Tuesday, April 30, 2019


There are several celebrations that return every year that once could look forward to, except there's nothing to include one in.

Sportive: Opening day at the Park.
Quasi-religious: Thanksgiving.
Nationalist: July Fourth.
Chocolate: Valentine's.
Important: Saint Swithin's Day.
Ethnic: Passover.

Eighty percent of those events mean absolutely nothing to me. Acid indigestion. The one that should mean acid indigestion, doesn't.

Perhaps the key factor is that I am not there. All those celebrations are infinitely better for my absence. The only reason to have included me is deceased people.

One can understand no-one paying attention on National Donut Day (First Friday of June: 06/07/2019) and Hello Kitty At the Ballpark (usually sometime in mid-summer). We're supposed to be no gluten and fat-free here in SF, and those holidays don't suggest that at all.

Pity about July 15, though.
Chaussons aux pommes.

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Monday, April 29, 2019


Normally I would head in to work today. Which is also what I would've done Saturday and Sunday. But whatever this thing is, it's keeping me from doing that. In a further episode of "what do we put in our mouth today, guaranteed to upset Jack in the East Bay who is convinced that I owe him 'stuff people want to read'", I should mention that there is bugger all in the way of lunch-like pleasure in what I've ingested today and yesterday.

On a daily basis: Metoprolol, Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Losartan, Atorvastatin, Amlodipine Besylate. These are mostly blood pressure meds and an antiplatelate. I take them to stay alive.

I realize you find my not dying uninspiring, Jack. Screw you.

Plus two other things, because of the cough: Benzonatate and Tussin DM.
Various times during the day. No nutritive value either.

What I've actually eaten since Wednesday: half an order of bitter melon chicken and black beans over rice. One plain bread roll. Half a sandwich.
A small amount of noodles and veg. Nothing since Saturday.

"Now its all variations of what you put in your mouth on any given day. Lunch? Tobacco? Medicine?"

I've made sure that I am decently hydrated.
Just in case. Pee sample and all.
Off to the clinic it is.

I have not had an uninterrupted night since last Monday. Because of this cough I cannot sleep, talk to people, eat, or smoke.

If I need to give a sample, I'll probably pee all over except in the cup. I think you should hold that cup, Jack. You.

Just to repeat: Half sandwich. Small serving noodles. A little bit of bittermelon and chicken over rice. Bread roll. Hot liquids with caffeine. No dairy, because that causes endless coughing jags, so no Hong Kong Milk Tea in an entire week. No hot sauce, chilies, or Sriracha. Daily doses of Metoprolol, Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Losartan, Atorvastatin, Amlodipine Besylate, Benzonatate, and Tussin DM.

Does that make you happy, Jack?
You 'intellectoid'.

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Sunday, April 28, 2019


That is to say, there three people who could be Jack. All three of them live in the East Bay. There are a few others whose Jackness is vague and marginal.

One of the problems with having a life that includes several strands of activism and interest is that you will end up with connections with whom you never want to be seen in public again. Or, if you haven't met them, you do not want to meet.

Rabbi Junker Moises Rebecca von Lichtenstein Bongo.

Sixteen cigar virgin.

Middle-aged dick pix guy.

I am into black dominion, are you?

Persons upset by the Movie "Borat".

The Black Dutch Revolution Will be Now! Muddafuggahs!

In order: a cross-dressing transgender black Jew-o-phile who imagines himself or herself to be a rabbi of Noble German descent. An asperger high school drop out. A gay pro-Israel chap who never did figure out how to send invites to gay guys swapping penis picks only to people in his e-mail who might actually be interested in gay guys and their penis picks. A strange opera singer from Texas. Several people with absolutely no sense of humour whatsoever. A Surinamer in the Netherlands of mostly white ancestry but very black self image, with some psychological problems.

And then there was the person who posted this comment: "Judío de mierda, lo más repulsivo en internet son los hijos de puta judíos liberales de mierda como tú, hijo de remil putas. Know what's repulsive? Mohels sucking the blood from the pricks of circumcised kike pups and giving them herpes. Hope you get killed by some sandnigger, you stupid son of a whore."

Or this blazing idiot: "23333333 You stupid splittist, China is one united, you all list is only Chinese foods, because Hong Kong is fully part of China so is now fully Chinese, also you have so much gall to use english colony running dog spelling, you must want use true Chinese hanyu pinyin, dont give me your stupit "tofu", 豆腐 is called DOUFU, Chinese people need to use real Chinese language putonghua, otherwise nobody can understand, you still dare promote splittist local dialect!

Such eloquence!

Years ago I was "Obviously! Obviously" a Freemason, a Javanese Military Officer collecting intelligence, a mercenary for Ferdinand Marcos, a white imperialist racist, Australian, and a born again Christian American rightwinger. Plus a Jesuit. "Obviously!"

The miracle of the internet is that you can be all of these things, and more!
So far I've been an elderly rabbi, two teenage Chinese girls, a middle aged Lesbian, a single lawyer, several eccentric Indians, a slim brainless blonde (brains just add so much weight, ya know!), a television star, and many other wonderful things.

The only thing of which you can be sure is that "I am Venky Injinir, I can be helping you now, please"

Because you insisted that the manager of the restaurant come to the phone.

