Saturday, April 30, 2022

MUCH OF A MOOTNESS

One of the posts here that has gotten an awful lot of views in the past two months is one from fourteen years ago that discusses the Dutch Protestant Church stance on Israel, and the reaction of main thinkers of that faith to 'Friends of Sabeel', which is a mostly namby pamby bunch of Anglo American bigots and haters of Israel known for morally supporting terrorism against civilians.

ISRAEL DISCUSSION AMONG DUTCH PROTESTANTS

While I'm mildly tickled at the attention that post is presently receiving, I shan't investigate whether the acrimonious discussion has flared up again. I'm sure it has. The interest in that essay is probably from the pro-Israel side, because the anti-Israel groups largely do not and can not read much, often will not read critically, and have scant curiosity in any case.
They're rather like Marxists or Republicans.


Another post getting lots of attention, from the same period, is entirely in Dutch. Which, given that the language of Vondel and Brederode is limited to less than a quarter of percent of the world's population, is quite remarkable. It, too, dealt with the Israel matter.

I'm mildy curious about those readers.
But they aren't commenting.
So it's moot.


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GO BACK TO AMSTERDAM!

Apparently I'm just a damned foreigner and I had better not say anything. Because having opinions that differ from red-blooded Republicans in any way at all can be hideously offensive, and actually rude! And, in fact, I should go back to Amsterdam.

Just shut up, and go back where you came from.

Which I did. I'm here. I was born here. My parents were citizens, so were their parents, and both sides have been American a long time. But my mother and father were always called foreigners, having been born abroad when their parents were in Europe (American military) after Word War One. When I was two we left Los Angeles and went to Holland for several years. Which, coupled with my accent, makes me a foreigner.

Of course in Holland I was a foreigner. And, as it turns out, being an American in Europe from the late sixties till the late seventies, when I returned to the United States, was incredibly offensive! Horrid Yankee subhuman! Why, I should go back where I came from!
Which I was told repeatedly, sometimes with force.

The first year I was back where I came from, I was told to go back where I came from.
Very many times. Being foreign in some circles was almost a criminal offense in those years.
And telling the damned foreigner to "go back where (he) came from" was the default position that people happily and easily fell back on in any discussion when one didn't agree with everything the true-blue American said (no matter how ridiculous).

A classmate informed me that they killed people like me where he came from. That being some sh*thole burg in the Central Valley. A region which I have avoided ever since then for some reason. I understand that like in all of the American heartland there are some very sincerely nice people there, real Americans, and I should visit sometime.


Everyday that I do not stick around the Chinatown and Northbeach area, where I remarkably am a human being, someone chooses to impress on me that I am utterly foreign. I've had an American passport since I was born, but I am still a foreigner and there are many things that as a foreigner I have no chance of ever understanding, at all. And although English has been my first language my entire life -- and I speak better English than many people here -- having an accent means that I cannot grasp certain basic verities which all true Americans know instinctively. The accent is a barrier. It prevents my comprehension. Not theirs, mine.

It's a miracle that I manage to transact any business at all during the day.

I also speak Dutch better than many Americans speak English.
Some of us foreigners are actually pretty clever.
It's part of our unreliability.


The person who told me to go back to Amsterdam is a salt of the earth all American boy from Marin County, which is the centre of the universe and its own little bubble, where proper values rule for the right kind of people, who recognize who is and who isn't.
He knows all the pop music from the sixties and seventies.
And he loves American football.


A real American, in other words.



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Friday, April 29, 2022

DON'T BREATHE IN MY DIRECTION!

Observation: a fresh cadaver without a mask on, on public transit, is probably less selfish, apathetic, ignorant, and infectious, than he would be if still alive. And perhaps marginally more intelligent. This is something MUNI passengers should keep in mind.

And really, other than his mother, nobody would miss him. Even the place where he works. There are thousands more white male yuppie socially irresponsible psychopaths where he came from; marketing and sales departments all over the downtown are filled with the type. They're not an endangered species.

If MUNI doesn't want mayhem on its lines, it might be wise to reinstate the mask mandate.
An overcrowded bus, with all the passengers cheek by jowl, is the PERFECT environment for spreading a virus. And it is almost guaranteed that at least one passenger, very possibly many more, were infected and spreading. They were probably white, millenial, overly impressed with their own fine selves, and paid too much for selling useless shit.

The people who are now also infected, because of him or them, are a lovely cross-section of our society which has little choice but to ride the busses with careless dickheads like that; the very old, the young, the pregnant, and people with a variety of health issues which include for at least a few of them weakened immune systems.

Actually, they have NO choice. Taxis and Ubers are expensive.

We should probably start killing office workers.

Especially white male yuppies.




By the way: MUNI wants to hear from you! Contact them using the embedded link, or visit them in person at the SFMTA Customer Service Center, 11 South Van Ness Avenue. All the Van Ness Avenue buses, as well as many of the Market Street and Mission Street lines, will get you there. It's fast, it's convenient, it's infectious!

