Island Life

Vol. 21 - No. 1Bay Area News and Views since 1998 Sunday January 6, 2019

Current Edition - Year 2019

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 or use the envelope in the masthead. For previous issues, including 2018, visit the Archives.

The Editor
Denby -
Bea -
Chad -
Tammy -
Hildegard -
Europe News

JANUARY 6, 2019


The rains have returned to the Golden State, as some people have noticed. Howard reported two feet of powder at Mammoth from the more recent storm and more on the way.

This shot is of the bridgeway to the Ross Valley Fire Department in San Anselmo. During the summer months this creek runs about six inches deep at the most and there is over 12-15 feet of clearance from the bottom to the top of the banks there.


Well it has been twenty years since we began this minor enterprise. Over twenty years of Island Life issues written each week, 52 issues a year, each issue containing concert reviews, perusals of the newspapers of the world, multimedia wretchedness, reportage on fires, rental crisis, halloween decorations, local politics, disastrous web design featuring hideously bad floating radios, and Poodleshoot satires.

Probably if any of us had figured out how to do this thing properly, we would have retired long ago, but, no, we are still figuring things out. Each issue, retained, is a micro-slice of What is Going On around here, and so when we look back, we see we have a bit of Bay Area history preserved. As well as some national items. The search for Weapons of Mass Doo Doo, in the form of Poodle excrement in Newark, seems pointed and relevant in terms of the collection of political lies which have cost all of us so much in real life.

Our motto comes from the plaque that still adorns the Berlin synagogue that was located in former East Berlin: "Never Forget."

As we march with sadly sure and inevitable steps towards another totalitarianism of peculularly American flavor, hearing talk of imposed State of Emergency actions that we have seen enacted in so many totalitarian states in the past, it remains up to some of us to preserve some memory of when things were fresh and green and full of hope and Democracy was not a foolish word stretched this way and that by those who insist the nation is a Republic and NOTHING ELSE.

We should have retired our tired old bones long ago, but now in this dangerous age it seems to us to be all that more important to carry on the momentum of dissent, of real freedom concepts, of true non-slavish patriotism and a love of Country not bound to ideology like staves around the handle of an ax.

The Editor attended a holiday party where editors of the National Lampoon and Harvard Magazine were there talking about their collaboration called American Bystander, an illustrated magazine devoid of advertising. It is a challenging work and worthy of checking out. When we see such things in production, we have some hope for the generations to come that will inherit the products of our misguided dementias, such as that clown with the comb-over now infesting the White House with his twittering.

There may be hope for the American experiment yet.


So anyway, Pastor Nyquist dropped in on Father Danyluk as part of what has become an interdenominational tradition for NYE. Several years ago the two had struck up aquaintance during their respective sermon walks, for the Father had been in the habit of strolling the block clockwise, starting from the door of the rectory, and in so doing cogitate the themes to be discussed on the next Sermon. The Pastor of the Lutheran church had taken, as was his nature, to walking from his door kitty corner the Catholic rectory, anticlockwise and so the two were bound to meet at least once a week for at least a few moments.

It was in that year of torrential rains in which the umbrellas of both men of the cloth had failed and they had taken refuge together underneath the bustop overhang that the two had developed their deep friendship.

The two gentlemen of the Cloth sat and sipped brandy culled from the extensive Catholic cellars while discussing, politely, issues of transubstantiation, divinity, saints and sainthood, whether the clippings gathered by the barber of Christ should be sanctified, if found, and other things all groovy and important to men of spiritual occupation.

Ms. Morales and Mr. Sanchez shared a quiet bottle of champagne in their 2nd floor flat on Santa Clara as the pop bottles went fizz and exploded. Sgt Rumsbum marched around the premises at the Lunatic Asylum of St. Charles to make sure no one went up on the roof and as soon as he retired a number of residents promptly went up there at midnight to look at all the fireworks going off down the estuary to San Leandro.

The Old Same Place Bar was rocking with canned music from the jukebox, on account of Denby having left town along with most of the members of the Monkey Spankers band. Suzie wore a miniskirt with spangles and a cute sort of hat and blew streamers at the stroke of midnight with good grace while the new TV over the bar displayed the ball falling in Times Square.

Percy was there with Madeleine, who wore a hat, shoes and a faux mink stole in deference to the chilly season, but she removed the stole seductively to the tune of "You can Keep your Hat on," as the bar was rather warm and Pimenta Strife took the opportunity to grab several male crotches, eventually seizing upon one belonging to one of the Depuglia brothers, so as to infuse the New Year with sufficient spritz should that the champagne provided fail to enliven with bubbles alone.

