Tuesday, October 31, 2017

BAGHDADI FISH

One of the truly pissy people on "sounds like angry buzzing Levantines somewhere, but okay ... " (my affectionate nickname for a Sfardi facebook group) excels at viciously insulting everyone he deems too white, or too Eastern European, or too culturally Wasp. By his standards I am probably all three of those in excess, and I am overjoyed that he lives in Israel.

[someone there several months ago called me stupid, and a typical ignorant Ashkie control freak.  Another person accused me of being a notorious troll (which, of course, I am).]

He hates, with a passion that burns ever more fiercely, everything Yiddish, Yekkish, Eurotrashish, and gefilte fish ish. Especially that last thing.
Gefilte fish was invented to torment him.
Nebbech.


For his benefit I suggested grilling gefilte fish and then covering it with chopped banadura and basalat when it starts charring, for that echte emmesdikke heimische baghdadische ta'am. 'Siz eppes gewaldik!
In the style of the Jewish community of Iraq. Scythians.
Further suggestions would be adding filfil.
As well as za'atar and sawaheeq.
Plus olive oil.

No, I don't want to get everyone there angry at me. And all those additions would steam them up. There are a few people there I like.
More than gefilte fish.


But seriously, why not shove gefilte fish onto skewers and hold them over a charcoal grill? High heat, so they char on the outside without overcooking the inside, and then dollop them with a nice chunky salsa. To be served with rice, of course. Keftit samak bi roz al tarikat al Sakatayeen.

Nothing is more Sfardi than rice.



Except if you are Portuguese from Amsterdam, in which case you associate rice with Indonesian food on Christmas.



The gefilte fish hating person mentioned above also sneers venomously at all pronunciations of Hebrew and Arabic that do not match his own hyper-correct way of speaking. Especially by Euro-Americans.
I have heard Baghdadi Jews speak English.
So I can only imagine.
I shudder.




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NOT FRIGHTENING, NOT ANYTHING, REALLY

In years past Halloween on Polk Street was an eye-feast of young naked breasts with bullet holes, gaping neck wounds, weird growths sprouting from chests and buttocks, and other such fascinating things. Often sported by people who were young, vibrant, likable, and tiddly.
It will not be so this year.

Halloween is in the middle of the week, very many people already started celebrating last Thursday, so critical tit-mass will not be attained, and the population has changed. More programmers, which means more Indians ("reserved, ji"), more pudgy white guys who subsist on a diet of engineering kibble and video games, and more chunky immigrants from the rest of the country, who lack imagination, wildness, and trimth.

TRIMTH!

It's a pity. This blogger is a complete sexist, and prefers the nudity to which he is exposed on the public street to not be morbidly obese, reasonably glowing (except during daylight, when everybody is one hundred percent visible), and distinctly non-octogenarian. As well as arguably female.

Think primarily in terms of trimth.

These are practical considerations, you understand.
Titillatory effects are about aesthetics.
Everything else is just ........
"interesting". Yes.


Quite contrariwise, only naked people should wear high heeled shoes.
Irrespective of gender and weight, skin-hue, race, and age.
All that is necessary is that they are adults.

But not people working in the hospitality industry at that moment.

If you want to throw a cosy little soirée for nude octogenarians, perhaps with everybody walking around enjoying cocktails and rumaki or tandoori chicken wings, you must insist that all of your guests wear high heels.
It is right and proper that they are so "dressed".
The wait-staff should be fully clothed.


No, I shan't detail what I do in my private life, or how I disport myself when inspired, or if I ever indulge in titillation. It would be boring and mundane. Nor do I own a pair of high heels. In fact, few people I know have them. My ex once had some black pumps, but she got rid of them a long time ago.
I remember that the effect was stunning.



AFTERTHOUGHT

Halloween will be on the weekend again in another few years, and perhaps people will be less reserved, more presentable, and as "likable" as they once were. That's better than any amount of high heels.




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Monday, October 30, 2017

LETS HEAR IT FOR THE BEAGLES!

There was sports on teevee at work yesterday, I could hear the tell-tale sounds. The boys in the lounge love sports. Like almost all cigar smokers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sometimes having a raucous bunch of hooting boys elsewhere in the building can prove distracting.
When there are more important things.
And, given that the hometown team consists of a bunch of losers, there are always more important things. I guess you guys won't be tipping over any buses this year, huh?


Oh wait, that was Giants fans back in 2012.
Same difference.


In all honesty, I didn't find out that the Forty Niners lost till today. And by such a huge margin, too! They must really suck at this game.

Why don't you try to drown your sorrows in bad beer? Budweiser, Coors, Michelob, and Miller are customarily enjoyed by all true San Franciscans when weeping over sports, I believe, and really help digest the soggy-crusted delivery pizza that is traditional for such events.
Mmmm, soggy-crusted pizza!
Salt, and grease!
Pepperoni.


Plus ham and pineapple, of course, so that even the vegetarians are happy. Or whoever that weird guy from the office is who keeps wearing a pungent cologne to hide the fact that his lucky jersey hasn't been laundered. Ever.

Pretzels are standard, and party mix (heavy emphasis on the cheesy puffties), sour cream and onion chips, ranch dip, ten bean chili, your wife's famous tofu brickle, and bacon burgers fried in butter at half-time.

All of that isn't going to happen this year.
I commiserate you.
Losers.


Budweiser, Coors, Michelob, and Miller!


Buckets!




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YOU CAN TELL WHAT THEY ATE FROM THE STONES THEY LEFT BEHIND

"What horror movie did the line "it burns!" come from?" To which I responded "that's what the internet is for". Her reaction was to tell me that I had such good internet lookupping skills that if I did it, it would be faster. After several minutes of searching I narrowed it down to five possible maybes: Don't Go in the House, Sinister, It Comes At Night, Mommy Dearest, and Bride of Frankzilla. At that point I had had enough, and she had lost interest.

Both of us were on our computers, but only she was simultaneously scrolling through the cable teevee menu.
I may have good internet lookupping skills, but she was 'multitasking'.

In the same conversational string she also mentioned that "Norweedge" was obviously a fake country, but "Jafranzipan" sounded like it should exist.
Possibly as a source of sashimi.


Later she looked up from her laptop to rhetorically pose the question "say, weren't people a few years ago wearing dinosaur dung as jewelry?"

