Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Over the past few weeks I have realized that my generation have become, by and large, a bunch of sour and reactionary whiners. Indeed, I distrust much of "youth culture", do not own a cell-phone, and am in no way gender dysphoric, but on the other hand I do not spend my time bellyaching about the price of gas, those liberals, and the mommy state.

Sure, I sympathize immensely with the old fart on the bus who announced that everything hurt and all of us smelled bad. That grouchy statement he made is an appealing welt-anschauung as well as an existential battle cry.

But too many people middle aged and older are meanies.

I connect this with enjoying American style team sports, watching Fox News, and swilling beer. All three of those things lead to brain-rot and dessicated gonads, as well as undue sympathy for the overdog, crappy choices, and the slow, inexorable slide into an old age of dried prunes.
And fibre supplements.

Precisely the kind of rancid shitbags who voted for Trump.

On the other hand .....

I'm in my fifties. I smoke a pipe. Everything goes better with hot sauce.
Most days I'm full of caffeine, nicotine, and highly refined sugar.
I do not mumble to myself, or spill soup into my beard.

"Come here, young fellow or little miss, would you like some fine aged flue cured leaf, pressed into a brick and sliced by a venerable British company? It is exquisite!"

At some point I must persuade young vibrant people to take up tobacco, because when I am in my nineties, decrepit, and wheelchair-bound, I will need someone considerably younger to push me and my conveyance out into the only legally designated smoking area left, which will probably be the salt flats bordering the bay, so that I can enjoy a good smoke.

Their incentive will be a similar fondness for briars, rather than my company.
Which might be less than sparkling.

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The poncy man on stage in the video sang better. Instead, half the time we got the black guy with the voice, his oily Eastern European boyfriend, or the very drunk Anglo with a girlfriend who was swilling too much next to me. White people should not sing karaoke. Especially not when they're trying to impress girlfriends or boyfriends.

Perhaps unfortunately, the Chinese did not sing.

They were too busy with liars dice.

And snarfing pizza.

The poncy video dude was doing Canto Pop. He was interrupted too many times by white folks who wished to sing Elton John numbers. I have never, in my entire life, wanted to sing an Elton John song.

Nobody I would date, or wish to do naughty things with, has ever demanded that I do an Elton John song.

Nothing I do has needed Elton John.

I wish that to be clear.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Last night my apartment mate made a stewed lamb shank. The aroma filled the building. Her door was ajar, and in her room there is a charming little she-sheep, the able assistant to Ms. Bruin, who is the head roomie.
In my room, Snidely resides. He is the head sheep.
There are many animals here.
Some are sheep.

All of these creatures have very acute senses! They hear me when I call the little black kitty a bitch. Because she wishes to eat the little girl hamster.

This morning I was on the front steps in my bathrobe, shivering my balls off, because the discreet fragrance of a cheroot upsets them.

They can't smell cooking mutton?!?

I am oppressed!


The title of this essay is the way I explained to her how the Gabor sisters maintained the skin tone of their necks, when at an age when most other women have wrinkled leathery wattles there.

It made complete sense.

At the time.

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Monday, October 29, 2018


While having my second cup of tea a little girl sat at the next table over. Her mother was ordering drinks at the counter, and the little girl was being quiet and obedient, but politely responded to my 'nei ho' by calling me 'sook sook'. Because, of course, I am older. By her standards I am probably a dessicated old antique, aside from being bearded, white, and scary.

When she and her mommy left, she blew me a kiss.


One's father's younger brother is 叔 ('suk'), often used as a term of address, familiar yet respectful, and often duplicated to form a bisyllabic word.

To create more distance between oneself and the old geezer, one should use 'mister' (先生'sin saang'), such as the teenage schoolgirls on the other side. Which was completely appropriate, as at their age they should not claim great familiarity with strange men, or any familiarity at all, especially with the sparkling and vibrant young middle-aged dude sitting nearby, with his pipes and tea. But the infant was quite correct in calling me uncle.
Ah sook (阿叔) is also what adults may call an older man -- it is friendly and indicates that he is a known and non-threatening quantity, yet gives a nod to his superior age -- and is precisely what I myself call men of a certain age whose businesses I happily patronize, but whose names I do not know.

Except for Tsang sook, Chou sook, and Lei sook.
Because I do know their names.

'Sook' implies a familiarity, yet also a generational difference.
When Chinese terms of address are used inappropriately, there may be a skeevy taste left in the ears.
Nothing sounds more suspect than a late twenties to early thirties woman oozing out the term 'lou yeh' (老爺) when talking with an impossibly ancient alter kacker, or a mature man calling a young lady 'mui mui' (妹妹) under the wrong circumstances. If it can be misinterpreted, stick to formal terms.
Less risky for everyone.

