February 2015

Fine Ingredients

I’m a farmers’ market maven and hit three of San Francisco’s every week throughout the year and four when the Castro Farmers’ Market is not in its winter hiatus.  So i know what’s in season and, because i have relationships with a number of vendors going back over twenty years, i know where the best of everything can be found.

So i always have fine ingredients at hand when it’s time to prepare a dish.  I just do a quick inventory and make something with what i’ve got.  And yes, sometimes i have to make a quick run for an additional ingredient, but quite frequently i can assemble a tasty dish with nothing but what i already have.

Like yesterday when i spotted that pound of two-inch Yukon Golds i’d bought last week and realized that what i wanted to eat for lunch was my crowd-pleasing lower carbohydrate potato salad.  And no, that is not an oxymoron.

To drive the carbohydrate count down and still be able to feast on potatoes, all you have to do is make a potato salad that incorporates as much boiled egg as potato – a rich dish high in protein that contains enough potato to satisfy your craving but doesn’t skyrocket your blood sugar, an ideal recipe.

Too, i always use a lot of chopped red onion, which has a much lower glycemic index than those damn delicious potatoes and also makes the salad taste better.

So i cut the potatoes into quarters, and while i was boiling them, boiled and shelled ten eggs.

And then the devil led me into my refrigerator and pointed out that leek i’d spotted last week at the Herrs stand and had found so perfect that i had to buy it and then somehow found no use for as it lay dying in my refrigerator’s vegetable drawer.  Cut a thin disk off it for a sample, and yes, it was quite tasty raw and would make a perfect alternative to the red onion. so i sliced the whole thing up and threw it in the salad with the potato quarters and the quartered eggs.

Added the usual suspects – some chopped up sweet pickle and dill pickle, some caper mayonnaise and plain, very thick Greek style yogurt – and i had enough delicious potato salad for a week.  Yum.

Scooped out immediately a generous portion for my lunch and started savoring it.  Alas, the operant word there is “started”.  Something was wrong.

Yes, that thin disk of raw leek i’d sampled was tasty, but i can now strongly recommend against making a potato salad that is one-third raw leek.  While a very small amount of it very thinly sliced would be, i still believe, an excellent addition to the usual chopped red onion, it should not be substituted for the onion, and for that matter, even though i like lots of onion in my potato salad, one comprised of one third potato, one third boiled egg, and one third raw leek is way, way too heavy on the leek.

And now that i think about it, as much as i like red onion, i’ve never made a potato salad that was one third onion.

Folks in the health industry say you’re supposed to eat slowly, and i’ll be making ’em happy with that potato salad since picking out 90% of the leek rings slows me down considerably.

Meanwhile, a Deco delight on Market at Laguna.

Market at Laguna



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Oh yes, we’ve all been reading a good deal recently about the machinations of HSBC, the bank that makes all the other banks look, if not benign, certainly less loathsome.  Infamous for its money-laundering activities, it’s also been in the news lately for foreign currency manipulations, precious metal price rigging, and its superlative efforts in helping its clients hide their money from those pesky tax authorities.

More recently the big news has been the disclosure that it’s CEO enjoys a 7.7 million dollar Swiss bank account into which he funneled money using a Panamanian shell company in order, he claims, only to prevent his colleagues from learning the size of his embarrassing bonuses.  Ummm yes.

But all that’s just the introduction to this post.  Last week the estimable blog SAR posted a link to a repost by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge of an article by Submitted by the Drug Trafficking & Narco-Terrorism Department of GreatGameIndia under the title “HSBC Bank : Secret Origins To 26/11 Mumbai Attacks“.

Well yes, so of course i clicked.  And discovered that that title was just a teaser from the introduction to the article, the central thesis of which is that:

For years, when banks have been caught laundering drug money, they have claimed that they did not know, that they were but victims of sneaky drug dealers and a few corrupt employees. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that a considerable portion of the global banking system is explicitly dedicated to handling the enormous volume of cash produced daily by dope traffickers.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “demand” from the world’s population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade.

