Thursday, March 31, 2022

NONE OF THAT EXISTENTIAL CRAP

Recent research showed that people who drink their coffee black are more likely to be psychopaths. Which is strange. The rational mind would have assumed that people who add low fat milk and various syrups and sprinkles were. Certainly what little exposure I've had to early morning 'bucks would bear that out.

Now, people who drink one cup of coffee before their morning constitutional and one cup after, and then maintain cruising altitude throughout the day with multiple cups of tea, are infinitely more likely to be sane and balanced.
Milk tea drinkers especially.


No research needed.


No, this isn't a self-serving conclusion, but simply logic.
Common sense, really. It stands to reason.
Just look at the British.
A VERY SANE INDIVIDUAL

The fellow shown above will not have suffered any childhood traumas outside the norm, and probably doesn't have psychological issues. He is also significantly less likely to have tattoos that proudly advertise his concerns, fetishes, hobbies, unique personal belief system, new age crap, or any deep-seated meaningful shiznit he can't explain in rational terms.

Probably because of the feathers, secondly because he's British.

And very probably a tea drinker.

A pragmatic sort.



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YOU UNNATURAL BEASTS

Sometimes curiosity and the internet are a powerful force for evil. Having "done my own research", and investigated matters myself, I can now state, authoritatively, that there is such a thing as "black raspberry" pipe tobacco.
And frankly, I am horrified.

Why?


"Oh I love the smell of a pipe, it reminds me of grampaw!"


For the love of all that is holy, why?

"Lane Limited - Black Raspberry. The fragrance of Black Raspberry embraces a well rounded blend of flavorful Virginias, mellow burley and black cavendish tobaccos."

"This situation is a bloodsoaked nightmarish hellscape, you know what to do."

By the way, your grandfather smelled like a sadist and a pervert. I'm sure he enjoyed ripping the fairy wings off of little kittens and leaving their shivering ague-wracked bodies to slowly, agonizingly, bleed to death in the crime-jungles of Perth Amboy.
How long has it been since they locked him up?
Are you proud to carry his genes?
Please don't breed.

Kurt has retired, but I can just imagine what would happen if I walked into his business smoking this. He'd savage me with a broken bottle, is what.
And so would I.
Good pipe tobacco does not need to be dolled-up with fruity crap and sweeteners. Good coffee does not need syrups. Good tea needs no fruits, and good booze should not be a sweet liqueur. An adherence to pure flavours is recommended; vanilla, raspberry, and cherries are abominations that belong in armpit deodorant for teenagers.


That said, I am somewhat keen to try it.



TOBACCO INDEX


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THE FABRIC OF HEAVEN

A reader on FB expressed curiosity about an idiom that I had recently used: 天經地義 ('tin king dei yi'); "heaven's woof (and) earth's righteousness", in the Cantonese (as is recogizable by the word 唔 'm') sentence 唔天經地義, which last is a chance-met turn of phrase from the classic commentary on the Spring And Autumn Annals by Master Zuo (Master Zuo ( 左氏,左丘明 'jo si', 'jo jau ming').
唔天經地義 is a literary outburst by which I basically meant that something was NOT how it was supposed to be. 唔 is the negative, 天經地義 means "justified". Altogether a great substitute for all the wonderful swear words that Cantonese is rich in.

The best translation would probably be "this should never have been taken for granted".

As the author of the 左傳 ('jo chuen') might have said: 非禮也 ('fei lai ye'; "this is NOT according to propriety")


非禮也


非禮也 in modern usage, however, would have suggested something else entirely: an indecent assault.


I had used 唔天經地義 very mundanely to comment on an elderly woman snagging the last three pieces of cake (蛋糕 'daan gou'), one of which I wanted. Please imagine great (extreme) disappointment here, as "cake" is a happy word in any language.


Do not from this assume that I have any great familiarity with literary Chinese. I have a great familiarity with Wikipedia and several other encyclopaedic aids, which is almost as good.
Also, I speak Cantonese, and I like cake (蛋糕).
I really like cake.
蛋糕



左丘明
Zuo Qiuming was a contemporary of Confucius from the State of Lu (魯國 'lou gwok') during the Spring and Autumn (春秋 'chwun chau'; 770-476 BC) period. He is mentioned in the Analects (論語 'luen yü') as an examplar of moral behaviour.

左傳
The Zuo Zhuan (左傳 'jo chuen'; "The Zuo Commentary") is a narrative excursus of thirty chapters covering the period from 722 to 468 BC, delving primarily into state affairs.

The Records of the Grand Historian (史記,太史公書 'si gei', 'taai si gong syü') by Sima Tan (司馬談 'si maa taam'), completed by his son Sima Qian (司馬遷 'si maa chin') refers to the Zuo Zhuan as "Master Zuo's Spring and Autumn Annals" (左氏春秋 'jo si chwun chau').


By the way: 經 ('king') is normally translated as "classic", as in 四書五經 ('sei syü ng king'; the four books and five classics) which are the canon of traditional learning and the basis of further literacy. These are: 大學 ('taai hok'; great learning), 中庸 ('chung yung'; central commonalities, "The Doctrine Of The Mean"), 論語 ('luen yü'; discourse talk, "Analects"), 孟子 ('maang ji'; Mencius), 詩經 ('si king'; poetry classic, "The Book Of Songs"), 書經 ('syü king'; writings classic, "The Book Of History"), 禮記 ('lai king'; ritual records, "The Book Of Rites"), 易經 ('yi king'; easy classic, "The Book Of Changes"), and 春秋 ('chwun chau'; Spring, Autumn).