As a side note, my apartment mate sometimes torments me by calling me 'yeh-yeh' (爺爺) precisely like the little girl in the movie The King of Masks (變臉 'pin lim'). Which, as intended, sets my teeth quite on edge.

It suggests superannuated decrepitude.


My post-teatime smoke and stroll carried me over to the corner of Waverly and Sacramento, where a winsome young damsel waited for someone.

Ah sook profoundly sympathizes with little ah mui, whose wait was in vain.
What kind of man does not call, and does not show up? What on earth possessed him to stand up someone so ..... um, precisely?!?

A man does not do that! Unless dead.


If I had spoken to her, the term of address would have been 'siu jeh' (小姐), or more formally 'neui si' (女士). Conceivably, as a nod to the nineteen thirties and movies from that era, politely, 'ah gu neung' (阿姑娘).
But I doubt she would have appreciated talk.
It would have invaded her privacy.
Very tactless!

做君子 。

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Sunday, October 28, 2018


Today would have been a good day to wear a kippah, of which I have a few. But I do not pray, lack faith, am seldom in a shul or other house of worship, often do things where a kippah would give a wrong impression of the correct behaviour one would expect from a person wearing a kippah, and do not need to show respect to kings.

Which means that I seldom wear one, and it would have been discordant and out of place where I work.

But, today would have been a good day to wear a kippah.

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Many people have reacted to what happened yesterday. Eloquently, intelligently, and often painfully. There is nothing I can add, because they have done so better, irrespective of their points of political view.

Naturally I am only talking about normal people.
No, I have not read the chatroom stuff.
I already know it all.

Not all voices are equal.

I cannot formulate what I wish to say. Everything that I could write would be inadequate and tinged by anger. And there already is far too much of that.

Anger can be good. Constructive, even.
Opposition to injustice and bigotry is often fueled by anger.
It can be calm, thoughtful, and sustained.
At present it is too raw.

Post scriptum: The irony of being an angry middle aged white male at this time is not lost on me. But you do not need to read about that.
There are better things out there.
Find peace.

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Saturday, October 27, 2018


Tonight is not a night to go out. When I got off the bus this evening, the first indication of that was the very drunk gentleman in a full body cow costume stumbling toward me on the sidewalk. Once he finally passed, I quietly muttered "moo" to myself. At the intersection of my block nearly everyone was dressed up for Halloween. There were many more cows.
Plus angry clowns. And goth temptresses.
Of either gender.

When I stepped out for a smoke two hours later, the intersection had gotten worse. Last night three people had thrown up within minutes of each other on the sidewalk near my building -- which, from across the street with a final pipe of the night I had been able to both see and hear, though, thankfully, no other senses were involved -- but in the next few hours there will be more.

I never get that toasted. I may have been mildly tiddly a few times this year, because I am not averse to a drink or two in good company, but never to the point of losing my lunch. The last time that happened was more than two decades ago when I had a couple of double martinis on an empty stomach, then escaped into the freezing night air. Which is when it hit me.
Those were very generous martinis.
I avoid martinis now.

I suspect that tonight crappy American beer will fuel eruptive indigestion on a massive scale down on Polk Street. Various cows, goths, daemonic beings, and fairies with neon-coloured wigs, will rue this day.

There will probably also be sexual escapades to regret.

Imagine the Venn Diagram of both these things.

It struck me today that the MAGA bomber looks and acts precisely like the love-child of Little White Nipple Guy and the Mad Irish Trumpite.
Neither of whom dropped by my work today.
If it weren't for the fact that they know and dislike each other, I would suspect that they're making another one, now that the first is in custody. Seeing as they are both men, the only way they could do that is by a Vulcan Body Meld, then rapid multiple cell meiosis.

Which of them is the Cow, which one the Gothic Slut?
Who knows, and nobody actually cares.
We don't want to watch.

A whole week of Halloween. Pod people puking.
And egg sacks all over town.

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Friday, October 26, 2018


It is possible, and even likely, that women do this too. But I can only speak for men. Many men. Single men. In San Francisco. Who sometimes think in foreign languages. Okay, specifically, Dutch American middle-aged grumps living between Polk Street and Chinatown, who smoke pipes and might indulge in a little whisky. Or coffee late at night. Tea at any time.

Earlier last night Ms. Bruin (the head roomie, a teddy bear) had read Snidely the sheep the riot act for being a right bastard towards Clarissa the little girl hamster and threatening to trim her whiskers. No wonder grandpa Hamster hated his ass and wished to beat him with a walking stick.
It would be the right thing to do. Fierce chastisement.

Don't even think of threatening hamster whiskers.
You deserve a horrible fate if you do that.
Fierce and savage beatings.

