Wednesday, August 31, 2022


My doctor put me on certain meds over three years ago. So I asked him at that time if, all things considered, I could still indulge in coffee. The answer was a cheery "oh go ahead, it's full of antioxidants, good for you". The news this week is that regular consumption of tea is a good thing and decreases the chances of dying. Which was already known, of course, but now there has been even more research. Tea also has antioxidants.

Coffee and tea are my recreational drugs of choice. I cut out alcohol entirely (could react with one of my meds to wreck my liver), and have changed the subject whenever anyone mentions tobacco. Because reasons.

Start the day with two cups of coffee. Maintain cruising altitude throughout the day with tea. Sometimes Hong Kong Milk Tea. More tea (strong) in the evening, or another cup of coffee.
One of the likely side effect of my medication is stronger more intense dreams. Combine that with the caffeine late in the day, and the results are ... interesting.

Generally speaking, both coffee and tea have beneficial effects on the digestive organs, in moderation. But the diuretic effects of coffee are more marked, the "high" provided by tea seems to be somewhat longer lasting.

That may account for so many office-Americans being coffee heads. They're full of something, which needs to come out. Coffee prompts peristalsis.
And they need to talk about sports for hours.
Or Real Housewives.

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Underneath a post written by God on Facebook about American tourists in Europe (yes, you can imagine what that was) I mentioned that us San Francisco folks dislike all tourists, generally speaking, whether they're Euries or Americans.

[In all fairness, when someone is acting normal they fly under the radar, and you can't even tell where they are from. There are tonnes of undercover Yanks in Europe, quietly enjoying the place.]

Francine P., from Sydney, Australia, chose to tell me I was wrong, and had a "sucky attitude".

Okay, add Australians to the list.

For several years I worked part time at a restaurant as cashier/bookkeeper. Europeans don't tip. The English sneer (and don't tip). Americans have impossible demands (and frequently don't tip). I often had to explain to the staff at the end of the evening that it wasn't that our tourist customers actually wanted them to starve, they were just odious people.

Australians, as is well known, are usually drunk.
And don't tip.
All of you talk funny, smell bad, and eat too much.
Plus you ALWAYS need to use the bathroom.
Please pee before you come.
Thank you.

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It must be open enrollment time again; the number of phone callers identifying themselves as contacting me from "American Senior Benefits" in the last several weeks has been incredible. And I have to give it to them, their telemarketing scam operation has hired the most diverse team in history. Men, women. Filippino and Indian staffers included in bucket loads.

Inividuals from all across the country, all possible backgrounds.

Desperate to get at people's personal details.

Such splendid enthusiasm!

Eight of the hosebags this morning. Godverdomme!

Very well then. Here goes:

This blogger is a black teenage lesbian who voted for Trump because she likes seeing the Republican Party slowly, agonizingly, self-distruct. She banks at Well Fargo, where she has multiple money laundering accounts, and owns a spacious ranch style suburban house as well as a fully equiped trailer on a sandlot, where meth is made.

Oh, and she's an antivaxxer running for the school board in Marin, former shaman and yoga instructor. Very spiritual, a vegan, into natural fabrics, kombucha, and ayahuasca.

Om, baby, om.

Personal mantra: Juicy burgers, crispy fries, and decadent milkshakes.
My 'happy place' is luxuriously wallpapered with inspirational posters from the seventies and eighties. Kittens in predicaments everywhere!

Meanwhile, from SFGate, this happy blurble:

Folsom Street Fair, Sept. 25

The legendary clothing-optional street fair that draws 200,000 fetish players from around the world is back for its 39th year — and what organizers are dubbing their “daddy phase.” The world-famous (and in some circles, infamous) fair is a celebration of all things leather, kink, BDSM and fetish with a mission to create a safe and inclusive space for alt-sex communities while centering equity for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people.


Oh, it will be fabulous! Low cost medical, funeral, and burial plans, covering one hundred percent of bagging me up and shoving me in a woodchipper. And an all-wood casket, which my survivors can use for stylish interior design projects or show and tell at school.
It's multipurpose and fully recyclable!

No, I'm not telling you my age.
I'm still young, bitch.

In other news, John who lives in Smyrna, is keen to show everyone his eggs.
John is older than I am. His eggs are fabulous. Not my favourite shape, but I appreciate his passion. He's already retired, him you should be calling. He'd cuss you out good though. As a former research librarian and a college graduate (besides living in the South), he knows opportunistic crap when he hears it, and can give you an earful about your scam targeting gullible old folks. I would love to hear what he tells you.

