Sunday, December 31, 2017

NOT ENOUGH HOLE

They killed over twice as many American citizens as Muslim Extremists in the past twelve months, and all rational people will surely agree that we need to do something. In fact, let 2018 be the year we finally ban them entirely and get rid of them.

Toddlers.

The danger is real. And there is no diplomatic solution likely, because when you try to talk to toddlers, you are putting yourself on their level. Toddlers killed more Americans than Jihadis in 2017, it's time we crush them once and for all.

Lawnmowers were three times as dangerous as toddlers. And falling out of bed proved more deadly by far than both of those combined. I am sure the joint chiefs of staff are formulating a clever plan.
Bravo, boys, we wish you success!


9 versus 21 versus 69 versus over seven hundred.


I do not own a toddler, and although the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to own one, I do not approve. Most of you people can't handle toddlers and your waving them around in public proves you insane.

And why is it always out of shape skeevoid trailerparkers who wander the aisles in Walmart wearing crack-ho cargo pants with a fully loaded toddler strapped to their backs?

It's White Trash, is what it is.



In other news, an internet test I took told me the following:

"You are beyond assholery!"

"269% asshole. You're a complete and utter asshole. You do what you want. It doesn't matter if someone's feelings get hurt along the way. That's life. Sucks to be them. You’ve long since gone past the textbook example of an asshole. The word “asshole” isn’t even enough to describe just how much of an asshole you are. But if that’s how you get your voice heard in this world full of assholes, you do you."

While this is extremely gratifying, my giddy joy is somewhat lessened by the fact that the question was 'Are you an asshole based on your photo?'
My profile photo is John Cleese surrounded by muppets.
So I am a borrowed asshole, so to speak.
Asshole by imitation only.
Insufficient.




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THAT SMELL REMINDS ME OF SOMETHING ...

On the twenty ninth of December a reader left a lovely comment about one of my essays. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing what post that may have been, as the comment was in my letterbox. But what I do know is that it related to one of nearly twenty essays under the header Smoking Women.

Quote:

I want to light up a pipe and continue reading. Your blogs are fantastic. Thank you for the dribblings from your point of view.

I had stumbled upon your words from google in searching women pipe smokers. I had smelled a fantastic scent and knew right away it had clove in it. I had to sample. And where has that led me? In searching for my own pipe. I think it will be a marvelous day when I can burn in a briar and read great novels or the words of a 21st century columnist. I appreciate your point of view and your diatribe. Thank you for the encouraging words for women pipe smokers!

Jodi

End quote.


Thank you for the very kind words, Jodi, I am glad you like my dribbling! And you should know that your existence, and that of other women pipe smokers, is immensely comforting to male pipe smokers. It tells us that we are not peculiar, and if we ever have children of whichever gender, there will be someone to share a bowl with eventually, after work or when they come back from college for the summer.

Or someone who will surreptitiously deplete our stash, but who will appreciate the tins they make off with in the same way we would.



I have often wished that my father had stored several tins of the tobaccos he used to smoke when I an infant. I always loved the fragrance of his pipes, and I still put my nose to them occasionally to help me remember.



Pipe tobacco with a hint of clove: J. F. Germain's Plum Cake Mixture, Astley's No. 2 Mixture, and Samuel Gawith's Westmorland Mixture.
All three are very fine products.

Respectively: an endearing oddity of mostly flue-cured leaf, a Virginia blend with perique, and something trying to masquerade as a Latakia compound.
All three are very enjoyable. The Astley's No. 2 probably has the most noticeable clove fragrance (eugenol), along with bergamot.
Obviously a legacy from the days of snuff.




TOBACCO INDEX


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Saturday, December 30, 2017

LUXURIOUS LITTLE PIGGY!

When I got home this evening, my apartment mate was drowsing in her bed, seemingly exhausted. Now, yesterday she had spent the evening preparing food for her boyfriend to eat later in the week, because the poor little doofus can't cook and if left to his own devices would eat raw celery, supplements, protein shakes, and wood chips -- he's white, and despite his Russian Jewish ancestry remarkably Wasp in his tastes, tendencies, and lack of culinary ability -- and she got up late today in consequence. But as far as I know she had absolutely zilch planned for today, and wasn't at the sporadic volunteer thing she does alternating Saturdays.
So I was slightly baffled.

I worked, so I can honestly claim to be pooped.
What did she do to tire her out so?


When I looked in the kitchen garbage receptacle, it all fell into place. She feasted. A decadent repast. Lobster tails and langoustine. Jayzus.
Of course she left none for me, for several reasons, number one being that I am not a lobster fanatic, unlike her, and the second that such a meal would cause my gout to flare up. We both shared some of the good stuff from the recent commercial holiday, but rich gouty seafood is strictly her pigeon.

Well, other than the luxurious crab cioppino I had over at a friend's house on Christmas Eve. For which my system did severe penance later that night.

Two lobster tails. No wonder she's zonked.
I suspect that if I looked at her face, she would appear to be blissed out to a fare thee well. She's Cantonese, and those people have a seafood thing of monumental proportions. There is nothing more angelic in this world as crustacean-stuffed Cantonese woman.



We Dutch like seafood too, as do our kin the Flemish. But we aren't quite that absurdly in love with it. And, being cold-blooded Northerners, rather like dead fish emotionally, we won't go all nom-nom-nom orgasmic when consuming such things.

Deep-fried monstrosity after heavy drinking may see us crack a smile.
Frikandel, or gehaktbal. Perhaps a bami schijf or kapsalon.



Yesterday I ate a late lunch at one of my favourite haunts in Chinatown.
I was the only man there, all the other customers were women.
Salt fish and chicken fried rice.
鹹魚雞粒炒飯

But they also have black bean shellfish, and yellow croaker.
The latter can be steamed, or seal-the-surface fried.
I'll have to find someone to share that with.
A person who looks nice eating.





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Friday, December 29, 2017

IT STINKS LIKE A NICARAGUAN JUNGLE

While I can imagine a woman enjoying the same things I do, there is scant evidence that such a person actually exists. Perhaps this says more about my imagination than my grasp of reality and normal human behaviour.

