Wednesday, March 31, 2021

LIZARD CUISINE -- WHAT PEOPLE EAT

Several years ago I started a side blog featuring recipes which had been originally posted here. Today I looked at the all-time stats for that food blog.

It was instructive.


POK CHEUI BENG GON 薄脆餅乾 POK CHUI CRACKERS
437,000 page visits.

CHICKEN AND ABALONE RICE PORRIDGE - BAU YÜ JUK 鮑魚粥
242,000 page visits.

MUI CHOI KAU YUK (梅菜扣肉) - STEAMED SALT VEGETABLE MEAT
994 page visits.

PAYA NAHARI - SHEEP TROTTER STEW
492 page visits.

HALEEM
459 page visits.

RED-STEWED SEA CUCUMBER - HONG SIU HOI SAM
443 page visits.

SARSON MAACH - BENGALI MUSTARD FISH
415 page visits.

MUTANJAN
409 page visits.

ANANAS KA MUZAFFAR
407 page visits.

STEAMED WATER EGG - JING SUI DAN 蒸水蛋
393 page visits.

FISH CURRY
223 page visits.

SHIR BERINJ - AFGHANI RICE PUDDING
209 page visits.

SALI MARGI -- PARSI CHICKEN WITH POTATO SHREDS
207 page visits.

BOERENKOOLSTAMPOT MET ROOKWORST
205 page visits.

STEAMED PORK BELLY WITH SHRIMP PASTE 蝦醬蒸五花肉 HAA JEUNG JING NG FAA YIUK
188 page visits.

DHANSAK MASALA - 2007 VERSION
180 page visits.

DHANSAK MASALA - BAWI'S MOM'S VERSION
173 page visits.

CHINESE POACHED FISH (蒸魚 JING YÜ)
158 page visits.

PRAWN BALICHAO
150 page visits.

SHARK FIN SOUP - PERSONAL FAVOURITE
148 page visits.



Eight Indian, mostly Muslim. Eight Chinese. Two neither.

I myself am solidly neither.


The food blog is named: cooking with a lizard. Because one of my sock-monkeys (fake internet personas) was, in fact, a lizard. A very useful fellow at the time.



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PISSY DUTCH AMERICAN NEEDS LUNCH, MIGHT BE MELLOWER AFTERWARDS

On a day like today, which used to be the last day off before the work week, until my schedule changed, the ideal thing to do would be to head over to Stockton Street for something over rice and a cup of milk tea at the New Honolulu, which a few years ago changed hands and direction, was reinvented, and became something quite different.
It's now a chachanteng with entirely new dishes.
Which I also like .


新品味
888 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108


Of course I haven't been there in thirteen months. We've had a bit of a pandemic here in San Francisco, and there have been certain necessary limitations. It's not been as bad as Florida or Texas, where the Republicans in power have signalled that they don't care how many people croak or end up with long term health problems -- there are always techies from California and business majors from the centre of the country to take up the slack, going there to contribute to pollution, the tax base, the jail population, and soon the county morgue -- as long as all the fully infectious people can wander around without masks at Walmart, Big Bubba's Barbecue Pit, and every damned redneck drinking establishment between there and an oil rig, damn the consequences, we're open fer bidniz mah freedums man cough cough cough ...

Sorry, I got distracted by the rest of the country.

[Asian Americans, take note! Move here. Rents are going down, yuppies and Republicans are moving out, and other than criminal scumsuckers from Oakland and Antioch, there is not so much to worry about. Plus we have good food.]



One of the great things about the New Honolulu is that in addition to superior food in a clean and comfortable environment, they didn't have the teevee tuned to Fox News. I never had to see that inbred degenerate Tucker Carlson or his kinfolk on the telly there at all. Heck, people scarcely paid attention to what was on anyhow, they had things to talk about, friends to see, lively conversation, good food, and beverages to enjoy. Bottle of Sriracha on every table.
You could dawdle while filling your pipe and planning grocery shopping.

There are a number of other fine restaurants in the Chinatown area, as well as grocery stores where they don't have mayonnaise, miracle wip, wonderbread, or frozen hamburger patties.
No rodeos, Nascar rallies, or all-day beer specials, though.


Anywhere there are bottles of Sriracha on every table is fine by me.




That late lunch in Chinatown was always gave me the necessary strength and resolve to deal with the rightwing all-American asswipes during the rest of the week. It made me a kinder and more tolerant man, quite capable of even dealing with visiting Texans and Floridians on an equitable basis, or assuming that they could read and write.
Which, as we know, is just not the case.


Smoke first. Then maybe some bami goreng.



TOBACCO INDEX


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THE WRONG PERSON FOR THAT

Nowadays I don't mingle outside of my bubble very much. No, this has nothing to do with Covid, it's because I'm a thinskinned man without a sense of humour who doesn't understand things. Because I am neither within the fold, nor have sufficient distance and perspective.
Or, very likely, just not broad-minded enough. And kind of stupid.

I probably don't know what I'm talking about, because I'm just "a nokhri who was well-known for knowing absolutely nothing yet was claiming he knew everything" (four years ago), as well as a "Jesuit well-trained in Christian Talmud Criticism" (ten years ago), and "a Trotskyite race-hating homosexual". And I'm also "neurotic" and "hyper politically correct".

Thank you. That keeps me from getting too close to certain people and some groups.


The great thing about this is that I don't get into discussions with strangers that turn into flame wars or long berserk comment strings. On many issues that do matter to me, I'll let someone else get their knickers in a bunch or attract the vampires.