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. Except holidays.

F Market, 7 Haight/Noriega, 9 San Bruno, 9R San Bruno, 14 Mission, 49 Van Ness.

Snail mail: 11 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94103.



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Thursday, April 28, 2022

I AM A LIZARD

India is experiencing record heat at present. If I were there, I would be dead. Or, best case scenario, in a hospital. One hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. Last year, when it hit mid-nineties in the Bay Area I could not move. In San Francisco, air-conditioning is rare. Where I work the boss is extremely loathe to ever turn on the temperature controls.
In India there would probably be no air conditioning at work or at home.

Yes yes, sure, normal people can swelter a bit, no problem.
They aren't wussies. Just grin sweatily and bear it.


Blood pressure medications interfere with the body's ability to deal with extremes of heat and cold. What that really means is that I hate all you people who exclaim "oh what a beautiful day" while you luxuriate in your cargo shorts biking the trails of Marin and the East Bay.
As the mercury soars to hitherto unheard of heights.

Kindly go intercourse yourselves.


My ideal range is between fifty six degrees Fahrenheit and seventy four degrees.
I do not wish to hear about the beautiful weather.
Or your tan.
I need an electric ice cube.



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SO, SO COMBUSTIBLE

Our politicians here in San Francisco are incredibly lucky. Their pet projects have in hardly any way benefitted the poorest among the residents, yet a paper-thin pretense of common cause still holds. And let's face it; the tourist industry, beloved by our civic leaders, as well as the dot com boom, which dominates Market Street and is a ridiculous cause of pride, do scant good among the poorer classes.

The hotel sector has taken the pandemic as a golden opportunity to trim staff and overwork whoever remains. The tech sector for twenty years hired yutzes from the Midwest and the East Coast instead of training locally, executive positions were filled with out-of-towners.

Housing has become virtually unaffordable even for the middle-class.


Nobody has burned this sh*tcan down. Yet.


Betcha the first time a strong-arm robber gets shot and killed by a desperate shopkeeper everyone will wail and moan "how could this happen?" As well as offer excuses for the poor benighted sector of whichever community the dead person came from, lamenting their lack of opportunity in a cold harsh universe that, remarkably, they themselves are uniquely qualified to address and demanding more money for a cosmetic pet project.

Then they'll boast about how much has been done.

When desperate to get re-elected.



The price of Molotov cocktails has gone up.
How effing lucky for us.



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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

JESUIT BARKING MAD

Several years ago The Two Ronnies (a British comedy duo into whom I never got ) did a skit featuring mispronunciation of common terms, involving a shopkeeper and a shifty foreigner.
I also have mispronounced things; there are many words one learns strictly from reading which are seldom, if ever, used in daily conversations.

Such as ninety percent of the significant vocabulary in an article about Black Water Fever (demam air hitam), a formerly much more common complication of long-term malarial infection characterised by acute intravascular haemolysis in consequence of sporadic use of quinine by residents of regions where plasmodium falciparum is endemic. Usually expats.

[The discovery of hydroxychloroquine (1934) and its introduction into standard medical practice (1947) lessened the incidence of blackwater fever considerably, but there are considerable contraindications to this and some similar medications, and because of the development of resistance to chloroquine there has been a resurgence.]


This is an excellent reason to avoid becoming a British or French expatriate in the tropics. Central Africa or Malaya, for instance. Also Mindanao and New Guinea.

You can sound even more gibberant if you use the Chinese terms, especially if you are not, in fact, Chinese. Trust me, people will look at you funny.


NECESSARY VOCABULARY

Acute renal failure: 急性腎損傷 ('gap sing san syün seung').
Acute tubular necrosis: 急性腎小管壞死 ('gap sing san siu kun waai sei').
Anemia: 貧血 ('pan huet').
Antibodies: 抗體 ('kong tai').
Bilirubin: 膽紅素 ('daam hong sou').
Candida albicans: 白色念珠菌 ('paak sik nim jyu kwan').
Cardiolipin: 心磷脂 ('sam leun ji').
Chloroquine: 氯化奎寧 ('luk faa kwai ning').
Cholecystitis: 膽囊炎 ('daam nong yim').
Cytomegalovirus: 巨細胞病毒屬 ('keui sai baau bing dok suk').
Dialysis: 透析 ('tou sik').
Epidemiology: 流行病學 ('lau haang bing hok').
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase: 葡萄糖-6-磷酸脫氫酶 ('pou tou tong lok luen suen tuet hing mui').
Halofantrine: 鹵泛群 ('lou faan kwan').
Hemoglobinuria: 血紅素尿症 ('huet hong sou niu jeng').
Hemolysis: 溶血反應 ('yong huet faan ying').
Hydroxychloroquine: 羥氯喹 ('keung luk fui').
Jaundice: 黃疸 ('wong taan').
Lactate dehydrogenase: 乳酸脫氫酶 ('yü suen tuet hing mui').
Leptospirosis: 鈎端螺旋體病 ('gau duen lo suen tai bing').
Leukocyte: 白細胞 ('baak sai baau').
Malaria: 瘧疾 ('yeuk jat').
Malarial hemoglobinuria: 瘧疾(的)血紅蛋白尿 ('yeuk jat dik huet hong daan baak niu').
Mefloquine: 美爾奎寧 ('mei yi kwai ning').
Plasmodium falciparum: 惡性瘧原蟲 ('ngok sing yeuk yuen chung').
Platelet: 血小板 ('huet siu paan').
Quinine: 奎寧 ('kwai ning').
Urinary tract infection: 泌尿道感染 ('bei niu dou gam yim').