My internet lookupping skills yielded "coprolite". From Greek 'kopros' (fewmet) and 'lithos' (rock). Literally 'poo stone'. About which I now know too much, good lord! Because of her I spent ten minutes reading about dinosaur faeces. Dinosaur faeces!


Other subjects that came up where 'turkey lollies' (no, that is not a little bird with a stick shoved up its rear; bite off the head and it goes "brawrkk!"), the correct pronunciation of migraine if you are English, tikketty-boo, "wet arse no fish". This all in connection with British and Australian slang.
About which the internet has a lot to say, oh boy.
I know, because I lookupped it.


Norweedge?!?


For the second evening in a row I prepared Chinese Spam substitute (金寶火腿午餐肉 'kam bou fo teui ng chaan yiuk'), which is cheaper, juicier, and tastier than the real thing, for dinner, in noodle soup. Because, as previously mentioned, I had forgotten to food-shop on Friday.
Sriracha, ginger, and nutmeg, for a Dutch taste.
Curry paste for el sabor autentico.
Pickled bamboo shoots.
Rice-sticks.
河粉 。

Et slikt måltid er veldig Hawaiisk!
Det var en deilig, deilig suppe!





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Sunday, October 29, 2017

WITH A LITTLE WINE

There's a video on the internet of a winsome young lady making the case that meat eaters need to shut up, feel guilty, and admit their sins. The most offensive of which is making her as a Vegan feel very sad.
Yes, interspersed with the usual Peta pictures.
Because carnivores are subhuman.
So unenlightened!

Okay...

Bacon!

Lovely thick applewood-smoked bacon, covered with, heck just drenched in deliquescent melted Cheddar, oozing in a golden cascade all over it. On top of poached gefilte fish quenelles, napped with a Thai coconut green curry sauce, on a bed of halved cherry tomatoes.

I think we can all get behind that, can't we?

Sop up the juices with crusty french bread.

For the second course, a choice of gehakte leber on buttered toast, or lovely tandoori lamb chops with a mint yoghurt dip.
And fresh buttery naan.


Jouw luchtkussenboot zit barstens vol paling, liefje. En het kan mij niets schelen dat je niet van spek houdt ...... Ik zal nooit met een Veganist omgaan of zo'n persoon zelfs uit eten vragen.



I am currently thinking of other sexy things on can do with bacon, many of them involving chilies, rich meats and fish, cheeses, and pasta. And baking with butter.
For instance, egg-fried rice covered with chicken chunks, a few slices of juicy fried linguiça, potatoes, and chilies, liberally augmented with a mild coconut curry sauce, one or two rashers of bacon added, plus a generous sprinkle of cheese, and the whole thing shoved under the broiler till bubbly. A richer version of baked Portuguese chicken rice (焗葡國雞飯 'guk pou gwok gai faan'). Plus of course the Cantonese substitute for salad. That being 蠔油芥蘭 ('hou yau gaai laan'). Because one must have a vegetable. It's good for the digestion.
For some lovely pictures of food, paste the names into image search.
It will bring up lovely, lovely food porn.
Gosh, beautiful.


Crispy-fried bacon strips as a substitute for chips with dips.
Try it with ranch, salsa picante, or guacamole.
Or instead of celery sticks.
Dee-lishus!




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STYLISH ACCOUTREMENT

On the way home last week I passed a mommy and her charming daughter, who was a cute little girl with a Hello Kitty backpack. I also have a Hello Kitty backpack (which I mentioned here: Squeal!).
I did not have it with me at the time.

It is not that I wish to seek comrade-ship with her.

Nor do I wish to be her, or to be like her.

I do not wish to know her either.

But if I had a daughter, it would be lovely if at some point in her childhood she resembled that little girl.


With her own Hello Kitty backpack.


It has to be a different pattern, though, because it would not do if she took mine to school with her by accident. Her teachers would be aghast at the pipes and tobacco inside, and might suspect her of moral turpitude.
I would undoubtedly hear about it later.

My pattern.


I am perfectly happy being a badger.
With a Hello Kitty backpack.
Pink, black, white.






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Saturday, October 28, 2017

THE FISH BARBARIAN IN THE KITCHEN

Over on a web page I shall dub "sounds like angry buzzing Levantines somewhere", a discussion about gefilte fish turned rancid. Mirroring almost exactly, but with far worse grace and courtesy, a conversation between four gentlemen today. Dan boldly admitted that he loved gefilte fish as well as jarred borscht. Jeff and Harry where aghast at this and accused him of both heresy and being more Jewy than they were, and Norm contemplatively chomped on his pickle sandwich while watching ladies on teevee.
It was a typical afternoon for the cigar smokers.
Four of whom happen to be Jewish.
And Ashkenormative.

Unlike them, I do not often eat bagels, and have no strong opinions on the subject. But I will confess a marked fondness for gefilte fish (several types), and think of the substance as being the closest you can get to ground veal patties in a beast that originally had snapper ve kaskeses.
Great with a little bit of hotsauce!


"Any sentence or thought that starts with "gefilte fish is edible ...* is inherently wrong"

-----Said by a man who will not fry it (N.H.).


Which brings me directly to what I had for dinner this evening. It was too warm yesterday, and I forget to do any food shopping. So I made do with what was in the larder.

Insta noodles, canned pig, pickled bamboo shoots, and kimchi.

10 points.
Brand: 日清食品 [Nissin]
Product: 黑蒜油豬骨湯味,即食麵
Tonkotsu Flavour Instant Noodle with black garlic oil.

9.5 points.
Brand: 金宝 [Kimbo]
Product: 火腿午餐肉
Kimbo Ham and Pork Luncheon Meat.

6.5 points.
Brand: 華南 [Huanan]
Product: 酸筍絲
Sour bamboo shoots with salt water.

1 point.
Brand: 愛之味 [Aijiwei]
Product: 水果泡菜
Golden Fruits Kimchi.


Noodle soup with meaty stuff and pickly things. Delicious! Well, except for the golden fruits kimchi, which contained pineapple and had probably gone bad if it wasn't that way already. After tipping the golden fruits kimchi (which contained pineapple) into the garbage, I enjoyed the rest of my meal. What might have improved it would have been gefilte fish slices fried in bacon fat, and a dark toasted bagel to dip in the soup, but while I thoroughly enjoy food my capacity is less than it once was. Quality over quantity.

