Sunday, July 31, 2022

TEA AND A BISCUIT

Home at last after the workweek. A cup of a stimulating hot beverage, and a cookie. It is crunchy, it is chocolatey, it is sweet. And it tastes like sawdust. Because it is gluten-free.
No, I did not buy these cookies. She did. My apartment mate is sometimes culinarily optimistic, and like a crow; on occasion a pretty package will catch her eye.
Gluten-free. I wonder if the bakers are unvaxxed and hug dolphins.
Do they wear colourful Guatamalan hippie rags?
Are they spiritual?


If I had a fry-o-lator, I'd double dip and bread some bacon strips and nuke them to get that taste out of my mouth.


Maybe I should have a second one?


I think my apartment mate needs reading specs. She's Cantonese American, and normally people like her think that gluten-free is weird crap for crazy white people. I'm a crazy white people, but she ate most of them, so she didn't buy them for me. Perhaps she's trying to figure out how we think?
Yeah. Um. For gluten-free, I could have stayed in Marin.

There's tonnes of hippie food there.



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FLYING IN A FOG

The last conversation with my roommate last night before I went to bed was a long Asperger rant about her eldest sibling, which illustrated that he has inherited some of their mother's not-so-good characteristics. This morning while out smoking I concluded that he too must be on the spectrum. I suspect that all of her siblings are.
I also realized that some of my father's characteristics demonstrate that, though he was probably not nearly as deeply Aspy as my mother and my brother.
In his case, it gave him a certain charm.

Aspys mostly cluster around other Aspys.
Neurotypicals become Jocks.
While out walking I couldn't see the top of Nob Hill because of the fog. Precisely the same as when I came home yesterday, though later in the evening the apartment building there had been fully visible. The fog waxes and wanes, which is a result of wind.
The first crows were already audible.
I am quite fond of crows.

They're probably the neurotypicals that I most appreciate.


There were five of them feasting on a rodent corpse in the fast food restaurant's parking lot yesterday when I walked by. Although feasting may not be the right word. In a way that was very suburban bourgeois. Fast food dead rat for breakfast. Quite as nutricious and delicious as deep-fried McCrusty crap.

The thinking Aspy wakes up with caffeine and nicotine.
The Jocks of the world can have that other stuff.
Otherwise it would simply go to waste.



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Saturday, July 30, 2022

MANLY MYSTERIES, AND PORKCHOPS WITH CHEESE

What this city desperately needs is a chachanteng (茶餐廳) with all the delightful ambiance of the emergency room at SF Chinese Hospital. Where the clinic is located at which my regular care physician (whom I'll be seeing in less than a fortnight) works. Comfortable seats, well-lit, no blasted tourists, and cool air-conditioning. Once it heats up in San Francisco in another few weeks I intend to spend a lot of time there because of the air-con. The alternative is ending up there anyhow because my legs crapped out due to the heat and my blood-pressure medications sabotaging me in tandem. That, coupled with arthritis.

Should be educational.

No smoking on the premises.
This came to mind because elsewhere in this country it's hot as blazes, and there is nothing interesting to eat for lunch where I work out in the hinterland of civilization (southern Marin, the suburbs). I make stuff edible with a bottle of hot sauce that I keep in the company refrigerator. It's a vegetable, hot sauce. A man needs a vegetable.

The best that can be said about the place is that there is no monkey infestation.


When I head home for the day I can see the turkey vultures wheeling high above the tidal flats. Clearly they're waiting for us to toss one of the elderly fudgers from the backroom out after he's expired. "I'm not dead yet!" "Shut up you're not fooling anyone!" Eventually they'll be lucky. Hinterland dietary ennui will do at least one of them in soon, I'm counting on it.


Chachanteng chow in a sterile hospital environment -- quiescent old codgers, well behaved little kiddiewinkies, not a single disease-spreading tourist -- would be splendid. I'll just wheel myself out to the alleyway with my bottle of saline for a nice smoke afterwards, thank you.



The other great idea I had today was durian perfume (榴蓮香水 'lau lin heung seui'). Used as a surefire way to keep the tourists at a safe distance so that those maskless cretins cannot infect me with either covid or monkey pox. On the bus. At the beach. While gaily skipping down the street. At Starbucks or Peets. Durian perfume.

It's butch. It's "macho". It's ... tropical fruit.
With a kick-ass attitude.
It's genius.



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Friday, July 29, 2022

WHY YOU SHOULD LOATHE BICYCLISTS

One of the most charming things yesterday was the two little girls wearing baggy clothes to stay warm at the bakery in Chinatown. Short, unawarely pretty, and obviously fully sentient. Very intelligent eyes. Maybe eight or nine years old. Which I contrast with the tanned slag coming up the street outside my building later, wearing two tight lavender spandex obscene garments, one top one bottom, which exposed her belly and legs. Scoping out her texts on a cell phone with a blah dull expression on her face.

