Thursday, August 31, 2023


Seeing as I was woken up in the middle of the night by the ghost cat that also dwells in this apartment, it isn't suprising that when I saw Chicken à la King on the menu I should order it. It's an easy choice, an old chachanteng special, and mild enough that on a day that's been considerable cooler than yesterday it would be appropriate and bland. And suitable for adding salt, pepper, and hot sauce to zip it up good.

It could have used some nutmeg. Or garlic.

And more butter in the béchamel.


Well, okay, I've had better versions. I've made better versions. But at that price, no complaints. The inner cat is satisfied. And the Hong Kong milk tea was good.

And there were four people there whom I recognized. Two more came in after I was already there. None of the crazy white people out on the street entered, and as per usual the tourists shunned the place, probably because it did not look like it had eggrolls, barbecue pork buns, or even the obligatory cans of Coca Cola and 7-Up which are so necessary for their comfort.
In fact, the only thing visible from the doorway was three little old ladies.
On must assume that most Europeans already have one of those. Not Americans, because they shove 'em into an old folks home as soon as they can so that they can be done with her. Or send her off to Florida to die in a hurricane or the school system there, which is known to kill people and pooh-pooh their demises as 'wokism' just like everything else Christian white people don't like.

Sorry, that was a gratuitous jab at Waspy America.

Undeserved. They sent a man to the moon.

There are no old folks there.

Maybe soon, though.

Chicken à la King should be chunks of chicken in a cream sauce made with mushrooms and sherry, pinch nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, sprinkle of parsley or chives (substitute minced green onions), some chopped vegetables for colour (please, no damned peas), over rice or noodles. This wasn't exactly that.

It was kind of close.
Okay, lah.

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One of the people in England posted earlier that it had rained all morning. Which suggests that somewhere normal weather is finally returning. And I note that here in San Francisco it is exactly the same temperature as Yorkshire whereas in Kuala Lumpur ("muddy estuary"), at mid to high seventies, it is cooler than in Sacramento.

We need to send a colonialist military force to Sacramento. That will set things right! Install punkahs everywhere! Sacramento, by the way, does not show up on the Chinese map that is causing such a stir internationally, with damned well everyone else in that region squawking in outrage and registering diplomatic complaints. Including all people with the Patel surname. As a Dutchman, I have a warm feeling about South East Asian outrage. We thrived on it for close to four centuries. There has always been plenty to go around anyway.

Put Sacramento on that map. That will teach them!
And build an airfield too, while you're at it.

Anyway, I'd far rather be in Yorkshire.
Probably the first time anyone has ever said that.
Compared to Sacramento, Yorkshire is a paradise.
Practically heaven on earth.
Good food, too.

A cold weather system is moving into Northern California over the next few days, bringing the possibility of rain. Which means that it will be perfect pipe smoking weather. So you should expect Yorkshire men to pop out of the woodwork all over the place, muttering 'ooh-arg' while happily lighting up their crusty briars, then heading over to a likely chachanteng in Chinatown for a spot of milk tea and a bite to eat. A welcome relief from all those hick tourists from Alabama and Mississippi currently infesting the city.


You may note that I have a slight disdain for hot weather, certain parts of the United States, and the weak bog water commonly masquerading as a potable caffeinated beverage in far too much of this country.

Yorkshire makes good strong tea. Hong Kong makes good strong tea.
America makes a lightish flavour-free liquid they call 'chai'.
Available at every chain patronized by yuppies.
And, possibly, Sacramento.

Sacramento hit 95° yesterday, San Francisco was 87°.
Oakland? Who cares? It's rebel-held territory.
Tomorrow should be lovely.

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Imagine you are in the tropics, it's blisteringly hot outside, there are angry insects, howling savages, and hungry animals lurking, just beyond your field of vision. No, not Arkansas or Colorado, I didn't mention anything about country music or the perverted religion.
Today, for the second Wednesday in a row, a heatwave in San Francisco.
Eighty seven terrifying degrees.

You know, the combination of my bloodpressure medications, poor circulation in my legs, and extreme heat, leads to some pretty gnarly effects. It was like my legs were burning.
The level of all-round physical discomfort was rather stupendous.

From a health site I get the following hardly comforting information: Medicine for high blood pressure [ -- ] may cause fainting, stroke, or far worse, during heat waves.

Most articles mention two specific medications I'm taking. Nice! Damned kids get off of my tropical grassland and out of my rainforest!
Back in the old days this did not happen.

Oh sure, hot weather from the end of August all the way through September, perfect for chili peppers, which are the most important crop in California by a very long shot, and delightful late evenings in North Beach wandering around hepped to the gills on cappuccinos. But the same heat did not feel nearly as hot then. It's a Millenial plot, tell ya what, and I shall compose an angry letter to the editor!