See you at the fair.

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The image that defines this month has to be the inevitable result of a vegetable and a distinguished British gentleman finally tying the knot: John Olliver getting married to a large green cabbage, with Steve Buscemi officiating. What makes it remarkable is that Britons and vegetables so seldom actually get along, except of course for the longlasting English love affair with canned baked beans. Or peas, when they're "eating around".

Soft lighting, beautiful music, a chapel inundated with flowers.
Steve Buscemi looking soulful and kind. Touched.
The cabbage looked lovely.

Oddly, no relatives of either the groom or the bride. I guess even in this day there is still a certain amount of bigotry out there. His parents probably don't approve. And his Aunt Ermintrude has a recipe for stuffed cabbages. Golubtsi. A beloved family heirloom.

[British version: cabbage leaves rolled around Heinz Baked Beans, lard, and mushy peas, nuked in the microwave, and served in a puddle of ketchup with limp fried potatoes. Exquisite.]

The range of vegetables in England is NOT very diverse.

It's a rather repressed enironment.

One of my favourite veggies just would not be tolerated.
Might send the natives screaming for the hills, convinced that there was evil witchcraft afoot or attempts to overthrow the class system and install a workers Soviet. The Welsh are taking over. Soon we'll be forced to eat parsnips and speak with a weird musical cadence. There will be cheese covered rabbits everywhere. The Scots will invade! Wielding haggis and blancmange! Repent!

Sorry, fit of free association. Don't know what came over me. First cup of coffee.

In any case, I wonder what the Brits would do with bitter melon.
Probably boil it in white sauce and serve it on Sundays.
A way of inducing repentance among the young.

Perfect for a candle light supper.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022


From a friend I learned that a local restaurant's baked pistachio crusted Brie was divine. The same friend, for some reason, now pines for liverwurst on white bread. So his food tastes are eclectic and very broad. Something I can well appreciate. Another friend likes Thai, Burmese, Italian, and once a week a cheeseburger at Sam's. Not sure how he is about bacon or caviar. Bacon AND caviar. The San Francisco sushi roll that has yet to be invented.

This is a preamble to mentioning the Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich. Something that has never till now cropped up on my gustatory horizon, given that there are several television shows which I do not watch, and have only grudgingly accepted hoagies and Philly cheesesteaks as, arguably, food.

Sometimes, a man needs a bucket of grease on a toasted bun. Especially after midnight when one is still in one's teens and twenties and had way too many 151 rum and cokes.

For the record, I am no longer in my teens or twenties, and never developed an affection for rum and coke, no matter what the rum was. That's far too centre-of-the-country-red-trash for me. Singlemalt Scotch, one cube. Which I now abstain from, as I do all alcohol, because it might combine badly with my pills. And a nice cup of tea two or three times a day decreases one's incidents of death, per scientific research over the past twenty years.
Consider having tea instead on your next riotous night out.
You'll probably end up dead far less often.

This isn't Chicago. We don't swill Malört, don't support lousy sports teams, and don't go back to our neighborhoods in the wee hours with high powered rifles for some casual drive-by shoot-outs, because we're civilized. Faugh on deep dish pizza. Inedible!

But we do have Chicago style Italian Beef Sandwiches.
Which sound like a nice healthy alternative to a bacon chili cheese dog for late at night. Might even be good for breakfast. I don't eat breakfast, because the best way to start the day is caffeine, nicotine, and bad news from elsewhere read with minor indignation.

An Italian Beef Sandwich (which is quite unknown in Italy) consists of thinly sliced roast beef simmered with its juices ("gravy", jus) served on a French roll with giardiniera (mixed pickled vegetables) and / or pickled Greek peppers (called Italian peppers, or pepperoncini), then sloppily augmented with the pan juices (aforementioned gravy or jus).

That actually sounds pretty damned good.

Add a squirt of Sriracha.

BY THE WAY: The last five spammers calling from "American Senior Benefits" (or: Services, Agency, Offices) were Alex, Jack, Wayne, George, and Michael. Must be open enrollment time again. Somebody should go all Chicago neighborhood drive-by on their rumps.

At least two of them sounded like Surinder or Vikram from some sleazy identity theft outfit in Hyderabad or Jabalpur. Where the monsoon has started. He and his colleagues are probably bored out of their minds with the rain and the Americans they're trying to scam.
Poor bollocky bakrichodes.

