Thursday, July 31, 2014


More bad news from the Israeli front, where the Muslim Brotherhood errrm, Humus, is still attempting to shoot rockets at normal society. As well as broadcasts of 'The Real Housewives', and multiple episodes of 'The Tudors', both of which are being watched by my apartment mate.
Religiously, as if they were self-help.

One wonders whether the mayhem will ever end. Six seasons of cannibalistic bitches, who have not died of kuru yet.

My moral support is for King Henry of England, determined to root out French rapscalliaty and liberate Boulogne (known to civilized people as 'Beunen').

The world is a bloody place.



As any thoughtful man would, I remember historical drama series from public television.

John Cleese: "And that concludes this week's episode of 'How to Recognize Different Parts of the Body' adapted for radio by Anne Hayden-Jones and her husband Piff. And now we present the first episode of a new radio drama series, 'The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots'."

"Part One: The Beginning."

[Music plays.]

"You are Mary, Queen of Scots?"

'I am!'

[Sounds of violent blows, chaos, anarchy, discord, and the gnashing of teeth; bones and plates breaking, and grievous wounding, with screaming from the woman who spoke.]

[Music plays.]

"Episode Two of 'The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots', can be heard on Radio Four almost immediately."

[Music, machine sounds, destructive noises, and even more screaming.
Followed by stillness.]

"I think she's dead."

'No, I'm not!'

[More sounds of violent mayhem and murder. End credit music plays.]

"That was episode two of 'The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots', adapted for radio by Bernard Holliwood and Brian London.
And now, Radio Four will explode."



No, I'm not particularly vested in the fortunes of the heretics of New York or Gaza. But if I had to choose, New York would win hands down, no questions. What care I for the tunnel rats of Gaza?

The temper and disposition of the troops is excellent.

Doubtless the knaves of Berkeley shall weep.

And lament their shrunken balls.

We live in a world where reason and learning no longer prevail.

It is time for that second cup of coffee that I've been promising myself since five thirty. There is a fog in the air. Soon.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I have been reliably informed that lasagna is a code word for sex. Which convinces me that the Italian-American lobby is both strong and twisted. This pursuant 'National Lasagna Day', which was yesterday.
I have no recipe for lasagna, alas.
And feel incomplete.

An exhaustive internet search for lasagna turned up page after page of food, and one or two cats. Absolutely no zesty smut. Neither the Japanese nor the Dutch have broken the code.

I did find 'lasagna cupcakes', however. No, these aren't tasty little wantons, but consist of wonton wrappers or philo pastry lining molds, filled with meat sauce, ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella.
Handsize, and kind of like an Italianate dimsum.
Something only an American would eat.

Lord save us, there's also a Lasagna Burger.
Several examples of, including mini.
The Lasagna Bacon Cheese.

Plus, not surprisingly, Lasagna made with Sriracha hotsauce.

I am mighty intrigued by America's twisted fascination with sex. Which, obviously, all of this represents. Which at times includes but is not limited to basil, chicken, and tofu.

And now, because I can, and I need to astound my readers, as well as horrify the bookseller (a friend who reads this blog sporadically), and just to celebrate our twisted American sexuality, I shall present in its entirety the recipe for 'Spicy Tex-Mex Lasagna' which Kikkoman offers on their page. As exciting a sexual experience as any.
Fabulous furry food porn.

The only things missing are pickled jalapeños and bacon.
Which a true-blue Texan adds to everything.
Before or after beans and cheese.


Ingredients (Makes 8 servings)

1 whole roast or rotisserie chicken
2 cans (20 ounces each) enchilada sauce
2 tablespoons Kikkoman Sriracha Sauce
12 to 16 six-inch corn tortillas
1 can (30 ounces) refried beans
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. Shred chicken meat and discard bones and skin. In a medium saucepan, heat enchilada sauce and sriracha sauce over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until hot. Spread 3 tablespoons sauce in an 11- by 7-inch baking dish and arrange 3 or 4 tortillas on top in a single layer. Spread refried beans on top. Add another layer of tortillas and sprinkle with the cheese. Spread 1 cup sauce on top and add a third layer of tortillas. Spread chicken on top of tortillas, layer remaining tortillas on top and cover with remaining sauce. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.


Kikkoman also produces a huge number of products which could be added to your Spicy Tex-Mex-Sex in lieu of or addition to. I very much rely on their soy sauce and tamari soy sauce, just like I trust Lee Kum Kee for my oyster sauce and shrimp paste, Huy Fong Foods for oomph and sabor autentico, and Viet Huong for my delicious amber-hued fish sauce, which is both a table condiment and a cooking ingredient.
All of these are pillars of my kitchen.
The prized culinary fundaments.
AND incredibly sexy!

Heinz, Grey Poupon, and Kraft are likewise useful.
Not, however, steaming and pervy.
Far too Protestant.


For other discussions on this blog anent sauces and condiments, please view the posts mentioned below.

A tangy condiment: Tamarind Chutney.
Snarking Irwindale about Sriracha: Alleged public nuisance.
Possible Sriracha shortage: Start hoarding.
XO Sauce, description and recipe: XO Sauce.
How fish sauce and shrimp paste are made: Ferment yourself.
In which Oyster Sauce plays a role: Cleanmindedness.
Three Crabs Fish Sauce: Viet Huong.
Shachajeung: Sand Daddy Sauce.
Sweet soy sauce and serundeng: Little brown notebook.
Remoulade: Fabulous Pizza and sheer heresy.

And, for what can happen when one is not mindful:

A slight side track: Segue into Habanero.


One: Instead of any of these, the British use white sauce and malt vinegar. That is why they are the least sexy people on the planet.

Two: I can't get lasagna out of my mind. Damn you, Italian lobby.

Three: Texans are twisted. Cheese?

Dinner tonight was a mixed grill with stir-fried okra over river noodles, with zesty salsa, green curry paste, shrimp paste, and chili paste.
Cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

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Once I came home, I spent a good ten or fifteen minutes in front of the mirror examining my own. And I am pleased to report that they look fine. Nothing there. Oh sure, a tuft of manly hair on both of them, but the skin is taught and the flesh is firm. There is both springiness and smoothness, as one would hope.

