Saturday, July 31, 2021


A few years ago, when my apartment mate was pissed at Wheelie Boy, she fantasized about her Teddy Bear laying down a trail of Swedish Princess Cake slices on plates down the longest pier. And then, when he had reached the final slice (plate, paper doily, fork), tipping him wheelchair and all into the Bay. A beautiful fairy tale.

Recently the turkey vulture has suggested that I lure little girl hamsters to the salt flats with a trail of strawberries, so that when they get there he can gobble them up, like little meatballs.

I may have made a mistake in telling him that his fellow turkey vultures congregate there, often circling above it looking for dead seagull or dying rats. He thinks seagulls smell bad alive, and probably taste horrid dead. Like flying garbage. He doesn't want to eat that crap. Nor the dead rats from the nearby McDonalds.
When I told him that large Midwestern tourists don't go there to croak, and consequently there would be no nice fatty inner thighs there, he was despondent.

No, I will NOT invite the Midwestern tourists with their fatty inner thighs into the apartment, and I'm NOT organizing a catering service with trucks out to the salt flats for turkey vultures.
I do not see it as my mission to introduce his kin to civilized life.
Or fatty Midwestern inner thighs.

Please note that the turkey vulture dines very well here. Savoury meat stew with gravy. The tofu corpses. Green leafy "Irish" cadavers. Plus ice cream, pie, and chocolate chip cookies.
Fried eggs, dead Germans (bratwurst), tubular Americans (non-bratwurst).

Chips, dips, bonbons, and diverse pastries.

Salted egg yolk biscuits.

Breakfast foods.

It's very lonely out on the salt flats, gringo.

I have NO intention of killing fatty thighed Midwesterners OR small round mammals.
It would probably be against the law in any case.
Maybe even immoral.

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Friday, July 30, 2021


Well this will peeve the staff at the clinic if they ever find out about it! Salted egg-yolk biscuits. 鹹蛋黃餅 ('haam daan wong bing'). Great with a cuppa tea. And probably totally unhealthy. Cholesterol, fat, trace amounts of too much sodium, etcetera. Rich, luscious, crumbly.

Every week I try to find a different snacky thing so that my apartment mate (a good friend) is happily surprised, as well as the fuzzy turkey vulture for whom she channels. These are stressful times, and domestic peace is worth its weight in gold. Errm, snacks.

Unlike me, my apartment mate does not read Chinese. For her, too many of these things lack transparency. The major advantage of reading Chinese, in some ways, is that it makes it much easier to avoid durian flavour (榴蓮味 'lau lin mei').

榴蓮芋頭餅 ('lau lin wu tau bing'; durian and taro cakes), 榴蓮芒果布丁 ('lau lin mong gwok pou deng'; durian-mango pudding), 榴蓮咖啡 ('lau lin ga fei'; durian coffee).
Many things have durian added which shouldn't.

[Durian icecream, cakes, beverages, pie, pastry, nougat, macaroons, cream biscuits, pork jerky, sucky balls, toffee ...]

Admittedly, durian is good for social distancing, but, nevertheless, faugh and heck no.

Durian is proof that not everything Chinese is edible.

We don't often eat together, having entirely different tastes and times, but remarkably we often like similar Chinatown snacks.
Sydney Fylbert

And we always share what we're eating with the turkey vulture.
He complains vociferously if we don't.
Pudge wumps.

That's my pipe, by the way. Not his.

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Thursday, July 29, 2021


Naturally I like reasonable assurance that showing up in a bar or eatery won't kill me. So I shall make a point of patronizing at least two businesses in San Francisco, possibly a third, which require proof of vaccination. And an added benefit is that there will be no Republicans, Fundamentalist Christians, or Texans anywhere inside. That's icing on the cake.

The Alembic
1725 Haight Street
SF, CA 94117

Vegan Picnic
1323 Polk Street
SF, CA 94109

255 Columbus Avenue
SF, CA 94133

Naturally, all three places are getting negative Yelp reviews from Republicans, Fundamentalist Christians, and Texans, who have never travelled out of their retirement homes or trailer parks, and are wearing deep holes in their lazeeboys by clenching furiously.
Constipation is a bitch.

People who object to masking and proofs of vaccination can still go to Basilico's Pasta e Vino in Hungtington Beach, or the Apple Bistro in Placerville. Which is fine. I would imagine that both of those towns have excellent hospital facilities, fully staffed ICUs, and ventilators to spare.

Or they can visit Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Which are all very nice places, I'm sure.

It's where the January 6 tourists came from.


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There are several places on the internet I visit regularly, as part of the somewhat failing attempt to keep the mind active. Reading does that; if you are here you probably understand this, if you aren't, you don't. My apartment mate reads a lot also, and there is, in consequence, a sheer tonne of combustible material between her room and mine.
And in the teevee room, and the hallway.

Places I visit: Wikipedia, Facebook, The BBC, SFGate, and a weather site.

