Sunday, August 31, 2014


One of the essays which always seems to pull in visitors is about pipe tobacco. Which is a subject that probably does not interest nine out of ten readers, especially the female of the species. I actually suspect that that demographic may have NO interest in pipe tobacco at all.

Rather a sad state of affairs.
I wish it weren't so.

You'd think that by now I would have figured out what women want, whether in a man to love or a block of text to absorb, but I'll readily confess that I haven't a clue.

None of the women I have known are good examples of the ilk.

OR: "Read" astray by previous experience

My mother read Middle English, Old English, Old Irish, and Old Norse.
In consequence of which I was exposed to the language of Beowulf and Hengist at an early age, and her further fondness for Science Fiction and Mythology naturally contributed to many of my tastes.

My grandmother read Shakespeare and several other playwrights.
Which, naturally, I have too.

The woman who taught me more about pipes and tobacco than anyone else recommended Günther Grass, Thomas Mann, Mary Renault, Willa Cather, Marguerite Yourcenar, Nadine Gordimer, and Proust. I've read and reread all of that, as well as several books by Wyndham Lewis, which a mutual friend found fascinating.

One of my first love/lust interests perused gun manuals and weaponry textbooks, in addition to Mythology, Fantasy, and Science Fiction.
We had those last three in common.

My last love/lust interest revisited Brideshead Revisited so many times it was like she lived there. In addition to sucking up Barbara Cartland for the quotable lunacy, books about the tackiest celebrities in the world, Greek Mythology (probably for the strong murderous women), and several cartoon compendia. Plus Jane Austen and J. K. Rowling.
We both like Edward Gorey, Bloom County, and Calvin & Hobbes, as well as several other three-panels funnies.

[Somewhere along the line I also digested James Joyce's Ulysses, much by Isaac Asimov, and nearly all of Nabokov. Plus a lot of everything else. Much of it was accidental; I was bored, and sometimes just wanted to escape.]

There are at least a dozen specimens of womanhood whom I currently know and like as friends, but I do not know what they read, or if they even read. Well, anything other than whatever it is that women are supposed to read, which again I don't know what it is.

Several women I have never met in the real world give every evidence of having devoured huge amounts of high fallutin' literature, witty British stuff, Talmudica, linguistics, and exegesis. Which is all very admirable, and I find them to be truly great thinkers and comentators, but the chances of our ever meeting are slim to nil.

I guess that the only things all of the reading women whom I mentioned and I have in common are dictionaries, children's books, and comics.

That's actually a pretty decent selection.

It's a sound basis for friendship.

With a sense of humour.


What was the post that drew in pipesmokers, I hear you asking. You are keen to read the one article which binds us all in a fraternity (0r 'propinquitas') of comradeship and hail-fellow-well-met.

It's an article about something incredibly nasty

CLAN, by Theodurus Niemeyer

I wrote that back in May of 2011.

It has been read ever since.

Every single day.


I'm fairly certain that the number of women who have seen that post is not even worth counting, a statistical anomaly. Tobacco that smells like a dead skunk in a pile of rotting fruit is not something that interests them.
Men, on the other hand, are like little boys in that regard.
They have an overwhelming urge to poke it.
See if it starts falling apart.
Or oozing.

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


Sometimes pork shoulder wishes to masquerade as real human. Yet, sadly, it fails.  There is no way internetbots can fool the blogger in charge here.
Quite commonly, the programming that brought them to life, and defines their being, nay, even their electronic souls, commands them to seed my "letterbox" (see embedded link at the bottom of this and every post for the past four years), where real readers can contact me, safe in the knowledge that what they write in a fit of frustrated passion -- OR ire -- OR pleased realization at how similar we are -- OR bafflement -- OR desperate sexuality -- OR friendly curiosity -- will NOT be published, but will be responded to.

If, for instance, their frustrated passion, ire, pleased realization of how similar we are, bafflement, desperate sexuality, or just friendly curiosity, prompted them to ask whether I was really the hot middle-aged stud-muffin that my essays suggest, I would answer truthfully.
It would be a nuanced response. Shades of grey and all that.
On the other hand, there are some messages that probably don't have a live human behind the keyboard that sent 'em, and do not require serious consideration.

I value your genuine vibrancy.
Oh boy howdy yes.
Write me.


Item no. 1:
A diet-salespage compliments me on my marvelous posting and tells me that there is a chance that I might be a great author. There are words of noncommittal encouragement, followed by a commercial link.

Comment: Generally speaking I sneer at special diets. Such things are for large professional women who cannot cook or obsessed wannabe beauty queens. I am not a large woman, or obsessed.
At this point, I am a slightly scrawny man.
A very clean-minded one.
Not a perv.

Item no. 2:
A body-building supplement wishes to know how I could make my site more friendly to mobile devices, and asks about themes and plug-ins.
A cheery salutation is followed by a commercial link.

Comment: There are several themes on this blog. What you do with plug-ins is your own affair; rubber equipment is NOT a theme here. I've seen such occasionally, at adult shops and hardware boutiques. Buy a wide selection, indulge your nasty self or blow a gasket, and feel free to put the plug into the same place that you use for the mobile device.
I am not a perv, I wouldn't know about that anyway.
Men who use supplements are suspect.

Item no.3:
Extensive gibbering in French about RayBan sunglasses. Several words of uncertain meaning eventually make way for an entire sentence in Double Frog, which is then followed by a commercial link.

Comment: Dude! RayBan is SO last century. Charles Schultz drew Snoopy wearing RayBan specs back in the eighties, and there was an article mentioning them in a men's magazine that I do not admit ever reading because I am not a pervert with sex on my mind.
RayBans make you look sleazy.
Unless you're a beagle.

Item no. 4:
Vacation packages and cruise plans for my delectation. It is information that he, she, it, or they, promise will make my location more enjoyable. Followed by a commercial link.

Comment: My location is already enjoyable. It is a comfy cane chair in the television room, with my first cup of coffee for the day within reach on a small tray atop a stack of books to my left.
Books are everywhere.

Item no. 5:
Another cheery salutation! One that a likable old pervert might make. An expression of surprise at the newness of my content.
Followed by a commercial link.

Comment: My content is new on a daily basis, but I frequently rehash the same themes.  None of which are diets, dietary supplements, body building food, or pervert sunglasses.

FURTHER: Spammothetic contributions underneath posts (ergo: not dumped into the letterbox) range from "attractive stumbling" through "exactly same layout and subject" as someone else's blog (about vegan skincare) and "Dr. Dre", to something which I initially read as "I'll right of way grab your ass". Which last entry I found disquieting; I suspect that the person offering to do that is not a shy virginal college graduate with spectacles, but something in the vein of a big biker type.
Not that they've ever said it either.

