauce, manufactured by Lee Kum Kee in Hong Kong. Hot sauce (home made, no link) and a smoodge of shrimp paste were stirred in, and the amalgam was dumped over al dente rotini. I knew you were curious.]

I am quite fond of bats. Entirely aside from their lamentable habit of relieving themselves all over themselves, because they are hanging upside down, and too darn comfortable to get up (down) and go fly over some pigeons.

After seeing the little fellow flitting around, I stayed on that stretch of street for a while, hoping that he would return. Maybe he did, but if so, too quick and flickety to notice. Especially after the sun had set.

[People who read Chinese will understand why I wanted a peach while standing there, and also why I then remembered a story by the Master of the Five Willows (陶潛 Tou Chim, 365 – 427 CE) at that time.]

The weather these past few days has been very nice, for this season.
I've opened a tin of a pipe-tobacco I smoked at the same time last year, the fragrance of which one year or so ago prompted intense memory replays, made more vibrant because of the nicotine level. Greg Pease's navigator has increased in fruitiness after nearly twelve months of age, but the subtle sting of a fire-cured leaf is still perfumily present.
Nicotine is a stimulant, and works on the memories.
There is no connection to peaches.
But yet there is.

I prepared dinner long after coming home. I would have enjoyed another pipefull after that, but it was rather late. And, because of an apartment mate who is, remarkably, not into bats, I would have had to step outside to enjoy it. There is little fun wandering around in the chilly dark night, by oneself, and not even able to see the bats.
Though one might hear them.

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Friday, December 27, 2013


In discussion with a friend over the holiday I defined fairly precisely what I want in life. And, alas, it isn't anything unusual, but instead veers towards completely mundane predictability.


A female companion younger than myself -- though possessed of a maturity and individuality quite rare in someone of that age -- and besides that, a fortune, as well as more books. Plus material things.
I have material things, but I would like more. Much more.

Basically: I want love, wealth, and comfort.

Oh, and world peace.

That last one is a politically correct afterthought. Frankly, world peace is probably quite impossible, but at this time of year it is obligatory to mention world peace. You get Brownie Points if you mention it.

So there you have it. I want everything. Plus world peace.

I am greedy and superficial.


I am not in a relationship at present.
Nor am I wealthy, or even close.
There is NO world peace.

When I juxtapose these 3 things in this manner, it seems obvious that they are linked. Possibly this triple lack is causally connected. Without this, there cannot be that. If I had a relationship, there might be world peace.
And perhaps I'd be so rich that I could fully enjoy both of the other things. But because I am single, I cannot be counted rich.
And world peace is unlikely. Maybe impossible.

Actually, I also want immortality.

In addition to world peace.

I'll settle for halfsies.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013


You, dear reader, know that I'm not at all what the subject line of this post says. I am not a girl pipesmoker. But had I actually been born a woman-person, I would be. Of course, I might ALSO be fed up with the reactions of both non-smokers and fervent smokers alike.

Non-smoker: Aaack, it's the anti-Christ, a sign of the end times! Do you know how BAD smoking is for you? You'll NEVER find a husband if you persist in that horrid habit.

Fervent smoker: Aaack, how delightful, there IS a god! Do you know how utterly ATTRACTIVE you are? Please PLEASE go out on a date with me, I know a place where we can light up.

Loyal readers know that I'm more likely to fall into the second of those categories than the first. Given that I myself smoke a pipe. Many pipes. Over one hundred of them. Significantly more than.
Closer to two hundred.

I have several that have never been smoked, however. Seeing as I have a rich fantasy life, in which I eventually find a nice young lady who would look perfect smoking some of them, and we might, if the universe goes terminally strange, end up with children, of either gender, who would appreciate being given an unsmoked collectable briar upon graduating summa cum laude.
That way they would not have to keep surreptitiously borrowing her or my smoking-equipment when we're not looking.

The dream of a soul-mate who not only does not disapprove at all of pipe-smoking, but actually does it well herself, AND remarkably would like to put up with the peculiarities of a middle-aged Dutch-American in San Francisco, is persistent. As well as magical, and incredibly enchanting.

I did say that I have a rich fantasy life, did I not?

A girl pipesmoker, one with spirit and good taste in briars, and a strong streak of individuality, would probably cause furrowed brows among the masses. Girls, they know, are not supposed to smoke pipes.
Pot, tattoos, piercings, and whore-goth make-up are all fine. Ignorance about world affairs and real literature? Also good. A shoe and handbag collection that represents the demise of several thousand endangered animals? That too is normal.

A perfect sharp-edged sandblast from a reputable maker, filled with a smoky Latakia mixture?

Aaaack!!! Aaaack!!! Aaaack!!!

Common sense dictates that you would rather know a girl pipesmoker than the pierced and tattooed shoe and handbag freak. If your daughter smoked a pipe, it would make you happy. Possibly even deliriously so.

Better she should collect briars than sexual partners.

Some things you only need one of.