I chose to render 經 as woof, fabric, because that's more or less it's original usage (the cross threads holding weaving or bamboo slats together), from which other meanings are derived.


Further BTW: I'm still peeved about that cake. I saw it first!



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THING THING

From in front of the computer at the other side of the table: "That one is an animal with its arse up in the air. And that one is also an animal with its arse up in the air! And so is that!" The apartment mate was, apparently, scoping out the pins and brooches made by a jewelry company overseas. "And I can't even identify what that one is, you take a look!"

I got up and came over. "I think that's an octopus." "It can't be, those are mammalian feet!" Okay, then it's a thing thing.

"There ain't no such creature as a thing thing!"
"If you don't speak English, there sure is!"
In their world, there's a thing thing.


In consequence of which, and coupled with the strong caffeinated beverage I had just before bed, there were strange dreams. Probably shouldn't have had that third cup of milk tea.
What probably also didn't help was the bag of all natural crunchies I finished off, which tasted artificially flavoured. A miracle of modern junkfood. Cheesy-oniony. She couldn't stand them, and I couldn't help myself.

All night long I was pursued by a porcupine carrying a fish, who kept screaming "I want you to want more" and "you love fish, take the fish, TAKE IT!"
I do love fish. But not in my dreams.


And porcupines are not native to these parts. I've only seen them on youtube.
So I have to wonder what kind of fish that was, and was it edible?
Had he packed it on dry ice when he flew cross country?
Or had it sat in a hot cargo hold for six hours?
How do I prepare fermented fish?
And why is it slimy?



I think the next time I want fish from Tennessee I'll go online to search for a more reliable supplier than 'Spiny Cletus'. One that uses FedEx Second Day and enough dry ice to guarantee that it arrives absolutely fresh.




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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

BEWARE OF OLD LADIES!

After lunch and shopping I swung into a favourite bakery for teatime. Placed my order with the waitress.
Cup of milk tea, and a slice of lemon Swiss roll cake. 一杯奶茶,同一塊檸檬瑞士卷蛋糕。 'Yat pui naai chaa tong yat faai ning mong seui si kuen daan gou'. And while she went to get the tea, an old grannie who had heard me order bought the last three pieces! 唔天經地義! (well, *&^%$!)!!! Despite the old lady and her grandson making off with what I wanted, I ended up having a pleasant mid-afternoon pause. When I left I lit up and slowly wandered toward the bus stop at Kearny and Sacramento, admiring a crazy person in Portsmouth square having an argument with invisible people on the way.

There are now THREE bags of funky Asian chip flavours on my apartment mate's chair, waiting for her to come home after work. Whereupon the turkey vulture will claim that he brought them to give to her. Yep. Had to shlep them all the way from wherever, so hard so hard, he needs to be appreciated and rewarded dammit. With a scrumptious little girl hamster who looks just like a tasty meatball!
Whereupon the aura of menace will fiercely commence.

Little girl hamsters do NOT look yummy meat snacks!
The gates of hell will open up if you persist.


The only thing that keeps the turkey vulture from being ripped to bloody shreds is the Senior Teddy Bear's basic humanity.


Ms. Bruin would have made short work of some ancient biddy snagging the slice of lemon Swiss roll cake if she had seen it first. I wish I was nearly as impressive.

The pipe smoked afterwards was lovely.
Red Virginias, touch of Perique. A perfect end to a productive afternoon.


In the news, recently: The rattlesnakes are about earlier than usual, there have been a few suburban sightings this year by mid-March. Normally it would be April or later. We provide a warm, nurturing, and hospitable environment for all manner of creatures in the Bay Area.
Just watch out for the old ladies.



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THERE ARE REASONS FOR THAT!

Another social media platform robotically reminds me of a recipe from a year ago. Which is perfect for cold weather such as we have today, and therefore needs to be reposted.
So that you are also reminded.


蝦醬蒸五花肉
STEAMED PORK BELLY WITH SHRIMP PASTE
['haa jeung jing ng faa yiuk']

One pound streaky pork belly.
One or two inches ginger, slivered.
Two TBS sherry.
One to two TBS shrimp paste.
Half Tsp. sugar.
A dash of Worcestershire sauce.
Minced scallion.

Cut the pork into chopstickable chunks, rub with the sugar and shrimp paste. Arrange in a flat bowl, add everything else, and place in a steamer over a roiling boil.
Steam for an hour, then remove and strew scallion over.
Serve with white rice and vegetables.

Potatoes or a hot and toasty baguettte are also good.
As with everything, add sambal to youor plate.


Yes, doing this often, or anything similar, might make the entire apartment building smell like a flop-house near Mabini Street. Which would chase away the Australian tourists, but they're drunk eighty percent of the time anyway and incapable of intelligent conversation.

Well, we think they are. We don't know. They're unintelligible.


