At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Friday, December 15, 2017


Last night I napped from eleven till one clock before going out for a nightcap and a final smoke of the day at the karaoke joint. I dislike karaoke intensely, but it's perfect for getting Christmas music out of the head. We're only a year away from an all chipmunk Christmas channel on satellite radio. Shrill crap was on the sound system at work.

At least nine different songs have been rodentified.

You know, you Americans are horrid.
Singing squeaky furballs.
Good lord.

After my drink I was outside with a pipe.

A crowd of young office party happy folks surrounded me.


"Cool pipe!"


"Whatcha smoking?"
[Expressions of drunken lust.]

"Samuel Gawith's St. James Flake."
[Samuel Gawith's St. James Flake.]


"St. James Flake; it has probably seven percent Perique would be my guess."

"I don't know what that is."
[That sounds utterly baffling.]

"It's an anaerobically fermented tobacco from Saint James Parish in Louisiana. Seven percent is, normally, a bit much. But this has been steam-pressed, which mellows it out considerably."
[I give neurotically precise answers for want of any conversational skill, and I am hesitant about the direction this conversation might go.]

"You seem like a very interesting person!"
[I wanna bang you.]

"I'm not, I am the club bore."
[Ain't gonna happen.]

"You are not a bore."
[You are hot.]

"Thank you."
[No. Just no.]

Yes, I haven't had any in a long time, but no, I am not into random late night drunken nookie. Even if it is sincere. Serious sober middle of the afternoon passionate and inspired nookie is an entirely different matter. Which sounds lovely, but it hasn't happened yet, ever, and the fifteenth of December is my apartment mate's birthday, I have to pick up a cake and buy a live lobster, so nothing, absolutely nothing at all, is going to interfere with my schedule tomorrow, and I can not think of a worse birthday present for her than finding out that the middle-aged git who lives in the messy room has made a bad decision and there's a hungover office worker on the premises.
That would be uncomfortable.

See, that's why it would have to be sober nookie in the middle of the afternoon. If, perchance, someone would take a long nap afterword, that person could wake up fast enough to hide under the covers when the front door starts opening, and if discovered by the apartment mate bounding in and wondering about the lump in the bed, pretend to be a penguin or a small black cat.

One of the many stuffed animals that live here.

I have given this a lot of thought.

It is tremendously flattering that a young lady half my age wants to bang me late at night after many cocktails, but in all honesty she wasn't my type, and wouldn't have been even if she were cold sober.
I have idiotically exacting standards.

That bowl of tobacco was exceptional. Sweet and smooth all the way through, and quite the best cap to a long day.
St. James Flake.

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Thursday, December 14, 2017


One may judge a class or category by a few representative examples. It's a heuristic, mostly reliable, but subject to cognitive bias. Nevertheless, and evenso.


Included in the above term are females who were born here, whose thinking processes are not typical American, even if they can express themselves fluently in English. Excluded are American Chinese who can't understand Cantonese, and act blonde.


The elderly lady who has a snack and a hot beverage regularly at a particular bakery, and always seems just chock full of piss and vinegar. There are times when listening in on her discourse when I've struggled to keep a straight face. Yes, she knows I speak and understand, but not every one else there does. Spry, birdlike, and fluent in Cantonese and Toisanwaa. But not English. She strikes a fine balance between boundless fascination with other people and tactful reserve.
Likes her food very much.


The Cantonese woman in the other room of this apartment, who is currently voicing for the stuffed animals. I can hear her doing one of the monkeys right now. He sounds incredibly pleased with himself. She is my age, minus nearly a decade. The reason she lives here rather than with her boyfriend is that her boyfriend is neurotic, whereas this is a restful place, quiet, comfortable, and very tolerant of stuffed animals.
She wondered recently what it would be like if she were invited back to Planet Hamster by aliens. If the only tasks assigned to her were wearing a diamond tiara, peeling grapes, and rubbing their furry tummies, it would be more than tolerable. Excellent in fact.
Likes her food very much.


About eight years old, very tiny, quite intelligent, and socially capable. But a little bit quiet and shy. Her hair is clean and very soft-looking, which makes it beautiful. She is well-proportioned and neatly dressed.
I did not know they made ladies boots that small. She enjoys Sriracha hot sauce. Half a dozen drops. Twice. She was eating with her auntie, a lively somewhat brash middle-aged woman, who is a friend of one of the owner ladies. While the adults kept up a lively conversation, the little girl happily demolished the contents of her bowl.
Likes her food very much.


Thin and somewhat stick-like, an engaging conversationalist. Her one mistake is assuming that I understand everything she says, and verbally seeking my confirmation of a point she just made in talking to someone else. All I can often do is exclaim 'hai laa' or 'ngaam', or something like that. She may have been speaking while eating a pastry.
Likes her food very much.


A young mother with a little girl of slightly over two years old. Both persons seem to have the same sparkling eyes, and the infant will probably develop a snarky sense of humour to match her mom. There is an almost Kermit-the-Frog scrunch to the face when the woman contemplates something peculiar or bizarre. And a look of sheer love when devouring a snack. Sensual food lust. But very innocent.
Likes her food very much.