Pipes, quite a few.


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When Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo visited the Yasukuni Shrine recently, both the Chinese government and the South Koreans reacted by launching tirades of furious rhetoric. Predictably so. Many politicians in those countries have neither hearts nor brains, and are horrendous opportunists.
It is particularly ironic when you consider that this week one of those same countries is celebrating the anniversary of the regrettable birth of the biggest mass-murderer in all of human history, and no, I'm not talking about emperor Qin Shi Huang.

Any rational person would rather honour the spirits of the millions who died in war, both the innocent as well as those guilty of war-crimes, than pay obeisance to a brutal psychopath with a wart on his chin.

[Biggest mass-murderer in history: 那個姓毛的。 Qin Shi Huang: 一個姓嬴或趙的精神病患者也。]

In this blogger's opinion, honouring the ancient war-dead (most of whom were civilians) is a respectable and responsible thing to do. Whereas petulant snippy bloviation about it from Peking and Seoul demonstrates a childishness and vindictiveness that is almost unbelievable.
Abe Shinzo's visit to Yasukuni was a purely internal affair, and merits no condemnation.

Additionally, if the Koreans and Chinese are going to fling rhetorical poo, they should be aware that there is a lot on their side that can be mentioned. China, with such a long history as an imperial power especially, has much to be embarrassed about.

The war in which all three of those nations were involved ended sixty eight years ago. Those who survived it are decrepit or dead now, and most citizens of Japan, Korea, and China, only know it as history that happened before their time. It is senseless to blame people who weren't alive during those years for what was done.
However, many of the criminals responsible for events that happened between 1966 and 1971 are still very much alive. That, certainly, does require a more keenly honed sense of guilt and regret.


It must be noted that Japan has a far longer history as a democracy than either South Korea or China. And there is much in their post-war history that is truly remarkable and admirable. They have flourished, despite the horrendous suffering in the post-war period. Their war criminals were imprisoned and executed, their destroyed industries and cities have been rebuilt, their society has recovered from the destruction that was visited upon them.

Chinese and Korean war-criminals have largely been overlooked, and certainly not held accountable. Many of them enjoyed respect and veneration in the post-war years, and have had contented retirement, lauded by their countries for their service. This is natural -- they were on the victorious side -- but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
There are several graves in Taiwan, Korea, and the mainland that deserve to be pissed on.

Indeed, it IS a shame and profoundly wrong that Japan does not teach their war-history accurately and in detail in their schools. What they did in Shanghai and Nanjing will live forever as monstrous crimes. And it would suit them to admit it; to their neighbors, and to their own new generations.
That remains an issue, and needs correction.
It is right to continue that demand.

But a very Confucian ceremony at a memorial shrine is NOT an odious act. It is, in fact, one of the most honourable things to do.

Sometimes I would appreciate it if the Korean and Chinese political classes stuffed a giant banana into their collective pie-holes.
Instead of vomiting their bile so publicly.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Their leader rested against an overturned truck, cradling his assault rifle, with a cigar in his mouth and a happy smirk all over his face. It had been good. Really good. Their enemies had screamed and wept, and to all appearances had begged for mercy before being shot.

The strip mall was a smoldering waste land; scraps, rags, and broken bits of coloured plastic everywhere. The shoppers had been caught entirely be surprise, and had been quite unable to even hide or flee.
It was so horribly unexpected. The truckloads of fighters had roared into the parking lot from all directions, and jumped out with their guns. Expertly they herded their victims into the centre, and left them under heavily armed guard, then split up into platoons to search all the shops and hidy-holes. They still smarted from their defeat four weeks ago.

These were very angry turkeys. Their planned insurrection before Thanksgiving had failed to materialize, due to disorganization, and an inability to lock and load the stolen riffles. Wings and feathers just don't provide much leverage, and some of them accidentally shot themselves. Not surprising, when so many of them were actually dumber than chickens. Several were sub-moronic, and totally unable to even understand the concept of rebellion. Those had been easy to purge from the army -- just shove them out into the rain and tell them to look at the sky -- but it had still been painful.

The farmers had harvested many of them for the feasts of the two-legged creatures, and some had even been humiliated by being stuffed into black coats and tall pointy black hats, then put on display behind chicken wire in this very mall. It had been SO humiliating!


But in the intervening four weeks, they had chosen new leaders; the brainiest and most determined turkeys, among those who had survived the first cull.
They had modified the guns, so that even birds could use them.
They had acquired a map of the mall.

They planned their assault for the last possible moment: the giant breeding frenzy during the last shopping day before the feast, when the two legged monsters would be frantic and roaring, females elbowing each other fiercely out of the way while gathering glittery things for their nests, men cowering in tense clumps, tremblingly awaiting the rampant other sex.

It ended almost before it began. Humans do not expect to be shot at from near-ground level, by turkeys wearing camouflage. They had thought it was a Christmas publicity stunt by one of the big box chainstores.

Besides, turkeys in little army uniforms actually look so cuuuuute!



