Wednesday, November 30, 2022


After eating I lit up, and as I walked toward Stockton I passed a little girl and her granddad sitting on a ledge. The tyke may never have seen a white man smoking a pipe before, and now she has. And she had observed the antique sight with avid wonder. I flatter myself I still hold the interest of charming females .... even if they are shorter than my elbow.

The cat at the general dried seaflavour and tonic herbs place was not interested in the pipe, just whether the extended hand would scritch her behind the ears. Practical beast.
She had a very clear agenda. Commence scritching!

Remarkably, that doesn't work with human females. If it did I would never have to worry for company again. Food, maybe yes. The human female often has a voracious appetite.

There were TWO women at the table of old crusties when I got to the tea place after grocery shopping. And six men, four of whom are regulars. I've seen them there many times. One of the ladies was a semi-regular. None of the people at that table are under forty, most of them meet up at least once a week to have a bite to eat and enjoy each other's company. I do not think I've ever noticed them speaking Toisanese, just city Cantonese, but I suspect that they are indeed originally from Toisan. Most of the people at that place are.

The waitress always addresses me as "Fake Foreigner" (假鬼佬 'gaa gwai lou').
We've known each other for years, and I always speak Canto there.
She's rarely heard me speaking English (*).
And never Dutch.

That last, I think, would flabbergast her, because Hollandish sounds remarkably like someone coughing up a hairball to the naked ear.

Imagine the impact of Hokkien.
I do that too at times.
Not very often.
And badly.
Two pipes in Chinatown today. Both of them used to be my father's, which I had borrowed during an Autumn once when he headed over to London for a fortnight with his snookums, leaving me in charge of the house in Valkenswaard.
They were both safely back in his desk when he returned. He had had a splendid vacation. So had I. Some of the household expense funds had been spent on excellent tobacco.

Back then a young man smoking a pipe was far less rare than any one smoking a pipe in this day and age. Often the only way you'll see something like that outside of the sporadic meetings of a pipe club is if you look in the mirror.

As a teenager I enoyed Balkan Sobranie, which was a fairly full Latakia mixture, and people would take me aside to say "you know son, if you just smoked Clan (a mighty fine Dutch tobacco about which we cannot speak highly enough), you would probably have way more friends". Nowadays they simply tell me to stop smoking and they'll put away the can of Mace or Black Flag. I am adept at avoiding Karens, as you would expect.

['Jongeman, als jij Clan pijptabak rookte zou je waarschijnlijk meer vrienden hebben!']

No one in C'town has ever said 'F' all about it.
They don't have a bug up their ass.
Or a whiny white attitude.

* I can speak English very well, I learn it from a book.
I am a remarkable animal. Japanese?
Possibly Canadian.

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Years ago I was often irritated by the Operations Department yacking on, ceaselessly, about inane subjects for most of the day. Because they were hepped to the gills on caffeine. On the other side of the wall I was too. Tea in my case, cappofrappus for them. Because next to the lobby of the office building was a coffee place, there were three Peet's locations within a block, and five Starbucks. Also an Italian place, and a few other joints, easy distance.
It was the Bermuda Triangle of stimulating beverages.
None of them could resist.

I still know way too much about Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
As well as ALL the Real Housewives.

During the working day my tea is un-augmented. But on my days off I like a nice cup of Hong Kong Milk Tea. Which is overstrong black tea with sweetened condensed milk. Bold enough to send you up twenty stories on the rickety bamboo scaffolding again in a howling typhoon for several more hours of hard physical labour in the Accounting Department, tow that barge, lift that bale, count that bean. And tally the bananas. All of them.

In Chinatown it's actually not quite that strong.
Still good, though.

Heading out to lunch soon, at a chachanteng. Set lunch number three, cup of milk tea, pipe smoke, shopping, pastry and another cup at tea time, bellyache about the cold, another smoke, then home again, schlepping groceries.

It's not raining yet, though tomorrow it probably will.
I do not like smoking outside when it rains.
But the tea is an incentive.

Please imagine me at the top of twenty stories of rickety scaffolding with my pipe and my cup of tea, grumbling about all the diseased unmasked people down below safe inside a smoke-free atmosphere, breathing each other's stale air while puritanically whining about the faint, faint wisp of TOBACCO coming in on a draft. "There's smoking going on, where's my pitchfork? Take the kiddies to the bombshelter, the heathens are upon us!"

Enjoy your germ-laden indoor air, bitches.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022


There are times when I wonder what my average reader is like. Though an average would reflect several strains of obsession and neuroses, given that my subject matter has ranged from politics through bile and irritation at my fellow human beings, crash-landing on food, porcelain, linguistics, caffeine, and tobacco. As well as several other things.

