Saturday, February 29, 2020

EXPERIMENTS WITH SALT FISH

Nearly everything tastes better with bacon. Or salt fish. And chilipaste. This is almost a way of life as well as a strongly held personal philosophy. To me one of the dishes that exemplifies it is salt fish and chicken fried rice, with dollops of hot sauce (sambal), a deeply satisfying dish that so far I have not been asked to share with anyone.

Most of my friends are wussies who eat suburban food. My apartment mate is not an aficionado of stronger flavours. And I have no girlfriend to scare.


鹹魚雞粒炒飯
['haam yü gai naap chaau faan']

For two people (stop laughing) you will need between a quarter of a pound and a half pound of small chunked chicken, marinated in a little corn starch and rice wine. Plus nearly four ounces of a moister softer salt fish than the plank fish (柴魚 'chai yü') used for jook (柴魚花生粥 'chai yü faa saang juk'), or the dried flounder (左口魚 'jo hau yu') in your won ton soup. Plus some shredded lettuce and chopped random green vegetable as desired, for both colour and a fresh flavour. A little minced ginger, chopped scallions, and an egg. And two to three cups of cooked rice, at room temperature.

Break the rice apart so it doesn't clump, cut the salt fish into small pieces, and whisk the egg.

Stir-fry the random green vegetable first, decant, leaving the hot oil in the pan. Stir-fry the salt fish till golden, decant. Add the chicken to the hot oil, quickly stir about to cook, then add the rice and minced ginger. When the rice is heated through push it to one side, dump the whisked egg into the clear space, and when it is softly set, break it into the rice, add the fish, vegetables, and lettuce, stir, add the scallion and mix in. Serve.

Personally I like a little crustiness to the finished rice, and tend towards the use of mustard green as a default vegetable.



Bacon and Sriracha are personal choices here, and not surprisingly dried fish is also a splendid addition to dishes with fatty pork chunks or assertive vegetables. Stir-fried gai lan with salt fish is delicious.
鹹魚炒芥蘭。



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Friday, February 28, 2020

TIME TO ZOMBIE-APOCALYPTIZE!

Because of Wuhan corona virus, three issues have gained prominence more than they used to have: self-isolation, medical deductibles, and paid medical leave. The best way to self-isolate is to go over to the affluent suburbs and deliberately associate with people who wouldn't give you the time of day. Medical deductibles as well as medical insurance are too high, and stalwart Republicans don't want you to have affordable coverage anyhow ... so rather than getting tested, head on over to the Supermarket in that affluent suburb and cough all over the produce. Paid sick leave? Yeah, no. Go ahead, greet, hug, and act all palsy-walsy with clients, customers, coworkers, and damned well everybody who visits the building. America's Republicans have decided that doing so is more cost-effective and fair to them than paying you to stay home when ill. And again, ALWAYS think of the affluent suburbs.

Seeing as most people in the United States can't afford to get tested, and won't be able to pay for the eventual vaccine anyhow, but can still own guns, the future in those affluent suburbs with their Republican inhabitants may be quite interesting.

Admittedly, the nearest affluent suburbs for Kentucky and Tennessee are in adjacent areas, like Maryland, Washington D.C., and Delaware, but just load your entire infected family into the station wagon, with your hunting riffles (for any chance-met gated communities), and head across the border.
If you're in North Florida or Mississipi, remember all those retirement homes, country clubs, and the Cuban exiles in Miami-Dade.

Don't forget Texas.


SELF-ISOLATION, MEDICAL DEDUCTIBLES, PAID MEDICAL LEAVE


The best thing for you, if you catch ill, is to patronize Starbucks, Chipotle, and Health Clubs. And to get close to people wearing yoga pants. You are never more alone than when you're surrounded by people wearing yoga pants or talking on their cell-phones.

And ALWAYS think of the affluent suburbs.

Yoga pants.



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Thursday, February 27, 2020

WHEN GUSTO AWAKES

Despite having spoken laudatorily about Hawaiian pizza recently, I have not indulged in that delicacy in years. The main reason being that pizza places don't open, usually, till around noon at the earliest, and are not open early enough for breakfast.


All the good stuff that people eat for breakfast is better for dinner, with rice and hot sauce, and suitable midnight snack food is perfect as the first meal during daylight instead.

Sausage, egg, and toast? Add a pile of rice and some sambal goreng buntjis and you have the dinner of champions.


The type of pizza that everybody claims to hate, but secretly loves?
With hot sauce or sambal, it's a delicious breakfast.


Breakfast today is coffee and a smoke outside on the steps, while observing early morning joggers and other health freaks disapprovingly.



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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

NO, I DON'T HAVE A PEG LEG!

For the first time ever I didn't have to wait at my barber but was immediately under the shears. A miracle, and he admitted that because business had been lousy, he was bored out of his mind. Timkai mow saang-yi? M-chi ah. Why no business? Don't know. In fact, both of us knew. His shop is in the middle of Chinatown, and everybody is bearing the brunt.
All I can imagine is that the Chinese are as given to fear and panic as the Italians and French. Which is absurd. You'd think an ethnic group known for mathematical abilities would understand statistical probability better.


單身狗

We talked about the "girl friend" situation. He presently doesn't have one, and that too is contributing to his depressive state. Did I have a girlfriend? Ngoh mow neui pangyau. Sap nin ji chin ngoh-tei lei fan sau. Nope, we broke up ten years ago. He asked if he should help me 'kau neui', perhaps introduce me to someone, to which my response was mow yong, ngoh kam lou! Too damned old. Further, to his and his hairwasher's surprise and consternation, not married either.
I could've added that with a beard and as a smoker I was quite unappealing to anybody except ladies who like pirates, and I doubt that he knows any of those. Though as a barber, he probably sees all kinds.


