Tuesday, February 28, 2023

ICONIC!

The four long years that ended in 2021 will be remembered for one image, in thousands of different forms. No, not the mob of ignorant savages rioting on January 6 -- one of our own failed mayoral candidates among them, bless her heart, she's just not very bright -- but a giant orange baboon screaming angrily about whatever.

Where I work there are several people who still worship his flabby ass.

Proving that you don't have to have a sexually transmitted disease to suffer from syphilitic brain rot. Sometimes it happens quite naturally. Like spontaneous human combustion.


But things have improved since then.


How far we've come!


Our present era will be remembered for something entirely different!
Another baboon screaming angrily about whatever.
Normally, I like animals.

I'm kind of on the fence about this one.
Baboons are close relatives of humans, as we are frequently reminded. They came down from the trees and invented Georgia. They've been known to occasionally use tools.

They have thickened pads (ischial calluses) on their protruding red buttocks. It makes sitting down more comfortable. Which is very important! They are frequently territorial and bad-tempered, and because of their body odour and canine teeth can be quite dangerous.

Please note the absence of canine teeth on this aged male:
He probably lost them in a fight over territory.
He's been in a foul mood ever since.


Oh, and the incontinence diapers are on too tight. To prevent accidents, please understand.


What the hell happened to this country that these two noxious examples have become the recognized faces of American politics world wide?
Greatest country on earth?
Hoo hah!



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NOT YET WEASEL TIME

The problem with the news is that it almost always includes thoroughly nasty or unpleasant stuff showing that our country is living through the worst of times, unlike the storied past when everything was fine and it was morning in America. Which is kind of depressing. And highlights how glad I am to live in San Francisco, where the food is decent, the people not too objectionable, and the natives aren't rabid, rioting, or down right repulsive.

California is a wonderful place.

Unlike several other states in this country, which I shall now gratuitously mention: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Those being dystopian parts of the country where Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert are idolized, Jesus is lord, and every rational person flees.

The rest of the world is not any better. By a long shot.

Here's a photo from Jesus country:
As you can tell, it's bloody awful there.
Riots outside the burger barn.


There was a lovely golf course on top of a military listening post in Mindanao I visited a long time ago. The first time, there was a gentle drizzle, it was only slightly too warm, and there were crows cawing a bit off to the side. Delightful in the light grey haze.

That wasn't the year I ended up at Rio Hondo for a while. Which smelled of tar and seaweed, and seemed remarkably peaceful despite the horrible poverty.

An airfield, an angry waterbuffalo, and insects.
Still, also a very delightful period.
An odour of kerosene.

An empty warehouse that ponged of copra.
And hot weak oolong.
Golden.

Westerhoven, end of summer.
Trees along fields.



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CELEBRATING WINTER

The weather service has put out a blizzard warning for the Lake Tahoe area. Do not go out. It's dangerous, even a short walk could be fatal, emergency services will be too busy to save your frozen rear end. Fortunately I'm not there but in San Francisco. And I'm not the kind of person who sees extreme weather as a surf or ski opportunity.

Far too sensible, unathletic and boring for that.

I will gladly leave that to more adventurous and exciting people, who run around naked and take designer drugs at raves. They will look totes fabulous in their neon-green sportsgear and designer ripped jeans frozen to death in the snow. Like colourful firewood, fuel for a harsh winter, combustible if kept reasonably dry. Despite their low wax content.

See, this is why you moved to California. Dude.
Excitement! And the modern age!
Plus the weather.

Critical period: Monday evening to Wednesday Afternoon.
I am ashamed to admit that I do not own a Speedo, tiger striped or otherwise, have no biking togs, and never acquired a Grateful Dead tee-shirt. I do not participate in raves, don't do yoga, and avoid both guarana and gluten-free.

Nor do I celebrate Santa Con.
Except negatively.


'Get away from the door, you drunken red pillock!'


I believe in subtle discouragement. If I could, I'd direct my hose to kids on the lawn. Especially if they're tattooed, or doing something "with it".


But I firmly believe that the next twenty four to forty eight hours will be perfect for snowboarding with a bottle of Fireball.


You could tweet about it.
Or TikTok.



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Monday, February 27, 2023

BRIGHT LIGHTS, HOT SAUCE, AND EXCELLENT COMPANY

There are times when I am a bad tempered old coot. Fortunately, meeting an old friend by complete luck while heading over to Chinatown for a bite to eat corrected that. Completely. As a result, I feel ten to twenty years younger and completely equitable.
Good natured, even. Do not laugh or I will slap you.

I asked him to join me. Had a good time. Lit up afterwards.
Was very glad we met on the bus. A bright spot.

As you may have guessed, at a chachanteng garlic sauce chicken over rice (蒜蓉雞飯 'suen yung gai faan') is basically strips or chunks of battered fried chicken sauced with garlic and stock, glopped next to white rice. Good, but not great. It's chow.

You don't go there for high cuisine.

