Wednesday, September 30, 2015


A few weeks ago someone suggested that pipe smokers made better lovers. Naturally, being a pipe smoker, I was all ears. I likewise think that pipe smokers are thus. Better companions, at the very least.
Unfortunately I was not what the speaker had in mind.
Besides which, it was a male who said that.
I am NOT hot on my own gender.

We pipe smokers often take a back seat to the cigar crowd, who tend to overcompensate. Many cigar smoking men are "special", and may feel themselves less manly if they aren't waving around a large wad of rolled-up dry leaves. Male cigar smokers habitually confuse item A with object B.
Pipe-smokers will gladly yield the floor to the deranged individual.
Whatever those guys want does not concern us.
Our preferences are not theirs.

If a cigar smoker is a heterosexual male, rather than focusing on the intellect of the lady that caught his eye, more likely than not he will obsessively appreciate her bosom, to the exclusion of nearly everything else, perhaps excepting her hair colour if she happens to the blonde.
If he's homosexual, other parts of the packet come into play.

Naturally none of this holds for female cigar smokers.
Who may have a preference for Nicaraguans.
And ignore any ooing males.

"A young lady who not only likes the smell of good pipe tobacco but actually indulges in it herself is infinitely charming. A woman who smokes pipes will never want for friendship; her company is magnetic and energizing."

[SOURCE: Pipesmoking aids intellectual development..]

Pipe smokers, on the other hand, of either gender or preference, tend to be more interested in someone's conversational abilities. Reason being that if they can talk well, there is less chance of our pipe going out.
Let the other person speak, we'll happily listen.
And thoughtfully puff once in a while.
As a result, the pipe stays lit.

An agreeable social exchange is far more conducive to mutual good times (and especially the enjoyment of a pipe) than a contentious and rowdy dickwaving competition with opinionated cheroot-huffing yutzes.
One just cannot enjoy a smoke in their company.

All of this came to mind the last time I was near a collection of typical cigar aficionados. Their opinions were remarkable for the ignorance and downright stupidity on which these were based.

If there is ANY group that needs the gentling and humanizing presence of women, it is such people. Unfortunately women tend to avoid them.

Especially cigar smoking women.

Which is very wise.


So, if you were wondering whether you should date a pipe smoker, the answer is yes. Yes you should. Pipe smokers are intelligent and caring individuals, capable of deep insight, and remarkably broadminded and tolerant. They are sensitive to other people's needs, and extremely thoughtful. Both depth and perspective, mixed with humanism.
They'll remember anniversaries and birthdays.
And they are remarkably mellow.

Except for smokers of aromatics and Gandalf pipes.
Those people are complete degenerates.
Jesus do they have issues.
They're scum.


Tomorrow I shall be around cigar smokers for most of the day.
I'm already mentally prepared for it; can you tell?
Don't worry, I won't pick any fights.


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


In both of the pipe-smoking groups on Facebook in which I take part, it is taken for granted that the habit is held in severe disfavour by the female companions of the honourable members. Because, so often, it is.

One person posted a picture of a mail order that arrived recently, with the remark that fortunately for him the wife never saw it.
The gates of Hell might have opened otherwise.

Wifely disdain for pipes and tobacco is a very common theme. "Please don't let her know too much, or I'll be in serious trouble".

Likewise, I note that many if not most women nowadays wrinkle their cute little button noses at certain smells (while saying not a word about overly perfumed unguents and lotions), and at best merely tolerate their menfolk's peculiarities.

Grudgingly, and sometimes while snapping and yowling.

I've been told authoritatively that in a relationship, one must accept the other person's foibles.

But I'm guessing that that only goes one way.

Remarkably, the people who strongly advised me that I should be less blatant about my fondness for pipes and tobaccos, because it would vastly improve my chances of finding another person to share my life, and if I knew what was good for my I would desist entirely so that the ladies might appreciate me, were all non-smoking women, mostly of peculiarly blinkered intellect, quite a few of them middle-aged, and some in relationships that qualified as dubious or dysfunctional.
Or formerly in such a relationship.

It strikes me that if a man has to hide his hobby, or pursue it beyond his wife's ken, there's something almighty f*cked up about their marriage.
Especially if it isn't a perversion or membership in the Klan or the Elks.
But merely an aesthetic and mood-related fondness for briar.
As well as a liking for old-fashioned tobacco.

Yes, I know that hiding my pipe-smoking, or quitting entirely, would significantly improve my chances of finding a girlfriend.

I am absolutely not interested in a person who would demand that.
A woman who cannot accept something I thoroughly enjoy.
Which has been a part of my life for most of it.
Nooky be damned, I'm having a pipe.

One of my friends told me recently that with his wife out of town for a week, he can finally smoke a cigar out on the patio. Personally I think he should divorce the baggage; they have nothing in common.
Even less than nothing; she clearly hates him.

I bet he's incredibly jealous of the two men we both know whose wives also enjoy cigars, and deservedly so.

They are lovely couples.

NOW HEAR THIS: If your wife or husband (or boyfriend or girlfriend) harasses you about your pipes and cigars (or something equally innocuous), and acts like a total dick, get rid of them.
Life is too short to put up with that.
You're going to die anyway.

The way I see it, my pipe filters out the dingbats.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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We discussed the prurience of the great American public, and why men of the cloth need to get married. What we did not mention was cleavage.

Yet cleavage is the elephant in the room.

Remarkably, though there was indeed several cleavage blatantly being displayed, I cannot remember anything about the exhibitrices.

Nor whether cigarette ashes had fallen into the gap.

Cleavage is best privately appreciated rather than publicly displayed.

Shape and dimension is less important than hue and tactile sensation.

When there is evidence of cleavage, one may assume that an appropriate number of aureoles et papillis are likewise in the vicinity.

Beware of counterfeits.

This is axiomatic.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Silly me. It took me this long to figure out that the pronunciation is "baynor", not "boner". Now that he's been mentioned on the Daily Show.
Honestly, I had no idea.

You see, I do not watch the news. Or Fox.

This blogger reads about events.

I seldom watch TV.

Years ago I would purchase two or three English-language newspapers every day, plus one or two of the Chinese newspapers, and retire to a Chinatown bakery or coffee shop to devour them entirely, while getting high as a kite on constant refills.

I no longer do that.

Three things happened to interdict that valiant effort at literacy concerning affairs of the world.

The internet took off like a rocket.

Smoking was outlawed indoors.

Newspapers faltered.