This long article at least partially substantiates those charges by providing the historical background all the way from the British initiation of the opium trade in China through to contemporary drug skulduggery.

Does it contain unsubstantiated allegations?  Yes, lots.  But much of the historical record it details is well documented elsewhere, and the contemporary allegations sure do fit in nicely and have an odor of plausibility.

I found the article fascinating reading, so here’s the link again.

One editorial note:  The article is Indian, so it uses the term “crore”, one of the numbers in the traditional Indian numbering system for which there is no English word.  A crore is “ten million”.

Oh, and when you’ve finished that article, you might want to take a look at some of the other material on GreatGameIndia.  Interesting site.

Meanwhile, since i don’t have an appropriate pic, here’s some South of Market construction:

South of Market construction

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Hat Trick

The only sport i follow avidly is tennis, but that doesn’t stop me from browsing around in the sports page every day, and in the past year or so i’ve kept coming across the phrase “hat trick”, always in the context of an athlete having performed extraordinarily well.

But still, i couldn’t really tell what it actually meant, so i Googled and instantly had the answer:  a hat trick is “when a bowler dismisses three batsmen with consecutive deliveries.”   Of course.  Shoulda figured it out for myself.  The third dismissed batsman must give his hat to the bowler, who then sticks it in his wicket.

Meanwhile, art of a different sort, the installation in front of the Nemo building at 10th and Market by Topher Delaney.

Topher Delaney's "Welcome to the Promised Land"

Topher Delaney's "Welcome to the Promised Land"

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Barry’s Replacement

Ever since Barry died on me, i’ve been in the market for a replacement homeless person.

Not that Barry’s easy to replace.  I mean, i do have my standards, and his replacement can’t be foaming-at-the-mouth crazy, dead drunk, oscillating on meth, etc.  Which, alas, rules out quite a few of the homeless although i do not mean to suggest that the others don’t deserve compassion but rather that charity works better for me if i can actually have a conversation with the recipient.

Not that Edward Smith wouldn’t be a suitable replacement for Barry, especially since for many years i’ve been buying the Street Sheet from Edward at his post in front of the Walgreens on Divisadero off 24th Street.  But see, i can’t really write about Edward now since he just made the front page of the Noe Valley Voice, and damn them for scooping me.

Fortunately, there are plenty of articulate street people to choose from in San Francisco, and i’ve been interviewing neighborhood candidates since i moved to my new home.

And i’ve come up with Daniel.  Been talking to him regularly since he fairly often hangs out at the corner of Laguna and Market, and i see him often enough that i now recognize his cart.

Last Saturday i was whizzing up Market home from the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, and out of the corner of my eye saw a hand waving as i passed a homeless pile in a doorway a block north of my corner.  The hand triggered a recognition that it was Daniel’s stuff, so i took the first sidewalk cut and rolled back down.

He was huddled between his cart and the building obviously ill and asking for water.  So i rolled over to Nick’s grocery down the street and got him bottles of water and Gatorade.  Talked to him and realized just how very sick he was, so i told him that with his permission i’d go home and see if i could track down some kind of medical help for him.  He was so sick that he agreed.

Well, it took a while since it’s not easy to track down stuff in the tangled web of the bureaucracy, but after Googling around and visiting some sites and calling various numbers i finally got ahold of some nice people at the SF Homeless Outreach Team  through a number (415-734-4233) not listed on their website that goes directly to a real person who can help by dispatching a medical team.

They did.

And three days later, Daniel was back on the street with the good news that they had not only fixed the medical problem, which turned out to be not as serious as it had looked, but also helped him get on a waiting list for some housing.  I later learned that the above number is not manned 24/7 and that an alternative in case of medical emergency is to call either the SFPD non-emergency number (415-553-0123) or simply 311.