Then my apartment mate retired to her room, and peace descended.
Sometime after midnight I woke from a nap.
And went to youtube.

Which no doubt a very large percentage of the aforementioned fifty plus New Word Netherlandish personages in the Nob Hill area would naturally do, with or without a bowlful of Virginia and a spot of Loch Bunsworthy.
I actually had a cup of tea and a cheroot.

Recommended for me, by Youtube, based on previous clicks: 露営の歌, Televangelists: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Kad Slavonci krenuše - Partizanska pjesma, 夕陽之歌 - 梅艷芳, Swedish Chef turtle soup, The Kids in the Hall - Chicken Kabob, The People's Liberation Army Song, Killaloe, Rachid Taha- ya rayeh, La Marseillaise, 張國榮, 許冠傑 - 沉默是金 ...

Because of that last item, which was a duet by Leslie Cheung (張國榮) and Sam Hui (許冠傑), the next hour afterwards was spent listening to Leslie.
He has been gone since 2003. He was a great actor, a great singer.
And, it must be said, a remarkably nice looking fellow.
There was a likability to him.

The final song of the night was by Anna Lui.

雷安娜 舊夢不須記


Quite likely many of the people at work and many of the places I frequent elsewhere would neither understand nor appreciate much of this selection. "Oh well", they might dismissively say, "that's all just the shiznit that Northern California Dutchmen with bad taste like".

There was also some Anita Mui in the mix.
As well as 張學友 and 鄺美雲.
Truly great stuff.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018


Yesterday's dinner was pretty spectacular. No, not the food itself. The people watching opportunities. The restaurant is small and clean, and caters largely to a transplanted Hong Kong and Canton City clientele, and their American-born children. The food is simple, mostly Canto, not pretentious, but good. Quite good. And not expensive.

It's the kind of food you would want the cafe on the groundfloor of your apartment building in Mongkok or Yau Ma tei to have, so that you would hardly ever have to cook. Per arrangement with the owners, kids go there for a hot meal after Chinese school. Elderly codgers of either gender stop in for a bite. Harried moms have a bowl of wonton noodles, local people place orders to take out rather than hurrying home to cook full meals, couples have dinner together, teenagers come in for some chau min or ho fan .....

When I sat down at the long table there were two children eating rice plate specials nearby, an adult woman watched teevee on a handheld device further on, and an elderly man waited for his to-go food at the end. A young couple dined at a table along the wall, and two middle-aged ladies were chatting with the counter woman about food.

By the time my food came the two children at the long table had finished, and packed up their schoolbooks to go home. A white businessman took the table opposite and ordered fried noodles, and two hard-hat gentlemen from the metro digs up the street sat one over, and after scoping out the menu placed their orders, including "those things that look like small brains".
Which, I clarified for the counter woman, meant wontons.

Three girls came in and occupied the far end of the long table. Two of them were maybe fourth or fifth grade, the third may have already been in her twenties. Diverse plates of fried noodles ensued.

While I was there, several people came to order food, left to do errands, then returned to pick food up. And converse with the counter woman.

People watching, you probably understand, involves observing faces and noticing the thoughts and emotions that expressively come and go.
As well as listening in. While seeming not to.

After finishing my meal, I had some more tea.

It's the kind of place where everyone is naturally well-behaved, but not self-consciously so. A neighborhood place, with a customer base that feels comfortable there. It has a family folks vibe.

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Yesterday evening I was on the front steps enjoying a smoke when I noticed that my landlord had dumped more books onto the sidewalk for browsers to take. He's been cleaning out the basement because of the earthquake retrofit, and there was stuff in there from him, his wife, his parents in law, kinfolks, and several unknown others, going back thirty or forty years.
Including political science, French grammar, and sci-fi.
Also socialism, forks, and coffee cups.
But mostly books.

I am now the pleased owner of Websters Universal Unabridged Dictionary, and the Hintoi Honyu Chidin (現代漢語詞典 "Modern Chinese Dictionary").

Because my apartment mate is convinced that we don't need anymore stuff, they are hiding under my bed. Next to several other volumes.

She wasn't home yet when I snagged them.

Nobody's touched the coffee cups. They look tacky. Besides, if you want cups from the sidewalk, you are strange. But the pile of books is worth it.
A ripe pile for investigating, which changes on a daily basis.

Afterthought: When my apartment mate came home, she described someone she had seen as "looking too cracker to be a zombie."

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Does your heart fill with ecstasy? Another organ? Because if it doesn't, you may be defective. Courtesy of Tim who care-provides for glandered fossils in the great American Heartland, I have been made aware of this.

He posted a link to McGonagall Online -- A Tribute to William McGonagall, Poet and Tragedian of Dundee.

From whence the gem below.