My average reader probably likes food, milk tea, or pipe tobacco.

Very probably a monk who has taken a vow of silence.

And has a stuffed imp as a companion.

So I occasionally look at my blog stats to find out what he or she is reading most. And all that tells me is that there are strangely obsessive people out there who use the internet.


Sunday, October 06, 2019
As you would expect, this is about tobacco, specifically about a company that closed its doors five years ago, after a run of forty plus years, leaving a whole bunch of obsessive types bereft and wailing, "oh no its the end of civilization the apocalypse is upon us whatever shall we do whatever shall we do!" They have my sympathy. I have enough of the product stashed away that I'm not particularly discomfitted myself, but my piles bleed for them.
The post in question describes their products.
And is rather boring.

Thursday, September 08, 2011
Again, about tobacco.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Oh jeez. That. Step by step instructions. I am a keen observer of the human condition, as well as quite impartial. Some of you desperately need help. Some of the rest of you may need medication or therapy. Or a manga babe pillow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011
A festive Cantonese dish served at New Year. The ingredients, and how these are treated. The name of the dish sounds exactly like a good fortune wish.
Also excellent for other holiday meals.

Friday, November 04, 2022
Y'all reminded me of lamb curry. Which I like. There's a recipe in this essay and an illustration. Lamb curry is wonderful.
In fact, lamb curry would be a splendid change of pace from that dry tasteless bird for the holidays, and even your Anglo relatives will like it. Nobody in their right mind really wants turkey again, but a nice rich greasy lamb curry, glopped alongside some white rice, with a dish of sambal off to the side, and some chopped cucumbers to soothe the mouth, salty garlic peanuts for on top (or cashews treated the same way for peanut allergists), and pudding for dessert...... oh boy. Mango pudding!

Plus of course a nice cigar or a pipe afterwards, and some strong milk tea.
Enjoyed in the garage or woodshed, because of the non-smokers.
Who are probably all Vegans, and didn't eat.
They grabbed the living room.
And chanted.

Over twenty four thousand visitors this month.

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From a friend's Facebook post: "Public service announcement: if you intend to use a coupon, read every last one of the words on it and make absolutely sure that you completely understand all the terms and conditions prior to approaching the register. If you do not make sure to do this, *don’t* assume that your failure to understand said terms and conditions is somehow the cashier’s fault. It is yours. Entirely yours and nobody else’s. And if you want to talk to the cashier like they’re an idiot because *you* misunderstood something, please go spend some time withdrawn from society doing deep introspection about yourself."

Please note that this is very polite. And yes, he deals with idiots on a daily basis.

As do so many of us.
A friend who works in a bookstore deals with fewer of them, naturally, but he still gets a fair number, regularly. Let's face it, most of our fellow citizens should never have been let out of junior high at best, and many of them are functionally dumber than bricks.

This explains why cannibalism, inbreeding, and republicans are endemic in the interior.
As well as recurring problems in the suburbs.

Soap advertisements on television every day function as repetitive positive reinforcement. Without them, most people would soon forget to wash, deadly diseases would spread unchecked, and before you know it vast herds of happy bison would roam the newly unpopulated zone between Treasure Island and Manhattan.

There would be no more Twitter.

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My lord that woman is sharp-tongued! She was describing a fellow volunteer, who apparently is a "good Christian" and an absolute bitch, as is not unusual for good Christians. A person who signed up for the task, but hates the recipients and everyone there. My apartment mate is not a Christian. But does what she does because it must be done. Without bringing up her non-Christian motivations. She's been doing stuff like this for years. For the very finest of irreligious reasons.

The good Christian makes sure everyone knows that the only reason she's there is because she's a good Christian, but she would rather NOT be there because as a good Christian she really shouldn't have to do any of this, dammit, especially with all these people who are NOT good Christians, whose company is unsatisfying and whose input she begrudges.

Personally, I am not a good Christian.
I rather despise such people.

On the other hand, they let me to get up to speed on imaginative Cantonese eloquence.
So they do serve a purpose. If it weren't for all the good Christians, cussing as an art form might die out.

What's especially noteworthy is that my apartment mate does NOT have the right vocabulary, so all her curses are fantastical yet completely clean. She has spur-of-the-moment invented phrases in Cantonese which had not existed before. Whereas when I curse in Canto, it's genuinely unprintable. Consequently I stand in awe.

You will no doubt be glad that no Jesus was harmed during this.
No Jesus was even mentioned in any way.
Totally no Jesus.