One of these days I'll head over to a fish restaurant, or do a steamed fish at home myself.
An added ingredient that works well as a flavouring component, in addition to sliced ginger, pickled vegetables, paper thin cross-slivered chilies, and herbs, is coarse-chopped bacon. You will need less soy sauce drizzled over, and just a splash of sherry or rice wine. It's sort of a Jiangxi (江西 'gong sai') approach, suitable for freshwater fish such as that landlocked province on the other side of the mountains has in abundance.
Lightly oil the plate before putting the fish upon it for steaming. One could add thick match-stick cut carrot for sweetness. Cross-hatch the fish if it is thick to ensure even cooking. Steamed meats or fish release juices which are lovely for moistening your rice.


It's only forty degrees Fahrenheit out there. This is unreasonable weather. I cannot wait till spring is finally here. Until then, I shall spend a lot of time under the covers grumbling.



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OH MY AUNT

This morning I woke up with a visit from everybody's favourite aunt in my head: Drizzelda, with her fun parlour games for inclement days. It had not yet started to rain, and I did not need to go pee, so that wasn't influencing the dream. The rain started twenty minutes ago and will probably go on all day. I shall stay in, with the creatures (one-legged gibbon, rooster, obstreperous turkey vulture, rowdy piglet, various penguins, etcetera), amd pretend that all is well with the world. Well. Not wet. Been there, done that. I lived in the Netherlands from age two to age eighteen. I know wet.

Nor was the phone ringing. Usually there are two or three spam calls from India at that early hour. Maybe they've been snowed under, over there in Jullundur.

Everybody's favourite aunt is Hungarian. Still in mourning for Sigismund of Luxembourg, as well as Francis, conqueror of Transdanubia.

I don't know why her nationality is important; she speaks excellent English. But it probably factors into her gloomious personality.

She's a widow. One suspects self-made.
Personally, I am not much for parlour games. I intend to retire to the teevee room and spend several hours on the computer. Seeing as my apartment mate has gone to work, I shall close her door firmly, open a window for ventilation, and smoke a pipe while reading. Maybe even an entire chapter from my brilliant cousin's groundbreaking work about the art and iconography of the crucified god during the Carolingian period.


Lunch will not be delayed by the weather. It should have stopped raining by then.
I think I want something greasy and packed with flavour.



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Sunday, February 26, 2023

ATTACK OF THE KILLER PENGUINS

The streets of San Francisco are white, snow-covered, and filled with seven feet tall prehistoric actic gorilla birds pecking at the poor puny humans, who run in terror from this frigid menace! Oh, the penguinanity! I know this because due to an apartment mate who does not smoke I had to go outside for the last pipe of the day. Extra layers, and gloves.

This miserable weather is a communist plot to sap my my vital juices, I swear. But if need be I'll cover any assailants, communist or otherwise, with slime. Evil smelling slime.

[Vital juices are thick, sticky, and reek of chemical substances. You've been warned.]


I am determined to survive this.
I wearily trudge forth.
Ever further.

Betcha that folks in Palestine, Ohio, don't have to go out in these conditions.
Precisely because they've got evil smelling slime.
Oh wait, they had that before!
It's Ohio.


Okay, that's enough reference to current affairs.
Back to the weather. It is cold outside.
Significantly so since sundown.
Raynaud's phenomenon is an affliction that causes the blood vessels in the extremities to narrow, restricting blood circulation, usually due to colder temperatures. It does not affect most people, just rare geniuses and sensitive types such as, for instance, myself. It's a right royal pain in the gand, even though it does not happen there, but just imagine frigid digits prodding your glutes, though. The beginning is sharp tingling. Intermediate stages when it's around fifty seven degrees are painful, but only in the finger tips, which has happened nearly every morning for two months now at work. When, like at present, the air outside is forty degrees, my fingers first turn blue, then grey, then corpse white. Even with gloves on my hands hurt, and using a pipe cleaner such as one is wont to do while smoking, necessitates taking a glove off, revealing something that very well could have been fished out of the East River. This being San Francisco, I wonder should I set fire to garbage piled on the street to alleviate the symptom? Can I get away with that? Would anybody object? Oh wait, is that actually a shivering street-person covering himself with old papers to keep warm?
Sorry, dude, I'll take my firestarter tendencies elsewhere.


Other than that, it was a very enjoyable smoke.
Red Virginias, with a modicum of Perique.
Enjoyed in a curved Charatan pipe.
If I remember correctly, I first started getting Raynaud's nearly two decades ago. Nearly the same time as I acquired the pipe in the picture. No connection.
Yes, I do not like cold weather.



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PRETEND I'M YOUR DUTCH UNCLE

So Buzz Feed posted an article titled: Asian Americans Are Pointing Out The Stereotypes They're Sooo Tired Of Hearing, And I Can't Believe This Is Still Happening In 2023. It's a worthwhile read. Given that I speak three Asian languages badly, live in San Francisco (a diverse city on the west coast of North America), and worked for both a Chinese American computer company which had a number of Chinese American computer geeks, as well as an Indian restaurant (which also had a number of computer geeks), I found it interesting.

