Thursday, May 31, 2018


This blogger has never sent dick pics. Considering how many people have done so, I feel a little left out. Even during the several years that I was in a relationship, I never authored such things.

But, if I had, I should wish for the reaction below:

"My favorite is people who send me unsolicited dick pics and then they’re like, “uh, hi? Are you ignoring me?”

It’s just so funny to me. Like one minute I’m designing bioreactors and getting published for heat dissipation in polymers and then I open this godforsaken app to dudes hanging brain who can’t even pronounce “saponification” calling me a slut because I won’t give attention to their limp excuses for existence.

3 billion years of evolution and the greatest form of communication you can conjure up in your fermented omelet of a conscience is submitting your wrinkly ball sac to a stranger on the Internet to substitute the attention your parents never gave their mistake of an offspring."

As near as I can tell, the author is "gettingdinnerandpossiblythinner"

It's epic.

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For the record, I wish to state that anything I do or say today that might provoke criticism or be taken amiss is because of sleep medication. Memorial day late night tweetery. I am NOT Rudy Giulliani!

In case you were or will be wondering.

So lighten the hell up, y'all.

It'll be just a joke.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018


What I actually had for lunch was mui choi kau yiuk, with a side of stewed tomatoes, and some cabbage, over rice. Which was very good, a damned fine repast, and cheap. All that delicious, PLUS soup, for only five dollars. No, I shan't tell you where, because they only speak Chinese, and tourists are a nuisance.

But what I really wanted was jook with large chunks of fish poached in the heat of the porridge, and one or two hard boiled eggs cut in half added. Plus a drizzle of fry oil, minced ginger, and lots of chopped chives. The problem with jook is that it takes hours to make, and I didn't get up till after ten.
Oh yeah, I don't have any fry oil either.
Or fresh chives.

The wise diner tempers expectations to the realities of his environment.

Besides, I like going to places where they know me.

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To the various mongoloids who attempted to seed the comments with place-marker spam: A) the weekend is over. Long over. B) Your brother knows nothing about your problems. C) If anyone bought you lunch it was ONLY because they saw you struggling with the concept "frypan".
You may be defective, substandard issue.
Or Russian, and robotic.

Let me throw some ideas past you. Please attempt to catch them.

1. Teresa Teng, during her teenage years, when she still performed in Hokkien (Fujianhua), was absolutely angelic. Not tall, and a little compact, but dang that smile and that kissy-poo face. Mmm.

2. Haahm yu is easier to get to like than durian. Nobody will dare disagree. The only reason durian is so popular is because of the expressions on other people's faces.

3. I've seen several out-of-state license plates parked in my neighborhood recently. Please go home.

In other news, the rat colonies in Spofford Alley have lately been severely diminished. I grieve for my little furry brethren. And sistren.
Because I am not gender-biased.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018


All in all, despite the idiocy of other people, it was a very good evening.
Desirous of one last bowlful of tobacco, I headed over to a friendly public house for a whisky and a pipe. During my brief time inside before going out to smoke, I fear I offended the young lady with the bold curves and a lovely hat next to me by not paying her the attention she deserved -- not my type, and I had overheard her in conversation with another person, so I assumed that she and myself would have little in common -- and I do not go to bars for female company. She stalked off when I came back in.
Leaving space for a hipster, who wished to talk about the local team.
I gently explained that sports bores me to tears.
Precisely the opening he needed.

In consequence of which I really should now understand his comprehensive philosophy of football and basketball. He explained it all in great detail, to which I politely listened, because he was having a grand time, and one doesn't want to piss all over someone else's favourite things.
When I went out for my second last pipe of the day he followed me. Where, before he and two others continued their thoughtful analyses of last night's game -- which was spectacular -- they persuaded a passing gentleman to put his trousers back on. In truth, the round glowing globes of that individual's buttocks were more interesting than the game. They reminded me of the young lady with the bouncy curved bits. And the hat.
And sports bores me to tears.

Michelangelo's David is a beautiful example of the male physique and the sculptor's passion.

I finished the last part of the bowl at home.

The Warriors are a mighty fine team.

They should advertise for pipe tobacco brands. A fine Virginia for instance.
Berkeley Perique Flake, or Oakland Special Birdseye.
It would be staggeringly successful.
Blue & Gold Slice.

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Monday, May 28, 2018


Every person has a hidden passion or secret vice that, if fully expressed in unsuspecting company, would profoundly shock people. Mine is dumplings.
Today was sensuous, lethargic, and depraved. Dimsum for lunch -- pork siu mai, hargow, gau choi gaau, wortip, plus jaa wu gok with hot sauce -- and for dinner I boiled up some pork & spinach won ton in broth with chopped mustard, sliced chilies, and a little lap cheung.

All of this was light, refreshing, nutritious, and likely to inflame my gout.
Though as yet there are no twinges.

Just cover me with a selection of dumplings, and I'll be happy.

Perforce I spent a large portion of the day outdoors, being a smoker, while my apartment mate swanned about lazily in her pajamas, and spent several hours watching Downton Abbey. It exhausted her. She is now in her room, dozing amid a pile of stuffed animals, and holding on to her teddy bear, while a large penguin watches over her.

Soon I shall go out for the last smoke of the day.
Blonde flake in an old Parker Billiard.
A post-dumpling digestive aid.
I have no shame.