I will definitely purchase Nissin's instant noodles again, that was sheerly wonderful. And the luncheon meat, lightly fried on both sides, was an orgasmic touch. The bamboo shoots added needed crunch.
But next time, fishy instead of porky.


"That piece of gefilte fish was good enough for Jehovah."

------Mattias, who is to be stoned.

In all honesty, good gefilte fish is as soul-satisfying as juicy greasy savoury salty sweet canned luncheon meat. You could bread it and deep-fry it.




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YOUR HORRID PLACE IS VERY NICE TOO

My apartment mate called in sick yesterday. As a result, my third day off this week was somewhat noisy and pre-occupied, much like Tuesday and Wednesday. The first two days off were taken up with the bathroom, the refrigerator, and several years worth of tobacco. Because of a switch-out of the fridge, much stuff needed to be moved, including the contents of two sets of shelves ...... pipe tobacco. Don't ask. It's an obsession.
Bathroom has a new sink, tub, and crapper.

During all this shifting, moving, and renewing, my apartment mate and myself have been using the facilities in the apartment next door, which is vacant.

Yesterday, I ended up eating a squished Kit Kat bar (it was a gift), and arguing with a woolly Scotch person about a bog. Which started off as a reasonable conversation, but devolved very quickly to a harsh exchange about the climate and morals of our respective "home countries".
Upper-crust Caledonian accent versus snooty Dutchman.
I am the snooty Dutchman, you understand.
And an inferior sort.

The she-sheep's mother was querulous about what we had been teaching her youngest daughter Angus.

"We thought this was a good finishing school, that is why we sent you our child! Instead, you have been corrupting her, and exposing her to certain words!" "Oh, she's none the worse for it, trust me." "Well, we think we should ask for the tuition back." "We haven't charged you anything, we did it for free." "Be that as it may, even though we're Scottish, we don't necessarily always appreciate free things!""Oh, it's cheap at any price." "Hmmph!" "Why am I arguing with someone who lives in a bog?!?"
"Our bog is better than yours!" "No it's not, mine is beautiful!"

It went very much downhill from there.

Apparently I am a lout.


When I got back from the shower, the gibbon started talking about the Kit Kat bar upon which I had fallen asleep. He opined that it was ruined, and we should throw it out.
To pre-empt him doing so, and to show that I truly appreciated the tasty snack which he and the head-sheep had given me, I ate it.


Even though the head-sheep is older than Angus, he is not quite as smart. So she takes pains to know she deeply respects him, and tends to protect him from some of the others.

I'm not entirely sure why he gave me a Kit Kat bar.
Probably the gibbon suggested it to him.
As a nice gesture.

The gibbon gave him all the credit, but I feel certain that he was involved, because the head-sheep is .... not that smart.



Every one should be pleased to know that the Kit Kat bar was still crunchy.





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Friday, October 27, 2017

EXEMPLARY HINDUS

Something today made me reread-up on the 2002 Gujarat Riots, in which Hindus committed atrocities against Muslims on an epic scale. No, I shan't argue that the unbelievable horrors perpetrated by the Karsevaks and Hindu officials discredit Hinduism for all time, and that the religion of Ram is a despicable cult ...... though much tempted to do so.
All religions have evil people.

What the Hindus did in Gujarat fifteen years ago, Buddhists are doing today in Burma. Outwardly peaceful religions with murderous hearts are not new, and psychopaths frequently act out their depravities with the approval and blessing of priests.
Violent faiths are frequently more successful than others.
Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.


One passage jumped out.

Cite:
The US State Department's International Religious Freedom Report quoted the NHRC as concluding that the attacks had been premeditated, that state government officials were complicit, and that there was evidence of police not acting during the assaults on Muslims. The US State Department also cited how Gujarat's high school textbooks described Hitler's "charismatic personality" and the "achievements of Nazism." US Congressmen John Conyers and Joe Pitts subsequently introduced a resolution in the House condemning the conduct of Modi for inciting religious persecution. They stated that Modi's government had a role in "promoting the attitudes of racial supremacy, racial hatred and the legacy of Nazism through his government's support of school textbooks in which Nazism is glorified."
End cite.

[SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Gujarat_riots.]


Also significant: 
Following the violence Bal Thackeray then leader of the Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena said "Muslims are a cancer to this country. . . . Cancer is an incurable disease. Its only cure is operation. O Hindus, take weapons in your hands and remove this cancer from your roots." Pravin Togadia, international president of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), said "All Hindutva opponents will get the death sentence" and Ashok Singhal, the then president of the VHP, has said that the violence in Gujarat was a "successful experiment" which would be repeated nationwide.
End cite.


Modi is a very polished man.

Bal Thackery, a much admired "politician", was a mob boss. Pravin Togadia is a thug. Ashok Singhal, now dead, was a loathsome bigot.


I doubt that I shall ever visit India. But if I do, I probably won't visit Gujarat.
I've heard the place is filled with Patels.




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Thursday, October 26, 2017

THE ROCK-EM SOCK-EM COMMENTARIAL LIFE

The comment that rocks on Facebook today was about Alec Jones. This was a reaction to the rhetorical postulate that he is the Messiah. And I quote: "He seems like the kind of guy that would usher in a barnyard-animal-slaughtering theocratic dystopia.".


A BARNYARD ANIMAL SLAUGHTERING THEOCRATIC DYSTOPIA!


He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!


The other comment that rocks was a real life event. A person accidentally referred to a popular literary figure as 'Dildo Baggins'. Not once, but twice. Completely oblivious to the mistake.


I will not entertain the idea that Alec Jones is the messiah, but he may very well be Dildo Baggins.


Third thing, which clarifies that I have had too much caffeine today, and the nearly ninety degree heat has fried my brains: the video about 'Prancercise' keeps going through my mind now, with Alex Jones in it.

I can't wait for cooler weather.

My head feels hot.




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MOONCAKES IN MANILA

A friend brought back some mooncakes from Manila recently. They are from a bakery that I went into, once, and only vaguely remember: Salazar Bakery, 783 Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila, 1006 Metro Manila, Philippines. Apparently they're bigger and better than ever before, as they now have shiny modern branches all over town.

They are famous for their hopia, tikoy.
Plus biscuits, and mooncakes.