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Monday, November 28, 2022


On the way home I got off the bus early. Partly because there were too many younger people (white) without masks, partly because I needed the exercise and wished to finish smoking my pipe. Younger people without masks on a crowded Muni bus spread diseases.
It's what they're good at, and seems to be their single task in life.
Especially during the evening rush hour.

Keep in mind that young refers to immature people up to thirty, just like middle age is anywhere between thirty five and eighty years old. A mature person can be any age.

Immature people older than thirty are just hopelessly stupid.
Probably bourgeois, Karen, and possibly suburban.
Also, they may be on Twitter.

I had chosen my post lunch pipe tobacco with forethought. So NOT the one in the photo below. Many reviewers will use the term "yeasty". By which they mean that it smells profoundly like Limburger cheese or, as a friend says, old sweatsocks. But it's actually a mighty fine product, sweetly complex, of which I will buy more ... so that my winter months will have a subtle perfume of the worst cheese in Europe. Enjoyed several bowls over the past three days.
Naturally I would be hesitant to take off the lid of this tin in a chachanteng, for fear that the staff and customers think me unwashed. The smell travels.

Instead, a red Virginia and Perique compound from Cornell & Diehl occupied the pouch, and was absolutely delightful after black bean sauce spareribs stirfried river noodles (豉椒排骨炒河粉 'si chiu paai gwat chaau ho fan'). I filled up my pipe after ordering, and the smell of 2022 Cringle Flake from Sutliff would have startled and chased away the person sitting nearest me, that being the teenage daughter of the owner lady, whom I never would have guessed to be old enough to be a 'mom' of such a person, as like many Cantonese women she has the skin and build of someone far younger than she actually is.

Which is a good reason to rarely go out to dinner with my apartment mate. One does not want to look like an elderly pervert pursuing a young innocent missy. She's not that much younger, but it looks like decades. And I myself often look like a rascal. Looks can be deceiving; I am more innocent than I seem.

The daughter had chosen that table not because I look like a harmless old dude, but because it was furthest from the door. Today was quite a bit colder than it has been.

It is in fact perfect pipe smoking weather, just right for sending your elderly old coot relative outside to catch his death of cold or pneumonia, which will speed up your inheritance unless he's leaving everything to the Christian Home For Cats. Highly advisable too, if he has a tin of Cringle Flake. Good lord, you don't want that in the house, especially not unlit. It smells phenomenal.

The tobacco inside looks like dark wedges of fudge.
Needs to be rubbed and dried before lighting.
The smoke is intensely rewarding.
Rich, complex, and soft.

NOTE: Both Sutliff and Cornell & Diehl seem to be moving into territory vacant since McClelland closed their doors. And doing so with commendable results.
The Limburger smell is purely coincidental. It's "yeasty".

Yeasty .....


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One of the things I really enjoy after a few days at work is NOT being on my feet all day. On working days when I go to bed the pedestrial part of me keeps me from falling asleep till one or two hours after going to bed -- twitch, throb, ache, and twinge -- during which time the legs are not worth living with. Circulatory issues. This is not something I wish to share with my coworkers, as I do not want them to think of me as a cripple. Which I'm not; the equipment just isn't in optimum shape anymore. This Dutchman is not as springy as he used to be.

The autumn of the body is a long drawn-out pissy grumble fit.

I am amazed at the energy of little children.

How do the little buggers do it?

Youth equals energy.

Oh yeah, no arthritis or wear and tear either. There's a gland that continuously provides the little pissants with sugar too, non-stop. Plus they've got rabies. If there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we'll have to shoot the small ones first; the older ones we can outrun.
Kids faced with the scene above would look forward to adventure and rambunctiously go off in several directions, happy to explore and face the bugs, dead leaves, broken branches, or build tree forts and whack each other with sticks. Adults know that there's a bear around that corner, plus poison ivy and a hungry mountain lion. Possibly rattle snakes. Okay, nice scene, but it might rain, and this is best enjoyed from a comfortable hostelry with strong cups of tea and hot scones. There are probably perverts and escaped convicts in those woods. And redneck hunters who will shoot at everything that moves. Let's go home.

Like poison ivy, little kids are best enjoyed from a safe distance. Fortunately as a crabby middle aged pipe smoker I do not have to worry about anybody dumping their offspring into my custody; I'd probably expose them to mediaeval genocides, matured Virginia flakes and other pipe tobaccos, chili peppers, and history books written by crusty old farts in European languages. Things which will occupy my mind today. I see no reason why little children should not know the joys of these things precisely like an adult.

Kid, did you know that if John Rolfe had not smuggled tobacco seeds into Virginia from the West Indies, the colony would never have had a cash crop to sustain itself? Without tobacco, the United States would probably not have come into existence, and no one would ever have had Happy Meals, ever. Now lets head out to a junkfood place for a snack.
Hot grease, garlic powder and salt, plus condiments!