Not so everyone else.

There is nothing quite like wrinkled old oxster.

Given the weather we've been having lately (70°+), an awful lot of that is on display. Under certain circumstances, clothing that exposes armpits to the world may indeed be called for, but sleeveless blouses on elderly matrons, or strange athletic garb on geezers, is unjustified on public transport; dessicated elderly pits are not a pretty sight.
Especially not all wrinkled and spotted.

Thanks, but no thanks.

The only acceptable naked pits are on females who are fresh-looking and healthy. If they haven't been sweating, and lack tattoos.
Not too robust, please.

Everyone else should dress far less lightly.

The bus ride the other evening was educational. One woman kept holding on to the pole even while seated. By reaching across another person. Which meant that her right-arm hazard was barely six inches from the face her fellow passenger. Who looked a wee bit green. And delicately tried to persuade her neighbor that there WAS a pole much closer to her. With no luck.

Both of them were Chinese Americans, by the way.

The only reason why that datum is relevant is that there are times when a naked Chinese American armpit could be appealing. There have been occasions when I have found it, or both of them, to be unobjectionable. And possessed of considerable aesthetic merit, even something which one should encourage.

A well-sculpted upper arm can make a moment memorable.

Alas, this was not one of those moments.

It may take a while to forget.

My pits are fine.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


On a Dutch newspaper site I read that Justin Bieber is, once again, a subject of police attention. Apparently he's a noisy and unpleasant neighbor, and fellow residents in Beverly Hills have complained to the authorities. Why, I hear you asking, is that news?

Well, it isn't. Bieber is a plague that G*d forgot to dump on the Egyptians. Consequently anything that blistery little putz does is three thousand years too late. So last millennium.

Suggestions had been mooted to ship him to the South Pole.

Penguins promptly rioted and broke windows.

Not on their watch, ever.

I'm just baffled at De Telegraaf newspaper thinking anyone cares about Justin Bieber. I had no idea so many braindead American teenyboppers read Dutch. Honestly, I thought they were only literate (semi-literate) in gutbucket trailer trash valleytalk, and lacked even the ability to look things up on the net.

Personally, my sympathies are entirely with the penguins. Not only do they NOT want Justin Bieber living in the same neighborhood, but so far NOT A SINGLE FLIGHTLESS WATERFOWL has attended a Bieber concert.
Which shows resolve, good taste, and a sound moral compass.
Penguins are excellent creatures and deserve respect.
Protect their world; keep it Bieber-free.

Canada doesn't want him back either. Reason being that they're afraid their own polar creatures will rise up. There's nothing worse than baby harp seals on a rampage. Before you know it, they'll be burning down boulangeries and waving anarchist flags.

I guess we're stuck with Justin Bieber.
There's no getting rid of him.


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Do you see any mention there of Justin Bieber?
Well, do you?

There's no frikken' Bieber in there what-so-freakin'-ever. Not a single frocken' reference to him, his ghastly notoriety, his appalling behaviour and zomboid fanbase, or anything the rancid little cretin has ever done.
You cannot find anything Bieberish in the poem.

There is a reason you won't. No part of that famous poem applies to Justin Bieber in any way at all. He is beside the point entirely. If, back in 1883, Emma Lazarus had had any idea that we would be cursed with Justin Bieber, all the lines in the second stanza would have terminated in "except Justin Bieber, G*d forbid!"
The French would have had second thoughts about donating the statue if there had been any inkling of that fearsome curse. "Mon Dieu, c'est une peste incroyable, un véritable cataclysme," they would have said "un mir yitzt hobn tzweitere fartrachten!"

After the nuclear holocaust, the only creatures left alive will be cockroaches and Justin Bieber.

Pity the poor penguins.

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This blogger (moi!) is in receipt of a plaintive query! A shmendrick seeks advice, and far be it from me to not channel for my inner self-help guru at the slightest opportunity! I am full of excellent suggestions and heart-felt good words, oh boy!

Just think of me as the Dear Abby of underwear.

My correspondent writes: "I have been following a Cantonese girl for days now, but she keeps ignoring me. And I've tried everything.
How do I get into her panties?

Answer: Try being a gentleman. Women find that attractive.

It's a quick and glib response, and it might not get him what he desires.
But somehow I feel that it's the best approach. Judging from both his stalker-behaviour and her sneering at him, I suspect that rather than discovering that a creep is sharing her underwear, what she would really like is to surprise him in a dark alley with a two-by-four and club him to death like a harp seal.

If I were a Cantonese girl, that's what I would want to do.

Are there rusty nails at the end of the 2 by 4?

If not, there really should be.

This query was underneath a post from a long time ago. Pursuant pastry-shopping in Chinatown, I had spoken well of an individual involved in the merchandising of baked goods. One of my own fond fantasies involves the concept of a female person handing me a cup of hot Hong Kong style milk-tea and a flaky turnover filled with barbecue pork in exchange for money, and then ignoring me while I pensively munch and slurp.
If there is a window out of which I can gaze, so much the better.
Two napkins, please. One of them is for my glasses.
Spectacles collect smoot, unfortunately.


Following: Verb; being behind or after, either in a state of mobility, or, in an internet context, having clicked a suitable 'button' on screen. Within the parameters of this querent's message, it probably refers to stalking, harassing, inconveniencing, and generally being a pest. Either a baseball bat or legal measures are recommended. A can of mace or roach-spray might also be a good idea.
Cantonese: Adjective; descriptive of a person, thing, or state of being which has as its defining condition an origin or characteristic related to either a metropolis or region in the south of China.
Girl: Noun; female person of any age, if used favourably, but in the narrow sense as it applies to dating, strictly someone who is legally old enough to purchase tobacco and can still be addressed as 'miss'.
Panties: Noun; nether garment.

