Tuesday, July 31, 2018


The first smoke of the day was after porkchops on Pacific. As I lit my pipe, the flock of pigeons descended upon a discarded sweet bun, frightening the living bejazus out of a little girl walking past with her granddad. She gave a panicky yelp. Or squawk. The sparrows trying to horn in on the feast were more confident. They've experienced this before.

Beckett, Jackson Street, Ross Alley, Spofford, Hang Ah Alley.

The nasty deposits on Beckett have been covered with sand, there are a multitude of tourists on Jackson, as well as in Ross outside the fortune cookie factory, Spofford looks clean and new, and on Hang Ah alley a druggie was singing to himself while injecting stuff into his arm.

Those mushroom sauce porkchops over rice were really quite lovely. There was a slight wait before I got seated, as they do a booming lunch business, but like the folks at the bank, they address me in Chinese, having gotten used to my accent.
And they automatically bring me the bottle of chili sauce.
Which the folks at the bank have not done yet.
I'll be surprised if they start.

The show on the teevee screen hung above the back table was the tail-end of a cooking show -- steamed pi pa lute soy bean curd (蒸琵琶豆腐), in which the shape of the musical instrument is cleverly achieved by using porcelain spoons as the containers for the mixture -- which segued into a talk and variety show with three hip dingoes, a floor covered with fake grass, and an audience of manic youngsters sprinkled with a few bored looking old people. And how to make broccoli soup.
Served cold. It is good for you.
Probably makes you go.

The Cantonese have accepted broccoli. As I get older I reject it. Chinese broccoli is far, far better, being more closely related to leafy mustard,
rather than the woody green cousin of cauliflower or whatever.

The porkchops and rice come with a handful of plain steamed brocs, of which I always eat some of because it's healthy and promotes something something something, but it's still a boring inconsequential vegetable.

After finishing my pipe I did some shopping before wandering down to Tea Bear Cafe for a sit and a beverage, and eventually loaded up another pipe. While contemplating the miracle that is Perique, several eccentrics passed by in various directions. The gentleman with a straw doll-hat on his head and very tight faded army green, Patches (also known as 'Raggedy Andy'), whom you should never talk to, because he's a very angry person and you will regret it, and a bearded fellow wearing snakeskin cowboy boots and a charming tutu a few sizes too small, which wasn't perfectly clean.

That last mentioned individual dances and sings.
When he thinks no one is watching.

I realized that the reason why I get treated so well in the neighborhood is because I look quite kempt, don't act weird, and have age. If you keep yourself clean and reasonably trimmed, you belong.
At least you are unobjectionable.

Regarding the sparrows I mentioned earlier, I had to look up what that bird is called in English. Sparrows, bushtits, and blackbirds (mussen, mezen, en merels) are some of my favourite small birds. Finches, robins, and towhees (vinken, roodborstjes en towieën) not so much. The scrub-jay (de blauwe haher), of course, is spectacular and memorable, and acts rather like its charming larger cousin, the crow (de kraai).

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On a regular basis I visit the BBC website for news and interesting articles. That, plus a few other news sources not connected to Fox or Alex Jones, keeps me apprised of the important stuff. In the internet age it is easy to be more informed than one would have been in the years when newspapers were the common daily read.

What both internet and newsprint share is that a good headline will attract the reader. More than just the title of the piece, it must inform without necessarily spilling the beans. "What is this", you will happily say to yourself, "and golly what else is there to this matter?"
It quirks your curious bone.
You are pulled in.

Which explains how I found the sentence below.

"Vaginal dryness is a common but treatable problem that many women experience at some point in their lives."

From an article titled "Vagina rejuvenating therapies 'pose serious risk'" (source: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-45017445).

Now, I suppose I did indeed know about vaginal dryness before, but it was mostly an intellectual awareness, rather than something I thought about very much. It was rarely at the forefront of my mind.
The concept, however, is not particular startling.
It does not make my eyes go gibbous.

It is rather like dry mouth.
Except different.

Reading about slack or dessicated female spongy bits was slightly more interesting than the article regarding bigfoot erotica. And I can't believe that I needed to find either of these matters on a news site.


The tobacco experts of Davidoff aim for a moist mouth. They believe that if the smoke dries out your mucous membranes, you won't enjoy the cigar as much or appreciate the taste as fully. A cigar should be a pleasurable experience, and wet tissues contribute immensely to that.

It's just something to think about.

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Monday, July 30, 2018


Halfway into Sausalito the flashbacks began. He had fallen over several times trying to put his bicycle on the front rack of the wrong bus, but he seemed steadier when he got to the other one. Then it turned out he didn't have any money, so the busdriver gave him a courtesy ride in order not to be delayed any further. It was a decision that I am sure he regretted.

With the flashbacks came loud tuneless singing. The pilgrim sat in the rear, with empty seats around him. At the centre of town several Germans got on, and very soon gravitated back to the front of the vehicle.
After initially going all the way back.

When we got to the bridge, he was discussing life with invisible people.

On Lombard Street, all the Germans got off, and he came to the front and sat across the aisle from me to tell the busdriver about astrology. He was fascinated by the driver's aura, but sensed from me that given even half a chance I would rip his throat out. He did not mean to shout at me, sorry.
He had tinnitus from his rave days back in the nineties.

I continued to radiate murderous negativity.
He picked up on that very well.
It discomfited him.

He disembarked at the same stop as I did. When I reached the intersection, I looked back and saw him already in the other block, arguing furiously with what appeared to be a street sign.