Better stay away from the gin and tonic, old chap.
The gin pahit is also right out.
Quinine!

Anyhow, please study this list well (and there might be a test), as it will be absolutely so wonderful when everyone has these terms on their lips.



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NOT MEANT FOR WHITE PEOPLE

My favourite grocery store in Chinatown has edibles from all over East Asia. Including potato chips. My apartment mate likes to nibble on chips when she comes home, so I often buy her some new and interesting flavours. One of which, today, is black truffle. With not a single word in English on the bag. She is American-born, and naturally cannot read more than two or three dozen characters.

Black pine dew flavour ain't none of them.

黑松露味薯片
['haak chung lou mei syü pin']

Why truffles are "pine dew" (松露 'chung lou') is beyond me. Other flavours I purchased are fried crab, and roast pork belly. None of them are spicy (辣嘅 'laat ge'), so she should enjoy them more than the claypot chicken flavoured ones from last week.

The crab and pork chips have English texts. One can conclude that the company that makes all three does not expect to sell much truffle anywhere in the English-speaking world.
Or doesn't want the Dutch, Germans, and French, to snag the entire supply.
And the Flemish. They'd go ape. Gourmands.

Selbstverständlich there is NO Spanish or Italian on the bag.
No corn, no chili, no olive oil, no tomato, no basil.

After grocery shopping I retired to a friendly bakery for a hot cup and a delicious pastry. While despairing over all the mask-apathetic psychopaths (white people) on the bus and wandering about. A friend who was fully vaxed and boosted, and wears masks and takes all the sensible precautions, quite recently came down with Covid and is at present uncomfortable, self-quarantined, and scrupulously avoiding his own children and old folks.

Because so many elderly white fossils on the bus have ditched their damn' masks my natural respect for seniors has, especially as regards Caucasians, diminished considerably. As you would expect I have no sympathy whatsoever for people my age or younger who take public transit without masking up.
I smoke outside because I must. While doing so I always keep well away from other people, venturing off the sidewalk if necessary. Please don't talk to me about "second hand smoke" while you are spreading clouds of infectious droplet laden lung-exhaust because you aren't wearing a face covering. At the very least I will ignore your chosen pronouns.
And you might jolly well die accidentally.

"I can't understand it, officer, he fell against my walking stick.
Probably over fifteen times. It must have been a seizure.
"


My tolerance for fellow Caucasianse letting down the side is zero.

The post tea-time smoke was extremely enjoyable.
Red Virginia, fire cured leaf, and Perique.
A Comoy Sunrise Canadian.
Sunlight.



There probably should be a venue for crusty middle-aged farts like myself to smoke inside well away from sensitive people. Except that the last smoking establishment in downtown SF has, per a recent report, banned cigarettes and pipes, permitting only cigars, and now charges an arm and a leg for the privililedge.

That must be why there are so many old codgers dying of pneumonia and blackwater fever on the pavement nearby. They were probably thrown out.
Oh the humanity.

Somebody ought to do something.



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RUNNING WILD

As always I am baffled to find underwear on the pavement. Who discards their boxers while walking home late at night? And why? I can imagine an internal monologue: "damn these things are constrictive when I run, should have put on the extra large instead of the boys' size medium, if I don't get rid of them the cops and my school teachers will catch me, rip slash and yank, there, now I'm free, free as a bird, dammit they're gaining and will imprison me in the gilded cage again, aaaaaaaaaaaargh!" Quite likely the cops, teachers, and gilded cage were entirely in his head. Or hers. It isn't just boys who wear boxers. They became quite popular among teenage Japanese girls several years ago. Because, as you will readily understand, they are very comfy in their bagginess. So unconstricting!

Very likely the person who discarded them while out in the darkness was NOT a Japanese teenage girl. Those are rather rare in these parts.

Whoever it was may have been stoned out of their gourd.

That's miles more likely here.


Still, the idea of a teenage Japanese girl, stoned or not, deciding to rip off her baggy boxers, and she would probably have been wearing a skirt at the time, while running through my neighborhood at night, is extremely intriguing. It catches the mind.