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Today we commemorate our Civil War martyrs, and simultaneously sneer at the Confederacy, who were traitors and whose fallen we kind of disrespect. And, incidentally, all on our side who perished in subsequent wars. Ideally we would also set fire to "their" flags and piss on "their" graves.
One can imagine slope brows in the slave states protesting at this assertion. They are wrong. And they drink Coors, proving their degeneracy.
Inbred baseball cap wearing syphilitic yokels.

What. Ever.

My ancestors were solidly on the right side of history.
Both sets of grandparents were in World War One.
By WW2, only three were still alive.
All of them were in uniform.
As were their children.

In my generation, none have had to serve. We are the lucky ones. For which I am grateful. I would still like the opportunity to set fire to flags, and piss on graves. But I shan't press the point. We won, you lost, apathetic neener neener neener to you damned Texans.

More to the point, today both myself and my apartment mate are enjoying a day off, and because I am the only smoker in my household, I shall be leaving early in the morning. She hates tobacco, I intend to enjoy pipes and some lovely English style flake as well as half a remaining tin of Dunhill Nightcap, and there are delightful little dumplings in Chinatown which will be delicious with some fried oil.

Haven't picked out the briars yet. I'm thinking that one of my dad's old Peterson's should be part of the programme. As well as the curved Charatan that I got from Pauline years ago. And the Dunhill I bought from Marty Pulvers, when I was broke and living in very tight quarters.

It took me nearly a decade before I ate noodles again.
That last mentioned pipe meant skinflinty eating.
Three months of high salt insta ramen.
Every single effing day.
A nightmare.

Worth it.

It has a lovely deep blast, and smokes like a dream.

Today will be very good.

Milk tea.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018


Said with great good-natured cheerfulness: "Did I mention that he has great powers of attention deficit?" This was the comment after one of the lounge members stated something remarkably gibberant, downright moronic. Which we've come to expect from them. Something about extend-o-legs for cats, so that they could pass for sheep.

I myself was trying to ignore the idiocy. Paying attention to those gentlemen leads to madness.

Apparently the codger in question also has "an artistic temperament".

Well over half of the adult population of Marin County has been diagnosed with an artistic temperament, so it really isn't anything to write home about.
Artistic temperaments and daftness go together, often with an abundance of rigid stick-up-back-passage and a sickeningly entitled attitude.

Artistic temperament is often fatal.

Fortunately one of the few sane people in the county wandered in today.
He's back from Germany. We talked about eisbein (schweins haxe) and fermented dried fish, which are to be waved about and shown off.

We also spoke of Penzance, Stonehaven, and King Charles.
Of which there is a supply at present.
It will be gone soon.

My piles bleed for the internet.

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One of the propositions on the ballot in San Francisco this season is intended to stop the sale of all flavoured tobacco products in the city. Naturally this has the backing of all the right people. Who are willing to resort to lies and blatant untruths to foster their puritanism.

But I'll agree with them on one very minor point. Their claim that a majority of children start their habit by experimenting with flavored products, if true, is horrifying. Kids should learn about tobacco by using something pure and natural. It's like coffee or tea; their first exposure and enjoyment should NOT be the whorehouse appeal of mango-berry sunburst, or lime and vanilla frappuciato. Good tobacco does not need to taste cheap.

There are plenty of clean products available to develop their palate. Nobody civilized should go for the fruitloopy sh*t. That way lies madness, junk food, teenage hooker taste, and a predilection for sweet liquours, jello shots, overly sugary coffee bar drinks, and flavoured whiskies.

As well as sexual profligacy and fake religions.

Personally, I would recommend something nice in the full Latakia range, or, in cigars, something Nicaraguan. Along with straight black coffee.

Proposition E is backed by rabid puritans, liars, and authoritarians advancing a hard-core mommy-state iron bitch agenda.
Severe Protestantism, and nuns with rulers.

A partial list:

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
American Heart Association.
American Lung Association.
African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council.
Blue Shield of California.
Breathe California Golden Gate Public Health Partnership.
Booker T. Washington Community Service Center.
California Medical Association.
Coalition of Lavender-Americans on Smoking and Health (CLASH).
Irish American Democratic Club.
Mission Neighborhood Health Center.
NICOS Chinese Health Coalition.
Physicians for Social Responsibility, SF Bay Area Chapter.
Rose Pak Democratic Club.
San Francisco Parents Political Action Committee.
San Francisco Young Democrats.
Sierra Club.
Vietnamese Youth Development Center.
Youth Leadership Institute.

And several other alleged public "health" groups. There are a huge number of organizations that know that unless they get on board with this, they can kiss funding goodbye, as well as individuals whose political careers will nose-dive if they aren't part of the gang. Plus outfits desperate for relevance, who will bend over backwards.

There are many "charitable" shell-outfits that exist primarily so that well-connected people can earn six figure salaries while promoting a politically correct agenda and attending cocktail parties. A few organizations are "lets pretend we've got everybody involved" front-groups or action committees, some of them are merely pretentious stationary and an answering machine, and at least one of the groups is an extortionist gang.

It just goes to show that any bunch of thieves can become a non-profit or a tax write-off, especially if they play the game right.