Oh, and somewhere along the line I discovered girls, of course. Nipples are infinitely more fascinating than editorials, and you can twiddle them, which if you tried doing that to an editorial would not yield nearly the same startling results. That's just how it is. Nipples 1, editorial columns 0.
I'm probably not alone in that conclusion.

It would be very nice if you could still light up a pipe while at a comfortable coffee shop or bakery with fresh pie, unfold your newspaper, and read well-written articles rich with data and import. Newspapers, alas, have become the junkfood of newsgrazing, and television programmes are on the whole a poor substitute for the editorial page.

The less said about Fox, the better.

At least nipples have remained much the same.

At least I assume so; I haven't seen any in quite a while.

Maybe they too have been replaced by the internet while I slept.

I would love confirmation regarding the nipples, but I shall not watch Fox to find out. And Fox, of course, was where the received pronunciation of mister Boehner's name originated, because a television channel catering to the blinkered ignorant religious nuts in the deep south could not possibly pronounce a word that sounded obscene.

It really should be 'beu-ner', like Dutch "beunhaas", with the tightlipped 'oh' sound ("Ö"), the exact same vowel as in "Österreich", "schön", or "größ".
It's really not hard; pretend you have a stick stuck somewhere.
Puritanic Southerners can pronounce 'boner'.
They just can't ever say it.

Böner, böner, böner!

Anyhow, now that he's leaving, I've finally figured out how most people pronounce his surname. All this time I had been saying 'boner'.

We'll miss him. He may have been irrationally rightwing, but at least he was a gentleman; many of his party members are total dicks.

He'll have more time to spend with his family now.
All the little böners.

Good luck, John.
Enjoy the peace and quiet.

*      *      *      *      *

I wonder if Fox ever says the word 'nipple'?
Or how on earth they pronounce it.
It is a lovely word.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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During the working day I often answer questions. Unfortunately, only a minority of the people who ask these questions are inquiring about the meaning of life. Equally unfortunately, some of them clearly need psychological counseling. Often the questions are about cigars.

Stick this end in your mouth.

Set fire to that end.

Now suck.

A few of them express curiosity about pipes instead. What makes one pipe better than another, or how does one use this peculiar object?
This end goes in your mouth, AFTER you've put tobacco in that end. For the rest, please follow the instructions for cigars.

As with all consumption, do not waste your time on garbage. If you are going to indulge, do so boldly and well. Go for the glittery ball at the end of the rainbow, and don't accept any wooden nickels.

Today is the beginning of my weekend.
I want more evolved questions.

What kind of forest creature am I, what is that lovely smell, why am I sitting by myself on a bench, are there more places to sit, and what beverage comes to mind at most hours of the day?

Can I actually locate my copy of A La Recherche du Temps Perdu?

[Actually, I can, but not today. My apartment mate is watching murder documentaries on teevee all day long, and the copy is in the cabinet underneath the boob tube, behind the ceramics.]

Would I rather be inside fondling my pipe or a warm cup?

What else are agile and sensitive fingers good for?

Sunlight or semi-closed window blinds?

I'm in the mood to experiment today. Noodles, dumplings, and other slithery things. Voyages of discovery, and a fresh pair of eyes.

Sunlight, coffee, and cats.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Monday, September 28, 2015


Just heard the horrible news. No, not about Facebook being buggered up, unpleasant though that is (didn't even notice), but my apartment mate is taking a vacation day tomorrow.

Tomorrow is one of my scheduled days off.
I do not want her around.

No, I'm actually very fond of her. But her presence, on my days off, cramps my style. With her around, I shan't be able to smoke.
Nor will I be able to pick up a bright young thing and start a passionate romance that involves hugging and kissies.
Now, you understand that such a romance would not be even remotely likely to happen in any case, but the idea that in an ideal universe it theoretically COULD happen is immensely liberating.
And if it did happen, it would be in stages.
A gradual progression of steps.
Not sudden at all.

[Hypothetical classified advertisement my aura radiates at all times, except that women are all kind of dense and insensitive and don't even notice:
"Hi, I'm a middle-aged man who is ready for passion, are you a romantically inclined sweet innocent young thing who needs a grumpy Dutchman in your life? Do you like mature individuals who reek of pipe-tobacco? Do you enjoy reading good books in a rather messy apartment with someone smoking nearby who is also reading a book? Would you like to have lunch, then go back to my place where we shall discuss Kierkegaard and Sartre, perhaps while taking a bath? I've got a pipe or two I could lend you, and just sheer tonnes of pipe tobacco! I might even open a tin of aged Virginia, oh joy! Together we can pleasantly pass the time till twilight while sipping hot milk tea, in each other's company, as the fragrant trails ascend and mingle. Well hot diggety!
Let me walk you home.

No one has ever picked up on the big glowing karmic neon sign above my head that spells that out. Which I find utterly baffling.
It's probably a problem with wavelengths.

They're just not receptive to the unspoken thought.
Or their processors put it in the junk folder.
Along with all the other spam.

Despite such lively fantasies, though, what is far more likely is that I shall spend a lot of time elsewhere tomorrow, because my apartment mate is a non-smoker. This is somewhat inconvenient.

Normally I shut her door firmly the moment she leaves in the morning, open several windows, and fill up a pipe. Then settle down for a leisure cruise through internet news sites, visit Facebook and Wikipedia along with a few dictionaries of various languages. By the time of my second cup of coffee I'm nearly ready to poke my head above the snowdrifts and look around with a quizzical expression on my face.

Two pipes before one o'clock, and later a snackipoo in Chinatown.
That gives the apartment enough time to air out.
The smell is gone by evening.

What I'm looking for is a perceptive and interesting companion.
Who likes old-fashioned aromas and objects.
And relaxes by reading.

What I always settle for is a hot beverage and a pastry.
Followed by a leisurely stroll with a pipe.
While observing people.

My life is quiet but rather enjoyable.
Indeed, it could be better.
But it's nice.

It's filled with flaky buttery goodness.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Sunday, September 27, 2015


Being a single man, and therefore not in any way obliged to eat sensibly or socially, I get to make food decisions that seem good to me, and probably not to anyone else.

Like hot sauce all over the place.

Or an excess of bitter vegetables.

Plus mocha and some mooncake.

It is the season for mooncakes, and as you know, there is precious little nutrition in those things. They're rich, sweet, and luscious, and almost certainly something your mom would disapprove of your over-indulgence in.

But I'm single, AND grown-up. So I can eat whatever I feel like.

And this evening I felt like lotus-seed-paste mooncake.

With a giant glass of chilled mocha.