Anything else would be goy-splaining, white-splaining, man-splaining.
Along with cultural appropriation and white-saviourism.
Either that or I'm just being a libtard.



Okay.




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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

CHEESEBURGER AND CHANGE

Many years ago I moved into a residential hotel on the North Beach and Chinatown border.
I was broke, single, and marginally employed (temp agencies promise freedom, but deliver poverty), and, on a daily basis, esurient. When not eating in Chinatown or experimenting with pickled vegetables and instant noodles, I went to Sam's on Broadway, where Monzer ('Mike') El Shawa held up the grill. Cheeseburgers, corndogs, fried chicken, fries, and inexpensive red wine. Retired Uncle would be asleep at his table with his beer, occasionally waking up to impart wisdom -- "Mongolian beef, hot!" "How about 'Hooked On Phonics'?" -- then he'd have another beer and fall asleep again. Ah Choy would be waiting for 'Louisiana T' to come in drunk after his shift at a nearby Italian restaurant so he could lose all of his tips playing cards with the stone cold sober and good natured Toishanese fellow, and every stripper, druggie, layabout, and ne-er-do-well in the neighborhood would drop by for sustenance and mental support.


"Do you remember 'Dancing Dave'?"


Of course I do. A likeable addict who overdosed, whom I didn't really miss, because any conversation with him was in Hippie-speak. Similarly I remembered 'Paints', who hid his kit behind the mirror and over time became increasingly erratic. As well as 'Kangol', who had issues when he was released the first time, and was worse every next time. Plus doormen or bouncers from the clubs, some of whom were unique individuals with rich inner lives.

I moved out of that neighborhood after nine years, but in a sense I never left. Every week I'd go back for some cheap red wine with a friend, after which we'd head out to explore the more educational side of North Beach and Chinatown nightlife.

There's an article in SF Gate you should read: SF TREASURE


Monzer stopped smoking after a heart attack in 1998. And by that time, smoking in dining establishments was largely a thing of the past, so the rest of us had to give up tobacco inside too, the ashtrays attached to walls disappeared, as did the pin ball machine (a "no armed bandit"), which probably paid for the education of his kids, all of whom are adults now.

[I had "tutored" one of his kids in math and grammar for a while. He ended up crying several times, because I'm an asshole. And he wanted to play basketball instead.]


Sam's on Broadway is a home-away-from-home.

Monzer was the shit-disturbing uncle every one should have. But he was a very decent man, and quietly fed the destitute who were hungry and couldn't pay, treated everyone except the mofos with courtesy, extended credit when needed, and didn't pry into his customers' affairs. Some of those affairs were played out loud and in public. The woman who in a drug-induced fit stripped outside was a customer. Her drug-dealing lover was too. The crazy old lady across the street, the sleazy chiropractor who'd order two pizzas to go while trying to put the make on a stripper, the druggie who fell from three stories high one evening, the paranoid woman who snapped at everyone ... all customers again after their worst episodes.

He never held it against me that I supported what to him was the wrong side in the Middle East conflict. When I came in with a comrade in arms after a particularly loud protest and counter demonstration in front of the consulate that had ended late, both of us wearing kippot, he had a warm conversation with the chap about Israeli food. Then served him a cheeseburger.

A gentleman. Gallant, chivalrous, and absolutely top-notch.


There was the time he sent me out to get change. While I was gone, Ted came in. He told Ted that I had gotten married, then sent him out for change. When Freddie came in, he sent him out for change, after informing him that Ted had gotten married. Larry came in, was given similar staggering news, and sent out for change. When I came back with change, I was told amazing news about Ted ....... then he sent me out again, would I be so kind as to get more change?
At one point he had five of us wandering the neighborhood with what must have been several hundred dollars of his money. When we got back there were misplaced congratulations all round, and he had enough change for two weeks.




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A PROFOUND DISTASTE FOR SHMENDRIKISM

Being a member of various groups on the internet, as any faux-social person should be in these times, one occasionally catches glimpses of other people's lives, vignettes that charm and enchant.


"St.James Flake in a Castello Pi KK. Lovely having a spouse that likes to chill in bed with the Beagle, Terrier and a tray of tea while I puff my pipe and we watch TV. Absolutely the little things that make life pleasant."
------Colin N.

Two things immediately stand out here. The first being that the dog breeds are capitalized, the second being that if that is real tea, not herbal brew, she may have interesting dreams. And if he loads his pipe to the rim, there are probably a few small holes in the sheet or coverlet.


"I thought CBD was the answer to everything... I've been meaning to repair broken windows and dead pets with it."
------Martin F.

CBD is like Jesus for some people.


"Nice day here up north. At work to clean my bike (full of concrete dust) and to check on a pigeon chick who had fallen down from the beams under the roof to the concrete deck. Mother and the other pidgeons did not want anything with it. So I have tried to help it. Today it was dead. Made it some concrete boots and sent it out to sea."
------Heligolander

That's sad, eccentric, and rather sweet.


"Anna and the apocalypse follows both musical theater and zombie movie rules by being pretty uninspired in the last half All the good songs are over. The plot becomes purely about survival."
------Tim L.

That prompted me to look up the movie to which he was refering. It looks like an interesting concept, but I have no intention of viewing it, and will take care not to alert my apartment mate (more likely than I to rent movies) to it's existence. A nightmare scenario I wish to avoid is it becoming one of her favourites, like Valley Of The Dolls, which she will play over and over again. There is only one television in this place.