It kinda reminds me of the pudgy girl at the laundromat.

That was decades in the past.

A few years ago, when I was still recuperating from an operation (my appendix had gone kablooey) a meal at a chachanteng on Stockton Street was memorable because of the afternoon sun streaming in. An oven!

[Lunch had been a baked porkchop over spaghetti, covered with melted cheese. Not a wise choice on a hot day.]

Last year I had what I thought was the perfect plan to cope with the heat on Labour Day; Hospitals and clinics have air-conditioning and back-up generators, right? I would head down to the hospital and sit in the waiting area of the clinic, and if anyone asked what I was doing there I would happily explain that I was there for my doctor's appointment. Then, an hour or so later, they'd approach me again and say "we've checked the schedule, you are twenty five hours early! It isn't till Tuesday!" At which point I'd apologetically claim a senile moment, don't mind me, I'll leave soon. And simply wait for the shift change so that we could go through all of that again, by which time it would probably be evening, and far cooler.
Except that I couldn't even leave the apartment building.
Too damned hot outside.

I found out later that they were closed for the holiday anyway.

The problem with staying home poncing around lazily in your underwear is that you cannot step outside for a pipe full of tobacco dressed like that, and your apartment mate has sensitive eyes. So I'll probably mention that in my angry letter to the editor.
This, too, is a modern evil.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023


As you might suspect, the weather in parts of Florida has little effect on the West Coast. We are shielded from hurricanes by three thousand miles of pickup trucks, junk food franchises, beer-swilling rednecks, rusty barbed wire, and the Marlboro man. Plus a cynical attitude. Still. A news clip I saw recently featured a very civilized sounding man worried about the people in his community, speaking in measured tones. Which probably more than anything else you could imagine humanized Floridians for me.

Given the sheer goofball weirdness that hits the internet regularly from that part of the world, it was extremely refreshing.

No, I'm not planning to go there to give them supportive hugs.
But I feel for them.
Those in the affected areas who have working generators should keep their coffee makers going non-stop. Their fellow citizens will thank them. Rebuilding takes hot Java.
And band aids, but hot Java will make everything better.

It's also how I know that my landlady's husband downstairs in the front apartment, where they installed him and his hospital bed, is on the mend. I can see down at the kitchen of that apartment from my kitchen, and they've plugged in a coffee maker. Despite the tumour operation in his throat, the man wants his coffee. Normalcy is on the horizon.

They probably also need paper towels, but coffee is key.

And FEMA. But mostly coffee.

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When I returned home the plaintive query came wailing from the other room: "fatty inner thighs?!?". The turkey vulture who often sleeps with other creatures and my apartment mate seems to believe that night-time San Francisco is a smorgasbord of yummy carrion. Sadly, it isn't. Stumbling wrecks on the cusp of death, yes, as well as yuppies drunk and insensate, likely to play in traffic or otherwise arrange their own blessed exit. But there are very few actual corpses wandering around. We tend to clean those up, lest the tourists have bad dreams.

Of course, if they go to the Tenderloin, they'll have bad dreams anyhow.
All "doomloop tours" start and end in the Tenderloin.
It's an ancient tradition.

There was a rather cute little woman on the bus talking to a coworker in Mandarin. After he got off, she looked a bit less cute. More tired and pensive. My apartment mate would not have considered her cute in the slightest in the first place, as she has a dislike of the sounds of Mandarin. When she was still a little girl growing up in Chinatown you never heard that language, it was Cantonese from Bush Street to Northbeach. When I first started infesting the neighborhood it was also still that way. But in the last two decades, more Mandarin speakers have arrived.
Spofford Alley (新呂宋巷 'san leui sung hong') and Ross Alley (舊呂宋巷 'gau leui sung hong') are still entirely Cantonese speaking. And other than the Christians (four whole shop fronts for their mission), solidly Mah Jong focused for the most part. Plus two flower shops, two barber shops, the Lim Family Association, and a Hakka social club as punctuation. A friend grew up on Spofford and still lives there. Another one lived above Ross, and for the past few decades has been further up hill, but still comes down to the neighborhood almost every day. They are both considerably older than myself. 我重係年輕人 ('ngo jong hai nin hing yan'; I am still a youngster).

Side note: because I still persist in walking, I still walk. Otherwise my arthritic hip and knee on the right leg side would stiffen the hell up and prevent me cussing up a storm late at night when I amble down the alleys smoking my pipe and observing the wildlife. My former regular care physician looked quite crestfallen when he realized that my main incentive to walk a lot was so that I could smoke. Being able to cuss keeps me limber.

Plus, as you would expect, a man needs to eat, and purchase foods that make him happy. Which requires walking, looking at produce, browsing for exciting condiments or dried stuff, finding interesting looking sauces and pastes ..... mesti punya sambal! 一定要有辣椒醬!