It may have been the pastries. Good things to eat makes Cantonese people come alive. They are fully vested in the concept.

I myself had a warm and crumblesome egg tart.
It was sinfully delicious.
Preamble to a smoke.

I will not suggest feeding the exhibitionistic blah slag pastries. Appreciating delicious things to eat takes an active mind. There was no evidence that she had such a thing.


I am in favour of with-holding good things from dull yuppies.
Because I am a mean-spirited old Dutchman.
I like charming things.


Because of the wind it was cold yesterday afternoon. At times bitterly so. I cannot understand people who insist on going around obscenely dressed at any time, far more so when there's a chill outside and the weather is quite unconducive to showing off what they think is alluring. Tight spandex is never alluring.

Spandex. Urgh!



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Thursday, July 28, 2022

THE CLONE WARS

Late lunch plus a pipe and errands, followed by tea, a snack, and another pipe. Seriously wonderful. Spoiled only by 太多唔佩戴口罩嘅死鬼佬 on the Muni bus. Two thousand people died of Covid in the last week, and the office drooges of the Financial district believe that they're immortal. I am as always surprised that we won the war.

These people need to be beaten savagely.

If the lawyers in the Embarcadero Centers weren't so fixated on having underlings to order around, all of their jobs could be handled by robots.



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WATER IS THE WHEATGRASS OF BEVERAGES

One of the last things my apartment mate did before leaving for work today was to perch the turkey vulture on the chair in my room on top of my laundry, swaddled in a shirt; a nice warm nestie. So I now have a carrion eater in there looking perky and supremely comfortable, and speculating to himself about life in the salt flats. Which he believes will be similar, but better. No, we won't let him go there. They'd beat him up and steal his lunch money. He's a rather innocent fellow; he still believes that tofu is a type of carrion, it's delicious!

Meanwhile, I am hepped on strong tea in front of my computer in the teevee room trying to ignore his happy noises.

Rickshaw brand black tea bags (車仔紅茶包 'che jai hung chaa baau'). Box blurb: "The Rickshaw Black Tea is a refreshing and strong aromatic cup of tea which is ideal for your hectic lifestyle, as it clears and calms your mind leaving you feeling composed."
My hectic lifestyle involves feathers.
But I am not alone in this.


The mother of one of my friends has started making toast for the neighborhood crows because she ran out of nuts.
The crows are probably delighted.



Routine: Coffee, smoke outside, coffee, bathroom, tea, tea, ponder food, tea, go get food, tea, tea, coffee, sleep. The number of tea is variable. Sometimes there is toast.

The number of pipes smoked isn't fixed.
But there's a predictability factor.



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WE'RE GLAD IT'S NOT THERE

Last night was densely foggy on Nob Hill. Dog walkers disappeared from view within a block of passing, the glow from the distant street lights manifested itself as orbs of light surrounded by purple greys. Remarkably, the sounds of traffic and noisy pedestrians on Polk Street were distinct even two blocks away. A night fit for man and beast.

This morning's pipe smoking walk felt moist. San Francisco summers are like Autumn elsewhere, the hot months are still to arrive. I expect the end of August through the third week of October to be insufferable.

Three years ago the heat coming in from the sun in mid-afternoon at one of the eateries on Stockton Street was surreal, which I remember distinclty for some reason. And of course my right leg is a vicious bitch in hot weather, painful and not quite functional, so I'm not looking forward to that. On the other hand, I often feel somewhat cold during the warmest part of the day nowadays -- probably scrawniness and bloodpressure meds working in tandem -- so it might be quite bearable. When it's one hundred and ten in Texas, it's ninety in San Rafael, and high sixties in San Francisco. There are mighty good reasons not to visit the suburbs. Everything between outside of the city is suburbs, all the way to Greenland.
Either that or Deliverance country and Mad Max.
Banjos, fast food.
Auntie with the gay pistacchio hued hat was doing walkies this morning, and deaf as a post uncle who always wears sunglasses was about also. A few dog walkers, some joggers, and people with cups of coffee bought at Starbucks because they can't make their own.

A bowlful of C & D Anthology to start the day. At this rate I'll have to open another tin soon. Perhaps I should check out what's in the shipping boxes from two years ago. I had shoved them in the hallway closet, to save for a rainy day.

Precipitate fog is "rainy", right?



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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED

Year ago Canadian Blood Services inadvertently let the cat out of the bag, by admitting that adorable vampire children were hungry, and ruthless. And there's probably one near where you live. Lurking. Waiting. Drooling. Ready to puncture your carotid artery.
Relentless and hungry vampire tykes.
They're roaming the country side.
Ravenous.

In other news, all Sichuan vegetarian dishes, if cooked by and for Cantonese people, always contain meat. As far as Cantonese people are concerned strict avoidance of meat is for crazy white people and Gujaratis (and other eccentrics), but not something worth pursuing.
Just eat around the bacon, white man.