"Ah-Ming, if any of your esteemed male customers resemble pirates, please be so good as to keep me in mind. Most especially if they're white, middle-aged, and likely to upset my mom!"


Well, um, tell me more about this girl, Ming. She sound "interesting".

Lunch after the haircut was at another nearly empty business. Delicious.
Afterwards I loaded up a straight Parker Billiard older than I am, and enjoyed a quiet stroll down to Jackson and St. Louis Alley, where I sat awhile near the back door to Leung's White Crane Martial Arts Association (美國梁舘白鶴龍獅會) smoking and watching some young men practicing lion dancing. Which, given how my legs feel nowadays, looked painful.
Yan lou, keuk m-doo gaa. 人老,腳唔嘟㗎。

[人老,腳唔嘟㗎: Sorry, in Mandarin that phrase makes no sense, and Google translate makes a complete hash out of it. 唔嘟 ('m-dou') means that something doesn't work, is not up to snuff. Like legs (腳 'geuk', 'gyeuk'). 㗎 ('gaa') is a Cantonese exclamatory particle added for emphasis.]

Cup of milk tea, old wife biscuit, and the news hour on teevee at a bakery. Having briefly wandered into nearby North Beach, I must note that there are an average of three seriously disturbed individuals in each block there, more than the average for the city, and significantly more than in Chinatown.
One of the reasons I prefer to stay in C'town on my days off.
I deal with loonies too much already.


Second smoke: also in a Parker pipe older than myself. A sandblast that belonged to my father. Very enjoyable. The taste of the past in a way.



TOBACCO INDEX


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NYP, YELLOW JOURNALISM, AND STEVEN MOSHER

An opinion piece appeared in the New York Post that, under present circumstances, may be less than helpful, and might actually fuel anti-Chinese hysteria. Which one suspects could be welcomed by the author. Who to me seems to be a fringe-figure making a good living by being a shit-disturber and ideologue. The New York Post should have known better than to publish the piece, but they are a tabloid, and can barely be taken seriously. At least they spell-checked it.

Though they didn't run it past scientists.

The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab - By Steven W. Mosher

Steven W. Mosher is well-known as a far-right campaigner and propagandist at odds with the Chinese government, whose main drift seems to be as an angry anti-abortion agitator (per Wikipedia: "according to the Los Angeles Times, Mosher successfully lobbied the George W. Bush administration to withhold $34 to $40 million per year for seven years from the United Nations Population Fund, the largest international donor to family planning programs").

Several phrases in his short opinion piece show that this is pure speculation (examples: "Xi didn’t actually admit", "evidence emerged suggesting", "it sure sounds", "does that suggest to you", "may have", "this little-known fact") and he presents no sourced evidence other than that. Add to that the mention of rats being eaten, and given his known biases, I have to suspect that Steven W. Mosher is doing nothing more than shit-disturbing as part of a vendetta against the Chinese and on behalf of his compadres in the Christian anti-abortion agitator community.

Crucially, he provides no actual data, and his article is rife with pointed suspicion-mongering that seeks to blame the Chinese government.


I'd write off his article as opportunistic anti-Chinese and anti-Chinese government agit-prop by a religious rightwing whackjob, intent on using anything to create hysteria and racialist suspicions. A predictable development, given the rightwing's xenophobic slant.


The New York Post claims to be a newspaper, even though it's part of Rupert Murdoch's empire and caters to a low common denominator. I would have expected better. Thankfully they had the good grace to label Steven W. Mosher's essay an "opinion".



A FORCE FOR EVIL

From Wikipedia
 The Post has been criticized since the beginning of Murdoch's ownership for sensationalism, blatant advocacy, and conservative bias. In 1980, the Columbia Journalism Review stated "New York Post is no longer merely a journalistic problem. It is a social problem – a force for evil."

[CUT]

Perhaps the most serious allegation against the Post is that it is willing to contort its news coverage to suit Murdoch's business needs.

[CUT]

In The New Yorker, Ken Auletta writes that Murdoch "doesn’t hesitate to use the Post to belittle his business opponents". He goes on to say that Murdoch's support for Edward I. Koch while he was running for mayor of New York "spilled over onto the news pages of the Post, with the paper regularly publishing glowing stories about Koch and sometimes savage accounts of his four primary opponents."

[CUT]

Critics say that the Post allows its editorial positions to shape its story selection and news coverage.

[CUT]

According to a survey conducted by Pace University in 2004, the Post was rated the least-credible major news outlet in New York, and the only news outlet to receive more responses calling it "not credible" than credible (44% not credible to 39% credible).


End cites


Casting blame at the current time probably suits an administration which, per Business Insider, "spent the past 2 years slashing the government agencies responsible for handling the coronavirus outbreak".

Scapegoating. We've seen that before.



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BRAHMIN RIOT LADDOO

Because you asked for it.


According to Ridhwan Kadri, the last Brahm Chorayasi (community meal for snooty people) in Ahmedabad was held in 1915. Several lakh of Brahmins attended, and got so impatient while waiting for the free food that they rioted, and broke into the room where the laddoos were stored. Then things got out of hand, and the unruly mob, now hepped on sugar, decided to trash the station. The police had to be called in, and found themselves outnumbered by the violent pandits.
There were trampled marigolds everywhere.
It was a holy mess.


LADDOO

Three cups semolina flour (rava).
Three cups cane sugar.
One cup ghee.
One cup heavy whipping cream.
Half a cup ground almonds.
One TBS ground green cardamom seeds.