"I judge anti-maskers as I have not yet seen one whose justification for not wearing a mask isn't "I don't want to, you can't make me" followed by a conspiracy theory."
------IIS Nerd

The rest of that person's post mentioned people who have health conditions which are impacted by wearing a mask. Respiratory issues, sensory issues, claustrophobia, panic attacks, people with autoimmune issues who have underlying health issues who struggle to wear a mask for long periods, and others, who never-the-less do wear masks because they have the ability to feel basic empathy for others. They know they aren't bulletproof. They now the risks of catching the virus. They wear masks for themselves and for others despite the discomfort for themselves.

After I forced one anti-masker to put a mask on (he claimed he had health issues, the same ones I have), he mocked my accent as he left the building. Loudly, through the mask.
A complete and utter shmendrik.


"When you went to the store to buy your mom a pack of cigarettes, what was the brand? Mine was Virginia Slim Menthol Ultra Light 120's. "
------David S.D.

As you would expect, that FB post and the many responses recalled a "kinder gentler era", when little children still ate paintchips, school buildings and hospitals had asbestos in the walls, and Richard Milhouse Nixon started the war on drugs because for Republicans, uppity black people and anti-war activists were the most pressing problems the nation faced.


"The Indian shops/Coles/Woolworths sell Nestle Instant coconut milk powder it dissolves instantly no mess I use this in all my receipes."

------Sylvia W.

I wonder if that's available in the United States. I like coconut milk curry type dishes, but a full can of coconut milk is too much for one person, especially if only a little is required.
Also, I wonder what my doctor would think, as I'd end up having way more coconut than is really good to consume. If I find it, maybe I shouldn't tell him.




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Monday, March 29, 2021

THE BENEFIT OF SOCIAL MEDIA

A couple of years ago I was taking Clopidogrel, which is a prescription anti-clotting medication. And I managed to whack my hand so bad it bled. Life is always an adventure or sumpin', I am clinically minded and observant, and Facebook lets you share your best moments, whether it's a wise idea or not. And then reminds you of them a year or two later.
Exactly a multiple of 365 days after the fact.


MEMORY 1:
So. The wound on a right-hand digit from yesterday is still bleeding. Clopidogrel works. Which, I suppose, is good. It means [CUT] ... shaving and showering this morning (were) too dang interesting for words. There are now bloody paper towels in the garbage, and I found out that putting a sterile pad on an open wound really does require BOTH hands.



MEMORY 2:
Okay. Now we cut another sterile pad to size, prepare the tape (three strips), discard the blood soaked previous pad, and apply the new one. After which, dammitall, I am going to have porkchops in Chinatown.



MEMORY 3:
Tomorrow should be "interesting". Still haven't stopped bleeding. On the third set of bandage/sterile pad right now. Last time I had a wound it took five days.



MEMORY 4:
This is starting to get interesting. Preparatory to final pipe smoke of the day (outside) I cleaned the area around the wound and put another dressing on it. Sterile pad, a few layers of stretchy bandage, everything held in place by strips of Nexcare flexible clear tape. Time to test two things: 1) will I accidentally set all this on fire when I light my pipe, and 2) will it hold all night?



What I also particularly recall is that the porkchops at the New Regent (新麗晶西餐廳) were excellent, and I enjoyed lunch immensely. The waitresses were a little bit leery, because white guys holding blood-drenched paper towels are, perhaps, disturbing, but they manfully brought me soup, garlic bread, and Hong Kong Milk Tea without flinching or commenting.

Smoked my pipe while strolling for a while afterwards.

At around four thirty I went to a bakery for some more HK milk tea, and TWO pastries.

The hand looked a biowaste dump on the end of my arm at that point.

Then I loaded up another pipe.
What I cannot remember is which pipes I had with me at the time. I vaguely seem to recall that it could have been the two shown here. It's really important, and I wish I had noted it down for future reference. Unfortunately I wasn't drawing my briars yet, that's been mostly a sanity maintenance strategy during this pandemic.

Probably a good thing I didn't encounter fans of Twilight or live vampires while strolling through Chinatown that day. They would have followed me around saying I smelled good.

Normally that would please me immensely, but I have issues with vampires.

It's ... complicated.



At some point I mentioned on FB that I was also taking another medicine, Amlodipine Besylate, and received a note from someone with no medical expertise but who knew a doctor that what had been prescribed by my physician was cheap stuff and dangerous, I should go back and insist on the Ferrari of medication, or else I would have a heart-attack.
I needed to demand First World Treatment!

My doctor and the clinic are Chinese.
And I am getting first world care.
They are professionals.



Of course, as you would expect from a stubborn old frass, I disregard their excellent advice anent tobacco use. Because it gives me much pleasure.


TOBACCO INDEX


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SLIMY THINGS IN THE DEEP GRASS

The great thing about having days off is that I can come down from the giddy heights of dealing with luftmenschen in Marin County, where heads are in the clouds, plain common sense takes a back seat to "the feels, man", and carrion eaters wheel and circle over the estuarine marshes looking for dead vegetarians who sought to commune with nature and snuffed it when they got stuck in the mud. At least I think that's why the area around the gas station smells of corpses. Maybe they're making a tableau vivant there using deceased pets.

Half of my coworkers are fully functional.

The others are unique.

I'll let you figure out which half I am in.