Further down the street toward my building a dishevelled person started up a conversation about cups of tea with a closed door. As I passed they got to the milk and sugar stage. The door would not tell him whether either were needed, or if the tea was fine as it was. The door stayed closed and silent.

If anything, it glowered in a hostile manner.
As doors are meant to do.
Keep out.

Home. My weekend. First strong coffee, maybe a nap. Two or three hours. Then a late night smoke while talking a walk. It is not at all unlikely that a glass of Scotch and water will be in play.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018


There were a whole bunch of children outside, with bicycles and helmets, while I was eating my tea-time sandwich (smoked meat, pepper cheese, chili sauce). They were supervised by a responsible adult, of course, because in the modern era you don't let kids out on their own.
I felt like yelling out at them "hey kids, come on inside! We got cigars!"
People like me are precisely why you don't let kids out on their own.

When I was young we weren't so protected and precious.

I enjoyed my first cigar when I was fifteen.

And already smoked a pipe.

I can honestly say I was an innocent little fellow, with my modest collection of briars and growing fondness for the dark Latakia blends. I didn't develop a taste for Scotch whisky till years later, back then it was the occasional (rare) glass of sherry, or a shot of Oude Genever.
But usually strong tea.

"Hey kids, come on inside! We got cigars!"

Nope, no sherry or Scotch. There's a bottle of frat boy party vodka on top of the refrigerator for cleaning, but you don't want to drink that.
It doesn't go well with good tobacco.

And no, we're not sending you down the road to the store with a note for Sukhwinder-ji: "Please give bearer a bottle of Old Reprobate, and bill us for it when next we're in". Children should not be entrusted with matters of credit. At least not until they have a job and find out about values and prices. Kids in Marin are special, they don't understand such things until into their thirties, when they graduate, with a degree in Ayahuasca, and their parents finally set them up with a loft in the Mission District.

"Tobacco can open the door to self-healing and a deeper understanding of the world, but the potency -- and potential pitfalls -- of these experiences means that a cigar deserves proper attention to set and setting, which will positively influence the internal landscape of a person’s psyche."

Native healing, mysticism, aesthetics, philosophy, religion, shamanism, all kinds meaningful, gestalt, natural green shit, and all that.

Why deny anybody the wonderful benefits?

It's life-changing, man.

Or meat and gluten. If you're from Marin, you might never have eaten them.
Trust me, these substances are life changing too.

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Several times during the night loud thumps woke me up. They came from my apartment mate's room. Now, before anything else is said, I should mention that my apartment mate is a woman eight years younger than myself, petite, slender, and altogether quite nice looking (she hates the word "cute") who is of 100% Cantonese extraction.

A very lovely, indeed, desirable person.

Very appealing to mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes do not bother me, except when she is unavailable. And I will blithely sleep through their depredations. She, on the other hand, keeps a supply of pillows to hit them with, even though her bed is surrounded by a mosquito net.

Mosquitoes really, really like her. She doesn't drink, she doesn't smoke, doesn't over-indulge in hot sauce or chilies .... which, of course, makes her infinitely tasty to a bug.

I also have a mosquito net, which I keep in my closet. If the insects get too pesky, I might light a stick of snow pear incense and chase them into her room, but whenever I do so I will be awakened in the middle of the night by bumps and crashes.

Of the two of us, I have the sweeter personality.
She's crabby, and has a criminal mouth.
Maybe not enough sleep.

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Saturday, July 28, 2018


My apartment mate has a social engagement this Sunday, and, like many female persons, worries about how she will look. "I have nothing to wear" she wails, "no clothes at all!" No clothes. At all. This is of course complete nonsense -- if she habitually walked around buck naked, I would be the first to notice -- and I have told her so.

As it turns out, and this is a surprise to me, men and women have different standards, and are measured by different yardsticks.

According to her, as long as men's clothing isn't stained with car oil, and we don't actually smell bad, we're okay. Date, night at the opera, fancy restaurant? Disco? It's all good. John-boy is presentable.

She claims it's different for women.

Because of other women.

Ladies, y'all nuts. Are you clean? Did you brush your hair and teeth? Did you cover your crack and cleavage? Then, as long as you're not swearing like a sailor and brawling drunkenly, you are probably all right.

Personally, I prefer women who know how to act in public over glamour queens, and an Oxford cloth shirt over comfortable (loose fitting) blue jeans or corduroys looks not only perfectly acceptable, but presentable and appealing to boot.

The smell thing is a slight problem, however.

Because of work, I often reek of tobacco. On my days off there is a subtle whiff of pipe smoke, but on the evenings after I leave the mine, old ladies and children quail. One busdriver a year ago nearly threw himself out of the window, and subsequently quit that route. Which was actually a good thing, because he was a complete blistering a--hole, but evenso.

Normally I dress fairly presentably. Button shirt, slacks, loafers.
Fairly neat haircut and beard. No male jewelry.

If I were a woman, but with the same personality, I would probably dress similarly. With the addition of discreet earrings, perhaps, or a tasteful pearl necklace. And a reasonably thick bra, because no one needs to know where the nipples are.

Yeah I know that most men are experts at figuring out where the nipples are, based on geometry, statistics, and mathematical skills, almost as if they're paranormal, but there is no need to give them any help.

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Friday, July 27, 2018


Sanity is a solid night's sleep, strong coffee, and a cigar. Our esteemed president should try it sometime. After dinner last night I went straight to bed, intending to nap for only a few hours. Woke up just after dawn.
Unlike our chief executive, I do not tweet.

I do not have a cell phone.