The bookseller, whom I meet once a week in this neighborhood, rarely incorporates sambal in his cooking. But does rely on a bottle of Sriracha to keep his food exciting. Chili sauce is an excellent source of fibre and vitamin C.

His taste in dried fish is more baccalà than haam yü, but he is otherwise quite normal.
Good food, good drink, and good reading material.
Occasionally, anchovies.

CORRECTION: The voice came from her room, but the turkey vulture was actually on my bed, with a panel of other roomies arrayed nearby looking at him with gimlet eyes.
Two amphibians, a skunk, a flattish lizard, a feisty rooster, and a hippo.
He has expressed an interest in eating the newest roomie.
A small black bat named Bartholomew.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023


In the internet age there are eyes everywhere. Besides the ghosts, I mean. So everything the bald degenerate in Marin County does is, in some way, recorded. Even when he switches cigar preferences from Tatuaje Blacks to Mortal Coil by CAO, it is remembered in a file somewhere. Not that anyone other than obsessives have any interest in that.
There is just too much data.

Some paranoid conspiracy adherents believe that birds don't exist, those are actually cleverly designed governmental drones watching us and recording our every move. This started as a joke in 2017 (a genius prankster in Memphis), and, as such things do, spread to the gullible segment, where it took hold and infected weak spongy minds. As such things do.

One of my favourite nutball theories is the one that most of Germany believes; Dutch is not a real language, it's something that was invented back in the fifteenth century to pull wool over the ears of normal people (Germans) and keep them from understanding what those mercantile brainiacs to the west were planning.

It actually isn't a paranoid conspiracy theory at all, but a solid fact.
It's worked phenomenally well so far. Totally snookered them.
But bird drones, obviously, are nonsense, sadly.
No one is that interested.
On the other hand, well-trained tree rodents pensively checking up on what the people in Arkansas are doing is a very real possibility after those scientists at the National Instute of Mental Health found a way to reduce their nut obsession. Specialized breeding, genetic manipulation, and brain washing, happily combined to produce a super sciuromorph.
And it has workable hands and opposable thumbs.

Which explains why Peterson Pipes got taken over five years ago, the very same year that McClelland Tobacco supposedly went out of production. The easiest way to bribe a Borg Squirrel is with good tobacco, and sensible pipes. Naturally they prefer the system standard; it's easily disassembled and cleaned, can be hidden in hollow tree trunks, and the bend is just right for a small sentient pest that blends into the woodwork.

Personally, I own over half a dozen Peterson System pipes. Including a beautiful shape 303, unsmoked, perfect grain, which I'm saving for my next girlfriend. Naturally it's hidden.
There are furry tailed spies everywhere.

I haven't bothered hiding my four-year supply of McClelland pipe tobaccos, it's stacked with all the other sealed tins. They're not able to open them up; not enough strength or leverage in those tiny paws.

Haven't smoked any of it in years.

This morning's walk with a pipe involved something from Cornell & Diehl, in a Peterson 312.
I couldn't escape the sense that tiny eyes were watching me.
And sniffing disdainfully.

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Monday, August 28, 2023


Coffee, lo po beng, nai chaa, and regular tea to rinse my mouth after the sticky filling of the lo po beng, preparatory to heading out into the non-tourist part of Chinatown with a pipe jutting out of my jaw. So I was wired to my cranium. Totally zippy. It was splendid. Which is quite remarkable, seeing as I had been up since five o'clock in the morning in order to be early for an appointment in the radiology department. Because my medical file reeks of tobacco use, part of the yearly full body check-up involves scoping out the chest (lungs and other breathing aparatus) for any ill-effects of my misspent adulthood.

"Please scoot down, you're too tall."

Nobody has said that in years!

"Well, here you're tall."

Okay, I suppose most of his visitors for the machine are little old Cantonese ladies who have been huffing a pack and half of Double Happiness brand filter ciggies every day and shrunk accordingly, so there may be a shortness to the demographic.
As well as a generational thing.

There was an elderly lady on the bus who was absolutely petite, on the way back this evening. Back in the nineteen fifties when she was still a young girl sneaking out of the house at night to go dancing, she was probably gorgeous and elfin.
Willowy and fine boned.

Compared to her, I'm positively gigantic!
Of course I scooted.

When I arrived at the Bakery, it was nearly empty. So I did not dawdle over my hot beverages and pastry. Tipped the usual amount because the lack of time was my own fault. Enjoyed my smoke afterwards immensely. In my imagination elfin young ladies were plotting to shinny down the fire escape and go to the dance hall. Were there still dance halls in the fifties?
Or was everything already sock hop city? should've asked my mom about this.

