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, May 26, 2017


How ironic that I can read an overseas dissident's eloquent words, in perfect translation, when doing so in his home territory would probably bring me to the attention of the authorities there, and, eventually, here. Were he to bail out to the United States, there is no doubt he would be refused asylum and our officials would facilitate his own government's monitoring of him, and if he stayed, extend diplomatic immunity to the goons paid to rough him up.

With, naturally, the wholehearted approval of the Republican rank and file, as well as many elected Republican office holders.

NO, I shall not mention which dissident that is, nor where he is. Because there are readers of this blog in that country, and they are a significant trading partner as well as source of bribery ("investment").
Far be it from me to upset the applecart.

Oh, and the dissident in question is not a Christian.
Also, as bad or worse, he is not a Caucasian.

Either one of those 'nots' is enough to damn him in the eyes of the great American heartland.

Not only have we devalued our own liberties and ideals -- lip service at best -- but by doing so we have lessened their worth elsewhere in the world.

Liberal societies used to take differences of opinion for granted. Some still do. But overwhelmingly our leaders do not, and would gladly silence all who dare to think, in which they are supported by the middle-classes who fear any diminishment of their tenuous position, and cheer promises of less taxation and more law and order.

In lieu of any real political energy, we watch Game of Thrones.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017


Berkeley Breathed, author of the acclaimed comic strip 'Bloom County', received a threatening letter from Kasowitz Benson Torres LLC this morning stating that Donald Trump's face, and that of his lovely lady wife, mother of the pudgy-wudgy potato, was, more or less, trademarked.
Berkely had altered commercial images!
A grievous sin.

I reproduce the epistle below, which I found on Mr. Berkeley Breathed's facebook page. To the best of my knowledge it is already part of the public record, and Mr. Marc E. Kasowitz (of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLC) should not object to his deathless prose becoming far better known.
It is eloquent, and pretty damned Shakespearean, and pen-meisters nationwide can only stand in awe of his profundity.

See, where Mr. Breathed went wrong was that he didn't "artistify" the image. Make it uniquely his own. Created an illustrated version of Trumperdump's resplendent visage.

As I have done with Mitch McConnell.
I took a few liberties .....
Example below.


No one can possibly argue that this affects the commercial value of Mitch McConnell's squinty-eyed fat troll face negatively in any way, and there's probably a very good chance that his wife or her relatives see him in precisely so. If I were her, I would. If I were them, I would.
He's smiling and lovable.

Marc E. Kasowitz, Donald 'The Buttplug' Trump, and Mitch 'Deathclown' McConnell are all perfect representatives of their class.

I won't hear anything false said about them.

Here's Donny Trumperdumples.

My heavens isn't he a handsome fellow!
He looks just like Jesus!


Whenever I see the faces of Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell, it reminds me of one of the most lyrical and descriptive passages in all of literature:

"Tight clothing, type of underwear, and personal hygiene do not appear to be factors. Diagnosis is by testing a sample of vaginal discharge. As symptoms are similar to that of the sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia and gonorrhea, testing may be recommended."

"Despite the lack of evidence, wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing is often recommended as a preventative measure. Avoiding douching and scented hygiene products is also recommended. Treatment is with an antifungal medication. This may be either as a creams such as clotrimazole or with oral medications such as fluconazole."
End quote.

[SOURCE: Wikipedia]

I shall henceforth also associate the names Kasowitz Benson Torres LLC with that passage, as well as the evocative term "chunky white discharge".
This is a sign of my love and respect for our politicians and our lawyers, without whom society would not function.

Please feel the love.


Further: Trump law firm calls alleged Bloom County letter a 'fake'

Quote: Emily M. Thall, director of business development & marketing for Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, told The Associated Press on Friday that the letter “is a fake.” End quote.
Sorry, Ms. Thall, but as a devoted employee of Chunky White Discharge, you are not entirely trustworthy. Actually very few people in the legal profession are, and our president's pet shysters even less.

A cartoonist is more believable.

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The conclusion is as inescapable as it is blood-chilling: All of you people are sickos, and show biz is to blame. Centuries from now when the space aliens dig up remnants of a lost civilization, they'll listen to our tapes and realize that we deserved to perish. And a darn good thing too.

A riddance, a riddance, a pest!

It's not just karaoke -- there was a regrettable incident involving 'The Piano Man' a few days ago -- but, more recently, my apartment mate learning all the words to a sickening ditty.


I've written a letter to Daddy
His address is Heaven above
I've written "Dear Daddy, we miss you
And wish you were with us to love"

Instead of a stamp, I put kisses
The postman says that's best to do
I've written a letter to Daddy
Saying "I love you"

I've written a letter to Daddy
Saying "I love you"

It's from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, a blockbuster with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, which gave impressionable people nightmares from 1962 onward. My apartment mate has watched it obsessively several times, and I'm sure she's doing the same thing that she did with Valley of the Dolls years ago. Which must count as one of the worst movies of all times, with dialogue and lyrics that are cringe-worthy. Heck, the story is pretty putrescent also. Faugh.

She watched so often she could recite it verbatim.
Act all the parts, and sing all the songs.

A sample, to give you an inkling.


