Sunday, June 30, 2024

BURN THE EDIFICE DOWN

Lauren Boebert argues that we should let the church dominate the government. Naturally it should be the Dutch Reformed Church. Naturally! And I propose, as one of our first acts, that we outlaw the Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, and all manifestations of born-againism. Such heresies veer into witchcraft and have NO business being allowed in a Christian country. Also, the New England Puritans fled a Christian country (Holland) to practise their deviant cult in the wilderness, and should, therefore, be excoriated without mercy. All of this is obvious! By the way, Christmas and Thanksgiving are heathen holidays and should be cancelled. [Decide for yourself whether this is sarcasm; if you're wrong, you will burn for all eternity.]
Naturally, I am also in favour of taking righteous vengeance on Catholics and Spaniards for what they did to the city of Naarden in 1572. Fire and sword, savage trumpets. As the good book says "ye shall leave none of them alive". And, sheerly on the principle of it, we should turn Utah and Idaho into a sheet of glass. Damned Mormon heresies!
And repopulate Texas with civilized people.


Oh, it will be so glorious.


Quite Christian.


Joy!



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

YOUR FUTURE BEST INTERACTIONS

The benefit of reading Chinese, even though it isn't at a college graduate level, is that I know that a guinea pig and six hamsters are the equivalent of a big hamburger and a piece of fried chicken. From a Cyanide and Happiness cartoon reproduced on a Chinese website. And that a guineau pig is "heaven pillar-bamboo rat", whereas hamsters are "granary rats". Which, of course, brings up the question whether all small furry beasts are rats.

I rather like rats. They're cute, and intelligent social creatures.

Would you rather be hugged by a rat or a rattle snake?

Won't you please give the rats a chance?

So, while mama rat and her little kids clamber up the inside of your pants leg, scare off the hungry murderous reptile. They'll be ever so grateful. The snake won't, but he's a serpent.


Two other things I need to mention is number one that some fast food chains will employ just about anybody ("hello, are you ambulatory, and do you have a face? Congratulations! You're hired!) and number two, the phrase that every visitor to the Netherlands hears over and over is "that's okay, we speak English" (冇問題,啊,我哋識講英文。'mou man tai, ah, ngo dei sik kong ying man'). We are programmed to repeat that till you obey.
So it's only a matter of time before the only intelligent real person behind the counter at your favourite beanorito joint is, in fact, small and furry. The rest will be AI. But please direct your gaze at the rodent. Who will press the right buttons, and presto!
Your meal, and your change!
Napkin?

The machine in charge of the franchise is programmed to understand your gibberish, as well as adept at training counter rats.

Yeah, they're rewarded for a job well done with nicotine instead of snackie treats. You don't want them to get fat, do you? It's a small price to pay. And a happy pipesmoking plague carrier adds a nice human touch.

Please visit our complimentary condiment bar on the way to your table.
Your seat has been programmed to accept gratuities.
Here, have some candy. We like you!



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Saturday, June 29, 2024

TOADS IN THE HOLE

Great line about an English Public School headmaster: "the sadistic sod who ran the place". Hideous punishments inflicted on generations of boys. No wonder they were imperialist bastards. Which, of course, makes me glad I never went to an English school.
Jack The Ripper most likely graduated from Eton.

Of course, if I had been sent to a proper English educational institution during my teenage years, I should probably not have flunked Latin.


"ROMANES EUNT DOMUS"


I've always rather regretted that.

On the other hand, San Francisco will be filled this weekend with British Public School boys. There will be displays of cricket. It being Pride Weekend. Which I will miss, because I'm at work. The parade will be great. On Sunday.

Dykes with pierced nipples. Spanking. Leather. Barbecue and Vegan food stands at Civic Center. Voter registration. Pamflets for safe sex, unsafe sex, bathouses, pink flamingoes, consensual sex with pink flamingoes, and sex of any type in a time of cholera.
Or something like all of that. Along with bronzed Greek gods.
And pasty naked men who wish they gods.
All in all, parts of the city will seem like a public school dormitory after lights out.
I'm actually rather glad I'm missing all that.
Too much wild life.


Hijinks.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Friday, June 28, 2024

SPOKES MUTANT FOR THE VISITORS BUREAU

As you know, a large part of the country is under a heat advisory. And other than folks who live in trailer parks, they have the air-con going full blast. Trailer parkers often have air-con too, but it's sheerly amazing how often the grid fails in their area. It's like the gubmint don't care about Arkansas (or Texas), you think?

Here in SF for most of the day yesterday it was around sixty two degrees and windy. Which was very pleasant. No wonder there are so many folks from out-of-town visiting, not just for the wonderful gay celebration on Sunday. Much nicer weather, food, and people.
Imagine Market Street filled with sequins, ruffles, and studded leather.
Oh, it is going to be so very fabulous!
You should come!