Your parents do not need to know about this.
Care for a cappucino?

Your Dutch uncle is not a suitable babbysitter.
But you already knew that.

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Sunday, November 27, 2022


This morning Sydney Fylbert demanded that I take him to work; he would "weed out" the useless ones. When I informed him that no, my work is NOT a suitable place for a turkey vulture, he suggested, very loudly, that instead I harvest the fatty inner thighs of some of those useless old cocks for him to nosh on later.

"But what about their bled-out corpses afterwards?"

"Oh, just toss them by the side of the freeway. People have traffic accidents all the time".
And I must admit, there were moments during the day when I felt like doing exactly that.
Useless old cocks get extraordinarily loud when there's a game on the telly.

Still. Slaughtering an old entitled Marinite prick or two is bound to be messy. And bloodstains are hard to remove from carpet. I could have "harvested" the offensive blithering old Russian drunkard on the bus back to civilization, but there was enough liquor inside the fellow that his spongy leg meat would've gotten poor Sydney Fylbert quite sozzled, and that would have been counterproductive. I hope the busdriver has back-up when she gets to the end of her run. The old bastard was two thirds of the way down on his fifth of whiskey, and getting closer to finishing it everytime someone told him to shut the 'fruit' up. Actually, in between the up-shut requests, I could have engineered a sudden falling forward into the hard top edge of a seat in front of him without anyone being the wiser. Or least ways being a witness.

But I'm saving that for some other occasion.

Please bear in mind that at the end of my workweek I've had just about enough of entitled Marinite bourgeois dickheads.

Perhaps after the next team victory.

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Saturday, November 26, 2022


One of the senile delinquents in the back is convinced that the vaccines were all a scam, don't work, and are a waste of taxpayer money. He's done his own research. Another one thinks it's somehow connected to giving Ukraine taxpayer money. He, too, has done his own research. Both gentlemen have had the full vax plus one booster, and they're leaving it at that. And damn the Democrats.

I shan't be sorry if/when the dingdongs get sick.

Anybody who does his own research is more comfortable listening to an ignoramous than a professional. Skepticism has a place, but it should start with themselves. Neither gentleman is particularly literate or well-informed -- heck, they're Trumpites, so in several ways they're dumb as mud bricks -- and their friends are veering into their world .......

What with being a good Christian, I fervently hope that at least one of them croaks miserably within a year and goes to hell. All of them would be a jackpot. The closer it gets to Christmas, the more Christian I become. By the third or fourth week in December I should be damned well a Puritan, calling down curses and damnation upon those people.

Ain't Christianity grand?

Next up, earth flat.

[A few elderly white people are like that. No matter how often they are confronted with facts, they will continue to insist on fancy. Every attempt to bring them down to earth, every message that contradicts what they KNOW is true, is seen as further evidence of a conspiracy. Simply debating their assertions may mark one as an enemy.]

Some parts of this country are just so pig bollocks ignorant and stupid that I am continually surprised we haven't collectively reverted to the stone age. And some people are just so goldarn dumb that it's always a miracle they got their jeans on with the zipper forward.

I no longer talk to any of them if I can help it.
There is no point to doing so.
Nor any pleasure.

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Friday, November 25, 2022


The juxtaposition could not be more perfect: one article about a 27 year old woman worried that she might be ageist for not going out on a date with a man nearly sixty years her senior, another about a customer threatening to reveal her ultimate form and wreck a fast food worker. The eighty-plus year old man has already revealed his ultimate form, and the threatening customer is probably a weird and disappointing date.

[Microsoft Start bring up news items which it thinks the user might like. Sometimes it's spot on. Today it wasn't.]

You'll be glad to know that A) this blogger is nowhere near eighty plus, and B) there is no 27 year old in my life, worried about my ultimate form or otherwise.

Sixty years is too large an age difference.

Thirty is just about right.

[Blog author now ducks, runs, and hides.]

"Mom, Dad, this is the man I am going to marry. His name is Imhotep."

When I am old and knackered and in a wheelchair, someone will have to push me out to the designated municipal smoking area near the landfill or the salt marsh, far away from schools and hospitals, for my periodic enjoyment of a fine briar filled with a mature Virginia tobacco compound. Preferably someone who herself enjoys a puff, as well as the company of an adult individual (crusty old fart), and won't abandon me for the seagulls to peck at.

See, it's a well-thought out plan.
Finely tuned, with no holes.
Damn' near perfect.

The right woman is still missing, but I'm sure she's out there.

