Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Years ago I would head into a tobacconist around the corner from my office before lunch to purchase a tin of cigarillos and, often, one or several tins of pipe tobacco. Every week, two or three times. It used to be fun stepping into the neighborhood tobacconist, where they knew you and were familiar with your goes without saying excellent taste.

That is a very old-school concept. The last real tobacco store in San Francisco was Grant's on Market Street, between Montgomery and Sansome, where a Starbucks is now, no less than one minute walking distance from several other places where espresso drinks may be had.
You need never go without caffeine in the Financial District.
Smoking, you must do that at the nearest curb.
Or beyond, if the security guard yells.
Shield the snowflakes.

But to continue. Grant's disappeared in September of 2012. What may have happened is that one temper tantrum too many got them evicted, as they had been operating without a lease for seven years at that point, and the beauty academicians three floors above had on a daily basis complained about the awful smell.

They had ceased to be a worthwhile destination a few years before.
Which I wrote about then.
Here are some of the comments underneath that post.

Blogger el Greco said…

As one of the frequent customers/smokers, it was not only the change in store policy, it was the extremely rude way many of us were treated at the time. Ranting and raving at customers who were spending their money with you? Who needs it?

Anonymous Not S. Peabody! said…

Extremely rude? More like insane. There’s dysfunctionality, and then there’s DYSFUNCTIONALITY. Picking fights with people who spend money in your business is not normal behavior. Unless you are an alcoholic bar owner, of course. Then it might be both standard, and routinely ignored.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

He isn’t exactly dysfunctional. He just works out his dating frustrations on customers. If some girl told him he was balding, everyone else has to pay.

Anonymous Some other anonymous said…

Oh come on, Anonymous, that’s just mean! And we’ve seen enough domestic quarrels between the two of them there that we KNOW it isn’t true.

Anonymous Anonymous, again said…

Slap me, bitch.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

Well, that tobacconist is out of business now.
Just an empty store front on Market Street.

Anonymous Ranting Joe Bee said…

Well, that's what happens when you work at not making friends AND don't have an actual lease. Just month to month lets the landlord kick you out at will.

Sad, as they had been in that location for half a century, and the store had originally been founded shortly after the goldrush.

I wonder what Ted is doing now?

Anonymous Gone Fishing, Fuck'm said…

I for one don't miss Ted and Joe in the slightest. Their selection was always mediocre at best, and between grim North England incommunicabilty and that bad tempered pissant quarrelsomeness from a runty second-rate weasely Texan carpetbagger, I only went in their once a month. When it rained.

Even when old man Grant ran it is was distant, off-putting, and snooty. And so much more so when Joe took over as the loud-mouth in charge. It was, in all ways, a piss-poor excuse for a tobacconist. No loss. At all.

Anonymous Anonymous said…

Joe was almost always rude, arrogant, and flip. He managed to turn what should have been happy shopping into a grating and ignoble experience. I almost miss the place.

At Telfords in Marin they are at least glad to see me. A much better experience by far. Better choices, too.

Blogger The back of the hill said…

"grim North England incommunicabilty"

Oh come now! Ted was a very decent sort, just a bit dry.

And if he was ever grim, it was because he had to put up with an awful lot.

Normally he had a rather delightful sense of humour.


You know, I actually miss the potato-shaped security guard who used to go there. One day he was excited to have won the Irish sweepstakes, or the Grand Euro Rotterdam Lottery. Whatever it was. He showed everybody the e-mail telling him of his winnings.

Shortly after that he left town.

I think Joe ("a runty second-rate weasely Texan carpetbagger") went back to Texas. Where he's probably habitually plastic-wrapping everything in his apartment. No idea what happened to Ted.

El Greco and Not Sherman Peabody are still around. They are perfectly happy not shopping there anymore. I have no idea who the other commenters are. Except for one of them.

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In a recent article a Brabander, Peter Wu, complains about the insensitivity of the Dutch. Who at some level have remained the same unreconstructed folks that gave the world apartheid and colonial slaughter. As an American of Dutch (Brabantine) ancestry it does not please me to find out that we are still not totally soft and fluffy.

Every year at Carneval we do silly things to make fun of everyone.
Sometimes we're tasteless.
Extremely so.

Indonesians, Germans, Red Indians, East Indians, Yanks, Jews ...
Cripples, dead people, peasants ...

My parents were usually somewhat unaware of such things, because as Americans who moved to the Netherlands they still thought in English.
By the time my brother and I were in highschool, however, we were completely alert to Dutch presumptions.

Being a Yank in "Kaaskop" Country is not always an enviable position.
Precisely like being an ethnic minority in the United States.
No, shan't engage in 'whitesplaining' this.
You already know the drill.

This photo says it all.

[From this article: Wat er met mij gebeurt wanneer ik je racistische carnavalsliedjes hoor.]

What the heck?!? I can understand why Peter Wu is offended, it would be hard not to be repulsed. The image is staggering. Whatever zaniness is meant is overwhelmed by ghastly.

The original photo can be found on Angry Asian Man in an essay from 2013: INSTANT YELLOWFACE! NOW AVAILABLE IN A CONVENIENT TUBE.

The featured product (yellow) is/was available from Sancto International, who are also suppliers of Snazaroo face paints and coloured hairspray.

You will be glad to know that they also sell various green body paint sticks, smears, unguents, and goos, so that you can make exiled Irish people feel truly special eighteen days from now.

Dress like a leprechaun too.

As for what you should do with the yellow face paint in the convenient tube, wear it tonight and put a dead ferret on your head.
Trump it up sumpin' good.