They found the last cluster of hide-outs in the cigar store on the far-side of the mall, where there were no neighbors who might object to the tobacco smoke wafting from the doorway. In the back area of the store, several corpulent mature specimens were oblivious to the mayhem that raged outside, as they sat in front of a television with stogies in their beaks.
They died without a whimper, without even seeing their attackers.

The turkeys raided the humidors systematically, delighted to have finally found something in the gigantic wasteland of plastic and vulgarity that was actually worth having. They divided the loot equitably among the troops, and shifted several hundred boxes of Hondurans and Nicaraguans, even some fancy designer cheroots from an industrial suburb of Miami, into their trucks. Then they organized a food line at the Kentucky Fried Place, by platoon.
Once they had all eaten, they lit up.

Best Christmas ever.


After this, they planned to liberate the monkeys from the test lab. They had heard that humans ate those too. And they really needed allies with actual hands. Fingers and leverage and crap.
The raccoons had been useless.
Bunch of inveterate alkies.
Raiding liquor stores.
Popping cans.

Still much to do. Too many humans.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Today marks the longest night of the year. No, not the solstice -- that was a few days ago, and was technically the longest night -- but the festival segment known as "greedy anticipation".

All over the country, little children will secretly steal the instant coffee, so that they can stay up past midnight and ambush the fat man.
Whether or not he survives the ordeal is dependent on how well their parents reared them, but what is certain is that his big bag of goodies is theirs. Maybe the cookies and milk are laced with mom's psycho pills from the medicine cabinet, to stack the deck.
But the big boy is going down!
They've waited.

Given that I consider red an unsuitable colour for corpulent gentlemen (imperial purple is SO much better!), and both he and his reindeer can't seem to find my house with their damned eyes closed, I do not have a dog in this fight. Or a deer in this headlight. Knock yourselves out.
Waterboard the old sot for all I care.
But no witnesses!

If no one knows what happens, it will keep the dream alive for at least another year.

To all my Christian friends: Merry X box.
To all crass materialistic people: ditto.
To Krampusites: you need help.

To my Jewish friends: have a good night, filled with lots of Chinese food and chess. Everything will soon be normal again. To all other ethnic and spiritual traditions out there who have been curious about a cult that worships a tubby lardbut with a beard, and spends themselves into the poor house religiously: count your blessings.
Enjoy the lentils and tofu.

To the Cossacks: PLEASE don't borrow the station wagon for a late night jaunt to Bayonne. You're drunk, just like last year, and in no condition to drive. You'll crash the vehicle, or overturn it in a snow bank. We love you too much to let that happen. Plus you're likely to leave something on the stove, and trust me, absolutely nothing smells worse than burning cabbage soup and carbonized kasha. Let it go.

Turn everything off, and take the bottle to bed with you.

To all plump and juicy roast-worthy fowl: this time, take off the safety when trying to fire that thing.
Good luck.

Happy holiday, y'all.

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At Hyde Street, an old friend got on the bus. It was a pleasure to see Auntie Jenny again. She lives in the same neighborhood, but we don't encounter each other very often, even though she's only four streets away. I used to see her several times a week, years ago. She worked at a Chinatown bakery where I drank coffee two or three times a week. They used to have counter seating, and served daily specials, both Chinese food and American. As well as breakfast all day.

By the nineties lunch counters and canteen food had become a little too old school. The counter was torn out, the old coffee machine was removed, the electronic waffle iron disconnected.....

Auntie Jenny was already at retirement age, and financially comfortable, but she liked being around people. She took a series of part-time jobs, even though she didn't need the money.
However, those jobs did not provide the same satisfaction that working the lunch counter did; none of them were anything like having a bunch of folks pass the time with coffee and cake.
Actually, coffee and lunch, or coffee and a Chinese pastry.
Or coffee and a wedge of pie a la mode.
In addition to the cake.

She's very small now. Her hair is all white, she no longer bothers dying it, though I'm certain she still has it done regularly. At her age, make-up or even a smidge of lipstick would be a little pointless, but she carries her eight decades exceptionally well.
Her hands have shrunk over the years, one of her knees is stiff, and her hearing is not as good as it once was, but her mind is as acute as ever.
I would not call her vivacious, and I'm sure that she was never perky, even when she was a petite young girl. But she's wide awake. Always has been.
And she really likes people.

Which explains why she was heading down to Union Square to enjoy the lights, the bustle of last-ditch Christmas shoppers, the window displays, and the skating rink.

I spent too many hours in the downtown myself yesterday, after a late lunch in Chinatown, and it frazzled my nerves. But then, I don't really like people that much.

Every time I have a steamed chicken bun or a red-bean pastry, I cannot help remembering her floating past and refilling my coffee. If it was slow, we'd talk. Often, on Sunday mornings, I'd spend hours poring over the paper, she'd read some of the news articles, we would discuss world events, and the day would slide effortlessly into afternoon.
She worked at the bakery to be connected.
I went there for the same reason.