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Thursday, November 24, 2022


Today is the day we drop the turkeys from great height onto the parking lot, like sacks of wet cement. Turkeys can't fly, but they'll learn, sink or swim. We should try that with puritans too.
Heck, any number of people and things.

As you would expect, I am not screamingly enthusiastic about holidays.

If you don't have family, it's hard to get excited.

About the only thing I have planned today is afternoon tea and some vegetable shopping, and I hope I get to the bakery before all the Toishanese descend upon it and prevent me from getting a seat. Then a pipe, after which home for dinner -- my apartment mate is doing a roast, hence the need for veggies -- followed by plonking around with the computer.
Plonking on the computer is what the illustration above is about. The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Tiburon. A few hours of the Paint programme after reading the news. Derived from a photo, sort of Chinese landscape in style (which was quite accidental), and using stereotypic pretty pretty hues.

I've seen very similar stuff in photos and paintings by other people.
So it is in no way original.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022


Somehow I ended up in a conversation between the Turkey Vulture (small roommate type creature) and the Apartment Mate (who lives in the other room) about fatty inner thighs and public transit. He (the turkey vulture) says that the solution to ALL transit problems is not budget related, nor frequency, but more carrion eaters on the bus. So that when necessary they could trim the fatty inner thighs of certain passengers, thus making them look better.
And everyone would be more comfortable.

Which means that the apartment mate cannot use public transit. Her thighs aren't fatty enough. There would be nothing for the turkey vultures on the bus to do.
A waste of public time. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Me neither. Both of us need to fatten up.
He's hungry.

I may have incautiously mentioned the woman with the cane, shopping cart, and voluminous robes, who had a hard time squeezing past me, despite there being plenty of clearance for other people. A white Karen, obviously artistic, who would not shut up about how small the public buses were.

The turkey vulture has a neat solution for that.
And there would be distinct benefits.
Artistic Karen would fit in.

The more I think about it, the more a flock of cheerful carrion eaters feasting on the body parts of certain fellow passengers appeals to me. And there is an elegance to that.

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Tomorrow is when many people traditionally sit down to eat something nasty. It's a day for reflecting on your sins and being grateful that the good lord didn't smite you down as you richly deserved, but let you live out another year of your sin-filled existence, in hopes that somehow you would become a better person. Should've smited, if you ask me.

Be properly appreciative, you depraved person!
Here, eat a dried dead bird!

Both my mother and my grandmother grew up with servants, and didn't start cooking till in their thirties. During a time a time when food was supposed to be nutritious, unthreatening, and reflect a sober Protestant world-view. Good cooking was something effete dissipated Frenchmen and Italians did. In my early teens I read the entire Larousse Gastronomique, and started visiting ex-colonials ....... which kind of changed me. And of course I've loved sambal trasi ever since I discovered that it made ghastly meatloaf edible.

Or to put it differently, good food has spices and is juicy.

My dad cooked the holiday meals every year. Consequently, it wasn't till I returned to the States that I realized that meatloaf can be good, and turkey far too often isn't. And having been a resident of a single room occupancy hotel for several years during my twenties, I have sort of gotten used to not celebrating Thanksgiving.

Even when Savage Kitten and I were a couple after that, because of her queer family situation I did not have Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, but sometimes the next day we'd have roast duck. That all ended over a dozen years ago. No Thanksgiving since.
In other words I'm not vested in turkey with all the trimmings, a football game, and an overfed stupor while some members of a "family" go out and fight over expensive electronics down at the mall with the big box.

A celebration of Anglo Puritans down in Plymouth is not something a Dutch American with ancestry in New Amsterdam can really find himself in. We never should have tolerated you English dissidents, or your insane disapproval of everything outside your narrow world and your burning of people accused of witchcraft, or your horrifying personal habits.

By the way: Pumpkin pie, and cranberries, are incredibly nasty.

Tomorrow is a good day for Chinese food.
With lots of hotsauce.

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Dawn is later, dusk earlier. Depending on the direction a building faces that can look like it's about to rain -- especially if the street is cast into shadow by the buildings -- or something fiery and hot. It's not hot in November. In SF. Cool to frigid, and quite cold at night.

Because I am more sensitive to cold than I used to be, I see amply built folks as a potential source of heat, combustible at worst, and thin folks wearing shorts and a tee-shirt as criminally careless about their core temperature.

Sensible people wear clothes. Undershirt, overshirt, sweater, and a coat. Bra optional, and dependent on certain factors. The Mansierre or 'Bro' is still fictional.

Being a scrawny fellow, I do not need a mansierre.

