Sunday, March 31, 2019


A fellow pipe smoker posted a picture of something dubbed Magic Penis Wine. The Chinese label reads 神鞭酒 (蛤蚧雄睾酒珍品). And, while I have never actually sampled this famous product -- good for your penis, and also containing penises -- I know about it. And will wager that it goes great with a French dinner. Order it when you have something to celebrate.
A birthday, or whatever. Stupend-o-riffic!
Gecko testicular vigour liquor.

Today at work the subject we discussed during a break was what we did after we turned twenty one. One of my colleagues got drunk, and woke up in Honduras. That same year he slapped a cop. Which did not end well.
He may have also snorted a lot of coke back then.
He can't quite remember everything.

The redheaded shiksa (she turned 21 a few months ago) recently went to a real bar, and blew sixty dollars on beer. Because this is the Bay Area, that very likely equates to three pints of artisanal brew, or barely two, if you were to also have an order of Spanish Tofu-Frito with Heirloom Garlic Sage Aioli.

I realized that I haven't turned twenty one years of age yet.
Both of them have lived so much more than I have.

When I turned twenty one, la cuisine précieuse et prétentieuse had not been invented yet. Our style of fried tofu was mahogany plank, and we had never heard of aioli OR heirloom garlic. Just mayonnaise.

Movies were still black and white.
There was no craft beer.

But Magic Penis Wine already already existed.
So the Dark Ages were well over.

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Saturday, March 30, 2019


Like everybody, I take all my serious medical advice from people who never took a single science class in college, and garnered every scrap of precious expertise either by word of mouth or reading secret articles on the internet.
Because medicine is just a big conspiracy!

In the last two weeks, I have been told that my medications are all a money making scheme by big pharma and/or the Illuminati, and I should consume wheat grass, more steak, apple cider vinegar, only tofu, no gluten, some plant that grows deep in the rainforest, and turmeric.

Plus put complete trust in the deity of some Christian cult.

If I do so, my blood pressure will return to normal.
Any heart or arterial problems will be gone.

One person even suggested that some of the pills I take everyday are only cheap shit; what I need to do is demand that my doctor (who went to medical school for a number of years, then did an internship for more years, and has been practicing for years) prescribe the Rolls Royce of medicine.

Marijuana cures everything.

Green tea extract.


I've also been told that lab tests are notoriously false, and not to rely on them.

Naturally I appreciate all this unprompted and unwelcome medical advice from the wise people who have such great faith in their knowledge.

What I am taking, on a daily basis, are Amlodipine Besylate, Losartan-hctz, Metoprolol Succinate. Plus Clopidogrel (Plavix), so that the coronary stent doesn't plug up, as well as baby aspirin and Atorvastatin.
And two dietary supplements.

Let's look at the bloodpressure meds first.


Per Wikipedia:
Amlodipine, sold under the brand name Norvasc among others, is a medication used to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. While not typically recommended in heart failure, amlodipine may be used if other medications are not sufficient for treating high blood pressure or heart-related chest pain.

Common side effects include swelling, feeling tired, abdominal pain, and nausea. Serious side effects may include low blood pressure or heart attack. Whether use is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding is unclear. When used by people with liver problems, and in elderly individuals, doses should be reduced. Amlodipine works partly by increasing the size of arteries. It is a long-acting calcium channel blocker of the dihydropyridine type.

Amlodipine was patented in 1982 and approved for medical use in 1990. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, which lists the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. It is available as a generic medication.

In the United States, a month's supply costs less than $25.

The only absolute contraindication to amlodipine is an allergy to amlodipine or any other dihydropyridines.

Other situations occur, however, where amlodipine generally should not be used. In patients with cardiogenic shock, where the heart's ventricles are not able to pump enough blood, calcium channel blockers exacerbate the situation by preventing the flow of calcium ions into cardiac cells, which is required for the heart to pump. While use in patients with aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aorta where it meets the left ventricle) since it does not inhibit the ventricle's function is generally safe, it can still cause collapse in cases of severe stenosis. In unstable angina (excluding variant angina), amlodipine can cause a reflex increase in cardiac contractility (how hard the ventricles squeeze) and heart rate, which together increase the demand for oxygen by the heart itself.
Patients with severe hypotension can have their low blood pressure exacerbated, and patients in heart failure can get pulmonary edema. Those with impaired liver function are unable to metabolize amlodipine to its full extent, giving it a longer half-life than typical.

Amlodipine's safety in pregnancy has not been established, although reproductive toxicity at high doses is known. Whether amlodipine enters the milk of breastfeeding mothers is also unknown.

Those who have heart failure or recently had a heart attack, should take amlodipine with caution.

Some common dose-dependent adverse effects of amolodipine include vasodilatory effects, peripheral edema, dizziness, palpitations, and flushing. Peripheral edema (fluid accumulation in the tissues) occurs at rate of 10.8% at a 10-mg dose (versus 0.6% for placebos), and is three times more likely in women than in men. It causes more dilation in the arterioles and precapillary vessels than the postcapillary vessels and venules. The increased dilation allows for more blood, which is unable to push through to the relatively constricted postcapillary venules and vessels; the pressure causes much of the plasma to move into the interstitial space. Amlodipine-association edema can be avoided by adding ACE inhibitors or angiontensin II receptor antagonist. Of the other dose-dependent side effects, palpitations (4.5% at 10 mg vs. 0.6% in placebos) and flushing (2.6% vs. 0%) occurred more often in women; dizziness (3.4% vs. 1.5%) had no sex bias.

Common but not dose-related adverse effects are fatigue (4.5% vs. 2.8% with a placebo), nausea (2.9% vs. 1.9%), abdominal pain (1.6% vs. 0.3%), and somnolence (1.4% vs. 0.6%). Side effects occurring less than 1% of the time include: blood disorders, impotence, depression, peripheral neuropathy, insomnia, tachycardia, gingival enlargement, hepatitis, and jaundice.