達華餅店的月餅

The Chinese handle of the bakery (達華 'lin waa') means "attaining splendour". Like many Chinese business names it expresses a hope, an aspiration, and an eloquent combination of propitious terms.
And, given their quality and success, it is apposite.

A long time ago I was in Manila. I particularly remember the torrential rain, and paddling into the kitchen late at night for another glass of tea and a bit of mooncake. Three different places and times, three different families.

All of them were Chinese. One family spoke Mandarin, Hokkien (which may have been the 泉州 dialect of 閩南話), Cantonese (three members only), Tagalog, and English. One commonly used Cantonese, Tagalog and Cebuano, English, and German. And one spoke English primarily, plus various dialects of Chinese, and Tagalog.

[Different languages can be very important to people's self-definitions, and in the Manila context that means the more tongues the merrier. One aged gentleman explained himself (in English) as a Tagalog-speaking Fujianese Chinese from Ilocos, with great facility in Italian (!), and a fair ability in Spanish.
But what I best remember is his fluency in Latin.
He had, at one time, been a priest.]


At that time of year (中秋節 'jong chau jit') they all had mooncakes (月餅 'yuet bing'), and there was a thermos of tea in the kitchen at all times.
Darkness, silence, hot tea, mooncake.
That which is lovely.


For a few years in North Beach I used a humongous tea thermos, and because the nearest bakery was a block away, mooncakes during September and October were a constant.
Which they still are.

[Mooncakes are big and thick, approximately four inches across and two deep. A thin baked crust surrounds a rich filling, usually lotus seed paste (蓮蓉 'lin yong') or red bean paste (豆沙 'dau saa', with a salted egg yolk (蛋黃 'daan wong') embedded within recalling the harvest moon. The egg yolk adds to the density of taste most marvelously. You can also get them with two egg yolks, and various other fillings are also common. I prefer the double egg lotus seed: 雙黃白蓮蓉月餅 ('seung wong baak lin yong yuet bing').]


The climate in Manila is very much like the unseasonable warmth in San Francisco, between eight and ninety degrees, such as we are having now. The humidity is much worse, though. Like wading through warm jello.
You can indeed get used to it, but you are often bedewed.
Your laundry needs to be done every day.
Frowst is a fact of life.


Chinese families patiently put up with their stinky white guests, and probably burn the sheets that he used after he has finally gone.


The mooncakes are excellent.
Thank you.




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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

WE HANG OUR HEADS IN SHAME

The Piano Accordion is the official instrument of San Francisco.
This despite passionate advocacy from sensible people.
Per this article: The Board of Supervisors - AP Archive.
Apparently it was invented here in the city.

To Berliners goes the credit for creating the very first accordions, however.
A gentleman constructed one there in 1822, nearly a century before we added on to the compost heap of music.


I am not at all sure how I feel about that. Other than a peculiar sense of kinship with Berlin.


Accordion music is far better than karaoke.


I shall not post a video clip here.


This is a family blog.




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IT COULD BE NEW YORK

Once more it is unseasonably warm. Yesterday on the way home, some Swedish tourists said that they were so lucky, as it was already starting to snow in Scandinavia, but San Francisco was marvelous! Such weather!
I cheerfully remarked that they could only say that because they did not live in a San Francisco apartment, with no airconditioning.

In all honesty, without airconditioning (and noodles!) nearly the entire state would be uninhabitable. There are parts of California that regularly get well over a hundred degrees. Where no rational person ever goes.
We can't stop there, it's bat country.
Shvitzing bats.
Hot.


粿條

For some reason I keep focusing on the noodles, though. We may not have aircon, unless we are tourists, but we have noodles. It's only ten or twenty days a year that the heat makes us wilt, but we enjoy noodles year round.


A friend reports that her Vegan daughter yearned for some Phở. Possibly this is connected to the year she spent in Britain, where food of whatever type can be a trying experience, and the language is unpronounceable. So they made a refined mushroom broth with absolutely no meat -- they keep kosher in any case, so a traditional base including pork bones would have been quite out of the question -- and there may have been sliced tofu in lieu of the beef that is customary. Not a drop of nước mắm, because that is mamesh treifish in gonzen, and by definition non-Vegan.

As they were eating, the daughter remarked that it didn't taste authentic.


No airconditioning, even in this heat, is one thing.

But no Phở can not be imagined.

That's un-Californian.



越南粉或稱越南河係越南一種嘅河粉,與潮汕和閩南嘅河粉或粿條相同。



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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

PIPE SMOKE AND CURIOUS LADIES

One of the posts here that you may have visited is something I wrote back in 2012 as a glib bit of man-splaining: Women Pipe Smokers. It was not my intent to mansplain (which means to sound patronizing while talking very patiently with, to, and over, a woman who may know far more), but in a way that is precisely what it was.
In my defense, I have been involved with that subject for four decades. And have had strong unbearable opinions about it quite as long.

Smoking a pipe, that is. My involvement with women has not been nearly so intense, more of a haphazard and sporadic bit of good fortune.
I can't claim any expertise there, they still confuse me.


WOMEN SMOKING PIPES

The same words of advice also apply to men, but due to a dense fog of masculine boys' club attitudes, women may not have as much access.
Or might try to avoid mansplaining old farts.
Of which there are very many.
Me too. Sorry.

Actually, many men want women to enjoy smoking a pipe, because it gets very lonely in the treehouse with only loud jocks around, and women doing so validates us in our peculiarity. Mom and the kids sent us to the far end of the yard and told us not come back inside until we have rinsed off with the garden hose after smoking.
They're "refined", you see, and want to hog all the comfort.
And they still haven't forgiven us for something.
Lord knows what; we've forgotten!
They haven't.


Pipes, Tobacco, Matches, Cleaners, Tamper

Pipes are made of briar, that being the burl of the Mediterranean heath tree, commonly considered the most suitable material. All blends nowadays are based on the interaction with briar, and the spectrum of flavours it highlights in the chosen tobacco.

Tobacco is problematic. Suitable pipe tobaccos will have a minimum of flavouring and sweeteners added, preferably nearly none. "But it smells good" is not an excuse for gunking up you pipe and sending clouds of burnt vanilla, rotten cherry, and rancid chocolate and coconut into your environs. This statement goes especially for bearded hipsters and people who vape, but the sad thing is that over eighty percent of the pipe tobacco sold today smell like a teen game-boy's basement in his parents' house, and that this completely disregards any virtues or unique qualities that the leaf may have had. In addition to turning a good piece of briar into a sewer on a stick.