I am a most excellent Madrassi. Indeed.

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While going through some old stuff I discovered a letter to one of the few local Pro-Israel activists I still communicate with. For the sake of interested parties, I have pasted it below, with the necessary name changes so that I don't get sued by any of those nutballs.

The addressee had asked me why I had stopped being the voice of moderation. Which, even under the best of circumstances can be trying. When everyone else in the room is an angry pooh-throwing chimp, it is altogether pointless.


Begin cite:

"Birdie", "Weed", "Bug", "Harley Davidson", "Eastern Eurie A", and
"Eastern Eurie B" are incapable of intelligent discourse.
"Birdie" was often unable to think straight (or even think at all), and
seldom tolerated different opinions; "Weed" is so right-wing and out of
touch that it was hard being in the same room; "Bug" doesn't have a
brain in her body; "Harley Davidson" is an irrational Obama-hater with
paranoid conspiracy tendencies, "Eastern Eurie A" thinks that I am a
communist and evil;and "Eastern Eurie B" is a very nice blithering idiot.
What's amazing is that "Harley Davidson" and "Birdie" often see eye to eye,
for different reasons; "Weed" has her own agenda and is insufferable;
"Eastern Eurie A"despises democrats; "Eastern Eurie B" doesn't understand
subtlety, nuance, or gradations; and "Harley Davidson" is so rigidly
hatefilled about Obama and the democrats that it is impossible to stand on
the same side of the street with him without gagging. Add to that the
totally unaffiliated element -- not only "Bald Liability", "Male Stupid
New Yorker", and "Female Stupid New Yorker", but also the people like "Russian Newsletter Psycho" and "I never check my sources I just cut-and-paste into a newsletter Ding Batte", and others, and you end up with a
dysfunctional cluster of liabilities.

When "F" quit, the general reaction was "good riddance". After I
quit, "Birdie" basically told me to go fuck myself several different
times, "Bug" and "Ambulating Fire Hydrant" started shrieking about
how we need "Harley Davidson", we can't do anything without
"Harley Davidson", we've gotta have "Harley Davidson", "Weed" sent some
patronizing "there there little hamster" crap to the other list, and
"Eastern Eurie A" refused to even respond. "Eastern Eurie B", of
course, was sublimely oblivious to everything, and kept sending
non-germaine material.

Between "Birdie" and her camping, ego, and cats, and "Harley Davidson"
with his guns and anti-Democrat crusade (as well as his whining about
how 'Surby' in San Diego is just super groooooovy), there's no
working with the group as it currently exists.

Besides, I'm sure that all the people I've listed are just happy as
dingo that I'm no longer part of the group; they all get along so much
better and organize so much smoother without my cynicism,
sarcasm, and just wet-blanketism.

In any case, there hasn't been any peep from them suggesting 
anything different.

End cite.

The response before I clicked "de-subscribe" for the organizational e-mail list was "good riddance, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."
Given that the person who sent that was one of the reasons for leaving, and has accomplished nothing but wreckage since then, that's kind of amusing.

Yeah, I have no communication with them anymore.
One of them has died since then.

As an after thought: In early 2017 I was informed that my input in a pro-Israel forum was reducing some Trumpite daughter of a holocaust survivor to tears. So I scrubbed my footprint, and removed myself.
But really, I shouldn't have done so.
Screw the old bag.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019


One of the first things Jack said in the comments underneath narrow-minded and wrong was: "The old lawyer is now dating an Asian woman half his age. Had you stuck around, you could have gotten lessons." The two things that come to mind are 1) as a non Jew that really has no relevance to me. At all.
2) That's probably the all-time skeeviest comment anyone has ever left under a blog post here. Ew! What's in that diseased mind of yours?

NOT: "The old lawyer is now dating a Rhodes scholar". Or "The old lawyer is now dating a fellow gun nut". Or "The old lawyer is now dating a curvy biker chick". Nope. The only thing that she's got going for her is a) half his age, and b) ethnicity. At least in Jacks's eyes.

"The old lawyer is now dating an Asian woman half his age"

With shit like that going on in your head, Jack it really is a damned good thing neither you nor any others of the other East Bay crowd ever tried setting me up with someone. She would have no sense of humour, and would have had neurotic food phobias. Besides being whiny and needing an inhaler.
Your crowd. Except when you're skipping ethnicities.
In which case, young and "Asian".
Or a blonde.

There's got be something more to the girl the old lawyer is seeing. Is she a brilliant amateur cartographer? A well-known collector of model trains?
A lively pervert with a thing for fossilized old men?
A guitar player in a rock band?

That you mention only that she's Asian and half his age suggests 'no'.

Can I assume that she's not a Tamil or a Pakistani? Uyghur? A throat-singing Mongolian Herdswoman? Bandit-queen from Central India?

What the hell does "Asian" mean to you, Jack?
As a Jew, you are "Asian" too.

"An Asian woman half his age."

She's really very nice, and fairly intelligent. We would invite both of them to go places, but, you know, half the things we say are kinda baffling to her 'coz of the religion thing, and Jack keeps ogling her breasts.

She's "perfect".

