Island Life

Vol. 24 - No. 7Bay Area News and Views since 1998 Sunday March 21, 2021

{Formerly Island-Life}

Current Edition - Year 2021


Welcome to the 21st year of this weekly column that's updated fifty-two times a year, on Sunday nights or Monday mornings, depending on how well the booze holds out. If you've got any news, clues or rumors to share from around the Bay, or the world, feel free to send them to Editor@Island-Life.net or use the envelope in the masthead. For previous issues, including 2018, visit the Archives.


The Editor
Denby -
Reporter
Bea -
Artwork
Chad -
Coding
Tammy -
Fotos
Hildegard -
Europe News

SPRING

This image was taken of a new-born fawn a few hours after coming into this world. Mother was nowhere to be seen. It is typical for new deer moms to go search for food and abstract their scent from the area; new fawns have no scent and so cannot be easily detected by predators. Usually the mom will move the fawn from place to place, typically choosing locations that appear "safe", which might include your own front or back porch. Just take it as a gift and leave the critters alone.


NO MATTER WHAT

So anyway.

Last week, the local Non Compos Mentis chapter of the Loud Boyz met with local chapter of the Flat Earth Society at the rented Native Sons of the Golden West parlor down by the marina. Wally finds both groups quite repellent, but anybody can rent the place and these two groups are among the few inane enough that gathering a number of people inside an enclosed space during a Pandemic does not seem something to avoid. Who else are you going to get to pay good money for meeting hall during times like these?

Bernard Stacheldraht and members of the Loud Boyz have been lately been trumping the story that Baby Booby's dog Twaddles has not died, or if so shall rise again to lead the Nation in trimphant Booby-ism. This story is cited as originating from P-Anon, a cult group that has many things to say about the Deep State and the idea that the world is, in fact, not round but flat and cornered by metaphysical stakepost locations in all cities named Springfield.

Everyone brought their semiautomatic weapons, of course, to demonstrate their rights in this here White America, except Bill Dullerd took some flack for bringing an AK-47 which some of the Boyz found to be unpatriotic.

Advance a week or two and we all saw the Counties clawing up out of the purple tier into the Red and then marching steadily to Orange as the COVID cases continued to decline and the ICU's cleared out. Those who were going to die did so and those who did not stepped out of the isolation wards blinking in the bright sunlight of the new Spring, welcomed back by families and friends to a changed world.

Padraic and Dawn threw open the doors to the Old Same Place and opened out the back where Padraic and members of the Household had prepared a socially distancing open-air patio and so it was that just in time for St. Patrick's Day the Old Same Place bar began slinging Gaelic coffees after an entire year of being closed up tight. As per tradition Suzie was made to wear an embarrassing green miniskirt as she hustled back and forth between the bar and the outside tables. There was even a 20 foot long slab of redwood with a brass rail and stools and officially certified lines feeding back to the inside so as to bring the Guinness to outdoor taps and it was like old times again with a cheerful chatter and a clatter from within and from without.

Except Padriac kept going to the front to look up and down the street with an anxious air of expecting someone. The night advanced and the outdoor lights came on and the heat towers created by Mancini warmed the people there as the nights remained chilly with frost even as the days advanced past recent rain storms into sunny skies. Then it was members of the Angry Elf gang appeared. Kring and Narita and the Cackler and others besides - Tarpey and Lyons and Gregory and Humphrey Chimpden Evermore, the four of them and roar of them, and none of them wearing masks as per house rules.

O do tell me all! Tell me, tell me, tell me all.

O I will tell you how it was that night that terrible night. You will die when you hear. When the old Narita farted and then you know.

Yes, yes I know. Go on. Hike up your sleeves and loosen up your talktapes and don't be dabbling.

Alright then. Padraic confronted the awful old crew of reppes, saying "No mask no service!"

"We are not here for service! We are not servants," said the leader of the day, Kring, and O he was sinistrous. And the cut of him! And the strut of him! How he held his head up as high as Tamalpais with a hump of grandeur on him like a walking weasel rat. And it was not revealed all their sinistrous plans until later that eventful evening.

Tarpey yanked on the hem of Suzie's miniskirt, causing it to go askew and some of the drinks on her tray spilled.

"Hey!"

The Cackler did what he does to terrorize people.

The Angry Elf gang is so named because its ringleader, living in the Gold Coast, is diminutive of stature and endowed with a furious temper that expresses itself in large acts of destruction at times. His group practices extortion, blackmail, credit card fraud, and basic strong-arm threats along with selective arson that often features car and dumpster fires.

Padraic demanded the crew leave. And in response, the various members lounged about as if they were waiting for something.

"We are wantin' nay trouble here".

The Cackler laughed his distinctive laugh and all else were silent.

Padraic turned away and was facing the back where the lines came in when Dawn said to him urgently, "He is here again!"

"Och, begorrah!, " Padraic said as he turned.

And there he was. As small as Life standing all of three feet tall in his boots, the Wee man in his tall hat, his green waistcoat, and his buckled shoes and his merry beard.

"We have some troubles here," Padraic said.

"So I see," said the Wee Man. "Here is a drinking establishment and quite a few have no cruiskeen luin before them. And they seem to have forgotten this is a masked ball. Well then!

The Wee man clapped his hands and as the lights blinked out then on, a tall glass appeared before each of the gang members. Along with a golden mask that sat there on the table.

"Since you believe wearing a mask is a matter of personal choice I place one before each one of you to make your decision according to selfishness or to communal safety." Said the Wee Man.