Myself, I am not one of those nicer people. I will be glad when it's over and all those folks go home. They're inconvenient, and many of them do not know how sidewalks work. A few days ago, while eating a late lunch, some tourists entered, and stupid questions time began.
My sympathies go out to everyone in the food and beverage service industry.

Yesterday I went to half a dozen different enterprises in Chinatown, and only at Walgreens did I hear English. At some places it's very understandable that customers won't speak that, seeing as they look forbidding by 'rest-of-the-country' standards, and probably don't have post cards, a bathroom, Big Macs, or beer. Which is undoubtedly deliberate.
I'm tired of San Francisco pretending it's a nice place. The news media in the rest of the country likes to paint us as an urban disaster zone, and we should encourage that.
San Francisco: it's nice if you live here, but please don't visit. Stay out.

We have barbed wire and we know how to use it.
Miles and miles of urban decay.
No Christians here.



If you go to Detroit, Poughkeepsie, or Florida, you will find plenty of attractive postcards, plus bathrooms, Big Macs, and lots of beer. You'll have a wonderful time!
Or visit Oakland. It's better.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Thursday, June 27, 2024

THE SUMMER GARDEN

The miniskirt was developed in various places during the late fifties, and briefly popular in San Francisco during the sixties. It undoubtedly led to hordes of fashionable young ladies freezing their balls off and catching their deaths of cold during summer, their corpses littering the streets around the Pacific Stock Exchange. Yesterday evening while battling a fiercely frigid wind on Battery Street with my pipe, that was the thought that crossed my mind.

Sensible people do not wear miniskirts in June in San Francisco.
But I encourage you to do so never-the-less.
Because I'm a meanie.


The chop house caters largely to ABCs, tourists, and local people on a budget. I went there several times when I still lived in North Beach, and I've patronized it sporadically since the pandemic. Good people, decent food, in a place where it's enjoyable to linger a bit.

It's near the old movie theatre, and a bakery coffee shop to which I used to go after work. The waitress would cruise down the counter and refil the cups no questions asked. Free refills no longer exist. Nor does that coffee shop. The location has been several other things since then. The old-school chachanteng a few doors up is gone too, they closed seven years ago. The Shanghainese noodle soup kitchen down the block is gone, so is the late nighter run by Shanghainese on the corner. There is a newer Shanghai restaurant further up

Very late lunch yesterday was reliable Cantonese home style food, made more presentable and restaurantified. 豉椒龍脷球 ('si jiu lung lei kau') plus 老火湯 ('lo fo tong') and rice.
Fish and vegetables with green peppers and black bean sauce, old fire soup.

For complicated reasons I associate that street with 酸梅湯 ('suen mui tong'), an old-fashioned summer time beverage for beating the heat. Sour plum tea.
Rinse roughly equal parts 烏梅 ('wu mui'; fire-dried unripe plums) and 山楂片 ('saan jaa pin'; crataegus pinnatifida, dried Chinese hawthorn berries), soak in water for an hour or so, then simmer for a couple of hours. Rock sugar is always added, but honey is also an option; add enough so that when poured over ice it's the right strength. Dried tangerine peel is often included when simmering, as well as a slice or two of dried licorice root. Neither are essential. Convenient sour plum tea concentrates are available.

When making it at home I add 蜜棗 ('mat jou'; candied jujube) and sliced ginger.

I think I'll see if New Wing Lung has a bottle of concentrate.
Later today I'll be in that neighborhood anyway.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

PROFOUND DISTRUST OF NAKED PEOPLE

It surprises me how much nudity I saw yesterday. Not in my apartment. Where there was virtually none. That's the sad part. The nudity and near-nudity was out on the public street. Which, as a descendant of severely disapproving Protestants, I naturally instinctively abhor. It's shocking. The man wearing boxer shorts placidly sunning himself a few doors down from the apartment building. The individual scratching naked flabby areas a block up. The kidney rolls on an only partially clothed passer-by. A person changing his clothes at the laundromat. The nearly naked fellow screaming at his motor car on Pacific Avenue late in the evening. The black woman who is almost always showing off too much on Grant Avenue.

The shorts-wearing dude down near Polk after midnight.

Folks, the weather is not suitable for that. A cold wind, and chilly fog. What are y'all thinking? Don't you realize that warmly dressed little children are going to wonder what the devil is wrong with you?

In Summer in this city you should be dressed. Considering that most of you are unappealing, you should be very well covered up. May I suggest a set of heavy sackcloth robes, baggy and all-encompassing, like the people on Arakis in the Dune series?

And for craps sakes, hide those nasty tattoos!
That is why when I leave for lunch or tea during the day I head down to Chinatown. When it's light out, and there are people on the street there, you will hardly ever see nudity. Folks are normal there.

Well, except for tourists who heard that this is California.

There seem to be a lot of them this year.



I wonder how the folks who run one of my favourite eateries are doing on their vacation. They went back to the home town on vacation for a month, somewhere in Southern China, where there are probably almost no naked people running about at all despite the temperature being thirty to forty degrees warmer than here. Not even the American tourists and Europeans who are stumbling around looking lost and baffled.