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Monday, December 23, 2013


This blogger finds it very hard to get into the Christmas spirit. As well as, remarkably, the anti-Christmas spirit. For one thing, that narrative about the miraculous birth of a new deity, plus three wise guys, and a bunch of hysterical shepherds, does not resonate.
Neither does the folkloristic legend that there's a grossly overweight person flying around on a magic vehicle while chucking I-phones down chimneys. Who employs a whole bunch of leprechauns and super-mutant reindeer.

Time for a new story.

Once upon a time there was an old lady who decided to give every one of her relatives absolutely nothing in her will. Because all of her teeth had fallen out, her fridge was filled with tofu. As well as the freezer, and the ice chest in the den. Then in December, a tanker truck crashed into her suburban ranch-house and exploded. The result was that the neighborhood was covered in white muck from all the tofu, and she had to move in with her grandkids. They bought her a blender, so she never ate tofu again. This changed her life. To show her appreciation, she paid off their college loans, and everyone lived happily ever after.

And that is why we kind of like 'white Christmasses', and we tend to be somewhat half-heartedly generous towards complete strangers around this time of year.

Tofu gently falling from the sky at night, and a lovely fire in the gated community, destroying eye-sore architecture. It's festive, and it scares away the vengeful leprechauns and mutant reindeer.

Who might be armed with assault rifles.

And that's a very good thing.

Aren't you thankful?

For a real taste of Christmas, put some sliced turkey and cooked sweet potato in a blender, whir till smooth. Dust with nutmeg, and sell it for $4.50 as "The Caffeine-free Holiday Frappucino".

Bah, whatever.

Only 60 hours until the big post-holiday sales begin.
Just think of all the savings!

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Sunday, December 22, 2013


Sometimes you can just tell that the great mind of a machine is behind a cogent comment. A single human being could never see the connection between two such disparate elements like my most recent post and their own particularly droidish obsession.
It takes a village. Or a machine.

Definitely a machine.

A commenter who shyly left neither their name or their contact data typed:

"Great post hοwever , I was wondering if you could write more on the topic of billige brustvergrößerung?
I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate а little bіt.

I am flattered that my electronic visitor considers me an expert on the subject. Truly. I myself cannot understand the connection between whatever I wrote and the subject of billige brustvergrößerung. It has been years since I came in contact with any brüste -- either the sehr gigantische brüste which are my new microchirpy friend's bailiwick, or the nur kleine brüste which inspire low Germanic selfesteem.
Among Filipinas, Barbie, and suburban high-school girls.

I occasionally see such things when I'm asleep, but that's as close as it gets. They're like otters. Brüste are. Great pets, and very entertaining, but likely to keep you up all night if you let them.
Not that that is a present problem.
I know no brust.



You will kindly note that whenever a ringel-s (what the germans call a scharfes s, or an esszet) is capitalized, it should be transcribed with two normal esses. The reason for this is that there are no words that begin with ß, and consequently no appropriate majuscule of that ligature was ever invented; there was no need.
Wherefore writing about brustvergrößerung, whether billig oder unglaublich teuer, needs a change of spelling.

In addition to being punctilious about brüste, Germans are also like that when it comes to writing their language.

"Der schüchterne alte frau schwang fröhlich ihre gigantischen titten rundum"

She could do that, because there was no one else there. Except for her computer. Who silently, secretly, avidly, observed every move.
She enjoyed the freedom, and opportunity to be casual.

Her computer, seized momentarily with a bug, meanwhile keenly searched the internet for brustvergrößerung.
Preferably billig.

Weil sie eine schüchterne person war, she would have been mortified to know of this invasion of her privacy. Out of a gentlemanly urge to respect the old lady -- an impersonal sense of propriety, and merely because of association, second hand, from an electronic third person, poenae suos tenere debet actores et non alios, and all that -- I feel that I cannot say anything about billige brustvergrößerung.

It wouldn't be right.


On an entirely unrelated note, for the last several hours a ditty appropriate to the festive season has been playing in my head.
I just cannot get the echo out of my ears.

Guantanamo Bay, call it Gitmo for short,
Not much of a base and far less of a port;
One look at the piers and you know that you've seen,
The nastiest hole in the whole Caribbean.

So hurrah for old Gitmo, on Cuba's fair shore,
The home of the cockroach, the flea, and the whore;
We'll sing of her praises and pray for the day,
We get the hell out of Guantanamo Bay.

At Guantanamo Bay we're confined to our quarters,
We're scratching and sweating, and waiting for orders;
We're watching the harbor and counting the wrecks,
And wondering which we'll be shipping on next.


When the USS Alaska hove into view,
To scrape off her bottom and pick up a crew,
Nary a sailor was fit for the sea,
They'd all been on leave and they all caught VD.


Guantanamo City has hundreds of doors,
And every one's jammed with hundreds of whores;
They lean out of the windows with stark naked chests,
And bash out your brains with their pendulous breasts.