Beautiful Nairn

All ye tourists who wish to be away
From the crowded city for a brief holiday;
The town of Nairn is worth a visit, I do confess,
And it’s only about fifteen miles from Inverness.

And in the summer season it’s a very popular bathing-place,
And the visitors from London and Edinburgh finds solace,
As they walk along the yellow sand beach inhaling fresh air;
Besides, there’s every accommodation for ladies and gentlemen there.

Then there’s a large number of bathing coaches there,
And the climate is salubrious, and very warm the air;
And every convenience is within the bathers’ reach,
Besides, there’s very beautiful walks by the sea beach.

The visitors to Nairn can pass away the time agreeably,
By viewing Tarbetness, which slopes downwards to the sea;
And Queen Street is one of the prettiest thoroughfares,
Because there’s splendid shops in it, and stocked with different wares.

And there’s ornamental grounds, and lovely shady nooks,
Which is a great advantage to visitors while reading their books;
And there’s a certain place known as the Ladies’ Beach,
So private that no intruder can them reach.

And there’s many neat cottages with gardens very nice,
And picturesque villas, which can be rented at a reasonable price;
Besides, there’s a golf course for those that such a game seeks,
Which would prove a great attraction to the knights of clubs and cleeks.

The surrounding scenery of Nairn is magnificent to be seen,
Especially its fertile fields and woodlands so green;
Besides, not far from Nairn, there’s Cawdor Castle, the ancient seat
Of the noble Thanes of Cawdor, with its bold turrets so neat.

And its massive proportions is very imposing to see,
Because the arched entrance is secured by a drawbridge and a fosse;
And visitors will be allowed all over the grounds to roam,
Besides shown over the castle if the Earl is not at home.

The scenery surrounding the castle is charming in the summertime,
And the apples in the orchard there is very fine,
Also the flower-beds are most beautiful to see,
Especially in the month of June, when the birds sing merrily.

Then there’s the ancient stronghold of the Bays of Lochloy,
And visitors when they see it will it heartily enjoy;
And a little further on there’s the blasted heath of Macbeth,
And a hillock where the witches are wont to dance till out of breath.

And as the visitors to Nairn walk along the yellow sand,
They can see, right across the Moray Firth, the Black Island so grand,
With its productive fields and romantic scenery,
And as the tourist gazes thereon his heart fills with ecstasy.

And Darnaway Castle is well worthy of praise,
And to oblige all visitors there are open days,
When they can see the castle where one thousand warriors in all
Oft have assembled in the Earl of Randolph’s Hall.

And in conclusion I will say for good bathing Nairn is the best,
And besides its pleasant scenery is of historical interest;
And the climate gives health to many visitors while there,
Therefore I would recommend Nairn for balmy pure air.

------William Topaz McGonagall

I am torn between mentally hearing these lyrics in the accent of David H, an Irishman who punctuates his rhetoric with the 'F' word and is a vehement Trumpite, or Allan B the somewhat leftwing bartender from Scotland, snarling unintelligibly in Glaswegian gibberish.

Years ago a grammar school teacher forced all of us to listen while a "talented" classmate read the epic poem she had written.
It was horrendous, but there were rhymes.
I lost several braincells that day.

The "poem" above describes Marin, where I work.
The air is balmy, there are witches.
It is very spiritual.


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The woman whose friend had died -- a fact which she wished to impress upon me repeatedly -- was easily distracted by blinky things. Which was good; she projected wounded rabid groundhog from the first moment she attempted to engage me in conversation while I was smoking outside Vesuvios, and rather than responding meaningfully I wandered off.
We ran into her again at the Chinese place.
Three more times.

She drifted in and out. I can jabber in Cantonese and Mandarin, so obviously as a foreigner and not speaking English, I can't be a suitable conversational victim. I told the bookseller to speak in German with an Italian or Russian accent to discourage her if she came too close.

She was waiting for fresh meat when we left.
When Michael unlocked the door to let us out, he told her in Cantonese to kindly piss off, although given that she understood not one word he was probably far too polite in his term of address.

Part of that is the need to compartmentalize people.
Kwailo sinsaang (鬼佬先生), so po (傻婆).
Mr. Ghost-devil, batshit auntie.

The karaoke stopped half an hour or more before we left, which was good, because there is only so much drunken singing by young white types one can take. Michael Jackson palls, Abba is insufferable, and anything emotional becomes painful to the ears.

Earlier, mention of chicken spleens reminded me of the Spongmonkeys.
They're rather good.



PO ... TAY, TOE!




That's classic entertainment right there!
Not karaoke, AND they are toasted!
They even have a pepper bar!

Nearly everyone I know deviates from the norm. If I don't know you, you could be more strangely askew than I can deal with. So my sympathy for the fact that your friend passed away might not be quite optimal.
And those panda pajama pants worry me.