Of course, it's not about the kids. Kids are not a market demographic, and California law already forbids selling any tobacco products to any one under twenty one. This is not and never was about the kids.
The people being screwed are all adults.
But it's "all about the children".

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Saturday, May 26, 2018


Two friends live all the way across the country. Both smoke pipes. She still enjoys the occasional candy tobacco (it used to be worse), he inclines toward flakes and severe VaPers. She has a cat and a lizard, he has a device with which to press Virginias.
She has had a bug recently, has been bed-bound, and via cell-phone text message requested his attendance from elsewhere in their house.

He texted back: "There is no Kaz, there is only Zuul".

Which was in several ways a smart move, as among her demands was "hot as hell Thai food". Which probably needs to be picked up from the next state over, given where they live (somewhere in the Carolinas).


What I had for dinner tonight was not Thai. Boiled Taiwanese won ton with pork filling, on a layer of stalky mustard stirfried with dry chilies, Sriracha sauce, oyster sauce, and ginger. I would've thrown in some smoky bacon, but we're fresh out. It was delicious, and stuff like that prevents bugs.
I suspect that both Mr. and Mrs. Zuul would have like it.

From the internet, primarily Wikipedia: "Zuul the Gatekeeper is a demigod and minion of Gozer. Zuul (/zuːl/) is a genus of herbivorous ankylosaurine dinosaur from the Campanian Judith River Formation of Montana.
The type species is Zuul crurivastator ("destroyer of shins")."

See, most Thais of a culinary bent probably stay the hell away from six or seven meter long shank-whacking reptiles. That's why the "hot as hell" exotic nibbly-munchies might be a bit hard to find locally.
What with it being deeply The South and all.
That's just an educated guess.

What Mr. and Mrs. Zuul need, in their locality, is a good Asian supermarket. That way tasty 'hot as hell' snacks can be thrown together at a moment's notice, with or without curry paste, dry chilies, hot sauce, and ginger.

The walls of their house probably have huge dents, and cracked (smashed and pulverized) plaster. And I bet it's a one-story building.
Large and slow herbivorous reptiles.
With tail clubs.

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Friday, May 25, 2018


If it weren't for my apartment mate, I might never have cheese. She keeps the cupboard stocked. Goats milk Gouda and Aged Havarti at present.
I am an untypical Dutchman. She is Cantonese American.
Which means keenly food focused.

What she had for breakfast was fried potatoes and a fluffy biscuit with some dairy stuff on top. Which might have been molten cheese.

It's a jolly good thing we are not romantically involved, or I'd have to share meals with her. Like, for instance, breakfast.
Food just after dawn disquiets me.

Since I was a teenager, my idea of breakfast has been coffee, the news, and a smoke. Nowadays that means I step outside into the fog in my bathrobe, and trigger the neighbors, for whom tobacco is the great evil which must be replaced with yoga, kale. and gluten-free muck.

Kindly bugger off, I've got a pipe.
Your argument is invalid.

Whenever that woman has a health checkup, her cholesterol is perfect. She celebrates that result with lobster and drawn butter. If it weren't for the fact that shellfish gives me gout, I would envy her.
I am fairly okay with cheese.

She is snarfing cheese right now. If lobster shops were open at this hour, she might have that instead.

I gloomily peer over my coffee at a Cantonese woman and her food.

Breakfast is the most evil meal of the day.

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Upon sitting down I accidentally knocked over the empty tobacco tins near my chair with my foot. A glass of 'Auld Pukey Boyo' (which is not its actual label, as I am ashamed of the low, low quality of my Scotch, and would far rather not name it) and a pipe filled Sam Gawith's Golden Glow at the end of the night, after a nap and a visit to the Tower to see Marie and the boys.
One drink there, one drink here.
There is rain tonight.

From the portico I can see that Macau Uncle is still awake. But I cannot hear the clackity sound of mahjong tiles, he's not being social at this hour. Occasionally, on his 'game' nights, he steps outside for a cigarette. Both he and his wife smoke, but she is more circumspect about it -- nice Cantonese women do NOT indulge in tobacco -- whereas he comes right out and goes right out for a puff. As a courtesy to the other MJ players.
One those nights I may cross the street to chat.
I assume Macau Uncle is retired.
But I've never asked.

This whisky tastes pretty good.
So does the blonde flake.
It is quiet now.

Lunch tomorrow? Probably pork chops at The Regency.
I should think about new pants and new coat.
What I have looks disreputable.

Get up early. Coffee, coffee, shower, pipe. Out of the house before noon, and down to Chinatown. Eat, then another pipe. And after that maybe something constructive. Pants, and a coat.

Day off. Talk Cantonese. Be lazy.
Sanity time. And silence.
Buy some vegies.
And tea.


The reason for cheap Scotch is because after a full day my taste buds have had quite a work-out. They've been trotted around the block, so to speak. Single Malt would be wasted, its fine distinctions lost. The best time for an Islay is early morning, just after dawn, when the palate is fresh.
But of course the civilized man does not drink then.
No liquor till after sundown.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018


Last night I cooked something with chili peppers. Shortly after I came out of the kitchen, she (my apartment mate) went in. And started coughing. Which is sad, because it indicates that the likelihood of finding another person who appreciates my style of food may be rather slim.

Years ago I went to a farewell luncheon for a departing coworker. There were six of us, and I felt distinctly like the third wheel. But the food was truly exceptional. I have never been back to that restaurant.