There's no McDonalds here! Whatever shall we do, whatever shall we do?

Don't know, Bubba, perhaps have a bucket of lychee ice cream after your pork-fried rice?
A nice cool boba tea with jelly squiggles added? Perhaps buy a colourful folding fan as a souvenir for the folks back home, use it to cool yourself, and tell everybody later that you hacked your way through a tropical jungle with it, beating off the mosquitoes and leeches, and you would have been dead without it? This fan has a history, Peggy Sue, a history!

Don't leave the hotel. It's airconditioned.

Look, if you're convinced that you desperately need to cool down in weather that keeps the normals fully dressed -- fog, wind, and nearly arctic at night -- you may have a screw loose. The ONLY place where people need to be naked in San Francisco during Summer is in the shower and my bedroom, and if any of you try that I'll beat you off with a stick. I didn't invite you, and I'm deeply suspicious of you lot. Most of you are not my type, and mentally unbalanced anyway.


And as for the Europeans, if they want to ponce around in Bermuda shorts, Culottes, or Daisy Dukes, they should go to Majorca. We have no beer. Go away.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

CONSIDERING DIURESIS

Naturally I was high as a kite when I returned from the pub crawl. No booze, but some caffeine before I left, then more caffeine in three different places. And I had avoided coffee, because the diutetic effect of coffee only takes one to one and half hours to manifest itself, whereas tea can take up to four or five hours. Drinking establishments usually have peeing facilities for men which are reprehensible. There's a reason it's called "the bog".
Shan't provide any details. If you're male you know.
And possibly you contributed to that.


Imagine what an endless parade of frat boys and marketing department types can do, if they actually have the decency to do it inside, instead of out there in front of children and horses.


Got home less than four hours after I had that first preparatory dose of caffeine.

A thoughtful man (not a frat boy or marketing type) times himself.

I haven't been to the head in one bar in six years.


While smoking my pipe I got to see two almost naked people, several rowdy white folks, a few skateboarders, and a friendly local with whom I often exchange 'ni hao' because I know he's a Mandarin speaker. Other than that I don't know anything about him. He could be from anywhere north of Canton, China is vast and there are many non-Cantonese speakers. I've heard him speaking Mandarin. Of course that doesn't mean much, he could be Cantonese. I've also heard Cantonese people speaking Mandarin. Usually when dealing with northern mono-linguals. Many times. So he might be fully metropolitan.
It is quite possible that many Cantonese men don't venture into bars at night because they know that's where very moist frat-boys and marketing types go.


The bookseller and myself do a pub-crawl every week. Neither of us over-indulge (except for caffeinated beverages, of course) and we have never been like frat boys or marketing types.
I thoroughly enjoy smoking my pipe while waiting for our pub crawl to commence, as well as watching the local wildlife. Who largely ignore me, except for little children walking home with their parents, who may never have seen a briar or a quiet Caucasian.
Red Virginia flake in a stubby billiard.

Neither of the two almost naked people paid me any attention, which is good.
I'm not social to naked people except under certain conditions.
I am kind of stand-offish that way.


For much of my life I have not been naked.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

THEY'RE NOT SKYDIVERS, THEY'RE LIKE SACKS OF WET CEMENT!

Nothing says California like bottled hot sauce. It's almost like we invented the stuff. And the best marketing image for hot sauce has always been a vista of palm trees, a beach, upped surf, boards in the tube, and a sunburned tourist being eaten by sharks.
Hot sauce makes the mayo-fed Midwesterner go down.

Truth be told, I have never gotten into surfing.
Nor have I ever been down to Malibu.
I'm not a Bay Watch guy.

Orange-red swimming togs aren't in my habilimentic vocabulary.
Why don't they make beach wear in corduroy or tweed?

At present it's sixty one degrees Fahrenheit in San Francisco, and mostly cloudy. It's perfect beach weather. No one expects Ride Of The Valkeries to drown out the sound of machine guns at Ocean Beach in this weather. By the way: I love the smell of Red Virginia pipe tobacco in the morning, son, it smells like victory.

"You either surf, or fight."

Everyone needs a megaphone, a gun boat being lowered into the water, and some napalm at the treeline. Everyone. You'll never find the bodies. Not a single one of them.
If I were a cynical man, I could organize surfing tours of Vietnam, and become stinking rich from the profits. Guess how much I'd charge for sunscreen and sharkrepellent.

That movie and its entertainment category defines our generation. We relive things when there are choppers over San Francisco. The traffic report send shivers down our spines. Also, in Autumn, when the biggest event in turkey day history shows up on our feeds.

Oh, the humanity!