Matches provide a broad and gentle flame that you can suck down into the tobacco to light it, rather than a directional flame which scorches the rim. Hold the match slightly above the bowl, light the entire surface, but don't puff and suck like a grampus. You're not starting a forest fire.

Cleaners (long wire twists with absorbent cotton) are an essential adjunct. Use one or two of them while smoking (do not take the pipe apart while doing so, as that eventually causes looseness to the tenon and mortise), and one or two of them afterwards. This prevents juices from building up in the shank and boiling in, and preserves the usability of the pipe for years to come. After two or three dozen smokes use a cleaner dipped in vodka to swab out the inside of the shank. Take the pipe apart before doing so, and let it dry out for a day or two before putting it back together.

Use the tamper to compress the burning surface slightly. This will help maintain a burn, and needs to be done as you progress down the bowl.
Do not use it to compress unlit tobacco, that's what a fingertip is for.
Do not use the scoopy thing to take tobacco from the pouch and put it into your pipe, it's only function really is to clean out ashes and unburnt scrap.
There is also a long prong attached to most pipe tools, for poking through obstructions in the packed tobacco or the shank. If you pack tobacco in the bowl lightly enough, and regularly employ pipe cleaners, you will never need to prod, and may end up wondering why it's there.



Packing the bowl should be firm enough that very little falls out if you accidentally knock the bowl over, light enough that you can easily draw on it, and thus keep the tobacco burning.

Allow your pipes to rest for a few days after use, ream when the carbon layer deposited in the bowl becomes thicker than a penny or uneven. A pipe store can usually ream and clean a pipe for you, but beware of people who don't know what they are doing (there are a lot of those).

Blends with plenty of Latakia (smoke-cured Levantine leaf) can be great fun just powering through a bowl at a clippy pace, whereas Virginia (flue-cured large yellow leaves with a high natural sugar content) and Virginia & Perique mixtures need slowness, almost on the cusp of going out.
Latakia blends can get weirder the more you relight; put only enough in the bowl as you will smoke at that time. Virginia blends do not suffer too much flavour degradation upon relighting, and it is okay to put the pipe aside and come back to it later.

Aromatics quickly turn funky, and can burn hot, sticky, and wet. That may be how you like some other activities, but we can smell the nastiness of that misused pipe across the room. Please don't.

Inexpensive old-school Burley blends are the pidgin of toothless farmers in bib-overalls plus monumental cheapskates, and most of them are shite.
Excepting thoughtful things put out by beloved antiquarians.



I've always been enchanted by women who enjoy pipes and tobacco, it seems so thoughtful and civilized, especially when they don't make a big highly individualistic stink about it. Much more than with the men, who sometimes fall into pipes right after they get out of diapers.
When a woman habitually enjoys a pipe it indicates calmness, contemplation, and well-considered tastes and decisions.


For women, smoking a pipe may lead to conversations. Some of which will veer into mansplaining. Feel free to tell us to hush, because if we talk too much the pipe goes out.




AFTER WORD;

Easy tobaccos to start with are, in the Virginia category, Dunhill Ready Rubbed (green label, mostly flue-cured, a smidge air-cured), Samuel Gawith Golden Glow (a marvelous Virginia from a respected company), and Greg Pease's Stonehonge Flake, Montgomery, or Regent's Flake.
All three are stellar.

In the Latakia category ("English mixtures", also called Oriental or Balkan), you will find Greg Pease's Westminster a lovely tobacco, Samuel Gawith's Squadron Leader is a much loved standard, and, under the Dunhill label (made under license in Denmark) there is some good stuff: Standard Mixture, London Mixture, BB1938, and My Mixture 965.

Russ Oullette makes extroverted stuff; approach with caution, then dive in enthusiastically when you find something you like. Which you will.

MacBarens producs excellent anomalies under the HH label, but much of it is too peculiar for beginners. I thoroughly enjoyed the Old Dark Fired (steam-pressed flake, dense), but it has a tonne of nicotine.
For something decent, try the Virginia No. 1.
HH Latakia Flake is ... sensual.


Peculiarities you might want to give a miss are Dunhill's Royal Yacht, with which Pipestud in Texas once sabotaged an entire clutch of competing pipesmokers (the winner was given a tin of it after a heave-break) and Samuel Gawith's 1792 Flake (dark, strong, with a topping like grandma's perfume), as well as MacBaren Modern Virginia (both flake and ready-rubbed, and both rather unpleasant).

Many tobacco stores package stuff under their own label: RLP 6, 1Q, and BCA. Indeed, the pretense is so thick that some smokers firmly believe the backroom is filled with underpaid gnomes working night and day preparing exquisite and impossible to find anywhere else smoking products for the lucky and discerning few. These blends are often favoured by middle-aged men who, like their soggy pipes, have become more unlikable and odoriferous with age.

Among these, Very Cherry (Lane Ltd) is not particularly bad. It is utterly monodimensional, fairly clean smoking, does indeed smell cherry-like, and can be enjoyed during momentary fits of perversion. It will take alcohol and three of four bowls of something better to unghost the pipe afterwards, though. Like most other aromatics, it does not taste like tobacco.

Molto Dolce, Cult Blood Red Moon, and Blue Note are to be avoided. These products are what Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Hugh Heffner, and Vladimir Putin would smoke if they were still alive.

[See this: Molto Dolce, Blood Red Moon, and concerning Blue Note, absolutely not.]

Many male pipesmokers become frightful effing perverts.
It's a risk. But don't worry about it too much.
Avoid them, rely on your own taste.




TOBACCO INDEX


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THE MAGIC OF BRUSSELS SPROUTS

After a brief nap yesterday evening, I went next door to brush my teeth and prepare for bed. As you may know, our bathroom is in the process of being revamped -- same apartment for several years, and old when we moved in, so a completely new set-up is a little overdue -- and my apartment mate and I have been given the use of the facilities in the empty unit right next door. The original tenant is long gone, the last person in residence there moved to Canada a few months ago, it is entirely vacant, quiet, peaceful, and a little bit more modern than our place.