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Several years ago I happily kwelled at my people's talent for breaking laws, especially if it entailed sticking it to the man for financial benefit. In that case it was a gigantic indoor marijuana plantation discovered somewhere in the hinterlands of Eindhoven. Tree-sized Mary Jane.
Talented folks, those Brabanders.

Apparently tobacco taxes in Europe have become quite unreasonable; per an article in Dutch, the locals are now running illicit cigarette factories.
Which give gainful employ to immigrants.

[See: Illegale Sigarettenfabriek.]

I approve of this far more than pot.

Governments profit obscenely from tobacco, while sneering at the goose that lays the golden egg. It's time bureaucratic robbery of the common man gets its come-uppance. Here in California new taxes on ciggies will go into effect in April, because pencil-pushing dogooders and healthfreaks have not figured out that we have a very long landborder with the rest of the country which goes straight through a sparsely populated waste land, there's an anything-goes state on the other side of that welcoming the business, and most smokers do not want to pay an hour's wages for a pack.

The same people that look down their long snooty noses at tobacco generally approve whole-heartedly of weed. Which is grown by naked spiritualist tribes deep in the Amazon Rainforest, who recycle and chant mantras. It's good for the planet, fair trade, and saves whales.

There were enough cigarettes in the illegal factory in Oirschot to keep more than a million smokers happy for a day, and there are probably other such factories. Even in Holland there are more tobacco fans than potheads.

Which means many more people who feel burdened by unjust laws, extortionate taxation, and bureaucratic opportunism.

The same holds for the state of California.

We have a very long open border.

And miles of off-track.

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Monday, February 27, 2017


Some people need a talking-to. All their lives they have laboured under the grievous misunderstanding that they are special, and need particular consideration. Much of Marin County is like that. And one of the bus drivers on the route I take back into the city from Marin is like that. Unfortunately.
No, this wasn't this evening; today's driver is a capable, courteous, and efficient young fellow with much patience and affability.
Shan't mention which day it is, on the off-chance that Golden Gate Transit is hanging on my every word.

Suffice to say he has a talent for making himself suffer.
Because he is very Marinite, and deserving!

One feels inclined to utter words of comfort.

"Now now, stop being miserable, you little weird-ass woogus!"

That is what one might say, if the blighter were at all approachable. But it will not happen. Because maybe he would start shouting, or weeping.
And one does not wish for either of those eventualities.
So one lets him stew and fume.

I hope his employer health plan covers therapy.
Because he will probably need it.
And soon.

His chakras are all out of whack, and his aura, which one presumes should be a proper Marinite tie-dye with lots of vibrant orange, yellow, and pink, is very likely all black. There's a troubled shadow looming over him, he's an old soul and mighty grumpy, which he probably was in his first of many past-lives as a twenty-thousand year old sacrificed Inca virgin.
He needs some crystal healing, poor baby.
And a juice cleansing.
Burnt sage.

The driver schedule will change in another few weeks.
I am looking forward to that.

It is taking all my willpower to not utter the words of comfort.

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Sadly, Hawaiian Pizza is fifty percent of Canadian Cuisine. This is what you really must keep in mind when you visit the Great White North.
The other fifty percent consists of Poutine.

That's two things. There are three meals in a day.
Necessarily you will be eating Chinese a lot.

I particularly remember a dish with sea cucumber at a Cantonese restaurant near the film school in Vancouver. It was quite delicious. The jook I had one day for breakfast while up there was also exceptional.

I did not eat any beaver or moose.
An oversight.


Köstliche Eintöpfe von Biber und Elch.

Stew, in Cantonese, can be rendered as 燴 ('wui'), which really means to braise two or three ingredients together in a broth flavoured with soy sauce, rice wine, and vinegar, plus usually garlic and ginger. Dried tofu sticks and black mushrooms are frequent additions. There is no German equivalent. The Dutch term 'stoven' is cognate with Danish 'stuvning'.
駝鹿 ('to luk') literally translates to "camel deer".
There are, alas, no moose in China.
They're all over Canada.


Cantonese people would probably prefer to prepare these things in a clay pot, 煲仔 style. Cut and precook the ingredients as necessary, then place on top of the parboiled rice in the clay pot, add a splash of water or stock, lid it, and put on a flame to steam or simmer for a short while. Bring it to the table piping hot. Uncover, and pour in some boiled soy sauce and rice wine, which when it hits the sides of the vessel will release a cloud of fragrant steam into the layered rice and meat.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017


Mixed emotions. On the one hand my relative Damien did quite well at the Academy Awards, which pleases me no end -- it's so nice having talented people in one's family, don't you agree? His mom the brilliant mediaevalist must be very proud -- and on the other, I have nothing but negative feelings about Warren Beatty right now.

That was probably the most buggered-up Oscar finale ever.

Truly, they ought to keep movie people out of it.

Hollywood always cocks things up.

Evenso, good things happened tonight. I just can't get over the bitterness, disappointment, anger, outrage and infuriation, that the Academy Awards managed to pull off a bonehead stunt like that.
Heads need to roll.

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There are times when I am glad that my apartment mate is not a social creature. Things do not get said that otherwise would. When she took a message from my uncle and aunt (requesting that I call them when I returned), she was matter-of-fact, and businesslike.
They did not remember who she was.

All they remember is that my "girl-friend" and I split several years ago.
That the two of us still occupy the same apartment escaped their mind. Somehow they believe that my uncanny resemblance to my father extends to my being a Don Juan. Hoo ha!

My father was a romantic man, and the ladies thought him a fine specimen.