At the very least, one can deduce from this that the typical Cantonese woman likes her food very much. And that specimens of the type may be found where there might be food.

In that regard they resemble a tiger facing bleating bait tied to a tree.

I suspect that they all like hamsters too.
But I am not at all sure.

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It's probably just me. That would be the logical conclusion. The fact that there are several Asians whose behaviour towards me proves that my presence "shoots them into the wrong throat hole". Two Viets, a few Filipinos, and several others.
Three of these people now maintain a distance -- one of them, a Filipino, is the rudest he can be without actually uttering imprecations -- whereas four months ago they still acted like I was a human being. Clearly a pretense.
No, none of them have actually said anything.
They're blandly noncommittal dicks.
Which is very Asian.

No frank explanation will ever be forthcoming.

[Oh yeah, that glib smiling...
That really fools whitey.
So smooth, so bland.

This has also happened in the past, and there are a number of people in SF with whom I now longer willingly associate.

It's mostly an Asian male thing, but there are also Asian women who act that way. What they all have in common is that we can't talk Cantonese to each other. Largely in consequence very many English-as-primary-language-Asian-Americans are suspect in my book, and I am wary about spending too much time around these folks.

They talk "white", they grew up here, and they have a pissy middle-class attitude, coupled with a resentment of sorts for all Caucasians.
In a way they mirror my attitude towards them.

You can see that with all that in mind, very likely it's just me.
I am not a likable person, and often hard to talk to.
Plus I'll admit to being a bit of a dick.

Never-the-less. Screw them. And the rusty boat they came in on.
Supercilious, snooty, superficial, and superior.
I believe the Flip term is 'bastos'.


PS. If you are a typical angry Asian American, and do not understand the sentence above, please have a Cantonese speaker translate it for your dumb ass, and explain it. Mandarin speakers and Google don't work.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017


A friend recently brought back some tobacco from Germany, where he went for his son's wedding. The most surprising detail from his trip was that 'rowking is toddly' ("Rauchen ist Tödlich"), that being the message printed in big bold letters on the tin. Which probably replaced the older health fascist warning, namely that 'rowking fogs you and any humans in your give-a-round shoddy air hubbles too' ("Rauchen fügt Ihnen und den Menschen in Ihrer Umgebung erheblichen Schaden zu"). That's still far better than in England, where you get pictures of horrid gangrenous feet (because joggers shouldn't try to light up while running), and the new labels on MacBaren tins, which à propos of nothing state that nicotine is addictive.

Tomatoes, eggplants, and chilies also have nicotine.

That's why you eat Mexican food every hour.

Fifteen feet away from the door.

Or at the curbside.

It was damned good tobacco. I wish I had some more of that toddly stuff. Zechbauer in Munich seems like a very fine shop. Their house English mixture is ... juicy. Splendid Virginias and a bit of Latakia.

Sweet, not dissimilar to Drucquer's Red Lion or the current iteration of Dunhill's Baby's Bottom (BB 1938), pleasant smoking and smooth.
Also spicy, with a nice level of creosote.

Max Zechbauer Tabakwaren GmbH & Co. KG
Residenzstrasse 10
D-80333 München

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri, 10am-7pm
Sat, 10am-6pm
Tel.: 0049(89) – 29 01 30-26


Yes, I do know that my translations of the German text are a little off-kilter, but surely you don't expect me to respect those silly messages? We already know that nicotine is addictive, it does not tell us anything startling, and the oppressive warnings that are now de rigueur are patronizing and offensive.

As is the municipal requirement in SF that you only smoke several body-lengths away from all operable doors and windows, or else a rotund nazi in the uniform of a security guard will come out to scream at you.
Next to four slow lanes of highly polluting traffic.
Plus discarded fast-food containers.
And piles of dog shit.

The whole damned world has become Berkeley.
Easily triggered tofu-snarfers.

The monthly meeting of the local pipe club took place this past weekend. We ritually sacrificed a Vegan baby, and wrote rude slogans on the walls of the Ladies Christian Temperance Union.

Remember, boys and girls, rowking is toddly, and there might be shoddy people near your roundabout.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017


After three days of being "extroverted", the singular man gets to recover by lurking in his den for two days. That being in front of the computer during the middle of the day, with a cup of coffee and the internet. My apartment mate left for work just before eight this morning, so I have shut her door and opened all the windows, and have a pipe going.
Later I will smoke outside.
Let it air out.

I'm actually quite proud of myself. I didn't light my pipe till nearly four hours after she left, while finishing my second cup of coffee, when it was already well past midnight in India (Bangalore).
Or 4:50 AM in Hong Kong, 8:50 PM in England, 9:50 PM in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. I mention these places because other pipe smokers I knew live there. Many of whom would actually be drinking tea at this time. And smoking different tobaccos too, proving that we are all unique individuals despite our solitary habits and penchant for offending people (little old ladies, children, vegans, tobacco nazis, and easily triggered folk).

Samuel Gawith's Saint James Flake in a Charatan Selected (a canted Dublin shape, nearly a straight grain) that may be older than I am. The coffee is strong, slightly sweetened, and entirely lacking cardamom because I ran out.