Chinatown: Regionymic; a residential and commercial area of San Francisco bounded geographically by California Street, Mason Street, Vallejo, and Kearny. There are more Caucasian internet-startup yuppies living there than there used to be. Fortunately they haven't chased away the purveyors of Hong Kong style milk-tea and delicious pastries.
Hong Kong style milk-tea: Noun; a comforting boldly flavoured beverage constructed of black tea and condensed milk which was invented in Hong Kong.
Flaky turnover: Noun, bakery term; mille-feuille wrapped around a scrumptious filling.
Barbecue pork: Noun (culinary); scrumptious filling.

I truly hope that this was helpful.
Let me know.


Comments placed underneath posts which involve certain anatomical descriptives, repulsive obscenity, and links to products and services that I neither want nor need (such as medications including but not limited to 2-[(Dimethylamino)methyl]-1-(3-methoxyphenyl)cyclohexanol, 1-[4-ethoxy-3-(6,7-dihydro-1-methyl-7-oxo-3-propyl-1H-pyrazolo[4,3-d]pyrimidin-5-yl) phenylsulfonyl]-4-methylpiperazine, pornography sites, roofing companies, and diet aids), as well as designer shmattot, trinkets, and chotch, will not published.

My readers do not require any substance which binds to the mu opioid receptor and inhibits the re-uptake of serotonin and norepinephrine.

At least, I think they don't.

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Monday, July 28, 2014


Several years ago Savage Kitten told me about an office meeting that got disrupted by a late arrival, who proffered as his ridiculous excuse for such insensitive tardiness that the line at Starbucks was exceedingly long.
She wondered if that person had his head screwed on right.
I volunteered that it was screwed in. Not on.
Somewhere dark and clammy.

The true caffeine addict plans ahead.

Two cups of coffee to start the day. Tea after bathroom, shave, shower. Then some more tea. And later on, even more. The coffee gets you up to cruising speed, the tea ensures that you maintain proper altitude.
Dosed up and spaced out gets you through the day.
If you are a woman, don't shave.

The enlightenment and the industrial age would not have happened without caffeine. Prior to that time Europeans drank ale or wine from sunup to sundown -- because ditch water would kill you -- and most Northern Europeans were soused by the afternoon. The Latins were often asleep at that time, and due to the deleterious effects of wine, more of them died of heat apoplexy than should have been the case.

Within a mere two generations of caffeine being introduced, Europeans were well on their way to brutalizing the whole world. Plus they suddenly realized how much they hated being unwashed and living in a dump.
How ironic that some of them moved to the Midwest!

The Alhambra water ran out yesterday. We think that the cooler is leaking into its base. Two full jugs have disappeared.

I have discovered that Marin County water is perfectly drinkable, especially after it's been microwaved. Four Oolong teabags, four Bo Nay (普洱茶 'pǔ ěr chá', dark and strong, from Foojoy).
I was high as a kite by the time I got back to SF.
Full of vim and vigour. Piss and vinegar.
Beans, baby, just bouncing.

I rather like being wired to the tits.
It makes me feel alive.

More caffeine with dinner.

Of course, I had not had nearly enough sleep the night before (only four hours), so judgement and sanity were both stretched mighty thin.
At times during the day I caught myself gibbering.
Lucid and logical, yes. Eloquent too.
Unnatural, and insane.

*      *      *      *      *

It goes without saying that I had mental background music in my head for much of that time. Stately men in harem pants with ridiculous hats.

Chanting, and piercing oboes.

Ha'idi, yalla!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014


On hot days, a man wants to swan around in his underwear. Or even entirely naked. Out of deepest respect for the cigar smoking fellows of Marin County I did not do so today. They would've gotten an eye-full that they did not deserve.

And they would have been jealous. Particularly the elderly gentleman who eats fried chicken from a bucket in between puffing.
Besides, he'd rather see girl's tennis or golf.

I spent all day wearing clothes.
Which is exhausting!

Tomorrow will be different. Once the other person who lives in this apartment heads off to work, I'm stripping down.
It will be a sight to behold.

There will be no tickets available.
I am a modest exhibitionist.
Shy and reserved.

Unless one is Japanese, the maximum number of naked people should be no more than two. In any given place or time. The Japanese, of course, bathe in large groups, though often segregated by gender.
Other than in Japan, collective nudity is not quite the done thing.
So again: as many as two, but no more than.

[Image from Thermae Romae by Mari Yamazaki. Lucius, an ancient Roman bath house architect, transports to modern Japan for investigative purposes.]

The concept of group ablutions does not thrill me. I'm rather a sexist pig, and large numbers of the male physique don't strike me as salutary.
Actually, large numbers of ANY physique.

Nudity is best savoured in small doses.
The largest possible number is two.
I'm pretty firm on that score.

During the day I will fix myself some noodle soup.
After that I shall definitely need a bath.
As it will have splattered.

Please do not imagine me eating slick rice-sticks in the buff.
It just wouldn't be proper, or modest.
For either of us.

I am quite looking forward to this.

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Courtesy of Mordechai L., who lives somewhere east of Oakland in the ROC ("rest of country"), this blogger is now gratefully familiar with a comic strip which I had never seen before: Heavenly Nostrils.

Years ago I read two newspapers a day. Not because I am a news-addict (umm, yes), but for the comics. Both the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner strove to give their readers a complete world view by presenting edifying graphic narratives. In consequence of which I enjoyed Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, Frumpy the Clown, Funky Winkerbean, and Peanuts for several years.

Luann, of course, is not quite so worthwhile. And the less said about the Lockhorns the better. Cathy is irredeemably vile.

Pearls before Swine is sheer genius, and Stephan Pastis is a god.

In this blogger's weltanshauung, Family Circus also ranks.

As the one cartoon which will drive you mad.

Gibberingly insane, foaming.

Ghastly crap.

I hate cute. Icky little chubb-faced monsters with simplistic brains doing the kiddies-are-so-precious thing make me heave.
Enough said.

Slightly over a week ago Mordechai brought a series of episodes from Heavenly Nostrils to my attention. First I had ever seen of it.
I almost never read newspapers anymore, seeing as events of the world can be better perused on line. Why should I spend a dollar a day for a package that includes junkfood coupons, gossip, and sports?

Sports, including baseball, are for luftmenschen.

But anyhow.