Epic covfefe fail.

On Facebook last night I discovered that someone accused me of both racism and righwingism. Not someone I actually know, and considering their limited acquaintance, it's rather amusing. I had dared to call South Africa a ghastly hell hole, which could only mean that I was a white supremacist drinking the neo-con kool aid.

Well, it IS a ghastly hell hole.

I cited rape statistics to prove it. For women and children, South Africa is an altogether beastly place. And for several years their government has been dominated by denialist reprehensibles. But pointing that out undoubtedly discredits whatever else I say.

Facebook is its own weird little universe, and I am not much bothered by the gibbering of fools in closed groups there. Nor shall I judge the tightly wound person who was triggered, as the berserk insanity of someone half my age and one quarter my brain who lives in New York is, in the grand scheme of things, not really important.
Covfefe upon them!


What really does move me is the memed statement that "Grandpa smells like Borkum Riff". The name of a purported childrens book. From which we can conclude that Grandpa is a frightful pervert with no taste who should be avoided, OR that Grandpa does not know any better and what was a lapse of judgment back in his Halcyon days has rigidified into sanctified habit now that he is old, stiff, and grey. The latter is forgivable.
Old men are, naturally, smelly and deviant.
I myself presently smell like cigar.
It's quite covfefic.

One of the delightful old fossils whom I know actually does smell of Borkum Riff, the Bourbon blend. He's actually a splendid chap, despite his skeevy taste in pipe tobacco, and I shan't hold it against him.
It's just a forgivable eccentricity.
He's British.

I'm sure that if someone ever does write a book titled "Grandpa smells like Borkum Riff" it will be a lovely modern fable. Charming, and simultaneously both sad and uplifting.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018


It started two blocks away in the fog. I had listened to John explaining how relatives were hijacking his wedding, which progressed into staff from a nearby restaurant complaining about birthdays -- no, I'm not sure how those relate to each other, and I do not see a logical progression, but they do connect -- and I spent most of that time outside smoking. A mere two whiskies and water. Along with two bowls of Golden Glow.
Me and my temperate habits had a splendid time.
Soft billows of mist.

The intersection of the bar is lovely on a foggy evening. Everything beyond a half block distance fades to silver grey, it is dark underneath trees where the street lights do not reach, and except for the occasional weirdo or alcoholic stumbling past, one could imagine oneself elsewhere and in an other time. Sam Gawith's Golden Glow is a rich tasting broken blonde Virginia flake, the pipes are an old Peterson army-mount billiard (老過我!) and a rehabilitated Sunrise from Comoy.

Altogether the best end to a peaceful day.

Porkchops cooked with tomatoes over rice at the New Hollywood. A pipe in Beckett Alley, then purchasing a lottery ticket on Jackson. Finished the bowl on a bench in Commercial. Strong coffee when I returned home, and a long nap. I got bit by mosquitoes twice.
The itch woke me up.

For some reason I remember malaria.
Maybe I should put up the net.
Normally they hate me.

I am inedible.

The second pipe lasted till after I got home and fixed myself a hot cup of 田七 with coffee and ginger. I finished smoking before going into the teevee room. White cheddar cheese puffs are a perfect snack at two in the morning. Salty crunchy creamy.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Yesterday evening a good friend of the opposite gender informed me that one of her coworkers firmly believes that the women's room at her office is ghost-ridden. And consequently knocks loudly to warn them off. Which is a datum that I cannot resist turning over in my head.
It's staggering.

Do bathroom ghosts observe everything?
Do they tssk, tssk when someone doesn't wash their hands?
Are they appalled by what happens in the men's room?
How would ghosts hang the roll? Do they care?
Do they wish they could still pee?

A fellow pipe smoker on the internet stated recently "when your prostate is the size of a lemon, but healthy, you just don't care anymore". One suspects that ghost prostates are rather like that. Possibly bigger better badder than ever, but it doesn't inspire concern, and it's not something to worry about.

As the little kid might have said: "W.C. dead people".

Several years ago my apartment mate came barging into the bathroom while I was in there smoking -- the bathroom is perfect for doing that in a mostly non-tobacco friendly household, because of an open window and the presumption of privacy -- loudly hollering "hellooooo, is anybody in here?" I'm slightly deaf, and I was preoccupied, so I hadn't heard her soft womanly knocking. I nearly stabbed myself with the scissors right then.
I believe most men trim their goatees at the sink.
In any case, it's not embarrassing.

Since then I keep an eagle ear cocked to her stumbling around in the hallway. And exclaim "oop, ack" whenever it sounds like she's coming too close. Oop, ack. Like Bill The Cat in Bloom County. Oop, ack. People living together should always have signature sounds so as to keep from startling each other. Hers is "beh", like a happy sheep.

Dematerialized people have neither effective vocal cords, nor an inner ear sensory epithelium studded with hair cells that release a chemical neuro-transmitter when they are stimulated. If they are ever stimulated. At least, one must assume that. So the chances of them being horribly offended by the poetry slam (free verse, ptooey!) held last night outside Vesuvio Cafe in Jack Kerouac Alley are probably zilch. And, by the same token, they probably don't hear loud knocking on the bathroom door.

So the reason why they hide in the women's room is obvious.
It's the presumption of privacy.
Oop, ack.

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The consensus is clear: white boys shouldn't rap. Just don't do it, y'all are lousy, and ain't got rhythm. Stop. Fools. Especially the bros from Sales or the Marketing Department. And when I say "consensus", what I mean is myself and the bookseller. Plus, probably, every single Chinese person in the bar -- the pot head ("most dangerous man in Chinatown") wasn't in the place -- including the hairdresser and tough little sister.