Adrian in England is actually drinking Scotch whisky at this moment, while enjoying RDF (I think that means Regular Dunhill Flake, but I'm not sure). The last time I checked Markus in Germany was enjoying Capstan Flake and a big fat potato pancake, Phillip in Schweiz probably still smokes EMP, and likes listening to Bach.
The Netherlands, North Carolina, and Gainesville Florida veer wildly all across the map as far their preferences. And Pat V. in Chicago has not disclosed what's burning in his life.

[Correction: Adrian is smoking Rich Dark Flake by Germain.]

As you may deduce, my apartment mate does not smoke a pipe, and is somewhat opposed to my doing so. But she's a very fine person, with a sense of smell that is none too sharp, so if this place airs out for three or four hours after the last bowlfull indoors AND her teddy bear doesn't notice, all will be well with the world.

We are just apartment mates. We tolerate each others' peculiarities.
As well as the rambunctious stuffed animals here.
Who sometimes rule the apartment.

The coffee she's drinking these days is a "Holiday Blend" flavoured with cinnamon, which is rather ghastly. Americans and cinnamon are a weird thing. Must be a Pumpkin Spice fondness, which I've never understood.

There is also a pumpkin spice pipe tobacco.
Which is strictly for perverts.

The familial conditions or relationships of my fellow pipe smokers are largely opaque. A few of them are indeed in committed relationships, and many (possibly most of them) are male, but other than that I don't know much about their home lives. Some of them apparently have children.
Which is remarkable!

I may be the only one with stuffed animals.

Their pipe tobacco and literary preferences are far more interesting to me, and I sincerely value their opinions and flashes of wit and insight.


I have often thought that if I end up seeing someone again -- and please understand that this is a purely hypothetical construct involving an as yet to be located person who is younger than myself, of the female gender, and shorter -- she would have to have strong opinions, a profound sense of ethics, and very decent tastes. In other words someone who reads, and likes the fragrance of pipe tobaccos. NOT the aromatics.
Either Latakia blends or excellent Virginia flakes.

Fans of Starbucks "coffee" drinks are right out.

As is anyone who hates stuffed animals.

A mind is an absolute must.

Books and stuffed animals are probably the clinchers.


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San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee died his morning. Which is almighty surprising, because he was only sixty five, and many of us expected to be talking sh*t about him for many more years. Anyone who lived in San Francisco for a long time might not always agree with the whole idea of attracting techno-yuppies and investment bros to the downtown, driving the rents up and the economically struggling lower classes away, and so making blood-sucking bankers and landlords super-rich.
Which is good for the tax base.
And political careers.

Sixty five. Dang. We're gonna miss you.

Chinatown is going to be lost without a home boy in the drivers seat.

Say 'hi' to Rose Pak for us, Ed.

Rest in peace.

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Monday, December 11, 2017


One more day of being a not very likable dude, and then two days off. My weekend is on Tuesday and Wednesday, plus an extra day off on Fridays. That's three days where I hide out in Chinatown, because I am not young and hip, and on the whole less social and more snippy now than ever before.

I made the mistake of whining about my painful right leg on Facebook recently. Since then, several people have given me medical advice. Which is rather like the dating advice I received years ago when my relationship with Savage Kitten ended, though not nearly as bizarre.

Naturally I followed none of it.
Not one single iota.

I do not take well-meaning advice well.

That's not an admission of error.

But of virtue.

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Sunday, December 10, 2017


It strikes me that my apartment mate is neurotic, in a likable sort of way. She'd make an excellent pipe collector. Which, you must understand, is not something which one wishes her to become. This household at present can only fit one of those. Although it would be quite entertaining.

Likewise I should not collect period costume jewelry.

But there is no danger of that.

The pipe club met today. Imagine a whole bunch of people talking about minutiae, comparing ancient leaves, twiddling tampers and cleaners, and flapping their leathery wings during lift-off.

All of them middle-aged men.

There used to be a female member, but she and her husband went back to New Zealand. Most pipe clubs do not have women participants, which is odd. You'd think there would be tonnes.

Maybe women do not join clubs.

Yeah, that's it.

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According to Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat the Palestinians will not talk to the US until Mr Trump reverses his decision. Excellent.
Saeb Erekat should not waste his breath. There may not be another lung transplant for that old man. Not in Israel, not in the United States.
He should quietly wait for his demise.
Damned squawky pig.

The chorus of condemnation has been staggeringly predictable.

As have the street demonstrations against the United States.

In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, and Jordan.

All nations with a history of being ass-hats.

The only thing anyone needs to say to those failed-state hellholes is that they should intercourse themselves. And their camels.

Oh wait, Indonesia doesn't have camels.

Probably can't afford them.

Drop some on them.

Camels fly.

PS.: Two things to remember, buttercups, 1): one side has far greater firepower (that would be us), and 2): the nearest mosque is four blocks away, and filled with very ugly people.

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Saturday, December 09, 2017


The other day when returning home from a late smoke I passed a dozen sleeping homeless people within two short blocks. You could, I suppose, argue that I should have taken a different rout home if I did not want to see human misery, but I would point out that three of these dormant individuals were less than a block from my front door.