No, it isn't about divinely inspired boogers, but about a little girl and her unicorn. It strikes a fine balance between snarky, cynical, and sweet.
I could go all intellectual on you and explain in literary and sociological terms what it all means, but I would rather you read it yourself, and buy the book.

[Double click on each strip for greater clarity and sharper lines.]

Heavenly Nostrils by Dana Simpson


Read more at SCANS_DAILY.

Come to think of it, divinely inspired boogers would be nice too.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014


There are many reasons why no sane man should consider relocating to this city, not least being the amoral and violent hipsters, unstable street people (indistinguishable from real-estate moguls), and the sad fact that having had chicken pox does not safeguard you from the French pox.
All in all, I am baffled at the hordes of computer programmers, poets, and Oregonians who stumble around Polk Street and the south of Market clubs at all hours.

What is it with you people?

Don't you have some parents to abuse?

Go home. Please please please PLEASE go home!

And for crap's sakes, don't eat our food. There isn't enough.





Yeah, I suppose that San Francisco is cooler than New York. But that isn't saying much. That's like being ranked better than Vladivostok and Dhaka. Scant contest, and little comfort. We're really unpleasant people, and once we find out you're from back east we will drug you and harvest your organs. My god, our pizza is vile! Not deep dish at all!

Even if you survive the first year, you still won't belong.

By that time you will have lost weight, acquired a heroine addiction, and been brutalized on the sticky tile floor of an expensive restaurant by a waiter you forgot to tip.
Your best friend from college will have visited for six straight weeks, and brought home suburban floozies and six packs of malt liquor every night, plus given you the French Pox.
The cat will be eaten by a hyena that took up residence under the sink, you'll have a family of refugees from Detroit living in the hall closet, and your boyfriend has gone all Vegan on your ass.

And then we'll harvest your organs.


No, realistically; that internet start-up that offered you a job ain't gonna pay you nearly enough, you'll be no closer to paying off your student loan, your credit cards will be maxed out, and without warning you may be out of a job. In one of the most expensive cities in the universe.
Where we hate you.

And you will discover that your landlord hates you too.

As well as the dude whose parking space you stole.

Plus local street people with vicious tendencies.

A number of diseases are endemic to the Bay Area, many of which are disfiguring. Medicine-resistant tuberculosis is common on buses, and acne medications are usually fake, besides costing an arm and a leg.

If Ebola or Marburg ever catch hold in the United States, it will happen here first; we're the probable port of first entry.

Malaria rages uncontrollably in the Richmond and Sunset Districts.

California ranks consistently high in venereal disease.

[Fun facts about the French Pox and other STDs, for the still-not convinced: STATISTICS ON SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS.]

We don't need anymore Cis-Sierran carpetbaggers.

You can vote Democrat elsewhere.

You are not needed.

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Friday, July 25, 2014


One of my correspondents asks, pursuant recent mentions of fish sauce and shrimp paste, what one should use in lieu thereof, if one lives in deepest Arkansas or Kentucky. "What", he asks, "can one do?"
One can move, is what. Why are you still there?

A place without Chinese, Vietnamese, or Philippinos is unlivable.

Any one of those three is the canary in the coalmine.

Consider it an acid test.

Case in point: Siberia. Drunken yobbos stumbling around the tundra as far as the eye can see, nothing but wilted cabbage, and freezing cold.
Not a single Chinese person, Vietnamese, or Philippino.
Because it's uninhabitable, is why.
Even Texas is better.

The second thing one can do is make your own fermented seafood products. In the same way that hairy hippy Oregonians started brewing their own beer -- because the big four are undrinkable, and kill plants when spilled on the lawn -- exquisite fish sauce and shrimp paste can be produced nearly everywhere near a coast, and as you experiment you will gain further knowledge and valuable experience.
Plus a potent addition to your larder.


The process is rather like making saurkraut. Use small fish, rather than large. Gut them, and layer them in a barrel with salt. The proportion of salt to fish is between one to two and one to three. Place a perforated cover on top of the last layer, and weigh it down with rocks. The salt will cause the fish to release liquid, they will float in consequence, and the perforated cover prevents that. Cover the top of the barrel with gauze to keep out insects.

After about ten days the fish should have released their liquids and broken down considerably. At this point you can uncover the top and expose it to the warm sun to promote fermentative processes. Occasionally skim the top to remove bugs that stray.

Eighteen months later you can strain off the liquid, which will be a clear darkish amber, and have a robust fragrance. The remaining sludge can be mixed with salt water and toasted grains to make a secondary ferment. It is kind of pointless, as this results in an inferior fish sauce.

Far better to dry it spread out in the sun, and press it into gooey bricks. This can be used as a flavouring when sauteeing food.
The Filipinos call it bagoong.

The first culling can be used for both cooking and as a table condiment.

The secondary extract is acceptable if that is all there is.

Ignore what your neighbors think.


Whether you use crustaceans or scaled creatures, mince them to a granular state without any large chunks. Mix in one and a half cups of sea salt to each kilo of fish. Press this into a tun overnight. The next day, spread it thinly on a bamboo mat or tarpaulin, and let it dry in the sun.
At nightfall scrap it back into the tun and cover.

Repeat this until it is dense and purply and the fish material has broken down, which takes about five days. After the first three days you may grind the sludge for uniformity, which will also speeds up the drying process, and produce a superior paste.

For Indonesian or Malay Trasi, repeat the sun-drying process until it becomes stiff and clay-like. It will eventually turn deep brown, and can be easily pressed into a brick shape. If dried till crumbly, it keeps for a very long time.


Small shrimp or anchovies, chopped up and mixed with vegetable matter such as tomato, onion, chilies, and garlic, with enough salt to let it ferment. The proportions are one part salt to three or four parts everything else, the everything else being at least two parts non-vegetable in origin. After a few weeks it should be nicely pungent, and ginger can be added plus a little more salt.
Mix it with a squeeze of lime juice.
Serve as a condiment.


This blogger lives in San Francisco, fifteen minutes walk from either Little Saigon or Chinatown. Consequently I need not worry about finding all the fragrant seafood products my heart desires.