Shave and shower. Solitary refinement.

While there I heard some neighbors on that airwell going at it. This was not something I intended to hear, but they are young and vibrant (judging by the sounds), and probably conceived themselves to be alone. In San Francisco one is never truly alone, but I did not make a sound, as I did not want them to freeze up. It would have been an imaginary embarrassment, as none of us have ever seen each other in the flesh.

I wonder if my apartment mate has ever heard them.
Her room is a little closer to them than mine.

No, I am not going to ask. We never speak of sex.
We are not connected in that way.
She has someone.


Though I am familiar with the process, it has not been an element in my life for quite a while. Most people who are past their thirties and single do not actually "get any", despite their juiciness, and men of my age don't bring up the subject even in boasting. Though we do boast!

"I cooked a fabulous steak", they will say, "and the Cavolini Di Bruxelles came out perfect! My, my, my! You wouldn't believe!"
This is as close as we get to puffing ourselves up over accomplishment.
Often the absence of another person is "hinted" at.
"Yes, I ate ALL of it!"


What I found on the internet while checking to see if the term "Cavolini Di Bruxelles" was spelled correctly is sufficiently interesting that I post it here.


Cavolini di Bruxelles rosolati

Pulite i cavolini di Bruxelles e incideteli a croce. Pulite la cipolla e tagliatela a pezzi piccoli.
[Clean the Brussels sprouts and crochet them. Clean the onion and cut it into small pieces.]

Lessate i cavolini in acqua salata in modo che siano cotti ma non sfatti: devono rimanere integri. Scolateli su un telo da cucina.
[Boil the spinach in salted water so that they are cooked but do not bake: they must remain intact. Drain them on a kitchen towel.]

Tagliate il guanciale a pezzi piccoli. Prendere una padella, aggiungetevi un po' d'olio e fatevi rosolare il guanciale con la cipolla.
[Cut the small piece of the pillow. Take a frying pan, add a little oil and brown the pillow with the onion.]

Dopo una paio di minuti, aggiungetevi i cavolini di Bruxelles, regolate di sale e pepe e mescolate. Lasciate a cuocere per circa 5 minuti.
[After a couple of minutes, add Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper and mix. Let it cook for about 5 minutes.]

Trasferite il tutto su un piatto da portata caldo e servite subito in tavola.
[Transfer it all over to a hot pot and serve immediately on the table.]

Source: http://www.buonissimo.org/lericette/4108_Cavolini_di_Bruxelles_rosolati.


I suspect that these neighbors are fairly young by my standards.
And possibly they sometimes eat steak and caviolini.
In between bouts of animal passion.


It's not that people over forty don't want sex, it's just that steak and Cavolini Di Bruxelles are within the realm of possibilities, and do not require drunkenness, the clubscene, marijuana, or hours of talking.
All in all, a far more rewarding experience.
Even if one is alone.




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Monday, October 23, 2017

LIFTING THE SCALY CLAW OF BENEDICTION

This blogger has no clue to what this is in reference, or what noble action prompted the statement "that guy will be blessed by radiant iguanas in heaven." But lordy, I like the concept.

We should all be blessed by radiant iguanas.

It is the comment that rocks.
Radiant iguanas are glorious.
Hail to glowing neon lizards!


A person on Facebook wrote it. Had something to do with raccoons and iguanas. Or maybe water. Not sure. Don't know, don't care.
Radiant iguanas are a reason for joy.



Nothing I shall ever do will ever merit the radiant iguana blessing.

I feel sad now.




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YOUR DEFAULT CUISINE IS BOILED THING!

Last night the apartment smelled fabulously of chicken. Not my chicken. My apartment mate was fixing food for her boyfriend, for later this week. Because the kitchen was off limits, I feasted on cookies and coffee.
This, really, is bachelor living at its finest.


Some people just don't eat socially. Not by ingrained habit, but by accident or apathy. One could pursue social eating, I suppose, but I've described the things I consume on my days off to various people -- stirfried dishes, stews, steamed items, baked goods, savoury roast meats, plus tea, rice, and hot sauce -- and the reactions have ranged from surprised distaste to outright sneer at the foreign muck I mention. Mostly distrust, quite

[Claypot rice. Bitter melon fish. Roast duck or goose. Tomato porkchop rice. Little piggy buns. Mui choi kau yiuk. Shrimp paste chicken fried rice. Cheung fan. Steamed meat patty. Baked Portuguese chicken rice. The full gamut of Chinatown pastries.]

My own cooking style is Dutch, Indonesian, Chinese, and heavily reliant on chilies and condiments. Slapdash, with rice, tea, and hot sauce.

Bittermelon, fuzzy melon, long beans, mustard greens. Salt fish.
Fatty pork. Roast bird. Fish. Black bean paste.
Dumplings, and noodles.
Sambal.


I think social eating in this country is mostly McDonald's plus sweet and sour pork. Or very expensive stuff at the hippest new restaurants. I have eaten with other people in the past, but other than a few select individuals most people head directly for the lowest common denominator.
Often that's TGIF, Applebees, and The Olive Garden.
Plus Chevys, for birthdays and adventure!


Inoffensive, and fairly bland.


Teenager, or elderly Wasp.




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Sunday, October 22, 2017

CONVERSATIONAL TORNADO

Middle aged white women, especially in Marin, should sometimes be avoided. Life is too short. And, thanks to modern technology, I now know everything about her dreary priggish life, and her absent man friend.
As does everybody else on the bus.
Twenty plus minutes of pathetic bitchy pretentious entitlement.
While she didn't mention embarrassing physical data about what goes on between her and the man-interest, she revealed everything else.

After all of that I wish her ill.
Her cell phone stuck ... somewhere.

I know several people who rely on cell-phones for nearly every aspect of their waking lives, even a few who could not go one single hour without checking their messages, e-mails, twitter, and Facebook.
Many of them are conversationally impaired.
Hold on, someone just messaged me.
They're saying "shut up".


One person who does not walk around with his cell-phone probably should: Little White Nipple Dude. In order to change the subject from one of his usual excrutiating conversational trains I mentioned the gympie gympie tree, which grows in Australia. Also known as nettle tree, and "guardian of the rainforest". The leaves are covered with microscopic hairs filled with poison, which break off in the skin of whoever accidentally touches it and causes unbelievable pain. Pain so horrendous it keeps the victim from sleeping for days, last for weeks, and recurs periodically for years.