Yeah, somebody died and left us in charge.

And all of y'all just ain't fly.

These two tunes particularly:


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


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy4FXhkm6Nw.]

If someone said y'all were "scrubs", you should have taken it to heart.

This one, you can have:


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

It's perfect for your stormy jackboot of whiteness.
You sing, we hear Kansas and Ohio.
All cornfed and wet.

Auntie (姑媽 'gu ma'; father's older sister) is also tired of your screaming.
She's probably never heard the expression 'agida', but she instinctively knows that you are it.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018


After the past month at work in Marin County, you'll forgive me if, in my estimation, the only things that were worth eating in Marin were burritos, corn chowder, and hot sauce. Marin has some of the richest and most 'woke' communities on the planet. They can afford the best!
Burritos, corn chowder, and hot sauce.
Trust me on this.

Admittedly my exposure to fine dining in Marin is extremely limited, because without a vehicle I depend on whatever is within reach; two fastfood joints, a convenience store (think "Kwik-E-Mart"), and the ravenous desperation of one of my co-workers every few weeks or so.
Mostly, lunch while at work consists of sandwiches from the nearby convenience store, made edible with a bottle of Sriracha.

A week ago 'Ecktor' made a run for burritos.
On Sunday Neil made corn chowder.

Yesterday's sandwich was more New Yorkish hoohah than it was worth. Soft and nearly flavourless meats, bland and rather offensive white cheese, no condiments added, and thin miserable spongy tasteless rye bread.

I am left wondering at America's obesity crisis.
The big question is "why?"
And "how?"

I guess it must be all that vegetarian food, huh?
Plus your addiction to energy drinks.
Kale. And blue berries.

You know, if you take a fastfood burger and sit on it, it becomes small and dense, and you can fit more of them into your stomach.

Same with fries and "crispy" chicken lumps.

Dipping sauce, not so much.

On an unrelated and quite irrelevant side note, a Dominican belicoso with a Brazil wrapper may very well be the new breakfast of champions.
Medium strength, nice spicy edge, toasty-malty.
It has a very regular burn.

Great with strong coffee.

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Monday, July 23, 2018


The best way to light a cigar when one does not have a Xikar or Lotus torch is to heat water on the stove and place the stogie with the tip in the flame under the kettle. Which I standardly do when my apartment mate is out at work -- tomorrow and Wednesday morning, when I get up late because it's my weekend, that's exactly what I shall do AFTER firmly shutting the door to her quarters and opening windows -- but that wasn't an option this evening.
So I had my post-work coffee and cigar separately.
I was on the front steps with a smoke I may resume long after midnight. Not a very good cigar, but the company representative wants feedback, so I'll let him know that it pissed off three people, and one charming young lady strolling past actually smiled at me. It's decent.
Three angry muffins, one lovely smile.
That's good.

During the day, while I was greedily finishing the last load from the tin of Dunhill Dark Flake which I opened last week, Joshua from Alabama strolled in, and we chatted. He needed two things: 1) something non-aromatic so that no one goes ballistic at the one place in downtown SF where a man can smoke indoors, and 2) a better recommendation for Chinatown eating than the glib recommendation (based on word-play) than I had thrown into the air last week.

For the first: Arango Balkan Supreme. It's lovely stuff, and great fun to jes' power through a bowl. Plus it's guaranteed to keep Mister Post from having conniptions. I mentioned the time I was smoking a pipe ghosted with Very Cherry (yeah, sometimes I'm a fruity pervert), and Mr. Post came past looking for the offender huffing ghastly stuff. Even though I was at that time enjoying something civilized in my pipe, that faint whisper was enough.
I blamed the young fellows outside vaping.
And mentioned caramel flavour.
Damned hippies.

[Note to self: When heading to the cigar bar, do NOT bring a pipe that reeks of vanilla custard. Nor the last briar in which you smoked Molto Dolce to torment a coworker.]

For the second, these:


['ling naam siu gwun']
631 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Telephone: 415-982-7877

On the corner of Commercial, between Sacramento and Clay. Probably the best Cantonese food in the city. This is where you take your out-of-town relatives. A bit expensive.

['king to tsan-kwun' *]
839 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA 94108.
Telephone: 415-397-6269

Between Waverly Place and Hang Ah Alley, just down from Stockton, up from Grant. Good family style Cantonese, nothing exceptional, but the kind of restaurant that you will happily go to again and again.
It's my kind of place.

['gong san po siu laap siu sik']
801 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133.
Telephone: 415-982-3516

On the corner of Powell and Broadway. Roast duck, roast pork, soy sauce chicken. Yeah, no other reason to go there. It's roast meats, chilluns.
The roast duck is fabulous.

['seung-hoi fan-diem']
640 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.
Telephone: 415-982-0618

Not Cantonese, obviously. But if you wanted Northern style dumplings (蒸的韭菜水餃), this is the place. And Shanghai food is very good, so definitely a lovely choice. One of these days I may take a date there.


['ging seng']
662 Commercial Street, San Francisco, CA 94111.
Telephone: 415-398-2838

Between Montgomery and Kearny, around the corner from my bank. Excellent place for lunch-time groups, might be a good idea to make a reservation. Deservedly crowded around noon. Very nice.

['do hou chaa sat']
808 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133.
Telephone: 415-392-2828

Just up from Stockton Street. Good food, great prices, eccentric service, and congested old people. Seriously. Gramps should NOT eat the black bean sauce spareribs because it makes him hack, but it's so good .....