Good thing those American tourists don't stay here. They're over at the Deluxe Hospitality Sweets International, a concrete dump which a well-written tourist site funded entirely by several local businessmen consistently gave a six star rating (five is good, six is better), swilling sudsy fake beer and complaining about the heat and humidity why doesn't the government DO something good effing gracious how can these people live here it's not like Detroit and have you seen what comes out of the tap but at least there's steak (actually tough inedible Batangas beef pounded the bejazus out of with a mallet after salting) and ketchup (which they would be shocked to know was made out of bananas, vinegar, and enough red food colouring to up your cancer chances tenfold) but why do they server rice at every meal why can't we have decent fries and these cigarettes and this coffee don't taste like the exact same brand back in Missouri lets go to the MacDonalds near the hospital on hermowhatsis not the one near the Mary Johnston Hospital in that skeevy part of the city hey isn't there one near the Metropolitan Medical Center on 'Mac Sanky' why are there hospitals everywhere here they probably get sick a lot here it must be their national past time look at the size of that gecko OMG it's eating the smaller one like a cheezit!
Say, is the game on? What time is it going to be?



Myself, I'm heading into Chinatown early for lunch. Fish, veg, rice, hotsauce, soup, and a hot cup of milk tea. Might scope out the local butcher shops for the right cut of meat afterwards. I've got plenty of ginger and other stuffs already, and none of the white butchers nearby would have a clue what I'm after. I'm looking forward to some warmer weather.
This gloom and cold have gotten boring.
When you mostly have to smoke outside, the San Francisco climate palls.
I find myself swearing a lot at weather conditions.
And I need more caffeine.



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ANIMAL SOUNDS

Last night the wind was cold, venomous almost, which made smoking a pipe while waiting for the bookseller to get to Chinatown after work a little more iffy than it usually is. And with all the feral white yuppie types about, I had to dance into the street more often to avoid breath moisture droplets from the maskless dweebs. Who, I am surprised, aren't dead yet.

It's kind of like the days before Aids, when careless twenty somethings would gaily screw at random with whomever, unprotected, unsober, unprivately. Or so it seemed at the time.
Being fussy, and conversational, my sex life was much more limited.


"If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t f**k them."
------John Waters


It's a life style choice. All of my good friends read, as do every one of my former girlfriends. At least I assume they do; my Berkeley girlfriend I lost contact with ages ago, but my longtime companion with whom I broke up over a decade ago is still a very good friend, and has an entire wall of bookshelves, filled, plus stacks. Multiple stacks.

The relatives with whom I communicate are also literate. Very much so.

We need to agendize, prosylate, and rope people in.



Sadly, literacy is not a significant marketing demographic any more. That probably explains why there were almost no white people at the karaoke bar, unlike the two dives further up. The sheer exercise of reading skill demonstrated by the tipsy Cantonese must be frightening to those poor souls. Chinese song lyrics are, on the whole, a bit harder to grasp than "ooh baby I wuv oo uh huh uh huh". To my great regret and the bookseller's pleased surprise, nothing by Andy Lau was on screen. I've become rather fond of his weird shiznit.
As usual I had "the pipe for watching rats in Spofford Alley" with me. A tradition based, more or less, on the city's project a few years back to make the alleys of Chinatown more pretty and appealing to white tourists, beautifying them, while doing absolutely jack of any significance toward bettering the living conditions there.

They had dug up Spofford, leaving a long open pit with a narrow wooden walkway for over two years, which proved difficult to navigate (a problem when the ambulance dudes had to carry someone one night in the pouring rain), but naturally the rodent population loved it. They were vibrant, they were cheeky, they had confidence. They positively swaggered, and they thrived as never before. They were very entertaining, and I enjoyed observing them every week on our burger and bar nights, while having a smoke.

There are flowers there now, and educational plaques.
It is very edifying. And cultural.
Only one rat.


Other than a dearth of wild life, it was a good evening.



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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

BUTTERFLY COLLECTING ON MARKET STREET

Frankly, it's a dump. The only times in the past several years that I have been on Market Street were when I needed to catch a bus to a doctor's appoinment outside of the Chinatown and North Beach areas. But over the years I've spent a huge amount of time there.
After I arrived back in the States, I bought a Peterson at the pipe counter in Woolworth's basement, which I would smoke after lunch at a sandwich place which has not existed in years. Booths painted institutional green, high windows, cheap coffee.
Glass ashtrays at every table.

That pipe was, over a period of two or three years, horribly abused. Because as a youngster I didn't know what I was doing, though I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I no longer have that pipe, but it was the same shape and finish as the one below.
There are two of them in my collection. I've had many more, as well as similar ones.


One of those two was bought at a tobacconist that closed in September of 2012 when they couldn't renew their lease -- the beauty academy three floors above them objected, because even a faint reek of cigars interfered with the scholars studying beauty -- but which had been a longtime fixture of San Francisco. That location became a Starbucks after several years, and the last time I passed was a deserted storefront.

There are more than enough nearby places for a venteccino with hazelnut raspberry syrup that an additional Starbucks was not necessary. The area around the Montgomery Street station is the Bermuda Triangle of strong bad coffee.

It probably fuels the yuppies who buy their fentanyl, smart drugs, and stolen goods, along the Market Street corridor, as well as the crazed drunkards dossed down on the pavement.