The pipe pictured above was made in the forties or fifties, I think. It evokes something. Back then it might have suggested to a nice young miss "here's a dashing and mysterious college man, who has a tweed coat for cool weather, with whom it would be exceedingly nice to go eat oysters and chow mein!"

That might make up for my not being skilled at dancing.
Can't do the Madison, jitterbug, or boogie.
And I'm tall for that age.

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Coming back to the city from Marin County, a place with more tourist idiots, entitled ding dongs, and spiritual yoga practicing special white people than you can possibly imagine if you never leave San Francisco, the stop in Sausalito near Games People Play is chock-full of folks seeking answers to their deepest most existential questions.
Which the driver is then hard-put to answer.

No, we don't go to Fisherman's Wharf. No, we aren't going to Union Square either. No, we don't accept Euros, Apple Pay, credit cards, spiritual blessings, or Muni passes.
And we don't give out change. We. Don't. Have. Cash.

Then again, same questions and answers at the Golden Gate Toll Plaza. And near the Palace of Fine Arts. And on Lombard Street.

From which one must conclude that many bus drivers are saints.

My response would be succinct and brutal.

Get off my damned bus!

Of course the best tourist outburst (there are frequent episodes of kvetch and shrai) is when someone is outraged, OUTRAGED! that it will cost them eight dollars and fifty cents to get back to SF. Why, in Bupkes, Mississippi, or Podunque, France, they could get back to somewhere for pennies! Free! The locals would pay to see them leave!

That, plus the information that this bus will not go to Fishermans' Wharf or Union Square, often prompts them to angrily snap "we'll wait for another bus".

There is no 'other' bus. Not one that goes to the city. The only one will be the next one with the same number, that will cost the same and also won't go anywhere near F wharf or U square. It will come in another hour.

BY THE WAY: What on earth made you believe that Covid is over? Don't you read the news? At all? Yes, I know you do not wear masks, underwear, or even deodorant where you came from, but fergawdsakes, very many of you are from India or Italy, and y'all had horrible things happening during that first year of the pandemic, so why aren't you exercising precautions, common sense, AND courtesy toward people around you? Oh, wait, that's why you had that stuff going on. The rest of you are probably from Mississippi or Colorado, and might not be able read beyond words of one syllable. Masks and Covid are two.

Post Scriptum.: I like humans!

Underwear: 4.

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It's still dark outside. The timers on the hallway lights in the apartment building are set for six o'clock, which means that there is a window of opportunity between then, and actual sunlight of about five or ten minutes to blindly crash into things when returning from an early morning perambulation of the neighborhood with a pipe. And walls, or stumbling. If one is old and blind and arthritic and not yet fully awake. Which I'm not. The first two, that is.
But the arthritis and not fully awake part, yes.

Luckily I am quite capable of feeling my way with my hands, and there are no pressing obstacles. So if you think that ghostly fingertips are touching your face in the dark, do not be startled. That's just a Dutchman returning from a walk early in the day. All over Amsterdam there are American tourists waking up screaming because they do not know this.
The ghostly fingertips, the darkness.

The Dutchmen.

They do not notice the faint reassuring whiff of pipe tobacco.
Virginia with a touch of Perique.
So comforting at that hour.
After first coffee.

Instead, they probably expect a giant scaly thing, as is common in exotic locales, which Amsterdam is.

This city would be vastly improved if there were more Dutchmen here. For many years I have thought that if there is one thing missing in San Francisco, it is Dutchmen wandering around the streets with a pipe at all hours of the day, but especially just before daybreak.

You've probably thought the exact same thing, yes?

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Sunday, August 27, 2023


Did you feed Sydney Fylbert, I ask, you know how he is if you don't. And, guiltily, she mutters "oops" before hurrying off to her room to offer food to the turkey vulture (Sydney Fylbert) who is ensconced on her bed with several other creatures. Loud sounds of gobbling ensue. He tends to gulp down his food like a dead man starving, because the point is not whether he has been fed at all during the day, but that there is food now, and he's uncertain about when he'll get to eat again. It might be several hours! Which is a life time for a turkey vulture.

Last night he plaintively stated that "no one ever FEEDS me", when I was eating, despite my apartment mate having done so earlier, at which time he scarfed down fully half of her meal. Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom! He ate so much yesterday that he felt bloated and belched for the rest of the evening.

While speculating about little meatballs.
Furry ambulatory little meatballs.
With a cute hairbow

In his world, meatballs are what little girl hamsters are. One of whom (Clarissa) visits nearly each day with her grampa (Basil). The other creatures love having them over. Sydney Fylbert drools. And then gets either poked in the hurty place with a stick, or threatened with a fierce aura till he skulks away.

"No one ever feeds me! It's been so long!"

When I left this morning he was wailing about 'fatty inner thighs'. Which, he insists, I can and must harvest from the bitter old fossils in Marin whom I babysit. I muttered something rude when I closed the door, because heck will freeze over before I break the law and harvest body bits from useless old men.