Fish flavour eggplant and Ma Po tofu? Yes, that's one helluva tasty meat sauce.
It's achieved by using pork. A fabulous animal.



Meat provides iron, zinc and is one of the main sources of B12 in the diet. All of which are essential for healthy blood and preventing anemia. And studies have recently shown that meat proteins assist in maintaining cardivascular health and brain function.
Such things are important to young and growing vampires.
Be a mensch, think of the youngsters.



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BUT YOU'RE IN KANSAS

Facebook reminds me that five years ago I may have been obsessed with something that today does not interest me nearly so much. And do I want to share it? Quote: "Capital salad (“首都沙拉”, "салат столичный") differs from Olivier salad (“奧利維耶沙拉”, "салат Оливье") in that it has no carrot (胡蘿蔔). It is usually served at Russian New Year.

Ingredients: 熟馬鈴薯丁(cooked cubed potatoes)、胡蘿蔔丁(diced carrots),醃黃瓜丁(diced gherkins)、豌豆(peas, which are disgusting!)、洋蔥(chopped onions)、水煮蛋(hard-boiled eggs)、雞肉丁或火腿丁(diced chicken or ham)、蘋果丁(chopped apple)、蛋黃醬(mayonnaise)、鹽(salt)、胡椒粉(pepper)、黃芥末拌勻(yellow mustard)。End quote.

The latter is Huzaren Salade in the Netherlands, and available pre-made at the Albert Heijn or a decent deli near you. If you live in Kansas you are out of luck.

I would omit the peas.


In the entire five years intervening, I have not had Olivier salad, either in English or in Dutch. So I might as well be living in Kansas. This morning I woke up from a vivid dream in which the choices were a grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut, sharp grainy mustard, and a heretical squiggle of ketchup for colour, OR a frikandel on a long roll with chopped onions, Zaansche mustard, and barbecue sauce. I have no idea why I was dreaming about food, because I am not hungry.

What's peculiar is that I've never in my entire life had a frikandel dolled up in that way, which is not uncommon nowadays. In my day, your choice was with or without fries, with or without hot mustard, no bread product, okay boomer? The modern Dutch have gone soft.
For some reason which I cannot explain I feel like a Yorkshireman.



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A REMARKABLE TALENT

Other than forgetting to bring the cigarillos, it was a splendid evening. No stupid kwailo singing loud and bad at the karaoke joint, no intemperate behaviour (that may have come after we left), and much better music than usual. Although seeing Teresa Teng (鄧麗君 'tang lai kwan') on screen during her teenage years belting out a plaintive ballad in a deep basso profundo was slightly odd. The actual singer being 'Titty Groper', a short Cantonese gentleman with a thing for nipples.

Teresa had a voice like honey, mixed with dreamy girlish wistfulness.

Titty Groper sounds like a hairy big bull bear threatening the innocent.

If there actually was a performer who looked like a sweet cheerful kissy-faced teenage girl but sounded like that, she would be worth paying much to see. It would leave everyone feeling more than slightly unclean, but thrilled by the experience. Frisson!

He did three numbers, then Jenny sang an old-fashioned torch song.


There was fog. Wetness in the air. A typical San Francisco evening. The pipe for watching rats in Spofford Alley was smoked before the burger-beer-whiskey at a karaoke place, and after. No, I did not indulge in alcohol. The secret to spry perky middle-age is to have a shot of strong coffee before leaving the house, then a little soda followed by two glasses of weak tea. All that caffeine puts a spring in your step.
While my friend the book seller was getting us our various beverages, I secured a table on the mezzanine at our second stop, and saw the Broadway Idiot stumbling up the street from my vantage point. He's older, and a little more decrepit. I suspect more of his brain is shot than before. Conversationally he always was a pile of composting garbage.
So I'm glad I haven't had the pleasure of his company inside.

As I get older some people become less tolerable.



When we left I lit up my pipe, and finished the bowl of tobacco before the bus came.
The cigarillos were where I left them next to my rattan chair when I got home.


The one time I sang a Teresa Teng number at karaoke I massacred it.
People like me should not sing. Ever.



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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

YUPPIE KIBBLE

The great thing about being a pipesmoker is that, because smoking no longer is allowed in cafés, one does not have to listen to vacuous white yuppie zotsbrains disquisitioning about inane subjects. The enjoyment of an excellent mostly red Virginia blend with a modicum of Perique -- nothing at all like what silly Hobbits puff -- is quite undisturbed by the prattle of the spamferbrains classes. It was stupendous.

Instead, on the bus I got to listen to the porridge-brained law office dingo telling her friend on the phone all about what she had for lunch (steak tartare and bone marrow) and what she'll have for dinner (Mexican food), plus that she's been eating a lot of sashimi lately, which she washes down with saké. I would have turned around and told her to shut the bloody jayzes up, seeing as she was standing right behind me, but she wasn't wearing a mask, and I did not want to breathe her exhalate or smell her steak tartare and bone marrow mouth.

