Monday, November 30, 2015


I've just finished the last of the kringle, with my second cup of strong tea.
Let the weekend begin! And dang, now I would like to enjoy a pipe, but it is rather chilly outside .....

As it probably will be on Tuesday and Wednesday too; and I'll be outside during the afternoon on both days. My weekend is during the week.

Somehow, the weather never satisfies me. I used to be more tolerant of climactic variance.

When I was still a youngster, it did not matter if it was a warm and humid summer evening, or a snowy winters night; with appropriate clothing this blogger would head out into the open air, and enjoy a smoke somewhere else. Several pipefulls.
It seems like while my pipe tobacco has gotten better, the weather has gotten worse. That may have something to do with my return from the Netherlands to California, as good tobacco is sometimes hard to find out in the rural countryside of North Brabant. And I should mention that I do not particularly miss the snow. Or rain. Or sleet. Or hail.

Or the persistent sideways wetness of frigid gales blasting across the meadows and bogs, nor the vicious icy drafts that send snow flurries straight into your face.

The autumn mists and fogs, yes, I miss those. They are visually soothing.

Brabant is beautiful when the leaves have fallen and bronzes limn the land. Greyness drifting in a thin trail above the bedewed grass, crisp morning air, in the period before the rains come.


I just cannot fall quite as much in love with California in the fall, though the ginkgo leaves underfoot on Clay Street between Leavenworth and Jones are beautiful right now, as will the scattering from the trees outside Ping Yuen in the weeks to come also be. Ping Yuen is further down hill, and somewhat sheltered; hence a later leaf loss.

A kringle, in case you are wondering, is the state pastry of Wisconsin, being a buttery yeast-risen pastry-dough rolled in layers, filled, shaped into an oval or circle, baked, and brushed with royal icing.

Both cups of tea were boiled double-baggers.

I've smoked four pipes today.

Antique fragrance.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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Unfortunately I realized quite a while back that I do not have what it takes to be any one's evil uncle. That being the male relative or old family friend younger than their parents, who introduces the bright young thing to whiskey, tobacco, card games, illegal substances, horrid habits, and a multitude of perversions. No, it isn't that I am far too innocent and clean minded for any of that; more a case of caution and reserve.
And sheer common sense; that always gets in the way.
The knowledge that there are consequences.
That right there is crippling.


Years ago I told a young friend that casual sexual shenanigans should be approached with care, if one was a man. Never jump into the sack with someone who wasn't worth associating with, and whom you wouldn't want to continue to know for a long time after, and on good terms. The risk of ending up with a mentally unstable person after the first drunk date is relatively immense; sobriety when flirting and even a coolly rational sense of perspective, are essential.

That also counts for women, by the way. Look before you leap.
And be certain that the target is decent.

What I failed to tell him was that it might mean his first sexual experience would be a long time coming, and there would be enormous intervals between his love affairs. He's never forgiven me.

Last I heard he was unhappily married for the third time.

I bet he now wishes he'd taken my advice.

Let's change the subject.


There are several things one should never leave the house without. Your mother told you to always wear clean underwear, in case you had an accident and the emergency room staff had to cut away your pants.
Sage advice, and fairly idiotic. After a serious accident, embarrassment should be the least of your concerns, and they've seen far worse.
Chances are no else will notice your boxers either.
Unless you exhibit them.

Still, clean underwear is very important. It contributes greatly to a sense of comfort and personal well-being. There you'll be, frustrated on public transit, or inconvenienced by opinionated strangers in a coffee shop, and at the very least you can think to yourself "I have clean panties!"
Imagine how good that will make you feel.

Those other people probably don't have clean panties.

Because they are clearly not worthy!

Clean underwear.


And, if you are me, you should never leave the house without at least two pipes, tobacco, matches, a lighter, a tamper, and pipe cleaners.
Pen, notebook, plus wallet, watch, and house keys.
I'm prepared for any eventuality.

You will notice I did not mention a cellphone, blackberry, or beeper.
That is because if someone thinks they need to call me, they can jolly well wait until I'm stationary. While I'm enjoying a cup of milk-tea or a smoke there is probably no pressing need to disturb me.

If I want to talk to someone at those times, I'll ask them out.
Same goes for meals and mid-afternoon walks.


There is ONE item which may surprise you. It is a condom in a sealed package. It is both a good luck token, as well as a powerful fetiche which prevents risky sex. Or any sex at all. The way it works is that it radiates an aura that drives away absolutely all sex, good, bad, or freaky, for several blocks around me day or night. With that thing in my pocket, I am pretty much guaranteed that no one will come anywhere near me with sexual intentions, rather, its hidden presence acts like a can of mace, blue cheese, or skunk-odour, and chases away every lascivious-minded individual within a ten-mile radius.

There will be NOT be any excitement.

It is unsympathetic magic.

This is exactly the same phenomenon that people use to hail the bus or attract the waitress, but in opposite direction. The moment you light up a cigarette (or, in my case, a cigarillo), the bus appears, the server comes to take your order, and your colleague calls in sick.

When you absolutely NEED to be at work on time, the car stalls.

The day you forget your umbrella, it comes pouring down.

If the house is a mess, your in-laws visit.

See? It's magic!

Okay..... the bath is the right temperature, the cat has been put outside to play with the raccoons, the husband and children are safely off at the mall shopping for furniture, and now the phone rings. You know you shouldn't answer it, but dripping in your soggy bathrobe, you do anyway.

Turns out it's the IRS. In the person of 'Bob'. Who, after a couple of agonizing interrogative minutes, recognizes you as Li'l Martha, who was in his trigonometry class in high school. He had a crush on you, you rejected him and married Sydney (which is why he didn't wig onto your name in the first place, he never could remember Sydney's last name), and he's had issues ever since. Yes, he did get married -- to Megan, the cheerleader from Daly City, who is sex-obsessed but impossible to satisfy, they have five kids and a miserably frustrating life -- but he would have rafted down the Amazon with you, climbed Anapurna, and gladly done heroine in Thailand, if you had just been a little more adventurous. You bitch you.

For some reason, almost everything he says about your being in arrears seems to suggest that promiscuity might be a good idea.

Don't do it!

