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.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Thanks to Social Media, I now know that one orthodox rabbi among my friends likes Heavy Metal music, another one takes photographs of cats, and a third makes atrocious puns. To put it differently, social media shows the all too human side of rabbis. That is a good thing!

My most recent Facebook posting shows that I am somewhat food obsessed: "Corn tortillas, bacon, tomatoes, chilies, Sriracha, cheese.'
It's what I had for dinner instead of a Vietnamese sandwich.
We've got the fundaments of a civilization right there.

[The Vietnamese sandwich place closed early today.
I really would have preferred the sandwich.]

My previous status questioned the acceptibility of "all natural and vegan" non-GMO Hunan dumplings. To real people, that ain't hardly edible.
To Chinese, that's white folks food.

My favourite rabbis could not eat at my house. They would have to operate under the presumption of a chezkas treifus. It is also quite likely that they would raise their eyebrows at all natural non-Gmo vegan Hunan dumplings, because there's just too much crap going on right there. If you are calling it "Hunanese", and it is blatantly and demonstrably so far from Hunanese in any way that even would make sense to a Hunanese, it cannot possibly be named Hunanese anything. So that is a lie. What else are you lying about?

If you deceive the public about what it is, you can also be assumed to be untruthful about ingredients and methods of preparation, as well as whether the kitchen where this weird shiznit was constructed was ever kashered.

If the label says "vegan" "no Gmos", and "Hunan dumplings", at least one of those things has to be hogwash.

The container also says "ready to eat. Serve warm or cold."

How about instead 'serve not at all'?

It's unfit for rabbis.

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As you may know, Hong Kong people have a mouth on them. Which sometimes means that common terms are, if translated into English, surprising. Like the term for a white woman: 鬼婆 ('kwai po').
At its worst possible interpretation it means 'daemon hag'.

Go ahead, do a google image search.

The results are startling.

Remarkably, very few if any of the first hundred results or so will be a Caucasian female. To turn up white ladies, you should substitute the term 鬼妹 ('kwai mui') instead, which means 'daemon younger sister'.
Be forewarned that some of them will be wearing bikinis.
And cleavage may (will) be evident.


In all honesty, I am somewhat disappointed with google image search. Just for a test I typed my own name in, and instead of my own handsome visage, preferably with a jaunty pipe and a twinkling eye, what came up was innumerably photos of some decrepit old fossil who used to be on teevee. The parade of wrinkled skin was only alleviated when someone wrote a blogpost about getting her hair coloured at the salon of someone who shares the exact same name as me and the ancient geezer.

Change "somewhat disappointed" to "peeved".

The person who had her hair dyed looked like someone I might date. In my field one seldom sees people like her. Instead, I get the self-entitled wreckage of lives badly lived, and their wives.
Who are mostly 鬼婆。

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Saturday, July 22, 2017


On Thursday I swilled tea all day and was moderately high as a kite by evening. This was while at work, where I also smoked my pipe and said nasty things about and to cigar smokers. On Friday I got up late and drank coffee and smoked till early afternoon. I also caught up on the news, seeing as I neither use Facebook while at work nor spend hours on the internet when dealing with cigar smokers.

[Thursday: Greg Pease's Stonehenge Flake and Regents Flake, Samuel Gawith's St James Flake. Pu Erh tea. Friday: St James Flake, Luxury Bullseye, and Dunhill's Nightcap. Strong coffee, auf Türkische weise.]

Today I acted reasonably social, and smoked.
I didn't insult anybody grievously.
Though tempted.

On my days off I live like the badger. Obviously I am very fond of Wind In The Willows, but rather than seeing myself as Ratty or Mole (or, lord help us, Mr. Toad), the badger appeals to me. A solid individual, not particularly social, who occasionally likes company. In this metaphor normal human beings are like the field mice, and cigar smokers are weasels.

The problem is food. Good food requires company. Either one prepares a banquet and requires an audience, or one seeks interesting variety and must go out to eat. I no longer cook very intensely -- dinner Thursday was pork, chilipeppers and bellpeppers, cooked with chilipaste and currypaste, then seethed with stock, over noodles -- and on Friday I went to a place where they know me and I can sit in the back observing other people.

My job puts me in frequent contact with cigar smokers. They are not small and cute, and I am no longer thrilled with their antics.
On my own time I usually avoid them.
One cannot eat with them.

It strikes me that Kenneth Grahame's beloved book does not tell us what any of the characters truly felt about breasts. That's probably something we should be grateful we do not know, though we can presume that Mr. Toad was not particularly hep on them, what with being non-mammalian and a sexless egomaniac to boot.

[And a cigar smoker.]

Anthropomorphic heroes have parents, but no sex life of their own.
This is just an observation; do not read anything into it.

Let us take for granted that if a main character in Wind In The Willows was female, she would probably also enjoy a pipe, as Badger, Ratty, and Mole do. Or conceivably a cigar, like the Toad. Queen Victoria is reputed to have liked a big fat cigar now and then, by the way.
Queen Victoria was sexless.
Thank heavens.

I fear I know way too much about the reproductive cycle of cigar smokers, and rather wish it weren't so.

They are born, they discover cigars at roughly the same time that they start torturing puppies, they commit bestial pornographic acts in early adulthood, and become more disgustingly perverse as they age, then they die as respected members of the Republican Party.
Or commie dictators.