Far too often, the spammatic commentary is a variation on apprenticing while several ammendations of a fantastic beat continue. Which regular bloggers who are reading this, if there are any, will recognize as a pork-shoulder meme of durance and potency, seeing as they themselves have probably circular-filed such things innumerable times.

Nudity occurs no more than twice a day.
I thought you should know.

Bath. Jammies.

Fitfully passionate frustration -- ire -- pleased realization of similarity -- desperate sex -- friendly curiosity

There is no rampant perversion here. I need to stress that.

I sometimes lament the complete absence of perversion, but it's strictly an intellectual concept, rather than an actual predilection. While I admire the unmitigated degenerates of the world, I keep them and their piquant fantasies at arms length. I am a remarkably clean-minded man.

This blog is filled with puppies, Hello Kitty, designer handbags, Vuitton, expensive shoes, helpful fashion tips, fantasy baseball, butterflies, Jesus, inspiration, and romantic poetry written by innocent little children.
As an in-depth read of the most recent posts will show.
Your heartfelt feedback will be appreciated.
Tender and sensitive letters.
Put mail here.

I would finish with a recipe for Spam, but you probably already know what to do with that. In any case, fried Spam with eggs over rice is not a bad breakfast, at all, especially with Sriracha hotsauce, mango pickle, and a very strong cup of tea.

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014


The other day a Dutchman passing through the San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate a wedding reminded me of a place I last visited in 1990, in the centre of Eindhoven. Now, I should mention that there isn't much reason to go to Eindhoven, as it is scarcely the epicentre of anything. Not culture, not cuisine, nor a vibrant community of interesting and peculiar expats.

Eindhoven is the town where Philips Electronics was born.

It's a rather somnolescent burg in the Dutch deep-south, surrounded by smaller somnolescences. Yes, they have a technical university there, as well as an art museum, and an opera house. But other than that, nix.

Like many such places, there is one section of town where the rowdies congregate, another section where you might find some very good used bookstores, and a few ultra-pretentious restaurants filled with snoot, and catering to snoot.

The rowdies are on Stratum's Eind, which is where the road to Waalre begins. It's around the corner from where English engineers work.
Two blocks of bars; no wonder the Englishmen like it.

One of the best second hand bookstores is De Slegte, a chain present in a number of other places besides Eindhoven.

I can't remember the best restaurants in Eindhoven.

There are somewhat too many 'Ollanders, Englishmen, and Germans, living in Eindhoven to make it really feel like a civilized place. That has a depressing effect on the cuisine, unfortunately. None of the three groups mentioned are known for refined taste.
Besides, they all head to Stratum's Eind to get drunk every day, because they cannot understand the locals. It's not a question of language -- natives of North Brabant speak excellent English -- but one of attitude.
A conversation with a native is an inspirational roller-coaster ride of perfectly logical free-association and the completely sensible leaps of reason that lead to good comedy and madness.
Either that, or they're up at The Trafalgar Pub, cheering on soccer teams not deserving of our support while getting shitfaced. Which is typically English and German, as well as Dutch.


Eindhoven used to have numerous cigar factories, such as Karel 1, which made several grades and vitolas, and catered to all classes. There were many other factories, all told more than two hundred manufacturers and several hundred brands and trademarks, but all have disappeared. The industry started in the snuff trade of the eighteen hundreds, which rolled carottes for grinding, and ended in the changing tastes and economic dynamics of the recent age.

Still, without cigars, this part of the world would have been much poorer, and probably deathly dull. Fine smoke funded what could be called a small renaissance, better nutrition, and a whole lot of education.
The region was culturally enriched because of it.


I went to see my father before he died, and stayed for over a month. Among other things I did while there was revisit the places of my mis-spent youth. Many of which were tobacco or book related. Both smoking and reading added light to the limited horizons of rural life. Which, being fluent in English as well as Dutch and the local jargons, was perhaps more limiting for us than the other denizens. North Brabant at times seemed very Edward Goreyesque; a bleak and victorian provinciality, with blasted heaths, abandoned glue factories, and deftige middle-classes who would have been suitable as administrators of orphanages.

Such things as streetlights, hot and cold running water, central heating, television, prophylactics, and plastic, were not universally common yet, modern housing was still on the wish list.
By the time I left Valkenswaard in 1978, almost everybody had access to such things, and the majority of the population occupied dwellings that had been built in the last decade; row houses of identical or similar pattern, all much the same size, with a shed out back at the end of a short yard. Well over half of the town had not been there before.
Like Eindhoven, the population had exploded since the war.

[Valkenswaard is a settlement ten kilometres south of Eindhoven, currently counting slightly over thirty thousand souls, and probably two hundred plus drinking establishments. The large number of cafés is not unduly indicative of alcoholism, but reflects the common practise of using a cafe as your living room. You drink coffee there during the day and evening, have a nip or two, and meet and entertain friends there. On Market days you relax a bit after shopping. When church lets out, you wash the unforgiving attitude of the local pastor out of your ears entirely.]

After I returned to the United States, my father sold the house on the market square, and moved to Woensel. In 1990, when I visited, his residence was the operational headquarters of my exploration.

Yes of course I bought books. Do you really think that Dutch books are available in the United States? When I stumbled into Schiphol Airport for the return-flight, I had five more satchels than when I came, and seemed a foot shorter because of the weight.

But after acquiring a few new tomes one day I also craved a smoke.
So I went to a cigar store I remembered from over a decade ago.

Kleine Berg 80
5611 JW Eindhoven
Tel. 040 - 2448948


Note: the store used to be on the High Street at number 5. You might remember them from that era. There was a café next door. They've been around since 1926. 
Painting from 'Eindhoven in Beeld'.

In a city which counts as one of the nurseries of the Dutch appreciation for tobacco, in a region once dominated by factories treating that noble leaf, Piet van Kuyk is never-the-less as close to heaven as you can get.

It's an old-fashioned tobacconist of a type that is far less common now than before, and unlike many of the smoke-shops that once speckled every urban neighborhood, this store carries a very full selection of pipe tobacco and Carribbean long-filler cigars of high quality.
LFD, Padron, Arturo Fuente
Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, Upman
Fonseca, Ramon Allones, and San Cristobal
Alec Bradly, Avo, Cuesta Rey, Davidoff, Leon Jimenes
All the famous brands you would expect in a major metropolis.

And Cubans. Plenty of Cubans.

On that Day in October of 1990, I walked in looking for good Dutch cigars.
I left with two boxes of truly exquisite tuitknakjes (a type of small perfecto), by a manufacturer I cannot remember. Before I returned to the United States, I stocked up on four more boxes of fifty each.
Yes, the aroma of a fine Dutch cheroot is a potent reminder of home. Eindhoven and Valkenswaard both used to reek fragrantly of Besuki leaf, and Sumatra wrappers.
Nothing brings back memories so strongly.