Although, I suppose that if I carve them up for turkey vulture food and weasel bait, they would no longer be useless. So it's worth considering.

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Last night's dinner was a type of pasta with two red sauces (tomato and chili) and an excess of cheese substances. Which may have been ill-advised. Like so many Anglo foods.
It was culinarily very "white".

What frightens me is that there is now a restaurant in the urban wasteland of Northern California that serves cooking from the British Isles. For Southern Californians who are homesick.

I guess gin is the favoured cooking wine over there.
It probably shows up in everything.
At that "restaurant".

Maybe there is also melted cheese in everything. Especially the baked beans from a can.

This blogger sometimes thoroughly enjoys a plate of glop with cheese and sauces.
Provided no sugar was added, and the pasta component is al dente.
It may have adversely influenced my dreams. At one point I was being pursued by cheddar cheese, bacon, and mushroom noodles, screaming "vote for me, damn you, I'm the next best thing", to which the logical response (at that time) seemed to be that I refused to be the mouse in this beauty pageant.

Anglo-Saxon mythology is filled with giant worms. That more than anything else convinces me that what I ate last night was 'Anglo'.

All Anglo food needs chili pepper sauce.

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Saturday, August 26, 2023


There was a flash flood in Las Vegas because of the rains, soggifying the strip and prompting reports of missing people. From, would be my guess, worried relatives.

"Son, your overweight diabetic aunt with the mobility issues was plonked solid in front of a one-armed bandit when the flood hit. She refused to be dragged away, because she said she was sure she'd hit a winning streak any moment. We lost her. The spongy corpse is floating in a stormdrain now. But the good news is your alcoholic slovenly uncle survived, by holding onto a housewife from Iowa and using her as a flotation device, accidentally drowning her; her head was heavier than her fatty inner thighs."

And at this point, the turkey vulture went "yeah yeah yeah, tell me another HAPPY story like that". Sydney Fylbert, the cheerful turkey vulture, thinks that was the PERFECT bedtime story for all little kiddie buzzards. Fatty inner thighs! Yum!

So sweet. So nice. Such lovely!

Turkey vultures are neurotic and high strung. More so when they're still toddlers, covered with fluff. When they start developing real feathers and can fly, they will soar endlessly over the freeway waiting for roadkill (the non-gambling population of Marin, crossing the 'street' recklessly while squiffy), which calms the tense little goofballs down.

Good thing too.

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Friday, August 25, 2023


Per news reports, a zoo's skunk has escaped in the Netherlands, and is now running around the countryside enjoying the fresh air and sunlight and sweet wiggly bugs and all manner of wonderful things. There are no skunk predators in Holland. What would make it really interesting is if a few breeding couples of skunks went replicatively wild there.
The country would end up with little hordes of stink beasts.

There are no native words for skunks in Dutch.

I propose "moord-reetser". Murder arser.
I'm sure the canny Dutch would find a use for them. Either put them to work in their cabbage mines, or train them and send them to defend the frontiers, in case the Prussians or French invaded again.

"Oh look, Helmut, the entire German cabinet is dead in our sitting room! Von Bulow, Tirpitz, Von Muller, Herr Reichner, Hollweg, Von Graunberg, Moltke, Zimmermannm, Kimpte ..... "

Finally, safety from "those people", behind our impenetrable bio-hazard wall.
Wien Neêrlands bloed door aderen vloeit, van vreemde smeeten vrij.

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Thursday, August 24, 2023


My landlady's husband came home from the hospital today and has been installed with his hospital bed in the front downstairs apartment. A wheelchair got delivered. But he will walk again, and my apartment mate has suggested that we both help him trot up and down the hill to get him fully mobile, which will be good, she says, because she needs the exercise.
Unspoken (by her): so does the awd codger she lives with.

Yeah, um, okay. I can see where that would be good.

And it will be excellent for all of us.

My landlady's husband, like me, is a grumpy white dude somewhat on the negative side of middle age, where hills grow steeper and damned kids play on the lawn. Both of us live with stubborn Cantonese women. Which, I suppose, is perfect. Grumpy white men need someone stubborn, downright pig obstinate, to kick us in the rump now and then. That last is meant metaphorically, please understand, a polite translation of the Dutch term "een schop onder de kont" which means a firm push in the right direction, forced return to reality & realism, a clout upside the head to get us to stop spouting drivel, a wake-up call, etcetera.

My apartment mate is nearly a decade younger than me.

Een schop onder the kont.

Ja ja. 'Tismewat.