SF Muni busses are rolling petri dishes. Especiallyat rush hour when they're filled with twenties and thirties downtown office workers. If monkey pox starts spreading like wildfire, just like the Omicron variant, it will be because of those people.

Have you hugged a vector today?
No, but I was surrounded by a dozen of them. No masks.

I enjoyed my smoke before getting on the bus very much. There wasn't a single yuppie or brainless tourist on Waverly at that time, nor any of the skateboard jugend.
So it was absolutely peaceful and serene.


Cornell & Diehl's Anthology in a Comoy Tradition squat bulldog I've had for many years.



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THERE WILL BE TEA

A few days ago someone commented, in response to my stating that there was fog on Nob Hill, that it was perfect for tea and biscuits. Pardon me? It's ALWAYS perfect time for tea and biscuits. A flood is bearing down on us sweeping away all before it? Let's save the teapot and the biscuit tin and get out of here. A devastating plague strikes down all the dumbasses in Mississippi? They should have worn masks, gotten vaccinated, and had some tea and biscuits. And an asteroid is hurtling to earth? Tea and biscuits!

In actual practice, however, on my days off tea and biscuits might be several hours apart. Biscuits when I'm not working are an evening thing, whereas the tea already started before noon, a few hours before any solids.

At work I'll have a packet of cheap cookies on which to snack throughout the day.
That and copious draughts of tea keep the palate fresh.
It's a "life style".

Whenever I see girl scouts I inevitably think of tea.
It's those fetching smiles, that lovely table.
That overflowing box underneath.
Temptation!
Yesterday I was displeased to find that the chachanteng where I wished to have my lunch was overflowing with tourists, so I walked around a bit grumbling to myself and considering all the other options, and by the time I had circled back two tables of kwailo had left.
As well as one or two tables of normal people. I found a convenient seat.

Lunch today will be closer to tea time, because the place to which I intend to go to will have emptied from the late noontime crowd by then. Some other milk tea aficionadoes delay their mid-day meal because places without milk tea are not as appealing, and the food at those restaurants is healthier, far less of a guilty pleasure.

The place where I've frequently eaten after cardiologists appointments sadly closed for good several weeks ago, and I have another appointment in a fortnight. I dislike breaking with tradition. Chachanteng food is tradition. Often with melted cheese on top.

Perhaps I'll go the place which always uses too much cheese.
Probably won't eat all of it; it's excessive.
Their milk tea is excellent.



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STUBBORN DREAMING

A gentleman who was approximately my age stumbled up the street last night slightly tiddly while I was smoking my pipe. I myself gave up drinking a few years ago after I found out it could react adversely with some of my medications, and have not regretted that. Though there are times I miss the good cheer of drinking holes. Let's chalk it up to virtuous living.
That's the story of my life, really, please do not make any rude comments.

Since cutting liquor out of my life I've turned tea into a near-vice.
Most of the day I'm zipped to the gills on hot beverages.
Not quite insane, but it's close.

Start the day with two cups of coffee, with a smoke in between. Then switch to tea, punctuated with perhaps another pipe. Afternoon milk tea, another pipe.
Last cup of coffee or tea for the day and another smoke.

No problems falling asleep at night.
Thank you for asking.
Let's hear it for deceased gentlemen who stubbornly refuse to give up certain things that make life fun. It's because of people like that that there are some very fine books and pipes in my possession. The pipe above was made sometime before I was born. It had not been smoked when Marty Pulvers sold it to me nearly twenty years ago, for reasons I do not know. Sutliff, the company for whom it was made, became Grant's in the fifties after the proprietors sold the shop to long time manager Ed Grant, who passed away in 2003.

After a late lunch yesterday afternoon I loaded it with some nice Virginia flake tobacco, and enjoyed a quiet half hour on Waverly, occasionally dodging maskless foreigners and their berserk confidence in their own immortality.


I have no idea why whoever owned the Comoy pipe in the painting for so many years before I found it never smoked it. Perhaps like me they kept a few prize briars for the children or girlfriends that they never had. Or their spouse told them he or her was leaving if they continued that horrid habit one more day.



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Monday, July 25, 2022

ABOUT TOLERANCE

A chain of events and mental associations reminded me of a period several years ago which, in retrospect, I am exceedingly glad is over. Things are far better now, and there are fewer people around to irritate me, which is good, because I am somewhat less tolerant.
Also far less inclined to involve myself with causes and groups.

Nowadays, I prefer to sit back and observe. So if someone who has not involved me in their decision-making process engages in idiotic behaviour or fronts ridiculous ideas, it is extremely likely I will not say anything.

This comes to mind because of people I now no longer choose to associate with.

That was a mutual decision, though they may not consider it such.

I have, gratefully, no clue what they're doing.

Or what their lives are like.