San Francisco homeless people are mostly from elsewhere in the U.S. The tourists, who are also mostly from elsewhere in the United States, are outraged at their number, and don't understand why we have so many of them. And they angrily vocalize about that.

Several municipalities elsewhere have been caught giving their crazies tickets to SF, while at the same time talking smack about the city.

Seriously, you guys suck.

The reason why San Francisco hates the rest of the country is because you "Christians" keep sending your nuts and failures over here, seeing as you are too lazy, uncaring, meanspirited, and filled with Republican family values, to do bugger-all for them yourselves.

I expressed these points over the internet, and a correspondent in Israel disagreed. He's a deadhead from way back, and lives in the savage hills of the Shomron like many Anglo Olim, so he's certifiably out of touch.

He wrote:

"I don't think you really have any idea about who lives between California and Poughkeepsie. And as for your definition of "Christian", don't make me laugh. you can't just make it up to suit your outdated political views, you know.

Regarding "meanspirited", my stomach still hurts from laughing. Do you even have a mirror in your house?

Having a person of Jewish extraction and habitus, living somewhere in the rabid wastelands of the Jewish ancestral homeland, lecturing me about the sweetness of Christianity, strikes me as delightful.
Ironic and batshit crazy, but delightful.
I cannot contain myself.

As far as mirrors are concerned, my apartment mate has one in her room. She covered it with a colourful wall-hanging, because mirrors are bad feng shui or something. I used to have one in my room, but for many years it has been a howling portal to another dimension with daemons.
The mirror in the bathroom keeps showing me a scream face.
I don't know why.

What is particularly poignant about the homeless people living in my neighborhood is that there over a score of restaurants and food places nearby, including a well-know donut shop that stays open twenty four hours a day. And a late-night pizza place. As you might guess, the homeless people aren't fat. These eateries do not cater to them.

"The people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats ..... "

Freshly slaughtered suburbanite or Midwesterner, roasted with zaatar, plus hummus, a peach chutney, and hot sauce, sounds real good.
Not Southerners, though; they're laden with cholesterol.
The South is the fattest part of the country.
And they feed on garbage, so .....
Greasy bald possums.

My Israeli friend used to live in the South, which explains his strange fondness for Christians. But he's probably never had them for dinner.

Three thousand miles of 'Deliverance' between here and Harlem.

Tastes just like fruit bat.


This essay was also inspired by M. Heinrich posting a beautiful and mouthwatering photo of the 'getzen', which is an earthapple pan cake, described as an erzgebirgische spezialität, tellergroß, vor butterschmalz triefend und mit herum zwei pfund gulasch und sauerkraut gefüllt.
It looks like it needs a dollop of sourcream on top.
And some hotsauce.

I wonder if they serve that at Leopolds.
[2400 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109-1603]

I'll have to ask.

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Friday, December 08, 2017


Skin texture is VERY important. This was the thought in my mind when leaving the karaoke bar last night. I had pipe and tobacco -- the briar was a piss-elegant exemplar of Italian make, the tobacco was English but made in Denmark -- and I had watched puffy boy sing. That being a man with the body of a youthful computer programmer who spends his entire life doing code, never sees the sun, and doesn't eat sensibly.
Puffy boy has an impressive range.
And never says "hi".

He looks pink and velvety. Women will probably wish to hug him.
Possibly even cuddle. Or lick.

Honestly, I do not understand women. Some individual ones, yes.
The genus, no.

I think I look dashing, romantic, and dangerous with a pipe in my mouth, but the only people who remarked on it -- and do please remember that it was a piss-elegant pipe, hot and geshmak -- were two passing street people and a few dissolute young men.

Not a single sniff from the distaff side.

On the other hand, one does not go out with chance-met acquaintances from a drinking establishment anyway.

It just isn't done by sensible people.

No matter how pretty their pipe is.

Sensible people do not have conversations with imaginary interlocutors on the way home either. Mostly involving the very nice hunk of firm cheese awaiting my return, and once the pipe was finished.
Still, those are the safest dates.

We are entirely out of crackers.
Not even Melba toast.
It is sad.

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Thursday, December 07, 2017


As a remonstrative tactic, it leaves a lot to be desired. It's less effective than possibly and probably therapeutic, and for the harried mom-person, it fades into both white noise and rote.

"Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd."

The kid in question was about eight or nine years old, and very tantrumic. Everytime he made a noise -- usually a beligerent whiny sound -- she just repeated the mantra "shut up Gomert, stop being such a little turd".
As I said, not particularly effective.
But hypnotic.

Several people nearby found it an interesting performance.

I myself was quite fascinated.

"Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd ... "

After a while I started anticipating the next repetition. I was probably not alone in that. Others dawdled nearby too.

"Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, 
shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd. 
Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, 
shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd. 
Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, 
shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd. 
Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, 
shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd!"

Not suprisingly, it hardly had any impact on the little turd. It obviously meant nothing to him that his mom considered him a little turd.

He may not have even know what a turd was.

A turd is a poo, boy. The refuse of an ass. Something foul-smelling, and, metaphorically, repulsive and badly behaved. Possibly going to grow up a juvenile delinquent, eventually catching the eye of the fuzz.

"Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd, shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd."