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Friday, April 26, 2019


An angry Jewish vulgarian wrote: "I once read this blog regularly. Now I visit once or twice a month. You once wrote things people wanted to read- now its all variations of what you put in your mouth on any given day. Lunch? Tobacco? Medicine?"

[One of many comments under previous post.]

Perfectly showing that he, at least, isn't part of the chosen demographic. Which is NOT, as he wishes it were, Angry Pro-Israel Jewish Vulgarians who at great length discuss Matters of Great Import, and by so doing (icing on the cake) Piss Off Berkeley Anti-Semites Coincidentally.

Pissing off Berkeley anti-Semites is, without question, a good thing. But, as they say, 'been there, done that'. It's too limited for regular blogging.
Oh well, Jack. You lose.

[And I am fairly certain it is Jack. He's probably the one person I know who reads this blog with so crude, belligerent, and whiny an argumentative style (as evident in everything else he said). A repulsive man. I tolerated him for several years because he was an old friend of Ross.]

By his comments here once or twice a year, he, and several pro-Israel folks I never want to see again (*), have pretty much guaranteed that I shall not write about matters Jewish or Israeli. Unless something particularly stupid or egregious comes up. Because those are damned well boring subjects, for blinkered arsewipes. My demographic, Jack, is precisely people who are interested in what I put in my mouth any given day. Lunch, tobacco.
And perhaps incidentally, medicine.

Your comments, Jack.

So Jack, kindly stop visiting at all. Once or twice a month is too much.
The world really doesn't cater to Angry Jewish Vulgarians.
That demographic is too small and unlikable.
No, we don't need to nuke Mecca.

"You once wrote things people wanted to read- now its all variations of what you put in your mouth"

But he did describe the readers of this blog nicely.


Among the all-time most popular posts here are the following:

MARCH 28, 2012

An exceptionally long cataloguing of dim sum for a friend who was scheduled to go to Hong Kong.

FEBRUARY 01, 2011

A well-loved Cantonese good luck dish.

APRIL 27, 2011

Not a 'how-to', but sort of a descriptive. Should clarify the term and let you recognize the type.

DECEMBER 04, 2015

Taking issue with something circulating on every anti-Muslim internet site and far too many pro-Israel pages. An illustration of gullible uncritical bigotry.

OCTOBER 01, 2011

Food. A delicious thing to put in your mouth.
Sorry, Jack. No Israel connection.

JANUARY 28, 2010

Self-explanatorily not something that angry Jewish vulgarians would have any possible interest in. Or the simple minded souls of the activist groups who thought that as a goy I should be more agreeable, or that I was "well taught in criticizing Torah from a Christian perspective", or an undercover, because the man was after him. It's a listing of tobacco-related posts.
Tobacco is a secret goyish plot.

NOVEMBER 19, 2012

Possibly appealing to late night internet surfers in Pakistan, or folks escaping from a strict girl's boarding school. No, I shan't speculate.

AUGUST 12, 2018

Lyrics to a song most famously sung by the late Anita Mui (梅艷芳 'mui yim fong') from the hit movie 'Rouge'(胭脂扣 'yin ji kau'), a long time ago.

JANUARY 17, 2017

The recipe for a much loved pipe-tobacco mixture.

DECEMBER 26, 2012

A favourite dish, that many of my favourite people (so, not the sour, bitter and unpleasant Jewish Vulgarians aforementioned) can agree on. Rashi would probably have liked it. But he never lived in the East Bay.

*Several Pro-Israel folks I never want to see again
Most of them are listed in this post: Crazies on facebook. Not all of them are in Berkeley and Oakland. Some of them live in New York, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, or Tel Aviv. Spewing crap about Obama, or saying adulatory things about Netanyahu, or echoing anything positive about the traitor Pollard, may get you on an updated version of that list.
Odious cretins.

Many of the people excoriated above have no sense of humour, and neurotic food phobias. Good reason never to visit the East Bay again.

I've saved over twenty thousand dollars by not going.
Coffee is SO expensive there!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019


This blog started several years ago as a place to park scraps of knowledge, mostly Judaic. At that time I was providing translation and commentary for friends, of someone else's weekly Jewish stuff, which necessitated some heavy reading into material I found fascinating. Of course there was also food. And angry political commentary.
A normal later foray onto the internet, in other words.

My interests have gradually changed, my principles have remained constant.

There are now very many people with whom I no longer have the slightest interest in ever associating with in any way again.

One lawyer, who is paranoid about Obama coming for his guns.
One lawyer, who's motorized wheelchair is an offensive weapon.
One Russian Israel-activist, who is out of her frickin' mind.
One balding pro-Israel rightwing xenophobe.
One union activist.
One Belgian.
One Jack.
Several opinionated Polish-Americans, of several genders.
Several Muslims, several Levantines. Several food neurotics.
Several Jewish literalists.
Several Jewish racists (one of whom moved to Jerusalem; good effing riddance).
Several people who supported Trump.
Several people who supported Bernie.

Plus many potsmokers, people with tattoos, Berkeleyites, and Christians.

It's been such a long time since I dealt with any of these people that some of them may be dead or institutionalized by now. And really, all of them deserve Nurse Ratchette and a cattle-prod. Plus a lid nailed on tightly.