There are other folks with whom I still gladly associate, and whose thoughts and activities continue to inspire and evoke feelings. Because despite an image of stern impatience at times, I am a rather emotional man.
I find it hard to make connections. Probably the key elements are intelligence and emotional similarity. Shared interests are also important, plus an absence of disapproval or intolerance regarding personal peculiarities.


My apartment mate is a very patient woman, and would very probably be the last person to consider herself tolerant, but she is. She's put up with my eccentricities for years now, and has shown great kindness and consideration. If I were to remind her of that she would exclaim "I know, dammit, stinky old toad" and glower. Because she does not take compliments gracefully. As neither do I.


She's a remarkable woman. I hope her siblings realize that.



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FUNKY PERFUMES

One of the old dung beetles will be returning from Arizona this week, where he has been for a month in connection with baseball. Naturally, some of us are thrilled to bits by this. I'm not. I'm wondering if he's become even crazier, seeing as he had gone down the rabbit hole and drunk the kool-aid. Full blown rightwing Trumphead. If he weren't Jewish, he'd be a Christian nationalist. No hint of a brain anywhere in his body. Probably left it fermenting on the floor of the basket weaving lab at Tamalpais High when he graduated half a century ago.

The thrilled crowd had no one to talk to while vegetating except sane people.
Even the old military man was absent. And the engineer had covid.
None of them have channelled for space aliens.
Which is a minor blessing.

Also, unwise decisions were made.
Involving interior architecture.

On the other hand, there have been pipesmokers. Whose conversations involved small cars, train lines, dungeons and dragons and other role playing games, food, and sheer insanity of places like Texas, Mississippi, and Florida. So that was in complete contrast to the people in the backroom, and I had a splendid time while the Christian nationalist Jewish person was off involved in baseball in the Republican paradise to the East, enjoying the hundred and ten degrees of heat frying the bacon that sits where his brain should be.
Hey Dan, welcome back. They missed you.
In fact, I spent the entire weekend at work feasting on Cornell & Diehl's Anthology, which is two red Virginias, a blonde, and a measure of Louisian Perique, compounded to celebrate thirty years of splendid tobacco achievements.

Holy g-ddamn' the tin note is funky. Fruity Limburger cheese. Which is especially noticeable when you are drying some on a small saucer perparatory to loading up a bowl. But the taste when you are smoking it is divine.

The blender, Jeremy Reeves had made a masterpiece.

Plummy, peachy, tangy, and slightly tingly on the tongue. Terms like yeasty and pastry-like come to mind. I'm having some with my second cup of coffee this morning, and at present the world seems very far away. I need to stock up on this.


Some people are reminded of citrus and vinegar when smelling the product in the tin, others detect hay, stone fruits, and candy. I get none of that; fruity Limburger cheese, emphasis on the fruit. Like someone decided to put several slices of that cheese on his apricot strudel and heat it briefly in the microwave. But after it's been dried to the right moisture level for smoking and lit up, it demonstrates an entirely different panoply of flavours. Slight suggestion of chocolate, all kinds of dried fruits, the spice rack after the cats have fought in the kitchen, sun streaming in through the window of the drawing teacher's classroom, language classes at school during the first three hours of the day, fine Belgian lambic beer spilled on the old plank floors of a bar in Eindhoven where the students from the technical university congregated, did their homework, and discussed Lenin, buying dusty used books at De Slegte in the centre of town near Stratums Eind on a Saturday afternoon in Spring.


When I was at highschool in the Netherlands I was always made aware that as an American citizen I represented an evil empire far, far worse than the Nazis and the Soviets combined. My classmates were charming that way, and took great pains to "considerately" remind me that everything I read was vile Yanqui propaganda. But at least I had read many of the great works of Dutch literature that they hadn't, as well as Asimov, the English and American poets, Dickens, Faulkner, Nabokov, Tolstoy. I must have been insufferable with my vocabulary.

My vocabulary is insufficient to describe the pleasure this tobacco gives me.
Despite my having many more words than then.
Reading is not enough.


I feel incredibly ancient.
And I feel young.



TOBACCO INDEX


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Sunday, July 24, 2022

CONTEMPTIBLE

One of my friends is gloating now that Steve Bannon has been found guilty, crowing that this proves something and there will be justice. What he overlooks entirely is that Steve Bannon will not got to jail for a long time, and if and when he does, which is doubtful, he'll serve two months in a minimum security facility with round the clock oversight to prevent him from being brutalized by other prisoners. After wich he and the other rightwing nationalist scumbuckets will proudly call that a badge of honour.

Influential white people seldom serve time, and rarely in a real prison.
Unless they've committed crimes of a sexual nature.
Or defrauded othe white people.

And sofar, all the sentences handed down have been wrist slaps.
Or meaningless tut-tutting.