A great dinner.

I knew I needed the caffeine when I heard voices while crossing Van Ness, and did not initially realize that they were my own, and in my head.
For some inexplicable reason I did not have enough sleep last night, and a day at the saltmines had made me a little tired.

"Is that a painted portal or a concrete maw?"
"Oh my, such a pleasingly plump rump!"
"Green cars are NOT adult frogs."

Tiredness does strange things to the mind. Stimuli have more interesting brain-reactions, as the mind goes interpretationally side-ways. I do not know why I described a Volkswagen as having a shapely booty.


Apparently I was not the only tired person at that intersection.

As I passed the church ("painted portal or concrete maw"), a man wearing a floral bathrobe said "my cock itches".

He too was probably tired.

I advised him to use Maximum Strength Cortizone 10-Plus, and dry himself well after bathing, if he ever bathed. Cleanliness might very well be next to godliness, much like a church, which also has that reputation somewhat, and mendicants sitting on the steps may be saints in disguise, but hygienic habits go a long way toward precluding unfortunate dermal issues, most especially in the nether regions or between the toes, and dryness must always be maintained, otherwise a horrible rot sets in.
Especially during the warm season.
Athletes foot and cock-itch.
Caused by moisture.

"My cock itches!"

Oh you poor man! Does it really! Cortisone 10! Get it at Walgreens, either at Polk and Broadway, or Polk and California, which is two blocks closer. And have you considered using baby powder?

I don't think I've ever told anyone that my cock itches.

It's not a conversational gambit in my book.

I don't talk about my cock.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Last night I waited for the phone to ring. And waited. And waited. To no avail. By which I mean that I had sent out a query on facebook, and did not receive any answers.

No, this is NOT a tale of sadness, but rather one of practicality. Normally, on Saturday night, I head down to a familiar place to enjoy one or two pipes in peace and quiet. Except that whenever a certain person there takes the night off -- inexplicable, as he only works ONE evening a week -- a certain other person gets his shift; someone of an entirely different bend.
A person whom some have named Chewbaca.
Or Chewzilla. Either or.

Suffice to say that said individual is not one of my favourite people.

I seek foreknowledge before I head on over.

I am not an idiot.

*   *   *

So, given that the radar system wasn't working (at least, not until very much later), I stayed in and prepared myself curry-fried noodles with gailan and smoked bacon, while listening to the prosperous yuppies across the lot partying loudly and screaming.

An endeavor which I suspect involved overmuch beer on their part.

Beer is often the fundament on which a judgement fail is built.

Usually those with the least sense rely on the most beer.

Voices are raised further with each bottle

I very rarely consume beer.

I am not an idiot.

*   *   *

Excessive quantities of chili paste, chopped ginger, and shrimp paste.

It would have been perfect with a bottle of beer.

Of which there wasn't a drop.

I am an idiot.


The radar system finally squawked long after I had regretted my intemperance with the chili paste, ginger, and shrimp paste.
After the boozers across the lot began to sing.
I didn't even have that much to eat.
Saved some for tonight.
I am an idiot.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Saturday, September 26, 2015


When I think about it, I really should know better by now. Strange things come flying out of her mouth, and, because she has Asperger syndrome, conversational trains from several weeks or months ago suddenly restart. Sometimes right where they left off, though at other times they head in an entirely new direction.

My roommate's chit-chat methodology is mostly uncharted territory.
She used to be my girlfriend, and even then I was often baffled.
More than five years later, I'm still frequently surprised.

She isn't crazy, you just have to be there at the beginning.
Data enters, percolates, ferments, sprouts wings.
Then comes out several month later.
In a strange new guise.

If the information is weird, she's a sponge.

So I should not have reacted the way I did when the voice from the other side of the table, hidden by both her computer and mine, exclaimed indignantly "a Jew in blackface?!?!"


"You heard me; a Jew in blackface."

"Oh I think that's a marvelous idea! Is that what he plans to do for Halloween? I can see it now; he'll be rolling down the street in his wheelchair, singing spirituals. It will be EVER so entertaining!"

"Huh, what the heck are you talking about?"

"You know, what Wheelie Boy is going to do for a costume."



"You want to see him killed, don't you?"

"No, not at all. Whatever gave you that idea? I have NO intention of being anywhere nearby."

So help me, I really did think she was reacting to one of Wheelie Boy's brilliant plans, seeing as he is the man she sees nowadays.
And honestly, I was just being supportive.
He's Jewish, by the way.

[Much more Jewish than I could ever be, and angular of chin, too. Although far less rabbinic, seeing as he's entirely unfamiliar with Talmud-Torah, speaks not a word of Yiddish, Aramaic, or Hebrew, and knows almost nothing about traditions, minhag, halacha, or even kashrus.
I, on the other hand, am a smart monkey.
Albeit utterly goyish.]

And you will have to admit: the idea of a Jewish healthnut weightlifter in a wheelchair rolling down the street singing spirituals with his face painted pitch-black is unique. Wow. Creative, inspiring, and even uplifting.
Makes it understandable why she's seeing that putz.

She admires courageous people.

He's in a wheelchair.

And Jewish.

Everyone who knows me understands that I am nothing if not warmly supportive. My sense of empathy is enormous, and I just want everyone to reach their fullest potential. I recognize the hidden talents within.
You are a pupa until you become a butterfly.
Break free of your pupal casing.
De-cocoon yourself.

Well, truth be told, I thought it was just another one of her boyfriend's crazy brain-farts. He was the only Jew I could think of at that moment that I know she knows, so the connection seemed logical.

For her sake, he should put on blackface and sing.

But what she was actually talking about was Al Jolson, whom she had been reading about two months ago. Mr. Jolson reveled in blackface, and made a fantabulous reputation for himself performing thus.
It was what Bush called "a kinder gentler era".
Which really means batshit crazy.
And viciously racist.

My apartment mate is now convinced that I would conspire for her present boyfriend's death, if the opportunity presented itself. She also suspects that I will telephone him with suggestions out of the blue. Knowing that the dear man has a streak of innocent credulity. And that I am persuasive.
Why else would I imagine Wheelie Boy in blackface?
Singing spirituals at Fisherman's Wharf.

I really think he should do it.


She's got Aspergers. Her boyfriend also has Aspergers, far worse.
And I'm on the spectrum too, but only borderline, very slight.
Asperger co-dependent, or Asperger enabling.

I am not a mean-spirited person.

Blackface, heh heh.

Apparently he doesn't celebrate Halloween.
I think it would be enlightening for him.
A new learning experience.