From Wikipedia: "Moroidin, a bicyclic octapeptide containing an unusual C-N linkage between tryptophan and histidine, was first isolated from the leaves and stalks of Dendrocnide moroides, and subsequently shown to be the principal compound responsible for the long duration of the stings."

To indicate exactly how unpleasant this plant is, I mentioned that one man used the leaves as toilet paper while out in the wilds, and ended up blowing his brains out.


Little White Nipple Dude then said:


"Good thing he didn't use it to wipe the gunk off his penis"


Okay. A dozen people who either don't know you or don't want to know you heard you saying that, loudly, in public. I'm probably not the only one who is wondering how arse pain so intense it made someone blow his brains out could be considered less horrible because at least it wasn't penis or scrotal pain that made him blow his brains out. How is that possibly better?
Do you ever listen to yourself?

Elliminative organ agony that drives a person to suicide is, in every way, precisely as bad as regenerative organ agony with the same result.
Please don't even try to explain why one is worse.

I mentioned leaves used for a cleansing act in the wilds.
You went directly and loudly to gunk on the penis.

Why penis? And gunk? Huh?

I'd like to know what goes on in your mind.

So that it can be stopped.



Every year his parents take him on vacations to foreign places, probably because even though he is an adult they don't trust him out of their sight for more than a day. But, given that these places are always in the parts of the world where English is not the native language, there is also the likelihood that they are hoping he will go on shore leave by himself and end up hopelessly, permanently, lost.



There's a needy and entitled middle aged Marinite white woman out there with his name on it. In the fullness of time they will meet, they must.
They belong to each other.




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WHY ARE YOU IGNORING US?

A medical textbook for nurses was unfavourably in the news recently because they offered this about "cultural" interpretations of pain:

Arabs/Muslims
May not request pain medicine but instead thank Allah for pain if it is the result of the healing medical process.
Pain is considered a test of faith. Muslim clients must endure pain as a sign of faith in return for forgiveness and mercy. However, Muslims must seek pain relief when necessary because needless pain and suffering are frowned upon.
Arabs and Muslims prefer to be around family when in pain and may express pain more freely around family.

Asians
Chinese clients may not ask for medication because they do not want to take the nurse away from a more important task.
Clients from Asian cultures often value stoicism as a response to pain. A client who complains openly about pain is thought to have poor social skills.
Filipino clients may not take pain medication because they view pain is being the will of God.
Indians who follow Hindu practices believe that pain must be endured in preparation for a better life in the next cycle.

Blacks
Blacks often report higher pain intensity than other cultures.
They believe suffering and pain are inevitable.
They believe in prayer and laying on of hands to relieve pain and believe that relief is proportional to faith.

Jews
Jews may be vocal and demand assistance.
They believe pain must be shared and validated by others.

Hispanics
Hispanics may believe that pain is a form of punishment and that suffering must be endured if they are to enter heaven.
They vary in their expression of pain. Some are stoic and some are expressive.
Catholic Hispanics may turn to religious practices to help them endure the pain.

Native Americans
Native Americans may prefer to receive medications that have been blessed by a tribal shaman. They believe such a blessing allows the client to be more at peace with the creator and makes the medicine stronger.
They tend to be less expressive both verbally and nonverbally.
They usually tolerate a high level of pain without requesting pain medication.
They may pick a sacred number when asked to rate pain on a numerical pain scale.


Naturally, this is more than slightly absurd. Yet one thing stood out painfully in this entire slew of hoo-de-hah, namely the COMPLETE ABSENCE of my people.

I am Dutch American. I am triggered.


HEY! WHAT ABOUT US?!?


Bitches.

I am prepared to help you overcome this grievous omission. My entry (below) is based on life-experiences which you would do well to respect for the deep mystical knowledge it represents. Bitch.


Dutch Americans
Dutch Americans are stoic as well as passive-aggressive, and will loudly abstain from mentioning pain entirely. They may blame you for not noticing their exemplary patience and fortitude, because you are not of the select who will enter into heaven, a complete heathen besides, and don't understand the proper norms. Bitch.

Some Dutch American prefer the services of witchdoctors. Do not act surprised when you find random goat parts in their hospital room.


Our pain is more significant, because it is more deeply felt.
You think we enjoy this? We're doing it for you!
Show some appreciation.

Bitches.




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Saturday, October 21, 2017

ENDLESS FASCINATION

When I came home my apartment mate was in bed. An entire day of watching Extreme Cheapskates on the telly had pooped her out.
As I was preparing my meal, she told me all about it.

While I ate I got to listen to road kill dumplings (squirrel), mixed leftovers from next door stew, and tunafish salad made with canned catfood ("I just saved thirty cents!"). Plus the guests getting sick from the hors oeuvres.
Thank you, my dear, that made my wonton noodle soup "special".
I have Aspergers. She has Aspergers. Worse than I do.
Some things aren't dinner table suitable.
I am far more aware of that.
But she's sweet.

Both of us are mild, and fully functional.

[Her boyfriend has Aspergers too. He thinks she's "neurotypical". Poor little innocent wuss!
But then, he's the lizard king of Asperger. She's also Cantonese American, so a fascination with white people and what they eat and their manifestations of pinchfistedness, must be factored in. She's analytical in that regard. He's an unknowing labrat.]



See, if you really want to see Aspergers in action, possibly the best and worst example is Little White Nipple Dude. He was at my place of work recently, and festered my entire break with more discussions of little white nipples. Plus details of a date on which long ago he asked a girl, she didn't show, he destroyed the beautiful single perfect rose, and smoked a cigar. She had her chance. She blew it. Then he told me about his gangster image in high school, and how people believed that he had pull, and could get things done. But mostly he talked about little white nipples.

He also did that back in early September, and though a few of us knew what he was on about for nearly an hour, many of the people who came in during that time did not realize that Dunhill butane for lighters comes with an adaptor for older models. The adaptor is the "little white nipple".
They simply thought that he was a monumental perv.

Which, as it turns out, he is.
Although harmless.

Feet.