As with many people, because of older relatives World War Two was always in the background when I was a child, a strong element in the group mind. Which to many folks growing up now is unimaginable.

"What was WWII, and who was in it?"

Well, young feller, that was the English and the Scots fighting about the future of Great Britain. The enemy flag had that hooked cross thing on it because that was a simplified version of clan tartans. The Japanese won, and that's why they are now rich and powerful, and technically advanced, and the United States has become a shithole country.

"Gee thanks, uncle Stinky! It all makes sense!"

Yeah, doesn't it just.

He is an innocent fellow in his early twenties, and has many brilliant ideas.
One of which I've illustrated here. It will change everything as we know it, and also lead to huge improvements in public health and social morals. He doesn't realize it, but anyone familiar with the court room scene in the movie "Bananas" or slovenly hipsters lounging amid the the reek of patchouli on a carpet, surrounding a hookah, or "bong" as it's also known, would have come up with the concept.

Far be it from me to puncture his balloon.

I see my role as being gently nurturing and encouraging.

Water benefits living things. Air needs to be improved. The mind functions better if breathing is advanced. It's all so simple. This is progress.

Between the superannuated old farts with buckets of experience and strong opinions, and the fresh-faced young people thinking thoughts for the first time, I do not lack for stimulation while I'm there.

But it's good to recharge.




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Sunday, March 28, 2021

PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL HEALING

A chance met internet acquaintance tells me to lay off the hippies. Because he has a lot in common with them. Well, that's cool. Like totally dude. Personally I've had it up to here with natural healing apple cider vinegar and miracle honey vaccine-skeptical feel good science deniers.
If I had listened to those people a few years ago, I would be dead now. When I was prescribed nitro-glycerin patches in the weeks before my coronary stent, some of the people I knew who committedly trusted natural healing told me to throw them out, it was just the medical industry getting their claws into me. And I should rely on natural remedies instead.

It was clear, by the way, that they did not know what the nitro was for.

"Nitro-glycerin is chemicals!"

Um, yeah?

Only had to use a few of the nitro patches. Still have nearly a full box.
Things have stabilized remarkably since I got professional help.

So in all honesty, all those natural healing apple cider vinegar and miracle honey vaccine-skeptical feel good science deniers can pound it up their you-know-whatsis, and shove some miracle healing bee honey up after it.

Here, I'll help you do that. I've got a stick.


I'll admit I'm a bit of a snob. I dislike marijuana smokers, chiropractors, anti-vaxxers, gluten-phobes, natural healing freaks, spiritual people, science deniers, flat earthers, Republicans, religious nuts, racists, palmists, tarot card readers, anybody who insists on telling me about their past lives OR the miraculous yoni egg, and salesmen calling me up about the extended warranty on my car.


Well, okay, that does include most people in Marin County and Berkeley, and a fair number in San Francisco, but I have plenty stick.


Toothache? Apple cider vinegar and honey!
Heart disease? Apple cider vinegar and honey!
Gout and arthritis? Apple cider vinegar and honey!
Bile and excessive humours? Apple cider vinegar and honey!
Dog-related psychological trauma? Apple cider vinegar and honey!


"If it's natural, it can't kill you."


Son, have you ever heard of deadly nightshade? Black widows? Rattle snakes?
Botulism, tetanus, and rabies? Peanut allergies?
Ignorance & stupidity?


*       *       *       *       *

In other news, bumblebees can be bribed with a nice new nickel.
They'll be SO excited. Shiny! Funds! A bank account!
Then they'll struggle to lift it.

Every few hours, you'll go into the room where the nickel is, and this determined furry beast will be trying to push it across the floor, straining furiously..... it's fascinating in a way. You'll make him a little bed out a matchbox, so that he can get a good night's sleep right next to HIS nickel. Then in the morning you'll wake him up with a quarter teaspoon of honey and couple of drops of coffee. The desperate labours will start again. A week later, disconsolate wailing as he reaches the front door and realizes that he can't open it! Waaah! He could forsake his shiny nickel and fly away, but if he wants the nickel, he has to drag or push it over the threshold. Waaaaaah!

It's very sad. Especially because he WAS planning on collecting a shiny nickel from you daily. Protection money. Otherwise he'd buzz around your head in an annoying way.
Instead there's the frustration of little fuzzy grunting.




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A RELIGIOUS FESTIVAL OF UNCERTAIN DETAILS

Today is Palm Sunday, which is the day that people in East Texas ceremonially slap each other forcefully in the face, in public, before sitting down to a communal meal of East Texas Chili and biscuits; a feast of reconcilliation.

Eh, no.

It's actually when athletic maidens in Tupelo celebrate their entry into womanhood by dancing with pom-poms, in the annual Palm Sunday parade down main-street. Televised to an audience of millions.

Eh, no.
Something about endangered quail in the Mojave? A cultural festival in Sonora Mexico? Special foods?
Yeah, sorry, I haven't a clue what Palm Sunday is about. All I know is that in seven days we celebrate eggs and bunnies, so it probably has something to do with Greeks and animals.

It goes back to Roman times (hence the fierce warrior shown above), is widely celebrated, and requires googling for the details. Your local witchdoctor can tell you more.

Seven more days till egg salad.



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Saturday, March 27, 2021

PARANOIA DOES NOT REQUIRE A BRAIN

A paranoid man would conclude that San Francisco wants to kill me. And people like me. Given that it has proven impossible to get a Covid vaccination. Bar tenders have gotten it. Wait staff have gotten it. Healthcare workers, old farts in retirement homes, street people, drug addicts, jailbirds, idiots, politicians, hipsters, and public transit workers have all gotten it. Single men between fifty and sixty five have not been able to get it. Because we are not worthy.