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Friday, September 25, 2015


Now that the Republicans on Fox have shivered their wee timbers over the Pope, and excoriated him for being a poor-people coddling liberal (totally unlike Jesus!) who doesn't know or understand scripture and the importance that the good book has in law, philosophy, the sciences, or the righteous management of modern society, perhaps it is finally time for us to admit that as far as religion is concerned, we are a spent force.

We have nothing to add, because Fox knows it all.

Nothing says 'Christ' quite like they do.

And the righteous Ted Cruz.

Sweet Jesus.


Or the good people and sanctity in places like Kentucky and Tennessee, which are so close to being heaven that we should just all move there.
To say nothing of Texas and Bobby Jindal's Louisiana.

Being instinctively a rather disagreeable sort, who without thinking will take issue with the given truth, I naturally have a different opinion.

I will offer that instead we should all admire Zerblat.

Whose gentle inner wisdom brings peace.

Just look at those big innocent eyes.

And that distinguished profile.

He isn't Ted Cruz.

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Despite my virulent distaste for the company of cigar-chomping grossly overweight rednecks and ultra right wing conspiracy theorists, I spent several hours in precisely such an environment the other evening.
Most cigar smokers are crude, opinionated, and wrong.
As a pipe-smoker, I am above all that.
But not always.

I was planning to have only one drink, and consequently had only a little Virginia tobacco and two pipes with me when I entered. One of which was already lit, having been filled while I waited for my roast duck and rice at New Moon Restaurant in Chinatown.

[Roast duck and rice, roast duck rice plate: 燒鴨飯 'siu ngaap fan'; Cantonese style roast duck with a mound of rice. Usually this is served with the nicely arranged chunks of hot duck exuding juices onto a layer of chopped lettuce (生菜 'saang choi'). New Moon Restaurant: 新月燒臘小館 ('san yueh siu-laap siu-gwun') on Stockton Street near Broadway, where they also serve a bowl of old fire soup (老火湯 'lou fo tong') with the meal. Chinatown: 唐人街 ('tong yan kai'); an economically depressed mixed residential and business neighborhood adjacent to the Financial District, where some people of Chinese extraction reside. Most Chinese Americans, having reached an economic level that allowed them to move the hell out, have moved the hell out.]

While I was on my second pipe, a Singaporean couple walked in, ordered expensive single malts, and lit up Havanas. They were good conversationalists, and despite the huge age gap between the him and the her, they seemed like a great match. Both were no longer starry-eyed adolescents filled with idealistic ideas about love and marriage.

Then a suave smooth-pated Puerto Rican gentleman entered.
I know him, and he is also a good conversationalist.

By this time I was on my third pipeful.
I go there for the conversation.

After earlier sneering privately about the Havanas ("hah, not nearly as good as Padron cigars"), the host was now selling the Singaporean gentleman, who had strongly opined that non-Cubans were virtually unsmokeable, a very fine Padron 1926 maduro.

Both he and his companion admitted to me that it was good tobacco.
They took turns puffing at it. Altogether, a decent cigar.

Shortly afterward, the world's cutest cigar smoker came in. No, I shall not describe her or mention what kind of person she is -- because I would like her company all to myself, and do not wish fat rednecks and rightwing Republican asshats to go all fetishist batshit and flock to the cigar-bar in hopes of finding their fifth wife there -- but I will merely say that I have presently forgotten what she was smoking. It's an important datum.
There is a strong possibility that, like what the Singaporean gentleman and his lady were enjoying, it was a Nicaraguan.
She joined our conversation, and she and the Singaporean woman had quite a talk. To which I was a keen but mostly silent witness.
At least, that is how I remember it.

Meanwhile, a Panjabi gentleman, who insisted that he was merely a humble San Francisco barber, nope nothing else -- "see that shiny pate over there? My handiwork, he looks much more human now!" -- had entered and shown off his big BIG 96 ring-gauge eight incher ("it's big, 'coz I'm Panjabi, moddah f*gg*rrs"). After smoking barely an inch of this monstrosity he switched to something else, and when I asked about it, he said the big Panjabi penis substitute had tasted like sh*t.

Precisely and exactly.

I did not remark upon the breadth of his experience.

A cheerful Egyptian now also joined the party.
The Panjabi accused him of being Jewish.
More Nicaruaguan cigars were lit.

By the time I switched to cigarillos, because I'd had too many pipefuls, the world's cutest cigar smoker had bidden farewell and left.
Yes, I had thoroughly enjoyed her company.
But she had to leave; long drive home.

The Singaporean woman, who was now smoking a Liga Privada ("much better than the Padron") then spent half an hour or more strongly urging me to court the world's cutest cigar smoker, because obviously we're so perfectly matched. And from one point of view, that would be indeed be a damned nice thing, but if I were an outsider I should probably think otherwise, because I am a financially-depressed middle-aged Dutchman, with strange habits and a life-time of peculiarities saved up.
Hardly a dreamboat, and likely far too goofy.
Things become more complicated as one gets older, and there's a very great chance I'd say the wrong things, and ruin a very fine friendship.
Plus I can well imagine that if I were the world's cutest cigar smoker's brother, I would likely growl "mister, stay away from my sister".
No, I do not know if she has siblings.
I'll have to ask.

Yes, I spent till closing time there. And please remember, I had intended to have only one drink. But the camaraderie of good people can make one change plans rapidly, and I enjoy intelligent conversation.
Plus the company of cigar smokers is appealing.
It makes one feel alive again.
Five drinks.

I was a bit slow the next morning.
Possibly not enough sleep.
Or too much smoke.


Please note that the title of this essay is a direct quote from Pepe The King Prawn. It's what that lovable crustacean said to two mafiosi in the most recent muppet movie.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015


Watching disco in old movies is a form of torture. People just did not dance well back in the golden age. And the clothes, good lord.

There is much about the seventies that deservedly got deep-sixed.

Clothing. Music. Politics.

Oh wait, many of today's vilest politicians were already adults then, and politically sentient. That explains an awful lot (and a lot that is awful).

Perhaps we should blame disco for all that is wrong.

Please don't bring it back.

It's evil.

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Marsha Blackburn, a Republican member of the House Energy Committee, rejects the theory of evolution, and says that global climate change is not happening.

I shall not dispute her right to believe horsepucky.

I just wish that the Republican party would stop being so obtuse, and would cease throwing up such morons. Appointing Marsha Blackburn to anything at all is a huge embarrassment for the United States. Sofar, she's managed to make us look stupid for over a decade, as a member of several committees where a modicum of intelligence would have been a virtue.
The Republicans keep doing that.