I don't regret any part of those years, even paying for the coffee. It was a learning experience, and the exposure changed me.
I am a different and better person.

But less patient.

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Pearl's in North Beach closed down in 2008. Both original owner Pearl Wong, and new owners Kim Nalley and her husband, Steve Sheraton, who bought the joint in 2003 could no longer fight against the man. Apparently in it's last few years of existence it got increasingly upscale and hooty tooty, in a desperate bid to survive in an increasingly hip North Beach.
Jazz doesn't pay the rent.

Of course I never went, being musically tin-eared. But years ago it was in the basement of the Great Eastern on Jackson Street (diagonally opposite the Great Star Theater and Ping Yuen Bakery), and I had heard about it. At that time it sounded like a great place to go. Pearl, born in 1930, and her daughter Cookie, who sang there, moved the business into North Beach in 1990.

I had a tin ear then.

When it sold in 2003, I had a tin ear.

I still had a tin ear when it closed in 2008.

But I rather wish I didn't. For nearly two decades it had been a fixture, whose beginnings in a basement seemed so very San Francisco. Some of the greatest names in Jazz played there, and Pearl Wong was, apparently, an exceedingly capable hostess. She took over The Great Eastern when her father retired in 1963, and in subsequent years welcomed late night musicians from all over. Two decades later, the basement was made into a Jazz Club (1984), then closed a few years later when Ms. Wong started looking for a new location (1986). Jazz at Pearl's opened in 1990.

There is no longer live jazz in North Beach.
There are still drunkards and clubs.
And as many hipsters as ever.

I still have that tin ear.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019


On Facebook, I learned that the nearest KFC has closed down, and that if I crave a Cinnabon, I need to head to San Bruno. In the next county over. Somewhere near the airport, possibly inside. My research was not any more detailed. The nearest McDonalds is at the wharf, and as regards several other chains essential to American living, this neighborhood is hosed.
Krispy Kreme is in the badlands.

What kind of world is it when local kiddie-winkies can only eat healthy sh*t late at night, instead of getting the grease-memories that make them well-rounded citizens with hardened arteries like everybody else?!?
It's downright un-American, is what.

There used to be fast-food all over the place.
The change was by stealth.


I say that, because in over a decade I haven't had Southern chain fried chicken, in that same period I've only eaten Mickey D's once (a coworker suggested something nasty), and I have never had a Cinnabon.
So I didn't notice the disappearances.

I note, as a further example of the San Francisco Bay Area being depraved and going to hell in a handbasket, that there isn't a single 'Piggly Wiggly' Supermarket anywhere here.

Sh*tty East Coast pizza and bagels are all over the place.

[Source: Noo Yawk.]

Damned space mutants, get offa my lawn!

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Despite being horrendously unwell, I went to work yesterday. Was sent home in mid-afternoon, returning shortly after three. It got worse. And now I feel doubly cheated; today is a scheduled day off, I am still too darn sick to do all the things I need to do, just like on Easter Sunday, and I've already had the flu once this year, as well as a flu shot!

Haven't smoked a pipe since Friday afternoon. Other than nibbling here and there, haven't had an actual meal since Saturday. Sticking to a diet is ridiculous without an appetite.

I keep dreaming of Dutch smoked fish. Eel, mackerel, and trout.

Always available at the weekly street market.

Metallic skin, yellow waxy fat.

Subfusc under the low leafy branches of tall old trees. Silver and gold light; cafe terraces, lanterns, lamps inside, partial reflection off tables, windscreens, droplets, brick pavement worn smooth.
It rained earlier. The air feels velvety.

I'll probably spend the day in bed, half awake.

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Monday, April 22, 2019


Quote: "The hellbender is a nocturnal salamander that can grow more than 2 feet long. The mud-colored creature, covered in a layer of mucus, breathes primarily through loose flaps of thick, wrinkled skin that look a little bit like lasagna noodles."
End quote.

From an article about Pennsylvania's Official Amphibian: Snot Otter.

This is an occasion for gladness. Pennsylvania is finally joining the Twenty First Century.

California is ahead of them, with a more striking but far less impressive Amphibian.

Quote: "On June 28, 2014 the governor of California approved Bill AB-2364 designating the California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) as the official state amphibian."
End quote.

Source: A handsome little fellow

I think they're both very nice.

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Sunday, April 21, 2019


The flu nixed my plans for Easter. Day off, spot of light laundry, then down to Chinatown for a late breakfast and a smoke. No. Got up early, felt thoroughly miserable, went back to bed. Slept over seven hours since this morning. No energy, aches and chills. Finally fixed myself a light snack, because a man has to eat. Asparagus and egg toast.

Whenever I visited my spam folder, it was filled. Dumped over three hundred obvious spam comments. For which I am blaming the Russians, of course. Though why they would want to subvert this blog site is a mystery.

There is no Lesby scat here.

No Czarist secret agenda.

No Wordpress or plug-ins.

No, there is no twitter feed.

No Chelten-buggery-ham.

But someone wants there to be, and is stepping up to offer it.

I feel like death warmed over, didn't enjoy my extra day off at all, and some Slavic turdbot wants to seed my site with scatology and Cheltenham.

Go away, Igor.