For instance: Heading out for lunch or a snack, then wandering around Chinatown and Northbeach smoking a pipe, people watching and buying groceries. Generally, wasting time outside because smoking indoors in the afternoon leaves scant time for my quarters to air out before evening.

Tomato porkchop and rice, with soup and a hot beverage? Baked mild curry chicken and potatoes over rice? Fatty meat with a little salted vegetable?

I think we're describing a working man's food here.
Or a mature Dutch American bachelor.


Not the preferences of a woman.


The pipe, of course, is right out. Apparently civilized females do not truck with briars, although they may indulge occasionally in a cigar. But pipes, in this age and social environment, are considered fussy and un-ladylike.
Very few women wish to be thought neurotic or Gandalfian.

One woman I know has recently started experimenting with a pipe, but she already was a cigar smoker, and it is quite likely she will revert to that in a few weeks or months. The mid-fifties ring gauge Havana was always her first love.


Women's tastes differ. You already knew that. In the same way that you probably fantasize about a helpmeet who eats pizza and cheers on the game every weekend -- no matter how bloody boring that might be for anybody rational -- I will imagine a female person with glasses who likes digging into a juicy chop over rice by herself, prefers dark bold smells over car freshener, and fights the urge to swear whenever the phone rings.


If she exists, all of her female relatives probably think she's peculiar.
Lord knows, my female relatives think I'm peculiar.
Though for a man, that's "normal".
Not "normal" normal ...
But, you know.



AN OCCASIONAL 'BREAKFAST' CIGAR

There's a bit of a smell in the apartment at present (it stinks). I've got a cigar going, and I am on my second cup of strong coffee. I got up late, having been on the internet till after four in the morning watching videos of small fierce wild animals. Rambunctious weasels and the like.

After shaving and a shower I shall head out and find something good to eat.
No, I don't know where. I already had porkchops earlier this week, as well as milk tea at the place where the ladies who work there are friendly but not too pushy. As well as flaky pastries at the other place. It might just be black bean bitter melon and fish over rice, even though the woman who works at that restaurant during the day is a bit casual and slapdash.

It's near that alleyway that the city has been improving for well over a year. Honestly, how much time does it take to upgrade the sewers and lay down new cement? We don't care about the fancy bamboo and murals, that pretty-pretty crap is strictly for the tourists. You've torn it up too long.
Pave it already and be done, dammit.

Either that, or the cheap lunch counter on Stockton.
Fatty pork and salted vegetable in gravy.
Two other dishes for balance.
And small soup.

It's a set price; three dishes and a bowl.
Rice, and your choice of overs.
One scoop each.


Ho sik.



NOTE: Yes, I always compare my proclivities with those of a woman.
It provides much needed perspective. A kick in the face by reality.
Everybody needs that.




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Thursday, December 28, 2017

DO YOU REMEMBER?

This morning during conversation someone mentioned Sun Wah Kue (新華僑餐廳), which was a longtime favourite of many people in the area. At the corner of Ross Alley (舊呂宋巷) on Washington Street (華盛頓街) between Grant Avenue and Stockton Street (市德頓街). They were known for their apple pie, orange pie, ox tail, pork chops, rib-eye, tongue, and fried chicken. Oh, and other things. It was the kind of restaurant that used to be common in Chinatown, serving Chinese and American dishes to Americanized Chinese and the locally born, who up until the seventies felt more at home and comfortable there than at the white folks joints outside the neighborhood.

Up to the early Seventies in much of the city they were distinctly unwelcome; the Irish and Italians didn't want their business.

If Sun Wah Kue was crowded, you simply went down Waverly (天后廟街) to Uncle's Cafe and sat at the counter. Also American standards, plus coffee and apple pie. For many years Rose Pak (白蘭大姐) would be there, swilling cup after cup and holding court. No, that famous picture of her with a cigar was not taken there.

[In the last few years that it existed, Uncle's was 鶯咕餐廳 ('ang ku chan teng').
But I think the name before may have been 金麒麟 ('kam kei luen'), before they ripped out the counter. There was also another name ... ]



He also remembered Yong Kee (容記糕粉), the Dollar Store, the "movie theatre with all the fleas", Woolworth's, and Ping Yuen Bakery (平園餅家). All of which no longer exist.

Sun Wah Kue was sold in the late eighties, I think, and changed hands again in the nineties before finally closing. Uncle's changed hands at least twice before become a Szechuan joint with a goofy name catering to rich young Mandarin speakers and white folks, the Dollar Store, the theatre, and Woolworth's were all gone by the end of the eighties or before, and Ping Yuen closed sometime in the nineties. Ping Yuen's cream pies were delicious, and if you sat at the counter you risked serious caffeine intoxication because of the free refills.


I kind of wonder if he remembered The Rickshaw.
What alleyway was that nightclub on?
Allan Gin would know.



AFTERTHOUGHTS

Two surnames to remember from today: 劉 ('lau') and 車 ('che').
The place of origin for one of them: Longdu (隆都 'lung dau').
A dialect group: Zhongshan Min (中山閩 'jung saan man').

Sek Kei Wa (石岐話) may have a Hakka influence.
Fewest tones among the Yue (粵) dialects.
廣東話 is more important, though.
Standard city speech.




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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

MILK TEA AND PINEAPPLE BUNS

Nothing could be more Chinatown than a loud environment with lots of people scarfing down small eaties. For which, naturally, the cheap bakery is optimum. Of which there used to be many more than there are now, because C'town is changing, and the prosperous types are moving out, leaving only the poor, the old-fashioned, recent immigrants, and the elderly, who don't want to leave the familiar places. Plus, of course, the service industries that cater specifically to a Cantonese clientele.

But still there are good places.
On can yet pass time well.
And one can eat.

Eating on the run is as much part of the ambiance as leisurely dimsumming one's way through the weekend. Rice plate specials, wun tun noodle soup, fried rice, Spam and eggs, snackipoos, and buns.


奶茶同菠蘿包
[Milk tea, pineapple bun]

The pineapple bun contains no fruit, being instead composed of a crunchy sweet crackled layer baked on top of a poofy body. Which can be toasted and buttered, or stuffed with sliced sandwich meat, or both. And the tea is strong, bitter, hot, mixed with sweetened condensed milk.