Wikipedia: What is it?
Facebook: What are people thinking, and what are a bunch of men my age or older with briar pipes doing today?
The BBC: What awful thing happened?
SFGate: Anything I should know before going outside?
The Weather: What shall I wear?

Wikipedia is probably the most interesting, and the most useful for keeping the noggin in functioning order.

A phrase that leaped out:

"Egg masses appear as a long, pale cream mass. They are somewhat noodle-like in appearance."
[Source: Wikipedia article about aplysia fasciata.]

Also from the same source: "Aplysia fasciata are known for their "graceful" swimming. They often flap their paradopia". Paradopia are the flippity bits of certain boneless creatures.
Now go use that word in conversation.

Please imagine a boneless lump of protein gliding and leaping through the aquatic depths, precisely like batgirl. Using her flappities.

For your information, concerning the gentlemen my age or older with pipes:

Jon is smoking perfectly horrid stuff (BCA) in a gorgeous pipe (bent Castello egg), Scott in Sonoma is having a Balkan smoke on the back porch while catching up on some work-related reading, Jim is enjoying something by Samuel Gawith of which I approve in a lovely old piece, Geir Arne is visiting his elderly father-in-law, Martin in Germany is going all philosophical about good-cop-bad-cop, Gregory in NY is off-pissing his cat something fierce, Mike is comparing cigars to sleazy sexual escapades, and John in Georgia is doing physical therapy to recover from a stroke, as well as very eloquently sneering at and hurling insults in the direction of vaccine deniers (and smoking Cumberland in a lovely Castello).

Another Jim (Ohio Jim) is smoking Syrian Three Oaks in a Tim West Bent Tomato and reading The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.

Sadly, none of these gentlemen have flappish parts.

That I know of.

At this time I am re-reading The Mallay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace. While smoking Cornell & Diehl's Red Carpet Red Virginia and Perique) in a Peterson zulu.
My flappy bits, insofar as they exist, are fine.

Should head out soon to buy foodstuffs.
The fog has cleared. It's 63° F.


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Being conversationally somewhat able in Cantonese, people assume that I must have lots of Chinese friends. Which actually I don't. People with social stiffness (Aspergers) don't often have many friends in any case. And as my Cantonese is not fluent, real conversations are nearly impossible. So I do know a fair number of people in Chinatown, but the Cantonese people with whom I get along best are the ladies who work in bakeries or restaurants.

1) A sparkling young woman at a chachanteng who has a sense of humour and a nice laughing face. And, when irritated, a tongue. Plus short tolerance for sappy Mandarin ballads, often deciding "well that's enough of that crap", and switching the screen to Canto-pop.

2) A small elderly woman who always greets me when I walk into the bakery, and is concerned for my wellbeing. Though I worry about her instead; how will she fare when she can no longer work? Will there be a retirement? Any income?

3) Two ladies at another bakery. Who know that I had health issues, and are kind and patient.
I get a feeling of community there, but I suspect that's not unusual; several older people are among the regulars. The owner is a decent man, and employs equally decent people.

4) The daughter of the proprietess at another place, who has taken over from her mom and has kept the place running during the pandemic. I haven't seen her mom in nearly two years.

5) A grandmother working the counter at an establishment where other relatives all work also. Grumpy, but decent.

Except for that last place, the common denominator is HK milk tea.

I'm afraid I don't know any of their names. We've never actually introduced ourselves, and even their surnames are a blank spot for me. Friendly greetings, some expressions of mutual goodwill and good wishes at times, enquiries about well-being.

The Cantonese people I actually know by name all speak English as their mothertongue, and most of them were born here. If they speak any Chinese, it's Toisanese.
And usually not very fluently.

There are also two old ladies in my neighborhood, both of whom live one block over, in different directions. Surreptitious cigarette auntie, whose kinfolk probably don't know she smokes, and auntie with the cheerful pistachio-hued hat doing her morning walkies every day.
Nodding aquaintance, not actually conversational much.

Realistically, what would we talk about?
I'm rather a bore, myself.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2021


One disadvantage of carrying a walking stick is that it advertises too clearly that I have a bum leg. Which makes people make exceptions for me, despite my protestations that I'm fine, standing is okay, no I'm not a cripple, please don't stand. I'm fine, okay? Just dandy!
The stick, you must understand, serves me primarily as a social distancing tool.
Secondarily as a gesticulationary device, self-defensively.
Tertiarily as an aid to locomotion.

Now go away or I'll swing wildly at you while screaming.

Surely you don't want grumpy Uncle to have a fit?

A Cantonese woman on the bus kept insisting that I sit down. See, there's a seat! With equal stubbornness, I maintained that there was no need. Standing was just fine. I'm comfortable wedged in the corner. There is no reason to be so considerate.

What I didn't mention is that I still have all my faculties and just sheer buckets of energy and endurance. The damned leg is only a problem if I walk. And I think it's slowly getting better. Because I'm using it, instead of sitting down like a vegetable all the time.
I am not a cabbage.