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Over the years I've subscribed to a number of smoking pipe pages and groups. The people most likely to irritate me there are, of course, the ones with strange and pretentious fake names and affectations, for whom smoking a pipe is merely a prop in their exciting identity. One of whom I used to know. Whom I haven't seen since he blew through his trust fund after dropping out of college. The local community has forgotten about him at this point, along with the albino space man, and bib overalls guy.

The person whom I sort of miss was the writer of gay detective pornography set in the Great Depression. Hard and gritty Noir, featuring a hero who smoked big BIG pipes. Big BIG pipes. BIG pipes. Like the writer himself. Who spoiled the effect by huffing cherry cavendish.

[Out of politeness I tried reading one of his tales once. Gave up after a few pages. Just as badly written as The DaVinci Code, but much better researched. The Bridges Of Madison County, written for sadomasochistic gangster fetish freaks.]

Trustfund guy had built his image on illustrious ancestry, fictitious membership in European nobility, and eccentric wardrobe choices appropriate to a nineteen thirties upper class twit.
He liked English mixtures because he believed them far more ruling class than Virginia blends (so so shopkeeper!) or Burleys (those horrid colonials).

[English mixtures are called that because they were often imported from Britain, where they had been invented. They have a significant inclusion of smoky Syrian leaf (Latakia) over Virginias (flue cured) and Orientals (small leaf resinous tobacco from Greece or Turkey).]
Being appalled at reality is something I can understand. But the real world is something one has to deal with, and one's coping mechanisms have to be a bit more practical.

Oh, and there's nothing wrong with Virginias and Burleys.
Some of them do make the world much nicer.
Great with a spot of tea.

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Monday, August 29, 2022


The price of French fries in Holland and Belgium has jumped considerably this year. Which, to anyone who has been there and seen the passion that those folks have for fried food must seem like pre-revolutionay conditions. A big paper cone of fries, sprinkled with salt, served with a humongous dollop of mayonnaise ..... it's sheer heaven.
Add several unidentifiable fried objects, a feast.
Kroket. Frikandel. Bami schijf.

I fixed myself a late lunch today. A rice pilaf with a generous amount of chicken, roasted green peppers, hot pepper paste, green curry paste, fried peanuts, garlic, ginger, and an egg. Sort of American Southwest meets Hyderabad meets Thailand.

Probably exactly as unhealthy as the Dutch fastfood feast.

Hot cup of milk tea and some cookies afterwards.

No, I'm not fattening up for anything.

It's just that when I'm at work lunch is dreadfully boring, given that there are extremely limited options in that stretch of swamp. Especially when one does not have a vehicle, and only half an hour to eat. So on a day off I might as well enjoy my tucker and give my cardiologist something to write home about.
Didn't get out of the neighborhood today. I've had too much social interaction over the past several days, when I would have rather growled and snapped.

A lot of speech is required at work. I am not really a talkative type. More scribblative, really. Do people still read?

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Years ago my regular job was at a computer company, and several evenings a week I was the cashier-factotum-diplomat-on-staff-and-general-eye-on-the-business-keeper at an Indian restaurant. Which exposed me to all manner of people and their problems. Punjabis wanting to arrange a marriage feast? We can do that! Midwesterners upset over the spiciness of dishes, including something which did not have any peppers at all? You'll get used to it! Europeans who did not understand why there was a service charge on their bill? Because you folks tip like misers who don't understand that the staff needs to pay rent, that's why. Englishmen angry that we don't acknowledge that the best curry is made in Pigbollocks, Sussex? Oh well.

Also Anglos slumming once a month on Indian or Mexican food to see how those people live and show off their machismo by demanding that we make it as hot as possible they can take it yessirree? It's Indian food this month.


That part-time job also exposed me to a device advertised in the local Indian press. The Wally Wash. Attach it to your toilet, and it becomes a bidet. It directs a stream of water upwards for perfect commodial cleanliness. Wake you up too, because it's cold baby.

Not sure what a wally is. But you have one.

One thing that became apparent was that Anglos and Englishmen demanding extra-spicy did not have the digestive systems suited to their machismatic demands. Please gentlemen, also have a bowl or raita on the table, and consider a lassi as the beverage instead of beer. Have chaval ki kheer as dessert. Tomorrow morning have some plain rice, cooked with a pinch of salt, along with a container of Yoplait™ and weak tea. And eat a banana.