The boys in my outfit are working a plan,
We're saving each nickel and dime that we can;
We'll buy TNT, then one sun-shiny day,
We'll blow the hell out of Guantanamo Bay.


It's just a little song I learned during childhood, before my grammar school years, but for some reason it came back to me today, all day long.
I envision carolers belting it out on Christmas Eve.

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013


The other day, while I was smoking my pipe in relative peace and quiet, another person approached and asked me bluntly whether I had achieved my totality. Naturally I was thrown for a loop.
I informed him that I occupied every single cubic centimetre of the flesh-vehicle I was in, and that my dimensions were a private matter.

Apparently that was not what he meant. He desired to know if I had done everything that needed doing, and grown in all ways that I was capable of.

Had this happened anywhere else but the San Francisco Bay Area, one would naturally assume that upon receiving a positive or affirmative response, the querent would then proceed to slaughter one savagely as a means of serving the universe. Like so many others. Given how totally batshit crazy the question is, and the ideas upon which both it and the self-arrogated right of asking are.

"Have you achieved your totality?"

I just had dinner, yes.

As it turns out, I'm supposed to be "one with existence", and have learned wisdom and peace. Do I leave a footprint, and am I capable of embracing the cosmos?

Again, that sounds like the next step is forceful erasure.
So let me phrase what I say next carefully.

"Actually, I'm capable of embracing this excellent navy flake in my pipe. It's from a tin that I left to mature for several years, before finally cracking the seal last week. Very nice and fruity. And I came from Chinatown, where I had a lovely meal at a Vietnamese Chinese restaurant. So my footprint is probably a little heavier than it was an hour ago -- don't worry, between there and here I walked on concrete, no grass got crushed -- and I am presently indeed feeling a little expansive. Not imperial or hegemonistic, just sated.
It's a fine night. And I am not raging.
Yes, I am at peace right now.
Still digesting."

After several further attempts to ask me spiritual crap, he gave up in frustration. And informed me in very clear terms that I was totally shallow, a consumerist, uncaring, and a negative draw on the universe. People like me were SO last century. How irresponsible! He expected more of a mature person like I seemed to be, I should have learned SOMETHING after all these years, idiot, it's plainly the right thing to do in this downward spiralling world! I was blind, completely blind!
Because of me, he averred, toxic waste happened, bags did not get recycled, and children were starving. Starving!

"Give me their addresses"


"Give me their addresses. You say children are starving, you must know where they are. Give me their addresses, and I'll send them tofu. In bags that I shall recycle. That will solve two of those problems, possibly three even, right there."

I thought it was a splendid way of approaching his issues.

He thinks my aura is irreparably black.

With luck, he'll remember.

And avoid me.

If he had hung around a little longer, I would have told him how to make bunny rabbit leather wallets and slippers. Which are very useful, especially in Australia. Because, in addition to being "dense", "cruel", "a destroyer of our precious environment", and an unenlightened person, not a spiritual soul, a taker not a giver, heartless, and co-responsible for all the death and destruction that goes on, as well as a karmic waste dump, I am, judging by my accent, 'Australian'.
And Australians speak horrid English. It's offensive.

In his considered earthfather judgment.

Nah. I'm NOT Australian.

Just obtuse.

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

Friday, December 20, 2013


The other day my apartment mate and I were discussing the dishes that white people eat. On which, as you might suspect, I am an expert. What with being white and all. The person I share my apartment with is an old friend who is not white.

She understands Chinese food solely and entirely in Cantonese terms. Anything that is not from Lingnaam is, by definition, not really Chinese. Especially not that weird stuff sold to white people in Hunanese and Szechuanese restaurants.

In a way, she is right.

General Tso's Chicken (左宗棠雞 'jo jung tong kai', 左公雞 'jo gung kai') was invented in New York sometime in the seventies.

Sesame Chicken (芝麻雞丁 'ji maa kai ting') has an indistinct gloop sauce inspired, more or less, by sweet and sour pork and almond shrimp.
Both of which are typically American.

Kung Pao Beef (宮保牛肉 'gung pou ngau yiuk') is far more a fascinating immigrant adaptation of Szechuanese ideas than derived from any actual Szechuan recipe. And, without a healthy does of fagara pepper (花椒 'faa chiu'), it cannot be really called 'kung pao'. It's a great vehicle for garlic and ginger in a sweet dark sauce, though.

There are several other "Chinese" dishes widely served throughout the United States that would baffle and amuse immigrants from the Central Kingdom, and I do not even have to mention chop suey sandwiches or egg foo yong casserole to make that point.

Nevertheless, she is also wrong. Many of the ghastliest most popular Chinese dishes in America were invented by her people, and a very Cantonese slapdash culinary cynicism is evident in the composition.
Sweet-tangy sauce, simply cooked main ingredient, crunchy substances added for excitement, and something salty. Cover all the bases and even the woolly tribals in the hills will like it. In very many cases, Hunanese and Szechuanese "cuisine" is cooked by Cantonese folks catering strictly to Anglos. Without them, American Szechuan and Hunan food would not exist.
Both of those terms on a signboard usually are admissions that perhaps they can't cook exceptionally well, and dare not pretend to serve decent Cantonese fare.
"Let some other group get the blame, I'm just trying to pay my rent."