More than one third of the city has gotten the vaccine. So it looks like once they open it up to everybody, I'll have to fight tooth and nail to get it. It will be just like the hunger games.

Of course they helpfully ruled out my pre-existing conditions as qualifiers for the vaccine.
And, if I only had half a brain, I'd conclude that they're out to get me.

But the truth is that they're simply incompetent jackasses putting the vaccines where they are most politically beneficial. We're San Francisco, we care! Well, except for segments of the population who for us would be better off dead.

The single man between fifty and sixty five is socially and politically more of a nuisance than anything else.

They're not out to get me, they just don't give a damn.



Of course it doesn't help that many of the people with whom I have to associate when at work in Marin County have gotten it, or are vaccine sceptics who can get it but refuse to do so.

One of whom is convinced that it will implant a microchip, there is no real pandemic, this is all a political tactic to control us, and space aliens brought religion five thousand years ago for the exact same purpose. He never goes to see a doctor, because healthcare is also a plot.

He's a talkative paranoid neurotic, and I shan't shed a tear when he croaks.

But he's eligible for the vaccine and he should get it.

So he doesn't infect the rest of us.



One good thing about the pandemic is that I haven't seen Tinfoil Hat Stevie, Captain Spaceball, or Lord Von Outerwear in ages. Little White Nipple Dude still shows up occasionally, but he realizes socializing is impossible under the circumstances, and does not stay long.




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Friday, March 26, 2021

A VERY GREEN ISLAND

There are some parts of the world I need to revisit, not having been there in over two decades. And that statement alone qualifies me as having "Anglo priviledge". Seeing as most of the rest of the world does not travel as much, or as widely, or with such devil-may-care wild abandon. Europe right now is forlorn and despairing of ever going to the Costa Del Sol, Morocco, or South East Asia with its fabulous beaches and luxury tourist resorts again.
"Was sollen wir tun" they wail disconsolately, "was sollen wir tun?"
Frankly, Fraulein Scarlett, there's always Bavaria.
So sunny at this time of year.
Und exotisch!
Some parts of the world are more commonly overcast. Which can be very pleasant.

Or grey, drizzly, only slightly too warm for comfort. As a long-time San Francisco resident, I'll gladly put up with that, along with beef noodle soup and sticky rice packets, provided there aren't any Americans nearby complaining about anything at all, Englishmen or Australians getting riotously drunk, Europeans looking for sex and sunlight, or my fellow Dutch speakers belly-aching about the lack of patat friet, frikandellen, or beer. Or why don't the natives make tea like we do? Here, we brought a packet of Douwe Egberts teabags. Just in case.


The beef noodle soup (牛肉麵 local pronunciation: 'gu bah mi') is actually quite delicious, and the sticky rice packets (粽 local pronunciation: 'tsang') hit the spot. There's also oyster omelette (蚵仔煎 local pronunciation: 'o ah chien'). Bah oan (肉圓) are good too. If having the noodle soup, ask for half brisket half tendon (半筋半肉麵 'poaŋ kiṇ poaŋ bah mi'), avoid the three treasures version which also has tripe.

[NOTE: The place isn't entirely ruled by the 黑手黨 ('hei tsiu taŋ') or 竹聯幫 ('tsu lien pang'). So it represents one of the more democratic and enlightened societies in it's area.]




LU GANG SHIM-MI?

Bear in mind that the local people swear frightfully by HK standards, and those horrible tapioca balls in your tea are a fact of life. You might want to bring along a box of Rickshaw brand teabags (車仔紅茶包 'gu-kia ang-tê pow') to show them how it's done.




AFTERWORD

This post is for Adrian F. somewhere near Oxford, and Jerome O. south of Muddy Estuary, both of whom probably visited the place. And may have had language issues there.
Shi hok-tsap (是複雜).




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Thursday, March 25, 2021

A FAIRY LAND WITH REPTILES

As prompted by a suggestion on social media, I googled 'Florida man' followed by my birthday. Jackpot! "Florida Man decided to fly to Chicago to chop off his ex-girlfriend’s new lover’s penis and carved his initials in his leg."

Also:

"Florida man fed beer to a small alligator."

"Florida man hid packets of heroin and other drugs inside his 5-year-old’s shirt while police were executing a search warrant."

"Florida Man was arrested on multiple charges including bank fraud after using part of nearly $4 million in PPP loans to buy a Lamborghini and other high-end luxury items."

"Florida man was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill after allegedly throwing an alligator threw (stet) a fast-food chain’s drive-thru window."


Of course I'm jealous. They have alligators! It sounds like an impossibly romantic place!
Almost like Australia, except with Murricans.

What could possibly be better?

Their amps go up to 11.




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THAT VACCINE

According to recent polls, more than forty percent of Republicans and up to 49% of Republican men will refuse the vaccine. And, given that Republicans tend to skew older, that means that for more of them the virus will be fatal or long-term debilitating.

Did I ever mention that I am not a Christian?

In many parts of Bible country wearing a mask is unusual, even frowned upon. And the vaccine is considered not only the devil's work, but also an insidious plot to subvert American manliness.


The San Francisco Bay Area is not Bible country, and overwhelmingly Democrat.
The insurrectionists on January 6 were mostly good Christians and Republicans.