Lunch yesterday was 生滾肉丸粥 ('saang gwan yiuk yuen juk'; rice porridge with meat balls) and a cup of Hong Kong milk tea. There were two other customers in the place, eating alone also.

Sharing a meal is sacramental. But most people eat crap.
Eating alone is much more common now.
Modern life.

My apartment mate bought a lovely tres leches cake a few days ago.
We shared it. Cake is such a lovely word.

Dine by one's lonesome.
Smoke outside.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018


A very dear man on the East Coast, when alerted to a Lutheran christening, asked "How does that work? Do they nail the baby to the door of the church?"

[And please note that what is meant by 'christening' here is actually baptism, as was pointed out by a Jewish person who knows far too much about witchcraft, the Greeks, and pagan superstitions.]

Both my brother and I were christened as infants (C of E). It was the only christening we ever attended, and it had as little impact on our subsequent lives as christening had had on our parents. My mother believed the ritual was just something that had to be done. The only reason they had to visit churches was to admire the architecture. My brother memorized the entire Tanach and most of the Christian subsequentia not out of faith, but as a challenge (severely Aspergers, that one). So, technically, I am a Christian. As were all the generations leading back to a toothless peasant sometime in the twelfth century, whom I imagine saying "we're an anarcho-syndicalist commune" and "supreme power derives from a mandate from the masses".

[No, I don't know how those two phrases would sound in the Brabantine Dutch of the late mediaeval period. And it would take more knowledge than I have to find out.]

As a child I did rather like the tale of the loaves and the fishes, because living in the Netherlands that sounded very nice. Herring and good bread? Mmm, I am SO there! Americans, of course, eat garbage bread and canned tuna, so I haven't even thought about it in years. And there were other tales (I skipped over all the crap about baby sheep and butterflies), but the best ones were always the stories that kept one awake at night. Example: the Levite, his concubine, and the men from the tribe of Benjamin. Look it up.

As the source of quotes and turns of phrase, scripture is stellar.
But as a life guide, perhaps far less so.

As a book about cuisine, it just could not ever work.
That wasn't important for a long time.
Twenty centuries of kraut.
And porridge.

I recommend the Larousse Gastronomique instead.
Crêpes Suzette are a sacrament.

I am somewhat intrigued by edible grasshoppers.
But only somewhat.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018


The latest hip glib champion of the patriarchy is a Toronto professor named Jordan Peterson, who apparently is a thing. A thing that fills lecture halls, and complains about women. I have read too much about him, and all of it bored me. Jordan Peterson is a dreary male superiorist in a long line of dreary male superiorists, and his fan base consists of immature men.
Self-loathing meets self-righteousness; everyone benefits.
He is the darling of the male rights movement.
As well as resurgent whiteness.

But, other than unhinged white boys, who cares?

As a middle aged white male, I have better things to do than pay attention to some whiny sponge head academic complaining about his own irrelevance. Or maybe it's diminishing sex appeal, couched in terms that flatter a whole bunch of other men who aren't getting what they consider their fair share of nookity and adulation. His poisonous ideology hijacks the socio-political discourse, and twists it to fit his own deeply held self-serving needs.
Basically, just another malevolently gibbering faux-intellectual.

There is far too much Jordan Peterson in this world.
It's better than weeping about your penis.
But still quite repulsive.

Can all of you Jordan Peterson fanboys please get back into your closets? And please take your limp dangly bits with you. Hold them gently in both sweaty hands. Thanks, guys.

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On a whim last night I checked the temperatures upon returning home after lurking around the neighborhood with my pipe. My apartment mate is a confirmed non-smoker, which means, you understand, that post-work tobacco is enjoyed outside with the snow weasels and polar bears.

San Francisco: 47 °F.
Hong Kong: 86 °F.
Singapore: 85 °F.
London: 60 °F.
Antwerp: 70 °F.
Schleswig Holstein: 65 °F.

There was a cold wind in San Francisco.
I wish to register a complaint.
Pretty damn' beastly.

Two bowls. A lovely VaPer blend which the good doctor might enjoy, except that he's a monumental cheapskate, and begrudges the expense of tinned tobaccos. Until recently he'd mix up his own from internet-bought bulk (two thirds McClelland red cake, one third McClelland black Virginia), but since the demise of an estimable company he has been bereft.
"What is left?" he asked.
"Nothing", I replied.
Nothing like it.

He's likable, a fine fellow, but miserly as all git-out.

It would be pointless to steer him toward Greg Pease's Fillmore.

Which is splendid.

"In the Scottish Tradition"

Red Virginias and Perique, light press, broken flake. You wouldn't call this a "ready rubbed" product, and it is moist in the tin. Like many concoctions with Perique it ages well, and benefits from airing for a few days after popping the lid. Rub it out beforehand, while it is still moist.
The smell of it from the pipe is angelic.
Almost sinfully degenerate.
Old-fashioned good.

There are several people in my circle of acquaintance who would not appreciate it, so I shan't ever recommend it to them.

It almost made the wind worthwhile.

After enjoying two bowls, on either end of a red meat snack at a nearby pub, I returned home. Had some tea before bed. Good evening.