['nei hangding m-seung peihei pouchou ge suk-suk faat lan heisai']

Sometimes I feel like the old geezer in Monty Python And The Holy Grail who has to repeatedly holler that he isn't dead yet, go away, he doesn't want to go on the cart with the other corpses.

['ngo chung mei sei']

And no singing!

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While Officer Michael Fanone was testifying about January 6 the other day, someone left a voicemail for him which, as well as anything else, expresses what "real Americans", Republicans, Trump voters, feel about their fellow citizens.

"Yeah, this is for Michael Fanone, Metropolitan Police Officer. You're on trial right now, lying and not, you want an Emmy, an Oscar, what're you trying to go for here? You're so full of s*it, you little f**got f**ker. You're a little p**sy, man. I could slap you up the side head with a backhand, knock you out, you little f**got. You're a punk f**got, you're a lying f**ck."

"How about all the scummy Black f**king scum for two years, destroying our cities and burning them, and stealing all that s*it out of the stores and everything? How about that, assaulting cops and killing people? How about that, you f**ker? That was s*it on the goddamn Capitol, I wish they would've killed all you scumbags, 'cause you, 'cause you people are scum."

"They stole the election from Trump and you know that you scumbag, and you f*cking, too bad they didn't beat the shit out of you more, you're a piece of sh*t you're a litte f*g, you f*cking scumbag."

Got that? More than anything else, it shows exactly why I will never visit the "real America", and do not wish those people well. In fact, I hate dealing with them when they come to California.

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No need to mention where it is. It's somewhere in the Great American Hinterland, where people are freedom-loving individualists. Which, in the final reckoning, describes almost all not inner-city areas between here and the Empire State Building.

Bud Light, vodka and soda, and piles of nachos. "More people are dying from getting the vaccine this week.
Personally, I feel like my immune system is doing a good job, so why pump it full of something we don’t really know what it is?

The article in Politico is copiously illustrated, with pictures of suicidal Midwesterners.
That's okay. They voted for the other party.

Full disclosure: I got the second dose of the vaccine months ago. To the best of my knowledge, I haven't died yet, nor am I five-G capable, can't levitate, and am not (yet) magnetic.
That's just "anecdotal evidence", of course. Others may report differently.
I am not Christian. And I don't have any fellow-feeling for most of the people in the Great American Hinterland. They serve only ONE purpose. Which is growing corn.

I very rarely eat corn.

Nachos suck.

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Anyone who knows me, also knows that the perfect breakfast is a cup of strong coffee, followed by a pipe while stomping around the west slope of the hill in the fog.
Which this morning was abundantly thick.
Naturally I contributed to it.
Smoking Cornell & Diehl's Derringer, a broken blondish Virginia flake which is growing on me.

When I left the front door step, the tall building at the top of the hill where all the well-to-do retirees live was invisible. I find it remarkable that there are no morning coffee places nearby there, nor comfortable cafes with verandas under deep awnings where an elderly coot could wile away a few hours reading the Penenburgher Courant discussing the shortage of carrots.
The conclusion to which I must come is that well-to-do retirees are dead from the neck up, scarcely ambulatory, and have no interest in the world around them. The poor sods.

They probably live on protein shakes, and steroid injections.
Every day the nurse comes by to turn on equipment.
Keep circulation going in the fossils.

There really should be cafes and bistros near large deposits of elderly people, along with doorways, porticos, and alleyways where a smoker could shelter during inclement weather. American retirees prefer to have those several blocks distant, so that they're insulated from real folks, the hoi-polloi. Besides, when you live on iguana pineal gland extract and fibre smoothies, you do not want the common man around.

It explains why Florida exists.

The carrot shortage in Penenburghe is really quite shocking.
It might just shake society loose from its moorings.
Someone should DO something!
Hop to it!

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It very much looks like the entire Bay Area may be masking up inside again soon. Which is disappointing but not surprising. And I really feel for the many people who felt that it was so constricting, a virtual imprisonment, from which they'd never recover, oh the horrors.

Their weeping and wailing was epic.

Yeah, um.

Being somewhat un-social, this is something with which I can easily live. It will be hell for bars, though, what with all the flirting, inappropriate contact, feeling-up, face-licking, and deep throat passionate kissing that goes on there, and many hip coffee ships will probably also experience hardship for the same reason.

People can't keep their mucous membranes off each other.

Many (most) Americans have a deep-seated atavistic need to spread infection to as many other individuals as possible. It's a fundament of our society, Christianity in action.

Especially in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021


A lovely lunch in Chinatown, in a place wich does not suffer from maskless people wandering in and clusterfudging before asking something stupid like "got eggrolls" or "where's the gate", and other very tourist-type questions. It's not that I dislike white folks, per se, but there are far too many of them visiting San Francisco, and often they're publicly obnoxious and act stupid. Especially if they're from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, or Utah. Wherever people don't wear masks, don't believe in medical science, evolution, mathematics, or literacy.