['yeung seng chaa sat']
49 Stevenson Street, San Francisco, CA 94105.
Telephone: 415-541-4949

Opposite no. 1 Ecker Place, in a narrow alley between Market and Mission Street. Expensive, but extremely worth it. This is the show-case dim sum restaurant in the city, and excellent if you have an expense account.
Also a good place to take your snooty mainland relatives.

['yuet hoi hoi sin taai jau lau']
655 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.
Telephone: 415-495-3064

Right across the street from the U. S. Passport Office, south of Market about four blocks. Brisk business catering to large family groups, and most of the white folks haven't heard of it. There may be excitable rug rats running around on weekends .....

Several of the bakeries and bakery restaurants are also nice places, but there might be nothing there that visitors recognize, and while the staff would love for strangers to make happy discoveries and enjoy the food, explaining it in English in a way that someone not familiar with the genre can relate to might be a little beyond their skills.

Chinatown is a perfect area for lunting, because the residents aren't easily triggered by such things. And you might get the occasional admiring glance with a pipe. Tomorrow I shall be wandering around late at night smoking the "pipe for watching rats in Spofford Alley".
Prior to a weekly pub crawl.


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Sunday, July 22, 2018


The juristitialist came in, intending to quietly read the sports section, watch a bit of telly, and smoke a cigar. He had a relaxing afternoon planned, and circumstances looked like they would cooperate.
Unfortunately I was present.

Last week he had waxed effusive, sluttily lubricious, and damned well deliquescent about certain facets of our president which were commendable and credit worthy.

"Was there", I asked, "anything in the last week that might have changed that point of view?"

I have seldom heard such a stream of descriptive filth coming out of his normally clean juristitialistic mouth. Any mouth, really. Apparently our president is a five year old cretin. With an insanely needy ego. A psycho.
Of course, once the man of law had relieved himself, he returned to the theme of this is good, that is okay, and down with Obama the source of all that is bad in American policy, though at least he had added more nuance to the previous week's "nuance". But, having gotten riled up, he was ripe for R the Sub-continental to verbally jab him a bit, and for the next hour and a half I could hear his voice rise and fall as he worked over the Germans, the Japanese, the Chinese, and the Canadians.

After hearing him initially curse Trump I had withdrawn, and kept myself occupied towards the front of the building. But even from that distance it was evident that he was on a roll, and determined to keep on rolling, no matter who entered the lounge. A situation with which I was perfectly happy, but R the Caucasian did not enjoy it when he came in, two others left early, and the mad Irishman correctly guessed that somehow I was at the root of this.

An hour and a half, solid. And more than.

The cigar which the juristitialist ended up enjoying hardly at all because he was too worked up, in case you were wondering, was a Rocky Patel Edge Nicaraguan Habano Toro. Dark, spicy, somewhat oily looking. Esteli, Condega, Jalapa. The smoke starts off woodsy and peppery.
It soon settles in to an almost chocolate note.
It's well made and reliable cigar.

R the Sub-continental was very chipper when he left, R the Caucasian seemed distracted, almost weary, and the Irishman was less than his normal self.

It was a productive afternoon.

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The 'party-hearty' white Chads: Destroy the planter box in a fit of boyish exuberance. Overturn a garbage can. Scream. Then all five pile into an Uber, because North Beach awaits.

The threesome: Argue and curse each other all the way from Larkin to Polk. It's only one block, but by the time they got down there, the entire street knew more about them than their parents.
Oh, and he loves her.

The delightful young couple: Seriously, eloquently, and intelligently discussing in great detail why this was not the right time.
They were still doing so an hour later.
So well-behaved!

On the way home there was a brawl on Polk Street.
I looked back once I got to the corner.

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Saturday, July 21, 2018


The cigar was fairly mediocre and irregularly rolled, the soup was rather good, but the show was enchanting. And frankly, I would've gladly traded the cigar for more of the show.
No, shan't mention the cigar brand. It was a freebie anyway.
The soup was spicy; sausage and mustard greens.
And the show was accidental.

I had chucked a small handful of broken noodles into the soup, let it cook a little longer, and then went out to the front steps to enjoy a cigar before dinner. The food needed to cool down a bit before I dished it up. Across the street a pretty young Asian lady wearing just a black bathing suit and an oversized white cardigan against the cold was wrestling her big-ass motorbike from the sidewalk into a crowded garage.
The cardigan was not buttoned up.

I had no idea a presentable young person with such charming taste in evening wear lived across the street. This changes the paradigm.

No, I shan't stroll up to her some day to introduce myself, because I'm rather shy, twice her age, and not into motorbikes. Instead, I'll just count on her coming up to me late in the evening, when I'm smoking my last pipe of the day, and self-assuredly striking up a conversation. Perhaps about some very civilized pipe tobacco with an old-school aged Virginia aroma, slowly smoldering in a conservative pipe (no weird extroverted Danish freehands), high quality briar of a reliable make, and how she can tell that I am a quiet well-behaved sort with seriously good taste.

And why hasn't she seen me before?

Yeah, somehow I don't think that is likely to happen. Not in this life.

To the average youngster half my age I probably look like a dessicated old fossil, or the Republican asshat in the company mailroom, who always sneers when handing over her Victoria's Secret catalogue.

I still have plenty of that sausage left. Good with mustard greens, but also probably German-style, with curry.