Just so you know, many cigar smokers have an incomplete appreciation for members of the opposite gender; they like them like they like their food: big and brutal. They are creatures of ooze and slime. It is entirely unknown whether they have any refined sensibilities at all.

Pipesmokers are different.

I need to associate more with the field mice.
Some of them are very good company.

And, I believe, they like food.


On Facebook a discussion on Friday mentioned Chinese restaurants, which apparently are nowhere better than in New York. Why, the lobster sauce shrimp and eggrolls are just fabulous!

Here are some links to Chinese food elsewhere.

HK French Toast and Milk Tea

Little Cart Noodles


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Friday, July 21, 2017


In a move that can only be applauded, Justin Bieber has been banned from China. The People's Republic took this step because of his behaviour, not his appalling music. Evenso. They should be praised and emulated.

A hostile and perverse foreigner:

"The news came in a statement from the Beijing municipal culture bureau, answering a question from a fan about why, with the singer about to embark on an Asia-wide tour, no venues have been scheduled in mainland China.
Justin Bieber is indeed "talented at singing" came the reply, but nonetheless it would not be appropriate to allow him to perform, because of what it called a number of incidents of "bad behaviour." It did not elaborate on exactly which of Mr Bieber's run-ins with the law it was referring to."

[SOURCE: "Bad Behaviour".]

The best that can be said for Bieber is that he isn't Nickelback.

Or, lord-help-us, Lady Gaga.

Further, from the article cited above, "Justin Bieber will be performing in Asia as part of his Purpose World Tour from September, and will be playing in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia."

Many Chinese fans will be disappointed.
My piles bleed for them.

By the way, the expression 'my piles bleed (for someone or something)' expresses sarcastic disdain. Unfortunately trying to find this explanation on the internet brings up many serious articles about certain issues which are in their own way amusing -- very educational, to be sure -- but in no wise relevant.


The Dutch word for haemorrhoid is aambei, which makes it sound like a fruit, and kind of juicy. The Chinese equivalents are 痔核 ('ji hat') and 痔瘡 ('ji chong') which refer to a nut-like shape and a tumorous quality respectively. The character 核 (' wat, hat') is used in in the expression 核突 ('wat dat'), meaning very ugly, and the name for the walnut (核桃 'hat tou'), as well as several hundred terms having to do with nuclear energy and engineering. The Mandarin Wikipedia article for the condition is far longer and has immensely greater detail than the Cantonese entry; perhaps those Northerners are more afflicted?

Their diet may be a contributing factor.

When I was still a child living overseas I thought that what was meant in that expression was a timber or pillar driven into the ground for building support, necessary in so quaggy an environment as the Netherlands.
As fully explained in this Wikipedia article: Deep Foundation.
Remarkably, there is no equivalent essay in Dutch.
Despite the clear derivation of the concept.

Piles are quintessentially Dutch.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017


Oh lordy, she's talking back at the stupid Americans on television! The blondes of wherever are getting smashed in Mexico or Costa Rica, and misbehaving something horrid. On behalf of all of us sane Yanks my apartment mate is embarrassed. In a minor way I am too.
But not much. It's sort of intellectual, and distant.

I am sure the hospitality industry in Latin America has seen plenty of rich disreputable Norte Americanos, nothing surprises them anymore.

A drunk is being lifted out of the shrubbery.

The bystanders are holding glasses.

Someone is lying down.

Having worked part-time in a restaurant for several years, I already know what wine can do to the idiot classes. And, having been out late at night rather often, I have seen and heard much that is repulsive.

[It was a North Indian restaurant,  so, "yeh gauraon talli hain"]

Do NOT urinate in the agave patch!

Crazy American bitches.

I have never been to Mexico. But if I go, I shall be sure to learn enough Spanish to be able to explain to whoever I encounter that the trashy folks are not with me, and not my relatives.

"Estas gronchitas son de Canadá, te aseguro."

In her words, "messed up white ladies".
A diplomatic way to put it.

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After the friendly greeting, her second sentence indicated that to a certain extent there is a predictability about me and my food preferences.
So, just for the hell of it, I did something quite different.
And shot myself in the culinary foot thereby.

['sai m-sai tai choi daan ma']

"Do you need to see the menu?"

Well yes, thank you, I think I will order something I have never had before.
Which I did, and I shouldn't have. Even though I knew every word in the name, and what they meant in combination, it was a mistake.

I could have many other things. Perhaps the pork slices with mustard green, or the spare ribs. Noodles with mixed meats. Or even what I originally intended to have: roast duck rice.

And the waitress tried to warn me, telling me that it contained XXX.
Stubbornly, I went ahead and ordered it anyway.

As these things go, it was probably a splendid example of its type.
But it's a part of the XYZ that is best avoided.
By us delicate white people.

No, not going to mention what it is called, or describe the various bits. Or even where I had it. Because I don't want to be the only lofan that makes that mistake.


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Somewhere in Suzhou (中國江蘇蘇州 'jung gwok gong sou sou jau') a computer server sent visits to my blog. Which baffles me, because I cannot for the life of me figure out what would interest Chinese people here. Indeed, Chinese script is often used, but entirely in an English-explicative context, aimed at people who speak English as their first language. I presume that Chinese-speakers have their own formats for cruising the net and looking up random things. And while I often view Chinese sites and read articles, my doing so is anomalous behaviour fuelled by a curiosity which I do not expect to be shared or matched much.

