Island Life

Vol. 24 - No. 2Bay Area News and Views since 1998 Sunday January 17, 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


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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