No, I am not planning to share it with my Chinese American apartment mate (who is also somewhat geeky); primarily because I don't want to hear (again) how white people are all a bunch of c*nts in some respects.

And, having been told to go back where I came from regularly in the decades that I've been back in the United States, because I just don't sound like you all, bless your hearts, Anglo American assholery is something that I've alread discovered! Abundantly.
Bless your hearts.


Yes, we are a bunch of c*nts in some respects.


Instead, I'll simply point out that Scott Adams' comic strip "Dilbert" getting dropped from hundreds of newspapers is freedom of speech writ large. Which naturally I support.
I suspect he'll now be featured in the print edition of Newsmax, if there is one.
Bless his heart.

Fox News, which is not in the news business, will probably decry the woke censorship.
Bless their hearts.

And all over the red states people will discover that they love that strip.

Bless their hearts.


Far too many people in this country are Tucker Carlson.


Remarkably, very few of them are Asian American.
Or black.



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Saturday, February 25, 2023

THEY ARE HEAT VAMPIRES

If we had been Florida, iguanas would have fallen out of trees yesterday morning and today. There was snow on Mount Tamalpais. That cold. But no falling iguanas. They aren't torpid enough here. Besides, our iguanas wear sweaters, and live in apartment houses.
Not mother-naked in meth-factory trailer parks.
This ain't Florida.

This cold better not last much longer. I shall write an angry letter to the editor if it does.
Damn kids, get off my lawn! And STOP making snow men!
Or whatever gender they identify as.

Snow persons with issues.


Snow men, it stands to reason, are rarely women.


And never iguanas.

The ideal temperature for an iguana is fairly high: eighty to one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Somewhere around the temperature of a human body. Ninety seven to ninety nine degrees.
Be sure to hug your iguana. Repeatedly.
For their toasty comfort.



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Friday, February 24, 2023

FREAK WEATHER

By the time I got to the bus stop on the edge of the Financial District it had started to rain. Panicked people who had left their umbrellas at home huddled under available awnings or started trotting. Having wisely decided to forego the stick for a brolly, I stirred up the ashes in my briar with leisurely carefulness, tapped it out, and ran the cleaner through the shank.
A pipesmoker consigned to the outer darkness to enjoy his smoke is naturally cautious.
And has gloves and something against the possibility of sprinkles.

A devil-may-care insouciance, as it were.

As well as a crappy attitude.

Fatalism.


Henry, Robert, Russ, and Steve had been at the bakery around tea time, talking about Hong Kong, an upcoming trip to Shanghai, and the old walled city of Kowloon (an imperial enclave up to the nineties), which was demolished by Spring of 1994. All four gentlemen are looking forward to traveling this year. One of them already has.

They left at roughly the same time. My pipe took approximately forty minutes, and the temperature was absurdly cold.

And, as I mentioned, it started to rain at the tail end.

Yesterday evening the blizzard made Sacramento Street impassable, the muni bus got stuck halfway to the summit of Nob Hill, and in our frantic desperation we re-enacted the Donner Party. Some of us with considerably more enthusiasm than others. Not me, as I am a restrained man, but I happily shared my bottle of hot sauce.

Nothing says 'chin up, we'll survive, we'll get through this together (more or less)' than a shared bottle of flaming red chili gloop. For those that survive.


Exclamation: "Oh, the humanity!"


It was horribly cold. And intermittently rainy all night. I'll be glad when this weather is over and low to mid-fifties returns. There were moments yesterday when my fingers were blue, even with gloves. And maybe even high fifties! Hurrah!


Well, it will be better than dengue and hurricanes, which is what The South gets.
And we don't have alligators killing our old people.
Or Ron De Santis.



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Thursday, February 23, 2023

THE DERANGED RABBLE

In reference to MTG, someone on Facebook opined that she's a deranged rabble rouser. Well, yes. There's a lot of deranged rabble in this country. So I for one welcome the invasion of highly intelligent super pigs that's been mentioned in the news lately, and can hardly wait till they've eaten their way all across the Midwest and down into the panhandle.
By which time they should have acquired guns.

Riffing off other news on Facebook: corgis are the new measuring standard in the United States. A highly intelligent super pig is the length of three to five corgis. Over in Europe they're using metric, but we're Americans and don't do that.

Like healthcare, metric is communist.


Just take some Pepto Bismol and buck up, you girlie man! You don't need healthcare when you're in a red state. Prayer, boy, and a full tank of gas!


Fortunately, the Indian purple pig-nosed frog is not invading.

Yet.
If they do, we're done for. Imagine "ribbit, ribbit" in the accents of the last Kevin, Michael, and Shelby who called you to ask about your healthcare parts A and B, end of life funeral insurance, extended warranty, and how your computer is functioning.
Remarkably, they were in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
According to caller ID.


Fear the Indian purple pig-nosed frog! It's super intelligent, and good at math.
In any case, smarter than some dumb old redneck frog.