鹹魚 、鹹蝦醬 、魚露 、馬拉盞。

But if I ever move to New Jersey, heaven forefend, I will undoubtedly start manufacturing my own pastes and sauces again, out on the concrete covered back lot. I understand it's hot there, yes?
Perfect for eighteen months of fermentation.
Plus I hear the place smells already.
So no-one gonna notice.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014


My apartment mate has broken up with her boyfriend. Again. This has been one stormy relationship for her. But I believe it will be for the best. She's sitting across the table from me at her own computer, and we have a cd with Honey West on the vcr. Sweet Jeebus, that's some crappy acting.
Geert Wilders evil twin skippy appears in one of the episodes. This is an insight that, while utterly brilliant on my part, I shall not be sharing.
It seems somewhat beside point.

Glad I didn't spend any time in the kitchen fixing myself eaties.
Under the circumstances, not doing so was the kinder option.

Dinner tonight is two tall glasses of strong milky ice coffee.
There's tons of nutrition in ice coffee, right?
High in fibre and vitamins!

From Wikipedia: "Honey West is an American crime drama television series that aired on ABC during the 1965–1966 television season. Based upon a series of novels that had launched in 1957, the series starred Anne Francis as female private detective Honey West and John Ericson as her partner, Sam Bolt."


Savage Kitten (my apartment mate) screamed this while momentarily distracted from being miserable. No, I haven't a clue who the heck Dick Clark is. Or, for that matter, Anne Francis. I am pathetically ignorant of American culture.

The last show I watched -- The X Files -- was also the first show I saw in many years. I enjoyed Barney Miller a long time ago, though. I style myself on Sergeant Yamada. And also somewhat on Detective Dietrich.
Who, as I'm sure we all remember, was from Mars.
The lie detector test proved it.

Miss Honey West is currently wearing something zebra-striped.
Thank heavens it isn't yoga pants.

Well, she isn't crying. She was earlier. Being all Asperger-ish, it would have freaked her out if I gave her a hug, so I simply shoved a stuffed gorilla into her arms ('Mr. Arabello Oyster'), made some comforting mumbly sounds, and am presently relying on the therapeutic influence of a warm and fuzzy great ape (who is less than a foot tall).
He's VERY soothing!

Occasionally I ask Mr. Oyster questions. This distracts Savage Kitten. It is a useful technique; she voices for all the small roomies, and while clearly it's a way of expressing aspects of her own personality in their words, she interprets true to their character. She makes them vibrant.
Mr. Oyster, who is the control monkey I brought home two years ago, is a stable and gentle sort. Sympathetic, sensible, and considerate.
As indeed all monkeys are.

Sheezus but the folks in the sixties dressed badly. Who said that era had style? And those icky bouffantish haircuts! What is that, a fat girl flip?
Nineteen sixties women had very pointed brassieres.
They were based on ice cream cones.
Sadistic creamery.

Shan't mention why they broke up. But I think this time it's permanent.
The poor girl is all torn up about it, but she's strong.
I think that she will be alright.

There's a monkey.

Random relevant quote from my apartment mate: "my friend, you're going to have so many a$$holes that you'll be leaking from everywhere!"
Though shy she's expressive.

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Holy crapp, there's mint flavoured m&m's! This is the new brainfood.
It is the breakfast of champions.

I am surprised at how utterly wonderful these little green gems are.
Nearly irresistable, as they lay there in their little package barely two feet away, softly whispering blandishments and allure in my direction.

Oh evil grass-green tempation!

"Come on over, big boy, you know you want to."

Shut up, small veridian hussies, shut up! I am supposed to be enjoying a cup of coffee at this early hour, especially because there are child-like cigar smokers out there I must tolerate later today!
I cannot have any sweetness!

It makes no difference. As if by an evil spell I come closer and closer to the package of sugared harlotry, I can smell the intoxicating perfume.
It beckons; a bracing blast.

Maybe if I had a cigarillo, those emerald delights would not shake their chubby thighs at me. At least I would not smell the minty freshness!

I need a wholesome morning snack, so that I do not succumb.

It's almost as bad as the zesty banana pudding.

Bruce Aidell's meatballs, a handful of sliced mushrooms, and spinach for colour; it's green. Oh crap, it looks like slick greeny-green sex-leaves! Quick, we must add some Sriracha to the pan, tame the savage beast.
Plus a squeeze of lime juice.

Toast will keep my mind off the bold trollops in the candy bag.
I also need toast.

Bruce Aidell's meatballs are yummy and delicious; all chicken. There is a perfect balance between their juicy goodness, and the textural effects of mushrooms and spinach. While I have shreds of leaf-vegetables stuck in my teeth, I cannot eat the green m&m's.
Conflict of interest.

Still, they just sit there, looking at me.
They are hurt by my lack of interest.
I swear I saw one of them winking.

I normally avoid breakfst.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


The driver in Manila was getting more and more antsy. Reason being that it had been several hours since breakfast, as it was likewise for everyone else on the road. Filipinos tend to be emotional about meals, especially when it's been too long since they ate. It's low blood sugar. Never interfere with a Filipino and food; it leads to very bad things.

We solved the problem by means of rice and skewered barbecue pork with garlic vinegar. Given that I'm a mukang-puti kano, I can do strange things like eating with the driver. Normally it isn't done. One breaks for lunch, and gives the other person time to squirrel-up their own chow.
But there were just two of us, and no one eats alone.
Single eating is just fuel.

There's always something tasty when there are Filipinos about. That's just the way it is. And Filipinos have an incredibly strong urge to eat companionably. The idea of stuffing one's own face and letting someone else go hungry nearby makes them uncomfortable, verging on nausea.
Here! You must eat!

Two and half hours later we needed some bihon.
It was a spontaneous decision.
Based on exposure.

There was an eatery he knew about five miles from where we had started talking about noodles.....

We backtracked from Balintawak to Caloocan. It rained heavily while we were eating, but by the time we finished, it had stopped and the fierce heat had driven all the moisture away. It barely even felt humid, and flies and dust intermingled in the blazing parking lot.
We were glad we had taken a break.

Filipinos eat a lot of rice, and consequently many dishes pack a bit of extra flavour, because the taste will be diluted by the starch. A little more salt (hot climate!), and little more sugar (brings out flavours), and a little more oil. It's still far far healthier than any part of the traditional American diet, and just tastes a heck of a lot better too.