There is little reason to visit Eindhoven. But Piet Van Kuyk's cigar store is worth a pilgrimage.

The title of this post is a reference to the nickname that Eindhoven once had: La Ville Fumée ("smoke city").


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

Friday, August 29, 2014


Sometimes a one-word qualifier makes all the difference. A person whom I do not know typed out a search criterium which brought them to this blog recently, and the single addition made it magical.
No, they didn't get what they wanted, at all.
There aren't any pictures of it here.
Probably won't be for a while.
A very long while.

But I am almighty flattered that they thought that it was on this blog. Or connected to this blog, perhaps descriptive of this blog, the frequent contents of same, and the person who writes what appears here.

-----masculine naked middle aged man-----

Well howdy! I like to think of myself as masculine. I believe 'masculine' to be a defining part of my persona.
I'm glad you do to.
And while I do not often think of myself as 'naked', you are free to do so whenever you wish. I cannot stop you in any case, so go ahead.
And if you want to tell me about it, that's perfectly alright too.
The middle aged part is something I cannot claim credit for; it just happened.

I'm tickled by the word 'masculine'.
You really think so?
Thank you!

No, I shall not even speculate about the type of person who would wish my masculine middle-aged self to be naked, nor of the circumstance that might lead to such an eventuality or train of thought.
Primarily because I myself intend to entertain some imagination about such a person. I have a fantasy of precisely what kind of woman might express an immodest fascination with manly mature Dutch-American pipe-smokers of a trim build and eccentric knowledge sets, at those times when they are en deshabile, and perhaps pensive and glowing after a bath.

-----A short feisty brunette. Fully clothed. But on the very cusp of being far less so, if time and space permit.-----

I can tell you right now that typing all that into the search bar does not yield what I would wish to find. Limiting it to "short feisty brunette" brings up pictures of big-bosomed porno monsters, and adding "fully clothed" gets me The Daily Mail, several blondes, and a handsome young man wearing bright pink tidy whities.
Plus railway police news.

The Daily Mail is something I read only sporadically, blondes do not interest me, and the man in shocking pink undies may be a very nice person, but he is absolutely not what I'm looking for.
Nor is the railway police news.

It is six thirty in the morning right now. I am wearing pajama pants and an undershirt, and drinking my first cup of coffee. My apartment mate is stumbling around the kitchen, fixing herself breakfast and lamenting that there is no man in her life. One of the stuffed animals is atop the pile of clothes on my chair, rifling through my pants pocket and stealing my wallet. It is grey outside, a typical San Francisco summer dawn-crack. That means gloom, with occasional sounds of parrots in the distance. I have no intention of eating breakfast for a while.

Underneath my pajama pants and undershirt I am naked.
And, judging by my passport, masculine.
As well as middle aged.

There is no short feisty brunette here, fully clothed, but on the very cusp of being far less so, if time and space permitted.

Which is a very great pity.
It makes me sad.

In another two hours my apartment mate will have left for the day, to head towards work, still lamenting the lack of a man in her life. That's not something I can or should do anything about, other than to consolingly say "there there" and "you'll find someone".

As well as "have a good day at the office."

Once she departs, I am going into the bathroom.
Where I shall become the nude abluting dude.
Soon I will be pensive and glowing, after a bath.

I am a future masculine naked middle aged man.

***   ***   ***

What is going through your head right now?
And what are you wearing?

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014


"How horrid! Subjugated to the sterile embraces of a poofter bug!" That was the reaction of a friend upon hearing of the new relationship of a mutual acquaintance. What made it remarkable was not the mental image of an exceptionally well-endowed young lady entwined with a long-limbed artist or dried-up stick insect, but the fact that he had in the past evinced little regard for the little sex-bombe in question.
Being himself rather one hundred percent gay.
I've actually met his long-time companion.
His predilection is not in question.

But like many gay men of a certain type, he has exaggerated ideas about what women need. And to a large extent he lives vicariously through the sexual shenanigans of his friends. Regarding myself, he is disappointed and destined to remain so, because whatever happens there won't be any juicy divulgement. Ever. In a million years. But in the case of our mutual acquaintance, she lives life out loud.
Oh boy howdy.

Her current beau is older and calmer than the one two years ago.
From what little I have seen, he seems like a rather nice fellow.
Far be it from me to judge, much though I too am tempted.

My friend likes to encourage people; "fergawdsakes, get a room!"

I've also heard him utter the phrase "rub it up, rub it up!"

The new bloke in "Busty McTeague's" life is much too well-behaved and rational to make-out in public, and there has been a drought as far as 'public displays of affection'. No evident smooching.
Maybe they hold hands in public.
Which is very sweet.

Well, people grow up. What that may mean is that the overly hormonal shenanigans of the past make way for more socially acceptable norms of behaviour. They no longer cross all lines and embarrass the folks they're with. They are, in a word, no longer children.

They may very well have gotten a room.

But it isn't any of your business.

I'm sorry for you.

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


When she was still a little teenager singing Hokkien-language ballads, Teresa Teng was utterly adorable. As well as being a phenomenal artist. By the time I first heard her, she sang in Mandarin, and I wasn't very much taken with her style. Yes, it was lovely to hear.
But it seemed too studied, too polished.
In the years since she passed away, her appeal has scarcely faded.
She's still a super-star in East Asia.

Not quite my thing; a little too saccharine.

Possibly about two years ago or slightly longer back, someone cajoled a Taiwanese woman I know into singing at a karaoke lounge. This was a woman who never sings, and shouldn't do so. She had to be drunk to do it, and she massacred the song.

She took the lyrics, wrestled them to the ground, and then beat their little heads fiercely against the concrete wall. Did them so bad they bled.
It was brutal.

Mercifully the woman who had persuaded her to pick up the microphone then stepped in, and nursed the lyrics back to health. Tenderly restored them to a semblance of undamaged decency.
She actually sings very well, and drinks almost never.
It had been an act of bubbling optimism.
Urging someone else to sing.

Both women are older than I am, by the way, and fondly address each other as sisters.

[Sisters: 姊妹 'ji mui'; the term for older sister and younger sister together define the concept. Older sister: 姐姐 ('je-je'), 家姐 ('gaa je') in Cantonese usage. Younger sister: 妹妹 ('mui-mui'), 小妹 ('siu mui'). The term 小妹 is one that you should be careful with, as it also refers to a little girl, and could be used affectionately between an older man and a younger woman. Standardly one might pre-pend relationship terms with 阿 ('aa', 'ah'), which is much safer. Thus: 阿姐 ('ah je') for a young woman of an age roughly equivalent to oneself or slightly younger, 阿妹 ('ah mui') for a miss who is considerably more youthful.]

The chanson which had been so grievously maltreated is one that I like, and quite naturally I had a big cheese-eating grin on my face, astounded and entertained by the result.