That hill IS a bit steep. Years ago it was a matter of no consequence to stroll over it on the way to Chinatown and back. Yesterday during the heat wave that would have sent me to the hospital... which would have been five or six blocks closer by the time I would have collapsed, and if I did so at the right place I could have just rolled downhill right to the emergency room at SFCH instead of having the ambulance schlep me across town to General, which is the standard operational protocol, where crazies and druggies and the bleeding wounded from domestic strife or Tenderloin entertainment end up. Sentient calm people die there. People prescribed calmative pills wander off into the airwells and die of dehydration. And collapsed bartenders have unclean tubes shoved up their urethra and end up taking fifteen pills a day to survive, then die during the height of the pandemic because they had heart failure in their bedrooms one block away from where I live. No one in their right mind wants to go to General. Folks who are in their wrong mind end up there.
It's a friggin' war zone.

It's been two years since Don died. I wonder if anyone has sued General for being a damned bunch of bloody incompetent wankers since then. It would be a solid case.

Yep, that's a hell of a hill.

I have trepidation.

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One of my favourite FB pages makes fun of white people doing Mexican food. Lots of "tacos" filled with something meat plus shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and either sour cream or ranch dressing. Side of beans, some sliced avocado. And worse.

Paprika and ⅛ teaspoon cayenne for spice.

I really shouldn't laugh. As a Dutch American, my native diet is cooked potato, frazzled meat substances, and gobs of chilipaste. Washed down with either coffee or herring.

But I live in the United States. I've seen what y'all do to food.

Your cheese ain't cheese.

Last night after the residual heat of the day had lessened, I fixed myself some cooked potato and frazzled meat substances with chilipaste. It was dee-licious!

You true blue Americans would probably have added ketchup, huh?
Or mebbe some ranch dressing.

Cheez Whiz.

NOTE: Image of a woman-pipesmoker plonked gratuitously in this post. No real reason, I just like the idea. Pipesmoking is part of the intangible cultural heritage of the Netherlands, per Unesco. So there.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023


One of the problems with pipe smoking is that your nearest and dearest might encourage you to smoke aromatics, because they're more "tolerable" than decent pipe tobacco, and eventually you end up with briars that reek nightmarishly of stale and slightly rotten mango raspberry parfait. As do your carpets. And drapes, upholstery, and underwear. Then your wife or husband leaves you, by which time you've lost the taste for smoking entirely because that perfumed stuff has become monotonous, and you end up an alcoholic getting wasted on fruity umbrella drinks in Tenderloin taverns.

Aromatic pipe tobaccos, many people say, remind them fondly of their grandpa. An elderly syphilitic confined to a retirement home with Nurse Ratched quality staff, who died decades ago alone and unloved in a car crash; he took his stationwagon out on the highway and lost control surrounded by chicken ranches in Petaluma, covered in feathers, beaks, and guts.
No one attended the funeral, as they had forgotten about him.

The lesson here is: smoke clean tobacco.
And avoid stationwagons.

Years ago I smoked several bowls of a cherry blend out of curiosity, and noted that it was clean-burning and didn't goop. Which was good. Problem was that unthinkingly I took one of the pipes to a cigar bar several days later, loaded it up, and within seconds discovered that what I thought was going to be a nice Latakia-rich smoke was queered. Moments later the barman came busting out from behind the counter demanding to know who was smoking that vile sh*t. "Oh, not you, I know you". While he was harassing the other pipe smokers I quietly put the pipe down and opened the window a little more.

When he went back to the counter I suggested it might have been those young fellas vaping outside on the sidewalk. You know? The pipe has recovered.

It's a pipe of which I've grown very fond. It's exceptionally jaunty, and I think it makes me look superior and glibly arrogant, like a dashing young fellow half my age. Positively collegiate.

There are some aromatics which are subtle and pleasingly depraved.
Most of them are brash, garishly reeking, and vulgar.
A few smell like a lingerie drawer.

I think I'll take this pipe with me when I head out for lunch later.
The perfect dessert after black bean fish and rice.

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You 've heard me say this before: young white people of a certain type should never do karaoke; they're attitude is not right. Karaoke is a fine art in the right hands -- that being middle-aged drag queens doing show tunes and some Cantonese barflies -- but when people who could be marketing types, sales, or white trash do it, it's torture.

There are not enough Chinese customers of that bar. Sad.

Not that I wish to encourage more Chinese to develope alcoholic habits. I've seen what that can lead to, and I'm not as young as I used to be, so less likely to get out of the way of insanity. Just not as prepared for misbehaviour and mayhem.

Still. Too many Caucasians. Loud. Long. And off-key.
Screams from the mountains of madness.
The sound of hornets.
A screeching.
The older I get, the more I like half empty bars with nothing but a bunch of decorous virgins sitting around demurely dawdling over cocktails, and discussing politics in soft tones.

That, I've been told, was what bars were like when my parents were still at university. Their entire generation had experienced hardship and war, and loved nothing more than civilized discourse in quiet lounges with bright lighting. Honest.