For one thing, vegetables are not inevitably boiled limp and buttered.
That right there should get you rushing off to House of Lumpia!

One fast-food hot dog in downtown San Francisco is less digestible and more dangerous. A hamburger is worse for your heart than a large plate of pancit and inihaw na isda at a carinderia.
Lechon, longanisa, lumpia?
Talagang masarap!

The only problems with the Filipino diet are threefold: too much good stuff to eat, tea is only drunk when someone feels ill, and almost no hotsauce available everywhere!


Kapampangans are rice cultivators and fishermen, and the province is well-known for culinary creativity. Besides rice, sugar cane, vegetables, and fruits, are plentiful. Pampanga was one of the first Spanish territories in the islands, and also one of the first to revolt. It is part of the Philippine heartland, and well worth visiting.

A dish that frequently shows up when Filipinos get together is stewed oxtail with peanut sauce, which originated in Pampanga. Some recipes are complicated, others fairly simple. But it is quite unlike West-African, Indonesian, and Surinamese peanut sauce dishes, because there is no chili pepper heat.

Instead, the rich and savoury side is stressed.

The meat is simmered in its own broth for a few hours, then peanut butter or finely ground roasted peanuts are added to flavour and thicken the sauce, and subsequently vegetables put into the pot to contribute different textural elements. It is served with rice and fish-paste.
Most versions add achuete for colour, many use banana blossom (puso na saging) or bokchoy (petsay) as one of the vegetables, and several cooks thicken the sauce with fine-ground toasted glutinous rice.
Other meats are also used, not just ox-tail.
Heck, try it with brisket!


Three pounds meat, preferably on the bone.
One bunch of long beans (sitaw).
Three Asian eggplants (talong).
One onion.
Eight TBS peanut butter.
Four or five cups water.
Half a cup Atsuete water.
Some minced garlic.

Chop the meat into chunks, cut the long beans into two inch lengths, chunk-cut the eggplants. The onion should be simply halved.
Fry the garlic golden, then pour the water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer the meat in the water with the onion added, for about two hours or more; it should be tender and well-cooked.
Remove the meat from broth. Strain the broth and put it back on the stove. Ladle some out and blend with the peanut butter till smooth, pour this into the pot. Put the meat back in and add the Atsuete water.
Add the vegetables and simmer till tender.

Serve with a mound of white rice, a saucer of shrimp paste (bagoong), and quartered limes for squeezing. If you are me, you might want to fry the shrimp paste first in a little oil. While I love the taste of raw shrimp paste with very green mango, I prefer it cooked with hot food.
And yes, I would also add some chilipaste.
That's just the way I am.

All recipes are subject to modification and variance.

I should mention that I fry the onion in pork fat or clarified animal grease before the adding the garlic or anything else. I just like the extra oomph.
There's rice, remember?

Note: Achuete ('atsuete') is bixa orellana seed, also called achiote and annatto. There are two main ways of incorporating it for colour in your cooking. For achuete water, soak four tablespoons in a half a cup of hot water for an hour, then strain out the solids. The less-favoured method is to seethe it in three times the amount of oil, with some chopped garlic and a dried chili, then let the colour bleed into the oil for a few hours before straining. Either way, it adds only a very minor flavour, but a lovely glowing rust-red orange hue.

By the way, kare kare can also be made with pigs' trotters instead of ox-tail. Or even ribs.

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Sometimes this blogger is not the most warm-hearted of people. Even remotely. Oh sure, I hope that most humans find satisfaction and fulfillment in their lives, plus good karma, delicious tofu, and puppies, but once in a blue moon I put that fervent wish on the backburner.
And then turn off the heat entirely.
It ain't even simmering.
Stone cold.


My friend MK had given me a tin of pipe-tobacco, and I had filled a big bowl after enjoying tea-time snackipoos in Chinatown. Perhaps it was a mistake to then walk down Grant Avenue.

Grant Avenue is crowded during the tourist season, with slow moving pedestrians gawking at the colourful shops and strange native peoples. There are no paper parasols or off-duty frycooks where they come from, and the only non-whites are the Mexicans who keep everything running.

A large sour woman of a pinched wheatish complexion, very possibly from the People's Republic of Berkeley, saw me smoking and angrily informed me that I was a murderer.

"You kill children with that horrible habit!"

'No I don't, and you are taking up too much space.'

"People like you are destroying the world."

'Ma'am, kindly move your sanctimonious self aside. Life is far too short to deal with your type. You are loud and frumpily dressed, and you smell of bad karma.'
She seemed taken aback at my audacity, but then caught site of my Hello Kitty backpack. Which is the perfect size for half a dozen pipes, two or three tins of pipe tobacco, cleaners, tampers, matches, and a vitamin-packed energy drink if absolutely necessary.
Plus a small book.

"Hah, watcha got in there?!? Candy for tempting little kiddies?!?"

'A child's head, ma'am. We've got football practice this afternoon.'

I wish I could report that she fainted. Or plotzed. Instead she just looked daggers at me and left. The problem with white people like that is that they think they own the entire world. And Grant Avenue.
They block the sidewalk, say stupid things, and try on coolie hats.
Besides dressing funny, eating too much, and smelling bad.

It was an excellent smoke. Fairly robust, with Latakia pungency, and a nice undertone of decent Virginias. Precisely the kind of tobacco that makes me wish I had started smoking ten years earlier than I did, when I would still have been in my single digits. All children should learn to smoke fine pipe tobacco, as it inculcates good habits, dignity, and thoughtfulness.
And, with luck, they'll also avoid self-righteous pustules.
As well as loud frumps, possibly Berkeleyite.

If you see a mature man in San Francisco Chinatown with a Hello Kitty backpack, please don't stop to harass him. Unless you're fairly certain that the child's head in his bag is yours.
If you're polite, he'll give it back.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Monkey gonna end up trouble. The Head Roomie is VERY upset with his behaviour. And he cannot understand why that little sheep is so angry. When I told him to look within himself, his reaction was sheer pleasure at the concept.