What we really need to do is brand them for life and consign them to the galleys. What we are doing is bolstering their support among the bucket people and ensuring that when the Republicans regain control they will do precisely that to the Democrats. Who are acting like gentlemen, being procedurally totally, fussilly, correct, and largely, in two years of this crap showing indecisiveness on a monumental scale and a lack of leadership so staggering that they're losing their own base. The Republican scum are not and will not be constrained by procedural or moral considerations -- those are not things that have ever been of any concern to them -- and unlike the Democrats, who fear being found wrong by history, the Republicans are making sure that when their time comes, as through dirty tricks and manipulation it will, they will write the history books and outlaw alternate accounts.

I wish my 'friend' would shut the F up. Nothing has been achieved, and his silly victory dances are exceedingly irritating. His faith in the American system is utterly misplaced.



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Saturday, July 23, 2022

SUCH NICE WEATHERS YOU HAVE!

As I understand it, some of you are gaily disporting yourselves naked in fountains because of the heat, in hot tropic metropoles like Paris and London. Meanwhile, I just came in after a post-prandial pipe (aged Virginias, Perique), for which I had to put on a warm garment and a coat. Its 53 degrees Fahrenheit (11°C) and foggy. There are no naked people about. Wet or otherwise. That is far from disappointing, as nudity in this weather would be unhealthy.
We delight in the absence of a public sweaty reek.
Here in San Francisco.

Dinner was Chicken Tikka Masala, with two strips of bacon and generous dollops of two kinds of hot sauce. And rice. Washed down by strong coffee. Perfect for this weather.

For some reason, Facebook is filled with animals enjoying bodies of water.

Must be advertising the wetness elswhere.
While we have a drought going on.
No rain in ages.

This morning, when I headed to the bus stop on my way to work, I passed a gentleman with his pants around his ankles. I think he must have been channeling for an Englishman dealing with the weather there. Remarkable, because it was still cold and foggy, but I wish him well and a speedy return to wherever he came from. Where it's probably warmer than here.

I can feel my winter coat growing.
There's fur in strange places.
Between my toes.

Should be mid-sixties tomorrow.
It's a veritable heat wave.
Oh, the humanity!


All those people having heat in London and Paris need a break. They should go to Hong Kong or Mumbai. Enjoy some nice soothing typhoons or monsoon downpours.
It's good the soul. And there is no bus stop nudity there.
Or so I am told.



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Friday, July 22, 2022

THE ODD SOUNDS

The last walk around the neighborhood last night was cleaner and quieter than the first one this morning. As you would expect; overnight the flotsam has settled, there are slumbering figures in doorways here and there. Not all of them alcoholics who slept where they fell.
This isn't North Beach. Some of them had no booze at all last night.
Years ago when solitary people randomly talked on the street they could be very well taken for labile types in tune with their inner daemons. Then for a while there was a greater chance that they were on cell phones and reception was better outside. Nowadays, if it isn't someone hooking up at Starbucks or Peets, it's probably a nutcase. Best avoid.

The secret to not being bothered on the street in this city is probably talking to yourself, and answering back. People will gladly step aside.

I don't really miss the old days of creative types hepped on meth stumbling home before dawn through the fog of North Beach. But in a way I do.
It seemed a more innocent age.
More promising.



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Thursday, July 21, 2022

IN TOUCH WITH MY MEAN-SPIRITED SIDE

Slow relaxed day, enjoying the cool summery weather we often have in San Francisco while the rest of the world burns. The neighborhood on the east side of Nob Hill, very yuppie until it shades into Chinatown. Crazy man screaming on the corner of Broadway and Stockton, tea and a pastry, then walking in a wide curve around a skeevy streetperson on Waverly.
Both dubious people were white.

We tolerate them.

It's cheaper than sending them back to Kansas.

Kansas is a state with more Republicans than average, lots of religion, low educational standards, and a trailer park from Overland Park to Elkhart True Value Lumber.
One of the things Kansas is known for is crating up their crazy people in nice roomy boxes and shipping them out to the coast on freight trains. By the time they've chewed through the restraint devices and the wood planking they crossed the California border, and recapturing them is impossible. It's a neat solution to a problem and has the blessings of all the major fundamentalist denominations.
Had two bowls while I was out there avoiding rabid Midwesterners. Their less rabid more frequently bathed kin are in town, abundantly, and the main streets swarm with them.

I am always surprised that these people aren't anxious to reclaim their long lost kin gone feral and vocalizing on the main thoroughfares of San Francisco. "Why cousin Freddy, we thought you had jerned the baptists and wuz lost forever!" Followed by warm hugs all around.

When people hug in public here, either they're out of towners carrying the plague or wallet thieves. Cousin Freddy probably knows that. First lesson in urban living.
He may be crazy as a bedbug, but he ain't no fool.



In all honesty, I can barely wait for the tourist season to end.
So that all these ugly troglodytes can go home.
And stop clogging the sidewalks.