Amlodipine may increase the risk of worsening angina or acute myocardium infraction, especially in those with severe obstructive coronary artery disease, upon dosage initiation or increase. However, depending on the situation, Amlodipine inhibits constriction and restores blood flow in coronary arteries as a result of its property that works directly on vascular smooth muscle causing reduction in peripheral vascular resistance and consequent reduction in blood pressure.

[Source: Wikipedia - some text omitted.]

For an exhaustive (and entertaining) list of all possible side effects, please see Amlodipine (Oral Route) Side Effects from the Mayo Clinic. And do please note "Incidence not known: Swelling of the breasts or breast soreness in both females and males". Gosh, that's a relief.


Per Wikipedia:
Losartan, sold under the trade name Cozaar among others, is a medication mainly used to treat high blood pressure. It is also used for diabetic kidney disease, heart failure, and left ventricular enlargement. It is taken by mouth. It may be used alone or in addition to other blood pressure medication. Up to six weeks may be required for the full effects to occur.

Common side effects include muscle cramps, stuffy nose, cough, and high blood potassium. Severe side effects may include angioedema, low blood pressure, and kidney problems. Use during pregnancy may result in harm to the baby. Use is not recommended during breastfeeding. It is in the angiotensin receptor blocker family of medication.
It works by blocking angiotensin II.

Losartan was patented in 1986 and approved for medical use in the United States in 1995. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, which lists the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system. It is available as a generic medication. The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$0.28–3.45 per month as of 2015. In the United States, as of 2017, the wholesale cost of a typical dose is $1.13 per month.

In January 2014, the FDA issued a black box warning that losartan can cause fetal toxicity, and should be discontinued as soon as pregnancy is detected. Using losartan while pregnant could result in fetal injury or death.

The most common side effects for losartan are upper respiratory infections or stuffy nose, dizziness, and back pain. Type 2 diabetics with diabetic kidney disease may experience diarrhea, fatigue, low blood pressure, low blood glucose, elevated potassium, and chest pain.

More serious side effects include low blood pressure and allergic reaction.

Losartan should not be taken by people who are diabetic and taking aliskiren.

[Source: Wikipedia - some text omitted.]


Per Wikipedia:
Metoprolol, marketed under the tradename Lopressor among others, is a medication of the selective β1 receptor blocker type. It is used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain due to poor blood flow to the heart, and a number of conditions involving an abnormally fast heart rate. It is also used to prevent further heart problems after myocardial infarction and to prevent headaches in those with migraines.

Metoprolol is sold in formulations that can be taken by mouth or given intravenously. The medication is often taken twice a day. The extended-release formulation is taken once per day. Metoprolol may be combined with hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic) in a single tablet.

Common side effects include trouble sleeping, feeling tired, feeling faint, and abdominal discomfort. Large doses may cause serious toxicity. Risk in pregnancy has not been ruled out. It appears to be safe in breastfeeding. Greater care is required with use in those with liver problems or asthma. Stopping this drug should be done slowly to decrease the risk of further health problems.

Metoprolol was first made in 1969, patented in 1970, and approved for medical use in 1982. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system. It is available as a generic drug. In 2016, it was the 6th most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 74 million prescriptions.

Side effects, especially with higher doses, include dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, unusual dreams, trouble sleeping, depression, and vision problems. Metoprolol may also reduce blood flow to the hands or feet, causing them to feel numb and cold; smoking may worsen this effect. Due to the high penetration across the blood-brain barrier, lipophilic beta blockers such as propranolol and metoprolol are more likely than other less lipophilic beta blockers to cause sleep disturbances such as insomnia and vivid dreams and nightmares.

Serious side effects that are advised to be reported immediately include symptoms of bradycardia (resting heart rate slower than 60 beats per minute), persistent symptoms of dizziness, fainting and unusual fatigue, bluish discoloration of the fingers and toes, numbness/tingling/swelling of the hands or feet, sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, mental/mood changes, depression, breathing difficulty, cough, dyslipidemia and increased thirst. Consuming alcohol while taking metoprolol may cause mild body rashes and is not advised.

[Source: Wikipedia - some text omitted.]

With antihypertensive and lipid-lowering treatments there may be an increased risk of gastro-intestinal bleeding. Comparatively speaking, patients on amlodipine do not have an increased risk of GI bleeding (haemorrhage) that would necessitate hospitalization.


Next, the other two essentials. The statin is, more or less, preventative of further adverse developments, because my cholesterol is a bit high. The anti-platelet medication (clopidogrel) is to keep me from dying.


Per Wikipedia:
Atorvastatin, sold under the trade name Lipitor among others, is a statin medication used to prevent cardiovascular disease in those at high risk and treat abnormal lipid levels. For the prevention of cardiovascular disease, statins are a first-line treatment. It is taken by mouth.

Common side effects include joint pain, diarrhea, heart burn, nausea, and muscle pains. Serious side effects may include rhabdomyolysis, liver problems, and diabetes. Use during pregnancy may harm the baby. Like all statins, atorvastatin works by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme found in the liver that plays a role in producing cholesterol.

Atorvastatin was patented in 1986 and approved for medical use in the United States in 1996. It is available as a generic medication. In the United States, the wholesale cost per month is about 3.80 USD as of 2018.

Statins, including atorvastatin, have a small, but significant beneficial effect on preventing the loss of kidney function and on reducing loss of protein in urine in people with cardiovascular disease.

[Source: Wikipedia - some text omitted.]


Per Wikipedia:
Clopidogrel, sold under the trade name Plavix among others, is an antiplatelet medication used to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in those at high risk. It is also used together with aspirin in heart attacks and following the placement of a coronary artery stent (dual antiplatelet therapy). It is taken by mouth. Onset of effects is about 2 hours and lasts for 5 days.

Common side effects include headache, nausea, easy bruising, itching, and heartburn. More severe side effects include bleeding and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. While there is no evidence of harm from use during pregnancy, such use has not been well studied. Clopidogrel is in the thienopyridine-class of antiplatelets. It works by irreversibly inhibiting a receptor called P2Y12 on platelets.