People who refuse the vaccine will be more likely to catch Covid (and die).
Which will, in the long term, contribute to herd immunity.


So there is an upside to this.


I've been trying for five weeks to get the vaccine, ever since the City and County of San Francisco sent me an e-mail telling me that I may be elligible. Apparently I am not old enough or unhealthy enough, and I don't tend bar or children. A huge number of the people I know have gotten the vaccine -- which is pleasing, fewer funerals and memorial events to worry about -- and I have a ridiculous level of faith and hope that eventually San Francisco will grudgingly decide that my demographic (55 plus with health issues) also deserves it.

I do not know enough Christians or Republicans for funerals and memorial events to be much of a worry. Which is good; I'm lousy at such things.

"Do you remember the time he mistook the neighbor's bull for his mom? It very amusing, he ended up in handcuffs, covered in lipstick and mud, and his wife refused to bail him out for two whole weeks. Then he became chairman of the local Republican party. Of course, it was a mostly rural county ..... "

"She didn't bathe for several years because she was convinced there were listening devices in the shower heads."

"I remember him face down in pizza. Several times. A good churchgoer."


Somebody I have to deal with regularly is convinced that the vaccine implants a microchip.
I will neither attend his funeral nor any memorials for him, and his record collection is too shitty to covet. Only a few people will be there anyway. So it would be pointless.




By the way: pursuant a conversation with a good friend surrounded by the howling Republican Christians in Baaaaahbul Country, I should mention that grits and bourbon belong in the exotic foods aisle. Not at gas station convenience stores.




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THINKING AHEAD

In another few days it will be Passover (starts Saturday March 27, ends Sunday April 4), and in one more week, Easter (Sunday April 4). Which is also Ching Ming, tomb sweeping day. Being rather irrelegious and white, I am not vested in any of these observances. Years ago I paid attention to Passover, but not being Jewish it was a priviledge, not an obligation.
And Easter simply means bunnies.

Or egg salad. Chop hardboiled eggs. Mix with a little mayo and olive oil. Add paprika and cayenne, as if for devilled eggs. Plus some minced celery to take up the excess mayo.
Eat on fresh hot toast.

Or invite the entire neighborhood over for an egg salad feast. It's an old American tradition.


I already know what I'm eating for lunch at work on Sunday April 4.


Ideally, if you chop the boiled egg too fine and therefore need to use extra mayonnaise, you will glop it onto cooked asparagus, with or without a little smoked salmon or minced dry ham.

This is just a suggestion, of course. Feel free to stuff yourself with Peeps, mediocre chocolate, and whole harboiled eggs instead. And hide some for the little children on the lawn to step in.


As with all religious festivals, digestive issues are important.



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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

IN LIEU OF SMALL TALK

It took me over six years to substantially recover from my relationship breaking up ten years ago. My apartment mate seems to have entirely recovered from her breakup with WB two years ago. From which we can deduce that she is more flexible and resilient than I am.
Or more likely that I am more neurotic. If not neuro-typical.

Whatever the case, I still like women. I just haven't pursued the matter.
Maybe as many as fifty percent of my favourite people are women.

That may have something to do with my distaste for sports.
Football and baseball are boring spectacles.

Women are less likely to engage one in ridiculous conversations about "the team" than many men. I do not have any favourite teams. Well, Ajax, the Amsterdam soccer team is sort of a candidate, if only because I have an affection for Amsterdam. But I haven't followed their progress, nor exulted over their victories or lamented their defeats.
Do not ask me to name any of their players.

If I had a choice of genders to share a room with, I could choose either.
During sports season however it might more likely be the other.


Years ago my brother Tobias and I would spend the entire evening in the room off the courtyard in near-complete silence. Him with his books and the chess board replaying the moves of the masters, analysing and understanding their game, me happily reading about the conquistadors spreading disease to the Aztecs, or Charlemagne and Elegast burglarizing a nobleman's castle (from which we might learn to never trust your brother-in-law).

The cats occasionally kept us company.

The occasional click of chess pieces, the turning of pages, a clink from my teacup and saucer, and the striking of a match to light my pipe were, often, the only sounds.

Talking and communicating aren't always the same.
I am not a very sociable man. I miss smoking my pipe while indoors reading and drinking tea, and the sound of chesspieces from across the table. I miss the cats. And I miss non-speaking.

The Covid lockdown has not affected me very much. I do not miss long conversations about nothing, and I do not miss being around hordes of people. Sometimes I miss having lunch at favourite places with a cup of milk tea. But a pipe and a walk afterwards always beckoned.
And I was free to leave at any time, having eaten alone.

There is no pressure to be social.



TOBACCO INDEX


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AND IT SHOULD BE ALL VEGAN!

Today I need to head over to Chinatown again, because the grocery store where I shop was closed yesterday. They're a source of coffee, coconut milk, Meltyblend chocolate, tea, noodles, hot sauce, sambal, curry paste, adzuki beans, dried shrimp, and various other necessities. Also, they have a good selection of dumplings in the freezer. A man must have his dumplings. They're affiliated in some way with the place across the street that has dried fish.

The women who run the place are very nice, and know what they're doing. I suspect that they are strong minded and stubborn, because their store is flourishing, well-stocked, bustling.
Very capable women.

I don't know if they speak English. I've never needed to use that there. Did have a slight problem the first time I needed to buy coconut milk, which I found out was yeh naai (椰奶), not yeh tsap (椰汁), which is coconut juice.