I’ll plant my own tree and I’ll make it grow.
My tree will not be just one in a row.
My tree will offer shade
when strangers go by.
If you’re a stranger, brother, well so am I.
Come tomorrow all that I see is my tree,
oh, Lord, what a sight.
Let someone stop me and I will put up a fight.
It’s my yard so I’ll try hard
to welcome friends I have yet to know.
Oh, I’ll plant my own tree,
my own tree,
and I’ll make it grow.

My tree will not be just one in a row.
My tree will offer shade
when strangers go by.
If you’re a stranger, brother, well so am I.
Come tomorrow all that I see is my tree,
oh, Lord, what a sight.
Let someone stop me and I will put up a fight.
It’s my yard so I’ll try hard
to welcome friends I have yet to know.
Oh, I’ll plant my own tree,
my own tree,
and I’ll make it grow.

Good lord. What does that even mean? Who wrote that bollocks?

The only thing possibly even worse than either of those are the various texts to the Pippi Longstocking songs, but thank heavens that kind of twaddle does not appeal to my apartment mate. I can only imagine how awful life would be if she developed a fascination, but as Pippicrap doesn't involve bad acting and psychotic women, there's no danger of that.

[Please note that I provide no clickable links to the Pippi Longstocking movies Or songs. You are on your own, I shall not quote. Good luck.]

If there was ever a reason for Comic Sans Typeface, it is crap like the lyrics above. Surely no songwriter would wish to have this on his résumé, these are not achievements to be proud of. Or even known for. Claim insanity, expunge, and deny they ever existed instead.

My apartment mate is singing.
Breakfast is a horrible time.
I blame Hollywood.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017


When I was sixteen my tobacconist ran out of my favourite weed. The company that supplied it to him had long ago disappeared, and I had happily been consuming his old stock for over a year. Both of us were disturbed, for different reasons. He suggested that I try the three tins of Dunhill tobacco that he still had from ages ago in the meantime.
That being Standard Mixture, MM965, and Nightcap.
I bought another tin of Nc two days ago.
It brought back memories.

No, I have no wish to be sixteen again. It was a truly horrible time to be an American in Europe. They still hated us for what we had done in Vietnam. Which was all the more galling because I already knew perfectly well what they had been up to during their own benighted pasts.

Another reason I do not remember those times too fondly was that my mother had cancer, and would not live very much longer. She passed away a few days before her 56th. birthday the following year.

[Proper "burgerlijke" people do NOT die of cancer. But it cannot be helped, we suppose. After all, they are Yanks. Don't associate with them too much, and greet them semi-politely when you encounter them.]

Yes, she smoked. But it wasn't smoking related.
First a breast, then later the ovaries.
She kept her wit up to the end.
A remarkable woman.

When she found out I smoked a pipe she gave me a long stern lecture on the evils of tobacco, including terms like "sloping forehead", "recessed gums", "testicular weakness", and so on. She also mentioned that it stunted ones' growth, and seeing as she herself was less than five feet (four foot ten or eleven, if I remember correctly), and I already towered over her, that didn't make much impression.

Besides, she huffed three Kent Filter Kings while talking.

She started smoking later in life, while she was in the Navy.

I tried my first cigarette when I was eight or nine, and wasn't too impressed. It wasn't until I lusted after a hunk of polished wood in the window of the cigar shop next to Priem's bookstore (at thirteen years of age), where I was a regular customer, that a light went off. A couple of months after acquiring a pipe I finally purchased some tobacco.

[There used to be a type of blowsy European middle-class snob-woman, too much make-up on and clothes just a little too snooty and stylish, who would suck up to people she thought of as "quality", while cold-shouldering everyone presumed to be of lesser grade. It was often hard to tell them apart from women who just overdid the facepaint. This is mentioned because they often managed their husband's cigar shop, or worked at bars and cafes. 
The young pipesmoker of course is something of which they DO NOT approve.]

Shortly afterwards I started reading the Maigret books; that both he and his creator were pipe smokers did not strike me as in any way remarkable at all. Men, naturally, would smoke a pipe. Especially in the elsewhere mythical part of the world. You know, other places.


Pipes are in an entire aesthetic class by themselves, with multiple facets that appeal and enchant; cigars beguile somewhat also, though not nearly as much. Cigarettes, especially Turkish (usually German, Dutch, Austrian, and English) and high quality Russian (again, not necessarily from Russia), had a charm that was augmented by time and place (cafes, for instance, or grand hotels in other places). But if one is forced out on to the street or into empty alleyways, the attraction fades, while pipes grow in magic. Cigars are a halfway house; no challenge, no great character either.

Cigarettes are what prompted the anti-tobacco rules, and will always be associated in my mind with limitations and the closing of doors.

[Long lacquered bitch nails and Stuyvesant cigarettes. Not the expensive international cigarettes, because as long as you keep the package covered, no one knows you're not that good. Speak proper Dutch and sneer at the provincial accents of people who are kinfolk; you regret being related to the less than perfectly upper middle class members of your family.
Do NOT drink genever, because it's déclassé.]

Yenidje non-filters (Sobranie) in the white tin are no longer made, nor are the Imperial Russians. The company was sold to Gallaghers in the eighties, is now owned by Japan Tobacco, and whatever is still produced under that name not only isn't as good as it used to be, but is not available here in the United States in any case. Khedives (lovely Turkish ovals) aren't around anymore either, or the 555's in the yellow tin.