Clopidogrel was patented in 1982 and approved for medical use in 1998. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, which lists the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.
The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$0.77–31.59 per month. In the United States, a month of treatment costs less than US$25.

Clopidogrel is used to prevent heart attack and stroke in people who are at high risk of these events, including those with a history of myocardial infarction and other forms of acute coronary syndrome, stroke, and those with peripheral artery disease.

Serious adverse drug reactions associated with clopidogrel therapy include: Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (incidence: four per million patients treated). Hemorrhage – the annual incidence of hemorrhage may be increased by the coadministration of aspirin. Any major bleeding: clopidogrel 3.7%, placebo 2.7%. Life-threatening bleeding: clopidogrel 2.2%, placebo 1.8%. Hemorrhagic stroke: clopidogrel 0.1%, placebo 0.1%.

[Source: Wikipedia - some text omitted.]



Okay, so among the possible side effects of this array of pills are œdema, liver damage, vertigo, nausea, random bleeding, depression, mood swings, fœtal death, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, itchiness, sexual dysfunction, cough, sleepiness, insomnia, bad dreams, rashes, and a runny nose.
Above all, while on most of these, I shouldn't get pregnant.

The only one I seem to have is a slight stuffiness.
Plus my Raynaud's syndrome is worse.
Pregnancy won't be an issue.
Too old and male.

I've also had a flu shot recently, as well as a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, both of which I've reliably been told will cause impotence, brain damage, and autism.

Now, because both my doctor and my cardiologist are Chinese American, and the staff at the hospital where I have my appointments (Chinese Hospital, in Chinatown) are either local or foreign born Chinese Americans, one or two people have told me that I cannot possibly be getting decent care, I should seek help from Stanford Medical ("they're the best!").
"Real professionals", somebody white, and a local shaman.

In all honesty, I am convinced that many people have shit for brains. I am surprised that they are still alive. Surely by now they would've played in traffic, or put something dangerous in their mouths or up their arses?

My doctor and my cardiologist know what they're doing.
And so do the staff at Chinese Hospital.
I will continue to trust them.

PS: The number of folks I have met who are seriously sick because they stopped taking their medication is quite appalling. Often the reason they stopped is because the medicine alleviated their condition.

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One of the miracles of modern medical science is 'Clopidogrel', trade named 'Plavix'. It has made life wondrous and surreal, especially during an interval involving pork chops yesterday.

黑椒豬扒飯 ('haak jiu chü paa faan'): Black pepper pork chops and gravy with rice. The restaurant had been closed for a few weeks while they were on vacation. During which time I kept thinking of pork chops.

Per Wikipedia: Clopidogrel is "an antiplatelet medication used to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in those at high risk. It is also used together with aspirin in heart attacks and following the placement of a coronary artery stent (dual antiplatelet therapy). It is taken by mouth. Onset of effects is about 2 hours and lasts for 5 days. Common side effects include headache, nausea, easy bruising, itching, and heartburn." End quote.

The key thing there is A) I'm taking it daily on doctor's orders, after getting a coronary artery stent, for at least a year. And B) a very minor work related cut, which happened on Thursday afternoon.

That very minor cut is still bleeding. I replaced the bandage before going out for pork chops on Friday. Then replaced it again before actually leaving my apartment. It was drenched after I finished lunch. And by the way, the gravy on those chops was fabulous.

I think I saw a waitress look "quirked". Not distressed in any way, just mildly "quirked". Not all customers leak blood. Later on people at the bakery where I went for tea in between smoking my pipe were unabashedly curious.
How come your finger is bleeding so remarkably?

Again, per wikipedia: "氯吡格雷(Clopidogrel,商品名為波立維(中國大陸)、保栓通(台灣)(Plavix),分子式:C16H16ClNO2S,莫耳質量:321.82g/mol),是抑制血小板聚集的藥物。" End quote.

Key phrase being "抑制血小板聚集的藥物" ('yik jai huet siu paan juei jaap dik yeuk mat'). In which the important term probably unknown to most people is 血小板 ('huet siu paan'), that being an invented word. Literally it means "blood little plank". How often do you suppose tiny bloody planks get mentioned in daily conversation?

抑制 ('yik jai'): inhibit, suppress, hold down.
血小板 ('huet siu paan'): platelet.
聚集 ('juei jaap'): assemble, gather, collect together.
的 ('di', 'dik'): possessive particle.
藥物 ('yeuk mat'): medical substances, pharmaceuticals, medicines.

When she got home, my apartment mate asked why my finger was so bloody, then happily suggested that the vampire hamster (one of the stuffed animals) would be more than willing to "deal with it". Delighted, even.
Today I bandaged it in several layers, as the people I encounter while at work are mainly white folks. Unlike nearly everyone I dealt with yesterday.

White folks get queasy so easily.
It might put them off their feed.

I don't think Caucasians eat pork chops.

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Friday, March 29, 2019


Everyone always says that second to New York, Chicago is a must-visit city. Please ignore that. Chicago police have never been normal. Adding to their long list of egregious and brutal thuggism, well-documented bigotry, and subhuman behaviours, this past February tenth, seventeen Chicago Police officers raided a four year old's birthday party with guns drawn yelling for everyone present to put their effing hands up, and ripped the place apart. They were looking for a man who once lived there. Five years ago.

Whose correct current address was easily found by computer.

That's one birthday that the kid will long remember.
And a cake that was totally ruined.

What's really surprising to me is that Fox News, which normally poo-poos reports of cop on black violence, mentioned it, as google shows.

So did a very large number of other news organizations.

A spokesman for the police declined comment.

It was a chocolate fudge cake.

Just as a matter of curiosity, after reading this I googled the name of a North Bay policeman who I know is a racist and borderline psycho. Yep. News reports over a span of several years laud him. No, I'm not going to mention his name, because I don't want to get shot in my sleep during a "legitimate investigation". He's a longtime veteran with a spotless record.

Anyhow, I've added Chicago to my list of cities and states to never visit.
It's right up there with New York, Philadelphia, and Detroit.
Besides, some pizza is just too shitty to eat.
Damned well dogfood.