鹹魚雞粒炒飯 ('haam yü gai naap chaau faan') salt fish and chicken fried rice.

It was written on the wall, so my fellow white folks would likely not even know that they had it. Egg fried rice with bits of chicken and salt fish, and fresh lettuce for a crispy vegetable inclusion. Sheer heaven with hot sauce. Basically, it's soul food.

Followed by hot milk tea, and a pipe filled with Virginia tobacco.
Which is why I prefer alleyways to main streets. Far fewer people, and much less likelihood of anyone coming close enough to object to my smoking, or breathe nearby. Unless I know you and trust you, I would rather you didn't breathe. I don't know how careless you've been, and you could be spreading the Delta variant with every ill-chosen exhalation.

Kindly stop doing that.

If you are from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, or Utah, your breathing is a life-style choice of which we disapprove here in the civilized world.
Surely you can leave that at home, and stop flaunting it?

I know the SF tourist bureau encourages these people, but most of us would rather they didn't come, and didn't bring their Republican mentality, diseases, and criminal behaviour to our city.

Mah and Pah and all the icky rug-rats.
None of them wearing masks.

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An advert playing on a corner pop-up screen whenever I visit a certain news site finally caught my eye. Colourful, stylish and stylized, pretty pretty, with lovely soaring land and cloudscapes. Repetitive. Finally, after noting it several times, I researched it on the internet. It's a multiplayer game in a fantasy universe with interestingly dressed girlies, very Japonesque.
Curvaceous pale gams.

Probably not going to investigate it any further. It grossed several hundred million. Developed in China. Now on even more platforms.

Mind you, I like gams. Gams can be nice. But I'm not into video games.

The last time I played a multiplayer video game was back in the stone age, when I joined the engineering department to repeatedly shoot the Human Resources clown every evening at the computer company on a Beta version of something. He never figured out that we had rigged his machine to always reincarnate him in the bright yellow spacesuit comfortably in target range, with his back toward the heavy artillery.

It was fun shooting George. He remained clueless.

Imagine fighting against stellar gams right here!

Remarkably, the girlies in this advertised video game do NOT appear to be suffering from the cold in some of the imaginary sceneries. In real life, of course, they'd be slicing open their Tauntauns so they could stay warm inside the corpses, enjoying fading heat.

The art is nice, but strictly bonbon box tittilation. Yet innocent.

So I highly recommend it for teenage boys.

They'll find themselves in it.

What this world needs is a video game featuring grumpy forest creatures with teeth struggling to get their boat river or swamp worthy, while chasing away bunny rabbits who want to steal the last tin of McClelland forty year anniversary aged Virginia pipe tobacco. Where the hell are the matches and the tamper? They MUST be in these baggy tweeds somewhere! A quest for pipe cleaners. And perhaps the store has some nice slices, an old tin of Capstan.
Or maybe even Dunhill's Flake from the seventies!
A cup of hot tea would be nice right now.
And a plate of buttered toast.

Rain. Lots of rain.

Many possible scenarios and story lines set in grimly beautiful landscapes. It just needs to be developed. Figure out how to get the curvaceous gams in there and you've got a winner.


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Monday, July 26, 2021


The phone call this morning was NOT to alert me about a pressing need for extending my warranty, OR inquiring whether I needed air duct maintenance or a burial plot, but changing tomorrow's doctor's appointment to next week and a full physical instead, including blood tests, as per yearly requirement, and the new physician surveying the terrain, so to speak.

The terrain in question is a bit rough. Arthritic leg, minor circulatory issues, grumpiness.

Yes, I'm taking all my damned pills regularly. It builds character.

And exercising, with a pipe and a stick.

No pipe, no exercise.
Had tea at a familiar place in Chinatown today. Then smoked the "pipe for watching rats in Spofford Alley" for the first time in ten months. It faded from the rotation once the weekly tour of disreputable dives ended because of the pandemic. So I was mentally re-living those times.

My social life was rather limited before Covid, now it's at a standstill. So I enjoy heading over to the pharmacy at the hospital every three months (ninety day supply of meds) more than I could have imagined, as well as every several months having someone stick a needle in me for some vaccination or other, or blood for tests (which is going to part of the physical, oh boy), and also conversing with a live human being for one or two minutes ...... even if it does involve the useless information that smoking is bad for me.

Look, smoking, swilling milk tea, and being a blister are what keep me sane in these times. Sanity is underrated. Thank Cheesits for sanity. Okay?

Besides, nicotine is anxiolitic. So it's beneficial.
And has been shown to stave off alzheimer's.
Promotes the short term memory.

And keeps Vegans away.
Well, health nuts.


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A person with whom I have to associate occasionally while in Marin County has bored me innumerable times with long waffle-harangues about how the space aliens tens of thousands of years ago lifted man up in the Fertile Crescent (Babylon, Sumer, Ur) and instructed us to build pyramids and taught us about the wheel, ALL religions originated at that time and are essentially worship of alien technology(!), his pizza is better than anything by anyone else, and how the influenza vaccine causes flu, tobacco is non-addictive it's the chemicals they put in it that hook you (which is why you should smoke cigars, they're all natural, made like nature intended), and Italians start the day with distilled alcohol and keep drinking it throughout the day without ill effect because they balance it with espresso and pasta.