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

STUPENDOUS MINDS

Like a great many Americans, I am obsessed with sharks. And what is President Biden going to do about them? And sharks with electric motors. Specifically, I am quite enchanted by the rumblings and rantings of the Republican presidential candidate and his unique, strongly worded, and persuasively argued, points of view about the shark problem with electric motors, inspired by his uncle who had three degrees and lectured at M.I.T.
Presumably regarding sharks, motors, and batteries.

The first step is preventing boats from sinking in battery infested waters.
Next, fight against windmills, the snakes, and more snakes.
Snakes are bad, as all Christians know.
They're commies!
Will no one think about the children?

All over liberal America, criminals are walking sharks in neighborhoods where children live and shooting up drugs from Mexico. Just look at San Francisco. The problem has gotten out of hand, and righteous Christians need to do something about that. Stronger police. Solve the shark problem once and for all, and force children to learn the ten commandments.
They are splendid commandments. Great Republicans invented them.

Shark week on teevee is rampant communism.

Sharks love windmills.



The movie Jaws was okay, I suppose, but it did not make as much of an impression on me as some other people. I already knew about the sharks, unlike good christians, so I wasn't jumping out of my seat demanding action. I left the movie theatre, lit up my pipe, and scrupulously avoided large bodies of water, as naturally one does.

Precisely what I shall be doing in another few minutes.
Afterwards, a second cup of coffee.


I am not a very stable genius, and I've always remembered the names of my doctors.


Bays, bayous, gulfs, inlets, lakes, meres, oceans, ponds, river deltas, and seas.
All areas where one might encounter sinking electric boats.
I do not walk there with my pipe.
The sharks.


The sharks.


The sharks.


The sharks.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Monday, June 24, 2024

STAY WITH ELECTRIC

Some drugs to which people become addicted, which may necessitate incontinence pants, also induce a high quotient of gibberance. Especially if the esteemed pickle-brained blobbo taking them has a huge ego. It's really big. You've never seen such an ego. Huge!
Everyone (that is to say, the idiot half of the country) admires his ego.


"I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for many years, long, I think the longest tenure ever. Very smart, had three different degrees and you know, so I have an aptitude for things. You know, there is such a thing as an aptitude. I said, well, what would happen if this boat is so heavy and started to sink and you're on the top of the boat. Do you get electrocuted or not? In other words, the boat is going down and you're on the top, will the electric currents flow through the water and wipe you out? And let's say there's a shark about 10 yards over there. Would I have to immediately abandon or could I ride the electric down and he said, sir, nobody's ever asked us that question. But sir, I don't know. I said, well, I want to know because I guarantee you one thing, I don't care what happens. I'm staying with the electric, I'm not getting over with it. So I tell that story. And the fake news they go, he told this crazy story with electric. It's actually not crazy. It's sort of a smart story, right? Sort of like, you know, it's like the snake, it's a smart when you, you figure what you're leaving in, right? You're bringing it in the, you know, the snake, right? The snake and the snake."
------Orange gorgle meister
It's a stream of consciousness, very deep, almost Kaufman-esque in its intensity.
Like wow, man, far out. Like, totally zen. It's wild.


They pay good money for this in Las Vegas.


The snake and the snake.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Sunday, June 23, 2024

THE LIZARDS

In the shrubbery along the walkway to work there lives a reptile. He is not threatening, being only about five inches long, and is not intent on harm. When it's sunny in the morning I see him warming up on the concrete berm. Immobile, probably so the crows don't see him. Happy. Placid.

So far, I've seen a wider spectrum of wild life there than in San Francisco. Perhaps our crazy people scare them away. The crazy people at work are not as potentially violent or unstable, if you ignore what comes out of their diseased mouths when they're huffing stogies and discussing politics or modern medicine, about which they have unique opinions.

Most lizards do not have any thoughts about those subjects.
I suspect that the heat seeking reptile doesn't either.
At worst, he's an adherent of Rand Paul.
Because bugs. And crawlies.

When he has finished sunning himself, he goes home. He's probably a bachelor, as there is no evidence of a family. And I'm just assuming it's a he, but truth be told I haven't a blessed idea, as I am not an expert on the gender of reptiles smaller than a juvenile human.
The reptiles in the backroom are all male. And often vocally so.
They are larger than a juvenile human.
As you can probably guess, I often think of our reptilian friends and fellow citizens while at work, as I happily, placidly, puff my pipe. Three bowlfulls today. A Dunhill shellbriar, a Castello of a very English shape, and a Comoy sandblast prince. By the middle of the afternoon I was high as a kite on the tea I had swilled -- five cups of it -- and the zoo seemed so very far away. Marin, as you know, is where the wild things are. Bat country.


When I got home my shoulders and lower legs ached, and I fixed myself a cup of coffee.
I've enjoyed some of Neil's excellent shortbread in lieu of dinner.
And put on a warmer garment, as it's gotten colder.

Life is now exceedingly good.

I am not a lizard.