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Thursday, March 28, 2019


New medication as of this morning, in addition to the smorgasbord of necessary pills I now take every day: Amlodipine Besylate. Which may have contributed negative aspects to the day. Left shoulder hurts like hell, where they gave me an injection yesterday (a vaccination). My coordination is off, so I'm bleeding like a stuck pig from one of the fingers on my right hand (Clopidogrel, which I'm also taking, ensures that what should be minor becomes theatrically major, and takes hours or days to stop bleeding).
I feel somewhat sore all over. And my feet feel watery.

Among the POSSIBLE side effects of Amlodipine: Swelling of legs or ankles, Tiredness, Extreme sleepiness, Stomach pain, Nausea, Dizziness, Flushing, Arrhythmia, Heart palpitations, Muscle rigidity, Tremors, and, though rare, and only when you first start taking it ... Heart attack and increased angina. Call your doctor right away in case of the latter two eventualities, and go to the emergency room immediately.

Call your doctor?!?

Please imagine that phone call. Hello, I'd like to speak to Doctor So-And-So, as I am presently experiencing a heart attack. No, this can't really wait.
Oh, okay then, can you please give him a message?

Yeah, no callback number. I am a Luddite, this is a land line. No cell phone.

No message machine either. Did I mention that I'm a Luddite?

Wouldn't be able to call back anyhow.

For a while.

Somebody today told me that if I just took a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar every evening before bed, with turmeric (probably also a teaspoon), I could dispense with all of those chemical (!) medications. It would cure me.
Just throw them all out, they are unnatural.

That person is lucky, incredibly lucky, that I am tactful, and did not have a teaspoon handy.

Otherwise they would have had a tale to tell in the emergency room.

You can saw someone's face off with a teaspoon.

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Most interesting statement on the television at this moment, while I am still groggy from just getting up: "your teammate has no bottom!" To which the prompt and illogical response is: "I'm going to make a cute bag!"

Much better than the completely halfwitted childrens' programme on the boob tube where I had my afternoon tea recently. The owner's eldest kid came home and switched from a cooking program to a moronic show for juveniles, which was perfectly suited his rather dull personality.

He's a sour little potato.

"Your teammate has no bottom!"

Your kid has no brain. And your target demographic has not a screw to lose. It's all about the advertising, baby. More than ever there is reason to distrust that electronic screen.

Without caffeine, we'd all be mush by now.

There's hardly any stimulation.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Spent from one thirty till six thirty today in Chinatown, in or in the vicinity of the Chinese Hospital. This in connection with health. Now that we've dealt with the major problem, let's see if anything else needs work. Poke poke poke, prod prod prod. Blood pressure still a little bit too high, blood drawn for testing -- various things, but also to see if I'm human -- pee in a cup, and scheduling screening for whatever else. In consequence of all of which there are three more holes in my dermis, there was another serious talk about the evils of smoking, and I've only had two half bowls of tobacco all day. So in a few minutes I shall be heading outside for a pipefull.

Lunch was a variation on phở (越南河粉), with seafood, pork, and pork liver. Very delicious. Turns out that lifting rice noodles from the hot broth with chopsticks is damned difficult; at home I usually break 'em up and stirfry/braise whatever the dish is that they go into.

Little Paris on Stockton has changed. They have a new menu and newish decor, and other than one of the ladies who had been there before (who still knew me), new people. The lady from the past seems to be in charge now.
I really want them to succeed. I'll definitely go there more often.
They are a fond haunt from my misspent youth.
Which isn't that long ago.

They are also right around the corner from the Chinese Hospital, and seeing as I had eaten nothing since the previous night (fasting before blood work), and had not had my morning coffee, you can imagine how well a glass of ice coffee (咖啡𥒥 cà phê đá) and the noodle soup hit the spot.

Went back to the hospital afterwards to pick up refills in the pharmacy, and one new medicine. Lit up my pipe as soon as I was out of sight.

One of these days I'm going to run into one of the people there I have dealt with when I have a pipe in my mouth and am wired to the eyebrows on milk tea or Vietnamese coffee, and look all sinful and self-indulgent, with smoke coming out of my face. I'm sure they fear the same embarrassing likelihood.
Good heavens, miss Wong, I didn't know you smoked!
I won't say anything if you don't.

My pipe tobacco, my medication, and my hospital all have substantially the same warning on the outside: "...contains chemicals known to the State of California that may cause birth defects or reproductive harm".

Which should also be on bacon-cheeseburgers.
To be perfectly fair and honest.

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Lunch, when I finally got around to it yesterday, was at a place where they know me, and automatically assume that a hot cup of Hong Kong Milk Tea will be required. And their HK-M tea is good. Not too sweet.
Served in a actual ceramic vessel, so that the man with Rainaud's Phenomenon in his fingers can finally get the circulation back.

The toes are another thing entirely, alas.

They would probably look askance if I curled my toes around my cup.

Gonna have to try that sometime.

If I had done so yesterday, I would not have been able to observe the tables to my right or left out of the corners of my curious eyes and ears.

To the left, in fairly rapid succession: 咖喱汁魚丸 ('gaa lei jap yü yeun'; fish balls with curry sauce), 涼瓜煎蛋 ('leung gwaa jin daan'; bitter gourd and egg) plus 飯 ('faan'; cooked rice), and 西吐司 ('sai tou si'; French Toast), which more properly should be called 港式西多士('gong sik sai do si'), "harbour (Hong Kong) style Western toast", that being a better term.
It's a peanut butter sandwich dipped in beaten egg and milk, sugar added, fried gold on both sides in butter, then dished up with a melting pat of butter and a generous drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. Your basic heart attack on a plate. Good for what ails you. Send you ten stories up on that rickety bamboo scaffolding for another eight hours, or back to the office till your twelve hour day is over.