Now that I am free of the bucket, I explore the world.
From the comforts of my arm chair.

Somewhere in deepest darkest Jiangsu a machine-intelligence is following some of my moves. There may be humans adhering to its reading recommendations, but I doubt that.


Before it became a modern electronic and clothing manufacturing powerhouse, Jiangsu province (江蘇省 'gong sou saang') was already densely populated and agriculturally rich. After its inclusion in an expanding China two and a half millenia ago the region became a fundamental part of the core. Around fifteen centuries ago the Grand Canal (大運河'daai wan ho') was completed, linking north and south in trade and cultural exchange, by the early Song Dynasty (宋朝 'sung chiu') the rise of a wealthy bourgeoisie fuelled literary scholarship and the arts.

Suzhou is famous for its gardens, cuisine, and lovely women.
I cannot attest to the latter; female beauty is subjective.
Nor really to the first, having never been there.

But food, yes. Jiangsu food is excellent.

Little fried yellow eels. Squirrel fish. Hairy crabs. Fried buns.

Frazzled eel in gravy (响油鳝糊 'heung yau sin wu': "ringed oil eel paste"): yellow eel small-chunked, seethed in oil, sauced with winter bamboo shoot, ham, rice wine, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. It's deservedly famous.
No proper Suzhou or Shanghai restaurant should not have it.

Clear broth sharksfin (清湯魚翅 'ching tong yü chi') is also a superlative representative of Jiangsu-Zhejiang food (江浙菜 'gong jit choi'), but many white people might kick up a fuss at the senseless death of so lovable an animal, so restaurants in America probably will not have it. Chicken, rice wine and bits of ham for a basis of refined stock, with ginger and scallion, strained, featuring the sharkfin. Garnished with a little flat-leaf parsley.

What I really like, however, is something that one can easily find: 韭菜水餃 ('gau choi suei gaau'), which are chive dumplings. Common enough, but the Suzhou-Shanghai approach is the best. Delicate skins, refined filling, and then steamed instead of boiled. Wonderful!

Right where Jackson crosses Kearny there used to be two Shanghainese restaurants, one with refined dishes, the other serving noodle soup. They are long gone, and there are fewer Shanghainese in the Chinatown area. The merchant who sold music tapes in the basement space there retired, the tailor making elegant qipaos (旗袍 'kei pou'; "banner gowns", meaning both cheongsams and looser old-style garments) is also history.
The Shanghainese students at the croissant place?
Probably far elsewhere.

The odious brat who found two hours of Chinese class every week onerous probably now has odious brats of his own. In the suburbs.

By the way, I highly recommend the Bund Shanghai Restaurant.

640 Jackson Street,
San Francisco, CA 94133.
Phone: 415-982-0618

Great chive dumplings, superlative pork dishes, spicy fish, eel, and chewy noodles. It would be a perfect spot for a cozy date with a food aficionado, but I'm just guessing, seeing as I haven't gone on a date in sheer aeons.
It's empty between lunch and dinner, but can get bustling.

What I find particularly noteworthy is that even the Shanghainese speakers here understand my Cantonese, and there are a few folks from Hong Kong on staff. As a single man dining in Chinatown, that is incredibly nice.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
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The tech-support service with whom I contracted a while back does not seem to understand why most people use computers. This despite being exposed to several clients over the years. No, my dear Delhi-wallahs, computer owners largely do NOT examine the mysteries of the universe and search for deep philosophical meanings.
We use this device for recipes, kitten pictures, and pornography.

Or, if you wish to expand that; food reviews, recipes, news, Wikipedia, kittens and other lovable animals such as weasels and Singaporean otters, social networking, Chinese dictionary searches, conspiracy theories, and pornography.
Plus Dutch and German.

There is no Wittgenstein here.

My apartment mate uses hers for pictures of pretty things and the occasional e-mail. Or animal videos which I send her.

They are baffled that I do not electronically bank or pay bills on-line.
Nor do I internet-shop. There is little personal information to steal.
And impersonating me would be pointless, as middle-aged five foot eight inch tall Caucasian pipesmokers with neatly trimmed beards and deep-set grey eyes who live in Northern California are a dime a dozen.

I have never posted a photo, finger print, biometric, or my address. Honestly, all I use this thing for is food reviews, recipes, news, Wikipedia, kittens and other lovable animals such as weasels and Singaporean otters, social networking, Chinese dictionary searches, conspiracy theories, and pornography.
Plus Dutch and German.

Other than Facebook, the last three internet actions before going to sleep were visiting Google Translate, reading the news on the BBC website, and hitting up Wikipedia.
Same this morning before blogging.
I am a boring man.

Oh, I also read about 紅燒豬手 ('hung siu jiu sau').
Pictures as well as recipes.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Sometimes you have to wonder what other people think. Especially when their native language is Toishanese, they use Cantonese with customers on a daily basis, and not infrequently have to attempt Mandarin. And English is something they learned, and mispronounce, by fragmentary rote.

They're probably thinking that Caucasians are odd fish.

The woman behind the counter looked quizzical when a departing customer said "sheeh sheeh". The first thing I though was 'lion lion' and 'stone stone', but almost immediately I recognized what was actually meant.
I have the advantage because English is a native tongue.