The diagram above illustrates the area of your anatomy where chili pepper seeds may get stuck, especially if you do not normally consume hot food. You have probably discovered that, huh? Lentils with garlic are also a hazard for your delicate Scotch Irish digestion, and although this is not a factor in Mexican food, you should be aware that Mexicans from some areas often use hotter chilies than Indians. Oh, you've discovered that? Good!

Thais, and Dutchmen who eat Padang food, delight in you blowing yourself out of the water. Singaporeans and most Malays are gentler. Yucatecos, on the other hand, are savage.

The reason why this diagram has Chinese characters and the Cantonese pronunciation for same is because I had an appendix once, and the professionals down at Chinese Hospital ably took care of it. So even though I am a native Dutch speaker, and am quite as glow in the dark white as they come, I tend to think of my guts in Chinese.

Please pin the diagram to your wall as a cautionary illustration, and, especially if you are elderly Anglo Protestant bougie consider yoghurt, yoghurt beverages, and yoghurt dips for your bowel health the next time you eat Indian or Mexican food.
Or if I'm cooking for you.

Yeah, I'm baffled as to why I would be having elderly Anglo Protestant bougies over for dinner. It's an absurd concept. So forget that. I didn't say anything.

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Lindsey Graham promised riots in the streets if Trump is indicted. Which was meant as a threat. People naturally remember the last time right wing nutjobs whackos had a tantrum after a Trump setback. But times have changed. We're a democracy again, and if there are riots in the red states with their primitive societies we honestly won't mind. Imagine, for instance, a violent right wing riot in Miami. Or Houston. Quite the quandary, what?

Law enforcement in the red states is sodden with fascists and Nazi sympathizers. In some cases, membership in shadowy rightwing fraternal organizations is vital to advancement within the ranks. Exactly like the Highway Patrol in the hinterland.

Do they call out the National Guard?

Deploy prayer warriors?

This woman?
Yesterday I got to hear the old boys in the backroom hissing and spitting for several hours while soiling their sweat pants over those evil democrats and their shenanigans.

Just take your Metamucil™ and Kaopectate™ boys, and stuff it.

And please stop plugging the toilet.

Eat a banana.

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Sunday, August 28, 2022


Somebody tried telling me today that if I sat under a pyramid meditating I would recharge my spiritual energies and all kinds of super good would come of it. She was serious. Apparently someone famous did that, and is a saint now. And I should stop being such a cold rational person, but let the goodness flow.

So I told her I have a mantra that I hold in reserve for just such occasions:

"Om. Spiritual shit. Om. Spiritual shit."

See, the first part of that is Sanskrit. It's meaningful!

I fear this person will now never talk to me again.

That's okay. We'll communicate psychically.

Astral planes or some such.

Sometimes pointless conversations get started because I'm smoking a pipe and looking professorial. Like a wise old scholar or something.
Just because I'm smoking a pipe and radiating what someone else interprets as Gandalfian wisdom does NOT mean that I wish to discuss spirituality OR Witgenstein.

It's probably because my work is in Marin County that people park their spiritual jalopy under my aura. But if they're expecting jumper cables to get their vehicle restarted, that is ab initio a no go. I'd rather shoot it out of the water than help them kickstart the beast.

Someone else described in detail three dishes he had cooked recently, involving chicken, garlic, hot bean paste, and in the case of one dish chopped meat and tofu chunks.
That was far more interesting.

People who eat meat in Marin may be a minority.
They probably have very few friends.
My mouth waters for them.

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Regretably, I am in fairly frequent contact with the people who informed me that apple cider vinegar taken regularly would solve all my health issues. Ignoring their advice and sneering at them probably saved my life. Along with getting myself looked at by professionals who actually have real medical degrees. You know, the qualifications that take years to get.

I also ignored the morons who recommended acupuncture, chiropraxis, crystal therapy (rotfl, seriously?) past life regression, or rolfing. As well as the anti-glutenists and vegans.

In the past two plus years there have been a few anti-vaxxers.
Some of them have joined the choir invisible.
For which I remain grateful.

[They died for their faith, in a manner of speaking. Kudos, it's admirable. Stark raving bonkers, but sort of admirable.]

Because I work in Marin, medical morons and their alternative therapies are a conversational hazard. It's not that I distrust everything except accepted science automatically, but I trust my own in depth reading far more than bourgeois voodoo and spiritual meaningfulness.
Vaccinations and Roentgen have saved millions of lives.
Apple cider vinegar saved ... Ketchup.
BTW: "detoxing" is BS.