The water is getting cold. Tell him to send you the paperwork, and also ask who his supervisor is in case you can't get a hold of him.

Pour yourself a drink, turn on the tap, and get back into the bath.

Nobody carries condoms anymore, that's old hat.

They have cellphone apps for that.

Or so I've heard.

Point is, never leave the house without pipes, tobacco, fire, tamper, cleaners, wallet, pen and paper, pay phone money, a foil-wrapped throat lozenge, and a condom.

If you're a woman, add Towelettes or a sealed package of wipes.

It's just common sense, and forethought.


On work days, such as today, I've always got my Hello Kitty backpack with me. Up to half a dozen briars, two or three different tobaccos, a bundle of pipe cleaners, tampers, matches, aspirin, eleutherococcus senticosus pills (五加參片) in case the screaming cigar smokers become too trying, folded paper bags, and an extra belt.

On days off, such as tomorrow, when I leave the house there's only one pipe tobacco and two pipes, all in one coat pocket. Nasal snuff and a clipper card in another, with a tamper and pipe cleaners sticking out. Plus coins and watch in a pants pocket (right side), keys and fire (matches and a lighter) in another, and a wallet. A notebook and pen complete the sense of being dressed for whatever happens.

Whether it's a work day or a day off, the underwear is clean, I've got a full tin of cigarillos, and there's a condom.
Plus stick matches.

If you forget to change your underwear, you will have an accident.
Just remember that.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015


Remarkably, for a man who has no interest in televised ballgames whatsoever, I spent the day surrounded by sports fiends. It turns out that today was all about "the game". Of which there were several.
No, no idea who played whom, nor who won or lost.
Or, for that matter, how the game is played.

"For when the One Great Scorer comes
To mark against your name,
He writes – not that you won or lost –
But how you played the Game."

---Grantland Rice

That is pretty much the only sports quote I know. Oh, and the "float like a butterfly, dance like a bee" thing by Muhammad Ali.

There are times when I feel defective.

Why don't people scream their foaming approval and wild bravos at nature documentaries or history programmes, instead of physical competitions?

Here's a "competitive event" that, far more than any football, baseball, or softball praestation, deserves a round of applause.
Cheering, and loudly voiced approbation.



The only thing missing is the National Anthem before, and the endless inane commentary after. But that is a simple matter of splicing.

It is far more interesting than any number of men in uniform.

Sunday afternoons are dreary.

And loud.

Why was I there? Well, there were a number of briars that needed attention; all of them had oxidized stems and required reaming, one needed the top taken down slightly because the rim was scorched on one side.
Several hours fiddling, with yowling in the background.
There's still more work to be done.
With luck, tomorrow.

No, not coming in on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Those are Chinatown snackie days.
Rest and relaxation.
No sports.

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When the female spider has sex, she customarily seizes the male spider by his tiny little head and sucks out all his juices, leaving little more than a dessicated husk. Which sounds a lot like romance in the modern United States. Or at least San Francisco.

Yesterday I mentioned to a fellow pipe collector that I had a number of unsmoked briars, including a vintage Comoy's Blue Riband, Dublin shape, which, if I ever met the ideal woman, would probably be gifted as a love token.

"How", he asked, "will you know if she's the perfect match?"

Well that's easy; within weeks you're finishing each others thoughts while stealing each other's opened tins of pipe tobacco.

He agree that that indeed sounded lovely.

And he looked a bit wistful.

From this you should know that the ideal woman does NOT smoke aromatics. Why, the very thought of sticking 'Molto Dolce' (by Sutliff) into a briar would appall her. What an awful waste of a well-crafted smoking tool! Horrendous!

[Molto Dolce: a blend of Virginia, Burley, and Black Cavendish, drenched in humectants -- it does not dry out, but like the Mummy remains "juicy" long past the point when real tobacco turns to dust -- whored-up with vanilla, caramel, and something alleged to be honey. It is very popular in parts of the country where they drink Jägermeister or Jim Beam Red Stag, and don't actually have real tobacco stores. The tin we opened last year still feels moist and oily;
this truly is your perfect nuclear fall-out shelter smoke.
It will outlive the cockroaches, and drive the other occupants one by one to the surface, to scout out whether the radiation has half-lifed enough that humans can survive. Very good if their company palls.]

The ideal woman has intelligent tastes. No frou-frou frangrances, no fruity liquor, and no "look at me!" exhibitionistic tendencies.

An active mind is important.

Hard to find.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015


Not that this is a new development, but my hair presently feels "seductive and luxuriant". Due entirely to my shampoo. Being a bit of a doofus, I forgot to buy a new bottle until after I had run entirely out. And, of course, on Thanksgiving no local stores were open. Several big-box retailers were, but this being San Francisco we only have mainstreet brick and mortars run by mom and pop (and several poorly paid staff members), all of whom needed off to go eat some miserably dried out dead bird dolled up with sugar crusted rootvegetables, canned cranberry muck, off the shelf just add liquid stuffing (whatever that is), and some gawdawful compound of frozen string beans, dried onion soup mix, and tinned mushroom and dairy spackle.

None of which I've had in several years.

Not that I wanted to anyhow.


Food between Wednesday morning, and tonight, in order of appearance.

Wednesday: Crackers and cheese, cookies, roast duck over rice, and after midnight some chicken and pork franks fried with bacon.
Thursday: A cookie and some yoghurt, a flaky charsiu turnover and a cup of milk tea, rice porridge made with smoked meats plus ginger and scallion, mustard green stalks stirfried, and two cream puffs.
Friday: cheddar crackers, a miserable sandwich made with alleged "South-West Mayonnaise" (hoohah!) and bag of Jalapeno chips, cheese enchiladas with some duck liver Chinese pork sausage and Sriracha, cake (coffee & chocolate cream).
Saturday: cheddar crackers, and another horrid sandwich.

And four Mozart Kugeln ("Die echte Reber Mozart Kugeln"), consisting of mandeln marzipan enrobed in Schokolade. Two yesterday, two today.
They were excellent.

The sandwiches, which were altogether repulsive (bleghhh!), represent fine bourgeois cuisine in the epicentre of fester, Marin County.

Bear in mind that they were (marginally) edible with Sriracha.

FYI: South-West mayonnaise is a misnomer.