飲杯茶,食個包,酥脆的外皮、軟熱的包身,牛油慢慢溶化,咸香濃厚的滋味的舌尖慢慢散開......再啜一口香滑帶點澀的奶茶,舒服得要伸伸懶腰了。

[SOURCE: https://kknews.cc/zh-hk/food/856gxpq.html]



The place where you enjoy such things is filled with elderly folks talking Toishanese, because that's what it is. Mandarin speakers do not feel entirely comfortable there, and the younger crowd does not want to be around their grandparents' generation, and in all likelihood can't speak any version of Cantonese anyway, having been born here. They watched only American programs while growing up, and find the weepy fifty part Canto television series unintelligible, darn well interminable.
Plus their version of loudness is different.
Video games and you tube.

But occasionally, they may visit.
Bringing their own beverages.
Litchi boba with squigglies.


Hong Kong people are picky and very opinionated about baked goods, but their American offspring just know that the dan taat at one place are the best, because everybody says so, and will line up whenever it's open.
They have to line up, because there are no places to sit.
Same with the bun snack place everyone knows.
But those places are the bomb!
They know that.

The queues are usually full of people speaking English.


烤嘅, 黃油,片片午餐肉, 可以嗎?

不如,油多呢?

蛋撻?


Personally, I think that the daan taat at Wing Hing (永興餅家茶餐廳) on Stockton are the best; rich and flaky-buttery-crumbly and just oozing goodness when still warm. But I'm probably wrong.

你知,我係鬼佬,乜都唔明 。




Perhaps I'll have some salt fish and chicken fried rice this afternoon. 鹹魚雞粒炒飯 ('haam yü gai naap chaau faan'), with a hot cuppa, followed by a pipe and grocery shopping.





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INDIGESTING THE POSSIBILITY

Not entirely certain, but I think my barber is trying to fix me up with his lovely assistant. Now, my barber is Cantonese. His assistant is, as you would naturally assume, also Cantonese. She's a strapping lass of anywhere between eighteen and sixty, meaning that I cannot gauge her age but I'm guessing probably somewhere around thirty or forty.
And she's nice.

Both of us are unmarried, unattached.

But she doesn't speak English, which is an essential requirement.
She wouldn't understand my stupid sense of humour, and, more importantly, get along with my ex.

Without English, either of those are impossible.
I cannot speak enough Cantonese.
My ex does not either.

Cantonese-only types have "expectations" regarding significant-others.
We English-speakers have "ideals", and are less practical. My ex is a permanent member of my circle, and remains very important. Because, as you will easily grasp, what made her "ideal" are qualities she still has today.
And I cannot possibly meet whatever expectations someone who only speaks Cantonese may have.
That's just the way it is. There is no hope of ever explaining that to a person who does not think in English. Meaning, of course, that I doubt that I could communicate that in any other language than English.
Unlikely that I could even do that in Dutch.
More to the point, I shan't try.

It probably would not make any sense to them.

Even though my ex is Cantonese, she does not think in Chinese (Toisanese) but in English. And while I speak Cantonese semi okay, I am hard put to express myself effectively at all times in that tongue.


SUDDENLY, PINEAPPLES!

It is rare that I am 100% fluent in Cantonese.
But utilitarian and functional, often.

Last night I almost told someone 如果你唔走開啦, 我會憤怒用荷蘭話同你講!Which, in this instance, would have merely been an attempt to persuade the English-speaking street-loonie to go elsewhere, by discouraging him with sheer incomprehensibility.
I was not enchanted by his attempts at conversation.
Nor did I have a cigarette to give.

Indien ge niet op-dondert zal ik kwaad tegen je spreken in het Nederlands.
Yugwo nei m jauhoi laa, ngo wui fannou yong holaanwa tong nei gong!
If you don't kindly bugger off, I will angrily talk Dutch at you!

And no one wants that.




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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

DID I MENTION SPAM?

Last night I realized that I am the quintessential safe old geezer. I don't pick up ladies in bars. Many of my age contemporaries have, and probably they still do so. It was the sexual dynamic of my generation.
But I don't, and I may be dysfunctional.
I've always been hesitant about drunken choices.
Daylight destroys all dreams.


Please imagine what would happen. My apartment mate would come bursting out of her room at around six fifteen, bustle about fixing herself coffee and a bagel with bacon, butter, cream cheese, and an egg -- she's so much a morning person that in the evening she becomes a vegetable by eight or nine, cabbage in all probability -- and, at some point between the holiday blend coffee and the delicious fried greasy stuff, plus The Real Housewives or the jewelry channel, she'd see dark fluffy hair on my pillow next to me.

I'm still asleep at that point. My new-found girlfriend is somewhat awake. Oh, they'd get along fine. "He smoked his pipe, I was cold, he offered me a warm blanket." And while drinking coffee with my apartment mate she'd confess that all we did was sleep. Dammitall!


"He didn't DO anything!"


"I'll try to force myself on him when he finally wakes up! See, 'cause he's rather a nice old geezer, and reasonably decent-looking. It might be fun to have extremely Protestant nookie with him." And then between the two of them they'd agree that some white dudes of a certain age are nice people.
But boring unless you prod them.
With a sharp stick.

Um. Yeah. Right.


Of course, that is a best case scenario. We shan't dwell on the worst case, because that will never happen.

Last night I was keenly aware of a younger persons 'charms'.

Which I did not do anything about.

Too busy talking.


I had a fine time. Smoked my pipe. Had conversation.
Went home and got on the internet.
Even more conversation.

Politics, mostly.
And kittens.


It is with great interest that I now imagine how someone's bottom would look, when she is wearing panties and a baggy shirt, nothing else. No, not the same person whom I talked to, far too briefly, last night.
This one has darker more velvety hair.

I am a rancid old pervert.

So delicious.

Uh huh.



There is Spam in almost every dish.
Tattooed on the back of their neck.