Every morning I head toward my row of pills.
I am still alive.

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Saturday, August 27, 2022


Dinner, as it properly should be on a Saturday night, is curry and rice with naan. All over the United Kingdom, people are eating precisely that. To be followed in their case by excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages, loud off-key singing, and a second dinner of more curry, more rice, more naan, and more beer.

Intellectually I like that tradition. The key element for me is that the excess consumption of alcoholic beverages AND the off-key singing is five thousand miles away.

Perhaps some raita?

For very good medical reasons I abstain from alcoholic beverages. But capping the week with a succulent curry dinner is a splendid tradition. And the only people here who drink like fish are fratboys and European tourists, not damned well everybody.

The frat boy types across the street are having a party.
They do that very often. Nearly every weekend.

There must be a load of bad drugs in this quadrant. A naked man stumbled towards me as I came home, and there's a man collapsed on the curb up the block from the dude bros and their party. Shan't investigate. We're only a few blocks north of the demilitarized zone here, and lord only knows what it's like further down. At least I can't smell marijuana.

Twenty something white boys spread disease. It's a known fact.

It's fifty six degree Fahrenheit outside at present. San Francisco is a different climate than the rest of the state. Low to high nineties in much of California most of the day. The turkey vultures circled lazily in the warm up drafts, licking their beaks over the suburbanites expiring from the heat or losing their minds down below. Soon, my feathered brethren, soon. Once the Miller Lite goes to their heads and they kill each other, then we shall feast.
Like our brothers in Texas, fat with rednecks.
Is there anywhere around here where I can get motichur laddoo?

I feel like something sweet to finish this repast.

Please, no singing, tuneless ones.

Morris dance!

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Friday, August 26, 2022


It startles me to realize that this week I made no drawings at all of my favourite caffeinated beverages! Oh no! What about tradition? My fellow coffee and tea mavens must be desolate. For which I apologize. So, in an effort to satisfy the neurotic masses, here are four illustrations from way back when.

Caffeine in all it's glory.

Suck it up.
I'm on my first cup of the day. There will be more.

Thrilling post title, don't you think?

I know!

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Thursday, August 25, 2022


Mooncake season is upon us. And consequently, the tables in the back of AA Bakery (永興餅家 'wing hing bing kaa') were fully occupied by packaging activities. Except for one with an elderly uncle sitting at it. When I joined him he asked whether I was having coffee. Nope, naai chaa.

The AA Bakery makes splendid mooncakes.
Their offerings are stellar.

[永興餅家茶餐廳 AA BAKERY & CAFE, 1068 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94108. 415-981-0123.]

The Mid Autumn Festival (fifteenth day of the eighth month) this year is on Saturday September 10. Mooncakes have been evident for the past two weeks, including the four-cake coloured boxes from Hong Kong, but the best are locally made.

For your reference, the most common types of mooncake:

純正蓮蓉月餅 ('juen jeng lin yung yuet bing'): no yolk lotus seed paste mooncake.
單黃蓮蓉月餅 ('daan wong lin yung yuet bing'): single yolk lotus seed paste mooncake.
雙黃蓮蓉月餅 ('seung wong lin yung yuet bing'): double yolk lotus seed paste mooncake.
純正豆沙月餅 ('juen jeng dau saa yuet bing'): no yolk red bean paste mooncake.
單黃豆沙月餅 ('daan wong dau saa yuet bing'): single yolk red bean paste mooncake.
雙黃豆沙月餅 ('seung wong dau saa yuet bing'): double yolk red bean paste mooncake.

One of my favourites is single egg yolk chestnut: 單黃栗子月餅 ('daan wong leut ji yuet bing'). I mention this in case you want to give me a box. Double yolk lotus seed paste also can.
The South China Morning Post had an article recently claiming that nobody really likes mooncakes, they just buy them because of tradition. Which was absurd on the face of it.
I didn't click on the article because I'm not insane. Chinatown is awash with the things. Each store has stacks as tall as a man of mooncake boxes. Even eateries which only have the most tenuous connection to baking sell tonnes of them. It's major.

There are over two more weeks to buy them. I might go ape.
Naturally I shall avoid the durian mooncakes (榴蓮月餅).
As will all reasonable people, I expect.

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Lazily I wave my rhinophores about, sensing what animal I shall eat for lunch. Curry. I'm thinking curry. Specifically, goat or mutton curry. Unfortunately, that isn't common to my environment, but I've heard of a place where it's fairly easy to get.
A small green-blue planet with pesky sentient apes.
Must visit.