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GENERAL YANG'S VEGAN CHICKEN

Ben Stein misses the brand of pancake syrup with the large happy black woman on the label. And I feel his pain. I miss the brand of tofu with the shrimpy white dude. Marin Hippy Farms sloppy soybean crap, made with lots of positive vibes and nurturing thoughts by gluten-free Caucasian spiritual people wearing tie-dye.

The feels, man.

During my years at the Indian restaurant, we put a tofu dish on the menu. Predictably, the only person who ever ordered it (in nearly ten months) was white.

By that time the tofu had gone bad.


There aren't enough stupid white people to sell stuff like that. The owner sadly thought that there would be more of them. But spiritual white people stay away from flavour; they find it highly suspect. Tofu sandwiches. Gluten-free white bread.


White people and their queer food hang-ups are in several ways dangerous to good eating. "Let's put a stupid stereotype on the label and sell it to middle class suburbanites!" "Oh yeah man, they love ethnic sludge if we white-ify it enough." "How about a freezer pack of sweet 'n sour pork with a fat and happy Southern Cracker on the label?"


"Bubba Green's down-home zesty hog stew; that's good eating!"


Meat free. Gmo free. Salt free. Gluten free. Spice free. And taste free.
But there is a smiling spokes model on the package.

With extra sugar, grease, and food colour, you can sell it in the Red states.


Yeah, you know, Ben Steing can go piss up a rope.



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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

BAMBOO LEAF WOMAN

She had a pack of dried bamboo leaves, which could only mean one thing. Aside from the question 'faa sang waak je lok dau' (花生或者綠豆)? "Peanuts or yellow peas? Because there is only one reason to have them: making joong (粽 / 糉 'jung'). Which are conical packets of glutinous rice, with soy-pork, dried scallop, salted egg yolk, a slice of lap cheung (臘腸), maybe some black mushroom, and either peanuts or yellow peas. Once everything is assembled, the package is wound with twine and steamed for a few hours. Because of a naturally occuring substance in the bamboo leaves they can keep quite bit longer than you would expect, even at room temperature. Especially in this weather.
It's labour-intensive, and considered "rustic".
Perfect travel food.
Lunch.


The question never left my lips. I'll probably ask it tomorrow or next week when I buy some along Stockton Street. They're good stuff, and an excellent reason to make sure you live near a Chinatown. Or you have a Cantonese grandma.
As I'm led to believe many people do.

I prefer peanuts, but either type is fine.
Glutinous rice and fatty pork.
What's not to like?
If you're Taiwanese or overseas Fujianese you are probably disagreeing about the filling, and humming "sio ba tsang e, sio ba tsang" to your self now. And that's fine too.

Bus trundling up Pacific Avenue. Plent of time to observe other passengers. The Chinese all wore masks, as you would expect. And it was still too early for a throng of irresponsible Caucasians not doing so.


Teatime had found me at a familiar place, where I melahap-lahapped a hot cuppa and a pastry, and warmed my blue finger tips. The usual gang of boisterous Cantonese gentlemen were having a riotous good time at their accustomed table, including the mostly silent fellow. The retired busdriver had dropped by and waxed loudly eloquent in his opinions. Someone remarked that Germans were phenomenal beer drinkers (that's true) and African Americans in Oakland all swilled Remy (probably not quite accurate). The goobus man and his elderly mom one table over were finishing their shared plate of fried noodles (they are regulars), an old man and his cheerful middle aged daughter were doing ditto behind them.

Half way through, an elderly couple came in, followed a little later by their adult daughter with a happy smile and intelligent eyes, fresh from a job interview. As the generic white customer, I happily listened in as much as I could and observed people. As I have deep-set shifty eyes, usually you cannot tell from a distance that I am watching, and in any case no one expects me to understand anything. Well, the regulars do. But they seldom hear me speak Cantonese, and I'm a familiar face, so I'm probably okay.
I had filled my pipe once my fingers warmed up. One must be able to feel things in order to do that. Emptied my cup, paid, left. Lit up at the curb and waited for the bus.

Finished my pipe walking home along Larkin. Auntie with the bamboo leaves had gotten off at the same stop. She lives two blocks away from me.
One block from Mrs. Wong.



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MAGIC BACHELOR KIBBLE

Years ago when I still lived in North Beach and had no cooking facilities, I would often have a light snack for supper at a nearby burger joint. Which is still a place to which I happily go. The owner passed away a while back, but his hardworking son keeps it running. The prices have gone up a bit. As would be expected. But the neighborhood still eats there.

If you have visited the bars or clubs there late at night you have probably been. It's always delightful to find yet one more person among my friends and acquaintances who says "oh yeah, I go there" and takes doing so as a natural thing and doesn't everybody?

The place is a walking advertisement for the benefits of Sriracha.
As well as properly done fries.
Even the skeeviest dingo is usually well-behaved in the presence of an honest hamburger.

One of these days I expect to see United Nations diplomats discussing weighty affairs there between twelve and two in the morning. Because a hot burger with a sploot of Sriracha chili sauce soothes the savage beast, and makes everything better.