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THE END TIMES

The Book of Revelations, which was included in the canon of the 'New Testament' (also known as the "Subsequentium") only because bishops of the early church were drunk out of their gourd and tired after the long arguments at the council of Nicaea in 325, when they also decided on a number of other berserk proposals, very much like Republican conventions in several states this year that accept the divinity of Trump, his victory in 2020, and guns as a sacrament, describes the apocalypse in glowing terms. Signs of the coming of which are mostly tsunami related, but fire, blood, and Mitch McConnell are also mentioned.

It is exceedingly good to know that during the coming Sriracholypse some of us will not need to worry. Having read the disquieting news items several weeks ago and having adequately prepared for this event.

Texans, of course, are screwed. Many of them can't read.
Besides, they can't cook either. All of Texas Cuisine is variations of Frito Pie.
Which was invented when Lyndon Baines Johnson had to entertain foreign dignitaries at his ranch, after they had gotten their shots for dengue fever, malaria, and rabies.
Apparently the Queen and the Germans loved it.
They weren't just being polite.

One of my friends in Marin Country doesn't think that there will be a shortage of Sriracha hot sauce. Instead, he believes that rumours of an interruption in the flow are a liberal commie plot, and everything will be okay. Surely the fundaments of society are not unstable?

[He is, of course, a Republican. If he weren't Jewish he'd fit right in with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.]


Being a selfish sort I have not remonstrated at all with him on this score, unlike when he was hesitant about covid vaccines, because with him blithely unpanicked there's more for the rest of us to stockpile. Or leastways sensibly stock-up.

I might end up having to give him a bottle when disaster hits.

Keep the faith, baby. Things will be all right.


FRITO PIE

One LBS ground beef.
One onion, chopped.
Two 15 ounce cans tomato sauce beans ('Ranch style", or Hormel).
Two 10 ounce cans enchilada sauce (La Victoria).
One 9-1/4 ounce bag of Fritos Brand Corn Chips.
Two cups shredded cheddar cheese.
A generous squirt of Sriracha or dash of Cholula.


Preheat oven to 350°. Fry the chopped onion till light golden, add the ground beef and cook over medium heat until beef is kind of grey. Add the beans to the pan, stir to mix.
Sprinkle the corn chips in a bacon-greased casserole, reserving a large handful for topping. Layer the meat, onion, bean mixture on top of this, pour in the enchilada sauce mixed with Sriracha or Cholula, strew the cheese over, and top with the rest of the fritos.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for 20 minutes till bubbly.
Add scallions and thinly sliced jalapeños for colour.

[A shortcut is to use several cans of Hormel chili in lieu of the beef, onions, beans, and enchilada sauce.]


It's like something from a chemistry class.

Fresh salsa can be served with it.


Don't tell your healthcare professional that you eat this. They'll encourage you to join a cessation program, and questions will crop up at every visit and your yearly check-up.



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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

PREFERENCE FOR FOG

Not quite perfect pipe smoking weather but close. It's foggy at the top of Nob Hill, and although the folks at the bakery predict warmer weather tomorrow, it doesn't look like it. Almost autumnal. Of course elsewhere in California it's boiling hot, over one hundred degrees. People are wilting. Here in San Francisco its fifty three degrees at present.

And we don't want you to visit.


Question: how can you tell that someone is a kwailo?
Answer: Doesn't wear a mask in crowded places.

[Hasn't ever considered that people in operating rooms wear masks solely to prevent breathing infections onto the patient, NOT to avoid catching cooties from the comatose opened up person on the table. They're idiots.]



See, the average Kwailo doesn't believe in science, common sense, or any consideration for other people. That's all for pansies or communists. The American West was not conquered by being civilized, no sir!

If we saw someone wearing a mask back in those days, we'd shoot them.
Doctors and medical personell were scarce back then.
Tea-time found me at a familiar haunt, having a snack while watching a woman with pretty lips tucking into some chow mein with her aunt and uncle. Over at another table an elderly mother and her obedient son were eating late lunch. A solitary diner near the side door ordered beef and brocolli over rice.

They have good pastries and excellent cooked dishes. For some reason most non-Chinese don't come in. Which suits me fine. I'm quite okay avoiding most white people these days; there are far too many of them at work, as well as on the bus, and so many of them refuse to wear masks. Which, given that the pandemic is not over (nearly fifteen hundred covid deaths in the US in the last seven days), is both arrogant and stupid.
They're getting sick to prove a point.
Freezums!


The pandemic has given me the freedom to be far less tolerant of my fellow human beings, of which there are too many. It's going to be hard readapting to normalcy once this is over.



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A SACRIFIC AMERICA IS WILLING TO MAKE

Many years ago the Republican Party had decent people. A very small number of decent people still have some adherence to the Grand Old Party, for reasons which are utterly baffling, given that Republicanism for decades has been marked by ignorance, venality, opportunism, and some staggering batshittery, never more so than the present.