I suspect Trader Joe's and Whole Foods also have such things as coconut milk and noodles, or interesting freezer goods. The one time I had Chinese dumplings from Joe's it was because someone had given frozen dumplings to my apartment mate, and at least one of us had to try these things marketed with spirituality to white people.

I'm white, so it was me.

They weren't too bad.


I'm also a Dutchman (that is to say, I was raised in the Netherlands; we moved over there when I was two, and I am largely of Dutch American ancestry). So I'm a frightful cynic, a cheapskate, opportunistic, and I have an accent.


Consequently I do not like paying ten times too much for my staples, I do not particularly care that it was lovingly harvested by Zen nuns high in the Andes in touch with nature, my peanut butter tastes much better if it was not sourced from a precious non-GMO farm or invested with meaningfulness, and I really need to point out that in Chinatown no one has ever made me feel self-conscious or ill at ease because of my accent or my diction, whether in English or in Cantonese. Or Dutch. There used to be a store run by Chinese from Suriname there.
They spoke Dutch.

Plus the prices of the merchandise in most Chinese stores are not based on romantic fantasies or spiritual values. And there is a greater variety of things I want to buy. Some people might not find what they want there, because probably not a single shop stocks gluten-free guarana goji berry oatmeal non dairy icecream ........ lovingly churned by Zen nuns high in the Andes on a non-GMO farm invested with meaningfulness and in touch with nature.


My ability in Cantonese does have limits. I have no idea how to say "do you have Zen nun made gluten-free guarana goji berry oatmeal non dairy icecream from the Andes?"
At least not in a way that communicates.


你哋有冇安第斯山禪宗尼姑做嘅無麵筋瓜拿納同枸杞子雪糕嗎?
['nei dei yau mou on-daai-si saan sin-jung nei-gu jor-ge mou-min-gan gwaa-naa-naap tung gau-gei-ji suet gou ma']


You have to ask yourself two things.
1) Even if your pronunciation of "nei dei yau mou on-daai-si saan sin-jung nei-gu jor-ge mou-min-gan gwaa-naa-naap tung gau-gei-ji suet-gou ma" was, hypothetically, one hundred percent correct, would the listener have enough context and familiarity with San Francisco yuppiedom and its cultural praeconceptiva to understand any part of that? Or will he throw you out of the store because you're a pretentious dickwad?
2) How badly do you want Zen nun made gluten-free guarana goji berry oatmeal non dairy ice cream from the Andes? Do you actually care that it's lovingly made and invested with meaning? Do you, in fact, even want it at all?
Are you a pretentious dickwad?


Actually, I think I'd like some 黑米粥 ('hak maai juk') instead. I can find the fixings there. I like a version with pears or apples (苹果黑米粥). Rinse roughly equal parts black and white 米 before simmering with eight times the volume water to the nearly falling apart stage, then add fresh or canned apples or pears and their syrup or sugar to taste, simmer a while longer. It can also be made with coconut milk, or red bean puree. And canned peaches are not a bad idea either.

In Brabant we made something quite similar with pearl barley and dried fruits.




Remarkably, Andean zen nuns who karmically invest their lovingly turned out spiritually uplifting non-GMO foodstuffs with meaning have no accents at all. They sound just like Americans!




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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

JUST ANOTHER DAY

One person took issue with the sometimes negative tone of this blog recently. "No one wants to read all that angry [deleted], man, stop being so [deleted] dark about everything! Write something upbeat, say something [deleted] whorthwhile occasionally!"
Okay. Your mother loves you. There.
That should do it for the year.

In that vein, I shall not say anything at all about the Colorado shooter (couldn't have happened to a nicer state), or the paranoid conspiracy nutball (Larry Lee Harris, 66, from Wilcox, Arizona) who stopped a Texas National Guard convoy transporting Covid 19 vaccines because he was convinced that they were abducting children for the Democrat sex trade.
Nope. Won't say a damned thing.

This is America. We're all normal here. None of us are letting down the side.


If anything, this page is all about sweetness and light.


Mentally disturbed people need guns.


The kindly words of a victim of a brazen and brutal daylight robbery a few blocks away are now more uplifting and relevant than ever. "I know it’s hard now but we need to get back and have people in work and school so they are productively occupied."
-----Clarisse (Asian woman attacked while walking home from church)

I likewise think that we need them in school so the little darlings aren't dangerous.
I envision a future where ALL Americans have learned to read and write.
Plus arithmetic! Think of the wonders that will ensue!
And critical thinking!

Eventually, perhaps, a civilized society will result.
I am hopeful and upbeat about the possibility.


Positive and worthwhile message till then: Believe in Malthusianism. Also believe in cigarettes, cholesterol, alcohol, carbon monoxide, masturbation, the Arts Council, nuclear weapons, the Daily Telegraph, and not properly labeling fatal poisons, but, above all else, most of all, believe in the ONE thing that can come out of people's mouths: vomit!"
[Philip E. Marlow, in The Singing Detective.]

And your mother loves you.

Go on, have a donut.
You deserve it.




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LAUNDROMATS AND BOVINE AFFINITIES

Underneath a recent post by a local politician for whom I voted, a loyalist Taiwanese troll defended calling it the Wuhan Virus. Unaware that when whitey goes all racist, he won't spot the Taiwanese flag pin on her lapel but will instead see her face. Same with many Vietnamese Americans. Far be it from me as a white male to tell her she's a stupid cow.
But you realize that she is a stupid cow of course.