Rather lovely, don't you think?


It is one of my two that I particularly appreciate from Miss Teng's repertoire. During much of her adult life she sang songs which are a bit too sweet and romantic, but there are a number where both the phrasing and the melody come together fabulously well.

The other song is this:



Both songs are written out below. Chinese lyrics, phonetic (Pinyin) rendering, and translations which are probably not very good, as capturing the exact flavour proved impossible.

Those who read Chinese might want to read just the Chinese.





Wǒ méi wàngjì, nǐ wàngjì wǒ
Lián míngzì nǐ dōu shuō cuò.
Zhèngmíng nǐ yīqiè dōu shì zài piàn wǒ,
Kàn jīntiān nǐ zěnme shuō。

Nǐ shuōguò liǎng tiān lái kàn wǒ,
Yī děng jiùshì yī nián duō;
Sānbǎi liùshíwǔ gè rìzi bù hǎoguò,
Nǐ xīnlǐ gēnběn méiyǒu wǒ;
Bǎ wǒ de àiqíng huán gěi wǒ!


I did not forget you, but you forgot me,
Even the two words of my name you now pronounce wrong!
You were without a doubt just stringing me along,
And what do have to say for yourself now?

You told me you would be back in a couple of days,
It was one whole year and more!
Three hundred and sixty five days were hard to bear,
In your heart there was naught of me,
Return to me all my love.








Nǐ wèn wǒ ài nǐ yǒu duō shēn, wǒ ài nǐ yǒu jǐ fēn;
Wǒ de qíng yě zhēn, wǒ de ài yě zhēn,
Yuèliàng dàibiǎo wǒ de xīn.

Nǐ wèn wǒ ài nǐ yǒu duō shēn, wǒ ài nǐ yǒu jǐ fēn;
Wǒ de qíng bù yí, wǒ de ài bù biàn,
Yuèliàng dàibiǎo wǒ de xīn.

Qīng qīng de yīgè wěn, yǐjīng dǎdòng wǒ de xīn;
Shēn shēn de yīduàn qíng, jiào wǒ sīniàn dào rújīn.

Nǐ wèn wǒ ài nǐ yǒu duō shēn, wǒ ài nǐ yǒu jǐ fēn;
Nǐ qù xiǎng yī xiǎng, nǐ qù kàn yī kàn, yuèliàng dàibiǎo wǒ de xīn.

Qīng qīng de yīgè wěn, yǐjīng dǎdòng wǒ de xīn;
Shēn shēn de yīduàn qíng, jiào wǒ sīniàn dào rújīn.


You ask how much I love you, how deeply do I care;
My emotions are true, my love is true,
The moon illustrates what is in my heart.

You ask how much I love you, how deeply I care;
My emotions do not waver, my love does not change,
The moon illustrates what is in my heart.

A gentle kiss, that stirred my heart;
The depth of which I remember to the present.

You ask how much I love you, how deeply do I care;
Just think a little bit, and reflect a moment,
The moon illustrates what is in my heart.

A gentle kiss, that stirred my heart;
The depth of which I brings me to this moment.

You ask how much I love you, how deeply do I care;
Just think a little bit, and reflect a moment,
The moon illustrates what is in my heart.


I myself have sung karaoke maybe five or six times in my entire life. Like the Taiwanese woman I mentioned earlier, I needed Dutch courage to do so, and it was not a rewarding experience for all concerned parties.

When I sing, everyone should step outside for a smoke break.
Even, especially, the non-smokers.

Just ignore me while it lasts.
I'll be alright again soon.


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


One of the simplest things to cook is bitter melon with Chinese sausage, especially if the sausage is either greasy or crumbles nicely. You won't use much, so stop worrying about your arteries.
Bitter melon is good for you.

For one thing, it is hypoglycemic, or so I have been told.
It is also cooling, which is good during summer.
But you can eat it year-round.

Fortunately, I live in the SF Bay Area, so there is no problem finding it. And it is both cheap and delicious. I never tire of its crisp and peppy taste, indeed preferring it entirely unsalted, and nearly uncooked.

Chaau laap-cheung leung-gwaa

One large bitter melon, or two smaller ones.
One Chinese sausage (臘腸 'laap cheung').
Two Tablespoons chilipaste.
Hefty squeeze of lime juice.
A tiny dash of oil.

Cut the bitter melon along the length into two halves. Use a coffee spoon to scrape out seeds and pith. Chop the vegetable coarsely, so that it will not cook too fast.
Rinse the sausage under hot water so that the casing loosens, which then remove. It should peel off in one piece. Crumble the sausage.
Dump both the melon and the meat into the pan at the same time, stir-fry till the sausage pieces gain colour. Then splash in a small jigger of water, and cook it down a bit. Lastly add the chilipaste and lime juice, stir, and decant to a serving bowl.

Purely great with white rice.
Enough for two people.

金然棧 -- 肝腸
Kam Yen Jan: gon cheung

The Chinese sausage of choice is Kam Yen Jan brand, but specifically the version with pork liver added. To my taste it has just the right amount of sweetness, fat, and liver, and it's fun to cook with.

Laat jeung

The 'chilipaste' I use is Sriracha hot sauce. If you have a sambal, you might need more or less. But you could also use fermented bean chili sauce (豆瓣醬 'dau baan jeung'). It's up to you.
And your sense of wonder.

Fu gwaa

Bitter melon (momordica charantia) has it's own advocacy group: The National Bitter Melon Council.

Quote: "The National Bitter Melon Council (NBMC) is devoted to the cultivation of a vibrant, diverse community through the promotion and distribution of Bitter Melon. Our projects, events, and festivals celebrate the health, social, culinary, and creative possibilities of this underappreciated vegetable. Advocating the acceptance of Bitter Melon across cultures and cuisines, we believe that Bitter Melon creates an alternative basis for community – that of bitterness!"

This sounds great, but unfortunately the website is not entirely finished.
The scaffolding is still up, and the primer ain't dry yet.
Can't wait to see what it will look like.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The following will probably be hard to read for Anglophiles and Pakistanis, and likely also many Indians who regretfully recognize kin-ship with either of those groups.
Never-the-less, I especially encourage them to absorb all of it.
Because it affects how the rest of us view them.
But mostly, the Pakistanis.

"About 1,400 Rotherham children 'sexually exploited over 16-year period'
Police and council agencies failed victims, some of whom were threatened with guns and gang-raped"


According to the report, gangs of sexual predators violated over fourteen hundred children (low estimate!) during a period of well over a decade and a half. During that time, the authorities ignored the problem, and victims were treated like garbage by the local police.

There may be an element of class warfare here, as the victims were usually from the poorer levels of society, and the British have a history of regarding the brutalization of the lower classes as, if not the natural order of things, excusable and down-right desirable.