Not surprisingly, she represents a district in Tennessee.
As a top-notch retard, she does that very well.
Its a place with many fools.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Between yesterday evening and a few hours ago, this blogger was involved in saving his computer from disaster. No protection on the machine, and an internet full of viruses all around. But, thanks to several people of sub-continental derivation, disaster has been averted.

I particularly thank miss Neta (from Madya Pradesh), mister Parvin Kumar (Karnataka), and Sreedevi (whose natal place was not mentioned).

The first two persons mentioned work for iYogi in Bangalore, the last one represents AVG Customer Care.

Other factors that bear on this are the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival ("Moon Festival"), spicy food, flue-cured tobaccos ("Virginia"), Chinese internet sites, chai ('milky tea'), the grammar of Sanskrit, and a tar-encrusted Benton briar pipe.

[EXPLICATA: Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival: The moon festival originated as a harvest festival millenia ago, and has acquired encrustations of tradition and folk-lore ever since. Like several other Chinese festive observances it is family-oriented, in the sense that Chinese people automatically think of the old home town and family home, plus relatives far away, at this time. Mooncakes, which are large confections rather resembling cat food cans in appearance, being a thin baked dough skin enclosing a sweet filling, are eaten or gifted, and re-gifted; because one is often too much for a single person to eat, and the traditional box of four of them is way too much of a good thing. Spicy Food: after several days of working outside the city, a man needs something with a little more flavour than the pallid suburbs can handle. Wherefore one goes out and has bitter melon in black bean and garlic sauce with fresh collops of fish over rice, and chili paste on the side. It is delicious. Flue-cured tobaccos: commonly called Virginia tobacco, after the place where this style of drying and curing leaf rich in natural sugars originated, the product is now sourced from all over the world; even cigar producing areas such as the Dominican Republic and Central America grow it. Most of the crop is destined for cigarettes, but the finest gets pressed and aged for pipe tobacco. Chinese Internet Sites: all subjects are discussed, much interesting stuff can be found (like answers to questions about cigars, pipes, and the characteristics of Latakia tobacco). Chai: strong tea with milk, sugar, and spices; very upkicking to the tired computer-user, or a pipe-smoker recovering from a three-day suburban nightmare. Sanskrit Grammar: a fascinating subject codified most magnificently by Panini 25 centuries ago. His monumental Ashtadhyayi is the mother of all descriptive grammars, acknowledged as such since European philologists happily discovered it during the nineteenth century.
Tar-encrusted Benton: a plain bent pipe which smokes like a dream, and the only item in my collection of briar smoking devices on which I allow rim-buildup.]

Upon returning from my lunch and smoke jaunt yesterday, I discovered that my computer was no longer protected from infection, quite possibly (meaning that it is extremely likely) from recent browsing.

It could also have been the Chinese sites devoted to cigars and pipes, or describing various recipes in detail. There aren't many in-depth articles in English or Dutch about dried ingredients common to the Cantonese kitchen, and certain vegetables are barely described at all.

The Chinese web is anarchic and buggy.

So of course I sought help.

And found Indians.

If it weren't for Indians, single males across the world would be staring at blank screens in the middle of the night, sadly weeping into their rapidly cooling cups of chai.

Three hours with first miss Neta, then Mr. Parvin Kumar, both of them remotely accessing my machine, running diagnostics, removing infected bits, and also trying to keep up a conversation with customers, so that we don't start acting all frustrated, and vocalizing angrily about work that needs to be done or dinner that must be eaten. They know that Americans get cranky when their blood-sugar levels drop.
Fortunately I had already eaten.

Even more fortunately, my phone has an extremely long extension cord. Which meant that three times I went into the kitchen while they were wrestling with my computer to fix myself some chai and grab another slice of mooncake to nibble on.


At this time of year, approaching the Autumn Moon Festival, this blogger does not think of the town where he grew up, but instead of Yuen Long (元朗) in the New Territories (新界), Hong Kong. The reason being, as you will immediately grasp, that that is where Wing Wah (榮華食品製造業有限公司 'wing-wa sik-pan jai-jou sat yau-haan-gong si') is located, who produce the best mooncakes exported from the territory.

Feeling somewhat alone, what with being a single man surrounded in San Francisco by freaks of a younger generation, I had purchased a full box. Single yolk, lotus seed paste (蛋黃蓮蓉月餅).

Mooncakes are addictive. And splendid with strong milk tea.
Consequently I ate one-and-a-half.
They're very rich.

The conversation with mister Parvin Kumar gradually lapsed, so I grabbed the translation of the Aṣṭādhyāyī from the bookcase nearby, and started reading selected bits of the preface and the introduction to him.
It's fascinating stuff.

But he's probably convinced that I'm crazy because of it.

Of course, being a native speaker of Kannada (a non-Sanskritic tongue), it also has scant import in his life, even though the pattern set by Panini influenced subsequent efforts by scholars writing in other languages.

"Indeed, the tradition of the Aṣṭ was so strong that even grammars of some of the Dravidian languages were composed on its pattern, such as the Tolkāppiyam for Tamil, Līlātilakam (*), for Malayalam, Andra-sabda-cintamani for Telugu (*), and Śabda-maṇi-darpaṇa for Kannada."
End cite.

[SOURCE: Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini by Sumitra M. Katre.]

What I could also have mentioned was that the Kavirajamarga (ಕವಿರಾಜಮಾರ್ಗ), a classic Kannarese textbook on poetry written in the ninth century, by its very name alone attests to the influence of Sanskrit on the literature of the South Indian languages. The name is transparent to almost anyone with a knowledge of the Sanskrit vocabulary in Indonesian tongues, as it plainly says 'methodology of the princes of poets', or 'royal poetry path'. In other words, the way or praxis of writing splendid verse.
Kavi: Poetry, poetic language. Raja: Prince or king. Marga: Path, way.
Every term is Sanskrit.

I need to check Amazon to see if a translation is available.
Or perhaps a commentarial excursus.
It looks intriguing.

The Benton pipe enters into all of this about halfway through yesterday evening's tech support session. Hands must do something, and the tray of pipes is positioned close to the computer. I ended up smelling the pipe, which has a fragrance richly evocative of sunlight days of pleasure, comfort during wintry downpours, and any number of fine memory associations.

I fondled it, and sniffed deeply.