I am not romantically gifted, and I remain rather oblivious to what the ladies think about me. In any case, I have had no entanglement of any kind since then, because I am, generally speaking, dense.

It is sad. But I have my briar pipes, tobacco stockpile, and the shrunken head collection, and that's all any man should need.

Anyhow, once Savage Kitten had finished transcribing the message and the call had concluded, she realized that she could have told them that she was Mitzi, the new flame, transgendered, formerly know as Ricki.
As well as an Orthodox rabbi.
And black.

She sometimes wants to channel for one of the monkeys when at work.

"You go now, little nick-nick person, you not good enough.
Don't come back without bananas!

While I am typing this, she is channeling for the she-sheep's Scottish family.
Something about scones and clotted cream, and how our household is not good enough for their little girl.
"Jeremy, I told you those people were savages!"
"Now now, Boudica, now now."

Anyhow, I talked to my uncle and aunt. They're pleased as punch that the brilliant grandson in Los Angeles is at the Oscars, which I really must watch, oh it will be so exciting!

My cousin the kid's mother will be in the audience too.
As well as the young lady whom he is dating.
And his sister, whom I haven't met.

I haven't seen the movie.

Savage Kitten is now singing songs from Camelot, while shopping on the internet. This apartment is, withal, not a particularly silent place.

She has also encouraged me to have some of the chickpea and spinach Indian bread, heated up in the fry-pan, with plenty of butter. The head sheep, who loves butter, objects, as it is the last stick of butter!
The she-sheep wishes that he wouldn't be so selfish.

If I start dating again, I shall bring along a sock-puppet. It will accustom whoever it is to the other voices (I just got insulted by the monkey, btw), and introduce her to the alternate realities within this abode.

Jeremy & Boudica. Never heard their names till now.
Mitzi and Ricki are quite new on me too.

My kinfolk don't know about this.
Any part of it.


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My job and my innate gentleness put me in contact with people who hold alternative opinions. Facts are not facts in their world, and their style of debate at times leaves unreasonably much to be desired.
They are mostly middle-aged cigar smokers.
Success and insulation form them.
Oh, and many are white.
Suburban pudge.

A collection of priggish middle-aged white men of a certain income level, who are blinkered and ignorant. Yeah, that's a slice.

I prefer not to talk to them too much, because it is destructive to the mind; braincells go bye-bye when they speak.


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp0Bt2cbcc8.]

Life is too short to take these people seriously. Many of them still believe that Donald Trump is better than the alternative. They never understood the alternative, but at least Trump is a wealthy white male who is pro-Christian, pro-Israel, anti-Israel, unChristian, and not beholden to special interests, Jews, Masons, Bilderbergers, Bankers, Illuminati, and lizard people.
As well as entirely unconnected to 'pizza-gate'.
Beloved by video-gamers.

I may be the most mature person there at times. That's truly frightening.
When I say that I "baby sit", what I actually mean is that I would like to throw things at people, or jab them fiercely with a cattle prod.

Pipe smokers are altogether tolerant individuals.
Cigar smokers are a different breed.
Penis-brained folk.

I shall dine on pizza tonight, and think of goats.
The lizard people among us, and angry goats.
There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017


It is quite natural that conversations at two o'clock in the morning will be intense and meaningful. Things will be said that in one's more day-lit moments would never come out, and you can learn more about someone then than you could in calm, rational chit-chat at the office.
Especially if the other person lives in a different time-zone, where it's actually early afternoon. Like, for instance, somewhere in the Middle-East.
People over there are known for their rationality.
They discuss things calmly.

The call to prayer from the mosque across the valley was remarkably soothing and plaintive.

This pleased No-caps Jonathan.
In Israel.


No-caps Jonathan: i'm sure the shouty part will come afterwards, tho

His neighbor: Yea the Hitler on a Balcony chant comes in clear as a bell where I live...

No-caps Jonathan: i don't think those are chants, tho, i think they are "sermons".

No-caps Jonathan: like "be good people as allah requires and kill all the jews"

His neighbor: The words that I make out when the screaming part comes is Yisroali followed by some very intense screaming..it's totally nuts lol

No-caps Jonathan: yup

No-caps Jonathan: i usually play ac/dc really loud when they do that

Another neighbor: Sounds like the beginning of a song in the making.

American far away: It's supposed to be "Allahu akbar; la illaha illa Allah, (wa) Muhammad rasul Allah, hayah es-salah, hayah el-falah, kad-kamat es-salah, alallalaalallahwoopwoopya'alalalalalalalalaah". Or words to that effect. I cannot recall any screaming in German.

No-caps Jonathan: there was screaming in german, pretty sure. i think the germans call it "speaking".

American far away: There's a youtube video about that.

No-caps Jonathan: a number of them. feel free to share your favorite.

American far away: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41lZmGcRWHU

American far away: Please scream these: 'weltschmerz', 'existenzangst', 'identitätskrise', 'gicht', and 'zweifelhaft'.

American far away: Don't worry, it all sounds like hairballs. Compared to Dutch.

No-caps Jonathan: i think whispering them would be more shocking.

American far away: No, that's sexy.

No-caps Jonathan: pervert.

American far away: Mmmmm .....

American far away: German is basically Yiddish spoken by goyim. That explains much.

No-caps Jonathan: everyone knows german is largely derived from yiddish.

No-caps Jonathan: the khazars brought it with them from rome

American far away: With Russian words added. All of them. There's only a hundred Russian words anyway, it's a simple language for violent people.

No-caps Jonathan: russian all sounds like "just lie here and let me attend to all your needs" to me. it was really scary when stalin spoke it.