Then another customer asked what something was called.
She answered that is was shrimp rice.
But he was referring to the cilantro rice-sheet roll which he had just purchased, which is yuen sai cheung fan (芫茜腸粉).

After I had finished my meal a lovely white family of eight walked in, and one of them shyly asked where they could find Peking Duck. This was in a cafeteria, with choices of plate lunches, steamed dim sum, baked items, congee, and oil stick. Obviously wrong, but who else to ask?
The question proved baffling to counter auntie.
Her answer was equally so.

When necessary, I jump in to clarify matters. But only when this will not be misconstrued. In indirect consequence of which they now have the English phrase "black pepper beef rice-noodles" on one of the sheets on the wall behind the counter.


It's probably beef sirloin or a rather similar cut.
But the Chinese words are quite clear.
Black pepper cow willow.
River powder.

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Unlike many Democrats, I do not spend my time composing hit-lists of all the vilest Republicans in local, state, and federal government. I figure that eventually those things will sort themselves out; Mitch McConnell, his wife, and Alex Jones will die in a conflagration when the bong they smoke in their little Christian love-dungeon explodes in a fire ball.
Or something like that.

I have scant respect for Republicans.

When not at work, I seldom interact with their kind.

Fortunately, here in the city they are few, and endangered, although sometimes a stray from the rest of America stumbles around.

Like many residents of the city I really wish our mayor didn't pander so to the hospitality industry by trying to attract conventions and tourists.
Most of us do not depend on prostitution for our livelihoods.

Yesterday I read Yelp reviews of some of my favourite places. The most hateful ones were by visitors from elsewhere. Apparently we just don't meet the high standards of people from places like Wilmington, Milwaukee, Memphis, and Detroit. Or all of the Midwest.
My piles bleed for y'all.
You are precious.

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Monday, July 17, 2017


One of the truly great things about the woman who used to be my date every Friday night, and is still my apartment mate, is that she loves cheese. What makes this remarkable is that her love interest for the last half dozen years has dietary issues -- he's white, lactose intolerant, neurotic, and apparently can't cook worth diddly -- and she herself is Chinese (but not lactose intolerant in the slightest).

See, that right there explains why we still live together and not with other people. Unlike most of English-speaking San Francisco we don't have bugs up our asses about gluten, meat, dairy, or gmos. We enjoy food, and neither she nor I worship kale, turmeric, or protein supplements.

Naturally, as the resident white person in this household, I consume more vegetables than she does. Vegetables are wonderful with fish sauce, or bacon, or chili paste. Or all three of those.

Tonight after coming home from Marin I did not feel like cooking. So I had cheese and crackers, and a large cup of strong coffee. She's asleep in her room right now, but I note that the bacon supply has been abundantly restocked. Good-o!

Tomorrow morning I shall briefly wake up when she fries up breakfast for herself and watches one or two more episodes of a murder series she's been following before going to work. Then I shall drift back into slumber, with the lingering fragrance of limp-crispy pork influencing my dreams.

When I get up for real later in the morning, I shall have a pipe and some Virginia flake with my coffee. I never eat breakfast; caffeine and tobacco are sufficient to get me started.

We're probably stuck with each other as apartment mates for life, because the alternatives in this city have food hang-ups, ideological problems, and multiple mental issues. Besides being totes "spiritual".

Or are vegetarian schizos who do drugs.

And think that cheese is murder.

Bacon is from the devil.

Tobacco is evil.


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An internet Caledonian has very strong opinions about soft-boiled eggs, and consequently believes we Americans are hopeless, because we don't have egg cups. I say "we", even though I possess an egg cup, as I feel that on the whole he is right. We Americans hardly ever eat soft-boiled eggs. Somewhat less often in fact than hard-boiled eggs (we are gehakte eier mavins like you wouldn't believe, mmm, eier salat on New York rye!), and far, far less often than we have scrambled eggs or omelettes.

Americans make really horrid scrambled eggs and omelettes, by the way, it's damned well barbaric! There's a difference between "runny" and "rubbery", and it's NOT just the spelling!

But anyhow, here's a ranting Scotsman.
From Twitter.

moth dad @innesmck:



okay all you people asking me what an egg cup is better be fucking joking i swear to god


jesus fucking christ

and don't even get me started on the fact american eggs need to be refrigerated


serious life hack, tell your farmers

ok ok seriously though we did not go through 300 MILLION YEARS OF EVOLUTION to have an egg just roll around on a fucking plate

AND HOW DO YOU KEEP THE YOLK IN? does it just pour everywhere or do you have to hold the egg upright, or...? what is your game there?

alright, so what i'm hearing here, and this is pretty upsetting news, is that americans DO NOT SOFT BOIL THEIR EGGS

I am going for a walk, this is too messed up

so many hard boiled eggs
just solid fucking eggs
rolling around on plates

and also WIND THE FUCK BACK UP because apparently a bunch of you americans who said you did have kettles meant STOVE TOP and that is fucked

okay look i know i got emotional here but if nothing else i try to be an educator, so americans, for your own good, you need to know

1. electric kettles are good & cheap & boil water in 2 minutes here and you can never be fully trusted if i do not see one in your kitchen

2. when you boil eggs you need to stop before the yolk gets hard and then put it in an egg cup and cut the top off and dip bread in it

I know I can trust you all to accept and learn from your mistakes, I understand, we are all still growing

3 I believe in you

never fucking test my patience like this again, though, jesus christ


[SOURCE: Mashable: America, this Scottish person wants you to stop eating eggs wrong.]