"I aint gonna fall for that and we are glad you fell into our trap. You done embarrassed the Angry Elf in the past and we cannot let these actions go unpunished. Go for it guys!"

Then their trap was revealed. They had come to the bar not to enjoy Life and celebrate the ending of the long quarantine, but to exact revenge.

Tarpey placed what looked like a golden coin on a spot upon the floor.

"Gold!" said the Wee Man and he made a motion to go for this coin.

"No!", said Eugene Gallipagus, who had often been plagued during high school on account of his name. "Let me bring it to you; I think this is a trap!"

And as Eugene roughly shoved the Wee man aside, stepped over to the coin and a trapdoor opened and he fell through, screaming.

Next, Tarpey, Lyons and Gregory attempted to wrestle a substantial iron cage through the front door but were foiled when the Wee Man caused the door entrance to shrink so that the device could not fit through.

Finally, the evil crew revealed iron pokers they had brought underneath their coats and Kring brought out a 1911 style pistol, all of them surrounding the Wee Man.

"Lead bullets do nothing to me," said the Wee Man.

"Iron, the most common thing, slays leprechauns," said Kring. And the Cackler laughed. "These bullets are tipped with iron; the only substance that can kill leprechauns."

"And so you would commit murder here in this place when your master has stated year after year he would try as he might to avoid killing anyone."

"I am not the master," said Kring. "So I can do what I want. And you are not a person; you are a myth, so this is not murder."

"There are people all around us. Your iron bullets can go far and hurt innocent people."

"No one is innocent in my world," said Kring. "I do not care about these people," he said as Eugene screamed from the pit where he had been impaled on iron spikes. "But that is why we first are going to go at you with these iron staves.

Seeing the crew about to move on the Wee Man, Suzie flung herself upon Kring to bring down his pistol as Padraic brought out his shillelagh and started laying about in earnest while Dawn battered Narita with a pan. The pistol discharged into the floor. Lynette and Susan, seeing their favorite LGBTQ watering hole threatened had learned a thing or two since Stonewall and Lynette tased Tarpey while Susan maced the face of Lyons as the Wee Man dived down to crawl amid the scrambling legs of others. The Man from Minot tackled Gregory and the two went down like a ton of bricks. Others took part in the brawl that degenerated into a savage atavistic orgy of violent chair smashing and table jumping until the Wee Man leapt up onto a stool to raise his hands.

The flashing lights of Officer O'Madhauen's cruiser appeared outside as the Wee Man commanded all the members of the evil crew imbibe their beverages before going. Which magically they did and they all filed out the front door and fell down and were all booked on public drunken and disorderly.

"My friends," said the Wee Man. "I have scant time for farewells. May each of you be spending at least an half hour in heaven before the Devil knows you are dead!" And herewith he clapped his hands and the lights went out even as Officers O'Madhauen and Popinjay entered the door.

When the lights came one each and everyone was grasping at their waistbands and some staring down into the space between their belts and their bellies.

"Christ on a bicycle, the sodding pervert had done it again!" Padraic said. "He's turned me knickers into golden threads!"

Suzie ran off to the restroom to change into something she knew from previous years needed to be provisioned.

"Where's the riot?" Officer Popinjay said. "What the hell happened to my boxers?"

That was St. Patrick's day this year.

At the Island-Life Offices things were considerably more grim. As the Editor closed up shop for the night and the night clicked over to the next day of the new Spring he had news over the transom that in these final days of COVID, just as hope arose above the horizon like a teletubby sun, a dear friend had been put on ventilator and was fighting for his life.

It is 1968 all over again and our buddies are dying because of government stupidity and the complicity of idiots.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

 

MARCH 01, 2021

PUT ME ON THAT WIND HE RIDES

This image of a kestrel was taken by a neighbor near Lucas Valley. Because of our duties serving healthcare in this time we do not have time to go out and get images for island-life as we used to. So we are grateful for any submitted photos of the Bay Area.

Leave it to John Hiatt to have the best lines featuring a hawk. Google "Before I Go" and crank up the bass. I like my bass loudy. I mean loud-ee. Louder . . . .

PSA: COVID-19 DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGNS

There is an extraordinary amount of disinformation out there about COVID-19. One fact-checker found over 781 outright lies and myths about this disease and the response to it.

Recently someone posted an anti-vaxxer video that purports to come from the UK asking 25 questions the narrator believes need to be answered. The video is cleverly done and the viewer has no idea the mission is to debunk the validity of vaccination until the end. When I protested that this video was loaded with disinformation and the sort of thing that propels people to abandon their senses and do stupid things, the poster insisted the questions need to be asked although it seemed to me the phrasing of the questions were meant to answer themselves with untruths, starting with the myth that there is no COVID pandemic.

All right everyone has the right to ask any question they want. And informed people have the right to provide reasonable answers. Since I work in healthcare the answers are pretty available. Each question begins with the rhetorical "If there is a pandemic." I have summarized most questions because I am a lousy typist

COVID QUESTIONS

1. IF THERE IS A PANDEMIC why don't we hear ambulance sirens . . .

Because most hospital cases are self-admitted or personally transported and many cases are told to stay home due to overcrowding in the ICUs

2. ... why are all the undertakers saying that business is normal with no uptick . . .

In fact it is not. A person just retrieved ashes of a relative saying the coroners and undertakers are swamped. And this answer also relates to five more questions that make false assumptions about what COVID does. Most people do not die, but that does not mean they get off scott free. Many people suffer long term adverse affects or die much later due to organ damage and sepsis caused by the virus which by then has left the system.