American far away: The most important Russian word (borrowed from German or Polish) is "nyeh kulturniyeh". It means 'Muscovite'.

The astute reader will understand that there are a number of Jew-specific references in this conversation, like the terms "yiddish", "khazar", "shouty part", and "ac/dc". Don't worry about it.

Just be happy that you know words like 'weltschmerz', 'existenzangst', 'identitätskrise', 'gicht', and 'zweifelhaft'.

And 'gänseblümchen'.

Meaningful words and strap-on cat ears; that's what life is all about.

By the way, that's a picture of a real life Israeli.

Aren't you jealous?

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Friday, February 24, 2017


This past Wednesday evening two South Indian gentlemen got shot. Both of them were engineers working in Kansas.
An Anglo, who tried to intercede/prevent the violence, also got shot. One man is dead, and an all-American is now in custody.
The FBI is trying to ascertain whether there was a racial motive to the shooting. The all-American is reported to have said something along the lines of "get out of my country" before unleashing his firearm.

This presents me with a quandary.

What do I tell my friends and acquaintances who have the misfortune of looking "Islamic"? Or "Mexican"?

"Hi, welcome to the United States, we will give you a better shot (!) at success than anywhere else, despite the fact that with a foreign-sounding surname you won't get a fair crack (nearly thirty percent less chance, according to Ryerson University & the University of Toronto, see this article), and because of how you look some Redneck may, on a whim, shoot you!"

Ignore the gunfire. It's not meant personally.

Okay, that doesn't work. The poisonous miasma which now abundantly burbles in America may not impress them as "welcoming", and explaining that Swami-ji and Yogi-ji were shot by mistake likely won't fly either.
That he "meant" to whack Arabs is hardly reassuring.
Especially to Arabs that I know.

"Most Americans are not like that, honest! Only a small minority will try to blow your brains out! In Kansas!"

Methinks that, too, is the wrong approach.

"Only a few of us are homicidal maniacs!"

Yeah. That's good. More guns in civilian hands than anywhere else in the world except the NWFP. That is surely confidence inspiring.

"Not all of us voted for Trump!"

But too many of us did. And there is a resurgent self-assuredness among our slope-brows, they are re-convinced that they are on the right side of history, and our bahble-thumpin' fundy preachers, who are strongest in the heartland, say that G-d is on the side of Trump, praise Jesus, and please keep the drumbeat of anointedness full a-thump.
Can we get an "amen"?

O..... kay.

Will Adam W. Purinton get a fair trial?

Weeeell, that depends on a jury of his 'peers'.
So he might get off Scot-free.
Slap on the wrist.


"A 51-year-old man faces first-degree murder charges after shooting three men in an Olathe, Kan., bar Wednesday night, police say, reportedly telling two of them, local Garmin engineers from India, to “get out of my country.”"

"He reportedly came back into the bar and hurled racial slurs at the two Indian men, including comments that suggested he thought they were of Middle Eastern descent. When he started firing shots, Grillot, a regular at the bar whom Bohnen called “everyone’s friend,” intervened."

"Purinton, a Navy veteran, IT specialist, and former pilot and air traffic controller ... "


[SOURCE: He yelled ‘Get out of my country,’ and then shot 2 men from India, killing one.]

Oh wow. A veteran, and someone trusted with secure information-type stuff. A pilot even, AND an air-traffic controller! We vetted him.
And he's exactly the kind of person we admire.

Betcha it will turn out that he's an all-right kind of guy, regular church-goer, respected by friends and family, a beloved fixture of his neighborhood ...

Cut him a break, man, he's been under a lot of stress lately.

And he's a vet. One of ours.

"Not all of us Americans are like that, at all!"
"This has nothing to do with Trump!"
"He was kind to puppies!"

Too many of us are.
Oh yes it does.
Piss off.

Bannon and Breitbart.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017


One of my Facebook pals asked with how many languages I am familiar. Well, on a daily basis Dutch, English, and Cantonese. Plus marginally Mandarin, but Hakka and Shanghainese remain opaque.
I haven't used Pig Latin in a while, though.
And I never could speak Valley.

My mother forced me to read Beowulf and some other stuff in Old-English, so at this point I can recognize it when I see it, but I seldom want to think about it. In fact, I'd much rather not.

Thanks to second-hand bookstores, the San Francisco social environment, and the internet, however, much more has crossed my horizon.


My ability in Indonesian and Hindi/Urdu is somewhat less than passable, plus I've almost quite forgotten Hokkien, Tokpisin, Limburgisch, Danish, Latin, Tagalog, Tausug, Igorot, and an Indonesian regional language. I went through a few Sanskrit lesson books and dictionaries, found the grammar fascinating, and forgot most of it since then. Failed French four years in a row when I was in high-school ("bonjour, parlez vous une langue civilisée?"), and now only read it badly.

Both Old Franconian (Germanic) and Old French (Gallo-Romance) are fascinating, but remain dead to my mental ear. Which is not surprising, though I used to know a few people for whom both tongues came alive.
Occitan remains, sometimes, an interesting perversion.

Hebrew only in transcription, and only Ashkenazis.

I was once semi-able to hold simple conversations in Punjabi, Tajik, Persian, Arabic, Sranantongo, and Papiamentu, but that didn't last very long. Still read medieaval Dutch, but that shades through various stages into early modern Dutch, Dutch dialects, and literary Dutch, so it ain't difficult at all. Once I discovered them on Wikipedia I also looked at Alemanisch, Boarisch (Bavarian), Deitsch, Frysk, West-Vlams, and a whole ton of brand-new Malayo-Polynesian tongues, and that was great fun.
Dabbled superficially in Venetian, Sicilian, and Sassarese.
They would be too difficult to pursue.