While she was doing that, I was down in Chinatown having a smoke in a Comoy-made Sunrise billiard. And listening to the rising chorus of police sirens on Columbus, followed by a loud crash, more sirens, then running, and several cops shouting "get down, on the ground!"
Someone "brilliant" had thought to outrun the fuzz. Over a dozen police vehicles.
Crashed into another car at Broadway and Columbus Avenue.
Ran, apprehended in less than two blocks.
Not a Japanese girl.
It must have been a slow night. If I were a policeman on a slow night I would have gladly chased down a Japanese girl divesting herself of her baggy underwear while on the run. We're trying to run a family-friendly city here, and we can't have that! It's really detrimental to public order and preserving the peace. Could lead to all manner of miscreance!

People will think all kinds of things if you take off your under-garbs!
There are children out there! Impressionable minds!
Public morale AND public morals!


The rest of the evening was fairly normal. Burger joint. Tea on the mezzanine. Hot water while listing to horrible singing in tongues. Then bus back over the hill. The boxers were not yet on the pavement one block over when I returned home, the Japanese female delinquent juvenile had not been there at that time. She must have escaped from the chaperoned school trip later that night. A minimum security hotel.

Lovely tartan boxer shorts.
Quite femmy.


My own boxers do not excite me as much.
If anything, they're calm and reassuring.



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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

OLD PARKERS

Perhaps breakfasting on spicy chicken in clay pot flavour (蔥爆辣雞煲味 'chong baau laat kai pou mei') potato chips (薯片 'syü pin') wasn't a good idea. They were nicely zesty salty crispy crunchy goodness. So perhaps it actually was a great idea. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that woke my tastebuds right up.
Nothing like Chinese food for breakfast.

No, I shall not tell this to my doctor. Who is Chinese.

The secret to getting along with people and not being on the receiving end of well-meaning behaviour-correcting speeches is, often, to keep your mouth shut. As a medical professional she'd probably feel duty-bound to tell me about proper nutrition, and as a person of Chinese ancestry she might well have certain very strong opinions about food. To whit: Spicy Chicken In Claypot Flavour Potato Chips are NOT actually Chinese food (well, maybe they are for idiot northerners), and can not possibly ever replace dim sum or congee.

As a bachelor, I'm not very good about breakfast.

蔥爆辣雞煲味薯片

But I saw the open bag (with a black binder clip to seal it) in the teevee room, and recognized that it had proven too spicy for my apartment mate, for whom I had bought it, who is also Chinese American (Cantonese) and who is not a great fan of spicy things.
So I decided to take one for the team.
A shame to waste it.

As a Dutch American at home with spicy food, who speaks Indonesian (the language of spicy), as well as a gentlemanly sort of old fossil, I will throw myself on the bayonets of scallions and hot chili (蔥辣椒 'chung laat chiu') so that she does not have to suffer.
It's the least I can do.

Delicious.

Virginias with a touch of Perique and fire-cured leaf in an old Parker are also spicy, so after my first cup of coffee I stepped outside to keep her from being exposed. That, too, was sort of older Dutch American gentlemanly behaviour.
By the time I was ready for my second cup and second smoke she had left, so I opened all the windows, shut her bedroom door firmly, and loaded up one of my father's old pipes. Proper ventilation! It's gentlemany Dutch behaviour.
Mid-afternoon, lunch in Chinatown, and real food. The Cantonese people I know would have approved. Though the smoke afterward would set them askance. Fortunately there's usually no one nearby when I indulge. We Dutch Americans are discreet sorts.

The fact that all three pipes were Parkers just happened rather naturally, but that probably reflects something deep-seated and neurotic.

And probably Dutch American.



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COLOURED PEOPLE ON TEEVEE!

Sometimes (very often) I am staggered by the things that still live in American society. If anything, Black Lives Matter has shown that in some strata good old-fashioned racism and bigotry is still alive and kicking, particularly among "nice" Christians, honest salt-of-the-earth rural folk, and honest-to-goodness elderly retirees and douchebags in Florida, the sunshine and rightwing dictatorship revival state headed by supreme iguana Ron DeSantis.

The civil rights struggle did not end in the sixties.
And there has been some regression.


"Cut off some of these liberal things that are goin' on in America right now, we have these two minorities, we have these two minortities on teevee right now, listen, I'm eighty three years old, when I was a little boy the coloured people ... "
------Caller to a television show that actually had two minorities on screen


Yeah okay grampa, we need to put you to bed now. That caller was cut-off and is now yelling at the nurses about freezums of speech. While dribbling grey spit on his plastic bed liner. And no, I will not apologize for the sneering ageism in that remark. I've got grey hair and arthritis myself, so I'll say whatever I damned well want about the over forty crowd, just like I do about the under forty crowd. There are people in both of those demographics who need their heads examined. Cut into thin slices and slipped under a microscope.
There's something wrong there.

Listen, eighty three year old dude, when you were a little boy we put Japanese Americans in camps, Al Jolson was still smearing on blackface and singing 'Da Camptown Races' as E. P. Christie And His Ethiopean Serenaders ("doo da, doo da"), and black people couldn't vote in most of the country. Harvard had a "Jewish problem" and Irish people weren't allowed into country clubs.
That was also the day and age when freedom of speech was fine, perfectly fine, as long as what came out was white and Anglo-Saxon Protestant. No commies!