It's debatable.The cops in any case let it continue, and by their inaction and evident attitude of laissez faire encouraged it.


"They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated."

"Failures of the political and officer leadership of Rotherham council over the first 12 years -- were blatant, as the seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers and was not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire police."

"Police "regarded many child victims with contempt"."]

These were not isolated incidents, and no one can claim that it did not happen on their watch. They were aware of it, they knew what was going on, and they chose to nothing about it.

It just wasn't an issue.

There were three comprehensive investigations between 2002 and 2006.

"The first of these reports was "effectively suppressed" because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored."

What this means is that the senior officers decided to deny the problem, effectively to deliberately overlook it entirely, and carry on as if nothing was wrong, and simply work toward an eventual conclusion of their careers and the expected happy retirements to follow.

"Councillors seemed to think this was a one-off problem they hoped would go away and "several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist"."

"By far the majority of perpetrators were described as Asian by victims."

The ethnicity, as is shown by reported events and legal cases, is not "Asian". The word "Asian" includes everything and everyone from the Bosporus to Kamchatka. Turks, Israelis, Assyrians, Tibetans, Thais, Burmese, Laotians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Japanese.....
Almost all of the Buddhist world.
All Shintoists. All Parsees.
Everyone Chinese.
And Sikhs.

The majority of perpetrators were described in no uncertain terms as Pakistanis. Not as anything else. Pakistanis.

The British use of the word 'Asian' in this context means Pakistani.
Specifically nothing else but Pakistani.
There are a huge number of Pakistanis in England. Rape and sexual abuse is endemic in Pakistan.
Pakistanis in England have a reputation for such things.
The Rotherham molesters were Pakistanis.

From an article published over three years ago: "At Sheffield Crown Court throughout September and October, eight men sat in the dock accused of rape and other sexual crimes against four girls, three aged 13 and one 16. The case resulted in five being convicted and three acquitted. 
All of the eight defendants were Pakistani Muslims..."


From the same piece: "In 2004, Channel 4 withdrew Edge of the City, its controversial documentary made by Annie Hall that depicted parents trying to stop groups of young Asian men grooming white girls as young as 11 for sex. 
[ --- ] 
Colin Cramphorn, the then Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, joined groups such as Unite against Fascism in calling for the documentary to be withdrawn. 
Channel 4 complied, saying that the issue was not censorship."

"Most of the men buying sex with the girls have Muslim wives and they don't want to risk infection. The younger you look, the more saleable you are."

"Because religious Muslims are being pressurised to marry virgins within their own extended family networks, it means that some are more likely to view white girls as easily available and "safer" than Pakistani girls."

Safer than Pakistani girls? No doubt! Pakistani girls have Pakistani relatives. That alone makes them poison.

Final quote: "all the perpetrators were identified as being of Pakistani heritage".

That's one hell of a nasty heritage. Possibly one with absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. In any case, a toxic sludge, well-nigh a festering cesspool of sheer rottenness and cultural garbage that causes disease in everything it touches, which should be isolated at more than arms length at all times.

That rancid heritage is now a part of Britain.

Are Pakistanis all bhainchotes?


Kuch log hote-hain, jin ke saath, 'civilization' mushkil hai.

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


Always aim for plausible deniability; it protects the other person. Much of social interaction, especially in public, should necessarily be about giving other people an 'out'.

For instance: the other night the Englishman left the bar with a 'friend'. He is my age, a bit of a vulgarian (though likable), and thrice my girth at least. Definitely not in the best of shape, and he reeks of cigars.
She was all cleavage, tight little dress, and go go boots.
Half his age at best.Though it seemed less.
Both of them walked with a roll.

It was very crowded, but us sane and sober regulars have eyes in the backs of our heads, as well as on our long stalk-like feelers.

After he left, we all exclaimed "did you see that?!?"

And "how delicious!"

Well, except for the female cigar smoker among us. Her response was "that's just wrong!"
She's right, of course, but she fails to realize that men are born gossips, and love nothing better than one of our own doing something scandalous and stupid. With any luck, the Englishman will wake up bound, gagged, and dead, while a tribe of drug-addicted scallywags raid his apartment and steal all the wine. While smoking his Cubans.
We'll read about it afterwards, and invent colourful details.
His funeral will be truly epic.

The point here is that no one was even remotely primed to believe that what happened was a totally innocent occurence; we know him.

Wise men and women NEVER leave bars together after meeting by chance while having a drink in the same place. It sets tongues awag.

It's probably also best to arrive together, and even if you are involved in mutually enjoyable depravity, have a cover story, or make sure that your appearance suggests something entirely blameless.
Her reputation, and his, depend upon it.

"This is my cousin Sylvia. She's studying for the priesthood. She's only in town for two days, and wanted to see what the seamy underbelly of Sodom and Gomorrah by the Bay looked like. So I brought her here.
Please don't shock her unduly; she's rather innocent."

And the person named 'Sylvia' looks suitably quiet and serious. She's got her hair neatly controlled in a loose bun low at the back of her head, spectacles, just the merest touch of a gentlewomanly lipstick, no eyeshadow or fingernail polish.
Plus her clothing is totally unrevealing. Maybe a cardigan, a collared blouse, and somewhat baggy corduroy pants in a style that suggests chosen for "durability & comfort", rather than immodest effect.
No cleavage, no go go boots, no tight cocktail dress.
Plus she blinks sweetly, fresh and nice.

Her smooth velvety cheeks blush easily, but there isn't even a hint of rouge or guile.

Adding believability, her vocabulary is well-chosen and polysyllabic.

Hastings, Heidegger; Nietsche and Nabokov.

Did she just say 'existential'?

Unfortunately, if I were to show up at the cigar bar on Saturday evening with someone like that, every one would suspect the worst.
They'd know immediately that something was up.
My friends would worry on her behalf.
And profoundly distrust me.

They've got me quite pegged, I'm afraid. My oblivious reactions to "total sex-bombes" and "hot babes" flashing cleavage and crimson come-hither lips have convinced them that I am utterly depraved.
Rather than ice in my veins, they suspect that hot lava flows instead; a seething cauldron of perverse Victorian immorality.

"He's gonna take her home and bore her to death with conversation! While eyeing her with sweaty hands!
Oh the humanity!"

"Maybe he'll feed her at the very least. She looks a bit pale. She'll need energy to break free of his tongue"

Some of them would be utterly convinced that both hanky and panky were taking place, because they know my type. They would rightly worry that I might take advantage of the poor thing.
Which, indeed, could be likely.