Dangerous untested, nano-chip and chemicals, DNA altering

He's refusing to get the Covid 19 Vaccine because, he asserts, it's dangerous, untested, nothing but chemicals, contains a nano-chip, and will change his DNA. Also, he states, Covid 19 is no more dangerous than the flu which he's never gotten because he refuses the flu vaccine, masks are useless, and he has a strong immune system and needn't worry.
He never goes to the doctor, hasn't in years.
Feels that medicine is a con-game.

He approvingly quotes Senator Rand Paul.

At this point I'm waiting for him to catch the Delta variant and die, OR kick the bucket from trichinosis because he's recently started curing his own pork and is a fool who won't take certain necessary precautions.

Maybe an excess of apple cider vinegar and miracle honey will do him in before, or during either eventuality.

Let me selectively cite a friend who lives surrounded by slope-browed Christians and Trumpites in the Deep South.

John wrote:
At this point, hospitals need to toughen up. If a patient comes in with COVID-19 and can NOT show that they have been vaccinated then the hospital should tell them to get to hell off their property. Stat. If you don't get vaccinated then NOBODY needs to respect your right to life because by not getting vaccinated you're clearly showing disrespect for the rest of the lives on our planet. Yes, I know you failed Science in school, too, but that's no excuse to deny the reality of it.

There are SOME people for whom their auto-immune/allergy issues make the vax prohibitive or at least questionable. Unfortunately the news of THAT proliferates widely and people’s fears take the lead. People are waiting to see that those of us we’ve gotten vaccine don’t start growing third heads or start a zombie apocalypse. As a delicate butterfly, much like the canary in a coal mine, I was seriously concerned and grateful I managed to have a completely unremarkable response, but despite my fear in going into it I did my homework.

If they die then they'll at least make a sincere contribution to the genetic health of the world.

[End cite.]

My friend John surrounded by the inbred morons in Bunfrackistan is a critical reader, intelligent, and has common sense and decency. And, obviously, knows how to wade through hyperbole and horsepucky to get to actual data.

My associate in Marin is a dipshit who has none of those skills. As well as a pothead spambrain knowitall with a stupendous ego. Who, additionally, often commits boneheaded spelling errors.
A self-assured illiterate ignoramus.

Let's let nature take its course.

Prove Darwinism.

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Sunday, July 25, 2021


Covid 19 has made me an asshole. I was already plenty gifted in that department before, but the past year has finally made what was only latent burst into bloom. I have now completely given up on a large segment of the population, and am actively cheering for their demise.

Opposition to vaccination is especially strong among white evangelical Protestants.

Funny, that's the exact segment of the US that I wish to see croak.

And, from the BBC:
"The sharpest increases in Covid cases are in states with lower vaccination rates, such as Florida, Texas and Missouri." "Earlier this week, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said 99.5% of Covid deaths were occurring among unvaccinated people."
End cite.

Motherloving dumbasses, bless their hearts.

For months we've all been urging people to get vaccinated. Instead some of them dug in their heels and become more self-righteously offensive and stupid. If they die of Covid, that will take out a large segment of the crowd that gaves us Donald Trump, Greg Abott, and Ron DeSantis. As well as, ironically, the conditions that allowed Covid to spread unchecked. The dumbest most selfish illiterate science denying ignorant religious section of society.

The dominant class in most of the Midwest and South.

When they die, good riddance.

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Whenever anyone says that everything used to be so much better, oh boy those good old days, I tend to remember the seventies and shudder. Avocado green plastics, loud paisley shirts with wide lapels (rayon), burgundy corduroy bell bottoms, and patchouli.

Vietnam was ending, Charlie Manson had already done his thing, Jim Jones was just starting.
And Richard Milhouse Nixon was allegedly not a crook.

Cell-phones had not been invented yet, so if people were not paying attention, it was because they were stupid and practicing ambulatory meditation, or simple stoned on something simple like pot or LSD, rather than designer drugs.

The good old days were actually pretty ghastly.

If you want confirmation, open a department store catalogue from that era.
It will give you nightmares.

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Saturday, July 24, 2021


A friend begs to inform me that I am a nicer person than he is. Good lord, I do not know where he got that idea. Seeing as my job at the salt works is to rip the wings off little angels while giggling. Did you know that little angels are all orphans? It's true! No parents!

His exposure to me is mostly through my gentle remonstrance with fellow pipe smokers who have a Hobbit fetish or a Gandalf thing going on. Diplomatically, I point out that they are silly buggers and that their parents never even liked them.
Plus that the entire Hobbit thing is shite.
Ridiculous, and infantile.