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Like many people, I have looked at Vietnamese place names, and wondered what those are in a civilized language.
Fortunately there are equivalents.

So here's a list of three regionomens, and their correct versions.

嘉定 ('gaa deng'): Auspicious, settled or fixed. Name of Saigon under the Nguyễn, and under the French till 1891. Gia Định.
柴棍 ('chaai gwan'): Firewood cudgel. Sino-Viet name of Saigon. Thầy gòn.
堤岸 ('tai ngon'): Dike, beach or coast. Embankment. The Cantonese name of Cholon. Tai-Ngon.
西貢 ('sai gong'): Occident, tribute. Name 'Saigon' in Chinese usage.

林邑 ('lam yap'): Jungle or forest district. The name a millennium ago. Lâm Ấp.
化 ('faa'): Sino-Vietnamese: hoá. Transform. Of which Huế is a bastardization.
順化 ('suen faa'): Submit and transform. Thuận Hoá, a territorial name.

龍邊 ('lung pin'): Dragon side, boundary, or edge. Hanoi under the Chinese. Long Biên.
宋平 ('sung peng'): Sung (as in the dynasty) peace. Tống Bình.
龍肚 ('lung tou'): Dragon stomach. Long Đỗ.
大羅 ('daai lo'): Big net (gauze), as of the year 866. Đại La.
羅城 ('lo seng'): Gauze or net citadel; secondary wall around a city. La Thành.
昇龍 ('sing lung'): Ascending dragon. Thăng Long.
東都 ('tung tou'): Eastern metropolis. Hồ dynasty name. Đông Đô.
東關 ('tung gwaan'): Eastern pass, frontier citadel, or gate. Minh dynasty name. Đông Quan.
東京 ('tung king'): Eastern capital. Lê dynasty name. Đông Kinh.
北城 ('baak seng'): Northern citadel. Tây Sơn (西山) period name. Bắc Thành.
河內 ('ho noi'): Within the rivers. Name since 1831. Hà Nội.

花旗 ('faa kei'): Flower flag. The United States. Hoa Kỳ.
荷蘭 ('ho laan'): Lotus Orchid. The Kingdom of the Netherlands. Hà Lan.

Technically, all of these terms are 詞漢越 ('chi hon yuet'; Từ Hán Việt);
Expressions Sinitic across the boundary. Sino-Vietnamese.

Unlike West Virginians, most Vietnamese still have their teeth, and lack visible tails.

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This post is primarily influenced by my having flu-like symptoms, and feeling rather physically beastly. Secondarily by the horrid weather we're having.
Getting home from the bus stop, with this frigid wind? An adventure!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

I like the place. I like the owner, even though she does not know I patronize her second establishment (she sees me not at all infrequently at the first), and also two of the waitresses. The third waitress is young, sweet, fresh-faced, and comes across as somewhat of an idiot. Because I am not an old man desperate for a pretty girl's smile, I almost never deal with her.
Well I am, but flibbertigibbets do not appeal to me.
And she's rather ineffective.

The pork chops were mediocre, the curry sauce give me a stomach ache, and all things considered I've had far better lunches in Chinatown. Including curry porkchops and rice. At some of the other chachantengs.
The last meal I had there gave me an episode.
I thought I was dying at the time.
That, or a seafood allergy.


Still. Definitely going to eat something there again. Because I like the place. As well as the owner. And two of the waitresses. The kitchen, not so much. The milk tea is excellent, as is the people watching.

The weather had a lot to do with how nasty I felt afterwards. My joints seize up when a frigid wind is blowing, and I damned well cannot understand the idiots going around in tee-shirts and short sleeves. Must be all the tattoos keeping them warm.

If they're ever caught in a snowstorm, they can burn the tattoos to stay alive.

My plan to have an enjoyable pipe smoke in Chinatown followed by another cup of Hong Kong milk tea at another place had to be abridged. I stumbled painfully along Grant Avenue to the bus-stop, and took the next one home.
Finished that first pipe on my front steps.

The real problem with cold weather is all the exhibitionists.
There are NO accidentally visible breastesses.
San Francisco is miserable.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019


Two things which MUST be mentioned: If she ever wins the lottery, my apartment mate intends to have lots of massages and butter-poached lobster. which will probably necessitate liposuction every month. And two: there are lots of delicious looking things in the refrigerator at present; our downstairs neighbor is too kind.

Our downstairs neighbor doesn't know that my doctor wants my cholesterol to go way down, and that I should also lay off the sugar. Which I am willing to do, have no problem with in fact, and left to my own devices I can avoid cookies, cheesecake, lobster, butter cookes, crème brûlée, brie, Béarnaise sauce, steak-frites, gehakte leber, Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, strudel, all manner of shellfish .....

Pizza too. I can avoid pizza.

Our downstairs neighbor is a very nice person.
Cantonese, like my apartment mate.
The landlady.

There appear to be delicious creamy pastries in there.
It's a festive long weekend.

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Since the dawn of time, when Adam landed the Ark atop Mount Ararat, the improvement of Van Ness Avenue has occupied the resources of our city fathers, who are the finest brains ever assembled under one dome.