3. .. why don't we see lines of people burying their loved ones?

The answer here also relates to the sparse wedding ceremonies; you do not see a lot of those right now either. COVID distance protocols mandate no crowds. It also is the start of an overemphasis upon the mortality index over the debilitating nature of the disease.

4. ... why do all the statistics state the death rate was within normal parameters last year?

Misleading question. See answer to #2. Also note no statistics are quoted. Also due to quarantine, deaths from other causes, including influenza and car crashes are way down.

5. . . . then why have almost all the normal influenza deaths disappeared.

Another misleading question which actually is answered by the answer to #4. If you use your head you will realize #5 answers #4. Staying indoors away from people and wearing a mask protected people from getting the flu.

6, . . . if the 1st lockdown worked, then why are we doing it again?

Because so many people did not believe COVID exists and that lockdown measures do work and so they actively worked to defeat the basic common sense actions that prevent spread of disease. Don't know about the UK but certainly here the simple act of wearing a mask got shunted from common sense health measure to political stunt. Disliking the lockdown and not believing in its efficacy resulted in political pressure to open up too soon and relax measures. So we got alarming spikes in hospitalizations resulting in new lockdowns. Our testing pavilions went from 4% positivity to 30% average positivity rates per day. Some cohorts, especially teens, spiked to 60% positivity rates. Also note that the numbers occur in stages. We see a spike in positivity rates a couple weeks after super-spreader events and certain holidays, then a week after that higher hospitalization rates, followed after another week before death rates rise. Also note most hospitals file MMI reports on a monthly basis per set schedules.

7. ... if the lockdowns did not work why are we doing it again?

See above. Another self-serving question. They did work.

8. ... why does the government listen only to a small ... group of its own experts and not the .... world-wide bodies . . .

Sounds like a UK-specific issue, but I can say that "the government" here was Trump who derided practically ALL experts in epidemiology and disease control including the WHO and his own Dr. Fauci. The questioner also does not list any factual basis or source for his statements.

9. . . . scenes of pandemonium in hospitals on TV

I dont watch TV. I can say the medical institutions in which I work people work professionally, calmly, and efficiently so as not to disturb patients. This does not mean they are not stressed to the max. And infection control wards are offlimits to TV cameras. ICU areas are secluded for a reason, and these are specialized areas with specialized staff operating highly sensitive equipment. Come barging in there like that asshole in the video busting into a hospital waiting room shouting like a maniac and Code silver will have a dogpile of security guards on top of you.


10. . . . why are there thousands of nurses out of work?

Another unattributed statistic. We are hiring up the wazoo like crazy. Of course you do have to be willing to risk your life every day. Because there is a pandemic. Not all nurses want to subject themselves to a disease.

11. . . . if the pandemic started in 2019, then how did all the governments order COVID 19 test kits the year before.

I have no idea from where this "information" comes. I could find nothing online stating this, although i did not exhaustively comb through "781 myths and outright lies about COVID". No one has reported this to Snopes or any other fact-checking agency.

12. . . . if used and discarded masks could be highly contagious, then why do we see thousands of them littering the streets and countryside?

Because people are stupid, careless, and just "going through the motions" and so toss them on the ground with disdain. Hospital waste is handled by special procedures.

13. . . . . why do rules and regulations differ from city to city and country to country?

Best argument for unified single-payer health care I have seen. Standards vary not only city to city but health district to health district. My agency spans four of them all with different rules for distancing, for openings, for testing, for vaccination and for responses to the multi-tier criticality status and it is driving our corporate leadership bonkers.

14. . . . if COVID19 does not affect children then why are the schools . . .

STOP! JUST STOP! It does affect children. They can be carriers and they can die of it.

15. . . . if masks work then why have we not been using them every year . . .

The masks do work in preventing virus spread. I read a peer-reviewed article in JAMA recently that looked at 90 studies going back to the Civil War. All of them indicated the high efficacy of masks. Why do we not use them? See answer to #12. People prefer complacency over safety.

And to answer in advance a few later questions: At my workplace the situation is as follows: All staff facing patients wear multiple masks, plus plastic face shields, plus gowns, nitrile gloves and booties. The distancing recommendations are 6 feet for momentary contact of no more than two minutes. No eating or drinking inside any building. No more than two people per room. Masks to be worn at all times by everyone, including non-patient facing staff. If you are in a room alone with the door closed and remove your mask, no one allowed in that room for four hours.

16. Why have we not seen people keeling over and dying in the streets?

Silly question. The disease is a progressively wasting one. The question focusses like many of the others on the mortality index instead of the debilitating nature of the sickness.

17. ... if crowds of people are to be avoided, then why are supermarkets that can hold hundreds of people open and the corner shop . . . shut?

Might be a UK think. All businesses in NorCal that remained open had to have body counters restricting the numbers of people who are allowed to enter at any one time. The numbers are figured as a percentage of occupancy. Here again we have rules imposed as a form of compromise of convenience against safety. I personally avoided the markets.

18. Why is the government calling positive PCR tests "cases" and not just "a positive result".

This gets into epedemiology and the multiple stats that are tracked. I assure you that you do not want to read the kinds of detail analyses I read each week, but prefer the summary stat of cases as compared against hospitalizations which is divided itself into ICU and critical care. A positive test indicates a potential carrier and therefore a potential spreader. It is a point in time indicator.