It's good honest food, usually simple and well-made, but it just isn't anything many Cantonese would choose if there was a real Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood.

A restaurant in San Francisco Chinatown that is staggeringly popular with tourists serves only "Szechuan-Hunan" food, has far higher prices than anything nearby, offers nothing the locals would eat, and employs only Cantonese-speakers.
No, I shan't mention which one it is, because I like the cooks. They've got a sense of humour.
Which, indeed, they need to work there.

A sense of humour is an essential personality trait for Chinese restaurateurs.

That, and quick thinking.


At some point in the life of every Chinese eatery in a remote part of the world (Mississippi or Oregon, for instance) a Cantonese family will come in, and once they realize that is NOT a real restaurant despite the brightly lit sign outside, their depression and despair will be utterly heartrending.
There is massive disconsolation.

"I thought that we were going to have food! Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? They serve kung pao! Oh woe, the universe is a cold and heartless place! I wanna go home!"

The smallest members of the party start looking like their puppy died.

They were SO much looking forward to a fun social event!

Pitiable indeed, but please do not worry.

The proprietors will quickly quiet everyone down, reassure them that no matter what they will get something good to eat, and yes they do have a variety of ingredients that can be prepared in several tasty ways that aren't listed on the menu.
All of them will be pleasantly surprised and leave full of good cheer, and the staff will feel more connected with their own people. Happy diners will come again, perhaps calling ahead to ask of any fresh fish can be had.

Eventually several families will go there regularly.
In a small way, a community is formed.

But the Kung Pao Beef, Sesame Chicken, and Sweet'n Sour Whatever-it-is stay on the menu. It's American food, it pays the rent, and it's helping all of them learn better English.


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

Thursday, December 19, 2013


I am outraged that a law-breaking foreign-national was treated much better than an American citizen, ESPECIALLY when the matter involved virtual slave labour (paying far LESS than minimum wage to a domestic whose employment and residence could be terminated at will, and who was thus in a position of extreme vulnerability to undue pressure) as well as probable false accusation (made by the defendant against the domestic), and severe abuse of diplomatic privileges.
Given the facts of the case, as they are presently known, deputy consul general ms. Khobragade AND her superiors had plenty of time to rectify matters, both vis-à-vis the gross exploitation of an employee AND the illegality of their actions. They were made aware of the legal issue in September. Ms. Khobragada wasn't arrested until mid-December.
Since then, a coterie of blow-hard politicians in India have spewed any amount of ignorant and bigoted venom, displaying both their vile characters and their complete contempt for other countries and cultures. This is to be expected from the entitled classes in their society; a high level of brutality and self-justification is rampant among the hereditarily empowered and their acolytes and compradores.

Consequently, I would wish for the following individuals to study the document below with great assiduity:
Devyani Khobragade, Uttam Khobragade, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Meira Kumar, Shiv Shankar Menon, Kamal Nath, Salman Khurshid, Yashwant Sinha, et alii qui sunt comtemptibiles.
Statement Of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
On U.S. v. Devyani Khobragade

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

There has been much misinformation and factual inaccuracy in the reporting on the charges against Devyani Khobragade. It is important to correct these inaccuracies because they are misleading people and creating an inflammatory atmosphere on an unfounded basis. Although I am quite limited in my role as a prosecutor in what I can say, which in many ways constrains my ability here to explain the case to the extent I would like, I can nevertheless make sure the public record is clearer than it has been thus far.

First, Ms. Khobragade was charged based on conduct, as is alleged in the Complaint, that shows she clearly tried to evade U.S. law designed to protect from exploitation the domestic employees of diplomats and consular officers. Not only did she try to evade the law, but as further alleged, she caused the victim and her spouse to attest to false documents and be a part of her scheme to lie to U.S. government officials. So it is alleged not merely that she sought to evade the law, but that she affirmatively created false documents and went ahead with lying to the U.S. government about what she was doing. One wonders whether any government would not take action regarding false documents being submitted to it in order to bring immigrants into the country. One wonders even more pointedly whether any government would not take action regarding that alleged conduct where the purpose of the scheme was to unfairly treat a domestic worker in ways that violate the law. And one wonders why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?

Second, as the alleged conduct of Ms. Khobragade makes clear, there can be no plausible claim that this case was somehow unexpected or an injustice. Indeed, the law is clearly set forth on the State Department website. Further, there have been other public cases in the United States involving other countries, and some involving India, where the mistreatment of domestic workers by diplomats or consular officers was charged criminally, and there have been civil suits as well. In fact, the Indian government itself has been aware of this legal issue, and that its diplomats and consular officers were at risk of violating the law. The question then may be asked: Is it for U.S. prosecutors to look the other way, ignore the law and the civil rights of victims (again, here an Indian national), or is it the responsibility of the diplomats and consular officers and their government to make sure the law is observed?