The chicken spleens were on a Chinese menu.
脾 ('pei') means spleen, pancreas.
雞脾 ('gaai pei') doesn't.
Chicken thigh.

The caption of this essay is what I heard on the bus, said by a gentleman significantly older than myself. It's an existentialist battle cry.
I shall adopt it as my own.

To confound the bookseller, I can attest that chicken spleen does exist.
Quote: "The chicken has no lymph nodes, and so the spleen is its main peripheral lymphoid organ. The principal role in antibody production is therefore attributed to the spleen, although the immune responsiveness of diffuse organ-associated lymphoid tissue cannot be neglected."
[SOURCE: Antigen Capture in Chicken Spleen ..... ]

Spleen crumbles like black pudding when eaten.
Italians particularly appreciate it.
Pork spleen is excellent.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018


The first smoke of the day was in the briar I associate with giant friendly spiders in Chinatown, the last pipe of the day will be in the pipe for watching rats in Spofford Alley. Neither piece of smoking equipment was made there or is in any way Chinese. And the tobacco is a splendid English style flake produced by a venerable company in North Carolina.

But you see, I live about six blocks from Chinatown, and quite unlike in the downtown Financial District, there are likable people there, delicious baked snacks and hot beverages, and no one yells at you for smoking.

So it's an entirely different ballgame.

There are actually no giant friendly spiders, alas, and the rats which once flourished in Spofford Alley while the city was digging it up and beautifying the place for the edification of tourists, making it all photogenic and picturesque, have died or moved over to Market Street.

San Francisco really loves tourists.

Residents, not so much.

When you leave Grant Avenue (都板街 'dou paan gaai', Dupont Street) and head sideways or into the alleyways, you do not encounter many visitors from the rest of the country, and will hardly hear harsh European languages.
Or bump into large erratic herds of people moving slowly while blocking the sidewalk and stopping for selfies.

I very much like that mental sense of being in a San Francisco that is from somewhere else, not in this dimension, on a different world.
It gives me time and space to dream.

Pipe, tobacco, and quiet passages.
Perhaps a cup of milk tea.

It's a private place.

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They ought to make a video game of it, or leastways a movie. Because it's a tale quite as exciting as the first lunar landing, whose only purpose was to boldly plant the United States flag up there in eternal proof that the Earth is flat and everything belongs to America. America! And it's just as credible as the account of how a journalist ended up dead in an unfortunate verbal tussle with fifteen highly trained law enforcement professionals, and someone yelling over Skype "bring me the head of the dog".

Guess who said this:

"By the way, a lot of people in California don't want them either. They're rioting now. They want to get out of their sanctuary cities. You know, there's a big turn being made, folks. A lot of these sanctuary cities you've been hearing about in California and other places, but California, they want to get out, they're demanding they be released from sanctuary cities."

Well, I know that solid Christians like Vladimir Putin, Bibi Netanyahu, Jared Kushner, and Morris BoneSaw all love that man, but sometimes what comes out of his mouth is only credible with salt.

"They're rioting"

However as a video game it would be killer. Please imagine violent mobs of swarthy Democrats with guns (thank you, NRA) and blood-sucking atheists, and amidst the chaos our stalwart Ramboesque Republican Hero saving his best girl from liberal lesbian potsmokers by slaughteringing the forces of secular humanism with his all-American made machete, and fleeing a burning urban hell-zone.

Kind of a cross-over between Apocalypse Now and Blade Runner.

And high above it all the Orange Sun inspiring him.

As it rises gloriously in the East.

Washington D.C.


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Monday, October 22, 2018


When I came back in, a loud angry-sheep "baa" issued forth from the bathroom. Which means either that Snidely (the Headsheep) is finally doing what should come naturally to anyone not chronically constipated, OR that my apartment mate was abluting herself inside. And while one hopes that the Headsheep is finally curing himself of his nasty addiction to non-fibrous gutpluggy snacks, many of them buttery to boot, the latter possibility is much more likely.

If Snidely were human, instead of a small stuffed animal, he would probably live entirely on pie and bacon cheeseburgers, and be big as a house.

My apartment mate sort of encourages his bad habits.

At least one person in this household has to have behaviourial patterns in need of rectification, chastisement, and correction. My apartment mate and myself, as well as most of the small creatures, are extraordinarily saintly.
Abstemious, blameless, and fairly Spartan.

Although I do have a drink or two occasionally, and enjoy smoking a pipe and sometimes small cigars. When she is in, I do that outside (mostly). For the next two months all smoking will have to be done outdoors, because our building is being earthquake retrofitted, and we have been advised to keep windows closed during the day to minimize dust. Normally when she's at work and I'm off, I firmly sneck her door and open up all the windows.
I will light up within minutes of her departure.