19. Why has the BBC and all reliable outlets failed to tell you that the WHO has published an update (12/20/20) saying that the PCR tests are unreliable and should not be used.

Tricky one. The screen shot implies false positives are the problem with PCR tests (there are several kinds at present), however the Harvard Review says false Negatives are the real issue in the swab tests while the blood test is inconclusive because some people who get COVID do not produce detectable antibodies. The truth is NO test is 100% accurate all the time. We use what we have and we go by the numbers. The test is accurate enough that in the thousands (we have tested over 18,000 people since last April) we have a good idea what is out there.

20. If a cough or sneeze droplet can carry over 30 feet then why are we socially distancing only six feet?

This is the first really good question. But it is answered partly in #15. Because if we really did what we are supposed to do, and by we I mean everybody without exception (including all the Loud Boys), the streets would be empty, there would be no traffic, there would be zero contact and all stores without exception would be closed a far more draconian situation than we are comfortable with. Heck people riot because of the minor inconveniences we do suffer. The 6 foot rule was meant for momentary contact; you are not supposed to sit in lounge chairs for hours with your friends for pete's sake.

21. why are you okay with rubbing poison into your skin 10 times a day?

This is about hand sanitizer. The type we use and endorse contains only denatured alcohol and a supportive gel. There used to be a type, which might still be available in the UK, that contained a Triclor chemical known to cause all kinds of nasty stuff. It was only recently banned.

22. Why do we need an experimental DNA-changing vaccine for a disease with a 99.9% recovery rate?

O Lord. Every phrase is disinformation here.
One: The mRNA meds have been researched for years, and they have always shown great promise to cure a lot of things besides COVID style virus diseases; they have never been implemented because the usual process for vetting via research and then the FDA takes many years
Two: None of the mRNA vaccines alter DNA in your cells
Three: The US FDA has authorized the vaccines to be used as an emergency response against a disease that has killed over 20,000,000 people and debilitated a great many more.
Four: From where does this 99.9% recovery rate statistic come?
Five: What do you mean by "recovery"? Is a subsequent BP reading of 210\119 a recovery?

23. If the vaccine works, then why do you still catch and transmit the disease after you get the vaccine?

This is true for a lot of vaccines. You can be a carrier of the virus but the virus cannot hurt you as badly as if you had not a body response developed by the VAX which disables the virus spike protein from allowing invasion of your cells.

24. If you have had the vaccine then why do you still have to wear a mask and socially distance?

The guy has already answered this question with #23. You can still be a carrier and so you wear a mask to protect other people, not yourself. The idea is to reduce the spread until such time everyone, save for the lunatic anti-vaxxers, is protected.

25. How many people do you personally know who have died from COVID and then compare that to the people you personally know who have vaccine damaged family members.

Three of COVID. Another question that places too much emphasis upon mortality index over debilitating consequences.

0 vaccine damaged family members.

. . . It is much easier to fool someone than to convince someone they have been fooled.

I agree.

. . . Turn off your television.

I agree.


ONE DIME BLUES

So anyway. Mr. Twaddle came up too close behind Mr. Blatt who failed to notice this fact when he backed up in traffic on the Nimitz just as Mr. Twaddle mistook his accelerator for his brake. There was a crunch between the Mercedes and the BMW. The two got out of their cars and started shouting at one another while the long line of people waited at the end of a long day at the end of a long week as a long pandemic was winding down as the two exchanged insults and threats of lawsuits.

Of course neither one wore a mask as the spittle flew through the less than six feet of free air between them. These two were of the sort who imagined mask-wearing to be an insipid assault upon their American Freedoms.

Of course also they stood in one of the free lanes blocking traffic there and in an effort to get around the arguing pair, Ms. Grimoire, a school teacher from Longfellow banged into the side of Tom Depuglia's truck and so now all southbound lanes of the Nimitz were blocked. Because Ms. Grimoire was a schoolteacher she could not afford to maintain her 1976 Volvo in the best of condition, and so something blew under the hood, sending up clouds of steam.

"What on earth happened?" Ms. Grimoire exclaimed.

"Looks like a head gasket I reckon," Mr. Depuglia said. And right then, as his dog, a Labrador-poodle mix, jumped down to depress the accelerator in neutral, sending the tach well into the red, there was a small explosion and something burst through the bonnet of his truck like some creature in a Ridley Scott movie.

"Vot de furk!" said DePuglia.

"You got a Ford and that is what they call a con-rod," said Ms. Grimoire. "I seen that before. I think it is real bad. You oughta get your dog outta there. The engine is still tryin' ta run."

Depuglia was enraged. If not for this old biddy he would be sitting down to watch the CPAC Moments of Truth followed by the cage match between Duran and McGregor with a stack of brewskis. He made the mistake of shoving the sextuangenarian school teacher just as Bear came riding up on his 1949 Panhead, splitting lanes as many people are irritated to see.

Bear has remained unchanged over the years. Despite the elegant Syvia's modest attempts to snip here and tuck there. He wears a leather vest over an oil-stained plain white shirt covering to the best of its ability a paunchy belly, torn levis, and one blue and one red sneaker with opposing colored socks. His beard supports a variety of wildlife that has diminished by liberal application of powdered insecticide by Silvia, a waifish woman with a pale yellow Yellen-bob, clean white dress shirt and modest dark slacks over sensible shoes who puts up with Bear parking his motorcycle in the livingroom for whatever relationship benefits Bear might offer.

These are his physical characteristics as a member of the 1%'ers. Some of you may know what this means in terms of Minority of Choice.