Wanted: Gomert, age forty, for various crimes. Considered armed and dangerous. Known by the nickname 'Little Turd'.
And he smells bad.

"Shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd; shut up, Gomert, stop being such a little turd ..... "

I was silently mouthing the phrase "stupgomertoppeeingsuchalilturd" to myself, when his mom saw me doing so.

Cheerfully she remarked "well he is, isn't he?"

I didn't know what to say.

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Sometimes I wonder who reads my rambling. A few of them are people whom I know in real life, some are folks with whom I share one or more interests, and many are temporary tourists satisfying a burning curiosity.
Of which one or two are persons I would not want to meet, ever.
The individuals who find this blog by looking for kittens, feminine underwear, and how to be a filthy old man in particular.
I mention kittens rarely, have virtually nothing complicated to say about bras and panties, and as far as elderly perversion goes, all I can tell you is to embrace the child within. Either you have it, or you don't.
I myself do not. The child within ran away.

I must digress.

With absolutely no evidence whatsoever, I suspect my last girlfriend of leaving me several years ago because I was not perverse enough. She was younger than me, and exercised regularly. On the other hand, her current beau is in a wheelchair, so who knows.

Maybe I was just too lively?

It could have all been a bit much, what with talking long walks to smoke my pipe, and grumbling about the modern era. Which leaves a lot to be desired, oh what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say 'ni' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land, nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress in this period in history.

It's a shame is what it is.

This blog is several years old, has survived the implosion of my love life, a change from Balkan blends to Virginias and Virginia Perique mixtures, the end of a longtime job in the downtown, and some major changes in both my life and my life-style. Throughout that time it has attracted some quirky visitors, who have left their traces.

Probably the most magical comment ever posted underneath one of my essays was this:

"The petite Asian schoolgirl blushed prettily when she realized the wombat had made off with her panties... what would she do, with an elderly rabbi about to arrive for Torah study (which, under no circumstances, would involve Jeebus)."

The person who wrote that is a married woman of a Talmudic bent, who is also familiar with history and archeology. We've never actually met, but we went from blog colleagues to Facebook friends, and we have several people and a number of interests in common.

It paints an interesting picture, doesn't it? Why is a petite Asian schoolgirl hanging around wombats? Maybe she's in Australia? And this impending rabbinical visit suggests that Chabad has expanded their net considerably.

Maybe he is moonlighting as a teacher of philosophy and comparative religions at the local high school.

Possibly she is in possession of the best egg salad sandwich recipe.

He's looking for a match for his son the manga-fanboy.

Or perhaps she has a magical pet-rabbit.

They share a fondness for sushi.

Both of them know Yiddish.

Outer-space aliens!

Wombat pals.

The possibilities are endless. And that, in short, illustrates why I blog.

Somewhere a wombat is resting on a pile of underwear.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017


The world disagrees with the United States recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The world is a little queer. Jerusalem has been Israel's capital since the rebirth of Israel as an independent entity.

Predictably, all the usual suspects are determined to rage and spit, and, if possible, break things. And as you would expect, the Middle East will become a seething cauldron of anger at the United States.

The picture below shows their fury.

Indignant fashion models in Gaza.
Photo credit: Mohammed Salem/Reuters

It might have been more diplomatic to not do that. The very next step is that they trash local fast-food franchises and attack European tourists. They might even boycott our television shows, and call us names.

Gee willikers, it's a festering sea of discontent.

This blogger is extremely sad that they will be avoiding our bacon cheese burgers henceforth, as we had been hoping to conquer their hearts and minds with those things. "Wouldn't it be nice", we said, "if those people willingly sold their souls, so that they could share a wee bite from our greatest invention? This delays all our plans indefinitely!"

"A regrettable decision that France does not approve of and goes against international law and all the resolutions of the UN Security Council"
------French President Emmanuel Macron

The feels, man. Oh!
Sacre bleu.

Honestly, folks, can't you all just sit down with each other for some yummy bacon cheeseburgers, KFC, and hummus, perhaps with a holiday egg-nog shake, and hash your problems out like rational people?
Perhaps go down to the mall together to ogle teenage school girls, or maybe even share some fruity drinks while singing karaoke?

Your constant fits of indigestion are so jejune.
As well as totally unimaginative.

Have more hummus!
And zaatar!

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There is one pipe I am working on for a friend. It came from a man who hotboxed 1-Q while sailing his boat on the Bay, and by all reasonable measures it's a complete ruin. But it is handsome, feels good in the hand, and speaks to my friend. The inside is gutted, with craggy heat fissures, two of which nearly extend to the outside. The tobacco (that being 1-Q, from Lane) is one of the most popular mixtures in America, and responsible for more crimes against briar than anything else on the planet.
When the pipe was still new it was a work of art.
It must have been truly charming then.

Despite the outrages that he has committed on this and many other pipes, the man who got rid of it as a lost cause is actually a very nice chap.
And he enjoys his pipes. I have worked on several of them.

Careful reaming, then alcohol and the salt cure. Shorter than usual.