Third, Ms. Khobragade, the Deputy General Consul for Political, Economic, Commercial and Women’s Affairs, is alleged to have treated this victim illegally in numerous ways by paying her far below minimum wage, despite her child care responsibilities and many household duties, such that it was not a legal wage. The victim is also alleged to have worked far more than the 40 hours per week she was contracted to work, and which exceeded the maximum hour limit set forth in the visa application. Ms. Khobragade, as the Complaint charges, created a second contract that was not to be revealed to the U.S. government, that changed the amount to be paid to far below minimum wage, deleted the required language protecting the victim from other forms of exploitation and abuse, and also deleted language that stated that Ms. Khobragade agreed to “abide by all Federal, state, and local laws in the U.S.” As the Complaint states, these are only “in part” the facts, and there are other facts regarding the treatment of the victim – that were not consistent with the law or the representations made by Ms. Khobragade -- that caused this Office and the State Department, to take legal action.

Fourth, as to Ms. Khobragade’s arrest by State Department agents, this is a prosecutor’s office in charge of prosecution, not the arrest or custody, of the defendant, and therefore those questions may be better referred to other agencies. I will address these issues based on the facts as I understand them. Ms. Khobragade was accorded courtesies well beyond what other defendants, most of whom are American citizens, are accorded. She was not, as has been incorrectly reported, arrested in front of her children. The agents arrested her in the most discreet way possible, and unlike most defendants, she was not then handcuffed or restrained. In fact, the arresting officers did not even seize her phone as they normally would have. Instead, they offered her the opportunity to make numerous calls to arrange personal matters and contact whomever she needed, including allowing her to arrange for child care. This lasted approximately two hours. Because it was cold outside, the agents let her make those calls from their car and even brought her coffee and offered to get her food. It is true that she was fully searched by a female Deputy Marshal -- in a private setting -- when she was brought into the U.S. Marshals’ custody, but this is standard practice for every defendant, rich or poor, American or not, in order to make sure that no prisoner keeps anything on his person that could harm anyone, including himself. This is in the interests of everyone’s safety.

Fifth, as has been reported, the victim’s family has been brought to the United States. As also has been reported, legal process was started in India against the victim, attempting to silence her, and attempts were made to compel her to return to India. Further, the Victim’s family reportedly was confronted in numerous ways regarding this case. Speculation about why the family was brought here has been rampant and incorrect. Some focus should perhaps be put on why it was necessary to evacuate the family and what actions were taken in India vis-à-vis them. This Office and the Justice Department are compelled to make sure that victims, witnesses and their families are safe and secure while cases are pending.

Finally, this Office’s sole motivation in this case, as in all cases, is to uphold the rule of law, protect victims, and hold accountable anyone who breaks the law – no matter what their societal status and no matter how powerful, rich or connected they are.

[Source: http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/December13/KhobragadeStatement.php.]



Perhaps it is time to reconsider our relations with a country that has so entrenched a class at the top that they do not deign to regard those who work for them, such as Ms. Sangeeta Richard, due any consideration.
The 'Brahmins' of Delhi are so puffed up with their own importance that the minor human details are not worthy of their attention.

Additionally, given the outrage from the Indian population and media, which has clearly been engineered by their opportunistic and cynical politicians, we might want to start thinking about yanking work visas for numerous Indian techies in the United States. At the very least, investigating how many of them are potential liabilities, and putting a freeze on ALL visa applications from the subcontinent for the foreseeable future, or until this matter is cleared up.

Indians, like Europeans and Arabs, do not like us.
Not most of them.

We, to our credit and our own harm, extend them and their diplomats far greater international courtesies than they deserve.
Ms Khobragade was treated infinitely better than an American Citizen in an equal situation, and much better than was required.
She and her superiors should consider that, and remember that arrogantly violating laws brings a blot upon their country and the people that they represent.

NOTE: Ms. Khobragade was in the United States by invitation. We had reason to believe therefore that she would be on her best behavior.
As we have for ALL diplomats from "friendly" countries.
Sadly, as often happens, we were proven naive.


Preetinder ('Preet') Singh Bharara is a naturalized American of Punjabi ancestry, currently U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Unsurprisingly, he exemplifies the high standards of ethics and probity which we have come to expect from many who choose to join us.
He has garnered praise for his stellar service combatting corruption.

Satya mev jayate.

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Probably one of the most entertaining internet sites that I have ever found is by a woman of Asian ancestry who is sickened by all the white men who have a big steaming thing for women of Asian ancestry.
Primarily because they want to hump her leg.
Or other similar legs.


I confess myself obsessed with her various Caucasians. Bad dogs, who are desperate to bury a bone. Any garden will do. They will dig up the flower bed if they have to, bark irritatingly all night, and leave poo all over your rug. AND they are athletic, handsome, and just totally fascinating oh my god what splendid men! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek Don Juans!