But I could be.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Saturday, June 22, 2024

MIRACLE CURE

At some point the sports programme on teevee in the backroom segued into an infomercial about a product which let us call 'Crepe Away'.A miracle balm. You have to have it. Now let's hear from actual users, all of whom because it's so good look much much younger. Instead of women between fifty and eighty years of age with flappy bits under their arms, they look like women a year or two younger with NO garbage bags under their arms.
Radiant and youthful! Just 'peachy'!

Actual users. Between fifty and eighty years old.

Which entranced the old fossils, and probably gave them dating ideas.

For a good two hours this afternoon I had a room full of vicious old farts huffing their cigars, scratching their piles, and peacefully gazing at the teevee and visions of feminine beauty. Younger women, crinkle-free, oh my.


It's a stellar product, and worth every penny of your grandkid's tuition!
Heck, sell a kidney. Your grandkid has two.
PINEAL GLAND EXTRACT, MANUKA HONEY, AND YOGURT ENZYMES


For senescent old bozos in their twilight years, this counts as soft-core porn. Their eyes glow, their brows pearl with perspiration, and their fingers tremble. Oooh, so good!

I think that henceforth, when they're snapping and growling, and biting each other's heads off again, I'll just put on another Crepe Away video to distract them and quiet them down.
Crepe Away, the unguent of pulchritude. It's better than old bozo bloodlust.



Gluten-free.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Friday, June 21, 2024

UP WITH THE BIRDS

Some creatures are habitually up at the very crack of dawn. Roosters. Baristas. Men with loud motorbikes and small ineffective limp members. Plus Cantonese apartment mates who are ravenous, and masculine Netherlandish Americans who wish to have a good smoke plus afterwards plenty of time to commit ablution and other necessary things in a bathroom of their choosing.

Also many birds of course. Mainly worm-eaters.

Like you, I cannot face a worm that early in the morning. Coffee, then a pipe smoked while wandering around the neighborhood and glaring at folks pooing their dogs.
Can't they do that in the privacy of their own home?
Well dammit!


Or, to put it differently, I am not the most social creature at that hour.
Even after abluting and dressing I haven't improved much.
More presentable, still grouchy.
Dutch uncle.
AN EARLY BIRD


A coworker five years ago liked starting the day with an energy drink and a cigar. The good thing was that though half-crazed, he wasn't particularly talkative. At the toy company over a decade ago the operations department spent the first two hours irritatingly yacking on about Real Housewives and American Idol while slurping Starbucks frappies. It drove both me and the one intelligent member of that department nuts. I was on the other side of the nearest wall of dividers trying to tune them out while making necessary calls.


I have never watched American Idol or the Real Housewives. Nor do I wish to belatedly catch up on either of them. Never watched Game of Thrones either. The last actual watchable shows on teevee were The X Files, Forever Knight, and Absolutely Fabulous.
Also, I do not poo my dog. He's imaginary, and constipated.
Must be that cigar I mentally see him smoking.
Cigars early in the morning are evil.
Dries the membranes.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Thursday, June 20, 2024

THE CREATURE FROM THE BRONZE LAGOON

For some reason I've never gotten into beaches. School trips to the seashore were always fun, mostly because going somewhere is always interesting, even exciting, and new things to see get the mental juices flowing. But that typical Northern European thrill to be somewhat undressed where there is lots of sand and breakers gently rolling in? Yeah, um, no. Germans, by the way, love Scheveningen. Never figured that out.
Dunes, starfish, slimy things. Seaweed. Sunburn.
Not for me.

It's nice and scenic, I suppose, but is there a cafe terrace nearby that isn't crowded with slumps wearing swimming togs? And surely it has an awning, comfortable rattan furniture, and no angry earthmommas and papas screaming about the pipe and ashtray?

A nice cup of coffee, and stirfried noodles with clams, mussels, and fish, scallion and ginger, and a bowl of fresh red chilipaste would be nice afterwards. Splash the seafood with sherry or rice wine in the pan before dumping them on top of the gilded noodles. Salted black beans (豆豉 'dau si') and garlic are not essential, but add a nice touch. Pizzaz.

Children love the beach. I was a child, once. Briefly.


I've already apologized for that.
清水灣

It wasn't my finest moment.


There was the beach on Camaguin Island, where I tried climbing a palm tree and scraped myself. There was a beach much further south of that, approx 200 miles, where we hurriedly got back into the boat more than a year later, for ... reasons. I've never been to Kuta Beach in Bali because seeing Australians soaked in Fosters and drenched in Coppertone wasn't high on my list of priorities. A beach in England where I first saw razor clams.
Which are edible. Which is good.

In the Bay Area I've been to the beach maybe half a dozen times, usually because of someone else. A few of those times involved setting fire to stuff that wasn't tobacco.
And wasn't underneath a cooking vessel either.


A co-worker years ago liked to windsurf. I thought he was nuts.
His beach togs were, I believe, a rubber wetsuit.
He looked like a space alien.