Oh, and long churchwardens are quite ridiculous! They make you look stupid.
Gandalf was a sexless droid with a talented barber and a twisted hang-up about midgets.

Real men do NOT smoke a pipe to look or feel like a Hobbit, Gandalf, elves, or Sherlock buggery Holmes. Real women don't either. Nor is a pipe part of Dungeons and Dragons or other role playing games for non-grown-ups. Hobbit's Weed and Black Shag are dreck.
Real people who smoke a pipe, like famous foreign (French) author Marcel Proust, do so because it makes it easier to write À La Recherche Du Temps Perdu.

It's all about the contemplative fits. As induced by the wonderful aromas of tar and sealing wax and furniture polish, oxidizing metals plus tannins plus pencil shavings. Or whatever else good pipe tobacco reminds you of. Stone fruits and church incense?  Also really very minor amounts of a chiral alkaloid functioning as a receptor agonist, stimulating and anxiolytic in effect, absorbed through the mucous membranes. Smells good, goes well with coffee. 

A pipe is soothing, comforting, beneficial to the mind.
It's not some bollocky stage prop.

My friend with the mistaken impression that I am a nice person also smokes a pipe, and has been exposed to my remarkable and damned well saintlike supernatural tolerance when dealing with other much younger pipesmokers. It may have left a good impression.
Probably because I did not brutalize them.

Hobbits, as you know, are insensitive.
Pretentious gits.


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Friday, July 23, 2021


There are times I'm glad that I don't live in Delaware. In fact, whenever I think of Delaware, which isn't often, I am mighty glad I don't live there.

"If we provide free [sex acts] for Uncle Pervie, there will be few rapes and few chink broads will be shipped in CONEX containers."
-------Gerald Brady, elected official in Delaware, who probably represents the most educated and enlightened class in that state.

The comments from Gerald Brady come from an email mistakenly sent to an advocate living outside of Delaware. The advocate had shared a Princeton University study that showed how the presence of strip clubs led to a decrease in sex crimes in a New York City police precinct.
Except for the fact that state representative Gerald Brady is a Democrat, in the North East, he's indistinguishable from a Republican. In Texas.

Gerald Brady issued the standard apology, which like all of those apologies was undoubtedly sincere (regret that he had shown his ass) and means less than nothing. "There is no excuse I can offer that explains my embarrassing and shameful words that insulted, stereotyped and dehumanized an entire culture while making light of a serious human rights crisis."

Kindly go screw yourself, Mr. Brady.
You let the side down.

By the way: Delaware has breakfast several hours before I even have my first cup of coffee.
At an hour when civilized people are bleakly staring ahead over hot black liquid (the jitter juice), they're singing and dancing and digesting a heavy meal of pancakes and syrup, eggs, codfish, lobster chowder, and baked beans, or sumpin'. Further proof that they're savage idiots you really don't need. There's probably no decent pipe tobacco there either.
Nothing but bloody Prince Albert and Sir Walter Raleigh.
Smoked by grunting old men.

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Thursday, July 22, 2021


In recent posts here I've been a total bitch about people who do not mask, for which I've caught a bit of flack from troglodytes (whose misspelled commentaries underneath those essays have NOT been allowed through), but I remain sanctimoniously intractable on that score. I'm just counting the days until the idiot anti-vaxxers among my acquaintances croak.

They're all old. They will need ventilators.

From an article in SF Gate:

Wachter (professor and chair of the department of medicine at UCS) gave seven reasons in his email for why he thinks it may be advantageous to mask at gatherings where there are likely to be unvaccinated people who may or may not be wearing masks:

1) "The rate of breakthrough infections is small but very real."

2) "The rate of breakthrough infections with delta is likely somewhat higher than with the original virus; this number is still being debated."

3) "Delta might be more likely to lead to a serious infection than the original virus; at age 63, I’m already in an moderate risk group for hospitalization and death."

4) "Though the chances of long COVID with a breakthrough infection seem to be low, there is no rigorous evidence on this and we certainly have seen mild primary infections cause prolonged symptoms."

5) "I’d guess that the chances of catching and transmitting COVID after vaccination are low (as they were with the original virus), but this too is somewhat uncertain."

6) "Given #5, I see going maskless indoors as not only potentially putting myself at risk but also others – particularly immunosuppressed people, children, and those who have chosen not to be vaccinated."

7) "While the vaccines seem to be holding up quite well, I’m now more than 6 months out from my vaccination and we don’t know duration of effect, particularly with delta."

The pandemic isn't over, many people are not yet vaccinated (children, fools, and two thirds of the state of Alabama), and even if you are fully vaccinated you can still be part of a chain of transmission that ends up killing people. So please mask up.
Screw fools and Alabama, do it for the children.

If you're Alabaman you probably can't read this.
That's okay. You do you.

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Several years ago, when my apartment mate was still my girlfriend, I once smoked three bowls of McClelland flakes in the teevee room very late at night; she didn't notice anything the next morning, and my mouth felt like Joe the Camel had crawled in there and died of the plague. She had been in her bedroom with the door closed, and I had cracked a few windows for ventilation. Flakes, being soft Virginia leaf, are stealth tobaccos.