I used to try to get to sleep at night by reading dictionaries of languages spoken the Muslim world and trying to spot the Arabic borrowed words.
In all the Turkic languages that can be enjoyably challenging.
It kept me awake instead.

Sometimes I feel like Barbara Billingsley in the classic movie 'Airplane' (1980), who has one immortal line that everybody knows.

"Oh stewardess, I speak Yeshivish!"

Surely you remember that?
It's famous.


Basically, I am the arch-type of a total dilettante in Medieaval studies, Germanic studies, Jewish-Talmud-Torah studies, Islamic world studies, Asian studies, Subcontinental studies, and Dutch-Colonial studies.
All of these subjects shade into each other.

A rabbi I know studied Japanese, Irish Gaelic, and linguistics, in addition to Talmud-Torah. He also drives a forklift, and wields a mean sewer snake.
He's what you would call a well-rounded Yekki.
I am not sure how his skills meld.
Maybe they don't.

I dream in gibberish.

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You might have assumed otherwise, given that I have admitted that I am a screaming liberal, live in California, and that I stayed for sixteen years in Holland during my youth. But I must confess; I hate pot, am not a fan of the Grateful Dead, and will not gladly associate with deadheads, marijuana smokers, and anybody who wears tie-die and stinks of patchouli.

Yes, I know that makes me worse than Milo Yanniopoulos and his thing for thirteen year old boys. But at least I never was an editor for Breitbart, and don't play World of Warcraft or live in mom's basement.

I am better than that.

I am not depraved, I just hate that type of music. Never could understand why y'all went ape over 'The Dead'. Or their jejune iconography.
Or veggie burritos.

Same goes for Nirvana, another cult phenomenon that baffles me.

Basically, most of the crap that passes for music.

The deaths of Jerry Garcia and Curt Cobain made no impression on me.
Both of them were drug addicts, and there are plenty of those.
Yeah, sad, but their lives meant nothing to me.
Their passing doesn't change that.

You folks are quite icky.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017


"The Ahle Wurst (or Aahle Worscht), is a hard pork sausage made in northern Hesse, Germany. Its name is a dialectal form of alte Wurst – "old sausage".
Ahle sausage is a sausage made of pork meat and bacon. Seasoned only with salt and pepper, there are regional differences and some add nutmeg, cloves, pepper, sugar, garlic, cumin and rum or brandy.
In traditional manufacturing only heavy pigs are processed and quality cuts of meat produced.

The slow maturation at relatively high humidity is the distinguishing mark of the sausage."
[Source: WIKIPEDIA ]

"Councillors in Kassel, in the central Hesse region, want the event's organisers to ditch its veggie theme and allow stalls to sell popular regional sausages, including the cured ahle wurst, the Hessenschau website reports. The festival is being organised by environmental group UmweltHaus to mark Earth Day on 23 April.
At a meeting on Monday, councillors backed a motion asking UmweltHaus to serve local organic meat at the event. It frames the sausage ban as an affront to the city's identity, although some of those present noted a whiff of politics in the air, as Kassel is in the midst of a mayoral election campaign."
[Source: BBC ]

The Aahle Worscht does not sound suitable for doing curry-style, for which a nice juicy bratwurst is the optimum choice. And currywurst is, as everyone should know, the frühstück of champions.


In a Facebook group which takes issue with the overload of Ashkenazic ideas within the Jewish community, discussion has been dominated by the strange food practises of Galitzianers. Such as having fish with dairy. Great mirth ensued, as dishes ever more bizarre were proposed, and commented upon. Several of them sound mighty appetizing to my Dutch American ear;
I would gladly have cheese and herring for breakfast.

The Rhenish white in the roemer, as shown above, suggests lunch, but that is only because we are no longer accustomed to wine at breakfast. And the cheese is missing.

A decent herring is quite unavailable in San Francisco (where I live), which both my apartment mate and I myself find regrettable. Most white people would not know what to do with it in any case.

And while both currywurst and poutine are served in some places here, they are "re-interpreted", and have become peculiar methods for expressing culinary creativity, as is common among the food snobs.
So those too are out.
Aahler worscht is, to the best of my knowledge, nowhere to be found.
Which is a grievous and monumental omission.

Truite au sauce de fromage bleu?
That will probably catch on.

Nothing gets smarmy yoga vegans out of your head quite like a plate of dried pork sausage, green herring, and a nice hunk of boerenkaas.
With real bread, also largely unavailable.

A reasonable alternative is dimsum in Chinatown, stuff like pork siumai and steamed chicken buns. Which, in about two hours, I shall be enjoying.

There may be oppressive vegans in the vicinity.
You find those people everywhere.
They're a nuisance.

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Michael, whose surname I do not know because it is an unpronounceable monosyllable, is a complete gentleman. When the elderly roue wannabee came in with two young Caucasian girlie-twits, and that big crime-boss swagger plus the boorishness which goes with crude arrogance, Michael played along, obviously realizing that the two female visitors were having an adventure and seeing a side of something exotic that they would not have had a chance to observe otherwise.

So he played liars dice with the old fart, acted expansive and hospitable, gently talked the owner of the bar down from her ire at the old geezer and the tarts, and persuaded the two young ladies to step outside for a few tokes of a joint, while the fossil was in the crapper.

He's also a diplomat. The girls probably got a much better impression of the Chinese from Michael than from the doddering squire. Though he did try to get the two white guys in the bar to move in and talk to them.
The bookseller and I demurred.
Not regretfully.