Always watch out for the innocent.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014



She loathed and despised the men who sat on the bus with their legs apart. What were they doing, airing their balls? It seemed so dreadfully uncouth, so ill-mannered. When she sat opposite them, it was like they were thrusting their packet upwards, as if to say "here, admire it, bitch".
In another world, she'd smash 'it' with a well-aimed slam of her backpack. Pity she always forgot to add the rocks. Oh well. Those things were heavy.
Instead, she opened the bag from the fish mongers and pointed the lobster in the direction of the offending male, and whispered "snip snip".
Again, "snip snip". There was a hopefulness to her voice

The crustacean waved its claws enthusiastically. Maybe it -- she, probably a female -- was also repulsed by mister Cod Lumps over there.
She contemplated removing the rubber bands.
Mister Cod Lumps reposed in oblivion. His eyes were glassy, and a pudgy thumb lazily scrolled through his e-mails on his electronic pacifier, a sleepy wart hog.
He resembled nothing so much as a blob.
Probably worked at a start-up.
A programmer.

A long day surrounded by programmers made her wish that she could set some of the office yobbos against rapacious outer-space fighters.
Venky against Predator, Gunther facing Alien.
The contests would prove amusing.
Short. But very amusing.

***   ***   ***

She had had to fight her way onto the vehicle, as there were several office-types clustered near the back door who didn't grasp that there was plenty of space further in. The driver understood it, which is why he had stopped to pick people up. At this hour of the day buses often cruised right by, filled with selfish paper-pushers from the Embarcadero Center office towers. On her way in she gently pushed the old woman ahead of her up, forcing the yuppies to yield. Elderly Chinatown women are not so much human shields as, with the right encouragement, human battering rams. Make your move wisely, and Grandma over there will part the sea for you.
G'wan, grannie; forward!
Good show!

On her way to one of three empty seats, she inadvertently elbowed a pudgy blonde giantess in the kidney rolls. She said "sorry", but that merely confused the large woman more. The beast looked around frantically, not realizing that the voice had spoken from somewhere at the level of her overgrown bosom. Where she came from, people were not so small, and she still hadn't gotten used to normal sized humans.

What WAS it with some women and their thing for Hello Kitty? She just didn't understand why anyone would have a Hello Kitty jacket on, if they were physically an adult, and it was a relatively warm day. Hello Kitty fabric does not breathe, and grown-ups wearing Hello Kitty crap don't look cute; they look ridiculous.
The only Hello Kitty clothing she herself owned was a tiny tee-shirt she had put on her Predator action figure. She would have put it on Hell Boy, but it was far too small, and would have made him look like a poofter.
Or at the very least, very British.

***   ***   ***

One man on the bus wasn't playing with his cell-phone, but had something else instead. After a few moments she recognized it as a pipe. He pensively rubbed it with the thumb and forefinger of the hand that held it, and stared off into space. Curiously, he was the only man sitting upright.
She speculated that unlike all the other males, his testicles did not need airing. Were they prematurely dessicated? Or did he powder them before leaving the house?

Maybe he was just 'cool'.

***   ***   ***

Today she would have a lobster. It had been so long, so very long! And she was heartily sick of the mediocre lunch options in the downtown, where suburbanites, and their predictable pedestrian tastes, dominated the gustatory discourse.
Sandwiches. Pizza. French fries. Salads. And lots of tuna fish.
It was a ghastly replay of these themes in every block.
The gates of culinary hell.

The fat beaky-nosed engineer had not understood a thing she said, and always treated her like an idiot. She supposed she should not have scowled so fiercely when he had first met her, but he really was exactly like every woman's worst nightmare. Self-absorbed, transparently judging her physical appearance, and clumsily over-familiar. The word "girl" should never be uttered in an office environment.
Unless you are respectfully mentioning a child.
Who is, obviously, not present.

When she scowled, her eyebrows terrified adult men.
Except for lawyers; they never noticed anything.
Strangely insensitive creatures.
Probably all ego.

***   ***   ***

It struck her that the bus whiffed of dead body. Were the blondes in the habit of transporting cadavers? Or was it their implants and folds of useless flesh, going bad in warm weather?
Often they were more like animatronic corpses than humans.
Some were indistinguishable from zombies.
Too damned much make-up.

No doubt all of that was necessary to attract the attention of a breeding male. Even during the height of rut or musth, the type was dense and not very aware of their surroundings.
You could probably hit them over the head without them noticing.
A baseball bat is, when you think about it, very subtle.

She had never gone out with a man, and barely even looked at the species. Most of them were dullards, and could not hide their strange obsession with televised spectator sports. The moment anyone mentioned football, she pulled out a crossword puzzle.
Conversation is over, there is no intelligent life on this planet.

Judging by the specimens on the bus, this transit pod would not be orbiting any time soon. No mother ship would bother beaming these masculine exemplars up, there are limits to what you can learn from anal probing.
The reason for analysing most humans ass-first, she figured, was that spongy brains are all alike, whereas diet affects emotion.
Fatso over there looked like he ate children.
She wished him a probing, soon.
He'd be better for it.

Why did all these men smell of Cheetos? Was it a glandular imbalance? That certainly would explain their peculiar obsessions with sports; the poor dears were chemically unstable.
They probably breathed in the hormones at sportsbars.
A whiff of concentrated testosterone.
From a herd of junkies.

Individually, they were deprived. They needed to congregate for any magic to happen.

Strange things went on in sportsbars. Insane yowling and the like.
Hubba hubba hubba, go team go team go team.
Now, everybody sweat together.
Feel the power.

***   ***   ***

She got off, wishing that she wore stiletto heels, so that she could stab some of these big galoots in the arch of their over-sized feet. Mentally she already knew what it would feel like. A moment of resistance, then it sinks in surprisingly smoothly, and only when you withdraw the spike do the victim's synapses fire.
In pained bafflement they raise their heads and moo.

The pipe smoker got off too. He paused to fill the briar, and she passed him before he lit up. He seemed preoccupied.

Several people on the street were walking their dogs. The animals wagged their tails, and sniffed at her bag. Mrs. Lobster inside was making friends, and didn't even know it.
How sad.

Among dogs, chihuahuas are ridiculous, and completely moronic. There is no character there. No brains! Large dogs like retrievers, however, have distinct personalities. There were only two problems; they didn't understand that they were NOT four-footed humans, and they were very large. If one of them tried to lick her face, she would fall over. Never-the-less, that was one hella personable animal accompanying the bald man. Handsome, too.
She never would have noticed him if it weren't for the dog.
It was the first time she had seen him around.
He must have recently moved in.

Bald men, she knew, had too much testosterone.
It affected their scalp surface adversely.
Probably everything else as well.

What did pipe smokers smell like? Actually, she wasn't that curious. Like all men, if she spoke to him, he would reveal a perverse fascination with spandex bottoms on the football field, and mention beer and pizza.
No doubt about it. Men aren't interesting.
A very predictable lot.

Time for lobster.