Put the semolina and ghee into a pan, and gently roast till sweet and toasty smelling. Add the sugar and almonds, stir over heat for a few minutes till everything is nicely blended, then add the cream and cardamom. Cook, stirring, till the goo is shiny and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Roll into fifty or so round balls, then set on a plate to air and harden.

If you put the ghee into the pan first, it purifies everything that is added after.
Which is very important if you wish your Brahmins to riot.
They won't touch it otherwise.




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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

HAWAIIAN PIZZA

What does a grumbly pipe smoking Dutchman in San Francisco do on a day off (first of two, my weekend)? I am so glad you asked! The finest minds in the universe have pondered this question! And it probably involves cheese!
My biggest issue right now is should I have lunch at place 'A', if so I should be there before all the good stuff is gone, so before two o'clock, or at place 'B', where the lunch hour is madness and it is best to go after two o'clock. Both places are in Chinatown. Only one of them has Hong Kong Milk Tea, but the cheese covered porkchop on top of spaghetti with tomato sauce was a bit 'much' last time.

A friend in Georgia opines that liking pineapple on pizza is sufficient grounds for burning a heretic. Obviously he has not had it with anchovies, Sriracha, and a fried egg added, or he would be more accepting.
It's a lifestyle choice.


"I'm feeling benevolent today. Normally I would ban someone who eats pineapple on pizza."


The question is, is there any other way to eat pineapple? How else will you finish that giant can of slices in light syrup? That you bought while drunk and stoned late at night shopping at the 24 hour Luxo-Mart?

[Disclosure: I haven't been drunk in years, and it has been decades since I was stoned. But I'm imagining that in godforsaken places like Stockton or Barstow, that's all there is to life. The 24 hour Luxo-Mart is like a Piggly Wiggly that went rogue and decided on a road less travelled; catering to bikers outside of metropolitan areas along the highway.]

You could make pineapple upside-down cake.

Or put a slice on top of a thick porkchop, cover it with cheese, and stick it under the broiler. Which is what I had at a restaurant that catered to college students in Utrecht years ago, and still remember in every late Autumn detail. For some reason that choice of dinner reached out to me. "Select me", it screamed from the pages of the menu, "I'm interesting and educational!"

Which it was, no regrets on that score. Porkchop, cheese. Good stuff. There was a jar of sambal on the table, which ameliorated the peculiarity. And just like dinner yesterday evening, I felt mildly queasy afterwards.

Shan't bore you with a description, but you should know that there is cheese in this apartment, and the stuffed turkey vulture insisted that he hadn't had anything to eat all day, he was starving, STARVING(!), wouldn't anyone nourish a poor bird, how cruel could we be?!?


Several of my worst food choices recently involved the turkey vulture.
As a carrion-eater he has an iron stomach, though.

I will not be heading into Chinatown with a turkey vulture.  The waitresses at my favourite places would look askance. I'm already a dubious sort to them, what with being Caucasian and a smoker, they would probably think that a hungry turkey vulture would be too much of a good thing.

Instead, one or two pipes, pouch of tobacco.


I suspect that the frequent food-related vociferation of the turkey vulture is my apartment mate's effort to get me to eat more, fatten up as it were. I'm a bit gaunt. That may be medication-related, I don't retain body fat very well.

Today's breakfast involved no solid food. Instead, two cups of strong coffee, and a pipe filled with a dark flake tobacco. That slice of ham and pineapple pizza with anchovies and Sriracha sounds tempting right now.
As does the Hawaiian Porkchop.

This is some damned fine pipe tobacco.
Maybe another cup of coffee.



TOBACCO INDEX


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AKVAVIT

It is this blogger's rare privilege to at times associate with ignorant stupid people. Recently I had to overhear a whole discussion about the Democratic Party being a front for the international communist conspiracy, leavened by ratings of the hotness level of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, someone's idiot cousin Peter, and popular sports figure Bumgarner's secret life as either a rodeo clown or candygrammer or sumpin' not sure what (no interest, didn't listen, bugger sports), plus segues into the pressing need to round up all homeless people, truck them out to the desert, and make them dig holes.

Concerning that last subject, there was disapproval of their life style, and my proposal to help them get off the streets by compelling companies of a certain size to hire the insane -- one out of every ten employees should be certifiably out of their mind -- was pooh-pooed, because government should not dictate to businesses who they can and can't hire. Forcing them to not discriminate in hiring practices against blacks, women, Asian & Pacific Islanders, and member of the LGBTQ community, is communism!

They unanimously agreed that hiring crazy folks was something best left to government agencies (city, state, or federal), who were already compliant, what a pity that they weren't taking the opportunity to get off the streets.


This blogger is bucking for sainthood, and is a tolerant man.

I am very patient with the mentally challenged.

It's my most endearing trait.


I am not vested in communism or AOC's hot chicky-boomness, know nothing about miss Bumgarner's personal life or live-stock fettishes, and even less about holes in the desert. Is that a thing?


FWIW: Bernie Sanders is NOT a communist. He's just an old asshole who accomplished bugger-all while in the senate, and spits when he talks.


They also ranted about all those socialist western European countries being horrible places because of healthcare, and couldn't understand that the biggest problem in those places is that they're overcast all the time, wear smelly kilts, and swill cheap akvavit.



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ELDERLY ASIAN MAN BEATEN, NOTHING SEE HERE

The San Francisco Bay Area is a lovely place where the sun always shines and we all get along with each other, while singing our happy songs and dancing our little dances!