[Caballero Cigarettes were distinctly 'hip', and aimed at people whom we don't really like.
St. Michel ("crotch-stabbers") from Belgium are a bit lowerclass, you know, while American brands are just not done by deftige people.]

French cigarettes have been impossible to find for over a decade.
Oriental cigarettes were mostly my Berkeley phase.
One can no longer puff at the Cafe Med.
And the world has changed.

Cigars, nowadays, keep tobacconists in business, so they still have a few positive associations. But many of the people who smoke them are social deviants and politically dubious.

[Quality cigars, NOT those bolknaks the peasants smoke! Something with the name "Havana" on the label, and fancy packaging that would not look amiss next to a crystal ashtray in the salon. Stogies are something farmers puff when they're in town having a drink with their kinfolk at a local establishment.]

Pipes have simply always offered more than any other form of smoke.

[An added benefit, being that other people are automatically out of their league when considering the pipe smoker, need not stressed. That's too often countered by their demand that one should only smoke caramel and fruitloop blends, or ciggies instead.
Here, have a Peter Stuyvesant!]

The smell of good clean pipe tobacco (not the aromatics which are ninety percent of the market) has elements which clue in to the deepest centres of the brain. Memory is spurred and awakened by smells.
Especially complex and evocative smells.
The past comes alive.

My apartment mate, like most people considerably more civilized than myself, naturally has a different opinion.


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A youtube video being widely circulated on the internet shows a white dude acting offensive and obstreperous at Pudong Airport. He was subsequently removed from the United Airlines flight. The red baseball cap he was wearing said "Make America Great Again". Which was NOT the reason the old bastard was removed, but that seems to have escaped many Trumpites in the hinterland, who are incapable of doing their research.

He was removed because he was an A-hole.

The baseball cap was incidental.



Video from Skull Shaver, who writes: 
 "The Skull Shaver team was returning from Shanghai and got caught in this whole unfortunate incident. They reported the story and provided the video. Because of the disturbance, the flight was rerouted to San Francisco instead of the original destination. The crew was changed again and the flight continued to Newark. Eight hours later, UA82 arrived at Newark Airport at 2:20am on May 22, 2017.

United Airlines was extremely nice to passengers. The crew was excellent in calming down passengers and making them comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation. Hats off to United Airline and its crew."
End cite.

What Skull Shaver doesn't entirely clarify is that the poisonous old cuss demanded to be upgraded to First Class even though that was not possible, inconvenienced everybody, delayed the flight by three hours, used terms which were, shall we say, not unbiased, insulted numerous people ......
All of which is made clear by news articles.

"Another passenger on the flight said the man had wanted three seats next to his own because he could not get an upgrade. The three seats had been allocated to other passengers."


Perhaps we need to screen our belligerent and dumbass Trump supporters before they go overseas and make us all look stupid?

"... the Trump supporter asked to be bumped to first class but his request for an upgrade was denied. He then walked to the rear of the plane and allegedly blocked access to his row of seats. Eventually, all passengers were forced to get off the plane and return to the gate. "

"While it is difficult to make most of what the man is saying over the din of the plane, at one point he can be heard ranting about people standing here who 'don’t' know how to speak English.'"

Read more at Daily Mail - Man In Trump Hat Disrupts China US Flight

The police in Shanghai are too gentle. If it had happened in Chicago or the Middle East, they would have used billy clubs on his entitled behind. Heck, even here in San Francisco the police might have broken some of his fragile old bones. But the Shanghai police respect old people, even if they are clearly deserving of a vicious beatdown.

Now, the problem I have with this disruptive old coot is NOT that he's wearing an idiot hat. That's his own affair. What galls me is the entitled attitude. He radiates that he is old and white, and therefore feels that the world owes him something, and that he's allowed to be a blister.

That's seems fairly common nowadays.

Precious little snowflakes.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017


Years ago I attended a wedding. Other than the ringbearer, who was all of four years old, everybody was very well behaved. All five hundred guests, most of whom were Filipinos and Chinese.
The ring bearer wasn't badly behaved, just four years old.
At that age their attention wanders a bit.
Especially after an hour.

I should mention that the reason it took an hour to get to the actual vows was because the Iberian priest figured he'd never get a bigger crowd, and played it for all he was worth. He gave an epic sermon about something.
Because of his accent very few of us understood him.
He could have gibbered in Klingon.
Maybe he did.

As I said, very well behaved. Extraordinarily so.

Statistically, among every one's friends and family a certain percentage will be psychopaths.

Do you really want a bunch of wild animals near you at that moment?

Thanks to George Takei on Facebook, we now know better.
He posted a link: The Worst Behaviour At A Wedding.


"She yelled and screamed all of the way out the door until more family got her subdued and took her home. She was pissed because her son was marrying a girl she didn’t approve of."

"Did you not know that your grandfather is dying?"

"I refuse to speak to her to this day."

"The cops were eventually called."

"When you get divorced in a few years, call me."

"The ceremony keeps getting delayed and delayed so that the groom can bail out his pal, just to have him there for the ceremony."

"One of the guests decided it was a good idea to pull his penis out and point his junk at a family walking by."

"Some guy had picked up a metal folding chair, and railed the drunk into next Tuesday."

"She gave a doozy of wedding speech about how she couldn't believe the bride was stealing her only baby and implied quite strongly that the son only married her because she was pregnant."