Quote:

No one will mistake Cox for a traditional conservative or a moderate. He has participated in QAnon events, promoted the Big Lie, slammed former Vice President Mike Pence as a “traitor” for honoring the 2020 presidential election results, and promoted hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as treatments for COVID-19.


------Jim Swift, in an article published by The Bulwark


Dan Cox is the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Maryland. He is an absolutely perfect representative of the typical modern Republican. And while naturally I think he's a despicable human being, best dealt with by tossing him into a swamp with hungry alligators, I applaud his advocacy of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for the Republican base. Massive doses. Getting Republicans intestinal parasite free will make the job of embalmers so much better, and the embalming industry is America's future. Embalming is a growth industry.
Let us solve America's economic crisis by ivermectinating Republicans.
Doing so will finally make us the promised land.


Make it free for church members.



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DRUNKEN EXCESSES

As usual, I am filled with kindly thoughts about my fellow Americans. Especially the tourists from the rest of the country. Who are, largely, mostly fat, white, and loud. From the Oakland hills all the way to the outskirts of New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, it's a giant rectum, with the sound of banjos. Deliverance country, speckled with urban puss-clusters.

The local media has been whining for months about people leaving San Francisco.
Which is fine. Eventually the place will be ours again.
Go ahead and go.


There were slags howling like maniacs at the karaoke place. Along with their admiring male companions. The bookseller remarked that years ago he had assumed that most women could sing. Sadly, he has been disabused of that; tonight's adventure confirmed all of his worst suspicions about the female of the species.

You know, civilized women don't get drunk and scream their damned fool heads off at karaoke bars, or head into the bathroom to visit god. This is a fact.

While I was finishing my smoke earlier, a female visitor passed me on Grant Avenue, loudly complaining to her companions that at least one person she dealt with today had not spoken English very well, dammit, it's the primary language in this day and age and place what on earth is the world coming to?

Sweetheart, my dang piles bleed for you.
Truly, you poor dear. And bless your heart.


Other than the ambulatory mental health hazards out and about, it was a fine evening, and had been a lovely day. Though it had been disconcerting to find three tables of Caucasians at the restaurant where I went for lunch, but I sat well away from them so as not to be infected by whatever diseases tourists spread nowadays. So I don't know where they were from.
Judging by their clothes and physiques, they were Americans.


McConnell's Red Virginia, Comoy Sunrise Billiard shape 110B, Earl Grey tea. Fog, cold moist breezes, glowing red balls in the distance, blue glowing things above the Financial District. Absolute perfection. Albeit with goobers in the mist.


Don't even think of introducing me to your aunt from West Virginia, and hell will freeze over before I go within one hundred miles of Texas. I am not that type.

I keep wondering how the hell did we win the war?
Maybe the Germans had a bad day.



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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

PERFECT WEATHER

The apartment mate asked "what is organza?" So naturally the resident know-it-all fellow (me) answered "a tough but thin silken fabric that passes light". Which is what the Chinese characters say. 透明硬紗 ('tau ming ngaan saa'). Which, given that the apartment mate does not read Chinese, and has but a passable ability in her parents' language (Toisanwaa from the area of Hoi Ping) is of no buggery use whatsoever bloody smart ass.

Per Wikipedia: "Organza is a thin, plain weave, sheer fabric traditionally made from silk. Many modern organzas are woven with synthetic filament fibers such as polyester or nylon. Silk organza is woven by a number of mills along the Yangtze River and in the province of Zhejiang in China. A coarser silk organza is woven in the Bangalore area of India.
Deluxe silk organzas are woven in France and Italy.
" End quote.

Related terms are 水光纱 ('seui gwong saa') and 水晶紗 ('seui jing saa'). Water glow silk, crystal silk. It is crisp, strong, and lightweight.


It would probably be perfect for natives boiling in the tropical heat of Western Europe right now. Several of my Facebook buddies are limply bellyaching about the temperature there.

When we were still living in the Netherlands, the one time it got over eighty my mother was hesitant about letting me out of the house. She was used to San Francisco weather, where the moment it passes seventy we call it a heat wave and start blaming Christians and other Southerners for the climate going all to hell.
Today the high in the city will be sixty six or sixty seven. It will be mid- to high fifties around midnight. When I shall be returning home from a late night smoke across the hill.

Sweater weather.


This morning during my first pipe it was cold outside. Foggy.
At present it is fifty eight Fahrenheit.


Years ago when I was in front of the office building having a smoke, a colleague briefly joined me and remarked on how chilly it was, to which I responded that it wasn't cold, only "crisp". Her reply begged to differ. "Crisp? CRISP?" You're outta your blasted mind you damned frigid Dutchman, it's buggery freezing out here! I'm going back inside, this makes me want to pee!"

It is well-known that cooler temperatures have that effect.

Peeing is good for you. It flushes the system.

The heater is on in the bathroom.

I have already peed.



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