Quote:
"The video shows the older man stepping toward a trolley that carries several garbage bags full of recyclables. He is chased away by a man who pursues him while wielding a tool used to pick up waste.

Onlookers audible in the video can be heard mocking the victim. Several say the man who pursued him stole his possessions, and goad the victim into trying to retrieve them.

The victim again begins to approach the bags, prompting the suspect to break into a run and attempt to swing at him repeatedly with the trash-picker as onlookers shouted in the background. The video ends with the victim crying, and an onlooker — who previously assailed the man for appearing Asian — mocking him."
End quote.

Source: elderly man attacked while collecting cans.

Authorities are investigating, and assert that it is too early to know if there was a racist aspect to the altercation. They've taken the opportunity to repeatedly laud the Community Ambassador program, which negates all those things anyhow. Harmony, peace, happiness, love. Fershure.
Hot air, mutual back pats, rah rah rah.


"It's too early to label the incident as a suspected hate crime."


Yeah man, let's not jump to any conclusions.


The phrase “I hate Asians” may actually have a deeply meaningful cultural significance in the Bayview district that I am unaware of. Certainly there is that possibility. Yes. Indeed.




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Monday, February 24, 2020

THE EARTH IS FLAT. AND HARD.

Daredevil Mike Hughes died in rocket crash while trying to prove that the earth is flat. Which it now is a little bit more where he impacted, I suspect, but that does not diminish his being wrong, and a dunderhead. So I cannot mourn his passing, and have no problems with what turns to have been a suicide.
One could not have wished for a better outcome.

Quote from wikipedia: "he intended to make multiple rocket journeys, culminating in a flight to outer space, where he believed he would be able to take a picture of the entire Earth as a flat disc."
End quote.


"I'm a daredevil. I'm not much for authority or rules."
------Mike Hughes


Well, isn't that special?


He died two days ago. Millions of 'flat-earthers' have killed themselves in order to join him, in fits of utter despondency.
See? There is no Australia.
Et war all made up.


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Sunday, February 23, 2020

PHOTOGENIC GOOD LOOKS

"It's true, the police are picking him up now." Said with perfect diction, in a refined accent. Not mentioning the show, nineteen sixties, shot in England. From the era when everybody smoked cigarettes that hung from the corner of their mouth. Serious looking, also dashing and derringdoesque.
Before Colombo and Kojak cheapened all of that.

I should mention that I did not start watching television till sometime in the nineties, when the engineers kept talking about The X-Files.
Which certainly had its moments.


"Usually they don't make females the villains."


That was the apartment mate reacting to the show. She's the person who rented it. She tends to like female villains (who doesn't?) and read all about Nancy Reagan because of it. One could hardly call Ronald a villain -- given that he was completely gaga since the early seventies anyhow -- but his wife, there was something else. An evil piece of work.


My apartment mate's EX ("Wheelie Boy") has been described as "looking like a movie star" and "very handsome". Which, personally, I cannot see. Decent chin, what ever. To me he looks like a dingo. I may be biased.
Ronald Reagan was also described as looking like a movie star.
He too looked remarkably like a dingo.


Donald Trump has likewise been described as looking like a movie star.
Yeah, not by anyone I know, or would associate with willingly.
Some people are just idiots. Outright idiots.



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AN UNBERKELEY FRAME OF MIND

A few things yesterday made me think of the people I used to know years ago when I lived in Berkeley on Rose Street and later in Oakland off Fortieth not far from MacArthur, before I moved to San Francisco.
There was a streak of cruelty in them that they themselves were probably quite unaware of. In some ways I'm glad that we lost contact.

[Every one I know in the East Bay now is from much later.]

That story about the dollar bill? I'm glad I'll never hear that again.

Anger is hard to maintain. But enduring apathy is easy.


People can be cruel.
I don't like cruel.


I still have a soft spot for Elizabeth H. though.
I wonder what happened to her.



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Saturday, February 22, 2020

COMFY TOILET PAPER

There were two chocolate bars in the kitchen. My apartment mate does not particularly like dark chocolate, so I left the milk-chocolate caramel one for her, and ate the other one for breakfast. I do not quite understand why she disfavours dark, which is just one of many things in this world I do not understand.

The tweaking fellow on the bus. Why is he here? Why did he have his ears pierced and stretched for disks? Why is he fussing neurotically with cans? Why are his pants ripped?

The dude crossing the street without looking because he's on his cellphone; why is he still alive?

Why is that old woman looking at me so villainously?

Elderly drunks at the bus stop.


The near-emptiness at the place where I had lunch Friday.


Salt fish and chicken fried rice (鹹魚雞粒炒飯 'haam yü gai naap chaau faan'), which was delicious. Why so empty? Yeah, I can understand white people staying away, they're scared of Chinese people and Chinese food even at the best of times, which these aren't, and they're terrified of catching the Wuhan plague just by looking at a Chinese person. But even the regulars were largely absent. No table full of boisterous Toishanese salts of the earth, none of the little old grannies, or middle aged couples .....
Teapot Uncle was there. But he left early.

The fear of infection is rather illogical. There are over ten million people in the Bay Area. Of which a dozen, more or less, may have Wuhan corona. Of the diagnosed cases world-wide, approximately three percent will snuff it. Max. Cases outside China are few, largely quarantined, and under observation. Wuhan Corona Virus is spread mostly by air-borne droplets, far less by contaminated surfaces. So the chance of getting it by looking at Chinese people or eating Chinese food is altogether negligible.
Approaching zero, in fact.