In terms of his moral character and general deportment let us report as follows: He came up and saw a brute abusing an elderly woman and so got off his motorcycle after splitting lanes (as many find irritating to see) and he decked Depuglia with a roundhouse punch that latter proved to have given him an hairline fracture of the mandible. He then assisted Ms. Grimoire into her car, before declaring before the stopped multitude, "What the hell is going on?"

Various people clued him in on what had happened and so his determination was to clear the road and clear the situation. Clearing the road involved grabbing the keys from the various individuals and bringing their cars to the shoulder. Clearing the situation turned out to be more interesting.

Quite a number of large fellows joined Bear in dragging Depuglia, Twaddle and Blatt to a shadowed place under the new overpass to High Street. "Okay, " said Bear. "You three will resolve this among yourselves. No time limit. No fishhooks. No eye-gouging. Go to it!"

The result was bloody, atavistic violence under the overpass, replete with shouting and cheering bandsections, which we shall not deign to illuminate here.

While the damaged vehicles awaited towtrucks on the shoulder, traffic resumed and people in the know cheered as they passed.

Bear arranged for transport of Ms. Grimoire's Volvo and herself to her apartment on the Island and gave her a few tips on secondhand replacements. As always, Bear remained a tarnished gentleman.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

 

FEBRUARY 21, 2021

THE CHICKEN AND THE HAWK

This handsome fellow lives around Fairfax. A lot of people have taken his picture.

SPEAK TO ME, SPEAK TO ME HEART

So anyway. This is the time of my sucky valentine. Live 105 had a weekend of dismal downs regarding the heart. In the time of COVID those that were single as of last March stayed that way with no chances. Those who had been hitched at the time soon drove each other crazy in their Quarantin-o-pods and seperated or else stayed married with hobbies until it was the kids staying home from school that drove them all crazy.

Dodd would have liked to have quarantined away from Mr. Howitzer, who continued to act like Mr. Howitzer, but only worse so. Dodd was ruled an Essential Worker -- by the Greatly Orotund People faction of the Island -- and so had to perform manservant duties at the Superspreader events hosted by Mr. Howitzer in his mansion. Mr. Howitzer did not call his soirees and Unmasked Balls Superspreader events but that is what they became as one after another the hoity toity of the Island contracted the disease. Mrs. Blather lost thirty pounds she definitely could afford to lose, however the deflated skin hung down in flaps, making her look like a creature from a Star Wars movie planet.

Mr. Cribbage hacked and upchucked and cursed the government along with Mr. Burberry, Mr. and Mrs. Pescatore, Ms. Pandora Thighripple, and all the partners of Dewy, Cheathem, and Howe. They had always cursed the government, or the IRS when Conservatives were in power, but never so accompanied with denigrations of liberal conspiracies that involved cooking babies in big vats of boiling blood, and the near certain hope that the prophecies of Q would realize themselves in a grand coup and roundup of all those nasty Liberals cooking this myth about a virus and the need for wearing masks. Even as each and every one filled their toilets with stuff more nasty than Liberal agenda.

"Masie! My bucket behind!" shouted Mr. Blunt.

"Mind if i open the window, Mr. Blunt? It is rather fetid in here," Maisie said. "And it will clear out the viruses."

"There is no virus!" Mr. Blunt shouted as he rolfed and shat, alternatively. "It is a Liberal agenda to take away our rights!"

"Mr. Blunt the Oximeter says your O2 saturation is dropping below 89%. I am going to have to take you over to the hospital to be intubated." Maisie was an experienced RN.

"What in the name of Richard Nixon does that mean?"

"It means you are going to have tubes shoved up your nose and you will be heavily sedated and in addition, you shall not talk so much," Maisie said.

"I say! I say! Q was right! It is all a Liberal Conspiracy! Silence me? Not so much!"

In the meantime, Maisie called for transport of Mr. Blunt, who, although being an asshole, was nevertheless a life under her charge. "Mr. Blunt, you are going now. They are here to take you away."

So anyway some more. Denby imagined he was home free this year from the curse of My Sucky Valentine. All the movie theatres and bars were closed. The Quirkyalones were holding meetings via Zoom. Wierd online cam sites were holding virtual sex sessions between consenting adults -- for a fee, always for a fee -- and there was always the risky bet of San Pablo Avenue where the world's oldest trade continues unabated in the slightest despite this plague. If your life is that desperate and without rules, then your life shall continue so.

So what does Denby do but go out, secure in the assurance that nothing can happen. He gathers his fishing gear and goes out to Bon Tempe lake to fish for bass, having secured a supply of bloodworms. Unfortunately, this is still a time of drought and the lake is far receded with no flowing inlets. The shores are swampy and many areas choked with algae. Not much action was happening close to shore and all the intakes were near dry.

Denby waded out and his Wellies got stuck in what turned out to be quicksand. Quicksand is one of those problems that does not let go of you easily, and you do not come out of that situation bright and sparkling. After some hours Denby dragged himself on shore without his pants or his boots but he did manage to retain his fly rod. For a while he lay gasping on the mucky shore before getting up to stumble back to the parkinglot without his pants or shoes. Another Valentines Day demolished into smithereens.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the Bay Area folks were celebrating Valentine's Day with various degrees of frustration and contentment. On a park bench a disconsolate, naked, fat boy with drooping wings sat with his martial weapons as Melisandre, Marin's one and only live unicorn tried to console him with nuzzles. What was Eros supposed to DO with this quarantine lockdown business? All the Quirkyalones were jubilating in their solitude and their zoom chats. There remained only the large numbers of the Maskless and the Witless who were as deserving of Love as a collection of hyenas on the savannah chasing the ephemeral flag of Q-Anon outside the gates of Dante's Dis.