Yesterday on the bus a Chinese gentleman who lives a few blocks away stood near me, and I noticed that he was exceedingly tanned. Although he looked quite Australian, I decided not to mention Vegemite (維吉麥膏). He would not have understood the concept or connections, and that stuff is not something that Cantonese people normally associate with healthy living, suntans, beaches, or even food.

Chinese people, generally speaking, don't tan.
They can, but choose not to.


The main problem with beaches is that there usually aren't trash receptacles evenly spaced every hundred yards or so where one can dispose of pipe cleaners and other detritus.
If, on a foggy day, one decided to go somewhere quiet.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

THE MISSING DECADE

Yesterday evening the apartment mate and I had dinner at a local restaurant where the food is well-prepared Cantonese - American Chinese - Home Style. Their steamed salt fish pork patty is, in a word, heavenly. And while generally speaking I am wary of tofu because I've had it badly prepared by white people far too often, done with bokchoi and large whole black mushrooms they way they do it is splendid.

The parents do the kitchen, their daughter serves and answers the phone.

Clean and bright, with nicely prepared food.

Our kind of people.


Yeah okay, not hip. Good and hip are usually at odds anyhow, and it's strictly neighborhood, not easy to get too if you're a tourist from out of town or a visitor to the city. And where their from, Milk Tea is not a thing. Mom and dad speak a dialect further back than most people, wich sounds like it's been influenced by the Min group of languages. Intelligible if you struggle. Standard city Cantonese also can.
One curious thing I found out yesterday was that if the person was not ready to go, they will blow out the candles at the cemetery. Also, there is food offerings envy among ghosts. Just keep that in mind the next time you are at happy hill cleaning the graves.
The dead don't mind you swearing while cleaning.
They've heard it all before.


Taking them some decent coffee from Peet's might be a good idea.
Not Starbucks. And absolutely NO syrup-added stuff.
Show some respect.


This is vaguely related to a previous period of my life, people I used to know, and memories of previous places. Fermented fish also enters into it. They used to make that at Three Families Village. But that's a thing of the past now.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

THAT KIND OF EVENING

While waiting for the bookseller I was treated to a crazy person talking to himself about his girlfriend whom he had made into a pornostar, as well the gesticulating fellow, and the cretin mumbling, who was looking for his beverage which he had "just put there, and now it's gone". His muttering made clear that there had been several hours in between then and now, and that there were different newspaper racks than before, and the stop light had suddenly turned orange at that time which is why he put his drink down, which was the right thing to do.

As you've probably guessed, I am very good at not talking to people.
Although on Sunday I did respond to an eccentric who spoke.


"I just made a big coin for the Mexican embassy and left it at the gas station!"


I reassured him that it would probably all work out okay. Whereupon he left.

Living in San Francisco, I normally don't get into conversations with some people. That's a skill everyone learns here. My friend the bookseller told me that one of the customers, the woman who shouts about how damned Buddhists are killing all these people, had been quite distraught because "someone stole your elevator!" They don't have an elevator. They haven't had one for donkeys years. It never did go to the top. He told her that he'd file a report or something, and shooed her out. That's why he was late. It was one of those days.

Despite the cold wind there were numerous people out. The beer place looked like a war zone, someone was massacring La Bamba at the karaoke place to great acclaim (couldn't sing worth a damn, but his friends were drunk). The alternative place to which we went was, mercifully, quiet. Because the person tending bar does not speak Chinese, it attracts mostly American-born Cantos. Pretend, if you will, that the bookseller and myself are such.
He's of Italian derivation, I'm a Dutch American, but never mind.
The function of pipe-smoking Dutchmen is to confound your algorithms. That's why we exist.

Shortly after we got our drinks two gentlemen speaking some country dialect from lord knows where entered, and asked the bar person "ni swo tsong wen ma?" She told them she didn't, and I helpfully informed them that I could speak Cantonese. They left, discombobulated.

I'm fairly certain their dialect was Cantonese. Of some sort. But maybe from so far into turnip territory that the farm trucks are still stuck in the mud there. Far less intelligible than Toisan.

Still, the words beer ('peh-jau') and Remy ('le-mi') would have been understood.
They're comprehensible no matter how badly you mangle them.
Worst comes to worst, gesticulate!
Mime drink.


We have to deal with tourists from the rest of the country and the outside world all the time here in SF, we'll understand you if you make an effort. Really, I promise.


Just don't mutter, mumble cretinously, or act crazy.
And please, don't sing karaoke at us.


While we were at the bus stop a pick-up truck passed by blaring some tune from either The Beverly Hillbillies or Petticoat Junction. Possibly the Andy Griffith Show.
I'm sure it was meant ironically.


Yee haw.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

THE SMARTNESSES

Sometimes, out of the corner of your ear, you hear something that tingles. While we were eating she mentioned that she admired crows because of their intelligence. We had veered over the course of the conversation into various animals -- cats, foxes, gophers, rabbits, et mult autres -- but crows and drinking vessels and their understanding of volume and displacement struck a nerve.