Wash your hands. Clean your surfaces. Enjoy your fried rice. It's delicious with a spoonful of hot sauce, the bowl of pork and lotus root soup was very nice, and the small dinner roll was hot enough to melt all the butter and nearly burn my lips. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hong Kong milk tea afterwards.


Wuhan is cut-off from the outside world. There is no regular travel inside the city or out. For the foreseeable future that situation will be maintained. There are two small pockets in Korea, among members of a seriously nut-ball Christian sect, and people may also have been exposed to the Wuhan virus in the Iranian holy city of Qom. Hong kong has a few cases.

Even if you are a nut-ball Christian or Shia Muslim, you have little to fear.
If you run out of toilet paper in Hong Kong you may panic.
Apparently people are hoarding it.


My apartment mate keeps us well-stocked with toilet paper, the comfy kind, so I am not particularly worried.


Need more chocolate.



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Friday, February 21, 2020

THE IMPRESSIVENESS

This morning I scoped out the news of the day, on Thursday I let the tide of ignorant ranting from the boys just slide over me, exercising my right not to dispute needlessly. Remarkably they all had solutions. To everything.

As was entirely to be expected, logic and facts were not the most important elements in their old-school weltanschauungen. By a rather wide margin.

They differ less than they think from the majority.

It's all magic.


"We are deeply saddened and embarrassed by the action of our employee"

------Spokesperson for Super 8 by Wyndham Plymouth, Plymouth, Indiana.


SOURCE: Racist assaults and ignorant attacks against Asians - CNN

We are too, dude. We are too. You know, I thought my country was better than this. Apparently we are precisely like the Italians and the French.
Or the Ukranians. Remarkable people, those Ukies.


"Whenever I get a flu shot, I always get the flu"
and ""I never go to the doctor, they lie."

------Cigar smoker who shall remain nameless, a happy go lucky fellow.


Besides insanity and addiction, diseases were hardly mentioned yesterday.

There is better access to knowledge in this era than even a few years ago. But there is less common sense. Or at least it often seems that way.
Rather than despairing over my dumb-ass fellow man on a day off, I shall sometime today head over to Chinatown for something nice to eat, plus a cup of Hong Kong milk tea, and a stroll around the alleyways with my pipe filled with a lovely tobacco mixture. It's quite safe there, and no one ever asks me where I'm from because of my accent.


At present I have no desire to visit France, Italy, the Ukraine, Indiana, or New York. Despite their beeindruckende sehenswürdigkeiten.




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Thursday, February 20, 2020

A BURRITO WITH FAT IN IT!

The apartment mate is on the phone talking with someone about food. She's sneering about a gluten-free kale burrito. Which is something that anyone can tell was invented by my people, for my people. Which she didn't say, thank you Jesus, but lordy we've come up with some strange shiznit.
We hyper-inventive white people.
Gluten-free kale burritos.
Good lord.

She stated to the phone person that she preferred a burrito with fat in it.
Like, I would imagine, a carnitas burrito. Though there's probably a version of carnitas made with tofu, invented by a white person. No offense meant to white people (of which I am one), but unless you dingoes are going to do weird things with your own cuisine, please step out of the kitchen.

Bubble and squeak made with tofu. Black pudding made (entirely) with tofu. Bangers and mash? Pure tofu bangers. Yummy.

The world is waiting for precisely such a thing.

It will save the planet.


KALE AND TOFU STIR-FRY WITH BACON

One pound fried tofu cubes bought at a market in Chinatown.
Three cloves of garlic, minced.
Two Tablespoons of sambal oelek or sambal badjak.
Two bunches (one pound) kale, rinsed and chopped.
Half a cup chicken stock.
Quarter cup sherry.
Dash of fish sauce.
Hefty pinch of sugar.
Salt and pepper.
Lime wedges.

Plus: Thick slices of French bread or sourdough drizzled with olive oil, and baked on an oiled sheet in the oven till nicely golden.

And: Six rashers of bacon cut in large pieces across, fried till almost crispy, with two to four tablespoons of the grease reserved.

First reduce the chicken stock, sherry, and fish sauce by two thirds with the pinch of sugar added.
Heat up the bacon grease in a roomy fry pan, add the garlic and stir about, then add the sambal and chopped kale, stir around a few seconds on high heat, pour the reduced stock and sherry mixture into the pan and dump in the tofu and bacon pieces, toss till heated through. Add salt and pepper. Serve with the toasted slices of bread for crunch.
Lime wedges for squeezing.


Generally speaking, kale is best sauteed with bacon grease, and goes well with good sausages, all of it served sloppy with both sambal and a decent grainy mustard, or Tierenteyn from Belgium.

Kale is also suitable for a stamppot, especially if you have a source of smoked sausages. But you could use fried pork belly instead.
Or nice chunks of carnitas.




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FLUENTLY LIKE DEEP DEVONSHIRE BUT IN CHINESE

There's a girl at one of the local Walgreens who once said to me that it almost sounded like I was speaking Chinese. But clearly she couldn't understand what I was saying, so I guess I must not have been. This is not at all unusual, and she probably thinks that a lot about many other customers. Her version of Chinese quite likely is deep Toishan. My apartment mate's parent's language was Toishanese, and she often asks me what something means, to which my response is to look quizzical, because it's kind of like listening to a Monty Python peasant from deepest Devonshire, Gumby, going "ooh argh" .....
Her reaction to me speaking Cantonese is exactly the same.
The number of times something like that happens with American born people is not inconsiderable, and I suspect that the Walgreen's person is like that.
We always speak English now with every transaction.
To her, I'm a likable though eccentric Eury.
I probably talk funny.
Gumby.