Multiple thin applications of a pipe mud solution, for a laminated effect inside the bowl. Sand down the lumpy surface, then apply more liquid. Repeat. Unlike many pipe muds, this one contains no honey or maple syrup, and is quite different from the pre-carbon that several "artisans" utilize, which relies on casein (from yoghurt!) for durability.

It is a very slow process.
Two weeks already.
Not done yet.

I hope this works.

It's worth the attempt.


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Tuesday, December 05, 2017


Stephan Pastis, who is certifiably a genius, though he slaves for Andrews McMeel Syndication, a big bad corporate entity that also owns Joe's Roastery, puts life into perspective in a way that's Christian, overwhelmingly positive, and nurtures the soul.

Child-friendly, flowers and butterflies.


Until recently -- today, in fact -- this blogger had no idea what 'oompa loompas' were, in the context of personal existence.
Now I know.

This is enlightening. And liberating.

It is non-gender specific. Everyone has oompa loompas.

As a statuesque black lesbian, I celebrate my oompa loompaness. Away with victim hood, I feel empowered! I shall now gladly eat the crispy bacon that life has to offer, and reject the false certainties of Veganism, green, sustainable organic farming, or political correctitude, and help Make America Grip Anacondas.

If I were NOT a statuesque black lesbian, very hot, but, for instance, a five foot eight and half inch tall middle aged pipe smoker in a grey bathrobe,
I would still boast of my oompa loompa osity.

If this post made no sense to you, it is your problem. You are probably an angry neck-beard, of limited intelligence, living in your mom's basement in Alabama. Be free, sad little bird, be free.

Liberate the oompa loompa.


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When the response to a simple, friendly, and casually meant question ("what are you smoking?") comes out as "a blend of sweet bright and red Virginias with just a touch of firecured leaf from Kentucky used as a spice, made in South Carolina, in a squat bulldog from the forties or early fifties that many years ago it took me three months to talk a coworker into selling", the listeners may be forgiven for a bug-eyed look.
But honestly, how else would you answer that?
All of those details are important!
An experiental gestalt.

Of course it also may be just a little too detailed. But the smell already told them that it was tobacco, and both logical deduction as well as their noses informed them further that it was pipe tobacco and non-aromatic. So simply telling them "tobacco" or "pipe tobacco" would have insulted their intelligence. Details were required. Clearly.

[INTERSTITIAL NOTES: Many of my conversations in the past three days have involved tobacco in some form or other. It's an occupational hazard, which sometimes infects private life. Yesterday evening's last casual chit-chat was a recommendation that a certain person look for Arturo Fuente's Hemingway 'Work of Art', 'Short Story', or 'Best Seller', as probably the most approachable representations of a perfecto cigar. The perfecto, by the way, is frequently called a figurado, but it is not the only type though the most well known. The Andalusian Bull, by La Flor Dominicana, is another good one; it was named Cigar of the Year in 2016. The Hemingway line is affordable, and the cigars are manageable sizes. The Davidoff Colorado Claro Short Perfecto is stellar, but for someone just experimenting it's a little expensive. Most cigars are parejos - straight sides, and a round end.]

The internet was invented for overly detailed dweezils. Specifically, one area of what is commonly referred to as "social media". Twitter, of course, was invented for idiots.

Real life sometimes naturally also needs detail. Differentiation and definition are important. "Is that lutefisk?" "No, it is fish bread!"

Some people on that forum may not have realized that the clarification was in Danish, not Yiddish. Most of them are Sephardi, and of non-European backgrounds.

It is only now, as I smoke the first cigar of the day (a smallish Ashton maduro), that I realize that the perfect answer to either interlocutor yesterday evening would have been "nay, det er fiskuh bruhd!"
It would have told them everything they needed to know.
And as an statement made them just as happy.
Just one short sweet sentence.
Not complicated.

Every thing is fiskebrød.

The first pipe of the day is a great victory; the first cigar of the day, no matter how excellent, always smells like low tide at Perth Amboy.

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Monday, December 04, 2017


Not a single day has gone by that I haven't had hot sauce on something. After living in the Netherlands during my youth, I crave sambal. Sambal, of course, is as Dutch as I am, meaning that it's from somewhere else entirely. I was born in the United States, we moved there when I was two years old. Sambal comes from Indonesia, though there is evidence that the SriLankans invented it (the same word is 'sambol' in Sinhalese), and the basic building block without which it can not be sambal is the chili pepper, which is a native of Central America and Mexico.

My mother never touched the stuff. As far as she was concerned, the Dutch ate some weird shiznit, and it was probably poisonous. Many people I know are as convinced of that as she was, for entirely different reasons.

Much of what I eat is food that my mother would not countenance.
My father, on the other hand, first pointed me in that direction.
And would have gladly sampled most of it.

Both parents would likely have been okay with my frequent eating in Chinatown, which may surprise you. My mother missed Chinese food enormously when we lived in the Netherlands, and my father enjoyed good food, both as an eater and as a cook. But the Chinese food that they were familiar with then was a bit different than it is now.

Some of it would startle them.

Dried fish, fatty pork, nice greasy roast duck, lots of shrimp, steamed fresh fish, black bean sauce crabs, bitter melon, dried oysters either cooked with pork or put into rice porridge, fungus, hair vegetable, deep fried sushi.
Oyster sauce, scallion and ginger shellfish, sautéed clams.
Cooked lettuce, red bean pastries.
Curry puffs, cheung fun.