The meat was mysterious.

No Turkey.

On Wednesday all conversations in English involved what was going to be eaten the next day. On Thursday those same conversations involved food in the process of being digested. On Friday I got to hear (in English) what everyone else ate the previous day. On Saturday, even more people informed me what they had consumed with gusto.
On Thursday AND on Friday.

Turkeys are the BORG! Resistance is futile.

I've also had conversations in Cantonese these past few days.
Remarkably, they weren't food-related.
Thank goodness.

The best part of Thanksgiving is the shampoo.

Everyone around me should be glad that I do not snit nor throw snits, nor radiate a snitful attitude, nor have, in fact, any snitlike tendencies. At all.
The snit and me parted ways aeons ago. My snit is monumental by its complete absence. Which is remarkable. Rather than snit, which might be expected, I am suffused with an equitable and benevolent radiance.
I am in full control of my inner nature.
And quite snitless.

I am 'No-Snit Snerlock'.

Everybody should have shampoo for Thanksgiving.

PS.: This is the last Thanksgiving-themed post in a while, I promise.
At least several months.

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Friday, November 27, 2015


Customarily, the Friday following the great feast is dedicated to shopping frenzies, and several people are trampled to death in sacrifice to the lords of commerce. The civilized person sneers at all this.

Unfortunately, I too am involved, as today is a work day, the nature of my field is mercantile, and my place of employ is near fabulous shopping.

Ideally one would get up late on Black Friday (around eight A.M., or slightly before), have coffee while reading the news -- civilised people read, idiots watch Fox -- then wander over to Chinatown for some dimsum around eleven, spend a large part of the afternoon puttering in the library (or among one's own bookshelves; there are probably nearly three thousand books in this apartment), smoke a pipe or two, then have tea.

Tea time is anywhere between three and five in the afternoon.
Four o'clock is customary, but not set in stone.
Scones, clotted cream, preserves.
Or a cookie.

Sometime later a weak gin and tonic, maybe before or after another bowl of tobacco. And a lovely curry dinner at around eight o'clock.

Another pipe.

I'm just letting you know what would be much better than either your or my reality today.

Sunset at this time of year is very beautiful. Absolutely the right place to have afternoon tea would naturally face west or northwest, so as to have a view of glowing clouds and fog rolling in.

Lapsang Souchong, or strong Ceylon.

Do not tell me I'm wrong.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015


Here it is, approaching teatime, and you sadly realize you have no room for scones, clotted cream, and fruit preserves. And instead of tea, you need coffee, strong coffee. It's the only thing that will make the next few hours bearable, as you slump in front of the television with all your male relatives watching a ball game that you, personally, have no stake in. Who is playing anyhow? And why do all their shiny spandex botties look alike?

You imagine what it would be like if, instead of huge apes in shiny arse-hugging spandex capri-pants, it was two opposing flocks of turkeys.
In shiny spandex pants.

That would be excellent.

You aren't that fond of turkey as a food item, in fact after the huge meal you ate two hours ago you cannot stand it, but as sporting heroes, the turkeys would truly shine. They're very energetic.

You are grimly conscious of the fact that there is still forty pounds of roast turkey and the better part of a ham sitting on the dining room table.
Plus platters and bowls filled with customary blandness.

How awful.



I didn't have any turkey. Nor will I have turkey anytime between now and midnight. Or any time this year. See, I do not have any kinfolk in the Bay Area anymore, and my immediate family are all deceased.
In the years that I have been back in the States, I did not manage to establish a personal Thanksgiving tradition other than enduring the damned day. My ex-girlfriend would always go to one of her relatives, which was stressful for her, and imagine how much more stressful it would have been if she had dragged along the white boyfriend (me) and fessed up to the fact that instead of being a nice demure little Cantonese American girl, she was a thoroughly modern adult woman with hopes and dreams and lusts.

Yeah, no. Somewhat opportunistically I felt that secrecy and pretense was a gambit with a lot to recommend it. No one wants to be the lone kwailo at a fokai jit sik-wui.
It kind of puts a turd in the familial punchbowl.

[Kwailo (鬼佬): less than affectionate term for a Caucasian. Even if he is dating your daughter. Which doesn't happen to good people. There must be something wrong with her. Fokai jit sik-wui (火雞節食會): literally, turkey festival banquet. Thanksgiving dinner. Sik-wui (食會) is a casual descriptive: big eat.]

In the years since we broke-up, my Thanksgiving tradition has evolved.
It's become more or less a personal statement.

Nowadays I simply bellyache, sneer, and try to ignore the occasion as much as possible. Though I will heartily wish my friends a happy Thanksgiving, and thank them for wishing me the same.

Sometime during the day I will end up in Chinatown having a pastry and a cup of Hong Kong style milk-tea, then quietly wander around the alleyways smoking a pipe.

I may or may not go the cigar bar afterwards.

Largely, I avoid turkeys.

[Hong Kong style milk-tea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai cha'): strong black tea made creamy with condensed milk (煉奶 'lin naai'). Sweet and hot, with an edge of bitterness. Very comforting, very old school.]

So, without further ado, here's my list from several years ago telling you what you can do with the damned bird.


1. Drop-kick it Lord Jesus through the goalposts of life.
2. Use it as a paperweight till "they" start gagging.
3. Re-gift it a month hence.
4. Paint it orange and wear it to Giants games.
5. Put it in the blender and treat it like a frog.
6. It's your baby! Wheel it through town.
7. Airmail it to Africa.
8. Cover it with oil and play 'pervert'.
9. Keep your medications in the cavity.
10. Tinsel and lights for Christmas.


11. Leave it on the church doorstep with a letter asking for a good home.
12. Draw a frowny face on it and put it on your porch.
13. File it under T.
14. Talk to it on the bus.
15. Blame it for your divorce. Then shoot it.
16. Love it tender, love it true; never let it go.
17. Hide it in the attic with grandma.
18. Call it Barbie and give it to your niece, then scream that she doesn't love you when she weeps.
19. At meetings, it's your cell-phone and it's ringing!
20. He's the man you intend to marry and you don't care what your parents think!