But I would advise women to ALWAYS go for a bra, whether they need to the support or not. It keeps the nipples from chafing. How horrible it must be to have nipples popping, chafed and freezing in the cold, cold wind. If I were a woman I would not want that. I've been told that purified lanolin or an appropriate unguent can soothe painful nipples, or, if it's really bad, even hydrogel burn bandages, which should NOT be applied if the area is fully raw and moderate- to high-exuding.

And that's quite enough about nipples. This post is NOT about nipples.
For men they are of little importance in any case.
We don't obsess over them.

Went to one of my regular restaurants late in the afternoon, after a throng had left, of which there was still evidence. The only customers in the place were two old couples having early dinners and a Northerner waiting for take-out. Surprised the waitress by ordering 海鮮燴飯 ('hoi sin wui faan'; seafood ragout over rice) instead of what I usually get (涼瓜煎蛋飯 'leung gwaa tsin daan faan'; bittermelon omelette and rice), which also surprised the chef there, who realized that I had read the words. Lofan who can read are sufficiently rare that I startle people. Which is nice, because I am a very humble and diffident arrogant prick, and both don't and do like favourable attention, a self-effacing show-off. Lunch was a preamble to a good smoke. Pipe bought from Mary Pulvers two decades ago.
It's dark outside right now, and cold, barely forty degrees. I think I'll wait a while before heading out for a smoke. Should be better with the sunlight.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022


So let's see, America's Christians and Conservatives (two groups which overlap ALMOST entirely), as well as their preferred news source (Fox), energetically hate Blacks, Gays, Transgenders, Women, Asians, Mexicans, South Americans, Muslims, and Jews.
They aren't fond of poor people, handicapped people, or Ukranians either.

Is there anybody they like?

White men, Eastern European Fascists, Caucasoid Scandinavians, and Russians.
All of whom are, presumably, Christian, and "racially pure".
As well as obsessed with straight sex.

What's remarkable is that America's Christians and Conservatives assert that they are not nazis. Because a rational person might mistakenly think that they are.
It's a natural assumption. They realize that.

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Yeah man, it's Autumn. I know. All glorious colours and crap back East where they have four seasons AND White Castle Burgers. Plus New York Pizza, which comes in ALL those wonderful vibrating fall hues. Including cheese.

Featured prominently in this painting.
Being Dutch, I like cheese. Naturally. And I keenly miss it draped over tree branches and throwing long shadows on the hot asfalt in the late afternoon sunlight.

The wondrous seasonal colours of casein.

Oh be still, my beating heart.

The rest of you too.

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Monday, November 21, 2022


Twelve luscious chive and pork dumplings, a hot cup of yuen yeung, and wondrous praise for my mediocre abilities to read Chinese and speak Cantonese to boot. Followed by a pipe, while internally grumbling about tourists and the over-many Baghdadi merchants selling glittery crap along Grant Avenue nowadays.

Honestly, why anybody comes to Grant Avenue anymore is beyond me. There are a few old-time Chinatown businesses, and a plethora of camera-magnet-teeshirt places. The tourists don't patronize the actual Chinese stores, because they need magnets, zippos, cameras, cellphone cases, and gew gaws.

They do not need tea, porcelain, Hong Kong clothing, or alarm clocks.

While waiting for my plate of dumplings, I watched a Hispanic woman daintily shoveling fried noodles into her mouth. Just beyond her a Japanese family ate, nearer to me a middle aged Chinese American couple enjoyed a meal, talking English at each other and Cantonese with the waitstaff. Out of the corner of my eye I admired a Hello Kitty patterned overcoat draped over a chair beyond the row of potted plants. Pink, red, white, and grey.

There's nothing quite like a clean well-lighted place for dumplings.
I thoroughly enjoyed each juicy mouth-filling morsel.
Hot sauce, Chekiang vinegar, soy.
So good, so good.
If you time it just right, you can head down to Chinatown and back on buses not entirely crowded with maskless idiots. My tolerance for our gaily disease-spreading yuppish fellow citizens is, as you would expect, lower than ever, and it wasn't very high to begin with.

What I think I need is an emotional-support pit viper that will hiss threateningly at people not wearing their masks. Yeah, I know my friend Jonathan in Israel thinks that surgical masks are useless, and the danger from Covid has been overplayed to a fair-thee-well, besides being over, man, over, but he's an idiot in some ways, and has mental blinkers on.

He's not alone in this, but he is unusual in one regard; I still associate with him.
Albeit via social media rather than in the real world.