To the shock of many Cantonese, I crave chili sauce with a lot of things.
Almost everything listed above tastes better with Sriracha.
Even fresh seafood. Especially seafood.
It brings out the sweetness.
Sriracha rocks.

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As anyone who knows people who are the spectrum realizes, the things that come out of an Asperger syndrome mouth paint pictures in the mind that weren't there before. Their observations are, sometimes, acute.

My apartment mate is somewhere on the spectrum, far further there than me. It's like living with a keen observer of humans from another reality.

Wisdom from the apartment mate:

"One cannot smack the seasonal clothing store help, it will spoil their prettiness. Sometimes that's all they've got going."

"He's a bigger asshole than the president. It's a pity he ain't rich, otherwise he wouldn't be sleeping in the doorway so often."

"He can't be a pretty little wahini, but don't tell him that; the idea makes him feel good."

"Oh sure, there are plenty of Republicans there, but only a few can spell their own names. They're not all named John or Bob, though."

"That constipated grunting may be evidence of mental activity."

"We think the poor girl's kind of cracked, but whatever."

"One man's dog poo is another man's dog poo."

"Does anyone feel an aura of menace?"

And, angrily exclaiming about food ads for white people:

"Who the hell wants fat-free bouillon, for Christ's sakes, shit, dummies!"

She's often a bit pissy about white people and their queer attempts at cooking. Deservedly so.

I have cleverly not let on that I too am white.
I'm flying under the radar.

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Sunday, December 03, 2017


It's been a long time since my ex and I broke up. After it happened, rather than blaming her or getting bent out of shape, I did the mature thing and moped. Which, naturally, one should do; it's healthy and therapeutic or something. I was also bitter that she had always been scared to be seen around Chinatown with me -- she's Cantonese, I'm white, and you already knew that -- for fear that some home-town nosey parker would report back to her elderly mother that the daughter was seeing a kwailo.
As the "foreign" element, I was the non-person.
Chinese can be frightful racists that way.

But you know something?

I'm over it.

We went out for dimsum just ONCE during our relationship of several years. Since then I've had dimsum far more often by myself than during my entire previous life. Dimsum in the Chinese context is often a group thing, several people go out and share eaties and tea. But I'm white, stubborn, and a bit of a loner, and I'm fine doing that by myself.
I can smoke my pipe afterwards while wandering around.
Really, I'm not a very social person.
I don't like groups.

Dimsum tastes better as a snack than as a sustained assault with several friends or relatives on all the goodies being wheeled out of the kitchen in a loud crowded environment. The hustle and bustle of a popular tea restaurant can be bothersome, irritating even. Lunch should be enjoyed, rather than becoming an endurance test or competitive event.
I don't like buffets for the same reason.
Hunger games.

I never ate with her relatives, never even met them. If we had gone out for dimsum, I probably would've dropped my chopsticks, and later said that it had been fun, and please let us never do that again.

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The noodles were artificially fish and pork flavoured, but the egg, tomato, black garlic, and chopped chives were real. Half of it is now sitting in the refrigerator for a potential midnight snack. The other half was consumed immediately.

Followed by a small cigar.

And coffee.

In all honesty, it couldn't get any more real than all that, especially when cooking on the fly after returning from Marin County. Where, in a remarkable twist, there was rugelach.

Little White Nipple Dude and Cell-phone Brainwasher both showed up, gibbered at length, and left. None of the pipe-smokers noticed them.
Their tinfoil hats were not visible.
The electricity was muted.
Poor blisters.

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The key difference is that I know that I'm dysfunctional, they lack that self-awareness. And, in truth, they are the norm nowadays. I go to the karaoke bar of an evening to daydream amid the hubbub and the racket, they are there to stare at their screens while surrounded by other people.
The ideal environment has functional seating, countertops to rest your electronic devices, rechargers, enough lighting that you don't stumble, a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic bevande, and music.
No neighbors to complain about the noise.
A large Tongan at the door.

There is no one here in  a chicken suit.
I'll let him know you're looking.

If you added intravenous drips, they'd spend all of their free time there.
In between going somewhere that pays them to stare intently at other and bigger glowing screens during daylight hours.

Noise is essential for survival.

At present I am in the teevee room, with a little vodka and a small cigar. It is quiet here, but the sound of wandering tribals is audible from the thoroughfare a little over. They gaily ambulate between the liquor store and the donut shop, past casual pukers and bacon-wrapped hotdogs.
A murmuring that rises and falls, like angry restive nature.
Occasional hoots and horns. A forest glade. Scurrying.
Hunter-gatherers with little glowing screens.
Uber, Yelp, and insta-message.
Oh look, Facebook!
Hot noodles!

I do not have a cell-phone and I do not realize what I'm missing. I spend my life being unconnected at all times, except when I am near a land-line, which occasionally interrupts whatever I am doing to ask for the lady of the house, inform me of insurance plans and great financial opportunities, inquire whether I habla Español, or talk obsessively about Vape pens, cigars, or even little white nipples. I am unhip. About all of it.