In a very short while I shall be heading out with dark flake in the Comoy apple, for a nice quiet smoke outside a nearby public house. Now and then I'll go back in to revisit my drink, but most of the time I'll be daydreaming.
Think of it as a process of deconstructing the day.
A pipe allows for quiet time.


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Friday, July 20, 2018


A viral clip shows what distinctly looks like a young white male of the jock / yuppie / suburban middle class bro persuasion cutting in line at a taco shop in Detroit. After brazenly going to the front of the line, and refusing to allow people who were there ahead of him to have their go, he got head-smacked by another customer. While bystanders remonstrate with the smacker, the idiot line jumper goes right back to the front of the queue.
Things turn ugly. But only a little.

I suspect that the area where this happened is fairly prosperous and middle-class. Because almost anywhere else, the coroners office might have been involved. Or vicious trannies kicking each other in the cahoonts, such as happened not too long ago in San Diego.

[Possibly it was at Hot Taco behind the Fox Theater, somewhere in the 'Entertainment District'. Which is open till two in the morning. And, equally likely, Chaz was intoxicated when he started something, and he thought his friends Bryan, Spencer and Todd, and the rest of his posse had followed him in. They were all needy, young, and entitled. Very special.]

There's a line, dude. Do you really want angry strangers behind you?
Ravenous, late at night, and mad as hell?
Where you can't see them?

Those shrimp tacos are to die for.

My heart goes out to everyone cooking Mexican food for Chaz, Bryan, Spencer and Todd in the heartland. It must be horrible to always be outnumbered by cargo shorts, argyle, and Reeboks.

By the way, for what it's worth, the best line I read today was from a Dovbear post: "while dumb, pathetic white men across the country were chanting "lock her up" ... ". Yeah, that really does say it all.
Welcome, comrade, to Vladimir Putin's America.

Post Scriptum: I live in San Francisco.
The rest of the country is Kansas.
We have much better tacos.
Please don't visit.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018


When I saw Tinfoil Hat Steve harangue a coworker, I decided it was time to make myself a cup of tea. When he left, she took the opportunity to hide in the bathroom. He came back in and told me to expressly inform her that England was constantly shooting guns at us, and the queen was the most evil person on the planet, and ate babies covered with gold leaf.
I believe he thinks she can do something about that.
Mystic Armenian powers, or something.

He then spent an hour and half outside chainsmoking and muttering to himself. I asked my voodoo-queen coworker to remove him, utter an incantation, dissolve him into thin air, something. No such luck.
Her power does not extend to the patio.
Mystic Armenian, hah!

No wonder the English monarch is worse than both Hillary Clinton and the Russian consulate in San Francisco. Nobody is capable of magically counteracting her powerful aura.

My coworker either does not understand or appreciate my sense of humour, nor appreciate or understand Tinfoil Hat Steve's sound good sense.

It's sad.

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Several Trump supporters dramatically announced their departure from a group. Because, apparently, the rest of us are meanies without a shred of evidence parroting fake news. Okay. Bye Felicia. Nobody cares.

Oh, the hurts!

I seriously appreciate the tendency of those people and other verkrampte religious types to isolate themselves. One cannot convince them with facts -- something the Mueller investigation keeps churning up, and regarding which the Benghazi investigation fell short -- and appealing to their better instincts won't succeed because many of them have none.
They are like the first daughter in that respect.
Dead, droid-like, sociopathic

As Emily Jane Fox says:

“It just shows how fake Ivanka is,” Fox continued, adding: “She’s crafted this whole image of herself that’s not actually her. And the real her is cooler, slightly more interesting, funnier. She curses like a sailor. She partied a lot when she was younger. She flashed a hot dog vendor when she was in eighth grade. She chain-smoked. Which is so opposite of the image she put out there. What you’re seeing now is the unmasking. She can’t control the narrative anymore because she’s so inauthentic.
It has really come back to bite her.”

“Ivanka Trump is the most masterful compartmentalizer that America has maybe ever seen,” she said. “She is able to separate those things in a way that you and I probably can’t understand.”

Source: Trump Family Biographer Shreds Ivanka Trump: She’s ‘Fake’ And ‘Dead Inside’; from an essay by Samuel Warde, June 28, 2018.

Well, maybe that's unfair. Comparing them to her.
I really should be more Christian.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018


If any tourists ask, just tell them it's 'meaningful', and a deeply spiritual experience. It isn't what it looks like. It may seem that it's covered with melted cheese, but that's just your imagination.
Hong Kong Chinese aren't eating themselves into clogged arteries.
And yes, they are lactose intolerant.

Last week I saw a somewhat chubby woman happily putting forkfuls of cheese covered porkchop into her face, today I ordered the baked seafood rice. Which naturally was a layer of egg-fried rice, with fish chunks, shrimps, and squids, drenched in white sauce, and the whole covered with a shocking amount of melted cheese.
I only ate half of it; the rest will be a midnight snack.
Trust me, it's very Hong Kong.


I didn't actually make "nom nom nom" sounds, but together with squirts of Sriracha chili sauce, a steaming cup of milk tea, and the Dunhill Dark Flake which I smoked in my pipe afterwards while lunting, I had a fine old time.

Baked and covered in cheese.
Just a light lunch.

I feel like I should now go clamber up twenty or thirty stories of bamboo scaffolding, and work for ten hours. I've got vim, vigour, and an excess of cholesterol. That's energy right there.
We're in the middle of typhoon season, by the way. 颱風山神 is threatening Vietnam after socking the Philippines, 安比 is heading toward Okinawa and the Ryukyus at this very moment.
If I were anywhere near bamboo scaffolding in the Eastern Pacific, I would keep an eye on the weather.