I cannot smoke in the apartment in the evening, even when my apartment mate is not around, as she is decidedly not a fan of tobacco.
So I merely enjoyed the echoed aromas of the past.

This morning, before even starting to finish-up on getting AVG to work again, I firmly shut my apartment mate's bedroom door and opened all the windows.

Then I studied Sreedevi's instructions sent in response to my screeching on the AVG Facebook page. Followed these, ran tests afterwards, confirmed that indeed AVG is now working again.

Filled the Benton pipe with one of the Virginia mixtures of my own devizing (this one is approximately fifty percent medium flake, with slightly over fifteen percent air-cured leaf), and lit up.

Altogether, for the entire excercise: three cups of hot chai yesterday evening, two cups of coffee this morning, one bowlful of fine tobacco, and five hours worth of computerized frustration.

Shan't mention the whiskey in between then and now.

AVG and iYogi are fine companies.
And have very good people.
Keep that in mind.


IF I were in a position to give a teenage boy a stern lecture about good habits versus bad practices, it would mostly include admonitions to avoid risky internet sites because they buggers up your computer, learn how to make chai as well as cook with strong flavours -- good for the mind and body -- and at all times avoid cheap drugstore tobaccos, especially aromatics. Flavoured tobacco is a mark of depravity.

If you cannot avoid risky internet sites, at least smoke good leaf.
Old fashioned mixtures, with honest Virginias.
And keep your pipes clean.

Oh, and eat mooncakes from Wing Wah.
They produce a splendid product.
Available everywhere.

By the way: spellcheck does NOT like this post.
There are highlights and underlines everywhere.
Which is very peculiar; it's written in English!
Spellcheck is probably an illiterate savage.

PS. There are five places I really must visit in India: Delhi, Bombay, Lucknow, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. The first four because of the food, and perhaps the architecture. The last because it is filled with very intelligent people. Oh, and the food is also worth exploring.
Udupi restaurants, among other things.
But mostly, intelligent people.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


A friend, who has the peculiar conviction that I like cooking queer shiznit, sent me a recipe for "gluten free wontons", with the remark that it looked good enough that even I would consider it a masterpiece.

I sent him back a note telling him to never do that again. Never EVER do that again. If you value your ability to breath through a nose, do NOT ever do that again. Don't even think of doing that.
I know where your relatives live.
And I'll tell on you.

Depraved person!

Sorry for genuine coeliacals, but gluten-free Chinese food is the kind of garbage only white people eat. Please understand that the stuff which ignorant dingbats like David Perlmutter, Mark Sisson, and that rancid heap of poo Ms. Vani Hari might cook, in a mis-guided attempt to Chinkify culinary garbage, should NEVER be called 'Chinese food'.

That's a damned good way to offend every Chinese person alive.

As well as anyone who appreciates good cooking.

And legitimate nutritionists.

Now hear this: if you claim gluten intolerance, or peculiar food allergies, or special dietary needs, or are a vegan, DO NOT COOK CHINESE.
Heck, don't cook anything, and step away from the kitchen implements.
Slowly. The rest of us startle easily, and might start shooting.

Consider rolling up into a ball until you die of bowel blockage instead.
Or dye your hair indigo, and go meditate in an ashram in Somalia.
Move to Sweden, and invent a vegan version of surströmming.
Taunt the Russian military, or take up basket weaving.

These are all things I wish David Perlmutter, Mark Sisson, and that rancid heap of poo Ms. Vani Hari would do too.

Such evil people have NO business speaking about food.
It is opportunistic, and depraved.
Snake oil.

Won ton contains gluten. Period.


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

Monday, September 21, 2015


This evening's bus back from Marin was, in a word, bizarre. And if you want to know why, it's because hot weather awakens the dormant brain worms in some people, which then begin twitching excitedly, and interfering with their "normal" synapses. Or burrowing deeper.
They start doing strange things.
And ululating.

Golden Gate Transit does not usually host the batshit crazy contingent; that's Muni's (SFMTA's) prerogative.

Behind me I could hear Arabic, Persian, and Hindi being spoken. That, of course, is to be expected. The Bay Area has lots of programmers and hospitality industry professionals from any number of ancestral sods.
Multiple languages are spoken in this part of the world.
We are a proudly diverse region.

The two middle-aged ladies sitting nearest, however, were not having any of it. One of them was speculating loudly and continuously about a bus full of rapists and sodomites, in addition to blackmailers and strong-arm bandits, and her companion was panicking and insistently urging the bus-driver to hurry dammit, in between muttering that if they didn't get back to Market Street before dark, they'd never get home alive.
It is the criminal element, Margaret!

When the bus driver sped up to get through a yellow light, I could hear one of them gratefully exclaiming that he was a life-saver, lordy, he'd have them reach sanctuary yet!

Sanctuary. Pronounced 'sunkshur-e'.

When I started clarifying to an attractive young Taiwanese woman how to return to Sausalito, it flipped them. They finally realized that the foreign legions had them surrounded. At one point I turned around and asked them to hush now dearie, and the frizzier-haired exemplar snapped that she would not be spoken to in such a manner by a communist.
Which is when I should have started singing the Internationale.
But that might have upset the Taiwanese girl.
Who was rather cute.

So, no rendition of 'Die Internationale', alas.
Which I sing entirely in German.

"Wacht auf, verdamten dieser erde, die stets man noch zum hungern zwingt,
Das recht, wie glut im kraterherde, nun mit macht zum durbruch dringt..."


I always voice that song whenever I'm dealing with Neanderthalers and other slope-browed retrograde rightwing reactionaries.
For their entire tribe, I encourage apoplexy.
It's an attempt to improve the world.

German singing does that.

My only real regret is that I never got to explain my theory about brain worms symbiotically spelunking in the craniums of unstable people.
I think it illustrates the unique qualities of my commute.
She disembarked before we reached that moment.

Brainworms. And extremely hot weather.

Quod erat demonstrandum, babies.

A logical reason for everything.

Except for the wet seat.

That was an accident.

That is, probably.

Not certain.

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


Yesterday, while the cigar smokers were waxing wroth over the local team in the lounge -- apparently the boys from San Francisco laid an egg or something -- a single woman with a girlish foreign accent informed my coworker that American men were all cold fish. No passion!
All they cared about was football.
This pursuant a conversation that had started with questions about prospective husband material, any boy friends, or even lust interests.
Which my coworker, being a diplomat, had not really answered.
Well, she's also unmarried, and not really looking.
At least that's the impression that I get.
And I will not query further.
Tain't my beeswax.