"Your mother will not be attending your wedding, because this is an abomination."

"She then yanked her dress down and popped out her giant breasts to show off her pierced nipples."

[From Knowable.]

Thank you, George Takei.

Personally I am not averse to the institution of wedlock, or the idea of at some point getting hitched myself. A nice quiet dealio at City Hall, with the minimum number of required witnesses, and a lovely dinner at a French or Chinese Restaurant afterwards, after everyone has changed into civilian clothes, so that the restaurant staff don't know any better than that it's a nice little party of three to seven people.

A couple of friends, maybe. As well as a calm relative or two.
Under no circumstances anyone who talks about Jesus.

I am still on the fence about champagne.
I just don't think it's a very good idea.
Perhaps some sherry, and Merlot.
Or white, if there's fish.

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That pillow will need throwing out. After a little accident with a q-tip last week, my right ear has been leaking (just water!), and because I sleep leaning on my right side, you can pretty much guess what has happened.
There has also been some hearing degradation.
It's probably temporary.

After that intro, you will understand that life in the mansion 'At The Back Of The Hill' is not suburban family of four style, with a dog, a cat, goldfish, and bratty teenagers. Hasn't been that way, ever. As people get older, things deviate slightly or a great deal from the norm.
The older, the more peculiar.

It is slightly messy.
Mm, more than.

When I was still a pimple-faced adolescent I just assumed that life would be an endless progression of coffee and English-pipe tobacco filled days, with tea later on, a spot of reading, then more tea and reading. Plus bicycling hither and yon, and occasional bouts of other sh&t.

Actually, that's precisely what happened (except for the bicycle).

Although I no longer associate with bratty teenagers.

And I am now leaking from my ear.

There is a nearly full tin of Dunhill Nightcap tobacco nearby, my pipe is lit, and a cup of coffee is balanced on a stack of books. In another room the stuffed animals are getting ready to play "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" as a children's game -- they watched the movie recently, and some of them were quite taken with the two women therein -- and the weather outside seems to finally have reverted to San Francisco standard, leaving the rest of the Bay Area to swelter but us denizens of Baghdad to swan around gracefully, at peace with the overcast or fog and the profound fragrance of bucket loads of Latakia tobacco and sphagnum.

I am somewhat disappointed with how little I have achieved as well as the insignificance of my impact, but pleased with the enduring pleasure of life, and the fact the tea and tobacco have not disappeared, there are still so many books I haven't read, and nobody tells me to pick up my mess.

I believe bratty teenagers are over-rated, and don't turn into human beings until adulthood. Which seems to be sometime after the early twenties.

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Monday, May 22, 2017


People cruise the internet for cats. Other things too, but the enduring appeal of 'I can has Cheezburger' proves that it's cats.
Which is why I am completely surprised that I have never before encountered Mitchiri Neko.



みっちりねこマーチ - MitchiriNeko March - Cute cat characters in a marching band!

Some people just cry tears of cuteness when they see this.

These "cats" are from a game, as Koukoupuffs details here.

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For the first time in ages I ate Indian food. Tandoori chicken, saag paneer, and garlic naan. Courtesy of my apartment mate. She wasn't impressed by the place where it was made, and I have put the remainder of the saag paneer and also the rice pilaf in the refrigerator.
It shall make a splendid breakfast.

Some time last week she had asked if I felt like a spot of Indian food; she needed to be in the vicinity of a new restaurant elsewhere in the city, and she is very fond of desi khana.
When she was still my significant other, I introduced her to it. Being Chinese American from a severely Toishanese background, it was quite new and startling for her. But she took to it like a duck to orange.
She's Chinese; they like food.

This was not that new restaurant, just one of the nearby dabhas.
Shan't mention the name. She didn't like it.

For years while I worked part time at the Indian restaurant of fond memory (it closed about four years ago, long after I left), I would have Indian food three times a week. Then for several years at least once a week.
Since Savage Kitten (my apartment mate) and I stopped being romantically involved with each other it is something I rarely even see. There is no point in going by myself, and anyway, our two favourite places have both closed.

I've actually eaten far more Chinese food since becoming single again than during the entire time of our relationship.

There are some things that one just cannot whip up easily at home. Anything which really requires a tandoor oven, for instance. The regular San Francisco apartment kitchen just isn't equipped with a clay-lined hole in the ground in which to build a fire. Perhaps as new buildings go up that will become standard -- we now have many more computer-wallahs and engineers than before -- but it will take a while before landlords of older rental units consider upgrading.

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Several weeks ago the Dutch politely assisted Turkish Family Affair Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya back to the border with Germany. She swore that she would have justice! This was an outrage! The Dutch Government had no business objecting to the undesired visit of an important Turkish official! There had been riots before her arrival, there was discord and fury after her departure. Turkish Netherlanders demanded that the Dutch apologize, and the Turkish government announced it would sue the Dutch.

We'll see you in court!

Bad Cheesehead! No candy!

As it turns out, that odious woman left voluntarily, and neither she nor the loathsome state she serves have a legal foot to stand on.

She is, never-the-less, an undesirable provocateur, as well as rabid. Like her master Erdogan, she is repulsive and toxic.