Roast duck (燒鴨 'siu ngaap') or roast goose (燒鵝 'siu ngo') tastes better than roast turkey (烤火雞 'haau fo kai'), but turkey is traditional.
I rather resent not having any, but I refuse to go fress at one of the places that cater to the unconnected anti-socials by serving mediocre slop, or pay a high price for pretentious muck in a fancy restaurant.
Thanksgiving turkey by oneself just ain't edible.
Imagine eating cardboard.
Screw it.

Hot scones, clotted cream, and fruit preserves, plus strong tea with milk and sugar. That sounds very nice right now. No ballgame.
Bugger football.

Happy Thanksgiving!

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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While fixing my second cup of coffee I got to listen in on my apartment mate's internal monologue. Which, in the safety of our apartment, away from prying ears, tends to be external.

"And so the potato people were very grateful for the nice warm wash they were receiving. So nice, so very very nice.....

Then one of them warned the others "we're all going to die!"

And some of them began to weep."

My apartment mate sought to reassure them, saying "no no little potato people, what makes you say that?"

"You're only washing us so you can cook us!"

"Noooo, would I do that?"

"There's pot of water on the stove already!"

"Don't worry, we humans love potatoes."

"Stop trying to seduce me!"

I fear that the potato person is right; they are all going to die. Their short promising lives will be brutally ended, it is their fate to become mash.
 One of them had hopes of becoming an artist, perhaps, another one wanted to be an engineer. But nope.
How very sad.

Thanksgiving is the most vicious time of year.
Especially for "edible-Americans".
Let us weep for them.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The anti-gay agenda has it's strongest and most vicious proponents among Texan Republicans, whose ideas about democracy, humanity, and the Bible are irrefutably Neanderthal. If the sweet baby Jayzis comes back, he'll swat Texas right off the map. Kinda like Sodom.

Because the entire place is irredeemable.

Screw Texas.

[How you screw Texas is up to you. I do it verbally, even though I think a broken Lone Star longneck bottle would be more appropriate. But use anything, even a chainsaw.
They can't become bigger a-holes than they already are.]


Texas warmly embraces Steven Hotze, while keeping their hands out of his crack. Because they know where it's been.

Steven Hotze is the Grand Dragon of the Conservative Republicans of Texas, and has been a domineering figure among ultra right wingers and fanatic Christians for years. Republican candidates need his endorsement in order to stand even half a chance of running a political race in Texas.

Is there anything more repulsive than a Texas Republican?

Well, possibly an alligator. Or a hagfish.

Or a child-molesting preacher.

Baptist blowhard.

Steven Hotze speechified a few months ago at a Republican swapmeet (the "Faith Family Freedom Tour") in Houston, saying "Drive them out of our city. I don’t want them in our city. Send them back to San Francisco."

No, he wasn't talking about the United States Military, which took over Texas during Operation Jade Helm and massacred all the freedom-loving Christian gun-owners of Texas last summer, nor was he referring to the Mormon and Baptist religious nuts who inhabit the hinterland with their multiple wives and free-range bastards.

He was talking about people who have the misfortune of living in a state where he is one of the resident harpies.

Other speakers at this trogloditic hate-fest were former House Speaker Tom DeLay, Republican National Committee member Robin "Slimy" Armstrong, Texas Eagle Forum Founder Ms. Cathie Adams, Houston Pastor Dave Welch, Link Letter publisher Terry Lowry, Texas Right to Life Director Elizabeth Graham, rabid talk show host Sam Malone, and infamous propaganda commissar Gary Polland.

With friends like that, Texas has a long way to go before it's civilized.

Drive them out of our city. I don’t want them in our city. Send them back to San Francisco.

San Francisco, of course, welcomes refugees, we always have. Even when we realize that some Southern Baptists and Methodists will infiltrate, disguised as desperate people fleeing oppression.

This Thanksgiving, be grateful that you don't live in Texas.

Texans have nothing.

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There were several things I was considering as easy essay material for this morning. Among others: the recent complete buggerup of my order at a Vietnamese-Chinese restaurant, snooty office-workers on the Number One California Bus not allowing Chinese to board (happens all the time), the absence of a loving woman in my life (they're over-rated), arrogant anti-smoking types, boisterous sports-fans, idiot right-wing cigar smokers, politicians, and Thanksgiving.

Everyone I know will be spending Thanksgiving with other people.

Thanksgiving is a pain in the sphincter when all your friends and relatives celebrate, with people wishing each other a happy Thanksgiving, gleefully burbling about their plans, for weeks beforehand, then glowing over what a jolly good time they had, for several days afterward.
As you can gather, I do not celebrate.
Which is rather depressing.

So instead, I'll just fantasize about hordes of turkeys breaking loose, then availing themselves of the ease with which heavy weapons can be acquired in the United States due to our insanely liberal gun laws (thanks, NRA!), and heading down to the malls to kill holiday shoppers.

Nordstrom, The Rack, Macys, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Barneys New York, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Shoe Pavilion, Anthropologie, JC Penney, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Zulily ....

All wiped out by an army of angry turkeys.

It would make the turkeys happy.

A reason to celebrate.

If they could also take out yoga studios and anti-vaxxers, life would be close to perfect.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Rinky-tink tinpot tyrannies such as the regime in Ankara have no business playing with heavy weapons. Erdogan, whose government enabled the Jihadis in Syria, shot down a Russian plane bombing the Syrian rebels this morning. It crashed in Syrian territory over forty kilometer from the Turkish border, and the two crew members who ejected were shot dead as they descended by the Turkmen militia in Syria. The Turkmen militia were created, trained, and funded by Erdogan's government.

Like many other Jihadis in Syria.

Nato rules state that when a member is attacked, it can rely on the other members to come to its aid. Nato rules say nothing about a member-state attacking someone else.
Erdogan is keen on regime-change in Syria, which is why the Turkish border has been more porous than a sieve for over three years, as both men and materiel crossed over. Turkey has also benefited enormously from Saudi and Qatari aid to the rebels, who are scarce more than representatives of the vicious tendencies of Wahabism.

The Western World would do well by encouraging Russia to clobber Turkey, an alleged ally which has burned everyone for over a decade. We share no common values with them and should never forget that the Turkish tribes are interlopers who destroyed civilizations in their bloody conquests.
Ideally, the emasculated survivors would stumble back to the wastelands from whence they came.