I would argue that there has been progress since then.
Things have improved a little bit.
Okay?



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YELLOW FOG

When I left the house in my dream it was after making sure that the tenants (all women) were asleep, or at least in bed. And I have no clue why I had office equipment and a full reference filing system in the closet. From Sacramento Street all the way down to Broadway the fog got thicker in each block; by the time I hit the cheese shop it was extremely dense and yellow.
I think I determined that it was because of the dust storms blowing in from the nearby desert, and that the yuppies drinking beer on café terraces were to blame.
As they were for the dearth of taxis.

It took a conscious act of will to make the cold sweats stop.

Probably one of the weirdest dreams I've had.

I've come to expect these.


My bloodpressure meds can cause constipation, diarrhea, stomach aches and digestive cramping, mood episodes, dizziness, intense dreams, and spontaneous miscarriages or female reproductive issues. So far, I've only experienced intense dreams, stomach aches, and occasional digestive cramps.


Given my age and gender, any spontaneous miscarriages or female reproductive issues would be in my head. Much like yellow fog, dust storms, and nearby deserts. My late lunch yesterday probably played a role (臘味煲仔飯 'laap mei pou chai faan'), and that really should not be surprising: preserved meats with browned onion over rice in a clay pot. It comes to the table hot so that you can pour soy sauce down the sides to sizzle the rice and form a fragrant bottom crust. It's an excellent choice, quite delicious and very Hong Kong, and a little too rich. Because I was eating alone I didn't order a vegetable. And unfortunately one cannot go up to a random person on the street and say: "excuse me miss, I think I might possibly order something to eat which requires company so that there is a vegetable and the meal is properly balanced, would you care to be beneficial to my digestion?"


There are two (2) reasons why one cannot do that: 1) My Cantonese would probably sound like gibberish upon trying to say something so long and convoluted, and 2) many random persons would either start screaming or yelling, and a few might burst into tears.
Some might even poke me with a sharp stick after I spoke.
Honestly, it's just not done.


A hungry behavioural psychology student majoring in middle aged eccentrics might aquiesce. But unless she has a big sign glued to her forehead, I wouldn't know her from Adam.
And she'd probably have the common sense to eat healthier in any case.


Next time, the porkchops on a bed of spaghetti with tomato sauce covered with bubbly melted cheese. That, too, is probably better shared.


Healthy feasting at a chachanteng might require women.
This needs to be investigated.




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Monday, April 25, 2022

THERE IS SOMEONE WATCHING YOU

From years of experience I believe that most members of the British Secret Service are left handed, sexually suspect, and have sustained severe neurological impairments because of bowling injuries. Nasty sport, that. Cricket. Not for sissies.
Either that or they have flashbacks to Malaya.
Years in the camps, you know.


Many British marketing departments were dense with operatives. Cricket players at school.
The American equivalents were filled with men from Midwestern universities; mathematically unskilled, football players, or jock-wannabees.

I have always felt that the marketing department people with whom I have had contact have always had personality disorders. Their behaviour and their sense of importance indicated that, and social contact with them proved interesting in a very boring way.
I have as much as possible avoided such types for a decade.
The past ten years have been far less dull.
Years ago I knew more about cricket than now. It was exposure to cricket fans and cricket players. The knowledge was protective colouring, of course. Because cricket is a fundamentally boring game, much more so than baseball.
Quite utterly pointless.


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CONNECTIONS IN A FOG

Strange intense dream involving Kaz and Mary, smoking Pease's Penny Farthing, and small freight aircraft -- both the Piper Navajo 31 and the Short 360 -- operating out of impermanent landing fields in remote islands. Balancing a need to stow containers firmly damn these idiots (tie them down; a shifting centre of gravity can spell disaster), with the sheer pleasure of an easy smoking Virginia ribbon, especially around tea time, cannot be beat.

An airport and a town that sound the same as a crow.

There are, if I remember correctly, three subspecies. In the Filippines one of them gave its name to a golfcourse, but almost all common names in the region derive onomatopoeically from the characteristic sounds that the bird makes.

Moist foothill forest and mangrove swamps.

There were brief bursts of activity followed by long bursts of nothing at all. The hours dragged by slowly, almost silently. A whiff of smoke on the breeze because further downhill they were using petrol to clear fields -- palm oil cannibalizes the world -- and small bitey things would wake you up at inconvenient times. Lots of weak tea.

Another smoke.
Crows are very likable birds. An old friend who spent some time in South American prisons for reasons that are complicated photographs the small colony of crows out near the ocean. Whenever I see those pictures on his Facebook page I hit 'love' underneath.
I really like crows. Their self-confidence appeals to me.


PENNY FARTHING
Virginia-Perique with a little Kentucky.
Thin ribbon cut.