"Oh, I is SO handsome! Like a Filipino!"

He probably patted himself on the back. I don't know, as I wasn't watching. He was in the other room.

There are two humans in this apartment, surrounded by an unruly mob of stuffed animals. Consequently we are stressed; it is hard to bear the fuzzy riotous mob.
One of whom imagines himself "like a Filipino".
You know. Humphrey Bogart.
Très suave.

During the nineties and early two thousands I regularly read Filipino newspapers, especially the local weekly. After a while I became aware of a pattern of articles which served no other purpose than to win friends and influence people among the advertisers.
In which certain individuals were praised highly.
For great achievements oh my!
The brilliance!

"Photo of miss Daisy ("Dinky") Katabangbang at her recent piano recital. The talented sixteen year old native of Matabongga City (The Flower Capital of Dinuguan Island) has been praised for her soulful renditions of romantic ballads, and comes from an illustrious family (here shown surrounding the Yamaha grand piano in their beautiful salon), which includes several senators, doctors, and intellectuals.
Her grandfather Apo' Katabangbang was a celebrated war hero and godfather to the son of Senator Aristotle "Dingus" Quirino.

The community of South San Francisco is justly proud of Dinky's laurels at the recent Tri-State Junior Miss Industrial Equipment Pagaent.

Two weeks later, another mention of miss Dinky, or of famed senator Dingus. As well as praise for some auntie who wrote a truly precious cook book ("The Culinary Treasures from Paradise Island"), and mention of yet another beauty pageant ("Miss Flower Butterfly of Matabongga City 1962 - shown saluting First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy upon first setting foot in Dinuguan").

If you believed the articles, all well-dressed Filipinos were well-educated and talented, and capable of notable achievements, talaga!
Mas-masyadong illustre.

Everything a Filipino does is fantastic, and just absolutely wonderful.
You didn't know that, did you? Well, now you do.

Yes, I tend to sneer at Filipinos. But in all honesty I wouldn't mind being one. They have a zest for life, and bold enthusiasm.
As well as staggering imagination.
And really good food.

Napaka ma-admirable, kanila.

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Monday, July 21, 2014


Late lunch: lo mai kai, charsiu sou, and jin dui. Plus a bowlful of Russ Ouellette's imitation of Balkan Sobranie 759 (Black House Pipe Tobacco, marketed by Hearth and Home).

Lo mai kai

Glutinous rice and chicken chunks, black mushrooms, and lapcheung, wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed. The flavours meld magnificently, and the chicken-infused sticky rice is a comforting and hearty meal.
Very good with hot sauce.

Chaa siu sou

A small flaky pastry filled with barbecued pork. Delicious, and available at dimsummeries and coffee shops all over Chinatown. Tourist do not know what it is, and consequently look at it without realizing that it is edible.
Very good with hot sauce.

Jin deui

A glutinous rice flour dough ball filled with sweet lotus seed paste, rolled in sesame seeds, and plonked into a vat of hot oil. A mysterious fried object which any Dutchman would instinctively love. Except he would almost certainly call it onde onde, and buy it at the toko.
Not so good with hot sauce.
You knew that.

An imitation of, acclaimed.

There was a competition in 2011 to duplicate, if possible, a legendary pipe tobacco blend which is no longer made. Personally I think such events are remarkably silly, as people's nasal-memories always shift over time, and consequently within only a few years each person remembers something different about a tobacco.

Black House Pipe Tobacco, by Hearth and Home

Like another praiseworthy contender ('Blue Mountain', by McClelland Tobacco Company of Kansas City), this mixture barely resembles the target, being not even faintly recollective, and barely even in the same ball park. And like that other one, it is a very enjoyable smoke, which is worth buying for its own sake. Whatever the heck goes on in Russ Ouellette's subconscious -- or his nose -- is a disturbing and profound mystery, and sometimes yields interesting and strange results.
I like it. But if I ever tell Greg that, he may think me queer.
So I shall keep diplomatically silent.

For some reason, many things I like go well with hot sauce. I'd go out on a limb and state that pipe tobacco probably doesn't, but before or after the hot sauce is fine. Many pipe smokers like hot sauce.
Those that don't are likely perverts.

Lo mai kai, charsiu sou, jin dui, hot sauce, and pipe tobacco.

If you like four out of those five you are probably great to hang around with, a remarkable person, and lovely company.
We can work on the fifth.


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Several years ago, when Savage Kitten and I were still an item, she walked into the kitchen just after I had prepared myself a tasty snack.
I was reminded of this by a posting on the Facebook page of a friend, who praised Viet Huong Three Crabs Brand Premium Fish Sauce. What makes Viet Huong so special is that they use the first dewy extraction after eighteen months of slow fermentation, yielding an "all-purpose natural seasoning that enhances the flavor of your favorite dishes".

There's nothing like an authentic fish sauce for adding oomph to your food, and omitting it leads to empty lives and broken homes.

I heartily recommend Viet Huong's Three Crabs Brand.

['yuet heung saam haai mak seung dang tau pin yü lou']

Savage Kitten, on the other hand, might have other thoughts. Her reaction upon entering that day was to recoil, shrieking "good Lord it smells of c*nt in here! Did you fry up a bucket of dead c**tchie?!?"

Even after I clarified that it was merely pork chunks, a little brown sugar, chilies, and garlic, with lime juice and fish sauce, to go with my rice, she ranted on about elderly Asian women in downtown clothing stores who stank of fish. "Take a bath sometime, auntie, and PLEASE use sponge on a stick for your hard to reach squidgy parts!"

My ex is Cantonese; she can say these things.

I still appreciate her eloquence.

She's quite remarkable.


But she is perhaps far too refined and genteel to thoroughly appreciate good fish sauce (魚露 'yü lou'). Which Three Crabs brand (三蟹嘜 'saam haai mak') by Viet Huong Company Limited (越香有限公司 'yuet heung yau haan gung si') most certainly is.

Well-bred Cantonese people have problems with assertive smells like durian, cheese, white people, and fish sauce.

For the interested, here are addresses for Viet Huong:

[Viet Huong Company Ltd., Viet Huong Building, 28 Hoi Wah Road, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong.]