I saw him this morning and asked if i could write about him, and he responded, “Hell, you can exploit me and pimp me out!”  I explained that neither of those appealed to me, since pimping folks out had never been one of my pleasures and my days of exploiting men, women, and beasts were in the distant past.

But here’s a photo.


Oh, i just gave him those beads that had been tossed at me last night by some Mardi Gras revelers.


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Hay Girl

Today i’ll remind my readers that this website is not just the blog alone and that if you don’t see a new blog entry for several days, this may well mean that i’ve been entering new material elsewhere.  Like the new entry (as of today incomplete) on Amsterdam’s Bridges in the Bridges menu, new recipes, and updates to the current reading list and to the links.

Several years ago i wrote a little piece about the names of motor vehicles, many of which i find ludicrous.  But the other day i spotted one that tops ’em all.  Juke, a CUV put out by Nissan.  Ummm, did nobody at Nissan ever listen to Frank Zappa’s Do You Like My New Car?

And since i’m doing trivia today, i wish i could say, to paraphrase Sir William Gilbert, “I am the very model of a modern minor journalist.”  Alas, i can’t imagine anyone modeling himself on me.

Meanwhile, a bit of SoMa humor.

Hay Girl




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Net Neutrality

I’m a big fan of net neutrality and have been bombarding the FCC and my congresscritters with solicitations not to give in to Verizon, Comcast, et al. and to reclassify Internet access service as a Title II, telecommunications service in order to prevent providers from degrading access speeds to certain sources and even denying access to others.

As can be expected, since there’s so much money to be made in controlling user access, a great deal of propaganda is out there.  Like this lovely Comcast site explaining how they’re all for net neutrality when in truth they have fought it tooth and nail.  Or better yet, this slick and equally mendacious hit piece from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association explaining how the “burdensome regulation and onerous red tape” involved in Title II reclassification will run your bills up when what they’re really concerned about is it running their profits down.  If you want something a bit more balanced, here’s the Wikipepia article.

I’m so passionate about this that i decided i’d stick the following widget onto this page.

<script type="text/javascript">var _cd_options = { animation: 'ad' };</script>
<div><script src="https://fightforthefuture.github.io/countdown-widget/widget.min.js"></script></div>

Well, they said to just stick it wherever you wanted this thing


to appear as a link with the countdown clock running, but obviously it’s not working for WordPress neophytes.

At least i can still stick pics into these posts, like this street art.

Holding It Down

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The Archbishop’s Campaign Against Grave Evil

Archbishop Cordileone is the wise and revered leader of the Roman Catholics in the archdiocese of San Francisco, which comprises San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties and according to its website incorporates some 400,000 Catholic souls; but he wants more power and has tipped his hand in a recent letter to the staff at four Catholic high schools in the archdiocese explaining that a new faculty handbook will state that “all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil and that these include adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations”.  Furthermore, teachers are expected to “refrain from public support of any cause or issue that is explicitly or implicitly contrary to that which the Catholic Church holds to be true”.

Ummm, yes, but not a problem, you say since the Catholic Church is free to state church doctrine for all Catholics, no matter how ludicrous.  And folks, you can’t get any more ludicrous than a ban on masturbation, the most universal human pastime.  As a woman who was one of Kinsey’s interviewees famously said, “I invented it and if i could have patented it, i’d have made a million dollars.”

Ahhh, but wait.  There’s a problem after all – 18% of the teachers are not Catholic, and worse yet, Cordileone has proposed adding to the next contract a clause stating that all school staff are “ministers of the church” who “are bound to conduct all of their activities” without contradicting the church, “regardless of individual job description, subject matter taught or personal doubt or assent.”

So what His Grace really wants to do is force everyone to abide by the rules of the Roman Catholic Church, and he’s starting with the non-Catholic employees of those schools since he has leverage over them.

Not, of course, that this desire is unique to the Roman Catholics.  In fact, it’s a feature of almost all religions since they want to enforce compliance with their doctrine by all citizens, not just the members of the faith.