Menu

Egg and bacon.
Egg, sausage, and bacon.
Egg and Spam.
Egg, bacon, and Spam.
Egg, bacon, sausage, and Spam.
Spam, Spam. bacon, sausage, and Spam.
Spam, eggs, Spam, Spam, bacon, and Spam.
Spam, Spam, Spam, eggs, and Spam.
Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam.
Lobster Thermidor aux crevettes, with a Mornay sauce and garnished with truffle pâté, brandy, and a fried egg on top. And Spam.





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Monday, December 25, 2017

IT'S FUZZY, AND IT GRUMBLES

After hosting two young respectful hedgehogs for breakfast, the badger absented himself. This per the story in Wind In The Willows. What they ate was oatmeal porridge, and there was also bacon, and eggs, and, oh, lots of other good stuff! Hot buttered toast!

Badgers are somewhat solitary by nature, and in cold weather tend toward somnolence. And the Anglo-American morning repast is not a light affair.
If, after reading about such things, one felt like withdrawing for a nap, no one could blame you.


"The animals well knew that Badger, having eaten a hearty breakfast, had retired to his study and settled himself in an arm-chair with his legs up on another and a red cotton handkerchief over his face, and was being 'busy' in the usual way at this time of the year."


Not being a resident of somewhere in the English countryside, I do not have a red cotton handkerchief. But, now that Jeebus Day is finally here, and the mass-frenzy has finally died down, I wish I did.

I don't eat breakfast, by the way.

However, I must head down to Chinatown and find out which places are open today, so that I might secure a spot to eat. Dim sum places are quite out of the question, as they will be crowded with several generations, and fancy restaurants are not on the list either, for the same reason.
I want something simple, somewhere quiet.

After which I can fill a pipe and ignore the world.

More than one of you is too many.

I am the humbug.


I am torn between congee (粥 'juk'), in lieu of oatmeal porridge, which is kind of bland and mucky and not nearly as good with a yautiu (油條 an airy puffed fried dough stick), and something that includes pork or porky bits.
Plus a cup or two of milk tea.

The issue is really that I must smoke outside, as my apartment mate naturally has the day off. And she is a nonsmoker, so a badger must be considerate of her nose, and her teddy bear's sensitivities.

Ms. Bruin can be very fierce.

My own teddy bears are not nearly so imposing, nor as fastidiously inclined.
If I could, I would take one or two of them and my warm blanket down to an alleyway between Grant and Stockton where damned well everyone ignores the "no smoking with twenty five feet sign" (because obeying would put you inside someone else's apartment), and hide out till I've recovered from having too many people talking at once for several days.
But one cannot do that!

We white people are weird, as everyone knows, but such behaviour draws the attention of the police, and one does not want to be thought of as being in the same category as crack heads living under an overpass.


Instead, I shall retire to the bathroom and soak for an hour.
Heater on, cup of coffee, Nicaraguan cigar.
After that, late lunch.


Happy Jeebus Day.



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BIG CHEESE

We don't know how the cheese got there. The Chinese are largely not a cheese consuming culture, and many of them find the substance baffling, to say the least -- congealed bovine glandular exudate -- if not downright revolting.
And it's often rotten, that being the aging, and a controlled process of fermenting or down-breaking of the casein-containing semi-goo.
A decomposed grease-rich hunk of animal arm pit reek.

The point is, it was significant in her childhood.


I woke up to my Chinese American apartment mate in the television room talking on the phone with her boyfriend (who is lactose intolerant) about the cheese of which her mother had gained possession very many years ago.

An extremely large block.

It was free.



THE "GOVERNMENT" CHEESE

They weren't exactly "poor" poor, but strings were very tight. And her mother had acquired cheese. She doesn't know how the old lady got it, because it was not something to which they were entitled. Government cheese. Some programme of bringing nutrition to the fromage tolerant indigent.
In any case, her children would eat the cheese, because there was a lot of it, and it had been free.
It wasn't their cheese, but they'd make it disappear.
If entirely consumed, no evidence.

I do not know why she brought it up, but she was trying to make a point, and he wanted more details about the acquisition, and kept constantly interrupting with questions about the provenance.

Both of them are Aspy, and obsess over details.

To the point of frustration, and beyond.

Which I can understand.


"I don't know how she got it! Perhaps blackmail? Maybe there's a secret handshake?!? Chinese Masons force it on people they hate?!? There's a cheese mafia operating in Chinatown, or a desperate tenant give it to her? Whatever! I don't know! She had the cheese. We didn't eat cheese! We had to eat it! And Thomasses English Muffins! Somebody died, or there's a thriving black market in strange things you've never seen before. Poor Chinese like to live dangerously, okay? Dammit, the point is, cheese! No, I don't know why! A big lump of government cheese, with white bread, which is another thing!"

"Semi-hard, like a lot of Kraft singles slammed into a lump."

"Stop asking about the damned cheese!"


But she brought up the subject, and I'm surprised he had never heard about it before. The free cheese was a formative influence on her, because she is fond of cheese, and devours dairy like cows are going out of style.
Or sheep and goats.


Christmas morning, 2017. Let it be known that I woke up with my Cantonese American apartment mate hollering about cheese.


We have milk, butter, and three kinds of cheese in the refrigerator.
Plus two tubs of ice cream.





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BALMY, SMELL GOOD

A very exhausting week is over. And I am left with the sobering realization that I am not particularly fond of my fellow stumblesome bipeds when they are in herd mode. Or their musical choices this festive season.
In the past several days I have heard all the usual nauseating Christmas tunes in three languages -- English, Spanish, and Chipmunk -- sung several ways very many times. The Santa is a stalker song, the Santa is a creep song, the Santa is the police state song, the Childish greed song, the Whore greed song, and the Peer group bullying song that does not end logically, with a killing spree, as it should. Christmas culture is dysfunctional.
Here's a playstation!


A better song for this time of year:

THERE IS A BATHROOM ON THE RIGHT


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6iRNVwslM4.]


On my right, but your left. If you want to piss on the carpet, go right ahead. You are tired, that's obvious. And all those credit cards are heavy! You limp suburban consumerite whores. Brandnames, bitches! Michael Kors. Louis Vuitton. Prada. Yves Saint Laurent. Dupont. Bugatti and Benz.
Blue Point, Red Spot, Yellow Stripe.
We've got buckets!