Tuesday and Wednesday are my weekend.
The weather is turning colder.
Winter is coming.

From across the street I heard the clacketty sound of Mr. Siu and his friends playing mahjong. He claims that they only do this because his visiting brother likes the game, but it seems to be a weekly thing now.
Several hours, from dinner till midnight.
Monday and Tuesday.

His brother may resemble Snidely.
Not particularly saintly.

I'll just have to make sure the little blue-faced dude doesn't go wandering over to join in. He'd play recklessly, and I would have to pay his debts.

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A fight on Facebook sent my bloodpressure soaring last night. It was of course with an Israeli who supports Trump, and believes that the five billion American tax-payer dollars we send to his country every year is well worth it, a benefit to the United States economy. And that Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are decent people.
Whose attempt to remove healthcare for millions of citizens is no problem.
And in any case minor, because, well, you know.
Trump is divinely inspired.

Jonathan, like many Americans who moved to Israel, has become much more rightwing assholish since he made aliyah. And enjoys socialized medicine in a country that might not exist without the United States.

[Shan't mention David B. and Shoshana S. or other borderline racists.]

The last thing I need at one o'clock in the morning is for some lazy-ass guitar picking hipster leech to cause me a coronary.

Personally I think that Mitch McConnell and his Kuomintang gangster bitch wife need to be put in front of a firing squad, along with the entire upper echelon of the Republican Party, and a very great many leading fundamentalist Christians, but you know, that's just me.

The problem with Israeli enthusiasm for the American rightwing is that they have no problem with millions of Americans losing access to healthcare if Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have their way.
They're fine with that.

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Sunday, October 21, 2018


There are two different packages of crunchy biscuits suitable with coffee or tea within easy reach. Which means that I will not be cooking myself any dinner. I just had four of the vanilla wafers, and six of the ginger-spice thingies.
That's it. I'm done.

Unlike many people, I did not spend the entire day watching football, yelling, and eating pizza. Even if this had not been a work day, that wasn't something I would do.

I like pizza. Pizza is good.
Sports, however .....

Actually, I cannot think of anything more dreadful than "watching the game", especially with other people. The availability of pizza does not enter into the matter, and if need be I would forgo the pizza if it meant I didn't have to endure the company of sports fans.

Make no mistake; I actually like pizza.
But the cookies were within reach.

I feel a bit bloated now.

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Somebody sent me a lobster video. No, not one of my Jewish correspondents who wished me to avoid shellfish -- most of them don't really care what I eat, and happily assume that anything I cooked is ab initio nisht kashrusdik -- nor one of my Vegan friends, because they (should) know better now than to rile up the savage carnivore. It was someone who knows A) that in eight weeks there will be lobster, and B) my shellfish allergy makes life surreal.

In exactly eight weeks it will be my apartment mate's birthday.
As per tradition, there will be a lobster.

Also, as per tradition, it will be given a name reflecting its charming and effervescent personality while it scuttles around the sink, before it is plunged headfirst into boiling water, the trauma of which causes coma and death before the nerves can register heat. It will black out before it turns red.

Phil. Bertie. Sean. Jennifer. Marsha. Eileen.


Unfortunately for my friend who wishes to either warn or torment me, (and it is probably the latter), he should know that I myself will probably have little or none of the lobster, and it will be so fresh that it cannot possibly trigger my allergy in any case.

Women are lobster fiends. I know that.

Men like sausages and barbecue.

Here is a video for him.



Silly man. Your cautionary video will not dissuade either my roommate or myself. Because I am made of stern stuff, and she won't ever see it.

Even if she did, she'd 'feh' in your direction.

Freshly melted butter.

French bread.


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Saturday, October 20, 2018


Pony tails and poofy skirts? Okay, that's ... intriguing. Not quite the musical act that was expected, but whatever. When you cross hyper caffeinated uber gothic girlie cute with loud smashing music, you get Babymetal.
Not quite my prefered cross-over genre.



The terms "weird charm" and "super uber affengeil' do NOT come to mind.

Earlier today I told a co-worker I might end up trying to find that Hello Kitty perfume from years ago. These three girls have been snorting it.
It was meant for their demographic.

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Friday, October 19, 2018


The gentler sex and water are a bad mix. Not only do they leave the toilet seat in the wrong position, always, but they have bizarre ideas about the position of the roll. Ladies, here is a suggestion: avoid the loo.
Especially in the morning.

My apartment mate will serve as a cautionary example.
An independent woman, eccentric and unattached.

Her bathroom habits explain a lot.
Possibly why she is single.