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Monday, May 21, 2018


When you are waiting for the bus in the morning, you are a target for all manner of people. The diversity of "hunter gatherers" in San Francisco is immense! For amateur psychologists or habitual observers of the human condition, this city is sheer heaven. A gold mine.

"Hey man, you got a cigarette?"

No, I don't. This is a small cigar, and I do not have any more.

I really did not have another one on me, and I just wanted to be left alone with my thoughts. An attack of gout during the night had left me feeling a bit limp -- those sausages were delicious, as were the cheeses, and the roast peppers were extremely nice too, as was the guacamole, so considering what a splendid time I had had heading toward that severely bitchy episode from my right foot, I would definitely do it again -- and I was not quite as forbearing with my diverse fellow Americans as I could have been.

I simply wanted to smoke my cheroot outside the healthclub (triggering all the exercise pustules within), while observing the tykes across the street.
The phrase "no, I don't; this is a small cigar, and I do not have any more" had to be uttered several more times.
The diversity of smokeless people in this city is staggering.
Even among aimless white males.

I noticed that not a single one of them asked the tykes across the street for a fag. Not surprising, because the tykes across the street were all Chinese and less than six years old. That type is not known for any generosity with their cigarettes. Or cigarettes, period. Neither are their maternal relatives, for that matter.
The mothers, and the children, would have looked baffled at the request. "What are these somewhat less than perfectly attired white gentlemen saying? And why do they all seem to be twitchy or staggering?"
The tykes might even have been a wee bit scared.

They were cutest little urks.

In that description you will see a Dutch word: Urk. Plural: Urks (in English), urken, urkjes (with the diminutive ending), urkies (non-standard as well as diminutive). It denotes a tiny child, often affectionately. Those darling little urks would not have liked to be approached for smokes by scraggy-waggy adults. Not that it would have necessarily traumatized them.
But such things can be disconcerting.

As a middle-aged fairly sane white male, I tend to think of these things.
I have warm regard for little Chinese urks. They have certain admirable qualities, such as cleanliness, consideration, and good naturedness, and usually they are even-tempered. Especially when mom is nearby.
From a safe distance they are quite charming.
As well as cute as the dickens.
The urks.

The person behind me on the bus was drinking beer while heading to San Rafael. When another seat became available I moved there.
He did not ask for a cigarette.

My weekend has begun. When next I head to work, on Thursday, I intend to have a bigger cigar and a far worse scowl. Then perhaps no one will bug me while I wait for the bus and observe the urks.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018


It lives on my right side, and extends down to the ground. And I am always aware of its presence. Some times more than others. It is a leg with a bad hip thing going on, as well as a knee thing. And a foot attached, which tends toward gout. Which is another way of saying that it wants to kill me.
It has a horrible attitude.

Gout makes everything feel much more so.

The way to cure gout is abstinence. Avoid steak, liver pate, gehakte leber, shellfish, beer, wine, fun of any kind, and republicans.
I am fond of all but one of these.

My entire right leg, from hip to tip of toe, despises the person to which it is attached. It wishes it were a walrus (a large flippered marine oyster eater), free to flutter around blubber-filled beaches, roaring with pleasure, and throwing back its head surrounded by fat-backed ladies.
Instead, it has me. I am not walrussic.
How disappointing.

Sleep tonight will be surreal.

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Two events to which I paid almost entirely no attention yesterday: a royal wedding, and a horse race. Both involved breeding. And, I believe, both were televised to millions.

By the same token, I shall not view moving or still pictures of this morning's zany race in San Francisco, during which dozens of runners will attempt to make history in the nude, semi-nude, strangely clothed, covered in black and orange body paint, or pretending to be beer cans.

Decorative ambulatory beer cans.

The Bay to Breakers.


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Saturday, May 19, 2018


On Tuesday I could barely walk for most of the day, but Friday evening was a slice of pretty darn good. There was improvement. It helps that I'm full of life, and determined to live forever. Totally stubborn piss and vinegar.
As, naturally, you would expect from any dirty old man.
Underneath my civilized facade, I am deviant.
I can draw underwear in my sleep.
Double seamed.

Actually, I used to do blue prints and schematics in my sleep, but thank heavens that no longer happens. There was also a shades of grey period for a few years when I dreamed in spreadsheet programs. These are some of the dubious benefits of being repetitive-obsessive, as well as more than a little Asperger syndromish. It makes me wonder what the woman in the other room of this apartment has in her head while she slumbers.
She's got it far worse than me.


The waitress at my favourite siu-mei restaurant knows that I have the menu memorized by now, even though I seldom visit more than once a month.
Same with two chachanteng in Chinatown, and my porkchop place.

Recently a friend admitted that at each establishment to which he goes he no longer has to order. Whatever it is, it comes.


That's far too predictable.
Shake it up a bit.