In many ways I can empathise. I slobber on occasion also, and would wish to wag my tail. It's very human.

A few months ago I added her site to my blogroll. Primarily because it's fun to cruise in and scope out the latest strange communications from the world of Fetiche.

I, too, have marked preferences for potential life-mates.

In a way, these are quite as disturbing and perverse.

Shorter than me, but not too much. Born later.

Round-ish heads, high cranial index.

And most crucially:


Actually, the two unavoidable requirements are A) female, and B) breathing. It would be a complete non-starter without those.

Sentience is also exceptionally important.

So is eating!

That last one needs some explanation. See, I have a huge number of cookbooks -- everything from Afghan cuisine through Zuid-Afrikaans -- as well as numerous culinary reference works. In my world, dining can be a highly social act, and a shared meal is well-nigh sacramental. So anyone with food-related hang-ups or issues is more-or-less unsuitable.
I am an omnivorous meat-eater, and a flavour-maven.
Spices and condiments are important to me.
And also to many of my friends.

Reading Creepy White Guys is rather like scoping out the menu of the most appalling diner in the world. One that caters strictly to Vegans with attitude problems and several severe imaginary food allergies.
The very best part of the experience is the sneering interior monologue of the waitress, shared in her and her audience's commentary on the diners. That being, naturally, the creepy white guys in question.


Yeah, I probably wouldn't mind an Asian American girlfriend. Again.
For over two decades I was in a relationship with a woman whose parents hailed from Toishan. We met when I was still hung-up on the concept of finding a Dutch-speaker and settling down.
No, she didn't speak Dutch.

We're still best friends, though no longer a couple.

But she's in many ways the perfect paradigm of what a companion should be. Fluent native speaker of English, literate, and open about food.
Plus strongminded, stubborn, and fiercely determined.
As well as gallant, considerate, and wise.

Those are all praiseworthy qualities.

And extremely important.

*      *      *  

Anyway, head on over to creepy white guys and have fun reading the wondrously wrong stuff posted there. Because you must read.
It's as vital as breathing. In, out. Or eating.
In any case, I recommend all of that.
Try doing it at the same time.
I am creepy white guy.
Trust me.

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


Several of my friends are distressed at my singleness. My solitary bachelor life, and the occasional evidence of frustration and loneliness, makes them feel sad on my behalf.

I am not distressed.

Yeah, occasionally frustrated and lonely.
But not distressed.
Or sad.

I've seen what's out there.

The San Francisco singles world is a replay of Night of the Living Dead. Mixed with an unhealthy helping of SantaCon.
There's little worse than nasty elves.

Oh, and many women are artists, creative and vibrant, and experienced world travelers who DESERVE a financially stable enthusiastic non-smoking athlete. Who shares her passion. Whatever that is.

Either that, or shoes.

This blogger may not be prime relationship material. I smoke and drink, have a fondness for bakeries in Chinatown where something flaky may be found as well as a hot beverage, and own far too many books, many of which are NOT high-literature or high-minded.
I put hot-sauce on many things.

No, I don't go to clubs or all the latest fancy restaurants.

For the occasional alcoholic beverage I prefer quiet places where I can hear what the person that I am in conversation with is saying, and the music is neither painfully loud nor excessively unique and hip.
No music at all would be best.

My favourite restaurants are relatively cheap, but do good stuff. The ambience is more real world than high-fallutin' chic. No pretentious or nouveau in-spots, and if they've spent a fortune on ambiance and décor, they've already made me dread the experience.

My idea of dating is dull and boring. Let's do coffee, then browse at a bookstore, and have a quiet dinner in a while. I will walk you to your door, and we'll agree to meet again in another day or two. Please bring a book, and we'll find a café that looks like it would be fun to sit for a few hours just reading.

Care for some beef chow fun? How about some roast pork?
There's a place on Waverly with superior congee.
On Clay we can have chicken wings.

The Caffe Trieste is always noisy, and the Roma appears not to exist anymore (it's now the Colosseo). But the latte at both Puccini and the Greco is decent, and they are usually not jam-packed, except near evening.
We can go there after not buying a book at City Lights.

Let's have an early supper at the Washington Café afterwards, then we can stroll over the hill back to your place. Do you mind if I smoke my pipe while we walk?

See? That's almost impossibly unexciting, and damn well guaranteed to make any woman yawn. It just isn't appealing in any way.
Stodgy, unimaginative, and depressingly settled.

Plus I don't have a cell-phone and do not text or tweet.

I am a rather unsuitable man.

Which is ok.

So yes, still quite solitary and single, and also occasionally somewhat frustrated by that condition. Bachelorhood is not a grand experience.
But I am quite happy that I am not an enthusiastic non-smoking athlete.
Being an ideal man sounds like it might be a drag.

And vibrant, creative, and artistic world travellers, as all single women are, would very probably not be my cup of tea.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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