[Explanations: She used to be my girlfriend. We are still very good friends, and you never give up on people you can trust, who are safe to be around, and non-abrasive. The alternatives are loneliness or living with neurotics and drug addicts, especially in San Francisco. And if she weren't here the stuffed creatures would have far less of a voice. Virginias are flue-cured golden seed stock tobaccos, with a higher natural sugar content than other leaves. Smoked slow, they are ethereal and deeply satisfying, with an old-fashioned aroma of sunlight and summer, very conducive to memories and moods. Like all such things, Vegans and other disapproving puritanical types hate them. Tobacco smoke enrages my apartment mate's eczema, which I did not know until fairly recently. So the apartment must air out for several hours before she comes home. And her door is firmly shut during the day. Her sense of smell is less acute than mine.]

McClelland is no more. That venerable company closed it's doors a few years ago, and the howls of anguish and despair were palpable, even to cynical hermits in San Francisco who avoid other pipe smokers and sneer at their fanaticism. Not that I know anyone like that.

[By the way: I still have a four-year supply of McClelland, which I'm gloating over but not smoking at all; I have moved on, and if I open a tin that's one less in the stockpile. One less! Which would be unthinkable. A disaster.]

Nick at SP recommended C&D Red Carpet, Joe F. from Laudisi a few years ago suggested Yorktown. From the description, Derringer looked good. And Carolina Red was a no-brainer. These things and matters around them connect the months and years.
Please note that the globulous cloisonné owl and the rubber finger daemon in the picture are guardians of the computer table in the teevee room; but other than that play no significant part. Neither does the spraycan of MAN-POWER ("The anti-bacterial Deodorant"), which is a relic from the seventies, and may at some point find use as a threatening device.
All four pipes shown are Petersons.

Precisely what the name suggests. Unpretentious, but richly rewarding. Notes of fruit, earth, herbals, as you would expect from a top-notch flue-cured leaf. Extremely enjoyable.
Tangy, with a lingering sweetness on the tongue.
Gently walloping. It has depth.

Another straight Virginia blend, this one is brightish and creamy. Perfect for a late night stroll around the neighborhood. Grass, hay, and faint hints of Mediterranean herbs and pepper.
If this were aftershave, I'd wear it.

Red Virginias and Perique. The faintest hint of somebody else's house, which they keep clean, but there may be a decadent sachet or potpourri in one of the upstairs bedrooms, probably the lingerie drawer. Heaven forfend, silk stockings or opera gloves.
A broken flake, with a balanced inclusion of Perique.
This is a solid product, and very well behaved.

Stoved Red Virginia mixed with Bright and restoved, then blended with some more Virginia. So it's complex, with a subtle breadth and depth. A citrussy floral ribbon-cut blend, suggestive of Port and dried fruits. Grass, bread, hay. On the milder side.

All four products are excellent, and their fragrances bring back shadows and hidden memories. These are tobaccos that everyone's mythical granddad would have smoked, if he avoided the lure of perfumed toffee-caramel dreck cavendishes with their sweeteners and flavourings.
As a severely disapproving puritan, I abhor all such rancid aromatics.
Cherry Bombe Glacée? No thank you.

"I love the smell of pipe tobacco, it reminds me of my grandfather!"

"Your grandfather was probably a fiend who used Brut aftershave."

What brought all of this to mind was Quinton in Delft posting a few pictures of his early morning walk. Older buildings, sunlight, long shadows from the angle of the rays after dawn. He was at that time smoking Peterson Flake (which used to be sold under the Dunhill marque, though actually made in the Orlik factory in Denmark, which it still is). Summer light in Northern Europe is different, less intense and more silvery. Somewhat subdued compared to California, but it requires an ability to distinguish such things to notice. Quint is a good photographer.
I could almost smell the place and feel the air there.


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Took a long walk with a pipe last night around the lower reaches of Nob Hill. There was no fog, scarcely any clouds. And it wasn't cold. Summer is warming up here. To which I am not looking forward at all, as because of my blood pressure meds it has become harder to deal with extremes of hot and cold. My comfort zone has narrowed.

Obviously, when I've got a pipe in my mouth, my mask is keeping my chin warm. Just in case.
I've had both shots, but I don't know about strangers, and I would rather not be part of any chain of transmission. That always finishes with a dead person at the other end. And wearing a mask makes other people feel safer and more comfortable. Among other things, it says that one is a responsible member of society, willing to play by the rules.

Those who refuse to wear a mask, in what OTHER ways are they dangerous and unreliable? Are they emotionally unstable and likely to become violent? Are they rapists, brigands, or drug-addicted shoplifters? Are they insurrectionists waiting for another January 6?
Like wearing clothing, a mask suggests stability and self-control.
Not wearing clothes in public suggests psychosis.
Selfishness and egocentrism.