He has a point. Other things at which Americans fail are English breakfasts, American breakfasts, any breakfasts, coffee, tea, and beer.
Plus herring. Y'all really bad at herring.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017


This man is a purist. Joong contain glutinous rice, fatty pork, peanuts, a salted egg yolk, and a slice of lap cheung. Plus a pinch of salt. Some people add dried shrimp and dried scallops, but these are not necessary, and make the finished product too busy. Same goes for dried black mushroom, which you also don't need.

Some people use lokdau in lieu of peanuts.
The Taiwanese do horrible things.
Shanghainese are worse.

Furthermore, while your mom's delicious joong are indeed a family treasure and wondrous, there is no need to make a huge fuss about them. Copy her recipe and methodology only if you really want to. Otherwise simple buy them from an auntie on Stockton Street or a restaurant. It may take a few experiments before you find the right source.

As a heathen, you can naturally expect me to have my own way of doing them. But I do not make them myself. Why should I fuss with wet bamboo leaves and curing my own eggs? Instead, I have a favourite source. They're probably not the very best possible, but they suit me just fine, and I rather like the folks who work there. The joong can be heated up at home when I'm peckish, to be eaten with a sambal of chili paste, orange juice, and fish sauce, all simmered briefly till gloopy with a little oil.

You are quite horrified, I can tell.

I told you I was a heathen.

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What better way to celebrate our freedom from tyranny and the rule of despots than with a sweet dessert? This concoction is sure to please.

One pound cake, cut not too thick.
Four to six sweet oranges.
One pint of heavy whipping cream.
Quarter cup of sugar.
Half a teaspoon orange essence.
Grand Marnier.

Line the bottom of a glass bowl with sliced pound cake. Juice the oranges after rasping the zest thinly. Slice the zest fine, simmer in water for ten minutes, drain and rinse.
Over a low flame stir the sugar into the juice until well dissolved, add the softened zest and essence. Pour evenly over the sponge cake slices and let it soak in.
Sprinkle Grand Marnier over the cake (optional).
Whip the cream till it forms peaks, dollop into bowl, and set to chill in the fridge until after the July Fourth barbecue.

Yes, you are correct; this is actually a trifle. A true fool is cream or custard folded into cooked pureed fruit. But no fruit solids are used here (unless you add Mandarin Oranges in syrup) to the mixture, and in any case the person consuming it will mess it all up when eating.

You can also use yoghurt.

But why?

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Saturday, July 15, 2017


One sentence caught my eye immediately: "Henan’s reputation as a land exhausted by overcultivation and whose principal exports are low lifes and low-income workers, seems unfounded in the glorious blaze of springtime."

---The Rise and Fall of Luoyang (article in the SCMP by Thomas Bird)

Also from that article: "In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Luoyang is depicted as the mighty centre of authority, rather like today’s Beijing, populated by scheming officials."

It's worth reading.

Of course, as an American and a Californian, all I can think is that it would be wonderful to burn down a city filled with Republicans. Yes, I know that that would cause the "unfortunate" demise of many Christians and Texans.
But that might be entirely the point.
A justifiable eventuality.

What on earth makes you think I'm referring to Washington D.C.?

It could be any number of urbs on the other side of the Sierras.


On a related note, there is a temple to Guan Yu (關羽 'gwaan yu') on one of the alleyways in Chinatown. No, not the bigger hall on Stockton Street which was named after a San Wui geonymic, but a more modest place of ritual, very near comfortable benches, a small private park, as well as the former headquarters location of my bank.
One of these days I will go in.
I am curious.

The astute reader will understand the connexions.

Note: a lord Guan temple is sometimes called a 協天宮 ('hip tin gung'), especially if located next to a tin hau temple (天后廟). But this is more folk religionish than simple veneration or respectful remembrance.
There is one such combination in Ma Wan Tsuen (馬環村). Very picture worthy.
Overlooking the carp channel, opposite the island.

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Friday, July 14, 2017


What does the mature middle-aged badger do after consuming a delicious repast guaranteed to disquietify his digestion? why, he goes around the corner for some whisky and horrific karaoke, of course!
My friend the bookseller is still in doubt about karaoke having any possible redeeming qualities. My ex-girlfriend and still current apartment mate has threatened to do songs (heavy metal blood and gore anthems). And my stuffed animals would be dynamite singers, or at least psychologically twisted enough to do it.


Somebody loses a five dollar bill while 'The Legal Beagles' are doing the Oakland Booty song. She accuses a nearby table of stealing it. The bar-tender assures her that that is 'Anna Bananana', who is too drunk to even notice a fiver. The Legal Beagles are all white, more so as they sing.
Everybody claps. It took great courage to do that.
The dogs return to their seats.


Smoke outside, small cigarillo. Tall hipster tries to eat a slice of pizza and score simultaneously. Gets cheese all over his front, is un-aware of this. Understandably the middle-aged fake blonde does not want a "friendly" hug. The badger enjoys his smoke while studiously looking away.

Back upstairs, Mistah Shidz is manufacturing a blunt. Pot is legal now, and his physique says "cuddle me with the munchies". In addition to prime bud his bag also contains Oreos.