Grassy, figgy. Enjoyable and easy to smoke. Can be loaded up straight out of the tin, but benefits from a little drying. When puffed slowly it is complex; a faster smoke turns it into monochromatic heat, so younger men will probably not like it very much. Probably best to avoid this if you drive sports cars. The spice and smokiness from the Perique and fire-cured Kentucky respectively shift this from mild classic Virginia directly into the medium camp.

In the right hands this is a richly versatile and flexible mixture that pairs well with many things; tea, strong coffee, sherry, American whiskey. Sings in old Comoy pipes.



Cleaned up two collections over the weekend: one from a crusty old fart with bad habits and mediocre taste, the other from a gentleman who passed away sometime in the past year or two whom I wish I had known in life. His pipes were well-maintained, chosen with a good eye, and he smoked decent tobacco. I spoke with his wife last week. She seemed to have some lingering slight regret over his tobacco use (didn't ask why), but she had never interfered with what was a sporadic habit that gave him great pleasure.

They were probably a wonderful couple together.



TOBACCO INDEX


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Sunday, April 24, 2022

WATCH YOURSELF

One of the things that I like, even very much admire, about my apartment mate, is that she is a profoundly decent person. Straightforward and very considerate of other people. Which is marked by an innate diplomacy -- she doesn't realize that about herself -- and discretion.
She is, however, far too likely to question her own actions.


As a grumpy and somewhat brash Dutch American, I do not have that nearly as much. There have been times when diplomacy and tact have not been my most marked characteristics in interpersonal exchanges. And I rarely undervalue myself.


In my case that sense of "I should have said" hindsight is often more likely to be "I should perhaps not have said that quite that way".
My apartment mate is less socially comfortable than I am (sometimes I'm a ruddy butterfly). But I would say that she is a considerably nicer person, and more pleasant to deal with.
Just don't be blatantly wrong and an idiot; there will be strongminded push-back.

I am more forgiving of (apathetic about) stupidity that she is.

She does not tolerate fools gladly.




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Saturday, April 23, 2022

FRONT SEAT ON THE BUS TO BLITZPAH

Several years ago, on a frigid day, my apartment mate -- who has needed spectacles since childhood -- peered into the distance and asked me if I could see where the bus five blocks away was going. With all the confidence and authority I could muster I declared that it was going to to Blitzpah. It was the fifteen third heading back to Northbeach.
The frigid air interfered with my eye sight.

In the past two years I've concluded that all buses in this country are, in fact, headed to Blitzpah. Because except for a few places, this country is somewhere else.
Which is not a place I wish to go.

And I rather wish that the distance between us were greater.

The "bush" is too damned close. And on occasion it visits the Bay Area, without realizing that it came to America from somewhere else. Somewhere distant, odd, and formless.
A place seemingly without books or edible food.
A great big ghastly wet spot.
Mildew world.

A zone with rotten floorboards, and vermin teeming behind the wallpaper.
There are many decent people there showing the flag and keeping the trogs at bay.

Sometimes they realize the enormity of their task.

And sometimes, we do too.



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Friday, April 22, 2022

MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN AND OTHER DINGBATS

Despite documented attempts to stoke a coup, the Republicans persist in bloviating their innocence to a willing audience of dunces. Trump, Green, Boebert, De Santis, and Tucker Carlson all continue to insist they did nothing wrong or morally repugnant, those were all sight-seeing tourists, god is on their side, damned liberals.


"She is now going through hell in their attempt to unseat her, just more of an election mess in Georgia, including the fact that they will still allow easily corruptible Ballot Boxes for all to cheat with, and have not been able to get a little thing called “Signature Verification” approved. Unlike other Republicans, this Governor does everything possible to hurt the voting process in Georgia, including his approval of a disastrous Consent Decree, and not calling a Special Session that was requested by Georgia’s Republican Senators. He absolutely refused. Both of those failures were a disaster for the Republican Party, and for our Country."
------An orange scum bucket


Oh suck it up, sewer brains.

We need to put barbed wire fences around Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Keep the dingbats out of the civilized world.


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Thursday, April 21, 2022

AND WOMEN OF GOOD TASTE!

So it turns out that one of my favourite tobaccos is a sexist pig. A statement on the label reads: "for gentlemen only". What? No ladies? It's an outrage! Actually, though I've been smoking it off and on for very many years, I only just noticed it.


BROWN CLUNEE
Broken flake.
Virginia with Perique, and the merest touch of Kentucky.


"For gentlemen only"

Perfectly suitable for a woman. Nuanced, reminiscent of fresh hay fields and summer fruits. Not a busy tobacco, nor overly complicated. A very good all day smoke for someone who is studying for an important test, or mentally preparing to defend her thesis againts a panel of sour old fruits. Medium bodied, minor hints of darkness. Slightly spicy, especially in the bottom half. Quite lovely.