Turkish blowhards like her, of which there are too many, should be personae-non-gratae in the civilized world.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017


Thanks to a "friend" I am now more aware than ever of the loopiness of my fellow Americans. This friend, whom I will imagine as a chainsmoking middle aged woman with curlers, wearing a housedress, and with a long-ashed cigarette dangling out of the corner of her mouth, e-mailed me a link to a long screed on a feelsies site.
She added the phrase "enjoy it; this is why we can't have nice things!"

Herewith a short excerpt from the post which woke her ire:

"Tonight after sending him to sleep and with more calm energy I explained to him why I lost it today.. then he fell asleep and I started to work energetically with him to understand what my son needs from me to grow resilience, kind and in appreciation.
I asked my guidance to show me and connect me with his true potential.
I asked my guidance to guide me to become a better mum to help him grow confident and aware of feeling and emotions and how to show them without feeling weak.
When I started to receive information through my psychic abilities I was blown away from what I perceived.
I was having a hand on his heart and I could feel lot of insensitivity in his system.
When I asked what was the cause of this insensitivity I have been shown the radiation from iPad, phones and computer. I have been shown that the radiation that bombard our electromagnetic field create a sort of barrier and shut down the communication between the heart and the mind.
In our heart there is a molecule that contains all information about our true potential and if those information are unable to be carried around and communicated to the rest of the body and to our brain because external influences we are unable to embody who we truly are which ultimately disconnect ourselves from ourselves therefore we are unable to live authentically."

End cite.

There was more. Much more. As badly written and as berserk.
This special dingbat exemplifies everything wrong.
There are words strung together.
She is very precious.

It's the kind of stuff that people lurking in doorways spout.

She is sincere. Obviously that isn't nearly enough.

My internet "friend" is beastly and cruel. Sending a link to this was the most evil thing anyone has done in a long time.

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Early on I got forewarning about the cigar bar. Assuredly it was going to be crowded, people yelling at the screen, vile stogies, and scenes of mass insanity. Plus lucky shirts, body odours, and probably face paint.
The whole thing going down, starting at six in the evening.
By the time I could get there it would be eight-ish.
Several people might be drunk by then.
Conversation? Impossible.

The Warriors!

If that name doesn't excite you, you may be damaged. There is something wrong, perhaps you aren't fully human.

I already saw it. I wasn't too impressed. Apparently it was distantly based on Xenophon's Anabasis.

This synopsis courtesy of Wikipedia:

"..... a large army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Though Cyrus' mixed army fought to a tactical victory at Cunaxa in Babylon (401 BC), Cyrus was killed, rendering the actions of the Greeks irrelevant and the expedition a failure.

Stranded deep in Persia, the Spartan general Clearchus and the other Greek senior officers were then killed or captured by treachery on the part of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes. Xenophon, one of three remaining leaders elected by the soldiers, played an instrumental role in encouraging the 10,000 to march north across foodless deserts and snow-filled mountain passes, towards the Black Sea and the comparative security of its Greek shoreline cities. Now abandoned in northern Mesopotamia, without supplies other than what they could obtain by force or diplomacy, the 10,000 had to fight their way northwards through Corduene and Armenia, making ad hoc decisions about their leadership, tactics, provender and destiny, while the King's army and hostile natives barred their way and attacked their flanks.

Ultimately this "marching republic" managed to reach the shores of the Black Sea at Trabzon (Trebizond), a destination they greeted with their famous cry of exultation on the mountain of Theches in Sürmene: "Thálatta, thálatta", "The sea, the sea!"."

End cite.

The 1979 movie was of course set in the modern equivalent of Persia: the Bronx. All in all it was enjoyable, but staggeringly ridiculous. Cast of hundreds, colourful costumes, Coney Island.

I find it hard to imagine that modern San Franciscans can fully appreciate Xenophon; what he wrote about was far from their world, a different time, a different place, a totally different set of values.

I may be wrong about all of this.
That's not that unusual.

Stagger me.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017


Sometimes a man enjoys reading about something far more than actually seeing it. Especially if the man in question is not actually patient enough to sit through it. Which, of course, explains why I almost never go to movies anymore, and throroughly enjoyed the haphazardly subtitled Hong Kong films that used to play at the Chinatown theatres.
Reading was involved.

A phrase describing a character in 'What's The Matter With Helen', in a Wikipedia article about Hagsploitation, really excites me.

"An increasingly unstable and violent religious fanatic and repressed lesbian ... "

That promises some solid entertainment.

How did I come to this? What brought me to the article?

Simple. My apartment mate was watching 'Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte', which features Bette Davis as a batshit crazy old woman, a demented Agnes Moorehead as her vicious and near-illiterate housekeeper, and Olivia de Havilland as the thoroughly evil but rather attractive cousin, who is sweetly up to no good, and commits murder.
Oh heck, nobody in this flick has any redeeming qualities.
I found the Wikipedia article by typing the phrase "Dear old papa who killed John Mayhew" into my browser.

It wasn't just Hollywood that made these movies, the Brits also got a slice of the action.

"...the mummified remains in her daughter's bedroom"

From 'Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?' This movie has it all. Orphans, a miserable bitch, a boy with too much imagination, and hacking at a door with a cleaver to get at the brats behind it. Unfortunately the critics weren't one hundred percent kind, and the movie serves mostly as educational material in schools nowadays, along with an army film about syphilis.

Decrepit mansions, repressed lesbians, recycled stars .....