Anyway: cold fish, emotionally dead, sports nuts.

European men are different. They have passion!
And they're more engaging and polished.
Total social whizbangs, in fact.
Prizes, all of them!

Having been accused of being a European man since I returned to the States years ago, naturally I was all ears.


I am 'European'.

Yes. And I can't stand football.

OF course I didn't say that, because I did not want to draw attention to myself, or seem to suggest anything. It would have been totally inappropriate, to say the least.

But the next time I find a to-be-wished-for-prospectivette, I may very well start the conversation by, à propos of nothing at all, informing her that I am Europeanish, and consequently both engaging and polished. With a great capacity for passion, and NO interest in football (strange as that may seem).

I am not a fish.

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015


It is, at this moment, hot enough to cast off all clothing except bra and panties. Which I imagine people all over SF are doing. Unless, like me,
they utterly eschew bra and panties. For their own selves.
I am showing off my blue tartan boxer shorts.

This blogger does not like hot weather.

I vastly prefer rain storms.

If I had to choose what climactic conditions would accompany partial nudity shared with another person, it would be while it's bucketing down outside. Nothing is more comfortable than partial nudity indoors during a rainstorm. Assuming, of course, that neither person is feeling cold.
'Coz if they are, there's a nice down comforter.

This is NOT typical San Francisco weather.

It IS distressing and uncomfortable.

I am, naturally, displeased.

If you read about a partially nude Dutchman smoking a pipe getting arrested, that will be me. It will be a protest against the gross inequity of the present weather. A principled political statement.
It is just too hot, and I resent that.

What is horribly unfair about it is that men look splendid running around naked until about eight years of age, and after that become altogether displeasing, more so as they mature. Whereas women aren't even getting started at that age -- not till the bra and pantie years, usually -- and don't peak until they're in their thirties or even forties.

A man standing on a street corner in his boxer shorts looks lost.

A woman, similarly garbed, might simply be a bit lonesome.

If I come back as a woman, I'll put this theory to the test.

I've always wanted to have a conversation while in my blue tartan boxer shorts with a woman wearing only bra and panties during a downpour.
Now more than ever. Because it is so extremely hot, you see.
We all dream of cooler times during heat waves.

Don't worry, it is perfectly normal.

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


Last night a friend sent me a message asking me to come out and drink with her and her husband at a place where the nearest humanoid representation of both Godzilla and Chewbaca was working.

She knows of my hesitance about going there when Chewzilla is on duty, so I have to really wonder what was going through her head.
Perhaps it was the Bourbon speaking.

I am a patient and tolerant man.

So, with great patience and tolerance, I let her know that unless it was right at that moment raining blood, and the rivers had caught fire, and the three-headed dragon with crowns upon each head had appeared, there was very little chance of my heading in that direction.

I like monsters, but not that much.

It's mostly intellectual anyway.

"I've seen horrors, horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me. It is impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. 

Horror has a face."

-----Colonel Kurtz

Things got confused out there. The mission doesn't exist; it never existed. Sometimes the dark side overcomes what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature.

Chewzilla is out there operating without any decent restraint, and totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.

dot - dot - dot

Anyhow, here it is, Sunday morning, and I suspect that everyone involved in last night's lapse of judgement is suffering right now.

I'm not.

I didn't even leave the house for a burrito. Just had coffee and read till twelve o'clock, then went to bed.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015


This blog began nearly ten years ago. And for that entire decade, its author has encouraged vulnerable adults to man-up and admit their own homosexuality, blasphemous tendencies, and carnivorous natures.

Go on, admit it; you like bacon.
Rainbow coloured bacon.

You're not too young for bacon. All teenagers and twenty-somethings enjoy bacon. Your idiot parents don't know what they're talking about.
Go on, have a bite. Plus some steak. Or a nice juicy burger.
With bacon, cheese, and mushrooms.
On a non-gluten-free bun.

You are deeply in love with animal protein. Which causes you to forsake the altar your family members still loyally and stupidly attend, religiously.
You do not wish to be seen in their Christian company anymore.
Nor eat the Vegan manna they fundamentally praise.
They have become sawdust in your mouth.
And deservedly so.

Both meat and homosexuality are equal opportunity.

I should mention that while I do engage in carnivorous behaviours, nearly every damned opportunity I get, homosexuality is NOT one of my practices.
I sincerely encourage it, darlings, but I abstain myself.

As a man, I much prefer the female of the species.
Some of whom are cute and huggable.

That being said, almost all the crazy-ass vegetarians and gluten-phobics that have crossed my path are women.

Some women are a little, um, irritating.

Because this is California, a huge number of people -- many of them of the feminine bent -- are obsessed with bowel blockage, meaningfulness, karmas and chakras, and projecting an air of precious spirituality.
The Bay Area is, unfortunately, ground zero for that.

Men will usually hide these peculiarities. Women, however, have no shame, and will impose their vegetarian life-style agenda on all and sundry. Because being 'special' is of all encompassing importance.

Californians tolerate a wide spectrum of crazy.

I am not that flexible.

One of the reasons I have taken to eating in Chinatown is because most of the pretentious food hangup hoohah is not something Chinese eateries have much patience for, nor a market-segment to whom they cater.
Chinatown is about meat. And seafood. And gluten.

Homosexuality, not so much.

But I suspect that being peculiar about food, and refusing to touch things which are good to eat, would be far more disturbing to the average Cantonese person than privately engaging in sticky business with a person of the same gender. Or any gender.

Dietary eccentricity is, largely, a life style choice.
And seen as profoundly anti-social.
A deliberate affront.

The Cantonese will tolerate our perversions, especially if we're paying real money to eat flavourless "health food good-karma" garbage, but they'll never-the-less marvel at our stupidity and lack of sense.

Gluten-intolerant veganism is strictly for the birds.
Crazy effing white people.


Follows a list of scrumptious nibbles which include either substances of animal origin, or gluten, or both.
Usually both.