The somebody that lost the five dollar bill is sharing a long drink with somebody who has a silver booger hanging from her nose.


We've listened to several horrible songs. The remnants of the Legal Beagles have massacred a seventies classic, which was a hit when their parents were still teenagers.

Mistah Shidz has consumed the second blunt, he's out of it. The somebody who lost the fiver is now sharing gloss lipstick and fashion tips with silver nose booger girl.

Somebody is wailing at the mike about drugs.

Perhaps unintentionally ironic.

I do not sing, at all.

You are lucky.

It was a good evening. I saw too much thong, and too many tattoos.

The Legal Beagles left; young, drunk, and happy.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017


My apartment mate worries about her sense of taste and smell. She's been fighting a respiratory thing, and in consequence everything tastes bland. As she was admitting on the phone to her boyfriend when I returned home from work. I likewise fought the respiratory thing recently.
It lasted the better part of a month.
I've infected several people.

I won.

My taste has come back, and today's smoking of Stonehenge Flake was superlative in three different pipes. I know that I should have told her "do not worry, your taste and smell will return", but by the time I finally thought to do so I was in the kitchen preparing myself some citrus and chili chicken, sticky rice with peanuts, and a side of bacon and peppers curry.

I dare not open the door while doing that.

For one thing, the various stuffed creatures hanging around the apartment (her room, my room, and the common room) kick up a fuss when they smell meat, and start loudly worrying was it someone they know, who's missing, is that aunt Martha, will we be next. Time for a head count.
I have tried to assure them it just tofu, don't worry.
But they threaten to leave nevertheless.
Or strangle me in my sleep.

For another, whenever I cook with chilies or chili paste, a certain person starts having serious trouble inhaling and exhaling properly, because the capsaicin becomes airborne .....

Cough cough cough.

I don't have that problem.

But she is fighting a respiratory thing. Why make it worse?

In case you're wondering, she also loudly asserts that she is cooking tofu whenever she does bacon, or porkchops, or chicken, or steak and eggs.
To the best of my knowledge she has never actually cooked tofu.
Honest, it's lots of tofu, sweet juicy delicious tofu!
Me they distrust, they believe her.

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A musical curiosity from an earlier time: アラビアの唄 (Arabia no Uta). It's a jazz-tune from eighty years ago. Altogether stellar wake-up music.

Originally 'Sing Me A Song Of Araby' by Fred Fisher.

アダチ宣伝社 ~~ アラビアの唄


Adachi Shinkansa, a musical enterprise started in 1994 by Adachi Hideya (安達ひでや) that performs Chindon (チンドン).

Here's Charan Po Rantan's rendition:

チャラン・ポ・ランタン ~~ アラビアの唄


Charan Po Rantan are two sisters, Momo and Koharu (surname: Matsunaga 松永). Koharu plays the accordion. Momo always performs with a stuffed pig. Which you probably remember from the two or three videos you saw long ago of Minority Orchestra.

Think of their style as Roaring Klezmeratic.

Not entirely correct, but close.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


There are two subjects which automatically cause my gag-reflex when other people talk. It probably does the same for all sane individuals.
You too might vomit.

Infants and Jesus.

Either one of those is plenty nauseating, but if they are combined they are ten times as bad. Especially when the person speaking has that 'sincere tone' to his or her voice.

"I believe Jesus especially loves the sweet little babies!"

Oh shut up, you frightful excuse for a sentient being. You are talking twaddle, and you have forsaken everything that makes us civilized.
Have you no mercy?

Anytime someone mentions infants and Jesus, an angel is brutally hacked to death, puppies are drowned, and conversation goes on the dung heap.

Infants and Jesus.

Here's a picture of a butterfly offered in hopes that you will stop talking.

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This blogger has, at times, mentioned gluten. The Roman Catholic Church has recently decided that the host cannot be gluten-free.
Which to this blogger is of no import whatsoever.
Even if he were a religious man.
Which he isn't.

Jimmy From Dallas has under a recent post bellyaching about the sad lack of edibles in my neighborhood late at night remarked that he really wishes to see a blogpost on the subject of the impermissibility of gluten-free body of Christ in celebration of mass and what I think of that.

See here: Gloop.

"Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist."

Sorry, that's not my monkey. Symbolic cannibalism must involve gluten. And that's okay. There's more to the Catholic Creed than catering to a bunch of precious food-hysterics in America.

If people wish to soil their diapers over what's in the tabernacle, that is entirely their own affair. Whether or not they hold by transubstantiation.

This blogger rarely associates with people who hold queer beliefs, be they religious types, food nuts, anti-vaxxers, mystics, vegans, paranoiacs, or reincarnationists.

All of the above are odious.

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When you wake up with He Slept On His Arms All Night by The Vacant Lot running through your head, and your news feed is filled with Trump JR's Russian celebrity adoption mess, Hawaiian lava, candy-flavoured Vaginal Glitter, and a marijuana medical emergency in Nevada, there can be only ONE possible conclusion: The Jews done it.
It's wrong, but no matter.

Is Vaginal Glitter really what America has on its mind?

And should your vagina ever "sparkle"?