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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

NOT WATCHING ANY RATS

You can rest assured that I hate this weather, and am beginning to understand why New Yorkers are all crazy; they have to put up with this for three solid months. Darkness, snow storms, freezing temperatures, and moose in the streets. And that's just Manhattan.
I've seen the Seinfeld Show. They're certifiable there.

Tuesday nights are the traditional visits to low places, including a karaoke joint. We've been doing it since our days at the bookstore. But the bookseller called in sick (not Covid). And, truth be told, I do not wish to go out in this. My tea time smoke down in Chinatown was miserable. Tomorrow, when I go out, I'll have gloves and an extra tee-shirt underneath everything for extra insulation.


The karaoke joint has been on the programme since before they had a karaoke machine. The singing, when it's in English, is almost one hundred percent horrible. Some of the Chinese who go there are actually pretty good. But there are no songbirds there.

And other than propaganda ballads in Mandarin, there isn't much musical excitement. Andy Lau, whose videos often crop up on screen, can hardly be said to be a stellar musicalist. Though his performances are always interesting, and evidently extremely popular.

He's nothing at all like the Ozzy Osbourne.

Too ... staid.
'WAA MEI'

I'll miss our usual snide commentary on the audacity of some of the people who decide to sing. While I applaud their courage, balls even, it takes a big ego to do Hotel California or any of the John Denver songs. An almost New Yorkese insanity.

The Hua Mei is a feisty little fellow, who fights other males of his kind, but tweets and chirps gaily for females. A perky little poser.



Next week I'll have a pipe while waiting for the bookseller to get off work.
I'm sure the rats will be about, the weather should be fine.
We'll no longer have to deal with Canadians.
Or their horrid weather.



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THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

Sometimes it's the music, sometimes it's a shadow in the corner of your eye. And then you wonder, 'was it really that long ago?' To be quite honest, I do not miss the seventies and the eighties. In retrospect those were fairly unpleasant. Much like one or two decades hence we will think of this era. The best of times, the worst of times, and the time we finally gave up on Chef Boyardee and Rice A Roni.

As a side note, not really relevant, someone asked me about double claro (candela) cigars the other day. Those were popular in the sixties, when grumpy old men with tuna sandwich breath cruised down the highways in the fast lane at fifty miles an hour. They were barely over five feet tall, their pants were cinched up to their sternums, and they vociferously hated the modern era, sonny, back in my day gerdammit! You knew not to ask them anything.

Their grandchildren use personal mobility scooters and now block the aisles at suburban discount emporiums. And smell vaguely of stale crispi-snax.
Kinda fried and rancid.


On the whole I do not miss the past. Some facets were good, but largely it stank.
Modern medicine was in its infancy, and there were no computers.
Personal entertainment was large and cumbersome.
Not conveniently palm-sized.

The old days.
One thing I do rather miss is the excitement of finding sources of hot chili paste and excellent coffee. The sheer satisfaction of defeating the drang nach mediokrität that marked American tastes back then, when the coffee was usually long cooked yet weak lunch counter sludge, the only spice was a dust covered bottle of Tabasco which had been on the shelves in the back next to the canned whole chicken for ten years, and if you put anything other than ketchup on your fries you were considered a heretic, possibly communist.


"Well hot shit, Gomer, will ya lookit that! He's using red stuff that ain't Heinz! I don't know how he does it! Cain't be healthy!"


Today I'll be putting oodles of Sriracha on my lunch, and the other patrons will not think me a right freak for doing so. Life is considerable better than it was.


There may be other reasons to think me a freak and a heretic, but my food and caffeine preferences are not among them.


Greatest line on the internet today: "when snow daleks melt, they upset the neighbors".


Good times.



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HOT SAUCE, SOY SAUCE, VINEGAR ...

Those bokchoi and pork steamed dumplings were extremely delicious! In truth, sometimes there is nothing better than sitting down to enjoy tasty edibles in a clean cheerful bustling environment filled with efficient women and happy customers. The efficient women were the staff. Which is appropriate, as one associates Chinese dumplings with women. Deft hands, and a feminine food aesthetic. Add hot sauce, and a cup of milk tea, and this middle-aged Dutchman was in hog heaven.

As were plenty of other people. But I had ordered the steamed dumplings (水餃 'seui gau'). Which they do a very fine job of. As one would expect.

白菜豬肉水餃

Previously I had had their chive and pork steamed dumplings (韭菜豬肉水餃 'gau choi chyu yiuk seui gau'), but one shouldn't always order the same thing. Veer a little sideways. Not exactly foreign territory. Bokchoi and pork dumplings ('paak choi chyu yiuk seui gau').

Late lunch, early dinner. It was already dusk when I left, happy as a clam.

Hon's Wun Tun (洪記麵家 'hung gei min gaa').

Hon's Wun Tun took over where the Washington Bakery and Restaurant (華盛頓茶餐廳 'waa seng duen chaa chaan teng') used to be at 733 Washington Street. They remodelled the place slightly, expanded their menu, and also added steamed dumplings to their selection. And trained staff to make them. Very good staff, with brilliant fingers.