On a bright sunny morning, when you're waiting for the bus to the doctor's office at a distant clinic, the wind is still, the dustmotes dance in shafts of sunlight, the air is clear enough that in one direction you can see the Ferry Building, in the other there is the barely visible bustle several blocks away where that Woolworths once stood near the cable car turnaround, and you can smell the invigorating scent of marijuana and stale urine.
Almost as if you were back in the hippie days.
It's absolutely perfect.

Tourists love Market Street; it's so colourful.
The rest of us almost never go there.
Like Fisherman's Wharf.


In the year's that the office was around the corner from the tobacconist, I switched from full Latakia mixtures to Virginias and Virginia with Perique. My smoke is nowadays less offensive than during my college years, and less likely to trigger sensitive people. Also, I rarely smoke around other people on my days off. Times have changed.

When I was in highschool, most of my classmates smoked black shag cigarettes and drank good strong coffee without added syrups. We read many books in foreign languages, and ate foods filled with gluten (and refined sugar). After graduating we were "adults, and went on to college or prison.


Maybe I should go down to Market Street on a day off dressed in a lab coat and holding a giant butterfly net sometime, to delight the tourists and scare the crazies: the old fashioned European intellectual, long rumoured to be extinct, collecting colourful specimens for Herr Doktor Freud back at the Universität. Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Nobody would blink an eye.

I would of course be smoking a pipe.
There are several that would be suitable for this adventure.



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THE PERFECT MORNING!

Somewhere in this neighborhood someone is breakfasting on fried rice noodles and a strong glass of drip coffee. Chaau mai, yuet naam sik gaa fei; 炒米,越南式咖啡。This is something of which I am certain. It's not a real certain, but an idealized certain. Because in this weather something hot and savoury like stirfried noodles, with a good wake-me-up like strong drip coffee and sweetened condensed milk would be perfect.

Okay, admittedly the further up hill I go on Nob Hill the older and whiter it gets, and there are dreary looking people walking their dogs in every block of the stroll, but still. A food hero.
Who feels the call of culinary adventure upon waking.
What fabulous thing will I eat today?
Let's boil some water.

White people, as is well known, can't make coffee themselves, which is why Starbucks is open. And cooking? There's Bob's Donuts. Therefore this is the best of all possible worlds. Now if only someone else would walk the dog so that we can catch some yoga in our fancy togs on our special mats before we start the day, everything would be perfect!

I don't go to Starbucks but make my own morning coffee, eschew yoga, and haven't a dog. And trust me, I would not look fabulous in yoga pants on a mat. Also, while I like donuts, it may have been over a year since I had one.

The reason I'm already out here is to have a nice smoke after home-brewed coffee, while my apartment mate fixes herself something to eat and argues with the turkey vulture.
Breakfast for Dutch Americans is coffee and a pipe; everybody knows that. Men, women, children, and infants at their mother's breast. It's how we start the day.

Actually, that's how I start the day. But as I may very well be the only Dutch American in this neck of the woods, I am the example everyone follows, and long ago I decided that this was the thing to do.
Evenso, I am curious about that perfect world gustator of fried rice noodles and drip coffee. What kind of person is he or she? Do they finish their meal with a cigarillo, perhaps?
Or a quick puff of Rattray's in the old black briar?

[Rattray's, recommended tobaccos: Brown Clunee, Marlin Flake, Old Gowrie, Hal O'The Wynd. All of these are exceptional flue-cured tobacco blends with minor condimental leaf additions. Perfect for a thoughtful person.]


How are they preparing their rice noodles?

Maybe chopped bacon for some grease, and half a dozen dried oysters (蠔豉) rehydrated in the fridge overnight, then halved and rinsed, the rice noodles first blanched in boiling water and drained, then added to the pan with the rendered bacon grease and oysters.
With some minced ginger, scallion, and jalapeño. And parhaps an egg.
All of the cooking could be done while the coffee drips.
And it would really smell wonderful.


I don't eat breakfast, but I'll gladly join you for a second cup of coffee.
Provided you don't mind the smell of my pipe.



My cardiologist would probably advise you to not eat like that everyday, but he doesn't have to know. The pipe, of course, is also strongly disrecommended.
We shan't mention that to him either.



TOBACCO INDEX


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Monday, March 28, 2022

IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN SAN FRANCISCO, EVEN WHEN IT ISN'T

One of the things that has been a problem for all the years that I've worked in Marin is that there is no where with decent food near enough to where I work. Sure, if I had a car, there would be at least three or four places. People who have kindly recommended restaurants have, always, failed to understand that if it isn't in five minutes WALKING distance, it is NOT an option. Within half an hour driving there must be dozens of tasty things to eat: Suburban Chinese, Indian, Central American, pizza, and ekskweez sandwiches, bagels, and wraps.

Yeah, um.

So during my days off, I enjoy my food. Which is often Chinese. Cantonese. With minor touches of Toishanese. At places which have sambal or Sriracha. And, frequently, HK milk tea. And where there are no white people or suburbanites. Of whom I have had more than enough during my work days.


By the way, why do the people on the busses who are not properly wearing their masks almost always seem to be my fellow Caucasians? A lack of brains? Inconsiderate? No manners? Mah freedums? Maga? Or just a general Karen assholery? Perhaps a strong desire to be individualists and recongized as such while spreading disease?