Three different people. Washing it all down with 港式奶茶 ('gong sik naai chaa'; HKMT),咖啡 ('gaa fei'), and another cup of 港式奶茶。

[Now pay attention. 咖喱汁 ('gaa lei jap'; curry sauce) is also called 葡汁 ('po jap'; Portuguese gravy). It often contains coconut milk, and starch, in addition to mild spices. Cooked rice (飯 'faan') is also spelled 飰, that being a variant that is less transparent phonetically. All terms like 咖喱 ('gaa lei'), 吐司 ('tou si'), 多士 ('do si'), and 咖啡 ('gaa fei') are 衍聲複詞 ('hin seng fuk si'; "spilling sound repeat words"); compounds written with characters that often cannot be used alone, may reflect onomatopoeia or rhyme, and should be read phonetically.]

The table to my right was occupied that entire time by a mother, her daughter, and her granddaughter. Grandma sounded normal, mom had a little girl voice, the child sounded quite grown up. I'm guessing that the youngest member of the party took after her dad, because cute femmie bleating from adult women makes them seem like complete idiots.
This bright five year old was distinctly not an idiot.
The cat ear hair thing would have been more suited to her mom.
But it did look restrainedly cute.

So for one table I got to participate by sight, one by sound.

My own lunch? 焗石斑魚飯 ('guk sek baan yü faan'); two smallish grouper steaks on a bed of egg fried rice, covered with tomato sauce (番茄酱 'faan ke jeung'), baked en casserole. It was quite tasty.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019


There is always that one coworker who believes in butterflies and babies, and hangs inspirational posters in his or her cubicle. Stuff like "hang in there baby", "believe", "you are a champion", and similar bland pablum of the positive thoughts, dolphins, trees, sunsets and waterfalls variety.

Usually they are also into weird belief systems, like Scientology, Space Aliens, Republicanism, or Fundamental Christianity.
Along with dietary nonsense.

Management says their hands are tied; they are still paying out big time to the Hari Krishnut who sued them for something years ago, they're feeling burned, and wish to avoid confrontation.

Pictures of kittens and toilets are good for morale. Please shut up.

Here's a sentiment to which they cannot object:

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion.
And possibly, blood sacrifices.

It's the best thing I found on the internet today.

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Coffee, pipe, sunlight. And belatedly realizing that quite a large number of the people I have to associate with are blistering dillwads, by reason of their deliberate ignorance, inherent cruelty, and self-centered sense of middle class entitlement. But they are fairly typical of their kind and their class, which is why on my days off I shall not come anywhere near them.
Even casual contact can be toxic.

They are of course fine upstanding people, as they will be the first to admit.

[Yes, there are some very likable people too, individuals with keen insight and intelligence, who are not social blights. More complex than the first group. I'll admit that; their sporadic presence makes it all quite bearable. And a number of them have great warmth and humanity.]

Why "R the subcontinental" willingly associates with those blistering dicks is somewhat of a mystery, but there aren't that many public smoking areas left nowadays, and he shares their interest in sports. I, on the other hand, find all televised sport to be monumentally boring, and have adapted rather well to outdoor life. Even though I am inside at the moment; the other resident of this apartment will not be home until this evening, and after one or two in the afternoon there will be NO burning of tobacco here. Instead, a saucepan of boiling herbal muck (two hours, while I shave and shower) will drive out the smell, and create a covering odour; orange peel (陳皮), ginger, dried red date, and a thick slice of lemon. Oddly, the apartment smells faintly of grilled Middle Eastern chicken when I return from my jaunts for late lunch or early dinner in Chinatown, milk tea, smoke, and people watching.

Street people are rare in Chinatown, and the only dillwads are tourists.

I never mention the odious cretins above to my apartment mate. There are several things which, for domestic harmony in a living space sharing arrangement, should be left outside.

Instead, we often use the stuffed animals to communicate.
Which leads me to believe that she also has cretins.

Remarkably, none of the stuffed animals are in the room where I am now. There are Indonesian shadow puppets here, a ceramic statuette of a fat smiling merchant, two bird-motif betel containers.
And a two inch tall Eric Cartman.

I am an unwell middle-aged man.

Eric Cartman is my spirit animal.


Today's tobacco is approximately fifty percent Samuel Gawith Saint James Flake, and fifty percent Danish matured Virginia to cut down on the Perique and increase combustibility. The Gawith flake, even rubbed out, can be a bit hard to keep lit. Which makes it remarkably similar to products from McClelland of Kansas City, who are, sadly, defunct.

Tea last night, shortly before twelve a clock, was boiled Pu-Erh. After which I took a walk on Polk Street. At that hour the only other people about were straight out of Central Casting for a zombie flick, with occasional evidence of Big Foot in the distance, and sounds indicating pavement insanity.

The bar tender at the Bell last night remarked that I come around far less often. As a non-drinker, the only reason to go there is the social contact; on work days I am exhausted when I get home, and in rotten weather far less inclined to wander out with a pipe of an evening.

Stuffed animals, hot beverage.
Warm down comforter.


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Monday, March 25, 2019


First a cup of tea. Then outside for a walk and a pipefull. Tomorrow and Wednesday are my weekend, and other than yet another appointment down at the hospital, it will be a welcome break. In all honesty, being in Marin for so many days has worn me down a bit.

So escaping from it all with two days in San Francisco, with decent food, and non-asshat people, is deserved.

Today was not a talkative mood day, more a please shut-uppative day.

The denizens of Marin are precious and unique.

The stuffed creatures have taken over my bed. Some of them will need to be moved to on top of the pile of books before I can sleep. They will no doubt object; both the raccoon and his girl-friend the pretty little female skunk may grumble a bit. And the big amphibian will protest fiercely, because he enjoys being warm under the down comforter.

I'll be gentle, and try not to disturb their slumber.

Animals are often better than humans.

Especially Marinites.

I need an otter.

Post Scriptum: My blogstats tell me that there are over a hundred views of this blog right now from Russia. Probably all spam-bots, because it is unimaginable that so many people over there are interested in the adventures of a pissy Dutch American in San Francisco.

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If you were to look at my bed right now, it would tell you several things about me. Voracious reader, tobacco maven, likes stuffed animals (who move around at times), irregular correspondent. Masculine. Bachelor.