Spring rolls (春捲). Wonton noodle (雲吞麺). Salted snow cabbage and pork shreds in broth with noodles (雪菜肉絲湯米粉). Charsiu buns (叉燒包). Sweet and sour spare ribs (糖醋排骨). Roast duck (燒鴨). White-cooked pork with sour vegetable (酸菜白肉). Steamed fish (蒸魚). Lamb with tofu sticks (腐竹羊肉). Lean pork and preserved egg congee (皮蛋瘦肉粥). Fatty pork meatballs and snow cabbage soup noodle (雪菜豬肉圓河粉). Grilled pork rice noodle soup (燒猪肉河粉湯). Steamed custard bun (奶皇飽). Pork kidney with ginger and scallion (姜葱腰花). Gailan with fish collops (蘭芯斑球). Steamed savoury egg custard (蒸水蛋). Fried dough stick (油條). Stir-fried pork shreds and snow fungus (炒肉絲銀耳). Braised 'lion's head' meatballs (紅燒獅子頭). Glutinous rice chicken steamed in a lotus leaf bundle (糯米雞). Shrimp croquettes (蝦餅). Black bean sauce spare ribs (豆豉排骨). Garlic chives dumplings (韭菜豬肉水餃). Fermented tofu pig trotters (南乳豬手). Curry beef (咖喱牛腩). Shrimp-filled noodle sheet (鮮蝦腸粉). Sea cucumber and pig knuckles (海參燜豬手). Deep-fried glutinous rice puffs (煎堆). Steamed fatty pork chunks (蒸五花腩). Pork floss bun (肉鬆飽). Meat and cabbage bun (菜肉飽). Fish balls on a stick (串魚蛋). Hainan chicken rice (海南雞飯). Shrimp sauce Chinese broccoli (蝦醬芥蘭). Shrimp mash filled bellpeppers (蝦膠釀青椒). Steamed chicken (蒸滑雞). Stewed trotter with peanuts (花生炆豬手). Pickled vegetable fatty pork chunks (梅菜扣肉). Hot and sour chicken (酸辣鷄球). Mixed organ meat rice porridge (及第粥). Lean pork and dried oyster congee (蠔豉瘦肉粥). Fish with crisp bokchoi (菜遠蘢利魚). Beef soup with noodles (牛腩湯麵). Egg tarts (蛋撻). Red bean pastries (豆沙餠). Fish with bittermelon (豆豉凉瓜魚片 OR 涼瓜斑球). Boiled dumplings (水餃). Porkchop with tomato sauce (蕃茄豬扒). Chicken stirfried with seasonal vegetables (炒時菜雞片). Ginger & scallion chicken chunks (薑蔥炆雞丁). Salt fish steamed pork patty (咸魚蒸肉餅). Chicken buns (雞包). Pork siu mai (豬肉燒賣). Typhoon shelter crab (避風塘炒蟹). Deep fried taro puff (芋角). Congee with dried scallops (干貝粥).

Doesn't all of that sound quite wonderful? See, if you're food-stupid, you can't have any. Nor any of the delicious bacon. Mmm, bacon.

Normal homosexuals, however, can; and do.

So do many other normal people.

And remarkable women.

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

Friday, September 18, 2015


This blogger smoked too much yesterday. Cigar-smoker baby-sitting, and a meeting of the pipe club. Plus unwinding afterwards.

The cigar-smokers were naturally discussing the recent Republican candidate debate. From their conversation, three things stand out:

1) They approve of conservatives eating babies.

2) They will likely support Trump.

3) They are in denial.

And all three of these, you understand, explain why the world's cutest cigar smoker does not ever join them in their club house, as well as why normal people shun them.

Personally, I think we should throw stones at them. No, not because they're cigar smokers -- please put that whiny self-righteous Californian entitled puritanism where it belongs (and you may contact me for suggestions if you are unclear) -- but because like many of the dwindling Republican Party stalwarts they are sub-intelligent blinkered moral defectives.

You didn't used to need to be a bozo to be a Republican.
Nowadays it is manifestly an absolute requirement.

Plus you need a tree fort. Because otherwise normal people will recognize you for what you are, and avoid you like the plague.
In between feeding you bananas.

The meeting of the pipe club at the other end of the building was much more civilized. Some bread and cheese was consumed, along with a little fruit and wine. Conversations were engaged upon in normal tones of voice,
and both wit and logic were employed, as well as repartee.
There was camaraderie and sociability.

It's a life style choice.

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Chinese people hate rain nearly as much as pipe smokers. That is to say, pipe smokers who really thought it wasn't going to rain, and left the house without an umbrella, but with two fine briars and a pouch of Virginia tobacco. It sprinkled the barest little bit yesterday.
A wee sprinkle, nothing more.

When I stepped outside after lunch at Little Paris, weird wet crap was falling from the sky. Not much, but enough to convince me that lighting up my already filled pipe at that point and in so exposed a place was a bad idea. So I hurried over to the awning over the front of Dol Ho, because they were already closed, and consequently there would be no one connected with their business to object to my smoking out front.

[Dol Ho ("much good") is a dim sum restaurant. Breakfast, brunch.]

There were, however, three elderly women. Who looked remarkably sour when I arrived. They thought they had that broad spread of dry zone entirely to themselves.
I considerately positioned myself as far out into the weather as possible, and at a point where the smoke would blow away from them.

Grumble grumble grumble keui sik yin ge.
Grumble grumble grumble kwailo.
Grumble grumble, gam chau.
Grumble grumble. M-ho.

Again, the breeze was blowing the smoke AWAY from them. And I was at least fifteen feet away from the nearest dessicated old wreck.

The reason why pipe smokers do not like rain when they lack umbrellas is that rain drops leave speckles on the stem of a pipe, and also affect the finish of the wood. We care about our pipes, and do not wish them damaged by weird wet crap falling from the sky. We do not like that.
For ourselves, we are far less concerned.
A bit of rain never hurt anybody.
Except for Chinese people.

That was an extremely enjoyable smoke. Nearly empty streets, at an hour when there should have been mobs of people thronging all over Stockton and Pacific. Nearby bakeries must have been doing a booming business. Desperate Chinese people fleeing the frightening wetness.
The soft murmur of grumbling wreckage behind me.
Altogether peaceful and other-worldly.

After finishing, I went out into the now severely lessening bluster. Which, bear in mind, had been the lightest and wispiest of rains, barely even dampening the pavement.

There was a long-haired cat outside of one of the stores on Stockton Street, who instinctively understood that some folks need to commune with animals.

Either that, or working for a Chinese shopkeeper, she feels attention-starved. The Chinese are not very demonstrative, except when they're vocalizing sotto voce about white people smoking where they want to shelter from the ten drops of wet that might get their hair frizzy.

It's a very sweet cat. Very social and affectionate.
Her owners must be doing something right.
The cat isn't spooked by people.

Ten solid minutes of petting.

I'll have to remember that store and start buying stuff there. Judging by the cat, they are good people.

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

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For some reason which I cannot explain I thought about the Shanghainese girl this morning. I knew her years ago, we drifted apart, and lost ...