Now manufactured under the Rattray brand for Kohlhase & Kopp by a factory somewhere in the wilds of Denmark. Charles Rattray's enterprise farmed the production of their tobaccos out to McConnells well before the war, and the entire McConnell portfolio ended up with K&K. Some of the things they put out under the Rattray label are ghastly products of very suspect Irish derivation that would appall Charles Rattray if he ever found out about them, as likely they would the pipe manufacturer whose house blends they allegedly were before K&K lost the contract. Brown Clunee is one of the original line-up, and remains a very solid smoke for respectable people. Ladies and gentlemen.
Lit up a full bowl around eleven o'clock. Good with that second cup of coffee. It would be a perfect rainy day smoke, but dammit, the sun is out, and the hail, thunder, and lightening, which they promised us, have not materialized. Oh well.

After a cup of milk tea and a pastry in Chinatown I'll probably have another bowl.



TOBACCO INDEX


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STOP BREATHING

California no longer requires masks on public transit. Good news for selfish people, yuppies, egomaniacs, psychos, and Republicans -- a very tight Venn diagram -- and so-so news for the rest of us. The chances of catching sick on the bus just went up.
Wearing a mask is something you do if you don't want to spread disease to other people, like the elderly, the immuno-compromised, and the very young. And white people have over the past two years overwhelmingly demonstrated that they don't have that level of social responsibility.

Even though I got my second booster shot, I shall continue to wear a mask in public and on the bus. One of the reasons being that I do not trust my fellow human beings worth squat. Another is that I would far rather not be part of a chain of transmission that puts someone six feet under. Which is a personal choice, I realize, and many other people will deliberately choose otherwise.

The next pandemic should be a real doozy.



The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has said that it strongly recommends that people continue wearing face coverings. Chances are that the overwhelming majority of non-Asian Americans will choose not to, gaily disrobing, dancing, and singing songs of freedom while breathing moistly in other people's faces. White people have always spread disease, we do that very well. It's part of our puckish charm.

Planes will be fun for the next few months; enclosed spaces, re-circulated air, Karens .......



Hospitalizations are rising in the "Freedumz" states: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
By the way: California, Hawaii, and New York have the highest life expectancies. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia have the lowest. Might have something to do with politics and religion.



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HAIL, COMPUTER MUSE!

Somehow you know you're "old" when a friend posts that he has a huge abscess on his neck which needs tramadol for now and lancing for soon. And then, before anything else, you look up what otorhinolaryngologists, otolaryngologists, and ENT surgeons are. After that someone else jumps in with a recent squamous cell excision on his own neck.
Thanks, guys, I didn't even blink.

The other thing that tells you you're old is when you review your own recent contributions to internet conversations and realize that you might as well be channelling for space aliens.


The following remarks are all 'me' centered.

It's good that you know the effects of alcohol on how you behave. Personally I've avoided pot for nearly four decades (doesn't do anything for me and wastes hours not doing anything), and for medical reasons I avoid alcohol now also. Mostly I rely on caffeine for a "high". And I'm probably insufferable at those times. But in SF 4/20 is a happening. I detest happenings. And crowds. I avoid Saint Patricks Day and Cinco De Mayo for the same reason. FYI: I have never gone to a rock concert either; loud noise, mobs of people..... mmmm, no. A nice quiet coffee shop on the verge of going out of business is my ideal environment. There are never enough of those.

My Calvinist ancestors would flip out and go ballistic if members of those other depraved heretical allegedly Christian sects tried to sing at them. And, essentially, bash them over the head with their own beliefs, about which they had, until that moment, kept silent.

April 20 (4/20) as is well-known, is the day when hippie Americans celebrate the glories of "alternative medicine". And tobacco is a cure for both migraines and haemorrhoids. As a long-time user I am mercifully free of such things; they plague Berkeleyites and other puritanicals constantly, I believe.

I clean up and restore used pipes. You cannot catch cooties from them afterwards, and it's unlikely that they will have any remaining taste of the tobacco that was smoked in them. If the inside of the bowl was in good condition after years of use it may very well be the best pipe someone will own, and provide many more years of excellent service.

Obviously it disguised itself so the lichen won't suspect a thing .................


My mother would be shocked that I'm wasting all my wordsmith skill on stuff like this. Instead, I should be offering a friend who is visiting Iceland linguistic tips on how to make friends among the locals and avoid getting clobbered by trolls.
There are a lot of individuals who look like this in Iceland.
It explains why they're so good at certain sports.
Everyone else there looks like this.
I have to wonder if my mother would have used social media if she had lived this long. In her day, it was still typewriters for theses, reports, story and article submissions, and handwritten notes for very much else. Plus mimeograph machines.




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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

PLUS BUCKETS!

My mail today had a negative balance bill from the utility company as well as one from my medical insurance. Meaning no money is due, because I (deliberately) paid in excess.
I'm ahead of the game. There's buckets left over. Buckets.

This is a situation I wish to maintain.