The books and a few magazines testify to the literacy. The stuffed animals, in their various positions atop the left side pile of stuff, clearly have rowdy and active lives. The empty cigar boxes (decorative in their mute testimony) and the tobacco tins (full, but I cannot find several of them) indicate both that the bed owner enjoys tobacco, and suggest strongly that it is a 'he'.
If I were a woman, the cigar boxes might not be there.
Probably no tins of pipe tobacco either.

Females do not smoke pipes. Generally speaking.
However they could collect cigar boxes.
It's not that unusual.

One woman pipe smoker whom I knew years ago kept her bed neurotically tidy, crisply made shortly after getting up. Though I saw her pipe collection, and her library, I never saw her bed undone. There was one stuffed animal. Fiercely guarding the place.

You could not tell whether she was single or involved with someone from seeing her chamber. It was very neat.

The fact that I've got a book depository and all that other stuff there indicates, abundantly, my single status. As do the several creatures, because naturally one would have to move them into the teevee room otherwise.
Out of a sense of delicacy and a desire for privacy.
They are easily over-excited.

One of my friends has books in his room, no stuffed animals that I know of. And no empty cigar boxes, or pipe tobacco tins at all. He's a non-smoker.
And not into stuffed animals, which is odd. Quite sane otherwise.

Five of the tins of tobacco are Samuel Gawith.
But I can only find two of them.

No snowshoes.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019


A few days ago I saw a little girl hugging her daddy at the bus stop. This evening on the bus back from Marin, I remembered that, and it reminded me of several Miyazaki Hayao films. When I got home, my apartment mate was happily splashing around in the bath tub.

No, I did not stick my head in to say 'hi'.
She would've thrown something at me.

The common element here is little Asian girls.
My apartment mate used to be a little girl.
I know, because I've seen the pictures.
An uttely adorable little moppet.

Honestly, I know almost zilch about tiny Asian females. But I live in San Francisco, so it's not surprising that I've seen them. As you may guess, they are not uncommon here. All I really know is that, comparatively speaking, they tend to be smaller than other children of the same age.
And have bigger rounder heads.

As adults, they can at times turn out quite fierce.
Many of them are carniverous, and eat gluten.

Weird-ass white folks yoga and Buddhism are something at which they rather look askance, and white people doing martial arts are also fairly dubious in their world. I only know this second or third hand, but I also have severe doubts about such Caucasians, as they often come across the same way as born again Christians, new non-smokers, and Scientologists.
Converts, and convinced of their rightness.
Though often quite ignorant.
Arrogantly so.

Nobody is impressed by your belief system.
There is no splendour in your aura.
Your pronunciation sucks.

Go ahead - eat gluten.

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Many people cannot be trusted very much. There is always that element of miscomprehension, self-centeredness, or an agenda, that crops up, which prevents them from seeing their own flaws and faults. You know this from classmates and colleagues, as well as acquaintances of many years.

It really isn't their fault. They are just human.
The problem was that you let them in.

Sometimes it's better to keep the shutters down, the gate firmly bolted shut, and ignore the damned bell. As Henry in North Beach once told the cops banging on his door, "go away, I am not here".

Nah, I'm not got to mention what prompted this. Suffice to say I'm feeling somewhat burned, as well as burned out. Just have to let it pass.
No, it wasn't my apartment mate.

I've had a long two years, and I hate The Eagles, man.

Henry was throwing empty wine bottles at the loud drunks in the alley.
That's why the police officers came by.

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Saturday, March 23, 2019


When one of the people you've known for a long time irritates the spit out of you by being dense, almost too obtuse to believe, what you need to do is step out of Facebook and go have some porkchops. Animal protein is good for the brain. As is Hong Kong milk tea. Followed by a contemplative pipe, smoked underneath an awning in Chinatown while tourists stumble past, baffled by the West Coastness of it all.



Two thin cut porkchops, pan-cooked and smothered with stewed chopped fresh tomato chunks, a little browned onion. A pile of rice. Soup, and a hot dinner roll, pat of butter. While it rained outside. The place was nearly empty, the three old ladies behind me left, and an elderly gentleman took their place. I got to hear him keep up a happy commentary on his jook. An old friend and his mom were having coffee two tables away, and way out in the main area a chubby fellow listened to loud mainland music on his cellular device. Which didn't bother anybody.

It's one of those places which I will possibly not share with anybody. Most of my Caucasian friends would likely not appreciate it; the Chinese baked goods would probably not appeal to them, the lunch items and soups might not be to their taste. I've seen enough white people acting like they've just landed on Mars in Chinese places I frequent to know better.
Almost certainly many ABC's would not like it either.
It's too Hong Kong for their refined tastes.
There are no hamburgers.

But there is won ton noodle soup. Which is an amazing comfort food, and almost nobody dislikes that. Not even snooty Euries. At least, I think not.

I'm used to eating alone. It's far better than having to adapt my tastes to other people, or going to restaurants with tablecloths and pretensions. Not that I am antisocial, at least not excessively so. But I shan't hide my food preferences just to get along with exceptionally suburbanite types or migrants from elsewhere in the United States.

And if you mind me enjoying my pipe afterwards while we're outside, there is no need to walk with me.

Porkchops. Old fire soup. Won ton noodles. Flaky pastries, dan taat, chasiu sou. Lo po beng. Chi baau dan gou. Plus milk tea, and the soothing fragrance of aged Virginia leaf, smoked slowly.

We can discuss movies we've seen while we walk.
Or Jane Austen, perhaps Simenon.
Maybe even kittens.

Hamsters playing poker.

I'm flexible.

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Friday, March 22, 2019


Mr. Ivanov says communication is the key to their friendship. This per a BBC article about Mansur the bear, whom he adopted three years ago on an abandoned Russian airbase, when Mansur was still an infant.
The bear now weighs as much as a linebacker.