A friend driving me back from Marin once remarked that it was embarrassing that a world class city would have such lousy roads, almost Third Worldian.
It would, but thanks to the local politicians, we ain't a world class city.
We're kind of Eastern Europe. At best.

Van Ness Avenue will not be finished in your lifetime.
Why don't you visit Detroit instead?
Lovely monuments!

They're digging a fishing hole on Van Ness right now.
If they stock it with trout, we shall feast.

The Van Ness Public Works Song

First stanza:
On Monday morning John gets up, what's he doing today?
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
All the life-long day!

Second stanza:
On Tuesday morning John gets up, what's he doing today?
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
All the life-long day!

Third stanza:
On Wednesday morning John gets up, what's he doing today?
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
All the life-long day!

Fourth stanza:
On Thursday morning John gets up, what's he doing today?
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
All the life-long day!

Fifth stanza:
On Friday morning John gets up, what's he doing today?
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
He's digging a hole and digging a hole,
And filling a hole and filling a hole;
All the life-long day!

Raise your voice cheerily, peasant, and sing!

"We are working to improve your commute"

Yeah, no. My sainted aunt Fanny.
The breath; it is not held.

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Friday, April 19, 2019


It's meant to be lighthearted. Yet I am somewhat on the fence about the name, because I associate 'eggrolls' with mediocre take-out food in the vast interior, meth-heads, trailer parks, and college life. Several years ago, when I was part of a team working very long hours for a local utility company on a special project with an impossible deadline, I discovered that if everyone else had their way, the delivery food would be nothing but Eggrolls, Shrimp Fried Rice, and Sweet 'n Sour pork. With extra (!) red food colouring.
Plus Chicken Chow Mein. Soy sauce packets, no hot sauce.
This was before General Tso, you understand.
No Orange Chicken either.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Anyhow, I am a little ambivalent about the name 'eggroll' for a cigar, and the packaging in a to-go container. But it is meant playfully, as a fun change of pace from the self-important image so many products in that field have.

"Perfecto from Le Grand Château Épongees, de la série "Z", Les Jonquilles Cacaotées, avec la meilleure capo primo colorado, si raffinée que les primitifs ne peuvent pas se permettre."
Appealing strictly to European class-sensibilities.
Sold primarily in the non-Cuban world.

The nicely printed pamphlet explains how the founder of Château Épongees fled from Antartica with nothing but a vision and a ragged silk handkerchief, and through self-discipline and sheer hard work he and seven generations of descendants created the best cigar in the world. The now sadly stained handkerchief hangs framed in the entrance hall, to remind his heirs to maintain the family legacy.

It's embroidered with the family motto: "soy una tortuga".

This is not that.


Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Ecuadoran Sumatra binder and a filler blend of Colombian, Mexican, American and Dominican tobacco.

It's a well-constructed Rothschild (4½ x 50) that burns evenly, and delivers sweetness and a mild peppery note. Toward the end it is richer and fuller, earthy. All told, nearly an hour well spent.

Source for both images: https://www.cigaraficionado.com/

Hints of leather and cocoa, tea, dried fruits.
Medium bodied. Evenly burning.
An elegant little smoke.
Quite tasty.

The Chinese character on the band (击) represents a punch, as in the company name. It is a simplification of 擊 ('gik'), from seventeen strokes down to four. Easier to write without creating an illegible ink-blob.

擊 击

Went well with morning coffee. I did not fly the concept by my Cantonese American apartment mate; she's sensitive to Whitey doing weird Chinesey things and hates cigars anyway. Waited till she had left for work, firmly shut her bedroom door and opened up all the windows, toasted the shaggy foot by rolling the tip underneath the water kettle, then relaxed for an hour.

I am cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

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On a whim the other day I purchased a box of salted duck eggs on Stockton Street: 霸王鹹鴨蛋 ('baa wong haam ngaap daan'). They're already cooked, and simply need to be removed from their vacuum seal sleeve.
A convenience, as well as a luxury.

Yes indeed, not good for people with high blood pressure, but not nearly as salty as you would think. Had one sliced up with cooked asparagus, though it would have been better with a rasher of nearly crisp smoky bacon for accent. Perhaps on sourdough toast, the egg and bacon chopped or coarsely mashed together like an egg salad.
Plus some fresh ground pepper.

Probably not what the nutritionist I saw at Chinese Hospital would've considered part of better and healthier eating.

There were four eggs. Now there are three.

Eggs. They're good for Easter.

Look, everybody eats too many eggs at this time, so if the remaining eggs all get consumed before the end of the month, I'm still watching what I eat.

There's still part of a baguette in the fridge. Salted duck egg, slivered ham (maybe Ardenner), thick-sliced cucumber, a thin smear of melted butter, or ranch dressing, toasted baguette Vietnamese style ... plus cilantro and sliced Jalapeño. Bánh mì trứng muối. Plus Sriracha hot sauce.
The Easter breakfast of champions.

The name of these eggs are 霸王鹹鴨蛋 ('baa wong haam ngaap daan'). Literally, mighty king, tyrant, or despot salty duck egg. It is delicious.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019


So. The Real Housewives of Atlanta have absolutely the biggest bosoms. Frighteningly big. Far be it from me to big-shame OR man-splain a woman and her bosoms, but human biology did not enter into it; these women are the Borg. And I am frightfully disappointed. I was expecting our alien techno-hybrid overlords to be more ... worthwhile.