Perhaps I can disguise myself?

They'll never notice me if I dress like a hippie. I'll look just like a native of San Francisco. And I've heard they also have hot sauce there. Goes well with cooked slaughtered caprids. Especially when served in an onion mustard seed coriander seed garlic sauce.

Not having hands might be a bit of a problem.
I'll get one of the locals to feed me.
Reward it with plastic.
Act natural.
Maybe I can just ooze gently over the dish, absorbing its meaty goodness? My stomach is my foot. I can crush my victims, then tear off strips and swallow them whole.

Must remember not to do that to the locals.
It might disconcert them, the dears.
Some of them are useful.
Mmm, tasty!

Rhinophore: A chemical sensory organ that is shaped like a rod, located on the upper side of the head. It can wave about. There are usually two of them.

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If the End Times come upon us, you can blame the Swiss. Those famously "neutral" Swiss. Who invented American food that even most Americans wouldn't touch. And I now know why European tourists in the city are so disappointed with our food. Not only do our Chinese and Italian restaurants NOT resemble anything in Bremerhaven, but even our "American" food is disappointing. So unimaginative, lah!

Our burgers, as but one example, are just grilled patties with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard, ketchup, and pickles. On a toasted bun. With a splash of Sriracha for the adventurous.

[Well, okay, maybe melted blue cheese. But they have that also. So what's the point?]

We don't grab life by the horns, as they expect us to, and put avacado, mango salsa, and sweet and sour sauce on everything. Kung pao corndog is hard to find. No grilled possum with sweet potatoes and mayo. No General Tzo'z crawdaddies over grits.

There is absolutely nothing to eat here!

Dammit, we're boring.
Fortunately, those canny (and evil) Swiss have invented dishes that the cowboys can eat. Bern and Zurich must be awash with cowboys. Maybe those are only folks from Arkansas wearing their native costumes, or New Englanders, but whatever. They will not starve.
As the heavens open up, fire comes down from the sky, and rivers run with blood.
Dr, Oetker is a fighter for truth, justice, and the AntiChrist.

I suddenly have an urge to square dance.

Because, culture!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Teatime found me at a bakery contemplating a great red robe (大紅袍 'daai hung pou'). That being the tea (茶 'chaa') which I had bought on a whim after lunch. In a beautiful crimson hued cannister. The manufactury is listed as being in Fujian province, Amoy city, think bright neighbourhood, lakeside middle road 160. 福建省廈門市思明區湖濱中路160號 ('fuk kin saang, haa mun si, si ming keui, wu ban jung lou, yat-paak-lok-sap hou')。Sniffing around tells me they are opposite The Green Light Picture Book Repository (綠光繪本收藏館 'lok gwong kui pun sau chong gwun'). Illustrated books from all over. Worth visiting. All of this is near Amoy West Harbour (廈門西港 'haa mun sai gong') and the Amoy Museum (廈門博物館 'haa mun pok mat gwun').

Large parts of the text on the tin are in simplified characters, which I don't read, and none of it is in English.


The manufacturer is given as 廈門茶葉進出口有限公司 ('haa mun chaa yip jeun chut hau yau haan gung si'; Xiamen Tea Leaf Import & Export company Limited). At the aforementioned location (福建省廈門市思明區湖濱中路160號).

There were, as you would expect, some words I could not read.

One in particular. In the compound "import and export" (进出口), the simplified character 进 in lieu of 進 makes phonetically no sense for a Cantonese speaker, and looks ugly.

This will not affect my appreciation for the tea.
I have not opened the cannister yet.
Probably tomorrow.

Great red robe is classically described as having dried leaves like twisted cord, variegated green and brown, yielding a rusty yellow brew, with a lasting aroma of orchids. It can be used for multiple steepings, gungfu cha style in a small earthenware teapot. Drinking it alleviates tiredness and benefits the circulation. I'll let you know if I feel like superman afterwards.

I am keenly looking forward to this adventure.
I've never had great red robe before.

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Literature, we are told, broadens our horizons and provides tools and structure for dealing with life, both the ups and downs. From exposure to another culture's great prose works we learn what moves them and has significance in their world. Which tells me that, in Japan, the monster that keeps getting up again behind you is the principal of your high school, preteen lesbian crushes with the cat daemon you live with are common, the smaller the child the more clever and evil its praestations, and good roast pork buns are better than breasts.
Or very similar to them. In any case, watch out for foreigners. Huge pork buns!