She's very cute, though she has frightening eyebrows.
Thick, furry, and statesman-like.
Chou Enlai-esque.


Ooh argh!


Sorry, I can't understand what you are saying. Speak English!

The chap at the place where I had my second cup of milk tea yesterday was considerably more so. He must keep track of all the businesses in Chinatown where the owners speak or understand Toishanese, because with that thick countryside speech, no native Samyap speaker will have even the foggiest clue what the heck he's saying. I listened with fascination as he had a long conversation in his home town dialect on his cell-phone, and could maybe make out one word in twenty.

Thanks to cell phones you need never be more than a ring tone away from someone else who speaks ooh arg.

I deeply apologize to all speakers of Seiyap, it really does sound like you lot are gumbies from Monty Python going "ooh argh" all the time. Some of you are worse than others.

Devonshire, Cornwall, Yorkshire, what ever.

Ooh argh.

Ooh argh.

At the place where I had lunch and my first cup of tea, one waitress warmly recommended a type of woolen glove from the mainland when I mentioned that my fingers turn blue in cold weather, and both waitresses working there yesterday speak my version of Canto. All of the shopkeepers I dealt with yesterday also understood me, as well as the proprietor of the second milk tea place. But I've heard him speaking ooh argh, just like the counter ladies at one of the bakeries I patronize, and several of the customers there with whom I've had conversations. One of whom I can barely understand, except when he's punctuating his discourse with curse words talking with old friends.

Linguistic opacity occurs most frequently with the American born, who might simply say that they don't speak Mandarin (hey, neither do I), assuming that a kwailo eructating something tonal must be trying, desperately, to say something phrasebooky or elemental in that language, because it sure as heck ain't the Chinese they know.

It's almost like ooh argh.

One of my coworkers for many years was like that. I never spoke Chinese with him at all, as he'd always made me feel stupid and unsure of my pronunciation whenever I did, and it was just too much trouble.

I've had several enjoyable and informative conversations with one of his bloodkin who runs a shop in Chinatown and doesn't speak English.
He's fluent in Cantonese, ooh arg, and Mandarin.

You know, I could attempt Hokkien, and then I'd be truly impenetrable.
Everyone would probably say that it almost sounds like Chinese.
Or that they have a distant auntie who talks like that.


Ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh.
Ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh.
Ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh, ooh argh.



Upon reflection, the chap at the second tea place can't be "Thleeyup"; there were no thleeps, thlims, ips, or ongs in his speech. So if it was "Ong waa", it was from somewhere deep in the mountains of Tennessee.
His life must be truly interesting.


To the cute girl at Walgreens, it would probably also sound almost like he spoke Chinese.




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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

BERNIE BROS

From a Facebook page (Mike Bloomberg's Dank Meme Stash), comes this picture, shamelessly stolen and pasted here. It is, as far as I can tell, one hundred percent accurate.



Possible original source of photo: craft beer boss meme

DISCLAIMER: I will vote for Bernie if I have to. I am not thrilled by the prospect of an angry hysteric fossil being the Democratic Candidate.
But if that's what it is, okay.

Anything is better than a lying corrupt pussygrabber who consorted with porn stars and child molesters, hitched to an vapid Eastern European bint, chosen by Putin, fooled by Kim, and cheated by the Turks.


Anything except a Christian.




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I'M NOT KEEPING UP

Shaking things up a little, because it pays to do things differently. Cup of Irish Breakfast tea -- a product which recalls the generations of Irish coolies sweating in the tea fields of Donegal -- and a bowlfull of Dunhill's Nightcap, which is what Englishmen smoke after the pubs close and they stagger home in their drunken stupors. No, not wearing tweed. Instead, a grungy bathrobe that reeks of staleness and smoke. Which when I'm out on the front steps having a cigarillo with my coffee shortly after six on work days keeps the wild dogs of Nob Hill away from me. As the cigarillo does their owners.

Because anyone following a hound to collect its droppings is, of course, fastidious.

The apartment mate had left for the day. Consequently I am smoking inside.

There was a day an age when I took that for granted, both when I was still a teenager and when I was not living with another person as an adult. During my Berkeley years I had a girlfriend who smoked, as well as at one point an apartment mate who collected fine briars. My apartment mate for several years now has been a Cantonese American woman who shares my tastes in some foods, but abhors tobacco. She is the person who buys the dairy products for this apartment. We share the kitchen, bathroom, and teevee room where the electronic equipment is. As well as some of the stuffed creatures. The sane ones are in her room, the wildly challenged ones are in mine. Plus also the raccoon and the soft furry skunk, who are a couple.
She's at work now, so I can get away with anything for a while.

She doesn't drink or smoke, and has no religion.
Jesus will not invade this apartment.

We respect each other.

A skunk and a raccoon who together are a couple are probably a metaphor for something, but I would hesitate to guess what. Certainly they have a far better love life than I do. She's refined and gentle, he's German.

My love life is quite non-existent. Without one iota of sour grapes, that's not a problem. While I admire the idea of a relationship intellectually, emotional involvement is a risky road, and requires changes in the person, and might be more bother than it's worth. Plus there's always the necessary pretense of some kind of moral equivalence: accepting the other person's tastes, hypothetical Jesus-freakery, veganism, anti-tobacco stance, dislike of hot sauce, and redneck alcoholic tendencies, as perfectly valid expressions of unique individuality. As well as being supportive of all of that.

Oh, yeah, possible shopping fever too.

Scented candles. Ick.


What is needed is a person who likes strong tea and stuffed animals, largely abstains from alcohol, has no strong objections to pipe smoke, and owns her own collection of books.