The other day a retired colleague dropped by my place of employment.
He mentioned that he and his lady are visiting Paris in January, and asked whether he could bring me back anything.

"Yeah man, a French girl."

"Any age age requirements?"

"Oh, twenty five or under."

"You're a f*&^ing, pervert, you know..."

"Dude! I've been practicing my whole life to be dirty old man!"


What I didn't tell him was why I needed one. See, in this weather my skin itches, boyo, and there are parts of my dermis I can't reach without wrecking something.
I need that French girl to energetically smear me all over with soothing ointments before I scratch big bloody holes.

Had I said that, he would keep her himself.

It's the middle of Winter.

Humbug.




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Sunday, December 24, 2017

LADY, ARE YOU NUTS?

The last pipe of the day should be a modest indulgence. And, as far as the pipe smoker in question goes, it by and large is. Except for the... breasts.
This smoker is rather 'old school'.
Please don't show me that.


Saint James Flake, in the Erlich Canadian.


Versus women with piles of Jello.


What happened to normal?


The problem is that I was smoking my pipe outside.
Which is where the wild things roam.
Wobbling cleavages.

It is far too cold for that.
Please cover yourself.
I'll feel better.



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Saturday, December 23, 2017

ROSEBUDS, NOW THERE'S AN IDEA!

A few years ago I spent an inordinate amount of time lamenting my fate, and getting over the cessation of a long (and lovely) romance. And equating food with love, or lust, which is absurd, but I'm over that.
This blogger has quieted down.
More or less.

No, I haven't lost my ability to dream, or my sparkiness, but I am reasonably content to watch all the world socially interacting from a safe distance.
And not wishing to be involved in the fray.

I am at my best with only one or two people around me.
At least one of whom is myself.

You would be too, probably.


The more I think about it, the more convinced that in a past life I should have been a badger. Inquisitive, solitary, slightly bad tempered or grumpy, fond of tea, smoking my pipe, and dozing with the blinds down to keep out the bright light.


This all fell into focus the other day over my second cup of coffee upon getting up. The previous night I had intended to go around the corner for a last quite smoke outside a local watering hole, having attended a festive seasonal pizza party, but I fell asleep instead. Nothing says "The Holidays" like cheese, crust, tomato sauce, and greasy meats, don't you agree?
Now, a social life would have interfered with digestion after a stress-filled day, and if I had come home to a snookiepoo she would have likely kept me up all night with rambunctious behaviour. And probably objected, fiercely objected, to me filling my pipe at that time with Dunhill Dark Flake rather than attending to her rosebuds or neurotic worries.

Both single men and badgers do not attend very well to neurotic worries.
They are far better at digesting pizza, and smoking pipes.
The Holiday Season is a fraught time.
Rosebuds are tense.

If you have rosebuds in your life -- your own or someone else's -- you have probably noticed a change. They're grumpy, even when they try to hide it.


Ideally, rosebuds, like badgers, would spend as much time as possible in bed at this time of year, only getting up to prepare some more tea (perhaps with milk and sugar), or to smoke a pipe -- smoking in bed is ill-advised, that's why you have cotton jammies and a bathrobe -- occasionally getting on the internet to bah humbug, but not turning on the telly under any circumstance. As, during my extra day off next week, I shall do.
Later on I shall go down to Chinatown for a late lunch.
More tea, and another pipe.


As a single man, not socially inclined nor in the running for public office or a snookiepoo, I can say sh*t like this. And I can mention rosebuds without fear of offending people, because I really don't care. Thus: rosebuds can be quite nice, rosebuds can in fact be darling, delicious and zesty even, and rosebuds can be a joy. Rosebuds, rosebuds, rosebuds!

If you are a modern person of typical American sensitivities, you are probably even more 'triggered' now than you were when I mentioned smoking a pipe (because tobacco is evil), and you are now weeping into your chamomile tea, which you made to calm your nerves so you could stay on the internet and continue browsing in this dark corner.

The badger does not care.




Rosebuds are strictly an intellectual construct here.
No rosebuds were hurt in making this post.
I have not been near them.

The only rosebuds I have even seen in the last few years were the two that became briefly visible when an inebriated young lady in front of a bar one night flashed her friend across the street.

It was while I was smoking my pipe outside.
Which I will be doing again soon.
Same place, same time.
Coincidence.




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THEY'RE CRUNCHY INSIDE

Thoughts prompted by a strong cup of coffee after a very long day:


Who does coke in their bathroom anymore? Isn't that so last century?

Extra virgin? Must be a Christian thing.

The informed consumer is a better addict.

Toasted bagels and bacon. That's probably heresy.

Raspberry cream flavoured pipe tobacco IS heresy.

So is raspberry cream frappucino.

I can't wait for the tinny children's choirs to finally end.

More couples break up during the holidays than at any other time of year.

Gift buying is educating the other person in wise decision making and good taste; get your spoiled-brat relatives the guns or cigars for Christmas that you yourself would want, not the tacky tchatch that their parents want.

A morbidly obese man who never changes his bathrobe and likes little kids on his lap is NOT a role model.



The other thing is that I have belatedly realized that some (many) people are infinitely more neurotic than I can comprehend. This is especially evident at this time of year.
If it weren't for frenzied holidays we might not know.
Christmas reveals the inner nutjobs.


BTW: Everything greasy tastes better with cheese and chilies.
You are welcome.




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Friday, December 22, 2017

VERY HUMONGOUS CELEBRATION

Years ago I suggested that women and chili peppers had a lot in common, and somehow were equivalent. They might even be interchangeable, each other's stand-in or replacement for the single man.


"Hot sauce is a substitute for a woman at the table."


A literalist would be heading for disaster upon taking this seriously. But others, of a perverse bent, might well pay to observe. The table would have to be trashed afterward.

Chili peppers, like cocoa, originated in Mexico. More people rely on capsaicin than on theobromine. The Holiday season, however, emphasizes the latter, and neglects the former. Personally I feel that chilies would be better for your waist, but I have been outvoted.