In brief curt answer to the loudest and silliest of the two, "yes I am smiling, in fact I'm downright giddy with glee, ecstatic as all git-out, pistachios are among our favourite foods, we're happy as a pair of goofy clams oh boy, and ngoh m-seung tong ney kong-ge, soh neui, ney chwey mau."

In truth, I'm okay with pistachios.
As well as sand-roasted peanuts.

The bookseller and myself left at an opportune moment. Which, purely coincidentally, was when the person who had sung saccharine Mandarin ballads to the karaoke machine was pinching the silly one's right nipple. Which she may or may not have encouraged, advertently or otherwise.

I firmly believe that nipples, of either side or both, should only be pinched in private, not in public. I cannot conceive of a situation where it's okay to do so when there are more than just the pinchee and the pincher present.
If it is done, it should be done with a feather-like touch.
A nipple is not a light switch.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017


This blogger honestly cannot stand many Asian Americans. By which most particularly I mean the younger American-born types, who are brittle, and think themselves to be superior. Possibly they have read too much Maxine Hong Kingston and Frank Chin.

As just one example, the correct response when I wish to add money to my transit card at the Walgreens on Stockton Street in Chinatown should not be "I can't understand whatever you are saying" -- you were hired nota bene because most of the customers are also Chinese, and I heard you speaking Chinese to other customers -- but some equivalent of 'okay', or 'sure'.
The middle-aged woman next to your precious young self understood me.
The elderly guy at the next check-out understood me.
And the clerk who helped me before.

It's not the first time I've been here, and I've actually done this transaction same way same place several times in the past.

Why is it ONLY young people, of either gender, who refuse to understand a white man speaking Cantonese?

I was earlier speaking to the old lady behind me, and she understood me perfectly well. Even though it wasn't her home town dialect, and her Toishanese accent was so thick you could cut it with chopsticks!

I am starting to recognize a pattern.

It isn't just the Chinese American younger generation, though they seem to exemplify it. I've run into the same arrogant "forka you, stupid white guy" attitude from Korean Americans, Filipinos, and others, up and down the educational scale. They were born here, they're 'Amurikens', they're proud of their heritage because it's better than the whiteness to which they aspire, and they're mighty pleased with their own selves because being yellow is good. More special, in any case, than being Jones or O'Reilly.

Yes, you are all precious and unique individuals, not just our faceless little brown brothers or Gooky MacGookface.
And some of you are mighty rude sons of bitches.
It's a lack of imagination.

As a rather broad generalization, the worst are probably Asian Americans at Berkeley, or transmigrants from the Los Angeles area.
Largely, loathsome cretins.

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Monday, February 20, 2017


My Apartment Mate stayed home today, because she was off for the holiday. I worked, but I still got home an hour early despite the mudslide on Alexander Avenue, and the horrid rain.
I am often damned glad to be home: one of the regulars talks a mile a minute, and often collars people at random for idea off-bouncing time.
Several of the other people are "special", and it's Marin.
So they are entitled, and blither on inanely.
Sometimes my role is "babysitter".
Sometimes, psycho-therapist.
Frequently, frustrated.

Cigar smokers, can, at times, be real dingos.

When I came in, my Apartment Mate was answering the phone. Normally it's her dumb-ass boyfriend on the other end, so I paid it no mind.
But I really took notice when I heard her, in the voice of one of the stuffed monkeys, exclaim "No! Ah iz NOT the lady of the house, she not home lah, now go fetch me a BANANA. Neeb!".

The person on the line hung up. That may not have been the response they were expecting.
My Apartment Mate giggled, and continued watching teevee.

Quite a while later, when she went in to the kitchen to fix herself some tea, the phone rang again. My turn to answer.

"Is the lady of the house in?"

"I am the lady of the house!"

It should be mentioned that, having recognized it as a sales call or some charitable organization trying to wheezle money out of what they think is the softer party, I was already prejudging. And I have a deep masculine growl when I'm displeased at the effrontery.
When the person on the other end of the line finally understood that not a penny could be squooze and hung up, my Apartment Mate was smiling broadly. "Neeb!"
Between the two of us, we made somebody's life surreal.
And we feel good about that.

Yeah, my Apartment Mate often speaks in the voice of a stuffed monkey. Simplified grammar, crypto-ethnic patois, and invented words.
I am not going to get her a banana, however.

In actuality, there is no lady of the house. Not even the monkey.
None of us want the authority.

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There is always that boy in school who tells the most outrageous whoppers. And though one knows he's so full of hoeie that he damned near explodes, one just sits and listens to him pull another one out of his hat.

Telling tall tales and shooting buckets full is a great American tradition.

And we admire folks who can do this, they entertain us so.

Normally, however, they aren't the president.

He is a salesman. Even Sweden is now worriedly wondering whether something happened of which they should have been aware. And if it did, they fear it will suffer the same lack of attention as Bowling Green.
A mere blip on the radar, soon forgotten.

There is heartache.

On a different note, I found out yesterday at the cigar lounge that there is over an hour and a half of Swedish Chef video on youtube, in convenient three to six minutes segments, some subtitled. My two favourites are the hot sauce episode, and 'poutine'.

I put out a collection box on the table in the lounge. One notorious Scandinavophobe ripped the Swedish flag off it, and sneered.
Which was very hurtful, insensitive clod.
I need a safe space.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017


You are very far from the world there. And, if you do not carry a cellphone, the world will keep its distance. It had rained all day, and it was raining when I entered. The restaurant was empty, except for a white woman having a late lunch (shrimp and eggs over noodles). Without a word the waitress put a pot of tea on the table and took my order, then returned to her serial on the tiny teevee behind the counter.