In the Hospital where Denby worked, there was a corridor with rooms and doorways off to the left. To the right the big meeting rooms yawned in their COVID abandonment. Out of the doorway of one room a blue light spilled, flickering and shimmering with an ultraviolet hum. As Denby passed he would look in to see nurse Maria sitting there with her dog and all the lights turned off, her face illuminated by the computer screen. A little further down a reddish light coated the hall with warmth. There sat Shavia with her dreadlocks and her brown eyes. Turn a corner and a white glow emerged from a room where Amanda sat in silence, no lamp causing this strange effect but simply the purity of the heart of a nurse.

This, thought the Editor as he drew the curtain, is the real fount of Love.

"Look mommy! That man has no pants!" said a child in the parkinglot of Bon Tempe Lake.

A park ranger collared Denby. "Nice hat," said the ranger. "Come along now." Love would have nothing to do with the likes of Denby on this day.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

JANUARY 31, 2021

TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT

The Grand Lake Theater, designed as a single auditorium theater by Architects Reid Brothers for local businessmen Abraham C. Karski and Louis Kaliski, held its grand opening on March 6, 1926. On August 1, 1929, Abraham C. Karski and Louis Kaliski leased the theater to West Coast Theatres, Inc. for a period of 94 years, 4 months until November 30, 2023. The sign mounted on top of the Grand Lake Theatre is the largest rotary contact sign west of the Mississippi River. It measures 52 feet (15.85m) high by 72 feet (21.95m) wide and consists of 2,800 colored bulbs and was designed by Theodore Wetteland and furnished by Brumfield Electric Sign Co., Inc.

Renaissance Rialto, Inc. in 1980, purchased the theatre after nearly 9 decades of ownership by descendants of the original owners. Renaissance Rialto is owned by Island resident Allen Michaan.


Current owner Michaan is known to use his liberal politics as a guide in managing the Grand Lake. In 2004, he publicly announced that the theater would not enforce the R rating of the political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11. The Grand Lake has also received widespread recognition for Michaan's use of the marquee as a political message board. In outrage at the 2000 presidential election, he posted this message on the high-traffic side of the marquee: "This Is America — Every Vote Should Be Counted" Since then, and with much support from the local community, Michaan has regularly used one side of the theater's marquee to display a timely political message.

The theatre is one of three Grand Dame 1920's theatres in Oakland worth visiting (post COVID) simply to ogle the fantastic interiors, the others being the Fox and the Paramount, both fairly recently (by virtue of their age) restored to extraordinary glory.

COLD FEELINGS

So anyway. The pogonip came in to sock the Bay Area with dense fogbanks to announce the change in seasons, but then we got an atmospheric river pouring in and a few thunderstorms to accompany this event.

The Island Council Officially voted voted 4-1 with Councilman Tony Daysog dissenting to rename the former Jackson Park to Chochenyo Park after the language spoken by the island's original inhabitants, the Ohlone tribe. The language is being revived by surviving members of the tribe.

There has been a lot of this statue removal and renaming going on around the country, starting a good while back after the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others by law enforcement.

Located at 2430 Encinal Ave., the park was initially named Alameda Park by English immigrant Alfred A. Cohen, who developed part of the tract into the Alameda Park Hotel and the Alameda Park housing subdivision. The hotel's garden area was later transformed into the city's first public park. It was renamed after the seventh U.S. president in 1909.

The former Jackson Park was one of four in Alameda named after U.S. presidents, with others named for George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and WIlliam McKinley. Jackson was president from 1829 to 1837 and owned about 300 slaves, according to the city report.

He also signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act, which caused the killing and forced relocation of Native Americans, commonly termed "the Trail of Tears". City leaders said they want to disassociate from the name and build relations with the Lisjan people.

The State orders for lockdown eased for some areas on the 4th of January and so folks have been thronging like mad idiots to the outdoor eateries which have opened up despite the Bay Area remaining in the Purple level for risk. Marin County opened some gyms for limited use as did the Island.

People should be heartened to know that Good Vibrations in Oakland has remained open all the while as it is deemed an Essential Business. It has boarded up windows on account of protest realities and its location in the heart of Oaktown, but it is certainly open for ... uh ... business. Gotta love them sex-positive people. We give them some serious props.

Around the corner in the same district the LGBTQ Community Center is expanding it clinical offerings to the community with a medical clinic focussed initially upon STD testing, but soon to include full clinical services in the building that features the T-mobile store.

On the Island Ms. Sanchez continues to offer zoomed teaching on Emily Dickenson, but has been laboring night and day for vaccinations for herself and her students at Longfellow. The Depuglia Brothers have managed some kind of essential business designation and so they have continued to sow discord and disarray everywhere they go as they bolt and weld with great incompetence at all sites that will later have to rip out their monkeyshines.

Mancini has returned to Veriflo because in Richmond, a factory town, all factory work is essential. What is essential and what is not certainly varies from place to place and without up to recently any federal guidelines every single individual place had the right to enforce its own rules.At times it seems whimsy is the determiner.

Meanwhile the rest of us hunker down in our isolation pods, reading all the books we had put off for years and seeing all the movies on Netflix while trying to keep the children from going feral.