Let me just mansplain here that vaginas can be plenty interesting without a woman needing to do anything demented, like starting a sweet Hello Kitty flavoured space alien yeast factory down there. And furthermore, glitterizing or vajazzling the body part in question is enough to make a rational person of either gender realize with a sudden shock that they've made several bad decisions that evening and it's time to return to Jesus.
Marijuana may have had something to with that.
But it was probably too much beer.

This blogger is a severe puritan, who firmly believes that American beer is anathematic piss, and vaginas should not reek of cheap candy. That latter belief is NOT long-held, though. Until his feed got filled with Vaginal Glitter, he paid little attention to such things. And though a vaginal absence does weigh on his mind, he isn't likely to make rash decisions involving gelatin, starch-based edible glitter, gum arabic, zea mays starch and vege- table stearate, Budweiser, lava, weed, and Donald Trump Junior.


Avoid any dealings with Trump Jr., stay away from Russian celebrities, do not step in hot lava, and abstain from pot you damned hippies. And above all, NEVER insert sparkly sh*t in your cooch.

I shouldn't have to say this.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017


It turns out people profoundly fear the Welsh. According to famous dead British Restaurant critic A.A. Gill, the Welsh are "loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls". As well as "gargoyle-visaged". In this he proved himself perhaps sympathetic to The Times, which in 1866 opined that "all the progress and civilization of Wales has come from England, and a sensible Welshman would direct all his endeavours towards inducing his countrymen to appreciate their neighbours instead of themselves", and "the Welsh language is the curse of Wales. Its prevalence, and the ignorance of English have excluded, and even now exclude, the Welsh people from the civilisation, the improvement, and the material prosperity of their English neighbours".

After reading that one is, perhaps, grateful for different ancestry.

But wait! It gets even better!

"Insanity prevails chiefly amongst the Welsh-speaking population ... "
---The western Mail

"Welsh (is an) appalling and moribund monkey language ... "
---Roger Lewis

[Source for all these quotes: Ten Attacks on Wales.]

What is truly flabberghasting is that A.A. Gill was a restaurant critic. Surely there cannot have been enough of an audience for something like that in all of Britain? And repeating that the fish was overcooked and the chips limp and greasy would have been unsurprising the second or third time, and predictable after the first four reviews.

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Sometimes you do things to irritate all the cigar smokers. Especially when they are discussing politics. Most of them are prosperous middle-aged individuals, well-insulated from harsh realities, and slavishly addicted to Fox News, Alex Jones, and Donald Trump's berserk views of reality.
Twitter is their chosen news source.

So you play stuff on youtube. Your own choice of something which is better listening. At the very least it makes their conversations surreal.




Or see this version instead: Iraq Lobster.]



Excerpt from a great and as yet unwritten novel:

"Miss Wiggles, could you step into my office, please? Thank you, please have a seat. Miss Wiggles, it has come to my attention -- by which I mean management's attention -- that you have been waging a jihad against the programmers, by playing music over the company intercom after hours. When they are all still there involved in computer games which they think we don't know about. They would have preferred sensitive Emo or Soft Pop, apparently, but you somehow locked the sound system down and played, among other things, and I shall now read from the list they gave me: the Internationale (in German), the March of the Preobazhinsky Regiment, La Marcia Dei Lagunari, several songs by the Sex Pistols, the theme song to Shaft, and Le Chant Du Depart. Plus Caramelldansen. Repeatedly, on permanent loop. No, miss Wiggles, it is NOT better than that insufferable happy Cuban crap that the manager plays on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Same damned six songs over and over. Guantanamera eight times a day. It IS different, but NOT any better. Other than Shaft and the Sex Pistols, it is all in foreign languages which they don't recognize.

They believe that you are a communist.
They are scared for their lives.
Please don't do it again.

"Miss Wiggles, what are you doing with that giant lobster?"

"Miss Wiggles, stop hitting my head."

"Miss Wiggles!"

Miss Wiggles firmly believes that that happy Cuban crap has got to stop. Seriously, the same six songs over and over again. It's enough to make you puke. Miss Wiggles is thinking in terms of narcocorridos, the songs in Japanese from the anime 'Azumanga Daioh', and Irish war music.
Plus she thinks the "programmers" are Fascists.

This blogger, naturally, sympathises completely with Miss Wiggles, and believes that she shows remarkable mental acuity and vigour.

We've really got to meet sometime.

We think alike.

She'd probably also have quite unprintable things to say about the cigar smokers in the lounge. So I shan't expose her to them until she's ready.

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Monday, July 10, 2017


What the solitary badger wishes to eat after a long day of putting up with the cigar-smoking pickle heads at the lounge is chicken congee with fried peanuts and bits of fried wonton skins. Maybe with a skewer of grilled chicken livers on the side, despite a propensity to gout.
As well as a piping hot dough stick.

But this is San Francisco.

I'm hosed.

Not only are there no street vendors selling yummy freshly prepared nom-nom-nom till way past midnight in my neighborhood, but the programmers who live all over this neck of the woods wouldn't know good food if it came up and bit them in the gand.

Minced pork also can, as well as fresh fish poached in the heat of the rice porridge, chunks of roast duck. And everything is better with century egg.

Did I mention the programmers? Stupid white dudes from the rest of the country, and Indians who are by now utterly convinced that bland American food is poison.

Sometimes you can order fried batter squiggles for your congee.

In Malaysia, sambal, krupuk, and shallot chips.