To be fair, some of them are tourists.
It takes some idiocy to travel.
During a pandemic.

During a pandemic I do not feel quite comfortable or safe hanging around my fellow whities much. I don't know where they've been without wearing a mask, who or what they've tried to tongue kiss or face-lick without wearing a mask, which careless tourists or random diseased strangers they've hobnobbed with without wearing a mask, or which mass athletic spectacles or sweaty moisture everywhere prize-fights in large enclosed badly ventilated venues they have attended along with crowds of screaming yobos without wearing a mask.



The place where I had lunch today never gets white people, suburbanites, or tourists, as customers. They're off the beaten track and rather non-descript from the outside, not eye-catching. And they don't have beer. But they're home town folks (expand your definition of home town), they do decent food that I like, and the restaurant is small enough that you'll never have to wonder what happened to the waitress. Who is the wife of the owner. And who speaks both Cantonese and Toishanese. As well as Mandarin and enough English.

There's also a grandmother who works there, and a little daughter who comes home from school there. Neither of whom understand my Cantonese very well, because they speak Toishanese. Grandma also understands Mandarin, granddaughter is fluent in English.

So yes, I've been there before. Been going there for about six or seven years.
Something simple for lunch: black bean bitter melon fish and rice. After which I smoked a pipe while wandering around. Chinatown is showing the strain. More boarded up places, stronger metal shutters on some shops. Most of the places I like have survived.

A fine Virginia flake, mostly bright, some condimental leaf.

Sadly, time flies on my days off.




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GOOD ON WILL SMITH

For the record: I am not an unbiased commentator. I like Will Smith, Chris Rock not really so much. Or at all. And I am pre-programmed by my upbringing and environment to have certain ideas about what one does and does NOT do. So, while I cannot really speak to the venue or the environment where it happened, I have a favourable impression of Will Smith belting Chris Rock, and think a sock in the jaw was well deserved.

I myself, had it been me and my wife there, I would probably have walked out when Chris Rock made his joke. Then acquired a two-by-four with rusty nails for the purpose of breaking Chris Rocks legs. But you know, that's just me.


I am not a succesful actor, don't habituate Hollywood, and do not have a spouse.
Nor do I watch the Academy Awards when it happens.


Despite a relative whose efforts have won Oscars.

Under normal circumstances I do not pay any attention to the lives of celebrities, and I rarely watch movies. I have seen most of the culturally significant films (some of them multiple times), excluding the entire range of bat, super, spider, and iron man flicks with the exception of two arachnids (which the company I worked for at the time thought it would be a lovely idea to have us see instead of work those afternoons), and for years I had no idea what fresh Prince of Bel Air was.
Since the Jedi came to rescue the heroes instead of letting those drippy wusses get ripped to shreds by monsters in the arena, I've avoided Star Wars. And I haven't seen a single one of the Star Trek things.
BTW: Independence Day, Men In Black, Apocalypse Now, King Of Masks, and Soldier Of Orange are movies which I've seen several times. Will Smith was in two of them.
And there are numerous movies I regret seeing even once.



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Sunday, March 27, 2022

WELL-MEANT DIETARY ADVICE

This is another whiney post. My feet hurt. After several days running around at work, no actual chance to sit down, my feet hurt. Arterosclerosis in the legs, arthritis, and bad joints, are a combination I would wish on my worst enemies. Especially worse than me, far far worse, so that I can run them down and club them if the mood strikes.

But it was a good day. The morons in the backroom were relatively well behaved -- and quite likely did not soil themselves, which is unusual when most of them are there -- and because the troll wasn't there and some guests were, all the arguments were much more civil, not speckled with unprintable language and aspersions. Plus an old friend came to visit.

We discussed Charatans, Dunhills, and Hong Kong Noodles.
Indian restaurant food was aslo discussed. As well as turmeric, coriander seed, cumin, and black mustard seed. Plus sticks of butter in darn well everything, heart attack on a plate, because no one in their right mind goes to an Indian restaurant for healthy stuff. Someone from that part of the world might have their "stick-of-butter-masala" with some naan bread or chapatis (both also made with butter), but the net effect is still butter. So it's not as healthy as the Hong Kong porkchop on a layer of spaghetti and red sauce covered with melted cheese and washed down with strong tea made pale with sweetened condensed milk. At an Indian restaurant you might wash it down with yoghurt (high fat), or, if you're English, enough beer to knock you out for several hours and make you more charming.

There is nothing kosher or heart-healthy about Indian restaurant food or typical chachanteng cuisine. That's not why it was invented, nobody clamours for that.


My friend scrawned up considerably last year, what with chemotherapy and pneumonia. Plus a problem in his guts. He's all better now, but needs to get some meat back on the old bones. A heaping serving of murgh makhni and some buttery pilao now and then, plus a chop covered with cheese, might be just the ticket.

Chew properly and have plenty of vegetables alongside, so that you won't need pink liquid or calcium carbonate tablets.


Remember, chilipaste is a vegetable.
Put sambal on everything.



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Saturday, March 26, 2022

THE BAD THINGS LIVE THERE

Over the past year many people have emigrated out of the Bay Area and moved to places where they will more at home. Destinations like Florida, North Carolina, and Texas.
Where they spiritually belong. Which is good. I am glad they are gone.
We can all breathe better now.