Seasonal squash and roast pork over rice, roast duck over rice, bittermelon black bean fish slices rice, fatty pork belly and red-in-snow rice, fish and cheesy cream sauce rice, baked Portuguese chicken rice, garlic paste porkchop rice, mushroom gravy porkchop rice, black pepper porkchop rice, Thai sauce porkchop rice, tomato porkchop rice, tomato cream gravy rice, baked porkchop cream sauce rice, stirfried pressed vegetable pork slivers beansprouts over rice, plum-vegetable pork rice or noodle soup, chive and pork dumplings, minced pork dab of salted egg dumplings, steamed shrimp dumplings, mushroom pork dumplings, rolled rice sheet shrimp, lean pork and preserved egg congee, fish slice congee, dried fish and peanuts congee, offal and crispy stuff congee, grilled pork noodle soup, grilled pork and imperial roll over cold noodles, grilled sliced pork or porkchop with a fried egg and rice, grilled pork garlic noodles, egg tart, dowsa biscuit, linyong biscuit, old wife cake, Italian cake, steamed chicken bun, meat floss bun, hot dog or ham and cheese bun, yau tiu wrapped in steamed sheet noodle, seasonal vegetable fish, black bean spareribs rice, white chicken, soy sauce chicken, snails, frogs, and crispy skin roast goose.

It's just a small selection.
And also cheesecake.
Remarkably light.

I keep myself entertained.

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Friday, May 18, 2018


There's a conversation right now on the interweb underneath a video of a man wearing a MAGA hat, carrying an American flag, with a pistol on his hip. Heading towards a crime scene where ten children got shot. As you would expect, the Alex Joneses are defending his stalwart bravery and heroism, the rest of the world is somewhat baffled.

Nah, I ain't going to score rhetorical points.
Enough people are doing that already.

Just going to highlight the best description I've seen in a while.

"Arrogant gun-toting dickholes"

Paints quite the mental picture, doesn't it?

Within less than a dozen comments the argument had gone circular and repetitive. and of course there were people blaming the gun-control crowd and claiming that the deep state either staged the shooting in Texas or the gun-carrying Trump-supporter, or both. I tuned out before it got to the mention of Pizza Gate, but I am fairly sure that it happened.
The Freemasons had already been brought up.

Seeing as I have nothing to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said, very vociferously and sometimes eloquently, elsewhere, I shall just hang back and occasionally observe. I am glad I'm not at work, because it can be predicted exactly how the conversation there will go. It will not be insightful, or suprising. It is bound to be loud, and rather stupid.

And everything is clearly Obama's fault.

Obama did not take all your guns.

Thoughts and prayers.

My plans for the day involve bank, lunch, pants, pipe, herb store, hot milk tea, a snack, pipe, people watching, conversations in foreign languages, pipe, a cup of coffee around night fall, pipe, and some Scotch ere bed.

Post Scriptum: My Valium of choice at present (other than milk tea and coffee) is McConnell's Folded Flake. The tin of Dunhill Light Flake from a decade ago is finished, and other than a Greg Pease tobacco mixture that was tinned two years ago, I am wondering what to open next.
Life is good.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018


My apartment mate likes to watch the Real Housewives. In a very large part this is because she is Cantonese American, shy, and has Aspergers (it's somewhere on the Autism spectrum). So the show gives her a window into a world that she has never even visited: horrid rich bitches being spoiled, arrogant, dramatic, pissy, and, often, drunk.

It's like watching a slo-mo train wreck.
Or, perhaps, gladiatorial games.

She's currently hunkered in front of the television with porkchop, rice, and vegetable, enjoying the tasteless spectacle immensely.

I myself seldom watch teevee, as there has been almost nothing on since the Canadian vampire detective series years ago. Though I do like Bob's Burgers, and Futurama was often very enjoyable. I see myself as somewhere between Tina Belcher and Doctor Zoidberg.
Though significantly more socially adroit.

Watching the Real Housewives is like seeing the female companions and counterparts of the cigar smokers in the lounge at work, and it throws their escapism and self-centeredness into perspective. They have to get away and just be themselves. And huffing stogies with other vulgarians yelling about sports and Trump is the way to go.

[I have been told that taking a knee is treason, and Trump is the best president ever. Repeatedly.]

I'm surprised that there are no pizza stains all over the carpet.
It would have been in keeping with such manliness.
Machismo, armpit farts, and "opinions".
Plus shiny bald heads.


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The other night at a karaoke bar (NOT the place where everyone is a stuck-up dysfunctional bitch, but a different one), the bartendress sang one of my favourite songs, originally by Teresa Teng (鄧麗君 'tang lai gwan'), who passed away at age 42 twenty three years ago. And, while she was beyond a doubt a supremely talented artist, it took me a long time to learn to like her.
Reason being that I preferred Zhou Xuan (周璇 'jau suen'), who did many of the songs that Teresa Teng covered when she started singing Mandarin.
But to my ear, she did them better.
Disagreement on this is likely.

Zhou Xuan never sang 'ni zenme shuo' (你怎麼說). The classic rendition of that song remains Teresa's. Same goes for 'yue liang dai biao wo de xin' (月亮代表我的心), which I once in a fit of madness sang in that bar.
In all honesty, people like me should not sing.
But leave that to the experts.
Anybody else.

I should point out that when Teresa Teng was in her teens, and still singing her plaintive Hokkien ballads, she was the cutest little round-faced dickens.
The videos are still out there, but the number of people who understand Minnanwa is, comparatively speaking, small.

Sometimes I can understand Hokkien.
But quite often not quite.


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His daughter in law works at my bank, and I've spoken to him several times. He lives opposite, down the street a bit, and his dog is getting old. The first time he was taking a break from a mahjong game -- his brother who loves playing mahjong was in town from Macau -- and I was waiting for the bus to Tongyangfao with a cigar.