We have various water receptacles in our bathroom. There is a normal sized bucket, a small basin, and a plastic cup or decanter. Because she grew up during the drought, she obsesses about water conservation. I pay it far less attention, because I was in Holland during my youth, which is a bog with water all over the damned place, but she was a resident of California.
Not the California of luscious green suburban lawns.
That's the southland, Los Angeles.
Northern Cal. A desert.

The sound of splashing woke me, my bladder heard the call. She's grumpy when disturbed, so I remained in my bed wishing she would hurry up.
First I heard her scooping water into the bucket with the basin. From grim experience I know how many scoops it takes to get most of the water into the bucket, which should be used to flush the facility afterwards.

Scoop, scoop, scoop, scoop, pause.


Then I heard the plastic cup or decanter being deployed. This took several minutes more, long painful minutes. Interrupting her intense zen-like scoopery is not advised, because being an Asperger type and intensely focused, this would set off a grump of frightening proportion.

Scoop scoop scoop scoop scoop.
Splash splash splash.


I really had to pee. Badly. Full bladder, like a ninth month pregnancy coming to fruition, swollen painful gravid, nearly eruptive. The size of Texas or Donald Trump's ego. Too tight to even slosh.

Scoopity scoop!

Yeah, I finally got in there. Niagara.

Actually, she's not that bad. We don't have a holder for the paper, the active roll stands on a little table within easy reach, and she has in all these years never mentioned the seat. She grew up with brothers, and Chinese people aren't nearly as neurotic as white folks. Nor as ditzy weird.
I think she appreciates that I leave it up, as evidence that there was no piddling on the rim, and I certainly don't mind lifting it when necessary.
We both leave the place rather clean when finished.

I pull the handle when I am done.
The bucket is perfect as is.
It's a filled bucket.
That's lovely.

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Thursday, October 18, 2018


Before the February 26 incident, there had been a chance that Japan would attack and destroy the Soviet Union. In a way it is a pity that that did not happen. The history of the world would have been very different.

Among other things, the rise of the religious rightwing in American politics would likely not have happened, as there would have been no McCarthyism, and no Cold War.

The religious rightwing have flourished in this country.
And are, cannibalistically, destroying it.

Many of our influential preachers have become obscenely rich, and it would be far better for all of us to see them come a cropper. American religion is mostly heresy and mammon-worship in any case.

In which they are aided by Republicans in Congress.
More cynical opportunists cannot be imagined.
Brigands, robbers, and deviants.

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On a popular newspaper site, underneath an article about the recent zany antics of our friends in the gulf, and mentioning Trump, Pompeo, and Jared Kushner, was the cautionary warning that the conversation would be monitored. Indeed.
But why bother doing so, and to what end?
Most of the comments are insane.
As are the commenters.

There is no point in mentioning the paper or the article, because you probably have read all about it, and, if you are Republican, you have your own unique theory that explains everything.

Our allies in the Middle East are precious.
Even the very many loathsome ones.
That's nearly all of them.

Oman is good.
Malta, maybe.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Twenty nine years ago the Loma Prieta earthquake struck. Now, without that as part of my memory, I would have never remembered that one of the games of the World Series happened that day. Because I pay no attention whatsoever to baseball, even though it's a mighty fine game, and remarkably similar to cricket. Which bores me also.

It was a Tuesday. Sunny and warm.

At the moment that the quake hit, I was arguing politics at the Caffe Trieste. When both of us saw everybody else clustering at the front door between the large plate glass windows, we realized what was happening, and decided that the bathrooms would probably be safer.

Once the shaking stopped I went home. I was the last person in my building to have a warm shower for the next four days. It was a very long and enjoyable forty five minute shower.

My girlfriend Savage Kitten made the long trek back to North Beach from San Francisco State University and checked up on me. I walked her home, and as usual held back three blocks from her house, so that neither her parents nor the neighbors would see me and ask questions. Because good Chinese girls from an old-school Toishanese family with a frightful harridan mom should not be seen dating white guys, ever. Later I called up to make sure she had gotten home safely in the utter darkness (no streetlights, the electricity all over the city was out), and had the first and only conversation in my entire life with her mother.

[During the years we were together I never met any of her relatives.]

Who was I, how did I know her daughter, where were my kinfolk from, what were my prospects, when would I graduate, and did my folks own any real estate?

I answered seemingly honestly but with complete lies. A concerned young classmate, going into engineering, from a different country district, born here, and yes.

The different country district explained my horrible accent.

[Failed to mention that the district was generations ago, in Europe.]

In the utter darkness of that evening, the Vietnamese joint, Sam's Pizza, and 'Stinksy Rosie' all were serving food from their grills by candlelight. Candy's place was booming, because she had borrowed the generator from the shop across the street. Lights, loud music, chilled drinks. The police came by just before ten o'clock and shut her down.