[Thankfully the Chinese know how to deal with nasty Turkic types; flamethrowers and live ammo. Bugger the Uighurs; they too are invasive barbarians.]

At the very least, we need regime-change in Ankara.
Erdogan has never played by honest rules.
Neither have his party.

Fortunately there are no Turkish Consular offices anywhere in the Bay Area or Northern California -- Turkey is represented in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York -- so attempting to burn their flag during a rainy day in San Francisco will not be necessary.
But please feel free to piss on it.
Or wipe up dog shit.

No, I'm certainly not a supporter of Putin. The folks in the Kremlin are meddlesome psychopaths, and bluster too much.
But the Russians are civilized.
Unlike Turks.

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There is no decent reason why I am awake it this hour. But if a mind can be a terrible thing when awake, it is almost guaranteed to be so while asleep.
It kind of runs riot, as it whirls around in the darkness, attracted by blinky things and exclaiming proudly "I found it!".
Like, for instance, data about freight companies and international methods of payment. Or insights into budgeting issues for small companies tied to a cyclical rise and fall in the accounts receivable area.

"Ooh, look! Shiny!"

So yeah. Awake. Planning to do laundry if it doesn't rain till late morning at the earliest. Then Chinatown for cheap snackies, after which bookstores, wandering around smoking a pipe, and attempting to upset random precious people in the downtown.

The freight company data seemed so clear when I was asleep, as well as the accounts receivable situation. Which looks much larger than may be reasonably expected in payment; the large customers will take their accumulated allowances for defectives, advertising, shipping and packaging errors, new store co-ops, and other built-in discounts, right around the end of January.
Consequently that big five million dollar balance outstanding with Blue-Blab Corporation will be whittled down to a cheque for two-hundred thousand with fifteen pages of deductions.

See, this is why you employ intelligent people in accounting. So that they can deflate your expectations before you spend like a madman. And bring the incurable optimists in Sales and Marketing down to earth.
They forgot about all the discounts, and didn't take any of that into account.
Never pay them bonuses based on total shipped and invoiced.
Instead, make it dependent upon paid sales.
Go on; rain on their parade.

It's six fifteen A.M. on a day off.
I should be asleep right now.
But I've had coffee.

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Monday, November 23, 2015


Is he also going to tell us what shade of grey his underwear is, and how often he plans to wash it? Because if so, someone should tell him that as a conversational gambit, that is pretty much a non-starter. And when I say someone, I mean a volunteer, not myself. Reason being that I do not want to talk to him.

He was sitting by himself in the coffeeshop where I went upon returning to the city after a long day babysitting cigar smokers in Marin. It was not surprising that he was sitting entirely by himself. As anyone should be who announces to no one in particular that he's worried about getting AIDS, what with this being San Francisco, where (he believes) it's endemic, and he has been tested, even though he hasn't had any sexual encounters in a long time .......

That, too, is a conversational non-starter.

Even if he's trolling for contacts.

Especially if trolling.

Yes, it is more interesting than sports, but I never-the-less do not wish to enter into a discussion with him. Rather, I desire that like nearly everyone else in a coffeeshop that has WiFi, he turn on an electronic device and become dead to his surroundings. Be invisible.

For crapssake, don't look in my direction.

Dude, I will radiate an aura of menace!

Even if, instead of a pudgy looking male with I.T. physique, he was a cute and innocent looking woman of a certain youthfulness and vibrancy who plaintively announced that she hadn't had a sex-life ever, the chances of my going over and saying avuncularly "there there, you poor dear, tell me ALL about it" would still be rather slim.


If you ever meet me, your sex life, or the absence thereof, or it's purely speculative nature and hypothetical details, should not be the first points on the agenda.

Tell me about yourself, and ask intelligent questions about whatever it is that you think I should talk about. Let me know if the tea is too strong or the coffee too weak. Do you occasionally have a cocktail, or do you avoid alcohol because even one drink is too much and you cannot stand the taste? How do you really feel about bacon or cheese?
What classic movies do you like, and why?
Books; tell me what you read.
Are you hungry?

Are you a woman?

That last criterion is rather important, for personal reasons.

But under NO circumstances should you start off our acquaintance by first announcing "I haven't had sex in, like, FOREVER!" Doing so, especially in a public place, with multiple witnesses, will make me assume that your social skills are problematic. Possibly even absent.

If you are a woman, at some point your shenanigans or a complete lack thereof might come up. It may very well be a welcome datum, which absolutely could be shared under the right circumstances.

If, however, you are a flabby man of pudgy appearance, your somewhat unrealistic fear of catching AIDS from toilet seats or however is not something in which I am deeply interested.

Perhaps you should go on the internet and make someone else's evening more surreal? Find an active comment string into which you can interject non-sequitorial information?

Good luck!

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Woke up with Malayo-Polynesian verb forms going through my head, shortly followed by 'jocuste', both a Latin personal name as well as a vegetable eaten in salad.

After returning to my room with my cup of coffee, I discovered that the blue-faced sock-sheep and the little black kitty were fighting over my wallet. Snidely (the sheep) was indignantly accusing Gigi (the feline) of theft. But brutal highway robbery seems a better term, as she had possession of the heavy duty machine gun. Passing by the scene, I joiked my wallet out of the fray, and both accused me of strong-arm tactics, quite unfair!
Their wallet! They had "found" it!

From this we shper three things: dreams on the edge of wake re-interpret half-noted data in the most convenient form, which may not relate to anything practical. Small stuffed animals often have only the faintest concept of truth, justice, and the American way. And my apartment mate is in a far better mood this morning than last night.

It's going to be a good week.

Probably no salad, though.

Not hep on salad.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015


Surely I mentioned that my apartment mate, in addition to being a small Cantonese woman, is an Aspie? Both she and her boyfriend ("Wheelie Boy") have Asperger's Syndrome pretty seriously. I am somewhat similarly 'blessed', as long conversations tend to wear me out, and I've always found it incredibly difficult to express my feelings out loud.

But the one thing that sets the true Aspie (those two lovebirds) apart from the socially inexpressive (me) is that they have the damnedest time reading other people's mental states and reactions.