Two weeks from now things will be different. You will return to the office, and painfully realize that there are still three or four nearly filled gift baskets from clients that must be eaten be eaten before the marketing department gets to them, or the frat boys in sales, and you will look with regret at where your stomach used to be, and wish that it had been chilies instead. There is a giant beach ball between your chest and your lower thighs, the word 'panniculus' has acquired meaning in your life, and you're jonesing for chocolate.

You know, jonesing for chilies is not nearly as likely to fill you with despair.
Hot flaming something, yes. Angst, no.

As a superior being, and a bachelor besides, I am pointing this out for your own good. Chocolate is a bad substitute for love, warmth, a woman (or man) at the table, and zesty fun-filled nudity. Or just hugs.

Chilies are okay. Not quite the same, but okay.

You may need a hug now.


The problem is of course that no one can get her or his arms around you, and they are scared to come close. The beach ball might eat them.
Or in any case crush their spirit. It is truly big.

Unlike you, I will be as trim after the holidays as before.

I am a single man without chocolate.

Lucky me.




There is a lot of hot sauce (*) in my apartment, of several different levels of strength. It is warm and inviting, and infinitely pleasing to the soul.
If anything could talk, almost certainly it could.
"Come to me", it would say.
Oh baby.




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Thursday, December 21, 2017

THERE IS NO "BEST"

Earlier I explained that nothing is the single one, it's a matter of category, availability, and personal preference at that moment. At the time I was the 'consulting tobacconist' to the drunken element. The tobacco was Saint James Flake, by Samuel Gawith, in Kendall, Cumbria, which is somewhere in the boggy wastes. But the location of the pipe was on California Street, up from Polk, near where inebriants collide.


Item ONE: Mister V*S** has gone to bed. It is winter, his brother has gone back to Macao, the sound of Mahjong no longer comes from his apartment. During summer it had been a joyous constant.

Item TWO: The two young lovers in the doorway of the building down the street are seriously but amicably discussing the  progression of their affair. Quite likely it will involve strenuous physical excercise. I envy them.

Item THREE: The tipsy man outside stressed that the smell of certain pipe tobaccos reminded him of his granddad. I never knew my granddad; he passed before I was born.


Someone said I was the sage, the wise elder, the man with all the answers.
I do not believe that my answers are suitable.
What was the question?


Honestly, I do not know how Julie does it. She's the "consulting mom" to all the likeable sad-sack drunks who don't sing but just swill. I could not do that, I'd probably kick them instead.

She's the best.




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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A DIPLOMATIC CONDIMENT

After a news item a while back I was aware that McDonalds once featured a 'Szechuan Sauce'. Today I found out that the original and correct name was 'Mulan Sauce'. Which is still pretty dingbatty.

If you go into China Town, they probably won't know what you are talking about. And politely think you a bit goofy. Which you won't even notice, don't worry. Out in the avenues they'll nod sagely, and bring you a bowl of something sweet and vaguely Szechuanese.


SZECHUANISH SAUCE

Quarter cup Water.
Quarter cup Sriracha-type hot sauce.
Three TBS Golden sugar.
Two TBS Tomato Ketchup.
Two TBS Rice Wine of Sherry.
Two TBS Vinegar.
Two TBS Soy sauce.
Dash of Louisiana Hotsauce.
Minced Garlic and Ginger, your own judgment
Dried Red Pepper Flakes, for visual effect.
A pinch of Five Spice Powder.
A pinch of Ground Pepper.
A few drops of Sesame oil.

Mix well. Simmer while stirring til it reaches the right thickness for dipping.
Serve with breaded chicken bits or other shit.


Experiment a bit to achieve the taste that seems right to you. Then surprise your relatives with this at Christmas Dinner. Make your bird festive this year with something exotic!

On Christmas Day I'll be eating by myself in Chinatown.

It might be roast duck over rice.




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FRAGRANT PROSPECT

As soon as my apartment leaves for the day, I shall shut her door and open all the windows, so that her Teddy Bear does not end up smelling like smoke, and light up. The first pipe of the day will be Dark Flake.
We'll see how it goes from there.

[Update as of 1:15 PM on the last Friday before Christmas: By "apartment" above, I meant my apartment mate, a very defective Cantonese woman mentioned further on. The mistake was mine, but evenso the context probably made clear what I meant. At 7:43 AM, after a late night.
When I should probably not have been up yet in any case.
But I sleep lightly.]



Until a few moments ago I was pretending to be asleep. Though how anyone could sleep through that gay cheerful racket is beyond me. Her voice. And the voices of the head sheep (he's indignant, again), the one-legged monkey ("ah is so fab-u-lous!"), the control monkey ("Heeey"), and the little black kitty (who is a right bitch).
Plus coffee, frying things, and something on the telly.
She's wide awake.
I'm not.

Her boyfriend is so lucky he doesn't live here.
It takes fortitude to put up with this.
I am a very adaptable man.

Very much.


She's a very defective Cantonese woman. Because correctly programmed Cantonese women do not live grumpy white guys, OR rambunctious stuffed animals who utilize bad language. Which upsets the well-bred she-sheep, who then growls "language!" at the little fu..... 'miscreants'.
There's also a very large penguin in her room.
I am not sure about his vocabulary.
So far he seems polite.


None, not a single one, of the furry roomies like my smoking. They're very Californian in that regard. They haven't said anything, but they sneer.


Once she's gone to work, it's on, babies. Dark flake, the news of the day, and a second cup of coffee. There are no beasts in the teevee room.
Where the computers are.

Anticipation.




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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

PEEVISH CIGAR REVIEW

Sometime around early afternoon I lit up a pale vintage shaggy foot toro. This puppy is not cheap, and the company that put it into circulation has a massive reputation, although one must assume that marketing department brilliance had more to do with that than anything substantial.

No, shan't mention the name, as I do not wish to be sued pantsless or beaten up by Gujarathis. Keen instinct for self-preservation here.

It's a Dominican Puro, and honestly the tobacco ain't bad. But hard to draw on, not very exciting, and it took effort to get the nice cedar savoriness going. It is creamy, slightly sweet, and quite unexceptional.
Though it does have a beautiful ash.



There are very many far better Dominican cigars.

This cigar too could have been far better.