Or so manga and anime would have you believe.

I was in Japan once. Years before manga and anime prepared me for the experience. It had something to do with whisky. Strangely, no one there had cat ears or a large scaly reptilian tale dragging behind them under their skirt. But I just may have ignored all that so as not to stand out. I did not pay attention to breasts while there.

There are two internet-fueled "holidays" in Japan which are "unique".

August 1: Boob Day.
November 8: Nice Boobs Day.

Okaaaaay ... (steps back hurriedly from "Japan"). It does NOT help that the second day of August is 'Nice Panties Day'. That too is mighty disturbing.

The Japanese are a festive people.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Here, as an example of the healthier and saner side of Japan, is an intriguing clip from Sakamoto Desu Ga, a series about a cool high school student worthy of emulation. It presents a side of Japan which does NOT feature breasts, brassières, panties, or supernatural entities with unrepressed indecent tendencies.



All of this is pursuant a recent fondness for Funwari Sucre, please understand. Little snacky cakes that consist of a delicious vanilla creme sandwiched between two poofy biscuits. Funwari means "fluffy". So then, 'fluffy and somewhat French sugar cookies.

They are delicious and suitable for sharing with the perverted supernatural entity who lives with you in that surprisingly large urban townhouse over cups of tea.

I shall not speculate about your living arrangements.

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If you live in the north-eastern sector you will probably at some point start picking up some Cantonese. If you don't, doubts about your intelligence may be justified. At the very least "hello" (你好 'nei hou'), "see you again" (再見 'joi kin'), "thank you" (多謝 'do je'; 多謝晒 'do je saai'), and "please-thank-you-excuse-me" (唔該 'm koi'). As well as some swear words. Which I shall not put down here.

多謝晒你 ('do je saai nei'): Thank you very much for things or services given.

Crucial, on crowded public transit, when one is near a red button which will tell the bus driver that someone wants off at the next stop, are the following:
撳 ('gam') press or push with the fingers or the hand. 按 ('on') also to push with fingers or hand. 鈕 ('nou') button.
撳,唔該 ('gam, m koi'): please press the button, as I am desirous of getting off this packed conveyance where none of these idiots are wearing masks and some are undoubtedly spreading Covid 19 or monkey pox with gay abandon.
Once you have done so, they will probably say 多謝晒 ('do je saai') to indicate that they very much appreciate your efforts to help them escape the rolling Petri dish (培養皿 'pui yeung min') at an opportune moment.

[培養皿 ('pui yeung min'): a "cultivate and nourish shallow container" used in laboratories for funguses, molds, bacterial cultures, a cell culture dish.]

Yesterday I mentioned to two oldsters that there were seats further back, told one person that there was truly no need for her to offer me her seat, made space for two adorable little girls and their dad, who do je saaied me on the way out, and helped a four foot tall old lady escape the rolling Petri dish with so many maskless dingoes.

That was after tea and a smoke in Chinatown.

When out of the house and not puffing on a pipe or drinking tea I always have a mask over my breathing holes. I consider that good manners

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The most enjoyable thing upon returning home from the karaoke orgy every week is looking up the figures for confirmed cases in the US, and the deaths. It's an element of stability. And of course please note that on the bus to and from karaoke excess one can really tell who the San Franciscans are versus tourists and idiots: locals wear masks, yuppies, mental defectives, and visitors, do not.

Or at least that's the way it seems. Many of our twenty somethings are blithely overconfident in their ability to dodge bullets. Not surprisingly I am apathetic about the long term health prospects of such people. And at ease with the likelihood of Christians, Republicans, and troglodytes in the red states croaking at an increased rate over the next decade.
As well as large Caucasians who insist on singing karaoke.
I am not large, and I do not sing karaoke.

It was not always a karaoke joint. Somewhat over ten years ago, more or less, the owner brought in the machinery, and things took off like a rocket. The current proprietess has had two screens installed so that football fans will be happy, and I expect that will boom the business even more.

That sound you hear is me sneering. And scoffing.
Making a rude noise with my vocal cords.

I am a crude and heartless man.
Amateur crooning? Meh.
Sports? Feh.