I can imagine her getting into arguments with people, telling them "don't beat up me, for I am a Taiwanese. Beat up those people, they are Chinese". Perhaps the Kuomintang insistence that they are China, more China than China, has fallen by the wayside a bit.

Don't worry, it will resurface once all this has died down.


I don't think those three cretins from Antioch who came to San Francisco recently and beat up an old man in a laundromat even asked whether he was a Mainlander or a Taiwanese. The old lady who fought back on Market Street? A mainlander, but that isn't really germaine.
The aged Thai gentleman killed recently was neither.

Giving them all a Taiwanese flag lapel pin would not have helped.
Perhaps the local Kuomintang office thinks differently.


As an American of Dutch descent (my first American ancestor landed in New Amsterdam in 1630), naturally you will understand that I do not care whether you are Swedish, Danish, Prussian, or Norwegian. You all look alike, and you all poached in my people's herring fishing grounds. Perhaps I should beat you up in a laundromat. Oh, you're English? A traditional rival nation as regards the imperialist exploitation of the world for two centuries. We fought three wars against you people. Laundromat! French or German? Napoleon and Hitler! Laundromat! Irish? Catholic? Laundromat!

Heck, it's been four decades at least since the Netherlands won the World Cup. So all of you Brazilians get in the damned laundromat!

FORT ZEELANDIA
Source: Wikipedia

In 1661 the Taiwanese kicked us out of our possession in Anping (Fort Zeelandia: 熱蘭遮城). Then raped Dutch women. We have a bone to pick with that lot. Screw them. Most especially that stupid cow.

NOTE: One must also carefully distinguish between loyalist Hokkiens (Indonesia, especially Sumatra), treacherous Hokkiens (Philippines, Manila), and rebel Hokkiens (Formosa).

So perhaps we should give them a choice of laundromats.


You European Americans don't get that choice. You're all fish-poaching bastards anyway.
And many of you are Catholic, Lutheran, or Anabaptist.



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Monday, March 22, 2021

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN NUT

Recently I mentioned that I did not like going over to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods because they did not have what I want. Which I detailed as being yauchoi, fu qua, Honey Loquat Candy, Lee Kum Kee curry sauce, hot sauce, sambal, single potatoes, Meltyblend chocolates, lobak, charsiu turnovers, egg tarts, Kwan Miao noodles, and cheung fan.

I'm from the planet Koozebane and I want my native foods.

One of which is Meiji confectionery.
At least one box of this every week. It's yummy.

If you want to see something really zesty and erotic, look up Koozebanian Mating Ritual on youtube. Warning: adult content AND National Geographic approved.
See, neither Trader Joe's nor Wholefoods cary Meltyblend chocolates, firstly because they discriminate against Koozebanians, and secondly because they cater specifically to Yuppies, who want to knew exactly what the cacao percentage is, whether it has gluten, and was it made using all green fair trade recycled feel goods.

Yuppies like percentages, oatmeal and tofu.

They're fundamentally dull.




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THE TONGUES

Probably the most amusing thing on the interwebs today was from a Rabbi among my friends, one of several rabbonim / rebbe'im. Who teaches at a yeshiva. Schwerre zache, mostly advanced subject material, not for kleine kinder.


Dear students talking to each other in Hebrew to avoid being understood by me
Why did you think this would work?
Sincerely,
The rabbi in the room



This is like the students in one of my highschool classes when I lived in the Netherlands using German (learned in that same school) for that purpose. German and Dutch are, of course, fairly closely related. Note: Amsterdam Yiddish was even less successful. For other reasons.

And I am, naturally, reminded of Dutch tourists in this city talking smack. Assuming that no one understood them. Besides myself there are at least seven other Dutch speakers in this neighborhood. Four of whom are Chinese from Suriname.

This is a polyglottal city.



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Sunday, March 21, 2021

DEMOGRAPHIC VACCINE SELECTION

What we can learn from San Francisco's vaccine allocations is that single white men between fifty five and sixty five years old are not considered worthwhile to society.
We are absolutely and completely expendable.


E-mail I received from the City and County of San Francisco on February 24th. below:

Thanks for signing up for notifications about the COVID-19 vaccine. Based on what you told us, you are eligible to get the vaccine.
We've opened high volume vaccination sites, which have a limited number of appointments available. Vaccinations are free and you do not need insurance.


[Embedded link] Get vaccinated against COVID-19

Even if you are eligible, there may not be an appointment available right now. Please be patient. Keep checking for available appointments.

[Embedded link] Get more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco.

Thank you,
City and County of San Francisco




Dear City and County of San Francisco. I've tried to get the bloody vaccine for four weeks now. No dice. But every damned bartender I know, as well as street people and many other non-essential personell, seems to have already gotten it, or be in line to get it.

Perhaps that's because my particular demographic (SWM 55-65) is only useful to society as recipients of opprobrium -- apparently we are what's wrong with the world -- or as targets for beer advertising, erectile dysfunction meds, little purple pill pitches, or opportunistic pleas for funding from Republican politicians running for office. So the playing field is not even. You cannot claim that we're all getting a fair crack.

You know something, dear City and County of San Francisco? They never should have put you in charge of vaccine distribution. Y'all suck at it.




This past week alone nearly three dozen of my social media friends and contacts have happily mentioned that they're getting the vaccine. It's good to know that I have friends and contacts who now stand far less chance of dying of the Republican virus.



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