If another company had made it.

Or they hired rollers.


Cigars that I have enjoyed in the past few weeks have been Pier 28, Oliva Serie V, Romeo 505, Alec Bradley Sanctum, Diamond Crown, Rocky Patel 1990, Eiroa, and a few others. And though I find smaller ring gauges to often be piss-elegant, the larger cigars draw much better and give a broader spectrum of flavours. So mostly toros and torpedos.


Cigars are largely the domain of unlovable freaks and men who worry about their testicular abilities, which may be failing due to age or diet. Pipes, on the other hand, speak of thoughtful people, and calm rational behaviour. Unless someone is smoking a frightful aromatic in a pipe made rancid and soggy by intemperate use.

I have some suggestions about pipe tobacco for the man who founded the company that made this cigar. And where he can put it. He probably wears shiny shirts with wide lapels, open down to his navel.
And gold chains on his hairy chest.

He's probably rancid.
And soggy.




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PINK ELEPHANTS IN SWEATERS, AND BEVERAGES

Her big dramatic scene was coming to an end, but still wasted twenty more minutes. While she twizzled and tantrumed in an otherwise empty karaoke bar which had told her to not do that to the equipment, I reserved my place at the counter by ordering a drink, filled my pipe, commiserated with the two staff members not trying to diplomatically get her out, and went downstairs and outside to light up. Where her two saner friends were sadly bewailing their lot while waiting for her tweaky histrionics inside to finally end, and resigning themselves to not singing at all that night.
They could have starred! Their great undiscovered talent!
Male people would have totally worshipped them!
In an otherwise empty karaoke bar.

When she finally came outside for the last time, she effusively praised my briar, asked if it was just tobacco ("oh, tobacco is so violent!"), wondered if the pipe was Hermes or Christian Dior, and passionately demanded a high five plus hugs for her positive words.
Which I will not do.
And didn't.

I'm sorry, I prefer not to touch random needy people, ever, especially not the supportive huggy thing or weird palm slaps. First you quietly sit down near me, make small talk, mention the weather or Shakespeare, we inform each other of our names, and maybe in a short while we will touch each others' fingers or something.

Less extroverted, more rational.


During this entire time, a small brunette person was discretely acting insane, in the downstairs foyer, on the mezzanine, in the doorway area of the bar, the entrance to the building, out front under the awning, and on the sidewalk all the way to the eggroll place further down the block and the Palestinian pizza joint a few doors up. Eekity tweakity. Lickety splits.
In between very odd fragments of dialogue.
To herself mostly, but not always.


"You look familiar!"

"I'm not."


Everybody wants attention. High five. Hugs. Love. Marijuana.
Plus uppers, downers, and medication.


I should point out now that unlike all these several women, my ideal female companion, or imaginary girlfriend, was the most perfect company last night, what with being absent entirely (probably too reserved), not there at all, at her home wherever that may be, and completely non-existent.


Here is an imaginary conversation with an introvert:

"Mm, ah, is someone sitting here?"

"Eh, no, it's empty."

"Erm."


Some of my friends have occasionally taken me to task for not taking the initiative or jumping on the opportunities that crop up to make friends with the other sex, and pointed out that the city is full of single women looking for love. And that was four zesty specimens in the flesh! Girls!

They would berate me for being a cold fish.

Like the imaginary inamorata from last night, they were not there.
Which is probably good; I did not have to hear their advice.
I enjoyed my last smoke of the day peacefully.
Without rising to the bait.



I really enjoy my figmentive feminine counterpart. I am fantasizing about her waking up right now, stretching, and heading into the kitchen to make herself some coffee. And given that she doesn't exist, certain details remain hazy. Whether she likes her coffee black or with plenty of cream and sugar, if she is a breakfast person or like me eschews solids for the first hour or two, and physical details like hands, haircut, styles of underwear -- mesh, lace, cotton, sensible, modest, risqué -- and what kind of slippers. Probably warm fluffy slippers, because at this time of year the floor is icy, and a girl likes to be comfortable.

The aroma of a hot caffeinated beverage becomes noticable, as she putters around in her kitchen, where the winter sunlight illumines the yellowed woodwork that might need a bit of repainting after all these years .......
She still looks so sleepy. Perhaps she'll go back to bed.
And take the warm cup with her.

I imagine her also liking woolen sweaters.
Seeing as it's cold right now.
Wintry weather.




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Monday, December 18, 2017

SAVE ROOM FOR ICE CREAM

Further to yesterday evening's description of dinner and what I did afterwards, I can inform you that I did not food-poison myself.
But I think I will throw out that preserved meat, it's too old.
Nor sure about the dried oysters. They were "fishy".
Tonight's repast was in the same category.
Experimental scroungery.


I was inspired by "Baked Portuguese Chicken Rice" (焗葡國雞飯 'guk pou gwok gai faan'), which isn't a Portuguese dish but from Hong Kong though inspired by Macao, and which the English would probably prefer with a side of baked beans -- everything the British eat is better with Heinz Baked Beans -- though both sides agree on the strong silky milk tea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai cha'), which might upset the Macanese as well as the Portugalians.

焗葡國煙肉蝦子麵

Bacon (煙肉 'yin yiuk'), cooked with a little miscellaneous vegetable for crunch, yellow curry paste (黃咖喱醬 'wong gaa lei jeung') added. Then layered on top of precooked shrimp roe wheat noodles (蝦子麵 'haa ji min') with beaten egg gently fried in, as well as scallion. Chili sauce for moisture. Some grated cheese sprinkled on top, the whole under the broiler briefly. Resulting in what might be called "Bacon and Egg Noodles" (咖喱煙肉雞蛋麵 'gaa lei yin yiuk gai daan min'), or 焗葡國煙肉蝦子麵 ('guk pou gwok yin yiuk haa ji min').

Some freshly ground pepper, more hot sauce.

Strong coffee to follow.

No beans.



I think I'll go outside now and listen to loud screaming while smoking my pipe, to cap off the day. Perhaps a bowl of ice cream later.