My apartment appears to have enjoyed the movie, much like she did its predecessor 'Baby Jane' a few weeks ago. She's on a Bette Davis kick.

It's fun when she gets these obsessions.
Just look at her face.

The stuffed animals enjoy it too.

Bette Davis was a great actress.

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Friday, May 19, 2017


At present my right ear is oozing. No, it's not a life-change, and I am certainly not going to brief my apartment-mate -- who functions as my common-sense voice and rational balance -- about this, because I would have to explain that issuance of an oil-rich exudate was the new and no doubt temporary "normal", as well as how this situation came to be.
I am going to ignore it until everything is predictable again.
While occasionally wiping my ear.

The stain on a paper towel is distinctly yellow limned, verging on brown-orange. A high fat content. It is a greasy or waxy exudate.

No pain, and only very minor swelling.

My apartment mate would panic, and urge me to see a practitioner. Several years ago I took a taxi to the emergency room, resulting in a vast number of junior doctors and stagiarists being very entertained at my having used a pipe cleaner in lieu of q-tips.

This time, it's my barber's fault.

My earpen slipped when I was twiddling a q-tip in my right ear while waiting for the bus, and I frantically tried to keep the pen from slipping. Pain and trauma happened, and it fell to the pavement anyway.
My hair is too short, there is no traction.
I am naked without my earpen.

Yes, I realize that I've just described a bit of looniness, and the idea of a pen behind the ear being essential for feeling clothed makes no sense. But I've always had a pen within reach, from the moment I leave the house till when I take it off at night. It's part of my sense of being decently equipped.
A man should remove his pen for writing, for sex, and for bathing.
That's just the way it is, okay?

It's a Bic round stick med/moy USA.
White shaft, black ink.

Fondly remembered here: Ostrander Bellepoint -- Cogitations

It is no longer made, but I've got a stockpile.

Life rule: Always carry a pen and a q-tip.

In a slightly related matter, the phrase "white chunky discharge" was on my mind a lot yesterday. In the middle of the night I found myself reading articles on the internet, and while that started with Trump news and politics, it eventually brought me to the blog of a person in the medical field. Where the phrase leaped out at me. White chunky discharge is not normally on my plate, but it lurked in my consciousness a great many hours.

It is surprising how many times one can remind a coworker of white chunky discharge. It just bubbles up, with surprising frequency.

Everything relates to white chunky discharge.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017


The other day, before heading off to lunch, I answered a friend's plaintive request for data. "What", Mordechai asked, "is the worst cookbook you've ever read?" Oh boy! Now, before going any further, I should boastfully mention that I have a tonne of cookbooks. It's an obsession.

My response:
Golden Gate Gourmet - volume II" (copyright 1962).


1 cup hot water
1 package orange flavor gelatin
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 lb. can whole, small sweet potatoes
14 ounce can pineapple chunks
2 4 ounce cans Vienna sausage

Combine the water, gelatin, salt, brown sugar in a 10" skillet and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the butter and lemon rind. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and add the sweet potatoes. Cook about 10 minutes, basting frequently. Drain the syrup from the pineapple chunks and put chunks into skillet. Drain the liquid from the sausages and add to the potatoes and pineapple. Cook about 10 minutes longer, or until sauce is thick and glossy. Serves 3.

[End cite.]

Got that? Orange jello, sweet potato, pineapple, and Vienna sausages.
If that doesn't spell school lunch to you, there's something wrong.
It sounds delish. Yummers. Nom nom nom.

I've actually never made it, despite my hunger, because I keep forgetting to buy those one pound cans of whole sweet potatoes.

Mordechai may have regretted asking the question.

He wrote back: "You're a vile person and bad things should happen to you."

In all honesty, I don't know what bad things he has in mind. Surely it can't be that he plans to cook this scrumptious meal and force me to eat it?
Does he possibly think I wouldn't enjoy that?
I repeat: nom nom nom!


What I had for lunch, after sharing the wonderful heirloom "recipe" shown above, was salt fish chicken fried rice. It was super tasty! And looked almost exactly like the stuff below.



No, I shan't give the name of the restaurant. I rather like being able to walk in and sit anywhere. If you knew where it was you might go, and the next thing you know it's filled with white folks ordering sweet and sour pork.
That's something which nobody wants.

Including a generous tip, the whole experience cost less than ten bucks.

Food, tea, atmosphere...  an elderly auntie reading the paper aloud in hometown dialect so thick you could cut it with a spoon.
Tile floor. Clean and spartan. Good eats.
Good people.

They also sell a few dim sum items plus mantou at a counter up front.
I've had their joong, and their cheung fun, but never the mantou.
That must be for Mandarin speakers living nearby.

One of these days I'm going to have the jiffy dinner.
If I ever remember to buy the sweet potato.
Or Mordechai comes to town.

What fun will be had.

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As many readers know, this blogger and an old friend visit the underside of Chinatown late at night once per week, in a misguided tradition of several years standing. He sells books, I used to be in charge of pricing second-hand Asian-language literature at the place where he worked.
Most of which is well-thumbed highschool science.
And some tomes on gardening.


For the benefit of people who might be interested in junior algebra, gardens of ancient Suzhou, and the Book of Mormon as translated into Laotian, we helpfully placed the text "second hand books upstairs" to the immediate right of the front door. It was my piss-poor calligraphy.

Somebody once demanded to buy the sign.