PODIATRIST, ASTRONAUT, NUCLEAR PHYSICIST, DOCTOR OF DIVINITY, EX-MARINE, MARTIAL ARTIST, AND BRAIN SURGEON

One of the lounge members mentioned that his son had gone to highschool with Little White Nipple Dude. Who at that time tried to sweet talk girls by offering to paint their toenails. And, in the more than two decades since then, he has been spotted at shoe emporia trying to catch glimpses of ladies' bare feet. Or offering helpful shoe suggestions.

This probably also explains how he claimed to be a podiatrist. Which was aeons before he manifested himself as an astronaut, nuclear physicist, doctor of divinity, ex-marine, martial artist, and brain surgeon.

He has never offered to paint any body's rocket, reactor, bible tract, guts, random broken body part, or skull. An omission, I'm sure. Sometimes it feels like he is drilling into all those things, especially the last one.
Even more when he's ranting about little white nipples.


When I was eating my lunch, he tried to engage me in conversation. So for the benefit of random strangers I got him onto the subject of Dunhill butane. Firstly because I am an evil sonofabitch, and secondly, I wished to get him off the subject of the love-rival's finger he had snipped off with a cigar cutter as well as any other fanciful elements to his imaginary love life. I have heard more than enough about the wife and the fourteen year old daughter he did not yet have until a year and a half ago. And whatever weird dates he had.
I relish other folk's pauses in conversation when they start listening to in-depth disquisitions about little white nipples. Some of which wobble.
Some fit better than others, and some don't feel right.

This is NOT a can of Dunhill butane!


I'm just sitting here looking pained.
Eating a sandwich.
Quietly.


It's not just Aspergers. It's a lack of social skills, obliviousness, obsession, neurosis, paracosm, mythomania, and a fantasy prone personality.
What some people might describe as full-blown batshit.


With feet and nipples.




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A RIOTOUS TIME, OH BOY!

The weekends are horrible for food. I don't get back from Marin till all the bakeries are closed, and there is no place close-by where a flaky charsiu turnover (叉燒酥餅) or a nice hot cup of milk-tea (奶茶) can be found.

A man might also want to have a plate of rice with something on top. Bittermelon fish, for example, or fish fragrance eggplant.
Or perhaps panfried rice stick noodle.

But just a snack will do.
Milk-tea.

The nearest place with edible food is Mexican. A whole burrito is too much. The man in question no longer has the appetite of a teenager.
And lunch was less than four hours ago.


Yesterday, when I got home around six (day off, late lunch), my apartment mate had not returned yet, so I put the one-legged monkey on her bed with a bag of cookies, to be shared with the penguin, rabbit, and senior bear.
He needs to be rewarded, because he protected my wallet from the depredations of the sock-sheep and the mean little black kitty.
They stole his ceremonial Inca copper cup instead.


I guess I will have what remains of those cookies with my hot beverage.
It's cold outside, Autumn has begun, and the ginkgo trees in the financial district are starting to shed their leaves.
Lovely yellow, fan shaped.



One could wander around with a pipe and some tobacco, but one might well freeze, and nasty non-smokers know neither time nor temperature.
The security guard of one of the office buildings snapped at me to keep walking and NOT smoke anywhere near his building.

Okay. I hope your damned building falls down in the next earthquake, dude, with you in it, but I'll acquiesce to your fascist neurosis. You do know that there's asbestos in the walls, don't you? As well as lots of lead. You're probably diseased and criminally insane from all of that.
As well as peevish and unloved.



Both a man and a one-legged monkey could appreciate a quiet evening.
A place with warm beverages, hot comfort food, flaky pastries, near gilded ginkgo trees. Where there are no martinet security guards, and mean little black kitties are hesitant about stealing things.
Away from the cold at night.




POST SCRIPTUM: Because I forgot to buy any vegetables for the weekend yesterday, that's why. So it's probably going to end up being wontons from the bag in the freezer. And I should also mention that I just left a comment underneath someone else's post, about sago palm grubs fried with shallots and peppers, as well as bee larvae and dragonflies.
File under "berserk Asian dinners".




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Friday, October 20, 2017

BABY IN A BOTTLE? IT'S HUGE!

This morning the phone rang at an unreasonable hour. My apartment mate answered it. She angrily interrupted the speaker to say "no, I don't think so, goodbye", then a moment later repeated that more firmly and hung up. On her way back to her room, she mentioned that it was an Indian accented person talking about computer infections.

Consequently I now await another call from Techwallah-bhai in Bangalore or Delhi. This time I shall have less patience than before, because I have researched the company whose name keeps changing.
As well as other computerish options.

No, I don't think so, Ji, goodbye! 你嘅飛翼船係滿晒鰻魚!


Don't call until I've had my coffee. At least two cups.

The resemblance of several Indian techno-accents to Klingon is striking, and Indian technodude-speak is quite nearly as unintelligible. Even the cable company has farmed some of their stuff to Klingonistan.
Impossible consonants, retroflex and uvular hairballs.
It is a brave and fierce new world.

Recently I had a frustrating conversation with a saree-wearer somewhere between Kashmir and Cape Kanyakumari. The fraught exchange with a daughter of the House of Mogh was, eventually, satisfying.
Despite her typical Klingon manner.

You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.


"taH ... pagh, taH be'!".


The theory that Donald Trump is a Klingon halfwit, dumped on this planet out of harm's way, is ever more believable the more you think about it. It would explain his strange communicative disorders and aggressiveness, as well as his more quirky statements. And that, of course, is also the reason why there are two generals in his inner circle. They are there to protect the planet in case he destroys the gods that made him and turns heaven into ashes. We run the risk of our world becoming Gre'Thor.
Because of our moron Klingon.

It also explains his approach to human females.
He deeply desires to bite their clavicles.
And have them throw things.


There is no word for baby bottle in Klingon, nor diapers, nor high chair. Shuttlecraft, phaser, and transporter ionization unit, yes.


Heretofore I had not imagined stuffing a whole baby into a bottle.
Parts, maybe, but not the entire thing.
Now it all makes sense.

Wait until I've finished my first cup of Joe for more startling insight.





(*) Correct pronunciation: 'nei ge fei yik suen hai mun-sai maan yü'.
Explanation: 有啲鰻魚盛產晒了你嘅飛翼船 ('yau di maan yü sing chaan sai le nei ge fei yik suen'). In which 飛翼船 stands in for shuttlecraft AND transporter ionization unit, you understand.





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DELAWARE, A FINE STATE

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...