Someone who doesn't get in my way, and will tell me when I get in her way.


Most of the people I am somewhat close to nowadays are men, many of them middle aged pipe smokers with idiosyncratic habits, or younger thoughtful types from a yeshiva background and a talmudic bent. There are a few in neither category, and some people of the opposite gender. Other than that all of them are liberals and open-minded, there is little overlap.


I tend to avoid the ultra-fastidious.




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BUT WHY DON'T THEY SPEAK DUTCH?

Here it is, at three in the morning, and I'm wondering what I'll have for lunch. After paying my monthly insurance to the CCHP, there will be at least half a dozen places within a block or two for a delicious meal. My healthplan, clinic, physician, and the office where I'll hand over a cheque are in Chinatown.
When I chose that plan, I figured that because it was near my digs, and they had experience dealing with crusty old codgers swearing in different languages and not taking advice too gladly, it would suit me perfectly.
It turns out I was right.

Of course, I'm still working on them to also publish in Dutch, in addition to Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. Bit of a slog. Especially seeing as Netherlanders in the United States are perfectly able to use English. More so if their ancestors came over centuries ago. So helpful pamflets on "suikerziekte" and "de griep" are not really necessary.

Lunch, however, IS necessary.

Een smakelijke middag maal in a restaurant waar er Sriracha saus (sambal) op elke tafel is, en waar men of Vietnamese koffie, of Hong Kong melk thee kan drinken, is noodzakelijk.

Along with enjoying a pipe of tobacco afterwards, and grocery shopping.
As well as people watching.


On my days off I need real people around me instead of Marinites.




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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

THE WHITE PEOPLE ARE SCARED

Dinner: Fish and potato in a curry sauce over rice (咖哩石班飯 'gaa lei sek paan faan'). Hot sauce (是拉差 'si laa chaa') in lieu of sambal. Hot milk tea. It was a delicious meal, very enjoyable. There were over two dozen other customers in the place. And, other than myself, no white people. Because white people are too scared that they will catch the Wuhan virus, simply from being within a few feet of a Chinese person.

You know, I am really disappointed in my fellow Caucasians.

On the one hand, I do like eating a delicious dinner where there are no confused white folks taking up the wait person's time with inane questions ("does it also come with potatoes, or is rice obligatory?"), on the other hand, this fearful sh*t is really absurd.

Yes, over two dozen Chinese people. I am certain not a single one of them had Wuhan fever. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that none of the many people of Chinese ancestry around me today have it.

Everyone at my bank was Chinese.
So were the bus passengers.
Chinatown pedestrians.


That fish curry was exceedingly nice. I heartily recommend it.


By the way: my apartment mate, a Chinese American who does not have Wuhan disease, is thinking of getting a weird spiritual white folks massage at a spa that caters primarily to "woke" white people. If she can keep a straight face long enough. Makes you feel centered in Mother Earth, nurtures your immune system, balances your energy.
She received a generous gift card.

One more by the way: she can't pronounce Wuhan in her parental version of Chinese, and would have a difficult time locating that place on the map. None of her relatives have ever been there. No one she knows has.


Later this evening I'll be in Chinatown again. As well as tomorrow.
And on Friday, my third day off.




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A GOLDEN AGE, A DELIGHTFUL HABIT

When I was in my very early teens I started taking snuff, a habit common among villagers in Switzerland, where we often went on vacation. Snuff, as everybody knows, is a relatively clean method of enjoying tobacco and getting the benefits of nicotine without triggering an attack by an ethnic rags wearing Californian weatgerm freak screaming about killing children.
Unlike pipes, cigars, and cigarettes.

Snuff -- tobacco leaf finely powdered, gently snorted up a nostril, which alleviates migraines and the abhorrent odeur of unwashed vegans and organic vegetable freaks, because soap is murder -- is one of the older forms of tobacco use. With the added benefit that it does not start fires in farm country in late summer, and tides you over during long airplane journeys.

[BTW: Soap is big business, and made by giant multinationals using all kinds of chemicals that are bad for the environment. If you are "green", you should avoid it completely.]


Oh, and snuff really freaks out the little retard sitting next to you demanding to look out of the window, as well as its odious parent. An added benefit!


Fribourg & Treyer were famous for their lovely snuffs. Sadly, they are no longer in business.
Wilsons still manufacture their snuff, and the Fribourg & Treyer pipe tobaccos are now made on behalf of Kohlhase & Kopp. The famous atheist, essayist, mathematician, philosopher, and all-round bad boy Bertrand Russell is known to have smoked F&T's Golden Mixture.
Which should recommend it to you.


From Wikipedia:
Snuff use in England increased in popularity after the Great Plague of London (1665–1666) as people believed snuff had valuable medicinal properties, which added a powerful impetus to its consumption. By 1650, snuff use had spread from France to England, Scotland, and Ireland, and throughout Europe, as well as Japan, China, and Africa.

By the 17th century some prominent objectors to snuff-taking arose. Pope Urban VIII banned the use of snuff in churches and threatened to excommunicate snuff-takers. In Russia in 1643, Tsar Michael prohibited the sale of tobacco, instituted the punishment of removing the nose of those who used snuff, and declared that persistent users of tobacco would be killed.
End cite.


In the modern world, it might make a come-back.
Imagine if our military men took snuff.

To cite Robert Browning:

Or who in Moscow toward the Czar
With the demurest of footfalls
Over the Kremlin's pavement bright
With serpentine and syenite
Steps with five other generals
That simultaneously take snuff
For each to have pretext enough
And kerchiefwise unfold his sash
Which, softness' self, is yet the stuff
To hold fast where a steel chain snaps
And leave the grand white neck no gash?