Especially with the medical insurance, because it is becoming more and more painfully obvious that the peripheral angiloplasty of the lower extremities will be desirable.
Put differently: my legs hurt, and need a ream and clean.
A friend mentioned that his dad had it done and was much more energetic afterwards.
Which sounds altogether jolly nice.


That brings up, more or less, the subject of chicken legs.

Which to the great consternation of at least two people were entirely sold out at the lunch place. One of whom felt the need to holler across the dining room to a friend who had just arrived that "there is no chicken leg for you!".
A bit too much glee in his voice. And he felt the need to also impart data in Cantonese, just in case his buddy was unclear.


鷄腳賣曬了喎!


They're sold out ('gai keuk maai saai le wo') entirely! Oh woe, disaster, heartache! Despair, wail, gnash teeth, and wring hands. While he was carrying on I gazed fixedly at the back of the woman who I knew was eating the last of the pan-roasted legs. Her companion normally has a leg, but today he had ordered the fish (龍脷魚 'lung lei yü'), and now I knew why.
Very gentlemanly of him to do so.
I felt like telling the old geezer going on about the chicken leg 冇辦法,聽日早啲嚟 ('mou pan faa, teng yat jou di lai'; "well whatever, just come earlier tomorrow, eh"). But I am not that confident that my Cantonese or my snark will be easily understood at times, and simply mumbled it to myself with a poker expression on my face. I'm good at that.
Plus I'm white, so no one expects Canto input from me.
I'll just sit here looking inscrutable.


Next week I'll show up early and have a chicken leg.
They have a tendency to run out.
Apparently.



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CAN WE ALL PLEASE AGREE ON CAKE?

This blogger approves of some lesbians. As well as some gay men. Adults of all mutual consent-driven sexual preferences, really. Provided they are normal about it and don't treat it like a handicap that gets them special treatment on the bus. Basically, whether an individual is straight or gay makes no difference to me if it never forms the subject of their conversation in gross detail. And as long as Bubba doesn't disquisition about the glories of Peggy Sue's glowing globulous boobies, there is no reason to even consider his choices.

People in Florida stress about such things.
This is San Francisco, not Florida.


That said, I believe I know two lesbians. That's down from an all-time high of a dozen. That they were lesbians became apparent when they introduced me to their significant others or their exxes with whom they were still on good terms.


There is only one person whom I know who is in between genders. They are part of a social circle that's a bit spread out now, but used to be much more geographically localized. Someone else in that circle has completely transitioned.


People's dietary preferences are a distinct problem, however. The fact that Joe cannot eat fish, Terrence believes gluten caused his psychological issues, and Vanquisha has gone all vegan, well, that's kind of limiting. And we shall not speak anymore of the person who kept screaming that non-ethically sourced beans were murder whenever we met for caffeinated beverages and high refined sugar content snacks. He/she/it is also on a high horse about sugar being colonialist exploitation and that anything made with industrial wheat flour supports the old white patriarchy and is oppressively Euro-centric.

They're a ball to be with. And naturally self-excluding.
Here's a picture of a slim person who might identify as female, of several possible ethnic derivations, who could be anywhere between fifteen and one hundred years old whose sexual preferences (and dietary weirdnesses) are completely unknown.


Let's assume that they are not a bicyclist in Marin County.
I would not associate with them if they were.
That's too sexual.



On an irrelevant personal note, I sure hope that they don't smoke over-the-top aromatic pipe tobaccos in their briars; there's just something just too sickening and depraved about a preference for such nasty things.
It's almost as questionable as pouring flavoured syrups or sprinkles on a cup of coffee.
Raspberry hazelnut lattecino? Twisted freak!



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POTHEAD DAY

Today is 4/20. Pothead day. Which means that there will be depravity and moronic behaviour in some parts of the city, and the rest of us will be sadly shaking our heads and pulling out our tazers. Plus the pepper spray, cattle prods, and riot sticks.
Naturally, pizza parlours look forward to this day.
As do donut shops and candy stores.

I don't.

And by the way, the Grateful Dead suck bollocks.

Fortunately, other than the dissipated boulevardiers on Polk Street, who go all degenerate at the slightest opportunity, most people in this neighborhood are calm rational people with self control. So I don't expect the stench of marijuana to be too objectionable today, and given that I try to avoid Polk Street because of the huge number of idiots without masks and their dogs, it will have scant impact on my life. Early lunch in Chinatown, followed by the search for funky potato chip flavours that my partment mate has not tried yet.

I cannot see the point of a substance that for the duration of its effect lowers people's IQs so markedly. Many people out there are already idiots to begin with -- that explains their voting patterns and driving habits -- but today, they'll all be "special".
If anybody asks me what I've got in my pipe, I may end up grasping them firmly by their neck and disquisitioning on flue cured tobacco leaves pressed and aged, with very minor amounts of dark fired and Perique to augment the flavours, plus carotenoids, polyphenols, esters, and terpenoids.


Smoking pot is a profoundly anti-social act.



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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 ...