Which is why i revere the founding fathers of this country, who wisely added the first amendment to our constitution expressly forbidding the establishment of any religion.  They knew enough history to understand what happens when any religion has the power to make laws applying to everyone.

Look at every theocracy today.  Wherever Islam has the power, it enforces Sharia law in the most brutal manner just as when Christianity had the power, it happily burned heretics at the stake.  I see no real difference.

His Grace has a long history of attempting to force Roman Catholic doctrine on all of us.  My great joy is that his efforts have come to no avail.  Well, other than a temporary victory over the gays with Prop 8 and that thankfully reversed by the courts.

I look forward to seeing the results of his campaign against masturbation.  I mean, his wars on adultery, contraception, pornography, and homosexuality are going so well that it’s nearly Mission Accomplished in the extirpation of those grave evils, so it’s time to open a new front.

I have it on good authority that Vatican scientists have invented a new device that can detect whether anyone has had an orgasm in the past week.  When the Morality Police have been fully funded and are conducting random testing in our streets, any citizen who comes up with a positive test and cannot produce a certificate of marriage with one person of the opposite sex will be burned at the stake.

A side effect will be an exponential increase in marriages.

And speaking of new fronts, how ’bout  Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn‘s newest piece, “And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea (Caruso’s Dream),” at 59 9th St. in San Francisco.

"Caruso's Dream"

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I hadn’t looked at the Analytics for this website in a couple of months, so curiosity overwhelmed me.

Well, yes, i remain an acquired taste of the San Francisco Bay Area although my hit count continues its achingly slow rise.  Still, there were some surprises.  While the overwhelming majority of my hits are from California and most of those are from San Francisco, my second largest number of hits by country is from Brazil.  What the hell am i writing about that so interests Brazilians, i wondered?  Oh wait.  Of course!  Glenn Greenwald has discovered me and keeps coming back for more, more.  Ummm, then i noticed that my Brazilian bounce rate is 100%, so it’s clearly not Glenn since he’d never bounce on me.  Sigh.

And then i looked more closely and saw that while i’d got hits from 31 countries, the only ones in which i do not enjoy a 100% bounce rate are the United States, Canada, Russia (thanks, tovarich), France, Thailand, and Sudan. Sudan?

I used to have a number of readers in the Netherlands, the UK, and Germany, but clearly i’ve bored them all away.  Or annoyed the Brits away with my jocular little riff on Scottish independence. Double sigh.

No problem with the Dutch, as i can again have a bunch of readers there as soon as i get around to my planned photo essay, “The Bridges of Amsterdam”.  Look for it soon in the Bridges menu.  And i can get some German readers after i start writing about setting up a San Francisco chapter of Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des AbendlandesCrawl that, Google.de!

No appropriate pic today, so here’s a cozy second story apartment at Robert Rue Vineyard.  No view.

Robert Rue Vineyard

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John Boehner’s in the news again, this time for inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress in an end run around President Obama.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

But since i was thinking about Boehner, it struck me that i don’t know how to pronounce his name.   Well, his last name.  I don’t watch television or listen to the radio, so my news all comes via the print media and online, which means i don’t know how to pronounce the names of many public figures, even those less daunting than Netanyahu.

So i started speculating, does the first syllable of Boehner sound like “burn” as if the name were pronounced as German?  Or “boon” as if it were Dutch?  Or “bean” or “bone” as if it were some corruption of one of those?

So i did some digging and found that all my guesses were wrong and he says that syllable as “bay”.  So that settles that, and my mind is now at ease.

Well, except that the horrible thought just struck me that, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, he’s only two heartbeats from the Presidency.  I was about to suggest that folks pray for Obama’s health but then realized that the parts of the country that include the highest percentage of people who pray are the same parts that are the most rabidly racist, which should sure tell us something about something.

Had to go digging around to find an appropriate pic, but then hit this one.  Maybe i’ve been reading too much post-apocalyptic fiction.

Warden's house on Alcatraz


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