***   ***   ***

['geung chung lung-haa']

One lobster, about two pounds.
Quarter cup chicken stock.
Quarter cup cornstarch.
Quarter cup sherry.
One TBS oyster sauce.
Half a Tsp. freshly ground pepper.
Half a Tsp. salt.
One thumb of ginger, peeled and slivered.
Half dozen scallions, cut diagonally.
A few drops sesame oil.

Oil as needed.

Mix sherry, soy sauce, and one tablespoon corn starch in a bowl and whisk smooth. Add chicken stock and set aside.

Dump lobster headfirst into a cauldron of boiling water, and cook for about three of four minutes more after it returns to a boil. Remove, rinse under cold water. Drain.

The head may be removed and cleaned to decorate the serving platter, OR chopped in half and whacked, cleaned of some of the weird stuff inside as you see fit, and treated the same as the remainder of the beast.
Some people like sucking on the head.

Twist off tail and claws. Using a heavy cleaver split tails in half along the length, then across into large chunks. Whack each part of the claws to expose the meat.
In a large bowl, dust the lobster pieces well with the cornstarch and the salt and pepper, tossing to coat.

Heat one or two cups of oil in a large wok till almost smoking. Slide in the lobster pieces and fry till pale golden and barely crisp. Remove and drain in a sieve over a metal bowl.

Decant almost all the oil, and heat what remains till almost smoking. Add ginger, scallions, and stirfry fragrant. Return lobster to pan and stir to mix. Re-whisk the sherry and cornstarch mixture, and pour into the pan. Once the glaze thickens, add a few drops of sesame oil and slide everything onto a platter.

Please note: you could substitute abalone sauce for the oyster sauce, if you wish. Either one is perfect, if used as a minor flavour additive when cooking lobster. Or crab. Or large shrimps. Or oysters and abalone.

Oyster sauce was invented by mr. Lee Kam-sheung (李錦裳) slightly over a century ago in Naamseui village (南水鎭), Guandong province, just south of Canton. Within a few years it had become such a beloved and essential part of their regional cuisine that most Cantonese-speakers cannot conceive of life, food, love, insurrection, or philosophy, without it.
Abalone sauce is a nice variation on the same theme.

I rode the Number One bus this afternoon, in case you were wondering.
It may have affected my otherwise sunny disposition.
Today's tobacco was red virginia flake.
In a semi-bent Hardcastle.

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


Several years ago an earthquake struck California that sent European newspapers into a panic. Apparently headlines in Dutch, German, Swedish, and almost certainly also Schwäbisch, screamed hysterically that it was the big one, uncountable numbers were dead, San Francisco was on fire, plagues were sweeping the suburbs, and the most important event in sports had been cancelled when the stadium collapsed.

Well, plagues do sweep the suburbs. But that's an all-year situation. Not just after earthquakes. California is currently in the top-two for either Syphilis or Gonorrhea, can't remember which.
Surely that's a suburban phenomenon.

At the time, many years ago, I was living in North Beach. When the quake struck I was in the middle of an argument with a visiting Israeli about existentialism and linguistics. The tremors were almost over before we realized what was happening, and also that most of the customers were clustered perilously close to the plate glass windows. So we finished our coffee and our discussion.

Later I went home and was the last man in the building to have a warm shower for four days.

I had coffee and snackipoos in Chinatown the next day. Milk-tea was not available in that era, or perhaps I didn't know about it yet. Many people wandered the streets, casually drinking coffee, smoking, and telling each other where else there was coffee. It was a festive and relaxed occasion.


Yesterday morning's event has not affected me at all. San Francisco en masse rolled over and went back to sleep. There are no gas leaks in the city, nor fires, nor is mass hospitalization for injuries on the agenda.
We lament the thousands of gallons of wine that were spilled.
Which is a horrendous and heartbreaking loss.
We shall drink a bit more whiskey.
For a year or two.

Actually, I really am lamenting.

On Friday evening, my friend K-Chai e-mailed me from the Occidental, where he was enjoying a well-deserved cigar.

"There is a very nice woman smoking a pipe here. 
She is talking to your buddy 'Dr. Rum'. 
You should be here."

Dagnabbitall! I didn't see this message till I returned from Marin County nearly twenty-four hours later! The concept of a pipe-smoking female person who can conversationally hold her own is very appealing.
Yer darn' tootin I lament the non-encounter!
Flaming piles of fermenting crap!
I wish I had known!

I did actually espy a very nice woman this past weekend; it was while I was chop-sticking rice-stick noodles and grilled pork (with hot sauce) into my mouth on Saturday evening. Plus hot oil. And hot vinegar.
Nope, no clue whether she can hold her own conversationally.
Any more of that warm smile, and it wouldn't matter.
I'd probably be gibbering and mumbling.
Incapable of speech.

Life would be much more interesting if I were thick-skinned and insensitive. It might even be surreal. Conversationally more dynamic, and often like a series of eruptive events or natural disasters.

I'm rather fond of grilled pork, and rice stick noodles in broth.
As well as hot sauce, hot vinegar, and hot oil.
Plus smiles.

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014


One of the clips on youtube is somewhat disturbing, but only if you know the historical background. And yes, it has accordions.
No man who has seen clips of North Korean children playing those daemonic instruments can watch it without shuddering, and many sharp tacks who were alive during the seventies remember the European communists praising that infernal device as the perfect emblem of righteous proletarian artistic endeavor.

In actual fact, almost the only performers in recent times to redeem that horrendous object are the Cajun musicians in Louisiana, and Weird Al Jankovic; a true hero of the not-quite-so working classes.

Dr. Demento featuring such artists as The Toons, also contributed mightily musically.

Who can possibly forget The Punk Polka?
It was truly inspired.


From the movie 'The Last Emperor' (末代皇帝), about the life of Aisin-Gioro Puyi (溥儀), by Bernardo Bertolucci.]




Gémìng wúzuì, zàofǎn yǒulǐ!
Gémìng wúzuì, zàofǎn yǒulǐ!
Ná qǐbǐ, zuò dāoqiāng,
Jízhōng huǒlì dǎ hēibāng.
Gémìng shī shēng qí zàofǎn,
Wénhuà gémìng dāng chuǎngjiàng!
Gémìng wúzuì, zàofǎn yǒulǐ!
Gémìng wúzuì, zàofǎn yǒulǐ!
Yào gémìng, jiù gēn wǒ zǒu,
Bù gémìng, jiù gǔn tā mā de dàn!


Revolution has no faults, it is right to rebel.
Pick up your pens, be like guns and knives,
And concentrate your forces to hit the black gang.
Revolutionary teachers and students must fight together,
The Cultural Revolution leads the way.
The revolution has no faults, it is right to rebel.
Forward the revolution, and come with me.
If you don't rebel, kiss my xxx!

Note that the last clause is a contextual translation; what it really says is "boil his mother's egg". Which is a very unprintable locution.