Also, their Hong Kong style milk tea is da bomb. Strong. Most places do a somewhat more anæmic brew. A man could easily become habituated to their version.


There is also congee on the menu. It's a pity they don't open at the crack of dawn. Strong milk tea, a bowl of rice porridge, and an oil stick. Not that I'm a breakfast person, but that would be delightful at cock crow.


This is all food for thought.


No, I have no idea what the people who work there look like. They all wear masks, because the pandemic is still raging. And that's not important. They are probably all quite personable. But that isn't why I go there. I never ask restaurant staff out, because I don't want to ruin a good thing and get banned. Caucasians who speak Cantonese are recognizable.
Correct behaviour does NOT step out of place.


I have gone to eat there a number of times now.
Because I'm quite fond of dumplings.



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Monday, February 20, 2023

THE FLOWER OF SOUTHERN WOMANHOOD

Sometimes an idea comes up that's so stupendous you just have to grab it by the balls and fly with it. Such as the one floated by everyone's favourite Southern Woman. Marjorie Taylor Greene calls for Republican states to secede From the Union. That didn't work out too well the last time. This time we can bomb them. Which shows how great this idea is.

[It's neither here nor there, but Marjorie Taylor Greene is the Matron Saint of Karen everywhere.
She thrills them. Oh, wetness! They idolize her and want to be just like her when they're old.]


This blogger looks forward to seeing Marjorie Taylor Greene, Tucker Carlson, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz arrested as criminals and shot. We'll make it a holiday.

Then tear down even more statues of reprehensible people.
This time, without waiting a century.
Burn, baby, burn.


But if her district and a few other leave, we'll just ship other criminals there and build a wall.


Years ago I gave Southern Womanhood brownie points, because despite frightful viragos like Anita Bryant, they did have Anne Richards and Molly Ivins. But, sadly, both of those fine people are deceased. Now they've just got MTG, Richard Santos, and Ted Cruz.

Let us send in the black helicopters with transgenders and cattle prods, and round people up. White men, women, and children. All the Christians. Mars needs organs.

We now know how to make pecan pie, and we don't need grits.
So let them leave. Goodbye, and damn' good riddance.


Ms. Boebert is an honorary Georgia peach.
Take her with you when you leave.



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AND TAKE KAREN WITH YOU

What if you're a woman? What if you're a woman who needs to step away from the table? Somewhere in San Francisco, where I live, there should be a lovely women's room, with a tray of pads and tampons, a big bowl of chocolates, and a door to a smoking room with comfy chairs. Because, of course, taking a break from dreary prattle should not subject you to street people coming up and importuning you. "Hey lady, got a cigarette?" "Yo, sweetie, wanna give me one of those Oliva Melanio Serie V Figurado cigars?" "Why hello little miss, lend me your Charatan pipe and that tin of Capstan Flake once you're done!"
No young lady wants to share her briar pipe.
It might taste bad afterwards.
Like vanilla.


"Hey, sweetie, pot, crack, mushrooms! Check out this watch!"


It would be in a meat restaurant, of course, because Berkeley and Marin Vegans and Karens would otherwise discover it and be triggered, and it should also have an intercom so that you could order a dry Martini. Or, perhaps, some sherry.
Sherry is a nice refined lady-like drink.
So is Bourbon.


Despite the boring prattle of the men still at the table, she's enjoying herself. Perhaps she should have brought a mystery novel in her purse? Next time. In addition to the Charatan or Comoy pipe and the tobacco. It's not necessarily Capstan, it could also have been Rattrays' Brown Clunee, or Samuel Gawith's Golden Glow. Perhaps Greg Pease's Union Square. Or Fillmore? Red Virginias and Perique, light press, broken flake with a little age on it. To quote: "elegant sweetness and delightful piquancy, enhanced by a creamy richness that develops throughout the bowl. Sit back, and enjoy a lovely, leisurely smoke!"
Sounds perfect for a women's room getaway!

I'm gibbering, of course, because the idea of women off in private after a good meal enjoying sherry, mystery novels, and a good smoke is just so lovely. As a man I'd be stuck listening to the other men spouting stupid opinions about sports and politics at great length, but keeping my own counsel and just waiting till the moment I myself can escape and light up. In private. With a glass of sherry and a good book.
For lunch today I'm thinking about tofu and meat, fried with chilipaste plus whole chilies, and some spices. Except that I'd have to go down to Chinatown to purchase the meat and tofu, so I might as well eat something tasty there, then enjoy my pipe afterwards.
It's International pipe smoking day today, whatever that means.

All of you Karens and Vegans should light up!

You might actually enjoy it.



NOTE: Good tobacco should NOT be drenched with flavourings, and the State of California, in recognition of that fact, has outlawed ALL flavoured tobaccos, which are enjoyed by big hairy muscle men with tattoos who wear camo and collect guns. Naturally, I expect those people to now leave, and head toward places like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Where men are men, and everyone else isn't.
Praise Jesus and MTG.
Leave.