Linguistic environment: mixed. The white woman asked for her bill and a box in English, I stated what I wanted in Cantonese, the waitress hollered into the kitchen in Toisanwa, and the television serial that held her attention was in Mandarin. When a Northerner entered to purchase some cheung fan, the two of them held to their own tongues, but understood each other perfectly.

Meanwhile, some woman on screen was wailing, "save me, save me!" And piteously weeping. Jiu wo, jiu jiu wo (救救我 ). It sounded like splendid entertainment. A real tear jerker, with lots of bad things happening to nice people, which makes you feel for them and wonder what next.
Probably fifty-plus spellbinding episodes.

Other than the sounds of distress from the counter where the waitress sat, the place was quiet. The rain outside got worse, and bounced off the roof of a van parked in front. Few people passed by.

My food, when it came, was delicious.
Dinner was very cheap, very enjoyable.
I should go there more often than I do.

I dawdled over tea afterwards, enjoying the mood, then filled my pipe and did some shopping. When darkness fell I was under an awning finishing my smoke and watching people hurry home. The light faded at the same tempo as the fragrance from the pipe diminished. The last bit of tobacco left a lingering echo, the ember glowed briefly, and then went out.

I have always particularly enjoyed bitter melon and fish over rice. It is a simple dish, just a convenient combination of two ingredients pre-cooked separately then tossed together with some black bean sauce, but it is a completely happy delight. The crisp toothsomeness and green green zest of the vegetable, the lightly batter-fried fish, tender and perfect, the juices from the pan with that salted black bean savouriness .....
A whisp of ginger, a kiss of garlic.

It's something that you could easily do at home.
But better when someone else does it.

Terms like these are music to my mind: 涼瓜魚片飯,豉汁涼瓜炆魚,涼瓜炆沙猛魚,豆豉鯪魚燒涼瓜,涼瓜魚腩煲,蒜頭豆豉涼瓜炆魚,

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Every year about this time we white people go through a "Chinese Phase". Here in the Bay Area, at least. We hear about Chinese New Year (which happened on January 28 this time), and decide to acknowledge the great five thousand year-old culture and spirituality of our neighbors -- who have probably been here longer than us, because this region was populated by Italians and Chinese way before the Irish came here -- by either spouting meaningful stuff about Buddhism and the animal under which we were born, OR dining at Chef Dong's down at the strip mall.

Egg foo young and egg rolls.

Sho' nuff.

Because "Chinese food" isn't really "Chinese food".

Somewhere there's a Cantonese person, at this very moment, looking at a can of tuna speculatively and wondering whether it would benefit from ginger and scallion. Tuna chow mein. Total breakfast.
He'll take the plunge, and then fine-tune the recipe for family events.
Outer-Sunset Tuna Noodle Casserole.

Here is some real Chinese food:


The Chinese have been doing 'fusion' longer than anybody else. As anyone who has ever eaten cooked lettuce or black bean asparagus chicken can attest. Also, for some bizarre reason many of the restaurants that cater to a primarily Chinese clientele near my neighborhood have broccoli beef on the menu, which more than anything proves that they'll happily incorporate inedible white stuff in their cuisine. Broccoli, good lord.

Broccoli is probably great with canned tuna.

Perhaps they'll eventually try chicken chow mein.

Yes, the Chinese do consume canned tuna.
No, I haven't tried a 吞拿魚包

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Saturday, February 18, 2017


It isn't often that I post obscenity. My apologies. Without a doubt the most repulsive thing on the internet is President Trump's Prayer Team.
Which caters to half-wits in Jesus' name.

Let us begin the sewage.

"Father, Your Word instructs us to pray for those who speak evil against us when we stand for You. Today we pray for every form of media that is against righteousness. Lord, we ask you to confuse those who cause division, confound their speech, and frustrate their plans. We pray against wicked imaginations, violence and strife. Your will be done. In Jesus Name!"

"Father, we ask you to reveal and bring down every evil work of Satan in our government. Those who conspire to destroy our president and his administration by withholding sensitive information, leaking secrets and manipulating public opinion. We pray against the "deep state," "shadow government," and every other form of control working against righteousness. We pray this in Jesus Name. Everyone say AMEN!!"

"Almighty God, we thank you for the meeting today between President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. We ask that you anoint our relationship and support of Israel. As a Christian nation, we are deeply committed to blessing Israel as you commanded in Genesis 12:3. Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken. We pray this in Jesus Name. Everyone say AMEN!"

"Lord Jesus, we pray for Dr. Tom Price as he becomes the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. We thank you for a principled expert on healthcare policy; but ultimately we ask You to guide the reform of healthcare in America. Father, anoint Dr. Price and Congress with the wisdom of Joseph for managing resources, and the mercy and compassion of the Good Samaritan. In the powerful Name of Jesus. Everyone say AMEN!!"

"DEAR JESUS, we ask that you place a hedge of protection around President Trump. We pray that he has a visitation from You and that You minister to him on a personal level. Fill him with Your spirit and give him Your heart, Your peace - a peace that passes all understanding. Anoint his mind, anoint his lips, remove any blinders from his eyes and allow him to see the world as You see it. Bless him this day. In Jesus Name. Everyone say AMEN!!"

"Lord Jesus, we come before you with hearts of gratitude and praise. Thank you for President Trump, First Lady Melania and for the army of prayer warriors who are committed to lifting them up in prayer. Father, we humbly repent of our sins as a nation. Please forgive us. We pray Your will be done this day. Give our leaders wisdom which comes only from You and guide every decision they make. In Jesus Name. Somebody say Amen!!"