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It's one of those things you associate with a Cantonese grandma, old ladies selling them along Stockton Street for extra cash, and an itinerant old fellow with a woven tray walking along Gang Petjok near Taman Palewan same route same time everyday. Local recipes differ, but essentially it's meat chunks and glutinous rice steamed in a tight leaf packet, a simple lunch, satisfying also late at night: Batjang. Joong. Dwuong. 粽子 ('jung ji').

End of the rainy season, darkness, night. The tall bamboo behind Mr. Tansong's building creaks earily, and faint light streams into the kitchen. The bacang bought earlier from the street seller are on a plate under a basket, one in the steamer will be ready soon, there is chilipaste with fishpaste in a small saucer. Hot tea in the thermos flasks on the side table.
I'll smoke a pipe outside afterwards.

The additional ingredients vary, of course. The Cantonese like peanuts or yellow beans and preserved egg yolk, and often a thick slice of lapcheung, Fujianese favour dried mushrooms, and as a peculiarity in Indonesia and Malaysia instead of fatty pork belly it's often made with chicken or beef because of local sensibilities. Also, the meat might be shredded, and non-traditional spices added which after all these years have become traditional.
But the item is still recognizable in all its variants.
Great with a drizzle soy sauce.
Or a glob of sambal.

Never saw it for sale in Holland when I lived there, but "aunties" made it. So I happily recognized it in SF Chinatown, and South East Asia.
Most people do not make it at home. It's laborious, requires a skill set, and takes hours. Here in SF it's one of those things you purchase on a whim, often at bakeries or take-out counters, to bring home and eat when the mood strikes. Dump it in the steamer or heat it up in the microwave if you're in a hurry. Good stuff. Soul food.

So of course I'm not planning to eat it today. I think I'll have steamed chive and pork dumplings and a cup of milk tea instead. But I'll probably buy a few jung for later when I'm down in Chinatown, seeing as I have to visit my bank there anyway. As well as head out of the house to smoke, seeing as my apartment mate (who also likes jung, but calls them "doo'ng" instead, being a Toishanese speaker), is a fervent non-smoker.

I go to Chinatown a lot. It's an excuse to eat and smoke.

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One of the local bakeries is now making a Pudding Baguette -- 法式布丁包 ('faat sik pou deng baau') -- which I am naturally keen to try. A round baguette bulleke with yellow pudding inside which I'm guessing would go great with a hot caffeinated beverage. They're not quite local in a sense, two San Francisco busrides away, so a bit of a hike.
But a trip out into the avenues is justified.

On the other hand, I am still not ready for anything flavoured with pumpkin or pumpkin spice. And I am overjoyed that none of that sh*! has shown up yet in this apartment or my workplace this year. Or at ANY of the bakeries to which I go.

It has, sadly, shown up on internet pipe smokers forums. There are aficionadoes. Sick puppies. People who delight in ripping the wings off fairies. The seasonal smokers of pumpkin spice pipe tobacco.

Which smells like vomit.
A dear departed friend considered it perfect as an autumnal offering at the tobacco shop at which he worked. It took three years to sell through a ten pound bulk order.

If you want something festive smelling so that your relatives won't hate you during the holidays, go for Samuel Gawith's Firedance Flake, a very well made and totally repulsive over-the-top overripe mango fruitsalad and sweet liqueur concoction on a base of truly exceptional leathery pressed Virginias.

Allegedly blended for a woman.

I bought a tin of it once. Even after diluting the stuff considerably, the smell of Hello Kitty harlot perfume still dominated, and though I gave it the old college try, I couldn't get through the tin. Finally threw out what remained two years later, with no regrets other than pissy cheapskate Dutchman anger that I had wasted my funds on something so berserk.
Good god, what the Bulgarian hedgefund were they thinking?!!!?

They were probably thinking "let's see if the Yanks are crazy enough to buy this". And you know something? They are. Your relatives will totally love you.
They'll want you to stay over till New Year.
Hit of the party.

Christ on a crutch.

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Sunday, November 20, 2022


That Ms. Boebert hates living LBTQ people but loves them when they're dead is obvious, as she's campaigned against them, but tried thoughts-n-prayersing 'em after the recent Colorado shooting incident. She's typical of her social class in that regard.
Dead gays are useful for gun nuts, rightwingers, and Christians.

"We'll pray for them."

I'm sure you will, Bubba, I'm sure you will.

I am very glad the poisonous old rightwingers in the backroom don't keep up with the news and can't really read very well anyway. Even the retired lawyer, who seems to have "jumped the shark". Today was stressful enough without having to smack down elderly Nazis.
Think I'm exaggerating? Son, I've looked into their souls. They're shit.
They're very Christian. Even the Jews among them.