Most of the time Aspies have no clue whatsoever.
Unless explained in complete detail, it does not register.
And even then, it may not make any sense.

Other people's emotions are a foreign language.

Wheelie Boy, bless his heart, said several things recently which managed to upset Savage Kitten, and, in consequence, when the Badger returned home tonight, he got to hear all about it. She's red-eyed from crying because of what her dumb-ass boyfriend said, he's probably entirely oblivious to the egregiousness of it all, and I fully understand why she's unhappy, and how she feels right now.

She also needs comforting. I'm not very good at that. Not entirely useless, but lord knows not the most effective human being in that regard.
Maybe not even fully human.

Additionally, I feel somewhat worn out. Much more than when I walked up the steps to the front door of the building.

One of the things I often mutter under my breath when no one can hear me is "leave me the hell alone", or, without opening my mouth, while on the bus or near irritating people, "kindly hush". What it signifies is that there is too much discordant or disruptive data to handle. There's a glitch in the input equipment, as it were. A known malfunction in the processing software.
By the same token I get extremely discommoded when two or more people are speaking at me at once. Stuff starts not computing.

One of you, hush!

Whether or not Savage Kitten works it out with Wheelie Boy is neither here nor there. Personally I hope that they do break up, because she deserves better. So much better. But whatever eventually happens, I am sure she'll express it at me, because she knows that I'll be there and will function as a sounding board when needed, and I won't say stupid things.
She never reads this blog, in case you were wondering.
I can hear what she says. When she says it.
That's a function I have no problem with.
I'm glad to be around for her that way.
And I really want her to be happier.
Which I'll hear about eventually.
She expresses that well.

I occasionally wish there were some one who would be around at those times when I've got something on my chest, except that if there were, they'd have to bring a book to pass time during the long silences while I wonder what to say, how to say it, and whether I should even mention it, because whatever it is, is kind of private, as well as uninteresting and not really worth discussing. And really, it's unsuitable to think about oneself that much, instead I should simply somehow show that I like their company exceedingly, and perhaps they need a cup of tea.

On the plus side, there would be dinner.
In the fullness of time. Several times.

On the minus side, they might never be able to figure out how I feel, or what makes me tick. That, too, might bore them. The book they brought would probably be better at showing an emotional reaction.
They'd have to be comfortable just reading.
I'm fine, really. Don't worry about it.
Everything is totally peachy.
Unclarity is normal.
More tea?


The title of this post is what I nowadays almost invariably say when responding to the greeting "how are you?"
Voiced with sincerity and conviction.
The verbal equivalent of a hearty handshake.

I used to answer "I can't complain", but the immediate response to that, almost every time, was "yeah, nobody would listen anyway".
Which is NOT what I meant to convey at all!

And you bet they'd listen. Trust me, I really CAN complain. I'm damned good at it too! Eloquently, lyrically, and at great length. Entertainingly. You bet your booties they'd listen. But what I really meant was that there is nothing to complain about right now that needs to be shared with anyone. Nor in any detail at all. Certainly not the casual inquirer. Who is innocent, and does not deserve to have an existential crisis, which certain things in my exterior monologue might seed in his or her mind.
At least not without a nice cup of tea.
So instead, "splendid!"

How are you?

Not The Eagles, man, I hate The Eagles!

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Last night I arrived home with a packet of chicken and pork Frankfurters in my coat pocket. Which, when you think about it, is a piss-poor refection on both culinary life in these United States, as well as my non-existent dating game. I had two, with pickle relish, Sriracha, and ketchup.
Fry-pan grilled, on toasted sour-dough bread.
Not the best mid-night snack.
I've done better.

Very much a mixed crowd at the cigar bar. Interesting people, nice people, dumbasses, and crazy people. As well as the world's cutest cigar smoker. With a bald guy. Whose name I do not remember.

Obviously I like the world's cutest cigar smoker. It's hard not to. She's just so lovable. So, like any rational human being, I worried about the bald guy. And suspected him of being a dangerous type.

That is entirely unjustified, I know. It's just that one cannot help feeling protective. Because most male-cigar smokers tend, more or less, to be dubious persons. Even if they are watching the game (Stanford won) and have trouble focusing on other human beings.

Further cause for worry was that the bartender tried to talk her into something new that was six-and-a-half inches long.
Which is at least an hour commitment.

She stayed for another cigar. Padron, a maduro of modest dimension.

I am presently regretting the chicken and pork franks.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015


So yesterday evening I posted something on my Facebook page which, it took me a while to realize, might excite the ire of several of my FB friends.
Not to say even their dismay.
Several of them have blinkers on regarding one issue, and they have been subjected to sheer bucketloads of koolaid about it for several years.
In consequence of which they cannot see straight.

This what I posted:

"Jonathan Pollard, an intelligence analyst working in the U.S. Naval Investigative Service's Anti-Terrorist Alert Center, systematically stole highly sensitive secrets from almost every major intelligence agency in the United States. In just eighteen months he sold more than one million pages of classified material to Israel. No other spy in U.S. history has stolen so many secrets, so highly classified, in such a short period of time. "

[SOURCE: Capturing Jonathan Pollard: How One of the Most Notorious Spies in American History Was Brought to Justice Paperback - September 1, 2009 by Ronald J. Olive.]

In all honesty, I have no sympathy whatsoever with Jonathan Pollard, and wish that he had not been released yesterday. He's a cretin, a mercenary, and a whore. Not a hero. And I am absolutely baffled that so many people squawked about his incarceration. Seeing as a firingsquad would not have been uncalled for.

I accept, however, that my friends can be wrong on this issue. Their lapse of judgement, their insanity even, can be forgiven. And now that the cretin has been released, it is just a matter of time before he either fades into a well-deserved pit of seediness and senescent maladjustment, OR violates the terms of his release and gets slammed back into the hoosegow.

And if you are one of those people who hollered for his freedom, you will just have to accept that I have doubts about your ethics, loyalty, common sense, and mental health.

Don't worry, there's a large number of you among my friends.
I am a very tolerant man, and you are not alone.

His new employers are a New York investment firm.
Whose judgement must now be doubted.


Actually, it didn't take me any time at all to realize that that book description from Amazon might piss some people off.