What's available right now is a mighty fine Vietnamese sandwich, some very decent Mexican food, pretentious Japanese stuff, a Thai sit-down dinner, and heavy muck in the freezer of the local liquor store.
None of which appeals to me at this moment.

There's no käsespätzle either.

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The gibbon (Eurasmus) wishes to inform me that while I was out yesterday, strange things happened. Apparently the bug guy (Pierpont) and the she-sheep (Angus) had been jumping each other and egg-nogging like crazy. Both of them have reacted with outrage at this statement, and I do not wish to hear about such goings-on. Discussing it is quite unseemly.
I certainly haven't egg-nogged in years.
Whatever that actually means.

Eurasmus (the gibbon) has a rich inner life.
Sometimes he imagines things.
Stuff that didn't happen.

Besides, I trust that Angus will always act like a lady. Which means that if any egg-nogging took place -- not that I'm saying it did -- it would have been done in private.

I wonder what he means by "egg-nogging"? Most of the stuffed animals are extremely innocent, and still at a stage where certain things are unknown to them. Maybe he means holding hands. Or tickling. Perhaps even kissing each other on the cheek.

Which sounds rather sweet.

It's too early to think of ... you know, "that".

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Sunday, July 09, 2017


Almost nothing says home to a Dutchman better than eel. Which, when smoke-cured, is one of the Netherlands traditional and beloved foods, much sneered at by American tourists. We now also have McDonalds for those types, so it is safe for Anglos from Bunfudgistan (the Midwest, the South, and large parts of both The Valley and the East Coast -- you are ALL 'bunfudge') to visit the Netherlands.

Fortunately, there are two Pacific anguilles that make us happy here in SF. Both are, unsurprisingly, available in Asian markets. The Japanese eel (日本鰻), called "white eel" (白鱔 'baak sin') in Cantonese, is a popular item, what is locally known as 'wong taai' (黃帶 "yellow sash") is somewhat less prized, somewhat more abundant, and stands up very well to Dutch or Belgian cooking techniques.

"Hotly beloved eel claypot rice"

The Japanese Eel is a very Hong Kong ingredient, and also deservedly popular in Toishan, but it is rare to see it on a menu over here.
Yet it is delicious, and should be demanded more.

It is exceptionaly good in claypot rice, which is parboiled rice finished in a pre-heated claypot -- contact with the blistering ceramic surface will "crust" the rice -- with the juices from the meats which are layered over to steam along dripping through and adding yet one more layer of flavour.

Claypot rice, whatever the zesty addition, is a delightful restaurant dish. It can be made with preserved meats, chicken and salt fish, pork patty and salt fish, eggplants, pork, seafood ... and eel (白鱔煲仔飯 'baak sin po chai faan'). Two common combos in Hong Kong are "eel and spare ribs claypot rice" (白鱔排骨煲仔飯 'baak sin pai gwat po chai faan') and "eel and sausage claypot rice" (白鱔臘腸煲仔飯 'baak sin lap cheung po chai faan'). Glossy chicken and eel claypot rice is also a good choice.
黃鱔滑雞煲仔飯 ('wong sin gwat gai po chai faan').

If you cannot eat with other people, and yet want something special, order claypot rice. Even by yourself it is festive. There will be left-overs.

Again, all this is very simple: soak the rice for an hour or so and parboil it, pre-heat the claypot, dump in the rice, layer chunks of fish and meat on top, add some slivered ginger, cover with the lid and put on a low flame for about twenty minutes, and remove the vessel from the heat. Bring to the table piping, uncover, and drizzle in some soy sauce.

Exact quantities of everything are variable.

Most meaty ingredients benefit from dressing with a little soy sauce, oyster sauce, ricewine, cornstarch, garlic, sugar, and salt, before being placed on the rice. When using mashed salted blackbeans, marinate for an hour. For meats (chicken, pork), you may wish to nuke them in the microwave before placing on top of the rice to make sure they're cooked, although traditionally they would be done as long as the rice in the same pot.

Chopped green onion, black mushrooms, and cubes of deepfried tofu (豆卜 'tau puk') can be added for the last bit of cooking


The Crown Plaza is known for their clay pot rice with eel and black bean sauce (豉汁油錐煲仔飯 'si jap yau cheui po chai faan'), see this lovely Facebook photo. Suitable for two.

Crown Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East
Tong Tak Street
Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong.
Right above the MTR Station and a shopping mall.

Tseung Kwan O (將軍澳 "General's Bay") is on the other side of Sai Kung Peninsula (西貢半島) from most of Kowloon, where Junk Bay used to be.
It's been newly developed, partially filled.

Other popular eel dishes:

豉椒白鱔煲仔飯 ('si jiu baak sin po chai faan')
Black bean and peppers eel claypot rice.

豉汁蒸白鱔 ('si jap jeng baak sin')
Black bean steamed eel.

清蒸白鳝 ('ching jeng baak sin')
Clear steamed eel.

蒜仔白鳝 ('suen jai baak sin')
Garlic eel.

燒白鱔 ('siu baak sin')
Barbecued eel.

If you wish to prepare eel at home, you will need a plank with a nail sticking out. Bash the eel on the head to stun or kill him, jam the head onto the nail (the beast should be belly side up), slit the fish lengthwise, and remove the guts. It can be skinned, but it need not be. Rinse.
Then proceed as per your recipe.

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