During the Seventies, the socialists in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Western Europe were enamoured of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and enthusiastically supported the extremism of the age.
Everything done under the guise of Maoism was in their eyes only good, and no fault could be found. It was very American and imperialist to doubt that! They were united and vociferous on that score.

Naturally, the European leftwing also praised the Khmer Rouge.

They were, then as now, on the wrong side of history.
Many reprehensible excesses were committed.
Not least of which: accordion music.

If the video clip above reminds you of recent manifestations in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and the Schilderswijk, so much the better.
Such nice fresh-faced cheerleaders, utterly sincere too.
Inspiringly misguided. Terrifying.

Ve hamevin yavin.

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Awesome cite from a Facebook post, culled from a friend who has moved back to the old sod: "Also, if not for my philosophy of "every creator's run is a separate continuity", it would really bug me that Valeria was trying to "redeem" the same guy who tried to kill her parents time and again, wore his murdered ex girlfriend as a suit, and sent Franklin Richards to hell."

This was followed by a comment: "Subtitle: "Avoiding the Fridge"."

May I hasten to assure you that he's actually harmless?

And though it also has a horrible climate, and is equally filled with howling and despair, his old sod is New York, where frightening attempts at pizza come from.

He's actually just a bit far into comics of the glandularly overboard he-she hero type. Plus he's got a wife and two kids.

Kids probably do something to you.

I wouldn't mind having one or two of them. It would be a priceless opportunity to mold a little mind. Attempting to mold grown-up minds has so far proven fruitless.
They lose flexibility as they get older.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Saturday, August 23, 2014


My apartment mate seems to have finally broken up with her boyfriend. Which I think is best for her, as he was not as attentive to her emotional needs as she was to his. She, of course, is presently despondent, and thinks she will now go through life unloved.
Which is just plain silly.

I'll admit that I am not unbiased in her regard. Back in a distant golden age she and I were an item, and even after that ended we stayed in the same apartment; you don't bail on a good friend whom you can trust, and mature people can separate themselves from their emotional setbacks.
I have moved on since then, and though I have not had a relationship with another woman, that doesn't mean that such a thing is impossible.
It just hasn't happened.

I'm rather a stubborn old cooz, and will not carry on with the other gender unless they are precisely sympatico. I shall need to find an independent-minded person who reads a lot, is calm and realistic in their approach to life, and likes tea and cookies. Downtown San Francisco may not quite be where such a person lurks.

"A woman of valour who can find? For her value is far above rubies..."

[Proverbs 31:10]

The other day I spent an entire evening in the company of pipe smokers. All were, of course, men. Again, not a place where the perfect woman might be found, which if you ask me is surprising, because all of the men present were intelligent and witty. If I were a woman, that is exactly where I would look for company.

You will note from the above that I too am in all likelyhood a pipe smoker, and that my idea about what makes women good company may not be entirely based on any currently extant reality.

Intelligence and wit count for a lot. Yes, the appearance of the other person may act as a magnet, but if upon closer examination that person is lacking, there is no point hanging around or pursuing matters.

This is true even if there are cookies.

Savage Kitten (my apartment mate) will undoubtedly find another beau. Her curious sense of humour, and her brilliant mental twists, will inevitably make a man's nose perk up at some point.
Unfortunately she's rather Aspergery, and might not notice a darn thing if he doesn't make himself completely clear, and even then she could assume that he's mistaken her for someone else.
Gallantry, consideration, and patience; these are the best tactics.
Plus having a thing for misbehaving stuffed animals.
And ALWAYS speaking well of hamsters.
No matter their evil ways.

Pipe smoking, meeeh, not so much.

Tea and cookies don't work at all.

I am not suprised that it took my parents five years of steady dating before they got married. My father was a very patient man, and my mother was somewhat socially resistant.
What may have finally convinced her that he was a decent man was his liking for her pet guinea pigs. Apparently he was able to discern personalities in the creatures.


I personally am not much taken with hamsters or guinea pigs. Pet rats do have personalities, I have concluded, and while not pet-material, otters, weasels, badgers, raccoons, and crows, all have distinct character traits that make them interesting and likable.

Dogs and cats speak well of me.
Which is peculiar.

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Friday, August 22, 2014


The other day while looking for broad rice stick noodles I discover what is for me an entirely new and brilliant product: 鮑魚汁 ('baau yiu jap'). Abalone sauce.
Think oyster sauce (蠔油 'ho yau'). But made with abalone instead.
If you are Cantonese, the concept probably thrills you.
And you may have tasted it already.


Ingredients: Soy Sauce (Water, Soybean, Wheat Flour, Salt), Sugar, Abalone Extracts, Dried Scallop, Modified Starch (Corn Starch), MSG, Potassium Sorbate (E202).

It tastes milder than oyster sauce, but just as pleasant. A dab on the back of the left hand reminded me op bouillon cubes, and Knorr. I have no doubt it will go well with everything for which one would normally use oyster sauce: boiled lettuce, mustard stalks, Chinese broccoli, dau miu, asparagus, string beans, seethed eel, eggplant, chicken feet, stewed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, or fried eggs sunny side up.

I added it to my bitter melon dish that evening. Sliced bitter melon, sauteed with little bits of fatty pork, chilies and chili paste, chopped tomato, and slivered ginger. The result was delicious.
Served over the broad rice stick noodles which I had finally managed to find, it was an epic meal.

I sat in front of my computer with a smile upon my face, looking a bit silly, for several minutes afterwards.

Oyster sauce was invented by accident; a foodseller neglected the broth for too long, when he finally checked up on it, it had become a dark viscous gloop which, it turned out, was wonderful with vegetables.
Abalone sauce is the same idea, done deliberately.
Simmered, strained, thickened with starch.
Use it to glaze the dish.

Note: dau miu (豆苗 snow pea sprouts), mentioned above, are familiarly served braised with garlic: 蒜茸炒豆苗 ('suen yung chaau dau miu'). They can also be sauteed plain (清炒豆苗 'ching chaau dau miu') ), or with chili sauce and a little shrimp paste (辣炒豆苗 'laat chaau dau miu'), dumped in clear broth (上湯豆苗 'seung tong dau miu'), stir-fried with satay sauce and beef, (沙茶牛肉豆苗 'saa chaa ngau yiuk dau miu'), or added to chicken giblet soup (豆苗雞肝湯 'dau miu gai gon tong'). They are fantastic, and take almost no time to cook; treat them with kindness and serve them hot and fragrant.

One of the best ways is cooked with bivalves; either sauteed with garlic and clams (蚌炒豆苗 'pong chaau daui miu') or dumped on top of mussels in the sauce pan 貽貝蒸豆苗 'yi pui jing dau miu').
If you're Fujianese, you'll scramble them with eggs.
And include either of the bivalves above.

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