And you probably realize by now that the title of this essay was meant sarcastically. I certainly hope you did. But if I had posted "Jonathan Pollard, a thief, a scoundrel, and an egomaniac", it would have pulled in morons and psychopaths from all over the United States and Israel.

Hardly the readership I'm aiming for.

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Friday, November 20, 2015


Slightly over a year ago, I poked fun at the folks who find my blog by typing "naked middle-aged man" into the search bar of their browser.
A while before that I had mentioned that I myself was middle-aged, and, at times, in the altogether, if not altogether there. Almost always at times when my apartment mate was out of the house and I could be reasonably certain that I would not be surprised in the bath.

Often the nude middle-agedness of it all combined nicely with soap, warm water, a mystery novel, a briar filled with soothing tobacco, and a cup or pot of strong tea. There is something luxurious about a nice soak with a book and a lit pipe.

I learned that from my dad. When we had the upstairs bathroom rebuilt, he had a broad ledge made alongside the tub so that he would have a place to put his tea tray and his English-language newspaper.
He was, as you can tell, a very sensible man.

Anyhow, I doubt that the gentlefolk who cruise the internet desperate for naked middle-aged men are nearly so sensible. For one thing, they are probably all sex-obsesses cretins, rather than art students who cannot find models.
For another thing, very few, if any are women.
Fewer yet, bright and vibrant women.
None sane and datable.

I'm just guessing here, I could be wrong.

At the time I said that what I would far rather see in the hallway mirror instead of myself coming closer bearing a tea tray, would be a naughty nursy-wursy. Perhaps wearing pumps, a cap, and a stethoscope.
With or without a refreshing cocktail.

I forgot that some nursy-wursies are NOT springy and briskly efficient Filipinas full of piss and vinegar, but could actually be seriously mature, witty, and good natured big black gay men. Who like tea.
Hate to tell you, but I don't want to see that.
It's nothing personal, guys.

I also said some very nice things about scrubs at that time, scrubs being work-garb for medical personal. The terms "understated elegance" and "form-fitting yet modest" may have been used. Something like that.
Scrubs are perfectly suitable garb for any gender and any age.

This blogger lauds scrubs.

So, if you came here looking for mature and well-built masculine nudes, whatever your reason -- and let us assume that it was all clean-minded, in the spirit of genuine intellectual curiosity, not one iota of prurience whatsoever -- alas, you will be disappointed.

Perhaps you need something to soothe your pain?

May I suggest a delicious little drinky-poo?


Two ounces of Vodka
Half an ounce of Cointreau
Juice of one lime
Soda water
A drizzle of grenadine
Teaspoon apple brandy

Fill up a highball glass with ice cubes. Pour in two ounces of vodka and an ounce of cointreau. Add the lime juice, then fill up the glass with soda water, Calistoga, or seltzer water. Drizzling some grenadine into it, and add a teaspoon of apple brandy or Calvados as a float.

If you yourself are a mature middle-aged man, you might actually prefer a different libation.


Two ounces Bourbon
A Maraschino cherry
A dash of grenadine
Bitters (Pechaud, Angostura, or home made)
Ginger ale

Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, pour the Bourbon over it. Dash in a little grenadine. Fill up with the ginger ale. Add two or three drops of bitters, and top with a cherry.

Drink enough of either (or both, alternatingly), and who knows, you may find yourself a naked middle-aged man.
Let me know.

Happy Friday.

I'm wearing clothes as I write this, btw.
Sleep pants and a wife beater.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015


You'll be pleased to know that I am not the only one who rants. In this household. My apartment mate also rants. She's ranting right now. Apparently most current clothing colours make her look sickly, or even downright diseased. These hues are perverted, suited only to wasps!
I'm sitting here minding my own business, and she's loudly disparaging four out five garments she mailordered. Only ONE item is going to be kept.
It's black.

You know, I had a splendid day. Sure, lunch was Marin-type ghastly, but the weather was pleasant, and I smoked the latest iteration of my Virginia blend. It was wonderful! I've got the proportions just right.
Good lord, I am a goldarned genius!

But that pales when compared with the ire of a small Cantonese woman who quite mistakenly thinks that she is ugly. I would suggest that if she truly feels that most clothes don't go well with her particular skin hue, despite the autumn weather, she should try going naked.

Doing so would solve the problem admirably.
Naked goes with everything.

But she would take that recommendation askance. And, truth be told, it would sound rather hamsap. Which absolutely everyone who knows me agrees is something that I do not represent in the slightest degree.
Or they should, if they want to stay on my good side.
I am in no way a sex-obsessed goober.
Nor a glowing-eyed wolf.
Nope. Not me.

Black. Go with the black. It's a nice cheerful colour.

I'm looking on the bright side. Too many Cantonese women dress in weird garments with leopard spots and tiger stripes in all colours of the rainbow, and maybe leggings, little miniskirts over skin-tight blue jeans, and highly unsuitable tops. Or go overboard on Hello Kitty shmatte.

Savage Kitten is presently wearing grey slacks and a black turtleneck.
A bit severe, yes, but understatedly elegant. The sensible shoes complete the ensemble. Not a pain to the eyes.

Brown and blue are also good colours.
As well as dark green.

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Recently a reader in Hong Kong asked me whether San Franciscans support the HK soccer team, or have gone over to the dark side. This pursuant the slightly less-than-friendly rivalry between mainlanders and human beings. Oops. Shouldn't put it quite that way, as I don't want to lose what few mainlanders I can count among my readers.
They are all precious!

Mainlanders, I love you! 強表姐,我愛你!

In any case, Hong Kongers and their mainland cousins regard each other with estimable warmth, and the recent qualifying match between their teams at Mongkok Stadium roused supporters to a fever pitch.

Especially as the local team pretty much nixed China's chances of being in the word cup. As a Dutch American, the only soccer squad I give a hoot about is Team Orange, who always perform well and then lose at a crucial juncture. But as long as some Latin pustules are clobbered (like, for instance, the Spanish and the Mexicans), it's all good.


All of this serves to illuminate Jacky's comment underneath a particular post ('Eight Legs Cafe'), which I paste in its entirety:



Hong Kong is Hong Kong! 叮噹,巫婆死咗!