He's 62. Older than me. And yes, in worse health. His doctor advises him to quit drinking entirely, but a little wine is good for the heart, and without the pressing need to get up and take a leak, he couldn't walk the dog or have a late night smoke. All men need wine and the comfort of tobacco.
A late night smoke makes life so wonderful.
As, indeed, I know very well.

The pipe clenched between my teeth at present is older than me, a Comoy off-brand made sometime in the fifties. Virginia with a touch of Perique, and a glass of Scotch and water withing arm's reach. I had woken well after midnight, and decided that what would make life really perfect was cold air and tobacco. After a drink at a nearby establishment where I've known the owner for a very long time -- slow evening, neighborhood folks and one or two, restaurant people off-work -- and with my right leg was feeling like it was twenty again, I wandered home. Mr. Siew was letting the dog out and having a cigarette, despite his doctor's disapproval and entirely not withstanding his wife and daughter in law frowning on it.

Tobacco and Cantonese men go together like fish and ginger.
You cannot ever break that bond.

The pipe is is shape 110B, which a google image search will show as being a piss-elegant variation of a Billiard. It has started to smoke really well now. Some pipes acquire a set of memories associated with a time or place, like one of my favourites, which I will always thing of as belonging to a street crossing near three pork chop places in Chinatown, during cold weather. This pipe will always remind me of the alleyway with all the rats.
The rats are charming, lovable, and very happy.

We spoke of tea. Both of us have particular tastes. And while Monkey Pick is not on my top ten, prized Pu-Erh and great red robe are.
His dog doesn't care either way.

Mr. Siew headed back across the street, I went inside. The pipe was down to the dottle, and I poured myself a smidgen of Scotch. My right leg is, remarkably, not acting like a bitch. Life can be very good.

One of the briars I shall smoke tomorrow is a Josts Comoy shape 440 (also listed under different numbers), which Marty Pulvers sold me years ago.
A lovely little temptress, but without a strong time or place memory.
I worked at a downtown law office at the time, with a department head who collected Beanie Babies, and a supervisor who had invested in personal breast augmentation. Despite those two it was a good period.

Both of these old briars fondle very nicely.

One is associated with rats.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018


On a forum someone asked readers what started them smoking a pipe. Quote: "Who or what inspired you to become a pipesmoker? How long ago? For me about six months ago I read a magazine and somebody told a story about his grandpa who always smoked a pipe that smelled like cherry vanilla and since then I have been on a quest to find tobaccos and pipes, as well as learning about the rich history of pipesmoking and enjoying the camaraderie we keep." End quote.

The last time I smelled cherry vanilla pipe smoke was seven or eight years ago. No, I do not miss it. Good tobacco does not need tarting up with fruit loop flavours, just like good tea and good coffee do not benefit from hazelnut passion mango syrup.
Or Irish Cream Vanilla soy milk, a product which I saw in a coffee bar.
If I were the panicky type I might have run out screaming.
Convinced that it was a sign of the devil.
Which it may well be.

When I was thirteen there was a pipe in the window of the tobacconist next to the local bookstore (Boekhandel Priem, in Valkenswaard) where I went regularly. After several weeks I bought it. Two months later I realized that having a smoking tool but nothing to put into it was silly. Bought my first tin of Niemeyer's Scottish Blend, then when I finished that, another tin of tobacco. But my father still occasionally smoked his pipes.
So I was pre-programmed in a way.

That year I got a short but sharply pointed lecture about fruity tobacco which corrected my childish tastes, and I have largely avoided such products ever since. We all at some point need such an intervention.


Niemeyer's Scottish Blend, and its cousins 'Irish Blend' and 'Danish Blend' no longer exist. That is a good thing, as they were aromatics and undoubtedly started many young lads on a life of depravity.

Such products are often called 'girlie tobaccos', which is odd, as so few women smoke pipes. I believe most females shy away from briars because of parental warnings that it will turn them into lesbians or space aliens.
Or, heaven forbid, Catholics.

Enough of them have become lesbians or aliens without that help.

Most smoking mixtures are aromatic.

No civilized pipe tobacco should smell like a strawberry macchiato, or any other product from the coffee shop syrup bar. Neither should coffee.

My father's disgust at candy cavendish made an impression on me, and even as a teenager I appreciated his approval. Which may have been unusual, but it seemed to me that he had done much in his life that was exemplary. I don't think that he'd approve of the Hello Kitty backpack I use to carry pipes and tobacco with me when I head off to work, but I don't think he would disapprove entirely either. And after a while he'd probably appreciate the snark in that ironic gesture of individualism.

Plus, there are no aromatics in that Hello Kitty backpack.
There's nothing there to be embarrassed about.
It is lovely, and extremely useful.
Black, white, pink.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Describing someone as "alluring, a very sexy cow" just don't sound right, even if it was favourably intended. The problem is that English is NOT everyone's mother tongue.

Naturally the others present promptly started talking about milk production and the diary industry. Because "happy cows come from California".

I have been part of some rather strange conversations recently.

There must be sane people with whom to associate.
This isn't always possible in California.

No, the government is NOT lacing breakfast cereals with microscopic transmitters in order to track our voting patterns or eliminative habits.
I do not want to know who told you that.
Nor do I wish to meet him. Her.
But thanks anyway.