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Sunday, February 19, 2023

A MIGHTY GOOD SHOW OLD CHAPS

Bus drivers in the Bay Area should be paid extra. Because there is always at least one crazy person on the bus, quite close to confrontation, loud surreal argument or screaming match, or complete breakdown, as well as at any given time half a dozen people who don't know where they're going. And on the busses traversing Marin, a potsmoker trying to push the envelope. That smell.

So if at all possible, don't get into any conversations on the bus.

"Does anyone have change for a twenty?"

No. No way in hell am I admitting that I have twenty, OR speak a human language. My teeth and claws itch for your blood, my tail hurts, and I failed at communicating in grammar school. I'll just sit here mutely looking like I want to rip your lungs out. Now go away or I shall make you rather uncomfortable. I am an eldritch horror.


The chap sitting behind me this morning was convinced that the bus driver was deliberately trying to make it impossible for him to catch another bus in San Raphael. And was louder everytime he said so.

The bus has a few stops that it cannot leave before a set time, the computerized console for the driver tells him when. Traffic flowed easily, and the busdriver waited for the computer to greenlight his departure at those few stops. Which the eighty year old behind me was convinced was deliberately meant to inconvenience him.
Paranoid, senile, confrontational.
A winner.



The monthly meeting of the local pipe club today was graced with three hours of little white nipple dude. Who doesn't ride the bus thank you Jesus but could. Three. Solid. Hours.

He obsesses over one brand. Several types of product.
As well as an imaginary helicopter which he pilots, his imaginary wife and daughter when he remembers that they exist and live with him, and the single red red rose he bought for a date when he was still in his teens or twenties. He's a thrilling on and on droner with a past that changes a lot, and is always marvelous and educational. A remarkable man.

Three. Solid. Hours.

I spent that entire time high as a kite on caffeine. I've learned that the only way to survive people like that is to stay constantly ahead of them.

Several of my associates made bee-lines for the single malt or the sherry, then fled over to the area where I was to talk about Stanwell pipes and Esoterica Tobacciana tobaccos, plus Greg Pease's Fog City Collection. So I had a wonderful time.

Sadly, the lovely fellow getting a PHD in Art History could not stay. Not that I wish for him to have exposure to little white nipple dude, but I would have liked to have conversed with him more. Before he left I made sure he had a large enough sample of Dorchester for several bowls. It's mighty good stuff. He'll try and stay longer next month.


I had a good time. I hope the others did as well, despite the imaginary kinfolk and the submarine with which someone fought the plesiosaurs in World War One.


For some reason one of the members brought a big bag of Mendocino Oregano, which a kinsman cultivates. None of it was actually sampled, but there was some smoked salmon which was very nice.

I enjoyed two bowls of Dorchester.



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Saturday, February 18, 2023

THE DUCK METHOD

Perception is everything, Roger, especially in political affairs. And the optics, frankly, are crap. So please shut up. For three weeks the Biden Administration sat around with its thumb up its collective ass about the Ohio train disaster. Yes, we all know that such a thing was only a matter of time; the rightwingers poo-pood safety considerations for four decades and more, but casting blame does not improve matters on the ground. And in this case, what is obvious to everyone except the administration is that for three weeks, the government did bugger all.

Bupkes.

Within hours there should have been leaders flying in, and statements to the effect that the army was en-route, Fema was sending convoys, everyone within the danger zone would be evacuated and housed at public expense, they'd get to the bottom of this, and hang the railroad executives. Resettlement, compensation, everything bigger and better!

This could have been a political triumph of stupendous proportions.

Instead: bureaucratic wailing, and blame shifting.

The damage has been self-inflicted.

So, Roger (not his real name) please shut the everloving m. f. Christ up. Stop defending the administration and spouting the party line. Saying "studies have shown that ..." or "but the Trump Administration..." are not worth the hot air they're printed on. Just. Shut. Up.
Our side can do better. Three whole weeks, Roger.
We look like a third-world failure.
Washington wankers.



Perception. Is. Everything.



And by the way, on a local level, the correct response to the Chinatown awning affair, which was clearly vindictive targeting, selective enforcement, and a clumsy attempt at extortion by the bureaucrats, should have been "we are very sorry, all those fines are cancelled, we will thoroughly investigate how this happened and hold public hearings, as well as dismiss and prosecute the people responsible if necessary, and we'll make sure that this will never happen again."

In San Francisco, anything that looks like selective enforcement looks suspicious as all hell. As does trumpeting convenient plausible deniability when someone brings it up. And there's already bucket loads of circumstantial evidence to indicate that the city bureaucracy is almost unbelievably bloated, incompetent, and corrupt. As well as, in some significant areas, sodden with old-fashioned anti-Chinese racism. Which is a San Francisco tradition.

And not just from the Caucasians. Or African Americans and Latinos.

Though I'm certainly not excluding them.
By any means.
The name of this essay came about because without my reading glasses on I mistook the name of a book as "The Duck Method". Which, upon due consideration, would be a great title for a self-help book. How to solve all your psychological issues AND get rich? The Duck Method! Naturally I expect celebrity endorsements.