"Vintage plane restorers found the orphaned newborn cub wandering hungry and afraid about their private airfield in Tver Region northwest of Moscow, and cared for him the best they could, Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reports." 
Source: Crowdfunding campaign for Russian air bear

Bears are a bit of a rarity on the streets of San Francisco (except near certain bars). But probably safer than some of our street people. If I had a choice in the matter, I would rather have a bear living at the bus stop down the block. Fewer discarded syringes, and no demands that I hand over whatever cigarettes I might have to a "poor Christian".

My neighbors might gladly keep the bear in salmon, as long as he didn't break into letterboxes, like the poor Christian addicts and nutballs.

If you've ever wondered why so many classic doorways now have iron gates in this part of the city, now you know. It's the poor Christians.

The rest of the country should take back their poor drug-addled Christians, instead of giving them one-way tickets to San Francisco to get rid of them. I'm sure it discomfits "American" tourists, and e-commerce yuppies, when they come face to face with the people they discarded.

They expected bears?

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Thursday, March 21, 2019


A line of fine tobaccos that originated over in the East Bay, produced in Jersey, much sought after and in short supply.

These are made by Germain and Son, that being half a dozen old men in a brick building on an Island in the middle of the English Channel. They buy their tobacco up to ten years before they intend to use it, so increasing production to meet skyrocketing demand is rather out of the question.


Full Latakia, addictive. Comparable to Black Mallory, Balkan Sobranie 759, Dunhill Nightcap, and also somewhat to Synjeco's Elephant Dung.
Extremely good.

Aromatic. Dark-stoved with a remarkable bright flavour. Virginias top-dressed with a hint of licorice/anise. It offers a thick, creamy smoke, reduces to nearly nothing.

A straightforward mixture of flue-cured leaves, somewhat light and bright in taste. Smooth.

Four Virginias pressed and stoved till brown, fully rubbed.
Light, herbal, earthy, and sweet.

A lovely flue-cured compound, touch of Perique. Deeply fragrant, with a naturally occurring aroma of carotenoids from the Virginias (plummy, apricot-like). Bright and happy tobacco.

A blend of several Virginias, Perique in a manageable measure.
Ready rubbed. Piquant.

Aromatic. A complex blend of Virginias with a fruity berry-like topping, possibly apricot brandy. Really mellow and really smooth.

Non-Aromatic. Dark-stoved fully fermented Virginias. Solid, yet ethereal. Prunes, raisins, plums. Long matured. Ready rubbed.
A tobacco for old coots.

The classic full English. Lighter than Germain's Latakia Mixture, comparable to Balkan Sobranie. Delightful, rich and reeky.

An English mixture spritzed with brandy.

Latakia, Turkish, Virginias, all pressed and steamed into brindled flakes. Very reminiscent of the old Bengal Slices and various products from G. L. Pease. This has become a cult tobacco, and occurs on every damned “must-try list”.
- - - - -
[By the way, dudes, I've got large amount of this. So I'm gloating like you wouldn't believe. But honestly, I hardly ever smoke it. I was stockpiling this years ago. Before it became famous.]

Aromatic. Virginias steam-pressed till black. Topped with licorice. Possessed of great character, yet sweet and mellow, and easy to like. Broken flake.

Virginias and air-cured leaf steampressed. A very English product. A broken leaf for old-codgers, but a surprising number of young men are old-codgers.
Shows up on every “must-try list”.

Virginias with a touch of air-cured. Light and buttery. With a plum-like Virginia sweetness. Top notch. Noticeable nicotine.

Aromatic. Several flue-cured tobaccos. Brights somewhat dominant. Mottled and shaggy of appearance. Fruits and anise / licorice. Hay, citrus.
Not fruity enough for most Americans.


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Surely like everyone you associate mango flavour with fine tobacco? And coconut? So undoubtedly you will be happy, even overjoyed, to know that it isn't just products under the Peterson label that have been so aromatized. Yes, little children all over the Western Hemisphere will, years from now as adults, say "I love the smell of your pipe, it reminds me of my grandpa".

I am not a grandpa. And I refuse to smell like one.
Guess which in the following line-up I smoke.

Scandinavian manufacture

A finely balanced English mixture, medium strength. Exceptional.
Damn' fine product, no mango.

Virginia, Maryland, Burley, Latakia. English in character, but mild enough that it won't bowl you over. Creamy, slightly nutty, slightly spicy.
Damn' fine product, no mango.

GOLD RUSH [Virginia]
Straight Virginias. Ribon cut. Smoked slow, it will be grassy and sweet, with a slight raisin-plum hint, as is typical of good Virginias. Soft, slightly sweet.
Damn' fine product, no mango.

Cavendish, with Burley and Virginia. Mango top dressing, with other fruits and vanilla. Tropical.

RAINY DAY [Aromatic]
Black Cavendish, Burley, and Virginia. Underneath the pronounced fruitiness, the Burley comes through. Oranges, mango, and liquor. This is not subtle, but will please people with a sweet tooth, as well as your maiden aunt who normally prefers that you not indulge. Great indoor notes.

Maple, coconut, chocolate. Bright and golden Virginias, Cavendish. Good in a meerschaum.

A subtle aromatic; apricot and caramel. Old lady tobacco. Less fruity than other aros, rather traditional and old-fashioned. Needs to be smoked slow. No mango.

Maybe your grandma smelled like a yoghurt drink in an Indian restaurant?

The flavour of mangos comes from a number of volatile organic chemicals, primarily terpenes, furanones, lactones, and esters. Different cultivars of mangoes have different chemicals or the same chemicals in different ratios. Asian mangoes have high concentrations of monoterpenes such as (Z)-ocimene or myrcene, and are also characterized by lactones and furanones.

As a personal fragrance, mango rates very highly. Some of my favourite men in the whole wide world smell enchantingly of mango. Whenever I think of Little White Nipple Guy, or the demented bald dwarf ("Ebola Man"), it's almost as if I am in a mango orchard. Coworkers too.
It is the best aftershave ever! Honest!

Heady, butch, and fruity.

Very masculine.



GOLD FLAKE [Kohlhase & Kop / Orlik]
No longer available.
A light Virginia flake topped with orange essence and honey. On the fruity side, but comparable to a few other flakes: Capstan Yellow, Orlik Golden Slices, Solani 633.