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Another fine day, in which to indoctrinate the young in transgenderism, satan worship, and witch craft. Early dawn in San Francisco. First twirl around the block this morning saw a jogger wearing shorts and a tee-shirt (it's only fifty degrees Fahrenheit) and a dog walker bagging Fluffy's pooh. And I note that the lazy eyed gentleman across the street seems to have driven off already, as well as the Irishman with the work truck on my side.

Seeing as they are probably not religious, I don't think they're getting chores done before church. The church nearby must be thrilled by the prospect of the Buddhist temple being torn down next year, by the way. Over the years I've gotten the impression that they intensely dislike their "heathen" neighbors, and just wish those people would go away.

Which is basically the religious approach to almost anything. Why can't "those" people just go away? As well as the fundamental rightwing attitude.

All of us "other" should just go away.

Sorry, that's not our intent.

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Saturday, November 19, 2022


This morning on the bus I realized that many people who were bearable in their twenties have over the years become more peculiar and crotchetty. Not me, of course. But Marin is chock full of those folks. It is the ground zero of Karenism. Karentude. Karenitis.

I work in Marin.
I live in SF.

Marin is a very spiritual place with lots of ethnic fabric, special dietary needs, and exquisite and refined taste. They are very artistic.

San Francisco is not a spiritual place. We have dogshit on the streets, tourists shooting up in alleyways, and we positively sneer at artistic stuff. We are coarse, vulgar, and unrefined.
And we have gluten. A lot of it.

There are some people who love Marin.
They're welcome to it.

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Friday, November 18, 2022


The news today tells me that Ellen Lee Zhou is as religiously batshit as ever (personal opinion: she could be worse than the evidence shows, far far worse), a hoity toity save the world magic bakery from the East Bay is opening a San Francisco branch soon (hah! We have PLENTY of good bakeries here!), and a rat infestation has shut down yet another grocery store catering to gluten-phobic wheatgerm freaks in the hipster part of town.

A rat infestation? What is this? New York?

As long as they don't shut down my favourite Chinese bakeries, French bakeries, and manufacturers of decent bread, they can have all the starving long-tailed Republicans scurrying around the floor boards as they want, it's no water off my duck's back.

By the way: I actually like rats. They're among the most intellectually curious of the small disease carrying vermin, and quite social. Republicans, not so much; call pest-control.

And the less said about bonkers Christians, the better.

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Thursday, November 17, 2022


A gentleman whose FB page identifies him as "Chronic food hacker, host of "Top Secret Recipe," author of 12 clone recipe cookbooks, tolerates kale" posted a photo.
The comments underneath by his "fans" were just chockful of racism.
Lots of typical Anglo sneers, along very predictable lines.

Just one more reason to give fly-over country the fly over.

厚味香辣館 = Delicious Taste Fragrant Spicy Restaurant (hòu wèi xiāng là guǎn). 厚味 (hou wei) is the actual name of the place. 香辣 (xiāng là; "fragrant piquant") is what they serve.

Having nothing better to do at close to midnight, what with my legs being rather insufferable and keeping me from sleeping, I checked out the FB profiles of the trolls. Very many of them were retired, a large number were Canadian. I'm guessing, based on that, that our neighbor to the north is filled with insufferable old blisters and ignorant savages.
Much like Texas and Alabama, in other words.

That wasn't my experience the last time I visited. But I went to Vancouver, which is far more cosmopolitan and cultured than Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan.

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The latest announcement from Mar A Lago is that the 'president-as-yet-to-be-elected' is NOT in a secret love dungeon with a zebra wearing a spandex body suit. This was proclaimed during an interminable screech tantrum by the beloved loser in chief with the small, small hands, during which kidnapped spectators were not allowed to leave, and kept quiescent by an army of private security guards with cattle prods. The absence of daughter in chief and weasely son-in-law in chief was not remarked upon, attendees had been advised not to do so or they would be next, and the hairy faced son licked his lips at the prospect.

The anointed one embraced everybody there with his all encompassing flatulence, and declared himself pleased to have their attention. Numerous Republicans openly wept.

A giant centipede sped across the floor and declared himself the winner of all elections, and the second coming, before escaping through a plate glass window.
Okay, that's not quite how it happened. But it would have been more interesting. Melania would have stifled her boredom, and the 'no-one-else-but-Trump-hallelujah' crowd would have lapped it up anyway. As it was, it ended up being "Florida man lays an egg", and 'oh lord may the crocodiles eat me now" for everybody intellectually more advanced than an Alabama Christian.

Normally I read speeches instead of watching the broadcast, but that proved impossible because of all the mis-spellings in the transcription.

I was looking for the recipe for charred beefsteak doused with ketchup.
Dammit, this came up instead.

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