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Friday, February 17, 2023

IT'S A LIFE STYLE

Not all of us perceive the same reality. Which is good. A diversity of views and opinions stimulates debate and a more in-depth view. Except that if someone is not a scientist or math-capable, AND religious, I would much rather they shut up.
Or at least not utter stupid opinions.

During my days at work, for several hours the soft murmur of stupid opinions, sometimes the loud angry vituperative snarl thereof, is audible from the old boys in the back. And today is my Monday, so there's a few more days before the blessing of silence.


Slightly over four hundred per day at present, 188,620 since February 16 2022. It's over, you say, and you now distrust people who wear masks. You very probably read the Washington Examiner or the New York Post, and watch Fox.


It is significant to me that the people at the pharmacy where I picked up my refills recently, attached to a hospital, were ALL wearing masks. Perhaps they don't read the Washington Examiner and the New York Post, or watch Fox.

Of course they're all alive and know how to read; that makes a difference.
When at home they enjoy not being around people. They read. They rest. They dream.

Then they sit down at the table by the window where there's a brand new tin of Marlin Flake (Rattray's) and a jar of pipe cleaners, thoughtfully load their pipe, and while lighting wonder how come there are so many deliberately stupid people and why are they all still alive.

It's a mystery. And it's much too early to drink.

The Glenfiddich 12 year old will wait.



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Thursday, February 16, 2023

SCREAMING CEMENT BLOCK

Change happens. Sometimes at a glacial pace, more often, on a personal level, somewhat faster. Which means that while one is clearly related to the individual one used to be -- it's the same person, so to speak -- one is not the same. And would probably not like to spend much time with oneself. The pandemic accentuated a process which began before that.

No, I never did eat like a Texan. So that's one version of me I need not worry about running into at random. Nor the idiot Christian that speaks in tongues. Who also never existed.

I might click under their Facebook posts just to fool the algorithm.
Keep them showing up in my feed at least.
Poke, poke.

Of course the moment they say anything positive about the orange-faced turd who belongs in a prison, their asses are grasses. Unfollow, unfriend, and excoriate viciously. Idiots!

Strong of jaw. Stern of mind.
There are ways of dealing with that! Even virtual me is a man with sensible and well-justified opinions. Just far less likely to counter-argue some inane crap. No, I have not given up.
I just don't see the point in getting flaming morons to think right.

Clear headed. But not nearly as patient with people.

Ten years ago I was more like this:
Still, I think I have become a more tolerant and accepting person. I even put up with habitual smokers of aromatic pipe tobaccos nowadays. They enjoy it, no harm done.

Just not Captain Black Grape or Watermelon.

Ruddy perverts.



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FEELING STRANGE

A pretty picture of Lake Biwa showed up on my screen quite recently, and as one is naturally wont to do, I remembered a tragedy, and a lament. That is to say, I recalled reading about the tragedy, and the lament, which I've heard several times, is a gentle plaintive song. But I've never been to Lake Biwa, though I have been to Japan (Tokyo and Hakushu), and I did not even know it existed when I had the chance to visit. Largest body of fresh water there.

My visit to Japan years ago was whisky-related.
I wish I had stayed there longer.

Language would have been a problem. I don't speak Japanese ('konichiwa', 'ohayo', 'sushi', 'sumimasen', 'boken', 'kohi', 'arigato gozaimas', 'meganeko', and 'mangga') and even though they use Chinese characters, they don't mean the same there, and there are at least two different pronunciations for each character. Sometimes more than that.

珈琲 An ornamental hairpin (jewelry) and a necklace: coffee.
Ga fei in Cantonese, pronounced kohi in Japan.

Man does not live by coffee alone.
Well, perhaps Andy Lau does; he swills twenty or so cups a day. Of course that is neither here nor there, but it does explain some of the "very innovative" things he does during concerts; he's hepped to the gills.

While Japan is fascinating, I have no reason to step up acquisition of their language. As a Caucasian one is always an outsider, strange and outlandish. Far less so in Cantonese. In Cantonese one can be refered to as brother (啊哥 'a ko'), or uncle (啊叔 'a suk'), once one has become a familiar face; in Japan, and this is just my perception, one may never be a familiar face.

One could probably interpret this as a Cantonese fondness for eccentrics.
Even so, there is a strong streak of egalitarianism among them.
Plus "hail fellow well met", and an instinct to give "face".

[One useful term, worth remembering, is 兄弟 ('heng tai'). Which means brother, brothers. Both older and younger. Often used casually when speaking to a complete stranger. 四海之内皆兄弟也 ('sei hoi ji noi gaai heng tai'): all men are brothers. The equivalent term for women is 姊妹 ('ji mui').]



The other day a woman addressed me as 'a ko'. Older brother. That's a bit more informal and friendly than 'a suk' (uncle who is my father's younger brother). I did not think about it at the time, but in retrospect I am immensely chuffed. At home I was always the younger child.

It may take me a while to get used to this.
It's quite a responsible position.
I must act accordingly.

You know, like a mature adult.



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