No salesmen or marketing types.
Just well-behaved sailors.
Refined people.

SIDE NOTE: Today I became aware of a fabulous new dish, which I wish that a chachanteng nearby would serve. 車打芝士腌肉蘑菇麵 ('che daa ji si yim yiuk mo gu min'; cheddar cheese bacon mushroom noodles). It sounds absolutely delicious!

I guess I'll just have to make it at home.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023


As proof that I'm alive, I offer that I did feel the needle go in, and the hospital person was able to draw enough actual blood from me for the slew of tests my doctor has ordered as part of the regular yearly check-up and let's see if the old reptile gonna live a while longer. Which I am determined to do, because I have a humongous pipe tobacco stockpile, and intend to smoke a goodly portion of it calmly with many cups of tea before I croak.

So, naturally, I had neither coffee nor tea this morning, in preparation for the collection of samples. You can probably imagine what that did to my mood. Which would have been marginally better if I had gotten out of the house earlier.

Before I was so depleted.

Normally I have the sunniest of personalities, positivly radiant with goodwill, love for the human beings around me, cheerfulness, and warmth, oh boy!
Just chockful of good Christian feelings!

As my coworkers can attest.

But that's only when I've had a sufficiency of caffeine. Without that, I want to burn everyone at the stake, like the inquisition, a fine old tradition that sadly went by the wayside after those people discovered hot stimulating beverages. Which we should bring back. We'd do it better now that we're hepped all the time. Need to set up public pyres and stakes outside of every Starbucks in the city. Every one who consumes hazelnut-syrup frappoos is a heretic!
Two hours later, after a bite to eat and two cups of milk tea followed by a pipe, I felt a lot more human. The pipe I brought with me is an old piece which Tiberio gave me, which he had bought during the mid-sixties, and which he admitted had never smoked well for him. After enlarging the draft hole and futsing around inside the shank so that it can easily take cleaners now, it's been a stellar smoker. Nice old briar. A Comoy made unstamped bent billard shape number 43.

Now, far be it from me to fat-shame.

When the lady at the chanteng where I went after being jabbed bought new chairs, which are very nice, she wasn't taking big white behinds into account. Two enormous gentlemen from the lord only knows where but probably Texas looked like their arses got squooze something good, and shortly after they left, having pulled their rumps out, a white and pinkish woman half my age and three times my size came in with her daughters for lunch. Her daughters were young enough that I briefly toyed with the idea of asking her if the artificial insemination was something her doctor had suggested, or maybe her husband worked on a farm and got the idea from there. But I am wise and diplomatic.

Far be it from me to fat-shame.

I am just mean, okay?

Don't sit on me.

The most popular after dinner drink in America is a shocking pink colour, and can be found in the busted-gut aisle at Walgreens. Far be it from me to fat-shame. Om, shanti shanti shanti.

The grumbly old geezer with a walker on the bus whom I had stood next to in the front while heading into Chinatown for my rendezvous with a small Cantonese woman who had a deft hand with needles was seated one table over from me. He must have thought "oh good, another kwailo eating healthy instead of stuffing himself with gut and artery clogging junkfood!" He was finishing a baked porkchop on fried rice covered with cheese.
Which is a very HK Chinese dish. He's scrawny.
Proving how "healthy" it is.
Good for you!

I remain quite baffled about the size and girth of many Anglos. But I finally understand how the buffalo were eaten to extinction. Y'all needed mass quantities of something to get that awful taste of grits out of your mouths. Boiled corn meal. Buckets of it.
Or enough to fill one of those stupid ten-gallon hats.
Two, if you use butter.

There has been a tonne of caffeine since jab-jabs.
I'm all better now.


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Sometimes, while browsing through the Chinese dictionary after a passage in a text that proved baffling, one runs across a word of limited usefulness in the modern era. It was a different world back then, with its own strange beauty, and perhaps neurotic attention to certain details which might rewardingly be brought back to life.
聝 ('gwik'): To sever the left ears of those slain in battle.

I can imagine any number of happy circumstances where this might prove useful.
Why the left ear? I do not know. That's the odd part.
He won't need either of them.

I'm probably going to spend all day wondering.

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Monday, August 21, 2023


Despite not carrying my cell phone around with me everywhere -- or anywhere, really -- I can claim that I am in touch with the cell-phone dynamic, as I often step around cell phone users, tune them out, or just ignore them when they're stoned in the gutter and the pigeons are nesting in their clothing folds. As so often happens.

And I realize that most people who read my blog do so on their cell phone.

While doing a very important job for which they are paid.

Or perhaps when they are eating.

In between bites.
It is for them that this safe for work, social situations, and the dining environment picture was painted. If you are eating alone, as I often am, you can talk to it.
Just imagine that I'm talking back.