In the United States:

Viet Huong Fishsauce Company Inc.
5990, 3rd Street,San Francisco CA 94124 U.S.A
Tel: (415) 822 0612

Note: In the Netherlands, please contact: Mijnheer Herman Kuijper, Noorddammerweg 91b, 1187 ZS Amstelveen, The Nederlands. Tel: (31) 0206452988. OR: Nivo Im- en Export Beverwijk B.V., Schieland 8, 1948 RM Beverwijk, The Netherlands. Tel: (31) 0251215585.

[Viet Huong was founded in San Francisco in 1984. At present their main operation is based in Hong Kong, with factories in Vietnam and Thailand. In addition to the original Three Crabs, they make a range of other fish sauces.]

Savage Kitten (my ex) vociferously denies that she EVER said anything like what I quoted above. But I remember it quite well. It was the same week that she gave a durian to one of her white co-workers, perhaps to piss-off the Filippinas she works with.


Last week she walked into the kitchen after I had fixed myself something to eat, and said "hey why does it STINK of dead fish in here g*ddamn what have you been doing smelly old toad?" I believe she suspects me of perversion. Which, given that we have been merely apartment mates for four years now since our breakup, and I have been a single man all that time, is perhaps not an unnatural or unreasonable supposition.
Single men are known for eccentric behaviour.

In fact, I had not committed a perversion.

Not even close.

[Perversion: 變態的事 'pin taai dik si'. Perverted: 變態的 'pin taai dik'. Sexual perversion: 性變態 'sing pin taai'. Culinary perversion: 西方菜 'sai fong choi'.]

I had cooked up some meatballs (肉丸 'yiuk yuen') and spinach (菠菜 'po choi') with red curry paste(紅咖喱膏 'hung gaa lei gou'), shrimp sauce (鹹蝦醬 ' haahm haa jeung') from Lee Kum Kee (李錦記), and crumbled peanuts (碎花生 'suei faa sang'), over rice stick noodles (米粉 'mai fan'), chicken broth and lime juice added.
Repeat: not perversion.

Lee Kum Kee's Shrimp Sauce 李錦記的蝦醬 ('lei kam kei dik haa jeung') is velvety smooth-smooth and slickitty-slick (幼幼滑滑 'yau yau gwat gwat').
You need it for your healthy life style (健康嘅生活方式 'gin hong ge saang wut fong sik').


電話: 852-26603600
圖文傳真: 852-26658005

[Lee Kum Kee, 2-4 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Hong Kong. Tel: 852-26603600. Fax: 852-26658005.]

Three Crabs Brand Fish Sauce and Lee Kum Kee Fine Shrimp Sauce can be found at quality stores all over the civilized world, and perhaps even in Europe, rather like Gentleman's Relish.

I suspect that both fish sauce and shrimp sauce may be too objectionable for many women. Too robust, even. Strictly hearty white bachelor stuff.
It's that refined Cantonese femininity; hard to live with.
Hard to live without.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014


I am in receipt of an unusual communication. It represents the response a cigar-smoking friend sent following a request to be added to someone's LinkedIn contact list. I shall reproduce it below, with edits to protect the innocent.

Dear Spanker,

Please tell those motherless f8ck monkeys in corporate syndication: "Enough already!"


Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry

What makes it remarkable is that I know the man who sent it and therefore understand that at least forty other individuals were also courtesy-copied on this simple message.

Only two of those forty plus are NOT cigar smokers.
We are pipe smokers. Two exceptions.
Indeed, we are blessed.

Both mister Spanker and mister Dingo are cigar smokers.
As is the person who originated the LinkedIn request.
Memo to self: don't taunt cigar smokers; they bite.

I spend half of each week in the proximal vicinity of cigar smokers, and consequently fear for my own sanity. It cannot be healthy, never mind the hail-fellow-well-met character of their company.

Unlike pipes, cigars and their aficionados have scant appeal to the gentler sex. Possibly it is because of the misplaced machismo that most stogey-huffers radiate, more likely their lack of refinement plays a deciding part.
When women think of men with cheroots, they automatically envision hairy unshaven men with paunches, body lice, beer-bellies, and crotch odour. And rightly so!

Men with briars, on the other hand, make them remember their favourite fellow-students, plus handsome scholars, refined mature human beings, and just all-round decent chaps with sound morals, civilized habits, and realistic standards of personal hygiene.
In fact, rational women, and even daring young ladies, naturally prefer the company of pipe smokers over cigar smokers by at least twenty to one.
The exception, unlike the nineteen others, has a plumber fixation.
Perhaps she needs therapy, more likely de-programming.


An internet search for "cigar smoking women" turned up several hundred porno sites, plus numerous snuff films, and ranting teapartiers. Whereas "pipe smoking women" found a thesaurus, literary criticism, an article about lobster, eBay, and a badger.

The conclusion is clear: date a pipe smoker.
Contact me, I know how it's done.


On Mondays and Tuesdays I am nowhere near cigar smokers. It is a welcome break, and I look forward to meeting real people.
Or washing my hair and doing laundry.


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A bunch of vodka-sodden yobbos, while finishing the last of the home-brew, decide, "hey, let's see if this thing really works". Doesn't matter if they were Russians, Ukrainians, or tribal werewolves and rednecks from Donetsk. Moments later a Malaysian plane comes plummeting down. "Wow, Igor, look at what you've done!" "Yeah, but it worked, huh!?!"

I am not equitably minded about Igor.

It would be nice if whoever was responsible for this were drawn and quartered. Slowly.

At present, I cannot tell the difference between people speaking Russian and people speaking Ukranian. They are often on the bus at the same time as I am. I find their languages equally repulsive at the moment, and would rather not be forced to listen to them.

Must maintain calm, must maintain calm.

Not everyone speaking Russian or Ukranian is a vodka-drenched syphilitic subhuman gangster who dresses funny, eats too much, and smells bad.

Russian Cossacks in Donetsk, however, have a special place in hell. And it is a pity that the fires do not lick them yet.

I fervently hope that they soon outlive all their friends and kin.

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