而家我想知道三藩市點慶祝呢個挑戰呀,過去大家一定撐香港,但係自從內地人入侵,我都唔知道你個城市仲係撐香港or switch to紅衛兵,拜託話我一個post呀!


What vegetarian food!?! True Cantonese people eat everything under the sun, even spiders. That restaurant's boss spider, eh, is he good to eat? Probably not as good as duck eggs!

The other day I was at the football stadium watching the game, it was great!

Though we didn't score even one goal, due to our strength the dead-effing locusts did not win, didn't go to toilet. Good! That day's heroes were Yip Hong-fai (葉鴻輝,goal keeper) and Paulinho (Paulo Robspierry Carreiro, HK midfielder and forward); they really showed the Mainlanders that no matter the skin hue, this football team has so many talented people from all over the world, we are not boring to watch.

Hong Kong blijft Hong Kong, verdomme, ze kunnen de pot op!
[Imagine this as an equivalent to a Bronx, cheer, all snarky snook-cocking.]

Barring the unforeseen, we will cross the border, because we now wish to cheer-on our number two squad, England.
So, I want to know if San Francisco city celebrates this challenge; does everybody all together support Hong Kong, or are they all behind the mainland invaders? I have no clue whether your city still backs HK or has switched to the Red Guards, and I respectfully entreat that you post for me.

[End trans.]

You can tell the maturity of a country by how it accepts that not everyone always loves the state.

The "friendly" rivalry between Hong Kong and its backward neighbor is very much like the "fondness" San Franciscans feel for the sucky rest of the United States.

That said, the Chinese Americans in SF have a problem, in that Hong Kong more truly represents their culture and anschauungswelt, but they will not and can not forget that their roots go back to the mainland. Naturally, they feel great pride at China's progress.

As well as over Hong Kong achievements.

Many of them are, in fact, Toishanese (臺山人). Underneath a veneer of Urban Cantonese language lies a deep stratum of country dialect that goes down to bedrock. And, having relatives in the old sod, they are careful not to be too outspoken about matters.

三藩市嘅唐人有三旗; 大陸,民國,同美。

Toishanese are mainlanders, but they are Cantonese just as much as the Hong Kong people in San Francisco, very much more so when some arrogant Mandarin-speaking dickwad tries to act all superior, and all of them including the northerner wholeheartedly support the 49ers, the Giants, and the Golden State Warriors.

Which I cannot understand, because sports bores me to tears.

Other than Johan Cruyff, of course; a veritable god.

Along with Seedorf and Van Basten.

All solid Ajax men.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Here's a lovely clip expressing what all pipe smokers feel when told that our habit is vile. And please bear in mind that you lot can walk around parks and little children and horrid yappy dogs, breathing the fresh green air and the waft of dead fish from the Bay and the wonderful aromas of Burger King and McDonalds and Jack In The buggery Box and sodding Kentucky Fried on the public thoroughfare, while we have to skulk in dark alleys and yell "boo" at passers-by like mediaeval lepers just to enjoy our pipes in peace and quiet.


Smoking for England,Season 1,Episode 3.
Smoking for England,Season 1,Episode 3.
Posted by In Sickness and In Health - TV Show. on Monday, November 16, 2015

We fought a war for this. So it's patriotic.

It's always some hulking rag-woman built like a Sherman Tank who sticks her big nose into it, and starts yelling about filthy habits, in train stations and municipal offices and public busses and Italian restaurants, worried about her big flobbly lungs and her kacky little children and yappy dogs, ooh the precious, damned monsters, sod them all.

And then they threaten legal repercussions, they should be ticketed for being visual blights themselves, the bloody interfering Berkeleyites!

If you want fresh air, you should carry around a can of it!

And stop waving your arms in a panic.

Rubbish, I say.

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While looking for herring on the internet -- as a Dutch-speaker, I naturally experience cravings for what is the world's best seafood, no I'm by no means pregnant -- one thing that caught my eye was fiskepudding. Which is something I had not heard of before, but it turns out to be a Scandinavian fishcake, or congealed fish mash product, made coherent with starch, flavourings, and binders.

It is commonly served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and a severe Lutheran béchamel sauce. It does not resemble Lutefisk.

I like the Vikings, I really do. But their cuisine is a frightening and vast unexplored Siberia. There are no 'fina Skandinaviska Restauranter' in the city of San Francisco.

Actually, there probably are, but I didn't bother checking; I'm really not that interested. Please don't think of searching on my behalf.
Fiskepudding is wirklich nicht mein ding.

Fiskepudding is a tundra version of gefilte fish.

If you want to experiment at home, take a pound of firm-fleshed white fish, one egg, and two tablespoons of cornflour, and pound it together, adding dribbles of water to achieve a stiff but not smooth paste. The protein component should still have some texture. One version has this glop cooked in a water bath for about an hour till firm.
But you can also form it into balls ('fiskeboller') the size of a pigeon's egg, then poach these gently in stock.

Serve with a white sauce, possibly augmented with other materials.

Or have it in a fiskesuppe made with parsely root, celeriac, plenty of fresh chopped vegetables, miscellaneous gleanings from your local fish market, and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Other than the sour cream, it could be Netherlandish.

It actually looks pretty good.

[No offense to the Dutch (notorious herring eaters), but their native cuisine is part of a frigid continuum of blandish foods extending all the way to the Arctic circle, sometimes leavened with frightful offal, and deep-fried objects. It isn't until you get to North Brabant and Limburg that (considerable) refinement is noticeable, and once you go south of Brussels, French pretensions have taken over completely.]

There are a few cuisines that do seafood well. Cantonese, Dutch-Belgian, and Filipino, to name most of them. But white Anglo-Saxon Protestant American is not one such. Folks from the interior of North America, even of Scandinavian descent, should not be allowed anywhere near a fish that someone else is supposed to eat. To make my point: lutefisk, tuna in a can, fast-food breaded shrimp with mayo, and fried fish a la Anglaise.
All fondly favoured by the stinky Protestant tribals in the Midwest.
There is nothing worse that average fish and chips, by the way.

Why does it take a Dutch-speaker to tell you that?

And why is there no green herring here?

Cowboys, damned cowboys.


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