We are clearly not all in this together. But some of us wish to conduct ourselves as if we are.

With that in mind, a chachanteng serving Hong Kong eaties with which Caucasian tourists are quite unfamiliar, and will therefore avoid entering, is probably the safest place to hide out from visiting hordes from the savage interior during summer in San Francisco. Yes it's clean. Yes there is food. Yes there are beverages and background music, as well as presumably a bathroom. And there are NO bloodstains anywhere! But the food is unfamiliar.
And the restaurant is therefore utterly suspect, as well as terrifying.
Clearly they don't have Kung Pao, like in Kansas City.
And no General Tso's either!

They have baked chicken cutlet rice. With tomato sauce and cheese.

Which was very good. As was the hot cup of Hong Kong Milk Tea. From my vantage point along the wall I could observe not only everyone else in the room, but also count the people without masks walking past on Stockton Street. Of which eight were Chinese, and one hundred and thirty six were Caucasians. Maskless white people outnumbered the masked individuals enormously. The ones wearing masks were probably San Francisco residents, the others may have been from Arkansas or Mississippi, or other places where people are extremely stupid. Plus rabid freedom-loving individualists who voted for Trump and have complete religious faith in crazy conspiracy theories.

That's perhaps somewhat harsh and judgmental. But as an American, I have the g-d given right to be suspicious and savagely disapproving of other people, AND it's part of my white person cultural heritage as well as my ancestral form of Christianity (Calvinism). Never mind that no one in the immediate family has actually been observant or religious in generations.

The freedom to be harsh and judgmental allows me to despise most of the white people here. My ancestors came over to get away from that lot. Those other folks were stupid and inbred then, as well as into witchcraft and abominable heresies, and they still are.

I fervently wish that all these tourists would visit Alabama instead.
Alabama is very beautiful, and has wonderful people!
Southern hospitality! And familiar food!
Oh it wil be delightful!

It does NOT take all kinds; there are many I could very well do without.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Only ONE restaurant in San Francisco is top-notch, according to trip-advisor, and there are three other decent eateries in the Greater Bay Area. This per an article on SF Gate. Which is cool, totally. I've not eaten at any of the four restaurants mentioned: Kokkari in SF, Valette in Healdsburg, The French Laundry and Bistro Jeanty in Yountville.
Nor do I particularly regret not doing so.

A dining experience which requires reservations months in advance does not fit in with the spontaneous "where shall I eat today" lifestyle. As in: shall I go to the place with the waitress who has a sense of humour, or to the place with the tomato porkchops? Maybe the foodery which is cheap and has superior cheung fan? Do I want something fried?

A friend recently wondered what my last meal of choice would be. What, he seriously wanted to know, would I ask for if it was the last thing to eat before death. Logically, I knew that it would be intravenous. And chasing an entire serving of Cantonese roast duck, rice, and Sriracha through a narrow tube would be impossible, and probably pointless.

An enjoyable last meal should be sitting down.

Immediately fatal accident to follow.

Two things: The company during that meal is also extremely important: no Republicans, fundy Christians, perverts, tin foil hat weirdoes, or right wing asshats. Followed by a good smoke. That last will assure that the meal-companions are sufficiently distant that they won't be involved in the immediately fatal accident afterwards.


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Next week I meet my new doctor. My previous regular care physician is currently at a school somewhere in the wild lands (the hot zone of California), which necessitates the change, and while he because of his life experience and background was probably familiar with oddball Dutchmen who've fled the Netherlandish cultural coop and straightjacket, I do not know whether the new person has had the same exposure.

So what impression will I make? What will the new doctor see?

It's at the clinic in Chinatown, so most of the patient demographic will be Chinese speaking (so not linguistically Dutch), and fluent in, or familiar with, Cantonese.

Um, yes, that describes this Dutch American also.

Which is more or less accidental.

Patient description: scrawny middle-aged white dude with circulatory issues, minor heart problems, and eccentric eating habits, who despite all well-meaning lectures still smokes.
[With the assistance of a dictionary. My Chinese stretches not so far (Dutch expression: strekt niet zo ver), but it looks reasonably accurate. Canto pronounciation: 'waan-je miu-suet: sau dik jong nin paak-yan, yau cheun-waan-hai-tung man tai, heng-mei sam-peng, gu-gwaai di yam-sik jaap-gwaan, jeun-gun teng gong la so-yau sin-yi-dik gong-jo, daan ying-yin kap le yin'.]

Also smells vaguely of pipe tobacco and Indonesian food.
['keui jung-kim yau taam-taam-dik yin-tau tong yan-nei-sik-mat dik mei-dou'.]

What isn't in the file, and has no bearing on the scrawny eejit's medical history: eats too much ice cream, likes kittens and other small creatures, has a lot of stuffed animals, collects foreign language dictionaries, and is "pleasantly unpleasant" at times (and unpleasantly unpleasant at other times). Thinks too much of himself.

Does not use Axe Body Spray.

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