Crows resonated. There had been a huge colony of crows on the roof of one of the highrise office buildings three blocks away, which had probably suffered from the city's massive rat poisoning nearby. Poison travels up the food chain.


I miss those crows.


The city ocassionally does remarkably stupid things.
Governmental bureaucrats aren't particularly bright.

Their rat poison is still out there as toxic red tape.
The internet is filled with videos of crows being intelligent and other animals being cute or lovable -- that black bear uprighting the traffic cone in the Sierras, for example -- as well as bureacrats and Texans being stupid.

If bureaucrats could figure out a way to eliminate pesky problem people while keeping tax dollars and votes flowing, they'd probably poison all of us.

AI is not the solution.

Darn.



Release the bears.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

RESOLUTELY UNHIPSTER

Dined with two old friends yesterday evening in C'town at a place where I've known the owner for roughly ten years. It was great. Sadly, we didn't end up at a bar swilling multiple shots of whisky -- one of them now has a pacemaker, and I don't drink alcohol anymore because of possible interactions with my medications -- but all three of us were in fine spirits. After our meal we went to observe the rats in one of San Francisco's city parks.

Rats are splendid creatures, as you know.
Intelligent, very social, and organized.
Altogether quite admirable.


Well, except for that nasty rumour about the bubonic plague.
That may have caused some bad press over the years.


If you like rats (and who doesn't?), there is probably no better way to encounter them than at a protest encampment at a local Ivy League university. Discarded kale chip bags and half eaten cans of tofu are a magnet. As are musty smelling hoodies and sweatshirts.
And vegans are, of course, averse to killing vermin.
Which is what the protests are about.

That and the irresistible urge to be hip and with it.
As you have probably figured out by now, I am not hip and with it. My friends aren't either.

A large part of that is the tendency to see many shades of grey, whereas all the hippest with it people can only think in terms of black and white. Plus their knowledge of the world consists only of easy soundbites, and is virtually content free.
Some of them are simply stupid, of course.
Or stoned.



Vegans who are high as kites are sour and bitter, because they can't snack on so many things. Icecream and pizza are out of the question. So are yogurt and granola bars.
It's very sad. Dialectic is grim when you can't even eat yogurt granola bars.
Or labneh. Or musakhan. Or kabobs. Or pita chips.
So very very sad.




==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Monday, June 17, 2024

TREMENDOUS IS MY FAVOURITE COLOUR

As a rational Dutch-American, I'll trust the Dutch experience with windmills, rather than the words of a racist gay hating felon. Not that his racism or dislike of homosexuals has anything to do with his great expertise in the field of windmills. But as regards that, he is, as his own words prove, absolutely off his rocker.

"We’ll have an economy based on wind. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly, very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous if you’re into this tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything."

"You talk about the carbon footprint, fumes are spewing into the air, right? Spewing. Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air. It’s our air, their air, everything, right?"
"So they make these things and then they put them up. And if you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50 percent of the price. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life."

"You see all those ..... They’re all different shades of colour. They’re like sort of white, but one is like an orange-white. It’s my favorite colour, orange."

That was four years back. There is no evidence he's become saner since spewing all that. Spewing tremendous tremendous into the atmosphere. Covefe is tiny compared to the universe. Tremendous, tremendous.

Far be it from me to criticize the bigly contributions of Adderall® and Depends® to American life. Bigger even than ketchup on well-done steak. The best. A+, it's huge.

If you're voting for him you're out of your mind.
Several other things too. Undoubtedly.
But this is a clean site.


Look, a shark!



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Sunday, June 16, 2024

DARKER WHEN COLD

On the path up to the doorway of my workplace this morning I encountered a small presence, which I have since then concluded must have been a western fence lizard. I don't have much exposure to lizards. Well, the non-human kind, that is. I did not want to startle it, so I took a detour around it. Reading up on these things indicates that they are darker when they haven't gotten warmed up. It looked happy. Sunlight on the pavement.

It was shorter and thinner than a robusto cigar.
So less than five inches, fifty ring gauge.
Apparently common in California.
Often I find the personalities of animals more agreeable than human beings. More honest, less neurotic and psychopathic. Certainly during the work day those are the types of human being I often encounter. Quarrelsome old basket cases huffing stogies and stewing in their own funk, senile and often drunk-paranoid, in the back room, which is closest to the muddy salt flats upon which we'll chuck their corpses when they croak. The wild beasts might eat them, might take one look and sneer "this one is past its prime". They all are, my fine feathered friend, they all are.

I'm looking forward to winter, when pneumonia, gout, chronic acid indigestion, and sheer bitchy orneriness will cull the herd further. The salt flats are hungry. So hungry.


Until then, I'll try to get the local mountain lions and werewolves eating out of my hand.

And love the small creatures soaking up the sun warmth.

Here, lizard, lizard, lizard!