To put it differently, they "snuffed" the monarch and left no evidence.
Assassinating one's leader used to be more common.
It was a kinder, gentler time.

That's actually a scrap of poetry I fondly remember from my childhood. Points to the reader who guesses what brought it to my attention.
Hint: it was another English poet.

Because snuff is usually flavoured, often with very old-school fragrances, it has been banned in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and unicorporated Marin County, to keep the little hordes of kiddie-winkies from getting their hands on it, along with very many pipe tobaccos, all menthol cigarettes, infused cigars, chewing tobacco, and most vapes.

What a miserable world.



On the other hand, pitchforks, torches, and guillotines also work, and are much more engaging.



TOBACCO INDEX


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Monday, February 17, 2020

YOU WANT TO EAT!

A popular chain of restaurants in Hong Kong states that they will not take customer orders except in Cantonese, claiming that this is because not all of their wait staff speak Mandarin, and they cannot explain menu items for a Mandarin speaking audience unfamiliar with HK food. There is speculation that their refusal to serve a Mandarin-speaking clientele is because of fears of the corona virus (Wuhan pneumonia, 武漢肺炎), OR a bias against mainland visitors and their snootiness.

Either way, it's pissing people off.
Mostly Mandarin speakers.


I think I'd be fine there, as I can order what I want to eat in Cantonese, and am more than passably able to read menus written entirely in Chinese. Which is what I will be doing tomorrow, on the first day of my weekend. I am not a typical Anglo, nor a mainlander. There are few real linguistic barriers to the smart-aleck Brabander in search of something good to eat.
And living near SF Chinatown.

DIM SUM RESTAURANT

In the century since Vincent Van Gogh painted the picture above, we've discovered bami goreng. It's pretty much the Dutch national dish at this point. Along with very many iterations of unidentifiable fried object.

Here's a list of items with which the average educated urban (and urbane) Brabander ought to be familiar: Tastes Good. I would like to see this as part of the curriculum of every grammar school, with good reason.
Proper eating is extremely important.

Mens sana in corpore sano.




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GO BACK TO SLEEP NOW

This household is very noisy early in the morning. My apartment mate does not have to go to work today, and the various stuffed creatures in her room are loudly rejoicing. It baffles me how they can be so wide awake, so early, entirely without coffee.

It's president's day, one of America's idiosyncratic holidays with no real tradition of celebratory activities -- feel free to invent some -- which means that many people are off today, many other aren't and are somewhat resentful.

Government, banks, and law offices.


To balance things out, there should be a holiday during which government, banks, and law offices are forbidden to shut down. The rest of us get to go there, point, and gloat.


Neener neener neener day.




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Sunday, February 16, 2020

A MAN WITHOUT A MATCH

Sometimes it seems like daycare. Because it was a gorgeous day today, sunny and bright, few of the people I like dropped by, but Little White Nipple Dude did. I am a patient and tolerant man, and consequently know more about his meerschaum pipes as well as his smoking habits, than I wanted. As well as that the San Francisco Police will cite you for smoking where you shouldn't if you are yelling abuse at people and throwing things.

Which seems perfectly reasonable.

He was there for more than an hour. I felt like calling the SFPD, but it's in Marin, and he wasn't being abusive.

He also mentioned, in very great detail, the red lacquer Dunhill lighter he uses for lighting his pipes.

Again, I shall stress that I am a patient and tolerant man.


I could have been a combat medic.


Confession: What every sane pipe smoker wants, really wants, is either good company and a place to smoke, OR peace and quiet and a place to smoke. Plus tea and occasionally some chocolate. Dark chocolate covered lemon satin creams are very nice, fyi. They should be on sale now that Valentine's Day is over.


Note that by "sane pipe smoker" is meant this blog author.
Certainly not Little White Nipple Dude.


Cookies are nice too.



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AND TO GO WITH THAT ...

The green stuff is fragrant screwpine, mixed with foodcolouring for both artificial verisimilitude and as a visual clue. At least I think that's what it is, but it might be matcha. Whatever, it's not particularly noticeable, as the toffee bits on the outside and the sweet cream within dominate. It was purchased at one of my favourite Chinatown bakeries, which was not doing very good business because people are loosing their marbles over corona virus. Several of the eateries I passed were nearly empty. Americans believe that you can catch Wuhan Pneumonia from looking at a Chinese person.

Just like you can catch syphilis from looking at a Frenchman.
Or stupidity by seeing too many North Americans.

There was also brown stuff in the pastry.
Chocolate, possibly.


朱古力班蘭瑞士卷蛋糕

The "vermillion ancient capability squad orchid auspicious gentleman rolled egg cake" ('jyu gu lik paan laan seui si kuen'). Which is delicious, and goes well with a hot beverage. Chocolate pandan Swiss roll cake.

Whatever the heck the green and brown stuff is.


I actually prefer their old wife cakes -- small flaky biscuit pastries filled with candied winter melon paste -- as well as something I haven't seen there in a long time, probably because I don't go there in the morning when all the locals are there. The Lotus Flower Flaky Cake (荷花酥餅 'ho faa sou bing'), a round item consisting of a sweet rich doughy filling somewhat similar to boterkoek, enclosed by a flaky pastry cut to open up like a flower.

Apparently I have a new nickname there: 奶茶鬼佬 ('naai chaa kwai lo')。
Milk tea foreigner. I am not Chinese, and I have a beverage.

Same as "teapot uncle", except he's Chinese.
And he's there more often too.
茶壺啊叔。




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