My apartment mate watches the show.
I haven't quite figured out why.

It must appeal to some deepseated feminine side to her, which she successfully hid from all of us.

We already knew that she was female, but there may be more to that condition than just name and shape. It just goes to show that you shouldn't judge someone on appearances.
There is no conceivable resemblance at all between my apartment mate and those gorgons. But sisterhood is powerful.

For the normal man, there is nothing about that show worth seeing.

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Among the stuffed animals that occupy this apartment, Gigi (the small black kitten) wishes to have hamster sashimi. Nearly every day imaginary hamsters visit -- Grandpa basil, his daughter (whose name I can't remember at present), and his granddaughter Clarissa -- and Gigi plots evil toward them all, but especially the smallest.
She plots evil against pretty much everybody.
She's a frightful opportunist.
And rather disliked.

When my apartment mate is home, this place is noisy, and filled with drama. My apartment channels for the creatures, whether stuffed or imaginary. It's her way of expressing herself and releasing emotions -- being anti-social and very Aspy, it works for her -- and I play along, because they all have different voices, and distinct personalities with which one must interact.

I do not know how she feels about chickens.

Some people have chickens as pets.

Cue Werner Herzog here.

The other day I mentioned a charming youtube video to a friend, where a family's pet chicken runs down the path everyday to welcome the daughter home from school when the bus drops her off. Jumps into her arms, and showers her with feathered affection.

His response was that the bird, beyond a shadow of a doubt, had focused on the little girl as the tiniest member of the family, and therefore easiest to kill and eat. The chicken was just waiting for an opportune moment.

Sometimes he's grim and nihilistic in his attitude.

I, on the other hand, am brightly positive.

And can see the good in chickens.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Having lamented the execrable taste of the young white people doing karaoke (as well as Johnny's Idiot Younger Brother, who may be debatably Chinese, but he acts mighty white and stupid) it's probably very fortunate indeed that their knowledge of music is so limited. With Karaoke, either a song you hate or a song you love is going to be massacred.

My friend the bookseller brings a classic to my attention.

"Not on the menu at Xxx's, and (I fear) not on the karaoke at Yyy-Yyy's."

So that's either a good thing or a good thing.


[SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0hwTrNkJCg.]

I'll match that, and up the ante.


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

Now, the problem is that I can well imagine Johnny's Idiot Younger Brother doing either of those songs. But if he did, we'd have to kill him.
Which would leave a stain on the linoleum.
And we'd have to drag him out and chuck him in one of the trashbins in the alley (compost), because it would be ungentlemanly to leave that task to Jenny or her swain/lover/boyfriend/husband/co-conspirator.
Not sure about their relationship.

She has long days, and she hates The Eagles.
As do we all.

['cou caau min']

A little culinary note: because food and evenings go together, and 食宵夜 ('sik siu ye') is a necessary part of your life. Eating to accompany the night.

Years ago, when one of the Shanghai places down on Kearny was still open late, you could fortify yourself with a bowl of thick wheaty noodles stirfried with pork and bokchoi, assertively flavoured with soy sauce. Fry the soy and wine marinated pork and the thick pre-cooked noodles separately, slightly burning the soy sauce you add to the noodles. A pinch of sugar added will deepen the effect. Then add the sliced greens to wilt, and lastly the pork.
Dish up, and augment with Chekiang Vinegar and hot sauce.
It was right next to a bar with a throbbing juke box.
Thieves, working ladies, and darkness.
A smoke-filled boîte.

Mostly, I went to that eatery for the dumplings. Northern style.
[Regrettably, they are no longer there. But I fondly remember them.]

Karaoke wasn't common then, and young white hipsters wouldn't be caught dead invading certain places; they couldn't show off how with-it they were.

Young white hipsters weren't common then either.
North Beach was mostly drug-addicts.
Tattoos weren't de rigeur.

Don't sing.

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Quote: "Stop that, stop that! You're not going to do a song while I'm here! Now listen, lad, in twenty minutes you are getting married to a girl whose father owns the biggest tracts of open land in Britain." End quote.
From which we learn that there is more to life than just singing.

[The phrase is from Monty Python, Holy Grail.]

Unfortunately Johnny's Idiot Younger Brother hasn't grasped that yet. And, unfortunately, he also fails to grasp his utter and complete devastating lack of talent, or any likable characteristic whatsoever. He is the perfect Herbert.

"I want the girl that I marry to have... a certain... special... thing."

Shut up, Herbert!

The two worst karaoke songs in the world are 'Sweet Caroline' and 'Welcome to the Hotel California'. Followed closely by anything Abba. And, given that neither I nor the bookseller sing, and because of medications I do not drink alcohol, you could well ask why we even go there. Tradition, mainly. We've been heading there once a week for years, and now that Jenny is behind the counter, the ambiance is saner than it ever was. Though she does tolerate more from the stupid kwailos than she should.

Last night I drank soda. Tea. Hot water. That last while at one end of the bar the Cantonese were slamming dice cups and the Marketing Department Caucasians were drinking themselves "melodically" into stupours.