Next morning I went into Chinatown, because several cafes and bakeries there had hot coffee. Lots of cheerful people milling about.
A day off! Excitements! Hot beverage!

A few days later at the Caffe Malvina nearly a hundred dollars worth of quarters and dimes fell into my coffee cup, splashing cappuccino everywhere, but miraculously only a few drops on my clothes. The electricity had come back on, and released the coin hutch in the payphone above my table. Across the square the alarm of a shop went off because a trolley started up and rolled into the front of that building.

Please note that we don't have hurricanes here.
Nor plagues of locusts or frogs.
Those are back east.

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The best part of the evening was watching Portnoy Uncle getting shitfaced. Portnoy, because he looks exactly like the groundhog in Bloom County, especially when drunk, and 'uncle', because all Cantonese gentleman of a certain age are 'uncle. Not all such people are drunk, however, and very very few of them growl and grumble like anything that.
The irritated grouchy old coot.

Perhaps what got him going was white people singing.
Certainly that got the bookseller ired.
White people.

Despite the Caucasians, we go there.
We are also Caucasian.

The fierce looking gangster sang too.
As did 'Tea Shop Little Sister'.

Fortunately, the mental defective in white did not.
But he did invite the white folks back.
Because he is an idiot.

Not nearly enough Mandarin singing, a sufficiency of Cantonese lyric, and way too effing much crappy stuff in English.

Portnoy Uncle did not sing. One of these days we will force him.
He'll be just like 'Dildo Bob'. But in Chinese.

Despite the Caucasians.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018


As it turns out, there are far worse cake experiences than Milton Waddams not getting a slice when there was an office party. Imagine the co-worker who cuts the cake dripping sweat into it because the air-con failed.
My apartment mate was too busy to have cake that time.
She pulled a Milton, in a manner.

What she's mentioned about her place of work -- very stable employment, by the way -- shows me that she is a very patient person, which probably explains why she's okay sharing an apartment with me.

The cake episode was a few years ago, obviously. There have not been any birthdays in the three warm days we've had this year.

Both of us sympathized with Milton. He was the most likable person in the entire movie, although Samir was pretty decent.

"I could shut your whole resort down. Sir, I'll take my traveler's checks to a competing resort, I could write a letter to your board of tourism, and I could have this place condemned. I could put strychnine in the guacamole.
There was salt on the glass! Big grains of salt."

San Francisco has many tech firms.
Combustible tech firms.

Yay, Milton.

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At three o'clock in the morning your senses are focused, your eyes are sharpened, and your intellect is working on all eight cylinders. You know what you want out of life. What you don't want is conversation with the intoxicated fellows outside a neighborhood bar. They are worse than you (and not making sense in both English and Spanish). The bum looking for buts, coins, and the meaning of life underneath a Tesla parked on the corner is not better conversation either. The mumblesome personage perched upon the fire hydrant is right out.

What you want is a cheap stogie in the kitchen. You left the house after a nap at around one o'clock, with two pipes, only one of which you smoked, and you returned after one drink and a conversation with four people.
A middle-aged female doctor and her fluffy dog.
A bartender pissed at Europeans.
A bald black barman.

And a tightly wound woman with 'problems'.

Coffee grounds, panax noto-ginseng, dry ginger powder.
A little cheap Scotch in the cup for a base.
Boiling water with sugar.

And a horrid cigar.

Right out, totally dis-advised, would be any leakage of the fumes from the kitchen, because your apartment mate, asleep in her room, does not smoke cigars, or anything at all, and needs to go to work tomorrow morning.

We aren't romantically involved, but we value each other. So there have been no visitations at night by people of either appropriately opposite genders. Nor daytime visits, but that is for different reasons. She doesn't indulge in liquor, neither of us do drugs, and pot nauseates both of us.
Plus the stuffed animals (hers and mine) seriously disapprove of scandalous behaviour.

I've often thought of scandalous behaviour.

A female person, of diplomatic speech and gentlemanly standards, who understood that furry creatures need to be dealt with courteously but never the less firmly, and has an understanding of their needs and their limited worldliness. Contradictorily, gentle and lady-like.
Fuzzballs are rather "pre-occupied".
With tunnel-vision.

Anybody who visited at any time would necessarily be someone who would leave a good impression on the Teddy Bear (Ms. Bruin) who is the head roomie, her assistant the she-sheep, and both the one-legged monkey
(a gibbon) and the purple cat.
Someone nice.

[She's not actually purple, but some other colour of which I cannot remember the name right now, but it's an important distinction. She's sensitive about it.]

At three o'clock in the morning you want NO leakage of fumes from your cigar near the open window into the rest of the apartment.
Too many people would be disturbed.

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