Friends and colleagues have insta-messaging.
Sometimes they're "ineffective".


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Saturday, December 02, 2017


James Cook at the BBC carefully draws a distinction between decent society and trash when he writes "in the past two years I have met many, many Trump supporters who are decent, hard-working Americans with no axe to grind against minorities, but I have also met more than a handful of racists and white supremacists who cheer on the man in Pennsylvania Avenue." (source).

It is a distinction that almost certainly does not exist. Especially when viewed from the disadvantage point of California, which still accepts immigrants from the rest of the country, with their unclean diseases, bizarre religious beliefs, glib computer programming skills, and low morals. Like Charlie Manson, as just one example.

To quote Dingus McDuckface:
"There's something there. There's a tremendous hatred there. There is an unbelievable hatred of California which is very hard to separate. When the rest of the country sends its people, they're not sending their best, they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and very few are good people. There are a lot of killers, they've got a lot of killers. They're not so innocent."

Seriously, we really don't more need nutballs like that.
We've already got Scientology, and Christians.
That's enough of a burden for one state.

What we need is a total and complete shutdown of other Americans entering California. There really aren't that many fine people there.

We need a wall.

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Friday, December 01, 2017


Last night when I came home from a long jaunt outside -- pipe smokers are forced to solitary wanderings -- she was still awake. She's having a tough time this season. She hasn't shared details, but she's not taking calls from her boyfriend, and he certainly won't talk about this to me either.
So I'm pretending that I don't know squat.
La la la, everything normal.

You understand, of course, that it's simpler that way. Things get really complicated when you have to be sympathetic and understanding to other people. It requires an investment of time and energy.
Which is easier by and for neurotypicals.
I am sure that in the fullness of time she will mention what he did wrong. Either before or after she tries explaining that to him.
Which probably won't be successful.

To my surprise I have become a very good listener over the years.

Different subject: Today I will fortify myself with pork chops. Life is cold and brutal, and a man must have pork chops. Lunch at Leiching, close to ginkgo trees. The leaves of which on various streets are now are turning yellow and dwarreling down. Very beautiful.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017


In a response to Donald Trump's recent tweet fit, the Dutch Embassy sent a brief and to the point message out into the ether.

Netherlands Embassy

Replying to @JaydaBF @realDonaldTrump
.@realDonaldTrump Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law.
11:26 AM - 29 Nov 2017

What they meant, but diplomatically did not say, was "shut your piehole you orange-faced buffoon. You and your idiot followers are, by your stupidity and downright irredeemably evil dumbness, making this world a perceptibly worse place by the minute."

The crime was committed in the Netherlands. And it has been dealt with.
The perpetrator has been punished. What business is it of yours anyway?
It does not concern you. Piss off, you hatefilled cretin.

Dang, some of the folks here in the U.S. are dumber than a pile of bricks. One of these days y'all might lock the bathroom door and not find the way out. If you don't die of starvation, maybe you'll asphyxiate.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The important thing is tea. A cup of strong Assam or Ceylon, with a little sugar and milk, plus, of course, a cookie. It strikes me that I have no idea what crumpets are, as those have never been part of my world. Unless perhaps they are the same as a Thomas’® English Muffin.
Tasty with cheddar cheese and melted butter.
And a little Jalapeño chili.

Tea and crumpets are quintessentially English.
The Jalapeño is far less so.

Jalapeños are called "pointy peppers" in Cantonese (尖椒 'tsim chiu'), as opposed to "lantern peppers" (燈籠椒 'tang lung chiu', but also 青椒 'ching chiu'). Not really a standard part of a tea-time snack in mid-afternoon among the Cantos. Neither are capers (續隨子 'juk seui ji'), or anchovies (鯷魚 'tai yü'), or, for that matter, Cheddar cheese.
But they should be.

The jury is out on potted shrimp, though. That being small shrimp preserved in ghee with nutmeg and cayenne.

The Hong Kong Chinese are somewhat enthusiastic about many British things, being adventurous and open-minded (especially about fun stuff to eat), but while they have warmly embraced warm sweet strong milky tea, as well as baked goods, they have not developed an affection for muffins, even less so for capers (if at all), and Lancashire potted shrimp would almost certainly strike them as anathema and heresy squared.
They seem to have welcomed the pointy pepper.
It's great in dishes with fatty pork.
As are anchovies.

[In lieu of salt fish.]

Warm milky strong tea is what you drink anytime between late morning and late evening as an invigorating shot of caffeine, with your macaroni in soup, with spam and little cabbage. Or toasted pineapple bun with melted butter and luncheon meat. Or a plate of hot buttered piggy buns.
Not, as of this writing, augmented with chili.
Maybe soon, but not yet.
And no capers.

A very dear pipe-smoking friend, whom I only know on Facebook, proudly asserts that she could eat an entire jar of capers.

She is obviously not Cantonese.

If she and her spouse ever visit the West Coast, I will be torn between introducing them to Chinatown snacks, and simply providing them with tonnes of capers. But they must have the milk tea.
Sometime in the afternoon.

I really think that anchovies, capers, and chilies belong in nearly everything, with or without baked substances.
But that's just me.

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