Johnny's Idiot Younger Brother (Paul) is older than he was a few years ago, even more dishwater than before, and, unfortunately, encourages the drunken Caucasians. As does the titty groper. The rest of us largely try to avoid any interaction with them.

Earlier we had observed a bunny rabbit placidly eating either crisp lettuce or somebody's stash. In connection with an ambulance dropping off a person who had recovered from an overdose.

There was also a fat shaggy dog with a big bottom.

And several people with hair dyed pink.

The bunny was the sanest.

Chew, chew, chew.

North Beach isn't the same anymore. These dingoes now want to sing.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Cantonese people wishing to eat, and have a good old girls gab fest. Black Americans who require take-out food (vegetable chow mein). Germans who need to pee. And a Dutch-American, eating string beans and chicken with black bean sauce over rice (四季豆雞飯 'sei gwai dou kai faan').

There's a whole lot of pig intestine on the wall now.
Stuffed, poached, in congee, and various.
Plus two dishes I might try.
At some point.

['jiu si fu yiu syu yip', 'jiu si fu yiu tong choi']

Pepper shreds fermented tofu with yam leaves, or the same preparation with water spinach (ipomoea aquatica). Probably stir-fried, water or stock added to flare up, quickly reduced, plated. Sambal goreng kang kong.
But with rotten titty added.

I'm a boring eater; the pig intestines do not speak to me.

No, that's not a strange auto-correct or misprint above. Titty. The second word in 'fermented beancurd (腐乳 'fu yiu') means breast, nipple, suckle.

If you are a man, and the illustration above doesn't strangely excite you or appeal on a deep aesthetic level, you may be illiterate.
Go on, admit it. That soft soft curve of the hidden mystery , the claw grasping the left-over and lonely
Ooh, zesty!

All of those dishes are relatively new there. But only if you can read what is posted on the wall. Because they aren't familiar with any of the English equivalents, and I had better not do any translation for them.

I'd have too much fun.

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It takes half an hour, more or less, for the Amlodipine, Atorvastatin, baby Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Losartan, Metoprolol, and coffee to hit the brain and make life bright and sunny. Until then, the person is still somnolescent, and the mind is filled with surreal images from the dreamstate. Replay loop.
A televison show featuring a celebrity spouting off weird theories.
The Antwerp train station, filled with dark-hued cats.
Sheep wearing colourful woolen scarves.
Fikadel met mosterd.

Actually, that baby Aspirin (81 Mg.), the Clopidogrel, and Atorvastatin are not, strictly speaking, functional in the wake up process -- more of long-term thing there -- and the odd images from the dreamstate are caused by the Amlodipine Besylate; they didn't start occuring so reliably until the end of March, when that medication was first prescribed. But I like it. I now hit the snooze button several times because of the surreal quality to waking up.

Sometimes I wish that baby Aspirin had a more butch or macho nickname. Arnold Schwarzenegger Aspirin, Sean Connery Aspirin, Lee van Cleef Aspirin. Baby Aspirin simply sounds so wussy.
Eighty one milligrams of whimpering.

I haven't felt so well in years.

Supposedly one of the side-effects of Amlodipine Besylate is swelling of the ankles and calves, which I haven't noticed, maybe because the minor tokes of nicotine and regular swilling of caffeinated beverages from dawn till dusk work vasodilatorily. The first pipe (or cigarillo) of the day smells like victory! Ah, those delicate whisps of ancient perfume drifting upwards in the shafts of sunlight, dust motes in the air adding a ghost-reflective vibrancy in the early morning, either outside the health club whose members wish I would not wait for the bus there, or in the room where the computers reside.

On a good day I twinkle for hours.

Today is a day off. Pay bills, do laundry, head into Chinatown for lunch at a chachanteng. Then a pipe while shopping for veggies. After which maybe a cup of milk tea at a bakery. People watching. Pipes.

Yesterday I discovered that in addition to adding hot sauce to salad, squeezing a whole lime over it makes it taste fairly edible.
The convenience store near work sells limes.
Things are looking very up.


A few days ago I opened up another tin of Dunhill's Dark Flake, which because production of Dunhill tobaccos ceased a year and a half ago, more or less, has aged nicely already. It reminds me of Petersen & Sorensen's Tradition, which has not been available for over a decade. It may, in fact, be the same recipe, cleverly re-branded under a more prestigious label.

There is a subtlety to the smell. Perfumy, recollective.
It inspires a dreaminess to just puttering about.
As days off are meant for doing.

Words drifting through the mind: Gynaecology (婦科學 'fu fo hok'; 婦產科 'fu chaan fo'). Peripheral neuropathy (周邊神經病變 'jau pin san keng beng pin', "peripheral" "nutcase" "rebellion"), which Norman has, that's why he can't drive anymore. There's poetry in the Chinese word. Tourist (遊客 'yau haak'; 觀光客 'gun gwong haak'). Frikandel. Lutefisk (鹼漬魚 'gaan ji yü'). Toes (足尖、腳尖、腳指 'juk jim', 'keuk jim', 'keuk ji'). Grass (草 'chou'). Dragonfly (蜻蜓 'ching ting'). Bugs (蟲 'chung')
Pipe (煙斗 'yin tou').


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