What this world desperately needs is a late night steamed dumpling (蒸韭菜豬肉餃 'jing gau choi chyu yiuk gaau') place in Chinatown. WITH funky vinegar, soy sauce, and hot sauce.
As well as chili paste and Sriracha. WITHOUT karaoke or sports teevee.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2022


It is a well known fact that Asian women lead exciting lives filled with almost operatic drama, conflict, and near-misses in dented vehicles. as anyone who is familiar with Ranma ½ (らんま 1/2), nichijou (日常), and Azumanga Daioh (あずまんが大王) realizes. Well, Japanese women, at least. It's been documented. Hundreds of manga and anime attest to it.
That and penguins. They love penguins.

Other East Asian women are not like that. Korean women calmly eat live squid, Chinese women from the mainland and Taiwan practise dance moves in the park to lively patriotic music praising the great leader, and Cantonese women (especially those from Hong Kong) habitually win at mah jong (a game of both witchcraft and skill), which teaches them how to sing karaoke and open charming boutiques selling stylish handbags).

The latter I learned from Weibo and Facebook.

So. Yelling and fast cars.




Got that? It's kyu nin this year.
Yukari-san no kuruma.

As a middle-aged Dutchman it is of course incredibly hard to imagine myself inside the mind of an Asian woman. Despite the garlic flavour roast peanuts and the little Funwari Sucre cakes with vanilla cream filling I bought in Chinatown.
Mmm, they are delicious!

Never-the-less, I believe that Japanese women are excellent examples for all little girls to emulate. Far better than Barbie OR the "real" housewives.

"You won't trick me with that cuteness of yours!"

"You always say that in such a disapproving way."

I shared this with Shayne from American Benefits who was calling me from Connecticut this afternoon trying to sell me a low-cost plan that would take care of all my funeral expenses. He wasn't impressed. Sad.

Probably ate too many donuts.
Or he's married to Barbie.
Poor bastard.

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Naturally, as a sensitive man, I am capable of offering positive reinforcement and kind words that help you improve your self image. It's a remarkable talent those of us who occasionally think in Dutch have, because Dutch is like no other language a tool for soothing calmness, perspective, and warm sentiments. So it carries over into whenever we think or need to express ourselves in English. We are famously liberal and humanistic.

Positive! Life affirming! Also soothing!

Insight, wisdom, and perspective.

To readers who need comfort:
Okay, I stole that from the internet. Don't know which genius came up with it, but I suspect it was a fellow Dutch American, because it's just so spot on. He probably lives in this city.

There are many persons in San Francisco who need someone to tell them they are cheese dip. Yesterday I encountered a number of them while wandering about. Drug addicts, street people, downtown clerical workers, and religious people having sudden epiphanies. As well as tourists (Germans). Pilgrims in search of answers.

Du. Bist. Käse schmiersel!

Everyone needs to hear that. Spread the word. Go up to people looking at a map in public with that look of bafflement on their faces and inform them "du bist käse schmiersel".
Or, if they're older and must be addressed formally, "ihr seit käse schmiersel".

It helps.

Even if they're not German, but French or Italian, even Czech, which is also likely during the summer months, tell them that. Thanks to history many Europeans understand German rather well. And they are all totally cheese dip.

Aap panir smi'arha hain.

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In his groundbreaking article 'The Phenomenology of Selfness", famous Polish philosopher Wroclaw Chestenisko specifically refered to imaginary literature as a manifestation of existential angstism: "to be, or to be fictional, is the paradigm of modern machismus."

And by that standard, I have better existential angst than almost anybody. It defines me, and illuminates the dark corners of my soul. My angst dominates. And practically slaps everyone else's angst silly. Poor shrivelled little angsts.

And then a voice tells me "got to fatten you up for the turkey vulture". This was pursuant my thank you to my apartment mate for a tasty supper yesterday when she got home.
Tandoori murgh tikka, baingan bharta, and alu kulcha. Plus rice.

I had already eaten, of course, but to be polite I had a bite. It was delicious. The turkey vulture also had some, and was smacking his beak for nearly an hour afterward.

Dang that's one butch looking bird.
I think it's the captured loot.
Rare tobaccos. Mine.

Quote from the turkey vulture: "I like Chinese ladies because they have them thick ass legs, lots of meat there."

I think he's been listening to the apartment mate too much. She's always had a goofy idea that her legs are too fat. As a dispassionate observer I've always thought that that's nuts, but years of subconscious conditioning by the American fashion industry, work-out and sports promoters, and the manufacturers of Barbie, have had an effect. All of those propaganda channels need to hushy, because they are not making the turkey vultures happy.

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