Unfortunately there are still tonnes of their type left over in Marin, where I work. Karenistan. Which is quite likely the most suferficial minded self-entitled puss boil blister suburb in the civilized world. A soggy little island of cultural toxic waste.

A place of smirkingly self-satisfied bubbles.
Yoga, bicyclists with beemers.
Kale smoothies.


The loathesome cretins in the backroom have been rehashing the same conversations for a decade now. Sime whiny voices, same quivering chins and vicious narrow-minded venom.
Bitter old men, sour over everything and disappointed in life.
Despite being, on the whole, quite prosperous.
It is time, comrades, for the workers to seize the means of destruction. Bring on the tumbrels, guillotines, and savage howling mobs with pitchforks and torches. A good start would probably be to burn down the car dealerships and strip malls along the freeway.

Caedite eos omnes, novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

Lots of love, bitches, lots of love.

Hatchets.



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Friday, March 25, 2022

HOW CIVILIZATION ENDS

There are times I dread going to work. Especially now that the unspeakable troll has lost most of the decency he ever had. Whenever he's infesting the backroom ragging on R the subcontinental or slandering democrats / liberals / transgenders / humans, the noise level rises comensurate with his moronic vitriol, and the other farty layabouts if not sitting there basking in the warm glow of shared stupidity and hate will enthusiastically egg him on.

When the turkey vulture (Sydney Fylbert) speaks of harvesting fatty inner thighs from old useless men, and urges me to do so among that crowd, I resist. That might not last.

It would be the best use for the toxic waste brained crowd festering there.


They are the Limburger cheese among humans.


And they're getting worse.



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Thursday, March 24, 2022

THEIR PRESENCE ADDS BRILLIANCE

Late lunch, trying out the new chachanteng right on the bus line. My plan to fly in under the radar came to naught; eight people there knew me from various places, including staff, and greeted me in Cantonese. The hostess pulled a fast one and had a colleague who didn't know I spoke Cantonese take my order. Which proved in its own way entertaining.

I commend the Cantonese in general for having great aplomb.
And fast recovery from being flabbergasted.

Okay then. Got to surprise some people anyhow.
Which is something I enjoy doing.
Me and my big ego.

Ordered something I knew that they would have on the menu, which is almost the paradigm of chachanteng foods: the gong si saam man ji (公司三文治 club sandwich). And a cup of milk tea (港式奶茶: 'gong-sik naai-cha'). They use Blue Label Tea (藍牌茶 'laam paai chaa'), premium Hong Kong style black tea with hue, sparkle, and aroma. I know this because I saw the boss taking down a new ten or twenty pound bag from the cubby over the prep counter. It's not something I was familiar with, but their milk tea is very good, so I definitely look forward to going there again. It was just the ticket for the bitter March wind outside. Our heat wave, which we were assured was going to happen this week, fizzled monumentally.
Yeah, it's darn cold outside. My fingers still feel numb and Rainaud's phenomenonish. Which was probably the reason I had a club sandwich; handling something warm. And seeing as for some reason (apathy or disinterest) I had not had anything since getting up this morning just before six, it disappeared far too fast. It was good. And they have Sriracha.

For some reason I remember Sai Ying Pun (西營盤), just east of Kennedy Town (堅尼地城). No, I have no idea why. Perhaps the next time I'm at that chachanteng I'll order something with dried fish. Maybe a casserole, 鹹魚花腩煲仔飯 ('haam yü faa laam pou chai faan'), for instance. In cold weather a claypot rice is extremely comforting, and they have claypot dishes. I saw 臘味煲仔飯 ('laap mei pou chai faan') when skimming the menu.


寵兒茶餐廳 (宠儿茶餐厅)
881 Clay Street, at the corner of Stockton Street, facing Wu Yee Childrens Services (where Saint Mary's Girls School used to be), just up from Hang Ah Alley.
San Francisco, CA 94108


Lunch and milk tea were very nice. I shall certainly go there again. And really, I should have grabbed a to-go menu for reference purposes before I went outside to smoke a pipe freezing my toes off. It would have told me what the English name is, as well as the phone number.

Nice people, and good food.
A comfortable place.


歡迎光臨



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THINKING AHEAD: PASSOVER

Pre-emptively cover everything in your kitchen (and bathroom, to be on the safe side) with aluminum foil (two layers; Rashi AND Rabbeinu Tam) now. If your tablecloths are shatnez, then them too.

And, because of the forty year picnic in the midbar yadda yadda yadda, paper plates are a zeicher l'avos.(*)

Fancy paper plates. They have a blue rim.


On the other hand, the Rambam says you're allowed to book a hotel for Pesach over three months in advance. Which if you have in-laws, is a jolly good idea. Don't tell anyone where (it's Miami, always), and pre-write all the "wish you were here" postcards (no melacha on chol ha moed). Give them to the attendant before you arrive for mailing during the week.

And don't sign them; lifnei iver, lo titen michshol.