OLD DOG [Made by McClelland]
No longer available.
A pleasant English blend, medium Latakia, and faintly reminiscent of campfires and distantly burning peat stoves. Cased with a little Vanilla, in imitation of a few American blends that have disappeared from the market. I did not like it, but it was well made.

ORIGINAL OLD CHURCH [Made by McClelland]
No longer available.
Virginias and black cavendish. A high quality aromatic with something like vanilla. Easy smoking, comparable to McClelland's Grey Havens. It has a great room-note for some people, but it's a little too sweet and oily. Please note that I dislike aromatics.

PLATINUM [Kohlhase & Kop / Orlik]
Flake, aged Virginias, and black cavendish. A fruity topping.
Clean burning, top quality, and not to my taste.


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One more day of this and I can finally have a real lunch. I have a day off tomorrow, so convenience store crap won't be on the menu. Nor will trying to convince the boys in the back that I am Mister Congeniality. Had to threaten one of them with a savage choking if he didn't concede the point. Which he finally did, gracefully, in a charming Russian Accent.

Congenial, jovial even. These define me.
As everyone of them agrees.
Or else.

Another one of them needed to be reminded of the time he foamed at the mouth over Obama's dastardly plan to wipe out White America by letting Ebola deplete the ranks. This was back in 2014, when Trump was still a desperate conman blowing Vladimir Putin for candy and spare change.
Rather than the world-class statesman he has since become.
Naturally he voted for the fellow.
Because Hillary.

Many of the folks in the back seem like they belong in the Piranha club.

It's very refreshing being exposed to solid Republican values like that.
Normally I wouldn't come anywhere near these gentlemen, and wouldn't converse with them at all after the first time they opened their mouths.
In fact, I never even knew that there were such people in California.

One of these days I'm bringing a carton of eggs to work.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019


There is weirdness on teevee in the morning. NewYorkese bitchiness. My apartment mate's choice. As yours truly does not turn the television on that early.
Or, actually, ever.

It's raining.

Probably a good thing that rather than my normal schedule, this is a work day. The boss is somewhere in the Caribbean on business, and Alexander Haig-like I am in charge.

Won't be off again till Friday.

When it might also rain.

Suburban dingos.


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Tuesday, March 19, 2019


For many months, people were saying "why is there no Samuel Gawith to be had anywhere?" And "what?" Not you. People. Other people. It was, per a discussion a few months back, an import-entry issue. Something bureaucratic. But there should be Sam Gawith a-plenty now.
So dry your tears.

[Clarification for the tobacco-impaired: Samuel Gawith is a brilliant company located in Kendall, Cumbria, England. They produce some marvelous smoking products, as well as some bizarre things aimed at a hobbit demographic living in their moms' basements all over the States.]

Numerous tins we have seen for sale recently:

Fifty percent Latakia, fifty percent Virginia, steam-pressed. Dark and perfumy because of that treatment. If aged, crystals form on the ragged slices. This is a delightful afternoon's smoke.

Medium in strength, with a pleasing mellowness. Straight Virginia, nothing else. One of the classics.

Black cavendish, blonde Virginia, honey essence. Queer fish.

A dark pigtail, quite strong. Suitable for young men with something to prove, and old men who are bored. Mono-dimensional.

Mostly Virginia. A little Latakia, and a whisper of whisky. Liquour in tobacco usually translates to a mellowness and a melding of flavours, rarely to any noteworthy taste of booze. Quite enjoyable.

Virginia with a little cigar leaf. Do not smoke this on an empty stomach. Tangy notes, but a powerful product. Unless you are impossible to live with, this should be only an occasional indulgence.

Little roundels with a smidgeon of Perique. Delightful.

This is bizarre. Very suited to Americans.

Virginias with Burley and a little Latakia to support the chocolate flavouring, which is not over-the-top. This is a high quality old-fashioned smoke. Pleasing woodsy notes. Mild to medium.

Fifty percent Latakia, fifty percent Virginia. Rich and delicious.

Sugar crystals! It has sugar crystals!

An extremely nice blonde Virginia in a coarse cut.

Strong tobacco, but rich and creamy. This is a solid whoomp of a smoke. It has nuances.

Virginia with Turkish, steam-pressed. A very slight tonquin dressing added. Very pleasant, a good blender, also excellent smoked straight. Mild to medium in strength. Refined.

Full load of tonquin extractives. You may fall over smoking this.

A medium mixture where the Turkish moves to the fore, surprisingly mellow.

The paradigm of medium English mixtures; Virginia, Turkish, Latakia. Nearly divine.

The perfect Perique dosage on a Virginia base. Spicy, but it perfectly hits the spot. Worth stockpiling.

Currently smoking from a tin of Sam's Flake, and from a large stockpile of Saint James Flake. Purchased Cabbies Mixture, Golden Glow, and Skiff. Primarily to augment my stash. One should not deplete without refills.

[By the way: please note that Pipestud (Steve Fallon) has written a recent post on his blog: "Is Cyprian Latakia Dead or Alive?". Remember, this is the man who seeded a pipe-smoking competition with Dunhill's Royal Yacht, sheerly for the pleasure it would give him and the discomfort of the participants. An inspired man.]

Current beverage: Strong coffee. I should go to sleep soon. But I have a large amount of tobacco drying in a stainless steel tray on my bed, near the vicious little black kitty who wants to eat the little girl hamster when she visits. So instead I'll load up a last pipe for the night, and go stand on the front steps looking wiser and more mature than I actually am.


Best Brown Flake with blackberries, brandy and vanilla.
And perhaps mango.
The blackberry is dominant, the brandy and vanilla allegedly round out the edges and give balance. This is, underneath the cloying funk, a very decent tobacco. It took me over a year to finish the tin. Mixing it with something else did not help. If this was the only tobacco that you were stuck with on a desert island you would go insane. Unless you were a ruddy degenerate. For its type it is extremely well-made, and some people will like it.


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