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One phrase stands out from a recent article about our president being interviewed on Fox News. And no, I did not see the interview, because hearing that man speak gives me blood pressure. The article was a BBC breakdown. Because the English watch Fox even if nobody else does.

"Mr Trump's depiction of Montenegro as a nation of conflict-crazy lunatics ... "

[SOURCE: 'Stupid statements'.]

The president was confusing Montenegro with Russia. Or Texas.
He misspoke, I'm sure of it.

I regularly cruise into the BBC website to find out what's going on in the world. Today I found out that there is a solution for vaginal dryness.
It comes in a bottle. Oh wait, that's just the advertising banner.

If you live in Russia or Texas, it's recommended.

In either place, purchase a sixpack.

Consume copiously.

No matter how big a fan of the current president you are, you can't rely on videos to keep your tissues "healthy" forever. Eventually the moisturizing effect will wear off.

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The smell of pot was rich, heady, and darned near nauseating. This was because the self-proclaimed "most dangerous man in Chinatown" was outside getting stoned. Honestly, I do like him. Despite the fact that he's a pothead, young, silly, and callow. But man oh man, that ganja reek.


Sometimes, angry exclamations are better written down in such a way that a Mandarin speaker can grasp the gist, but an American born youngster can't. And Jenny has been in Chinatown long enough so she can construe any amount of scribbled Cantonese. She happily admitted that she found the odour unbearable. All putrid, lah. 很臭!

This blogger does not like ganja.

I don't care that it's grown by little green nature men in the Amazon who hug dolphins and recycle. Screw them and their tie-dyed natural fibre.
I hope they choke on gluten-free crap and die.
Thank you.

Other than Zonker Harris outside getting whacked, it was a good evening. Only a few white people singing, and they seemed like nice chaps despite not being able to hold a tune or add one iota of depth to the lyrics.
Once they left, Michael Jackson came on.
I asked Jenny to skip that tune.
I hate Michael Jackson.

On the way home, swirling fog enrobed us. Cold, not freezing. Rather moist.
A dense and very San Franciscan night. We contemplated the wonders of the Sunset and Richmond district. And the bus lines that went there.

Sleep well, see you next week.
Zai gazunt. Be well.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018


A few years ago I realized that many of my activities made me an unsuitable person for your daughter to date, or your sister to hang around with. Not, as you will understand, because of any skeevy tendencies or cultic behaviour, but simply because they would be underwhelmed, and you would think me unsocial or peculiar. Which I'm not. But I am indeed quite unsuitable.

I don't go to clubs or expensive restaurants.
No opera, no symphony, no ballet.
Not a datable man.

Oh, and I am also middle-aged, creaky, and unexciting.
I smoke a pipe and mutter to myself.
Foot powder!

You're right; none of this helps.

With that in mind, let's look at my favourite places.....
A walking tour, so to speak.

First North-South street, a main drag

The place that used to have great pork siu mai:
Still very inexpensive, but the food is different now. Decent, unsurprising. Clean and brighter than it used to be, and the new owners are hard working. Nice for a quiet meal while listening in on Toishanese picking up some food for the family, or old folks coming in alone for a simple dinner.

The three dishes one soup lunch counter:
Friendly enough (meaning: reserved and not effusive), cheap, my kind of food. I particularly like the mui choi kau yiuk, and their congee and yautiu hit the spot. Good for people watching.

A bakery with geezers in the back:
Hot milk tea, stellar egg tarts and flaky charsiu turnovers, and it helps to speak Chinese. Tourists come in, are baffled by the selection, and don't realize that they have to compete for the attention of the people behind the counter. Hot food is also available, but the kitchen closes at around four.
The tables are frequently occupied by old folks speaking Toishanese, including one lively old lady whose granddaughter recently gave birth.

Vietnamese Chinese sandwich joint:
Good place to watch the busy street in front, while having curry noodle soup and iced coffee.
Or grilled pork and noodles.
A sammich.

Vietnamese restaurant that opened recently near Walgreens:
Heavens, that's some nice grilled pork!
Garlic noodles.

Second NS street, further up

Small family eatery:
Decent enough, plain, but the food is good. The grandmother doesn't speak English, and isn't fluent in Cantonese, but her Mandarin is probably quite passable because of the soap operas she watches on a small laptop device in the afternoon. Her little granddaughter prefers that I talk English; I don't speak Toishanese, she doesn't understand Cantonese too well.
There's crunchy wood ear in the fish flavour eggplant.
Bittermelon fish over rice, good.
Claypot rice.

The roast meats place:
Very popular for take out, because their roast meats are stellar. But you can also go in for lunch or early dinner, and their rice plates are darned fine. You will hear Toishanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin there, as well as white people asking for crap with tofu, sweet and sour pork, or vegetarian food.
Roast pork tzeet gwa over rice, roast duck rice, white cut chicken, charsiu, painted octopus, soy chicken, and other things.

Third NS street, middle of the neighborhood

Toishanese people running a chachanteng:
Their milk tea is very nice. The waitress brings me a cup automatically now, before I can even look at the menu. Middle aged ladies like to go there for a shared meal together, some students have their dinners there, and frequently parties of four or five people will come in for a family dinner, speaking various dialects. They'll wait till the everyone's there before ordering.
Tourists often have sweet and sour pork, kung pao substances, or any one of the recognizable Chinese restaurant standards.
Or, you know, vegetarian food.