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Sunday, December 17, 2017

THE NICK YEMANA SPECIAL

In the ancient television series 'Barney Miller', sergeant Yemana (played by Jack Soo) at one point was cooking his lunch. It was a Japanese delicacy! Fish heads, cabbage leaves, cucumber rinds, celery tops ..... "come to think of it, that IS garbage". Which, somewhat less than more, describes what's in the kitchen right now. Preserved meat, smoked fatty bits, dried oysters, eggplant, cabbage stalks ..... gonna add the tomato, lemon juice, hot sauce, and noodles in a while. It is assertively flavoured with ginger and spices.
A hearty stick-to-your ribs winter stew.

If all goes well, I will not be calling in sick tomorrow.
Think of it as scrounge-experimental.
Mixed odds and ends.
Nabemono.
鍋物。

I have my doubts about the animal protein.


Later on I will perform another experiment. I will head to the karaoke place around the corner for a nightcap and a final smoke for the day (sofar, two bowls of Virginia with a touch of Perique, one bowl of a ten-year old Oriental blend, one bowl of a nicely aged pressed Latakia flake, and a short Caldwell cigar), to see if the offensive Filipino KJ is working this evening like he was last Sunday, number one, and whether it is possible to have a quite hour there without him being unbearably rude, number two. If he is, I shall expect no help from the bartender, because that chap is very friendly with the Filipino. Which means that the place is off-limits Sunday evenings going forward. Far be it from me to break up a tender bro love triangle.

A few years ago I avoided the place for a while because of a smirky bartendress.
Who now works somewhere else, and no longer goes there.
I'm just there for some quiet time.
Don't piss at me.


It's an experiment. The last smoke of the day should be a contemplative experience, usually a bowl of a Virginia-Perique mixture while outside observing the occasional stumbling loony or drunkard. I do not wish to be irritated, or treated rudely by self-satisfied snooty Filipinos.


In this life, not being treated rudely by Filipinos is a great good, a prime goal, and a valid objective to aim for.




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WARMEST SEASONAL GREETINGS!

All I want for Christmas is the bloody deaths of the top echelons of the Republican Party, as well as their Christian and Russian backers.
Is that too much to ask?

And please, Santa, make it painful.

Jesus would approve.


Of course, I realize that this would depopulate large parts of the country, but honestly, I'm okay with that. Everyone is.

Kill them, burn their corpses, and piss on the embers.




Evidence-based, science-based, vulnerable, entitlement, diversity, transgender, fetus. Plus global warming and climate change.




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Saturday, December 16, 2017

BERSERK GENEROSITY

'Tis the season of enormous breasts. The BBC website has a big breasted woman illustrating the article about minority gun clubs, the daughter of a Dutch celebrity in an internet newspaper article has bazooms bigger than her head, there was mention of Victoria's Secret elsewhere, and Lada Gagy adorns a webpage.

Of course, Lada Gagy's frontage really isn't that large, but seems more prominent than it is. It's just exposed very often.


Big breasts are like big cars and big cigars. They prove something.
But nobody knows exactly what that is.
Maybe small penis?


Large family-sized mammary glands suggest that one will share them with half a dozen overweight kids and grampa in the corner.
There's enough for the entire neighborhood.


Why yes, I think I will indeed buy the giant economy sack of crunchie-wunchies™, thank you! Does it come in cheese flavour?


Smoked Gouda?



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Friday, December 15, 2017

JUST ONE OF THE FUZZY ECCENTRICS, HONEST!

Last night I napped from eleven till one clock before going out for a nightcap and a final smoke of the day at the karaoke joint. I dislike karaoke intensely, but it's perfect for getting Christmas music out of the head. We're only a year away from an all chipmunk Christmas channel on satellite radio. Shrill crap was on the sound system at work.

At least nine different songs have been rodentified.

You know, you Americans are horrid.
Singing squeaky furballs.
Good lord.


After my drink I was outside with a pipe.

A crowd of young office party happy folks surrounded me.


CONVERSATION WITH AN INTROVERT

"Cool pipe!"
[Hey!]

"Thanks!"
[Uh.]

"Whatcha smoking?"
[Expressions of drunken lust.]

"Samuel Gawith's St. James Flake."
[Samuel Gawith's St. James Flake.]

"What?"
[Whuh?]

"St. James Flake; it has probably seven percent Perique would be my guess."
[So.]

"I don't know what that is."
[That sounds utterly baffling.]

"It's an anaerobically fermented tobacco from Saint James Parish in Louisiana. Seven percent is, normally, a bit much. But this has been steam-pressed, which mellows it out considerably."
[I give neurotically precise answers for want of any conversational skill, and I am hesitant about the direction this conversation might go.]

"You seem like a very interesting person!"
[I wanna bang you.]

"I'm not, I am the club bore."
[Ain't gonna happen.]

"You are not a bore."
[You are hot.]

"Thank you."
[No. Just no.]


Yes, I haven't had any in a long time, but no, I am not into random late night drunken nookie. Even if it is sincere. Serious sober middle of the afternoon passionate and inspired nookie is an entirely different matter. Which sounds lovely, but it hasn't happened yet, ever, and the fifteenth of December is my apartment mate's birthday, I have to pick up a cake and buy a live lobster, so nothing, absolutely nothing at all, is going to interfere with my schedule tomorrow, and I can not think of a worse birthday present for her than finding out that the middle-aged git who lives in the messy room has made a bad decision and there's a hungover office worker on the premises.
That would be uncomfortable.

See, that's why it would have to be sober nookie in the middle of the afternoon. If, perchance, someone would take a long nap afterword, that person could wake up fast enough to hide under the covers when the front door starts opening, and if discovered by the apartment mate bounding in and wondering about the lump in the bed, pretend to be a penguin or a small black cat.

One of the many stuffed animals that live here.

I have given this a lot of thought.



It is tremendously flattering that a young lady half my age wants to bang me late at night after many cocktails, but in all honesty she wasn't my type, and wouldn't have been even if she were cold sober.
I have idiotically exacting standards.


That bowl of tobacco was exceptional. Sweet and smooth all the way through, and quite the best cap to a long day.
St. James Flake.




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There are times I'm glad that I don't live in Delaware. In fact, whenever I think of Delaware, which isn't often, I am mighty gl...