POSEIK
Ein gaon ha-emmes

(*) Reb Yonasson disagrees. Er sogt: "Moshe Rabbeinu had a full set of his grandmother's China in the wilderness. A. FULL. SET."
But chazal have ruled azoy: Those were chipped, and probably made in Delft, so there is NO chazaka of kashrus. The Dutch, as is well known, were making earthenware, NOT porcelain, at that time. A lower firing temperature, and absorbent besides. Lo somech.

A further stringency is that to be fully kosher, porcelain may not be used for at least twelve months to remove all doubt. From the end of the last chag till the beginning of this one is less, so for all sets of plates you should have duplicates for alternate years, which implies that there was a column of U-hauls stretching from Mitzraim to Har Sinai.

Plus leaving that trail of breadcrumbs so that they could find their way out proved to be a bad idea. This, in mittn drinnen, is also the logic behind tashlich (*).

[Why does one use a feather during bedikas chometz? Because of the birds that ate the trail of breadcrumbs.]


(*) Reb Yonasson again: "nothing explains tashlich. It's like the para adumah. Faith alone buddy." But chazzal disagrees: "farkert! It's like the shrubberies! One slightly higher so you have a two level effect! With a path down the middle."



Note also that your in-laws qualify as your imma v'av melacha. So having either seder by them is assur. Unless they agree to keep silent. Just shut up. It's supposed to be a happy occasion, nu?



Your festive meal must include these three things: a kezayis each of dry hard flatbread, jelly fruit, and coconut macaroon. All of which taste better with chrein. Mamesh.



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DECOMPOSURE

One of the things I've learned over the years is that women throw away things for "reasons". Meaning that where most men will wail, in anguish, that "it's still good", a woman will toss the "useful" old object out and be done with it. When a man discards something, it's because it was time to do so. And on that note, I have finally garbaged the second of two Asian pears that I bought at the end of December. It had turned. At first I was hoping that my apartment mate would eat it -- she has a great fondness for Asian pears -- but by mid-February I was marveling at how long it had stayed looking fresh. By mid-March I was wondering "should we eat it before it finally goes bad? Will we actually eat it in time?" and by then yesterday morning I realized it was, finally, beyond that point.

It had a good run. Now I wonder if I should buy another one.

I'm actually not that fond of fruit.
But these are extraordinairy pears.

I'm actually surprised that my apartment mate didn't throw it out a while back. Perhaps if I left it where it was she would not have noticed that it was brown and soft. Sometimes she can't see the food schmutz left on vessels and utensils when she washes them, and I'll end up cleaning them again in the middle of the night or during the day, when she is out and I am in, without saying anything. As I hope she does when I accidentally overlook something (even though that is far less likely).

Both of us are neurotic, but I'm the anal-retentive one.

I often end up washing her favourite hot beverage cups to make sure there are no tough encrustations of dried milk anywhere. She's pre-occupied with leaving for work in the morning, and one must tend to this early lest the casein become cement-like.
Anyone familiar with painting and glue will know what I mean.


It's remarkable how much dairy goes into her cup of hot chocolate.
My coffee and milk tea doesn't even come close.



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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

WELL-BEING AND BENEVOLENCE

No, I haven't yet tried the new place up at the intersection next to the bus stop. It's still too crowded, and I'm waiting till they hit their stride. Instead I went to an old familiar place for lunch. 蒜蓉焗龍脷 ('suen yong guk lung lei'). 飯 ('faan'). 湯 ('tong'). 港式奶茶 ('gong sik naai cha'). Garlic baked sole. Rice. Soup. Hong Kong milk tea.

Jack came in for roast chicken while I was eating. We talked about old places. The ABC (ABC大餐廳 'aai bi si daai chaan teng'), which used to be on Jackson Street, closed five years ago. Sun Wah Kue (新華僑餐廳 'san waa kiu chaan teng'), which hasn't been around for a quarter of a century. King tin (擎天酒樓 'king tin jau lau') on Washington Street, now some kind of Hunan joint, where once the Universal Cafe (寰球酒家 'waan kau jau kaa') stood.

[新華僑 = New overseas Chinese. 擎天 = Upholding heaven. 寰球 = Domain globe, region sphere; the world.]


I first met Jack when all of those places still existed.
He looks a little older now than he did.
True for many of us.


Enjoyed my afterlunch smoke near Portsmouth Square, where I encountered Ah Choi, whom I've known as long as Jack. He still looks much the same, but like Jack and myself he's tinged with silver now. He looks more tired than he used to.
We are all fairly trim, grey edged, middle-aged. Thank heavens none of us look like the doofus who parks his BMW sportscar on my block, with man boobs and a jelly gut. Very many American men do not age well. It's all that beer and junkfood, plus the wear and tear of being pizza-snarfing greasy snack inhaling bourgeois alcoholic football fans, I guess.
Sorry, it had to be said. Y'all smell bad and eat too much.
Plus your mom dresses you funny.
After grocery shopping (mmm, crunchy snackipoos!) I had another cuppa and a pastry. At a bakery that first opened when Sun Wah Kue and King Tin were still around. The waitress still looks very much the same, no grey at all. After decades! One would almost think that Chinese women know the secret of youth OR which brands of hair dye are best.
But the latter thought assumes a cynicism I just don't have.


I am a kindly man and think the best of people.
Except for tourists and suburbanites.
But otherwise, total softie.
It's age.