Whatever. Twenty five dollars.

Special price.

One of the delightful musical offerings that crops up nearly every time at the karaoke place is infinitely recognizable. Why, even after hearing it only once, it will stick in your ears like prickleburs in wool.



Other than being afflicted with spastic jerkiness, that singer looks better animated than she does in video. As a human, she seems drippy.
As a two-dee, she has a certain dorky charm.

She's a veritable bright-eyed vixen.
But strictly as a cartoon.

Most of the patrons ignore her and continue playing liars dice or telling tall tales in Cantonese. The karaoke is strictly for the white people. They flock in already drunk, yell "I love you mama" at the owner, and demand to sing Abba or Elton John. Rarely do they do rap (maybe Wutang Clan isn't even in the book), swill tequila and Heineken, and get thrown out when they start pissing folks off.



The song above is the acme of modern poetry.

Recently there was also 'Mockingbird Hill', with a video that broke the previous bounds of surreal. Unfortunately I cannot find it on youtube.
I really wanted to scare you straight!

My friend the bookseller thinks karaoke is an extremely bad idea, and will not entertain the thought that its primary usefulness is keeping stupid white people off the streets and out of trouble with the law.
He feels that they should be outside, instead of in here with us, and if the police wish to arrest them, so much the better.

The Chinese at the bar have not voiced an opinion.

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Courtesy of Kavin Senapathy and Ask An Entomologist, I am now aware of two things. One: Americans are quite startlingly batshit crazy, well some of them at least, and Two: People will put all kinds of things up their hoodiddliwhatsis.

I now also know more about chunky white discharge than is strictly speaking necessary, but we shan't go there.

A medical professional from Canada (Jennifer Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM) begs to inform that certain "stuff" may not be the best thing to put in a certain "place". I would have thought that this was obvious, but as a rational man and a life-long cynic I am naturally more objective about 'stuff' and 'place', than a mystical creative spiritual person or Gwynneth "Jade Hump-a-Lumps" Paltrow.

We live in the age of twinkie heads.

From Dr. Jen's wordpress blog:
Don’t put ground up wasp nest in your vagina

"This product follows the same dangerous pathway of other “traditional” vaginal practices, meaning tightening and drying the vagina which is both medically and sexually (for women anyway) undesirable. Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good). It could also wreck havoc with the good bacteria."
End cite.

In all honesty, I found the essay a bit hard to read. Primarily because of a fit of the giggles, secondarily because of other distracting things. Someone reads tweets in a William Shatner voice? Someone aims to elliminate 'Vaginal Shame'? There are pinecones? Bourbon cocktails?

Mostly, epic fit of the giggles.

The phrase "good freaking lord" definitely came to mind, but wasn't ever uttered, or hollered out in a maniacal cackle, because my apartment mate was already asleep in her room, and I didn't want to risk waking her up.
She had already ranted for twenty minutes about President Orange Face MacFingletwatt, so I needed a break, and I was smoking small cigarillos in the television room, which I am strictly not allowed to do but I can get away with late at night because the stink barely travels.
When she's asleep she doesn't notice.

Still, good! freaking! lord!

Oak gall up yer whatsits.

The woman who does that probably wears meaningful fabrics, eats all organic, chants mantras, and tells everyone about her spiritual beliefs and reincarnations. All frizzy hair and ethnic jewelry.

And owns a yoni egg.

It's magic!

Why the hell am I up at three in the morning thinking about hippie twats?

Read the article.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017


One of the best lines I read this morning was about Ann Coulter finally turning on Donald Trump. To quote: "She is just mad that the wall is not being built and there are still brown and black people in the US".
To which one person responded: "And she hasn't grown a penis no matter how angry she gets at her vagina.".

Ann Coulter per Wikipedia, once opined: "In 1960, whites were 90 percent of the country. The Census Bureau recently estimated that whites already account for less than two-thirds of the population and will be a minority by 2050. Other estimates put that day much sooner. One may assume the new majority will not be such compassionate overlords as the white majority has been. If this sort of drastic change were legally imposed on any group other than white Americans, it would be called genocide. Yet whites are called racists merely for mentioning the fact that current immigration law is intentionally designed to reduce their percentage in the population."

Alex Jones once spouted the theory that evil lizard aliens live among us.
Ann Coulter seems to prove that.

"I like the Jews, I like fetuses, I like Reagan."
-----Ann Coulter, tweeting

Well who wouldn't? I especially like Ronald Reagan now that he's dead.

In case you didn't know, the far right lionizes her, much like they lionize Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and president Donny Dingleberry.
They seem to like limp-dicked he-men.

The feels, man.

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Nearly five months ago I de-subscribed from a certain mailinglist and Facebook group because the pro-Trump batshit contingent vociferated about my undesirability and my general loathsomeness. Over the preceding four years I regretfully de-friended a number of people whose views I did not sympathize with, as those views became more irritatingly apparent.
Susan, now living overseas, had several times attempted to impress upon me that as a non-member of the tribe I just couldn't grasp certain eternal truths. Sometime last year she conclusively proved herself a racist.
And promptly got de-friended too.
Without regret.

In the Autumn of 2012, I quit the steering committee and the closed list of the organization. This was two years after I called it quits on a weekly protest, because of a crazy Russian woman and three poxxy East Bay blisters. Please note that the three poxxy blisters had drunk my coffee numerous times, just like others with whom I no longer associate.
You know, I regret having always bought the coffee.
I've soured considerably on those folks.