I am dispassionately infuriated. Eventually some of these people will step in front of out-of-control big rigs. If you are going to pray, please pray that they speedily come to a slow demise.

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Friday, February 17, 2017


This blogger is looking forward to Wednesday March 8th. Because on that day fabulous things are going to happen, oh my yes.
And then you will know!

"The organizers behind the Women’s March on Washington (*) are calling for a general strike next month to show the country what a day without women would look like."

It is planned for March 8.

On that day, all of you men in relationships with the opposite gender will suffer immensely. There will be no one to pour you your breakfast beer, or remove the pizza and hot dog stains from the bedsheets.
How on earth will you cope?

You poor helpless bastards.

People like myself, on the other hand, will scarcely notice any difference. There are no women in our lives, we don't drink beer for breakfast (but cups of strong coffee instead), and we long ago gave up on our bedsheets and chucked them into the garbage.

Beer and bedsheets are for wusses.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017


This blogger believes in clothing. More than anything else, clothing keeps us all socially acceptable (the phrase "nobody wants to see that!" should always be at the tip of your tongue), and you, me, and everybody else, are much the better for it. Please get dressed.

The grass or leaf skirt is fine in a South Seas Musical, but there are limits. As I am certain you will agree, 'Oklahoma', and 'My Fair Lady' would be quite ridiculous performed en-deshabille.

But what should you wear?

I have suggestions.

Based on internet searches which daily bring readers to my blog, you should probably wear something French.

See this essay:


Yessir, that post is what many people read. Personally I am not so much vested in underwear -- it's nice, and I always have it on under my street clothes -- but I am beginning to think there may be money in it.

See, I have written about tea, pottery, porcelain, politics, and tobacco far more often than underwear. Each one of those subjects, as well as food, linguistics, literature, painting, briar pipes, and pizza.
Even Netanyahu too!

But, panties.

I think it's NOT ONLY women who are looking for panties.
There may be some men who are also interested.
It could be just intellectual curiosity.


The internet is vast. But they look up panties. There are many things going on in the world, and much is in flux; panties are constant. I have thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. They are fascinated by my panties.

This post is NOT about panties.
Nor Bibi Netanyehuha.
It's about you.

Please get dressed.


As regular visitors to this page know, my daytime job involves cigars and the people who enjoy them. You can probably imagine what they look like, and yes, they DO look exactly like that. Most of them. There are very few cigar smokers whom I ever wish to see in panties. If they so incline they should absolutely feel to wear them, but only under their clothes.
Middle-aged men wear panties all the time, I believe.
But nobody wants to see that.

The same goes for pipe smokers. Of whom I know several, and not all of them are middle-aged, some are young. And some are older than the dinosaurs, all wrinkly and dessicated and falling apart.
Again, no visible panties please.

One of the pipe smokers recently wore a kilt.
I didn't check what he had on underneath.
Because nobody wants to see that.

It is almost axiomatic that anyone whom I should want to see wearing panties would be neither a cigar smoker nor a pipe smoker.
Which is very, very, very sad.

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Courtesy of a bunch of Aussies, this blogger has A) found a spanking new purpose in life and for washing machines, and B) had approximately three and a half minutes of clean wholesome ("non-sexual") entertainment.

And, you will be pleased to know, an epiphany.


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq6T5BojXc8.]

I would've added soap, just for normalcy.
That thing they put in, is it clean?

This blogger has decided that doing laundry is vastly over-rated. Given that half the time I am surrounded by midddle-aged rightwing blowhards huffing cigars, I smoke a pipe, and no bright young thing with a decent nose is going to passionately jump my bones except in my wildest dreams.

Or any nose, really.

That's the epiphany. Cut back on laundry. Rely on Mother Nature and the rainy season instead. Or do some shirts in the bathtub once in a while.
This is San Francisco, nobody will know the difference.

It's a great washing machine video.

Profoundly stirring.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017


A woman gave birth on a dirty mattress in jail because sheriff Anthony Wickersham of Macomb County is a dick. As is pretty much everyone who supports him in his role, and, let's face it, all of Michigan.
You wouldn't want to live there. Unless you had to.

Obviously the story’s out there; the things we should’ve done, and obviously we’re looking at all of our situations, but as sheriff I look at all this and our staff and the medical staff acted appropriately.

------Anthony Wickersham

[SOURCE: Jezebel, article: Sheriff Defends Jail Staff Who Forced Woman to Give Birth On Cell Floor: 'We Really Don't Know When That Baby Is Going to Come'.]

Did I already mention that Sheriff Wickersham is a dick?
It's just a small detail, but crucial to the story.

"Wickersham said his staff evaluated Preston at least twice before the delivery and “didn’t believe she was in labor … and she was sent back upstairs” to her cell."

"Preston’s family was not alerted until after she gave birth to Elijah, who weighed less than 5 pounds. The mother then remained in custody at McLaren Macomb hospital in Mount Clemens.
Relatives were allowed in the next day, Wickersham said, but Chastain is adamant her son had always hoped to be present to cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
“How could they let that happen?” Chastain said. “How would they feel if it was their mother, sister, cousin, aunt? Actually, that probably would never have happened.”"

[SOURCE: The detroit News, article: Macomb County Jail birth sparks controversy.]

Anthony Wickersham is, unfortunately, a Democrat. I wish I could say that he's a Republican, but he isn't. He's from the great state of Michigan, where very many things suck bollocks irrespective of party affiliation.
And Macomb County is its own slice of peculiar.

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On the path up to the doorway of my workplace this morning I encountered a small presence, which I have since then concluded must have been ...