I'm just as likely to be planting magic acorns, but whatever.

It's the idea.

Seemingly, the main function of my own cell phone is to allow any number of Indian or Pakistani gentlemen named Samuel Anderson to reach out and talk to me concerning Medicare parts A and B, or recent changes which allow me to arrange for my funeral expenses when the time comes. That is their only concern in life, it's why they exist, they have no friends. They are, conceivably, an alien lifeform. Random soups of DNA floating in the universe of Bombay or Hyderabad. Which, thanks to them, I have no urge to visit.

Indian taxi drivers? Samuel Anderson.

Computer engineers? Samuel Anderson.

Snooty know-it-alls? Samuel Anderson.

Hindu Nationalist neo-Nazis? Samuel Anderson.

Vivek Ramaswamy? Samuel Anderson.

Nikki Haley? Samuel Anderson.

Famous poet Buddhadev Bosu? Samuel Anderson.

This is as good a reason as any to always leave the damned thing at home verdomme. I do not have any patience for Samuel Anderson and his or her curiosity about my health and funeral coverage at any other time than when I'm dawdling over coffee in the morning.

BTW: I've cut ghee out of my diet almost entirely.
Not because of Samuel Anderson.

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The news this morning is depressingly uninspired. We're supposed to be living through the most exciting time ever, and there's nothing on my feed that holds my interest. No rioting redneck mobs burning down Atlanta, no Magites laying siege to voting centers, no anti-vaxxers outside clinics chaining themselves to mob-control barriers.

Dammit, you red state hickabillies, do something!

I blame their lack of lite beer for this.

They're obviously too sober.

As soon as my apartment mate goes to work today, I'm opening the windows, shutting her door, and settling down with a cup of coffee to watch cooking videos in foreign languages while smoking a pipe. That should wake me better up I think.
Red ribbon, dark brown, and Italian florets.

I'll drop by the clinic later to schedule invasive procedures and sample collection. If all goes well I'll be stumbling out of the house at the crack of dawn tomorrow for blood tests, no food or coffee in the system yet, but they didn't say anything about nicotine. Then blearily heading to a place with dim sum, to contemplate man's inhumanity to man, my navel, and wether chilipaste goes well on hargau and siumai, which I'm failry sure it does, but few yumcha places cater to men with Dutch Indonesian food preferences in this city.
Hunter S. Thompson would change that.

If he were still among us.

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From what we've heard, they're having rain of epic proportions down in Southern California, and people are hecka freaking out. Immigrants and liberals are looting Beverly Hills, there are corpses floating in the floodwaters of Montecito, Hollywood has burned down because of electrical shorts in the aircon. Or something. Don't exactly know what. Reports are sketchy.

My friend Kenny was stretched in a beach chair in his downstairs doorway with a pipe and a cognac, in late afternoon, enjoying the refreshing rain, and wondering if he should go take a swim in the pool of his complex.

I believe he decided against doing so.

The floating corpses.

Most people have enough water to last till the emergency crews get there, I think. Except for those who have drowned in their cars on highway overpasses. I have heard things. Drug-fuelled things. Some of the people who dropped by work earlier today were on Valium and medications for gout. It did things to them. Plus they aren't solidly moored at the best of times. They needed to smoke and pee. Desperate.

This is shocking, unprecedented.

It's positively biblical.

Space aliens.

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Sunday, August 20, 2023


The news is filled with bad tidings. Fires all over Northern California. Plus a hurricane bearing down on the southern tip of the state, bringing a rain of biblical proportions that might dump two or three years worth of water in only a few hours. There are law suits against deities in New York, Florida, Texas, and Georgia -- oh well, all of the Deep South -- as well as the District of Columbia. Covid isn't over yet, it's resurging. A new improved virus.
All set to take out a few thousand more anti-vax Fox watchers.
Now hipper than ever.

And there are mosquito borne illnesses from tropical foreign places taking hold.
Malaria, Dengue Fever, and West Nile.


If I were in Marketing, I'd sign up some native pests as my clients. All of a sudden, hornets don't look so bad, eh? Nothing is more all-American and traditional this time of year.
And it's the very quintessence of waspy! Can't get more wasp than that!

Let us praise the hornet. George Washington was stung by them, and look at what became of him! Father of the nation! How grand!

The hornet; a patriot pest.
And hallelujah.
One of the great things about hornets is that they are colourful and photogenic.
They're quite lovely, unlike those foreign mosquitoes.
Malaria, Dengue Fever, West Nile.

Wouldn't you rather have your vacation ruined by hornets, instead of malaria, dengue, and West Nile? Hornets like sweets, so consider it a compliment. Mosquitoes simply want your blood. And they spread disease. How pedestrian!

We treasure our vespid fellow Americans.
They'll save America yet.

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