It is by that association with many of those individuals that I have also soured somewhat on the cause. It's still worthwhile, mostly, but many of the "true believers" and leaders are not.

For a text-driven group, some of them are remarkably dense.

Life is too short to waste any of it drinking coffee with many people.
One must be selective.

I am still a social creature. But a better one than before.

My calmness and equanimity are considerably improved since I finally made a complete break. Occasionally one of the individuals from that time with whom I am still in contact says something to get my dander up, but life is not about them anymore, and they have largely dis-associated themselves.
Their lives have changed too.

Don't worry, I have not become a crabby old anti-social grouch. I still like children, young ladies, people enjoying good food, plus wit, insight, and folks who live life operatically. Oh, and tits. Tits can be charming.

Why, even on my days off I tend to seek out the company of bipeds.
I saw several of them yesterday! I'll do the same today.

I hope I see schoolgirls eating French fries with Sriracha again.
That was so cute! And the Sriracha humanized them!

About the tits: unfortunately, half of humankind has them. That rather takes away from their uniqueness, and there is bound to be some repetition.
Even with such things one should be selective.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017


They'll close for good at the end of the month, after twenty seven years. Like many businesses in the old neighborhood, it's the lease situation. Either the rent went up too much, or their customer base has moved away. Rich prosperous white cities cannot afford a Chinatown, and new arrivals in the neighborhood are programmers with beatnik hair and skateboards. Nearly every block has a pod of them.

The problem with such people is that despite their tattoos and artistic personalities, they are too good and too sniffy to eat like the locals, disdaining everything as either too Chinese, or not Chinese enough.
And Hong Kong soy sauce western cuisine is totally baffling.
French Toast? Baked Spaghetti Ham and Chicken?
The Club Sandwich. Iron Plank Steak?
It's not like New York!

['ji juk baan laam faan']

Late lunch: dried tofu stick and deep-fried fatty fish chunks briefly sauced together, served with two scoops of rice, and a bowl of simple garden soup with seaweed. Plus a cup of Hong Kong style milk-tea.
And of course the bottle of Sriracha hot sauce.

The three schoolgirls at the table one over first shared some fries while discussing homework. This necessitated the bottle of Sriracha, and after generously sploodging my plate I relinquished it. Then they had a club sandwich (which came with fries), which meant more Sriracha.

The old man and the young woman (his daughter?) across the aisle had dumplings. More Sriracha.

The young couple NOT sharing food also needed the Sriracha.

You know, if your tastes are that different that you don't want to even try each others choices, a shared love of Sriracha won't be enough to sustain a relationship. Please don't get married.

Three elderly dames having wonton soup ended up with the bottle.
But only one of them actually needed it.

The two people having French Toast didn't need it.
But may have regretted that situation.

My lunch was very enjoyable. The word 班腩 ('baan naam', more often written 斑腩) refers to the belly flesh of groupers (石斑 'sek baan' or 青斑 'jing baan'), though in Hong Kong it nowadays means dragon tongue (龍脷 'lung lei') or green robe (青衣 'jing yi'). Sole, flounder. Both of which are also excellent eating. Dried tofu is good for absorbing sauce flavours, and because it is by itself zero fat, it pairs very well with oily foods.

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So. Three creatures you must understand before we go any further. The Froad, a green furry amphibian who went kind of rogue mentally four years ago. Ms. Bruin, the ultimate arbiter and seniormost roomie, and Eurasmus, the one-legged monkey whom I saved from a post-pumpkin out-throwing at the office years ago.

[The middle-aged poopy-head in Marketing had used him in a Halloween tableau, and the tattooed slag office manager was going to throw him out with the rotting pumkins. His leg had disappeared many months earlier, in Product Development -- no one knew how, those drunk heavy metal freaks weren't talking -- and there was a gash in his neck marked with ketchup.
I took him home, cleaned him up, sewed up the gash, and he's been running riot ever since; there's reason the Froad hates him.]

Yesterday evening ended with the Froad being given a severe talking-to.
I could hear his outraged wailing from the other room. Ms. Bruin was reading him the riot act for being so horribly unkind to the monkey.

The Froad had earlier been demanding that I should spank the monkey till his bottom burst, then throw him out to die. Which outraged many of the other roomies. They responded by rushing to comfort Eurasmus.

The Froad used to be such a nice fellow. Over the past few years he's developed a streak of meanness, often very eloquently expressed.
It's like living with a small furry green psychopath.

See, other people have children and relatives who take up all their time and eat them out of house and home. Sometimes they need to go talk to the Principal, or bail little Johnny out of jail because he set fire to the cop car. Or they have to move to a new state where no one knows what the twins are capable of yet. Several quivering retirees are still traumatized.
Your aunt made anonymous threats to a Republican politico.
Plus she blackmailed the mayor after balling him.
She's hot; the photos leaked.

Myself and my apartment mate lead calm stable lives instead.
The roomies are a handful, but they're small.
An adult can easily control them.

Oh, and the opposable thumb issue prevents them from being dangerous.
Unlike little Johnny, the twins, and your horrible aunt.
That's why YOU need therapeutic pot.
And prescription Valium.

Our lives are uneventful.

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