First crosswise street

Family style Canto:
Counter seating and mirrors, gets busy right around dinner time, but they also do lunch. I hardly ever sit at a table, because there's just one of me. But the mirrors make observation easy. Cantonese people who go there know what they want, sometimes Northerners aren't complete idiots, and tourists order predictably. They can also feed vegetarians.

Second crosswise street

Milk tea. Baked Portuguese chicken rice. Chicken bits and salt fish fried rice. Congee (very nice pork meatball congee, also abalone and chicken congee, etcetera). Fried noodles. Hainanese chicken rice. Club sandwich.
Because the dining room is big, it's excellent for people watching, but not so good for listening in. When I go there I enjoy a nice quiet meal by myself in a bustling environment.
Or sometimes, when it's slow, the peacefulness.
They have Sriracha hot sauce.
Just ask.

Third crosswise street

Dimsum counter:
Good snackies, hits the spot. Pork siu mai, cheung fan, chive dumplings, sticky rice chicken, fried taro puffs, and so forth. Other than the boss-lady, English not their skillset is ..... Neighborhood people go there for nibbles, tourists come in to point and ask complicated existential questions. The last three times I sat upstairs, because Filipinos and Germans were at the three tables downstairs. Good for people watching if you like baffled tourists.

Another dimsum counter, smaller selection:
More home town people, far fewer tourists, scant seating.
But it's good. Quite good.

Chop house:
Cheap, bustling, slightly greasy-spoony, and probably too dubious for the suburban middle classes. The food is decent, and there are a fair number of regulars who like the place very much. It's been around for years.
Sort of American food, sort of Chinese.
Extremely unpretentious.

Fourth crosswise street

Two spots:
A bakery that also does hot food, two doors up from a Hong Kong style western food restaurant. Both places have great milk tea, and do lovely porkchops. Both are home town kind of places where the people watching is excellent. Most of the customers are Cantonese, of course.
Both places are sort of 'old school'.
It's a good vibe.

And there are other places. None of them qualify as somewhere you would take someone to impress them, or even very many white folks, but with the right company they'd be perfect. Cheap, decent food, and good for people watching.

Better in many regards than the library, museums, or movie theatres.
No need to dress up, just be comfortable.

Eat, observe, then smoke a pipe.
Perhaps have milk tea.

The other night I was thinking that the best person for a certain friend would be a quiet woman who would come over to read all his books while he was gallivanting about elsewhere. He'd come home, she'd be curled up asleep on the couch. He get a blanket and tuck her in, then go to his bedroom.
Perhaps after smoking a cigar on the patio.

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Monday, July 16, 2018


When you hear four cigar-smoking gentlemen discussing how they don't see colour or ethnicity, they judge people entirely on their own merits, for the benefit of a black visitor also smoking a cigar, there are two possible courses of action. One is to step into the lounge and calmly explain to them precisely why, even though three quarters of them are undoubtedly sincere, they sound like they're full of horse feathers.

The other response is to stick one's head in and loudly proclaim that the only logical basis for judging any human is how well marbled they are.

You can probably guess which approach I chose.

I've changed tea recently, and instead of Pu Er at work, I am now drinking a nice green from Hangzhou. It's more or less a Dragon Well, but at a far more reasonable price.
Consequently, I spent the entire day high as a kite on caffeine.

At present, having finished dinner, I am having a cup of coffee, after which the open road beckons. A pipeful of Dunhill Dark Flake in a suitable briar, and a friendly public house just two short blocks away.
Maybe an extra pipe in my coat pocket.
Don't have to work tomorrow.
Need sane people.


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A brief survey of the neighborhood last night indicated that staying out for a prolonged period, even at the friendly neighborhood public house I favour, was contra-indicated. Despite their anniversary fiesta
Just too much "stuff" in the air.

Item one: a carload of women dressed like filles de joie (i.e.: trashy hoes) parking, then staggering down the block screeching. I am not entirely sure whether their clothing choices were well-thought out or meant ironically.

Item two: a flock of drunken bicyclists. One of them with a boom box.

Item three: biggest completely fake breasts ever, that being a cross dresser making a statement with those completely unbelievable augmentitits under his sweater. He seemed unstable.

Item four: very loud dance party with trashy people at a local bar, blocking the sidewalk between Clay and Washington on Polk.

Item Five: tattooed heathens. A rather large number of them. You know the type: scrawny build and a narrow drug-addict face, bright eyes, pallid skin.

Item six: a young lady wearing an oversize French flag. And nothing else.

Yes, Eric, the augmentititted person was the one that staggers your eyes every Sunday evening. But he may have had more to drink last night than normal, what with the French winning the cricket championships this year. Which could also explain the rest of the items on the list. Like everyone,
I associate filles de joie with celebrations of national manhood.
As well as wiry methfreaks and heroin junkies.

I smoked my pipe mostly on my own front steps.

In that time I heard police sirens.

Many times.

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Sunday, July 15, 2018


Somewhere in this neighborhood lives a father with an unusual nickname for his infant. Before they came into view, I thought he meant his dog.

"Come along, Poopster, you can do it."

Kid's walking already, but probably not aware of the connotations of his nickname. Assuming that his dad will stop using it when he's finally housebroken, he need never know.

Unless there is video.


Anyhow, I think that is quite charming -- Poopster, hee hee -- and I am very glad cell-phones didn't exist when I was a child.

Cute looking kid. Happy, smiling, and determinedly locomoting up the hill in a rather steady waddle. Delightful.

The Poopster.

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For some reason which I cannot explain I thought about the Shanghainese girl this morning. I knew her years ago, we drifted apart, and lost ...