Far off in Washington DC is just now trying to repair some of the damage wrote by a deviant baba lacking all qualities save self-absorption.

Leaden skies yield to darkness and the screams of children kept inside too long yield to the howls and yips of the coyotes. The Editor strolls down the aisles, which have been sparsely populated of late, to his glass cube, where he sits before the pool of light cast by the desklamp. He has had the first injection for the Moderna Vax, and was scheduled for the second next week. One of these days soon we shall get back to something like normal..Yes we will.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

 

JANUARY 17, 2021

INTO THE MYSTIC

This Chagall-like image taken by a Nextdoor neighbor of a recent sunset.

ONE, IN THE NAME OF LOVE

So anyway. Years ago, nearly half a lifetime, Eric sat down beneath the bleachers of the Jefferson High School basketbal court to introduce to Denby two competing ideologies that dealt with the most critical problem set in America. On the one hand you had MLK's idea of an all-accepting society to be arrived at via the process of Love and non-violent insistence on what what right.

On the other hand you had the idea that the White race was the Devil. All change must necessarily include violence and that the way to resolve the inhumane relationship of the Master and Slave was for the slave to shoot the master, for then in the place of a Master and a Slave you would then have one free man.

Denby said why are you telling me this? Why did you pick me?

I picked you at random, Eric said, fifty years ago. Because if one single White man can be redeemed, then that would mean there is a chance for all the rest, that there is hope for the entire race.

The years have passed in a white blur. The ideas of Franz Fanon only now are being considered best practice in psychiatry while his other, more political ideas remain simmering on backburners in black belt basements and cinderblock tenements.

Eric, like many of Denby's early associates, was murdered in Washington DC while Denby was travelling abroad. Now Denby walks the sandy beaches on the western edge of the Country, entirely alone, while his Country goes through a period of several crises featuring health and deep self-evaluation. Many of Denby's former lovers, friends, family are now dead and he walks now as the seasons change with the annual onset of the Pogonip steaming up from the sands to face the West, his back to his Country.

He works each day to help people trying to ameliorate the consequences of 400 years of systemic racism and can only hope the next generations will do something better. He knows he cannot single-handedly eradicate the poison of racism, but he does what he can to reverse the effects. There will always be racists, but there can also be law to govern what they do. And as one kind of Evil departs, the nation and the world waits to see what will become of this experiment in government begun a few hundred years ago.

What next, America? What next?

No more words tonight.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

 

JANUARY 10, 2021

NEW YEAR

This is the church that sits on the edge of Nicasio.

CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY

So anyway, wow. Wow! What an introduction to the new year we had. Hard on the heels of the Russian attacks via Solarwinds and the attacks on healthcare facilities, we had our own local attack that shut down access to our retired EHR systems for the East Bay CHCN heathcare consortium.

Then. Then an insurrection happens in the Nation's Capitol leaving dozens wounded, several dead and our Democracy in question around the world.

It is difficult to devise fiction, or even parody that can compete with events like these.

Nevertheless the old year spun down and collapsed in an exhausted heap as healthcare workers battled a terrible pandemic disease amid a great deal of indifference and ignorance and mis-information and the remains of our government struggled to keep itself afloat amid an ocean of lies and Consensus Reality, which operates by the supposition that if you continue to repeat the same lie over and over again, enough people will come to believe it to make it a defacto
Truth. Such was the case with the elections and such has been the case with issues surrounding ourselves.

Time and the Historians will tell what to make of this fiasco, this insult to America created by the projectile vomit of a defeated bully and his hideous allies. Time wlll tell what to make of the end of this Pandemic.

As per Tradition Father Danyluk invited Pastor Nyquist over to the Catholic rectory to discuss matters of theology, social ills, troubles keeping the Flock in order, and to see in the new year while sitting in plush chairs before a roaring fireplace.

They talked about the current and past Popes and various differences, but in the end clinked their glasses together to mark the hidden unity of those who believe certain things in common. The rest is just baroque filligreee. Crosses with adornments and colorful pictorials or not.

In the rectory of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint, Sister Perspicacious came into the room where the fire was become embers and laid blankets upon the snoozing forms of Pastor Nyquist and Father Danyluk, as in years past and so turned out the light as the old year fled into the shadows as the New Year ticked steadily towards the long distant dawn and the two old friends, supposed ideological enemies, snoring within a few feet of one another.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

 

December 27, 2020

STARRY STARRY NIGHT

The conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter is seen over Sausalito.

JUST A CHANCE FOR BETTER DAYS

It has been quite a year on the Island, my hometown set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.

The bicycle people had only just begun to enjoy their triumphs in lane re-routing, painting of dedicated lanes, installation of concrete berms when the big COVID hit the entire World, extending its fingers even into insular places like the Island.

Fires raged across the Golden State, which affected many of us here who owned farmstead property going back hundreds of years or who had family that had retired to the foothills of the Sierra. All of us knew friends whose homes were consumed as entire towns were laid waste.

Then came the disease. Pooh-poohed by some because this pandemic was politically and socially inconvenient, the pandemic swelled around the world from its first observation in the US in December of 2019, with the federal government slow to respond until March to acknowledge there was a problem.

Then, on May 25th, while the nation was dealing with local lockdowns due to the pandemic, a young man named George Floyd was brutally murdered while under police custody in Minneapolis, igniting a nationwide rage of protest. Black Lives Matter became a phrase common even here in our Bay Area Bubble.