Lionel dropped in on Jaqueline at her salon and invited her out to the Embers for dinner and some music there, and so the two star-crossed lovers managed to enjoy one another's company after Maeve energetically facilitated the arrangements before heading out to the Old Same Place Bar, where she had a long tete a tete with the Man from Minot.

Up in the north counties, where many of our old friends had taken refuge after the Night of Shattered Fires, the New Year passed quietly and with little noise. Exhuberent noise is frowned upon in Marin, as is wanton parking at will. Marin is like that.

Members of the Household gathered at Constance's place in Lagunitas where candles were lit in a ceremony celebrating the long advance of the days from the longest night through the Solstice to the return of the light. Recent deaths were recalled and recent births celebrated for when one door closes another opens and that is the way of the world. Survivors of recent cancer diagnosis and fire destruction also were celebrated, for we have also the persistence of memory and continuing life.

Occasional Quentin played with the dogs and Marlene played with the children and Andre brought his guitar and there was music and life in that place in the north woods and Denby talked about walking in darkness due to the Angry Elf gang and this new entering into the land of light and hope as new births were announced. And folks had returned to the land of their origins to pursue new families, new origins. And so there was additional hope and joy.

And so it was up in the North Counties of the Bay Area.

Down on the Island in the rectory of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint, Sister Perspecacious 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 sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slid over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railbeds 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 through Fairfax and over White's Hill, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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



DECEMBER 30, 2018


Final image for 2018 comes from Carol Balding Taylor who is an artist living in the Gold Coast area of the Island. She has been doing a photographic series called "Walking Crab Cove" and this is one of her stills.


Government is half shut down due to a petulant baby manchild, which is par for the course during the Trump Error. People have been collecting Area Closed signs as keepsakes and historical mememtos, thinking this sort of thing should become a rarity. As long as the GOP remains demented, we shall see this happen again, this we assure you. Like Climate change, no shift in politics or demographics will cause this to change on its own.

Around the Bay, most businesses practicing common sense have shut down during the holiday period with Xmas on a Tuesday followed by New Year's Day on a Tuesday, but some of us must soldier in to work on the Monday and the Wednesday following. Only good thing about that is the traffic is become reasonable for a brief space, and the bosses, for the most part, are off in Tenerife, checking their email on the beach.

If you do not have your NYE gig by now, have fun at home watching the ball drop.


So anyway. As this demented year sprils to a close the Editor, newly restored to his position in the relocated offices of Island-Life is wrapping things up. In this time friends flit from house to house to visit old friends and re-establish connections made solid over the years by way of marriages and births and graduations and bar mitzvahs and deaths and all sorts of dealings besides. It is a time of reconnection around here.

It has been twenty years since Island-Life launched its tiny bark on the ferocious seas of the Internet. Along the way we have encountered sea changes in historical perspective. In 1998 the most memorable events concerned the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton due to his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and violent turmoil in the fragments of former Yugoslavia between Croats and Slavs.

Along the way we have seen two Presidents appointed to the job by a minority of people and seen both behave badly. We have seen the Island become increasingly uninhabitable due to the rental crisis. We have seen the Golden State beset by terrible disasters of fire. We have seen Administrations come and go, each dissatisfying the People equally in measure. And we have seen along with shameful lapses of courage by public officials, great efforts by couragous private Californians in defense of their lives and the lives of others. We have seen and reported on great change over the course of 20 years since 1998.

Since then we have reported local events and world events along a parodic vein and because of that there are some who would say what we do is all silly nonsense.

Ask Mr. Kashoggi if what he did was silly nonsense.

2019 will mark a significant number of watershed dates for world and American commemorations. It seems only yesterday that 1969 and 1949 passed as years of significance. We hope to be there with you as you remember D-Day and the last Summer of Love in the coming months.

In the crowded Household of Marlene and Andre, snores and wheezes drifted through the chill air as the main room was lit by the fading Cold Moon that was full on the 22nd.

Snarfling and snuffling, a creature appeared in the fireplace from the chimney flue to examine the dark forms huddled in sleeping bags around the place. This, clearly, was not a place to set up shop, so the creature ascended up the flue and came out on top of the house from the vent to scamper along the rooftree and find another avenue to pursue so as to establish a marsupial family.

The fogs crept through the vales of the San Geronimo Valley and residents retreated to their homes and hearths and lights were dimmed. Night crept in on silent paws and circled around the houses to lay down heavy with darkness over the windows. No sirens rent the night and no one was shot and no one was stabbed. It was a quiet night in the San Geronimo Valley. And the following day would be the last day of the terrible year that was 2018.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the redwoods of Marin's well-matriculated hills and slid over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais following the old, forgotten railbeds 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 White's Hill and Fairfax, ululating through Silvan Acres and the mist-shrouded niches of the San Geronimo Valley, coursing with faint gray shapes along the ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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






Another Week Passed


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