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There are times when one may curse the modern age. That someone offered me a sample of a very heavy Latakia blend with a rose essence, vanilla, and mango top dressing sprayed on, before the entire sodden mess was pressed tight between two planks, is one of those times.

It betrays the inventor as having a streak of perversion.

Not someone you could trust near kinfolk.

Naturally I tried some.

If little blue-haired old ladies smoked pipes, this is what they'd smoke.
Not Ennerdale -- too tarty and unclean -- nor 1792, but this.
It's much better than killing puppies.

Once dried, it was good.

Slight ghost.


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Monday, May 14, 2018


Several things need mentioning. Firstly, there is a strong cup of tea to my left, which should refresh me immensely now that I am home from work in Marin. Secondly, I have a new bottle of Scotch. Plus biscuits and cheese.
And lastly, a tin of Folded Flake, some of which I will smoke outside, later, while taking an evening constitutional up and down the street.
I like short walks after darkness falls.
Observing local wildlife.
With my pipe.

Unlike at work, were I have to deal with 'special and unique individuals', plus the "sub-clinically neurotic" crowd, in a professional manner, when I'm off, and have returned to the city, I am merely a disinterested observer.
If I am diplomatic and considerate, it is by choice.
Coolness and distance are also an option.

Sub-clinically neurotic is a polite way of saying batshit crazy, by the way. Smelly overcoat guy, who comes in several times a month, qualifies.
So does the self-styled carpenter, as well as Apu O'Riley.
I am not excessively fond of people.

My weekend has started.
Oh yay.

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Several days ago I committed the sin of cultural appropriation, and I hope that Jeremy Lam won't crucify me for it. Of course, he might lack the wherewithal for that. What with being so damned banana it hurts.
Jeremy Lam, readers might recollect, is the sterling intellectual who wrote "my culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress" when confronted with the image of someone wearing a cheungsaam better than he could.

It was a lovely day in Chinatown. I ate shrimp bonnets, little basket buns, and pot stickers for lunch. They were delicious. After smoking a pipe, I had some Hong Kong milk tea and a slice of excellent Italian cake.

[Shrimp bonnets: 蝦餃 ('haa gaau'). Little basket buns: 小籠包 ('siu lung baau'). Pot stickers: 鍋貼 ('wo tip'), Hong Kong milk tea: 港式奶茶 ('gong sik naai chaa'). Italian cake: 意大利蛋糕 ('yi taai lei daan gou'); Tiramisu.]

Only the first-named item is truly Cantonese. The second is Shanghainese, the third comes from so far in Mandarin territory that the sun doesn't shine, the beverage is colonialistic, and the dessert is, as the name suggests, not even Chinese at all. Though much beloved, despite being barbaric.
Furthering the sin, I pronounced everything in Cantonese.
Because it would've been pointless not to.
Hsiao long bao? Gwo tyeh?
How ridiculous.

No, I wasn't wearing a cheungsaam at the time.

Four out of five things for which the Cantonese terms are given above are NOT of Cantonese origin. Surely that's "cultural appropriation". All the pronunciations ARE for Cantonese. That, too, is appropriationistic.
The origin of the cheungsaam has been discussed elsewhere.
Calling it a 'qipao' is linguistic fascism.

I realize that I might offend the Jeremy Lams of the internet by writing this.
If any of them ever read it, they could be triggered.
My piles bleed for them.



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Sunday, May 13, 2018


Salami, cream cheese, baguette, and something in the cured meats department. The meeting was sparsely attended -- only seven people showed up -- because many members have mothers or are involved with mothers. Which surprised me. And on that note, I saw a picture of one of our members holding a freshly-minted grandchild in Germany.
Where he presently is.

All babies look like Winston Churchill.
Either that, or a meatloaf.


There were nearly as many bottles as people. Which, I suppose, is a good thing for a pipe club. There were no mothers in attendance. Several of the pipe smokers are old enough to let out of the house by themselves, and there is scant fear they'll come home with someone unsuitable.
There are no female members, which is a pity.

"You smell that? Do you smell that?... pipe tobacco, son! Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of pipe smoke in the morning, you know. One time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' cigarette fiend. The smell, you know that dark matured flue-cured leaf fragrance, with a smidgen of Perique, the whole hill.
It smelled like victory! Someday the war's gonna end ...

"Do you smell it? That smell. A kind of smelly smell ... Anchovies. Anchovies!!!"

Okay, I may be mixing up my quotes. The second one is from Mr. Krabs, in Sponge Bob Square Pants. I will have to strongly suggest that next time there should be some anchovies. Maybe I'll even bring them myself.
Men who like strong flavours assuredly like anchovies.

When you're in the jungle facing Charlie, what would you rather have?
A nice tin of anchovies, or a lousy pack of cigarettes?
Darn right! You want the anchovies!

Neither of our two medical men were there this time. They're probably still smarting from the previous month, when I reminded them that more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette. Doctors in ALL branches of medicine, doctors in all parts of the country ...

No idea what the others were enjoying, but I had a bowlful of McConnell's Folded Flake going in one of my dad's old pipes, which he bought long before I was born. I hardly smoke it; it still smells like him.

From my perspective it was a pretty good meeting.
Still. No women. We've got to change that.


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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 ...