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NO VODKA, NO INTERNET BANKING DATA

This is something that makes me wonder what's going on: several of my "lamenting about a lost love life" posts from a few months after my break-up with my long-time companion over a decade ago are being avidly read, per my blog stats, and given that there has been a marked increase in readership (many more visitors to my blogsite than normal), all I can assume is that the Russians wish to exploit my weaknesses by hooking me up with a FSB operative probably named Olga. Except they can't find the chink in the armour to get in.

Olga.

Hi Olga.

You must be really desperate, Olga. A pipesmoking Dutch American on high bloodpressure meds with a chronically sore leg (right side) is no prize catch. Despite a tendency to open doors for women and regularly shower. Besides, I am not likely to have exploitable info or data, given that I bank strictly in person never on line, do not transact business of any type on my computer, and do not have a credit card number stored on my hard drive.
And I have never shopped for Uggs or Manolo Blahniks.

Uggs and fancy dress pumps were frequent spam in the comments years ago, that's why they are mentioned now. So a naughty picture of a naked Slavic woman modelling very ugly oversized Australian sheep-herder stinky footwear is not likely to wear down my defenses.
It might amuse me, and you could expect several sneering comments.
Why is she wearing smelly fur boots and nothing else?
Those things make her feet look big.
She needs vodka.
Do you have a monkey? As you can see from the picture above, I do. Is your monkey lonesome? So far, Arabello Oyster (the monkey; Sydney Fylbert is the turkey vulture seated to his right) does not have a girlfriend. Perhaps he doesn't need one, or isn't looking for a romantic partner. Several of the other furry creatures are in relationships, and a few of them have indicated that they have "interests", but have not actually dated anybody.

How are you with animals? There are over forty of them here, and they can be quite a handful. They have distinct personalities. One of them, a two and a half inch tall purple finger dinosaur, believes that all women wish for a flame thrower party, and is inordinately fond of eggs. His kind may be extinct, even though they survived the comet. The females in this apartment generally object when he starts happily singing "flame thrower party tonight, flame thrower party tonight".

The head roomie (Ms. Bruin) and the assistant head roomie (a she-sheep) keep them all in line, most of the time, leaving me to wander around the Chinatown Nob Hill area with my pipe daydreaming and swearing at my right leg when I feel the urge.
Much of the time I daydream about food.
I plan an early lunch today.
Then milk tea.
Sydney Fylbert has insisted that I have some of the raspberry strudel which my apartment mate brought home; he claims I don't feed him enough (pudgy liar), and don't seem to understand that he really likes to eat! What on earth is wrong with me?
I think it's purely a mental thing. Maybe instinct.
He seems reasonably plump.
Belches a lot.


Anyway, dearest Olga, you would have your work cut out for you if you tried to rope me in and sabotage whatever it is that you think I do. The rambunctious fuzzbutts would be all over you, and some of them would probably steal your wallet. They'd insist on snackies. Blinis!
Do you make blinis? They've heard about those things!
And please stop swilling vodka!
It's unseemly!

Got any cigarettes? Belomorkanal?


Sorry, there is NO vodka here.
Talk to the she-sheep.
Or Ms. Bruin.




Post scriptum: Other fancy footwear that doesn't interest me for which there were very many linkspamcomments: Pikolino, Franco Sarto, Isabel Marant, Pantofola D'Oro, Liz Claiborne, Caparros, Michael Kors, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Ferragamo, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianmarco Lorenzi. I learned a lot about feet that year.




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MALE AFTER THIRTIES

Per the apartment mate, who has been somewhat obsessed lately, "Harry is the one with the frizzy red hair, beard, and that disgruntled look in his eyes; the one who married that bitch." And the bitch, you will recall, is a manipulative psychopath. I should mention that I have scant interest in these people. I'm just glad they don't live anywhere near me.
Finding out about them is partly what the internet age is for.

My apartment mate doesn't Twitter, Tiktok, or Facebook. She reads the news, AITA, and watches Youtube. And e-mails her siblings and a few old friends regularly.

Neither one of us text or stare at our cellular devices.
The cellphones never leave the building.

We're not teenagers.



Unlike her, I use Facebook. Because I tend to be a bit blunt, there have been a number of times my account was on hold (so-called community standards), so I tend to be a bit careful what I say now....... If I offend people who then report me, I would prefer to know who they are so that I can 'unfriend' the bastards.

A lot of the people whose FB posts I see are pipesmokers, many of whom are males in the after thirties range. Some significantly so. Most of us have similar points of view, but widely differing interests. I've also joined groups that like pet rats, cats, red pandas, badgers, bats, hamsters, and octopodi, political and medical shitposting groups, pro-vax groups, science and linguistic groups, and a few rather juvenile closed circles which are very amusing.
A few of the people with whom I have real-world interactions are FB friends. Which is rather remarkable. Especially because they seldom if ever drink Hong Kong milk tea, mostly don't smoke pipes, and probably rarely talk to stuffed animals.

It would surprise the heck out of me if I encountered any of them in this neighborhood between six and seven in the morning with a pipe, or down in C'town around teatime.
There is a divergence in the matrix.



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THOUGHTS ABOUT CIGAR SMOKERS

What this society needs is churchpeople going on regular tours of low places to spread the word of god. Not because habitués of such places ...