While the Nation mourned and locked down, to greater and lesser degree depending on the reddishness of the State, and protest raged the Island held its own special course.

The largest impact upon daily Island-Life was the Pandemic. COVID19 quickly divided an easily divided people into two camps: the Maskers and the Anti-maskers.

Mr. Howitzer belonged to the Anti-masker group, formed by an allegiance to the White House Baby Boobie who naysayed and derided masks and the significance of the disease. Some time in June he held a Spring Fling party during which poor Dodd was the only person present who wore a mask and gloves. Dodd had no illusions about the virus and what it could do. Mr. Howitzer invited the usual financial Elites and even included a few rock-ribbed Republicans, most of whom had stepped back from supporting the GOP in view of the bad behavior and foul language erupting daily from the White House. While the Neocons shook bare hands, embraced one another and kissed one another's cheeks all night, Dodd remained behind the hosted wet bar and disappeared towards the end of the affair to emerge for cleanup once the majority of the guests had left around midnight.

Of course during the event Dodd was briefly talked about. Talking about people who are not in a position to defend themselves is a trademark of NeoCons.

"I see the manservant is wearing the Liberal Flag over there," said Mr. Tuckus of Tuckus, Dithering and Quibble, esq.

"Drank the kool-aid, yes," drawled Val Locust.

"I hear the disease is not much worse than the flu. My nephew Barnaby got it and was right as rain after a week of headaches and sniffles."

"Clearly a leftist conspiracy to increase the power of the government over individual rights. Damned Socialists!"

Two weeks after the party fully two-thirds of the guests had come down with COVID19. For a few individuals it was indeed like the flu. For the rest . . . it was not. First the diarrhea. Then the eyes inflamed like burning coals. O2 counts dipped below 89 which is worse than experienced by a mountaineer ascending Everest. The Blathers got put on respirators. Massive amounts of steroids were administered to the entire law firm of Tuckus, Dithering and Quibble. Blood clots in Mr. Stanchion led to DVT requiring Xarelto and in Mr. Tankk, Warfarin. Yes, that stuff which is also used to kill rodents. As the symptoms wore off, leaving quite a few people dozens of pounds lighter, the aftereffects began. Blood pressure readings of 201/119. Toes turned purple. Blood tests indicated liver, spleen, kidney and lung permanent damage from the sepsis caused by the virus.

Then, weeks later, the teeth started falling out of people's heads - COVID attacks the fine capillaries systems that nourish the maxillary regions. Mrs. Cribbage had to have an entire set of dentures made for her at age 42.

As for the Hoi Polloi, Marlene and Andre's Household was not exempted from the ravages of the Pandemic. Packed in to confined spaces in the old rehabilitated farmhouse, the disease quickly raged through the inhabitants much like it does in the poorer communities where people have no place to practice social distancing. Not when six people are sleeping per room. Mancini, Pahrump and Denby built the first quarantine shack for the first victim, Jesus. Martini quickly had one built for himself while still healthy, and then followed one after another shacks for Suan, then Tipitina, then, in May Denby himself, each shack becoming a little more rickety as the Household lost person-power to build them.

Pahrump built himself a dugout lodge of pine and redwood boughs, figuring the old ways were the best and he bathed in the dwindling waters of San Geronimo Creek.

Spring revolved through a very hot summer into the hottest autumn in memory.

On the Island Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez held their self-quarantine up in the 2nd floor apartment on Central Avenue across from the Mastic Center. Mr. Sanchez built a small office to work from home and made another for Mrs. Sanchez so she could continue to give instruction to her Longfellow students remotely. The one benefit here is that this situation allowed the new parents to care for their newborn infant without concern for daycare issues.

Others who have survived the Angry Elf Mafia attacks have bunkered down in their respective abodes, Zooming and Chatting like mad whenever possible and relying on the new system of take-out for diversion.

Some businesses have become quite innovative. Many of you might have enjoyed the Zoom Pizza Webinar, in which the main Zoomer arranges for pizza\sandwiches\Mediterranean food to be delivered during the Webinar. Borg Rubbitsom tried this on behalf of his business A Touch of Wonder, but somehow massage webinars did not go over so well as other subjects. "Now breath deeply with your eyes closed and imagine Brunhilde's fingers pressing . . . here . . . ".

The self-quarantine situation works better for some than for others. The Quirkyalone club has been going gangbusters since self-isolation has been enforced. If you think about it, Zoom and Webchat are the best venues for people who do not want to engage in any risk of icky exchange of bodily fluids. It is all about flirting with no sex ever involved. Just like Freshman college.

Others who are more driven need more direct outlets. Mr. Burby, solid East Ender and eminent Rotarian, found himself at 62, divorced and devoid of prospects in the era of COVID where Huggin' and Kissin' is Prohibited.

So Mr. Burby researched the available options and landed upon one solution that seemed to resolve all of his problems.

On a cold day in December the UPS man dropped off a long box that Mr. Burby quickly brought into the house via the garage. With the shades drawn and inquisitive neighbors rendered dormant, Mr. Burby unpacked what was to be his future wife: Elise, the Realdoll.

The camera pulls back from this scene to reveal the Editor reviewing the detritus of the year's end at his desk with the little lamp sending out such light and warmth as it could.

The train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary to echo off of the embankments of the Island and then ricochet its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slide over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railheads that once led along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the coast, stirring the coyotes who began to howl their evensong which carried forth on the winds over Fairfax and White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridge-tops through the drifts of fog and dripping redwoods to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is around the Bay. Have a great week.

 

 

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