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

THE BLESSED FRUIT

Some people eat it for breakfast, and there's even coffee flavoured with it. Ronald, who passed away years ago, once bought a tonne of it and was barred from both public transit and entry to his hotel, so he and his mom sat on a park bench and tried to consume it all. Seeing as an excess comes out through your pores, they must have whiffed a bit.

For a few years a long time ago I would do a durian tasting in random places to introduce people to it, and enjoy their reaction. A friend confesses herself not a fan.

Nowadays urban southerners are quite fond of it and it's widely available.
Frankly, I cannot wait till Americans start obsessing over it, and do what they always do when food gains a cult following. I'm now imagining Durian Huts, durian pizza, durian bakeries, and Paddy's DownHome Durian Shacks all over the country. People assuring me that "in New York they have the best durian, man, that's why you need to go there".

Durian with grits. Durian with lutefisk. Durian with bacon, cheese, and hot sauce.

"Durian is life" teeshirts, durian body spray. Durian hats.

Durian themeparks. The Miss Durian contest.



I myself am not particularly fond of it.
It's okay, lah. But I can pass.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Saturday, June 15, 2024

SOMETHING ABOUT TEMPTATION

After having a quick cup of coffee upon returning home I headed out for the final pipe smoke of the evening. Further up the street, four leggy damsels wearing tight shorts were squealing and getting into a car. Which reminded me of the dye job on one of my favourite pipes. I've recently been re-finishing one of my Dunhill Bruyeres. Those were made of fine old briar from Calabria, with a brown stain undercoat and a deep red overcoat. Yielding what would have, as a lipstick hue, been appropriately named 'temptress scarlet'. The dense tight wood did well thus treated, but reds are usually not permanent, and can fade over time.

Temptress scarlet would also be a good name for a band.

Or a Japanese girl pop combo.


I had been working on it while my apartment mate listened to podcasts about the lives of scandalous women. She likes "researching" white women misbehaving. Heck, all she has to do really is eavesdrop on leggy damsels getting into a car up the street. I have no idea whether they actually knew the driver. If not, we may be reading about them later.

One has to be leary of strangers with candy or cars.
Coffee is okay. The problem being, of course, that coffee is only tempting to introverts in the evening, and they aren't likely to roam the streets wearing shorts and squealing, and even far less likely to respond to a middle aged Dutchman offering to supply them with a nice hot beverage. The weather is too good for that this time of year. Now, if they were soaking wet from a frigid winter rainstorm, it might work. Except they wouldn't be wearing shorts, of course. Nobody except nutballs wears shorts in that kind of weather.

I've never actually looked around for anyone who might need warming up in when the rain is pouring down. Perhaps I should. I lament the lost chances, and the likeable young persons who may have spent weeks in the hospital with pneumonia because neither I nor any other kind Samaritan came by at the right time and offered to pour coffee into them. There must be hundreds of traumatized librarians out there still questioning the choices they made during the horrid rainstorms in recent years. How sad.

If I ever get desperate for a date to the prom, I'll probably just start roaming around this part of the city with a thermos of hot coffee.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Friday, June 14, 2024

THE PROGRESSION

It was rather cold in the city yesterday. As you would expect. Kind of March/April-ish. Which reminded me of the time I came down with a horrible flu which floored me for several days the year I had my stent put in, when I was still a bit unhealthy. So I decided to go have curry at a chachanteng which does a nice version, before smoking my pipe. Good curry weather.
Cutest little person there having fries with her grandma. Mahogany hair, deep deep shiny brown. Curious pale bug-like face. Extremely small delicate hands.


After finishing my meal and cup of milk tea I headed out into the gale, and ran into an old friend at the busstop. He got off four blocks before me. I had to convince a baifkoof (desi idiot) that he was in way before I escaped. He seemed somewhat dense.

It was less windy on the other side of the hill. Perfect pipe smoking conitions. The caffeine still coursed warmly through my veins, and my feet were far less cold than they had been.
I followed behind two little girls and their grandfather (爺爺 'yeh yeh') who had left the school play ground. The smaller one, while gaily swinging her stuffed monkey, tried to kick her older sister in the rear behind grampa's back. Sort of a surreptitious sideways full leg swing. Third try, success. Grampa oblivious. The older sister made sure to walk a little further away.
The stuffed monkey seemed to giggle.
They weren't walking very fast, so without even trying the gap narrowed. I was at this point keenly aware that the monkey was a trouble maker, and detrmined not to catch his attention. Monkeys, no matter how large or small, are unpredictable, and one should not get on their bad side. Lest noxious substance materializes or gets flung. This is a profound insight, as well as darn good life advice.

When I got to my street, I peeled away.

Home before the fog rolled in.

It was dark early.



==========================================================================
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
LETTER BOX.
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.
==========================================================================

Search This Blog

THE TEMPTING BUFFET

One of the great things, truly great, is the amount of naked skin during a heat wave. Naked white female skin. Shoulders, backs, stomachs, a...