Island Life

Vol. 21 - No. 23Bay Area News and Views since 1998 Sunday July 7, 2019

{Formerly Island-Life}

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 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


JULY 7, 2019

POPPIES! POPPIES!


ANOTHER TURNING POINT A FORK STUCK IN THE ROAD

So anyway a whole lotta graduations happened last month and now the kids are turned loose to wreak such havoc as summer kids have been known to do down through the ages. The school busses are all parked for the summer and DPW crews are everywhere tearing up the roadbeds before the next rains interrupt whatever subterranean subterfuges they have in mind. Mindful of last year's disastrous fire season, PiGgiE crews are out trimming the once sancrosanct tree limbs while stern warnings about 100 foot cutbacks are propelling legions of contractors to slice, dice and trim the unruly vegetation at every domaine.

Mr. Lithgow once again stood at the ready for this year's graduation ceremonies at Island High's field of dreams, with buckets of sand, the water hose, several fire extinguishers, and a plunger at the ready.

As in years past he and Sister Profundity from the Church and Pastor Hitone from the Baptist Community kept wary eyes on the incoming grads, soon to be outgoing citizens. Every year it had been the tradition ever since the Founder arrived from Minnesota in 1849, for the departing class to let loose one last Senior prank upon the school.

So there they were, all the kids who had gone through the four years required by the State and so mandated so that at the very least this motley crew from all around the world and all walks of life would have this much in common and perhaps learn something of how to behave in society.

Which is a lot more than most idiots in this area do for their dogs, which remain unsocialized to death.

The weather took a turn for the cool side after a scortching heat wave and now seems to be drifting back to hot temps beyond the fog-shielded coastlines.

Some people enjoyed a four day weekend holiday for the Fourth. Samson did not. Neither did Denby who signed on as a Helper for the extra bucks. Samson works as a Network Engineer for a non-profit health organization in the East Bay, although he lives in Fairfax. The Administration decided that since the Fourth is a Holiday, generally, then would be a good time for a major push to transfer most file servers and switches and things with blinking lights that are important from Sixth Street in Berkeley to a Colocation Center in San Jose, some 50 miles south as most of the clinics would be closed.

They were moving all this stuff to a high security enclosure because on 9/11 a bunch of maniacs highjacking airplanes reminded everybody that it was a very good idea to have copies of all your stuff far, far, far away from any place that might suffer injury due to a plane crash or any sort of moron pushing a vacuum cleaner near the Company Assets.

Because they had to wait until the clinics closed on Saturday night, they spent the morning dealing with messages and the usual network snafus to noon when they all converged on the Admin building to start prepping the move. This involved locating the stray devices staying in the building and needing to be re-addressed as the entire server network would be fork-lifted that night to Santa Clara. Alvin Pirohamidoallahislamardik had planned everything out and all the plans were contained between his ears so everyone had to just go along for the ride for it was his habit to put nothing of his plans in writing. That way, if anything went wrong, he could never be blamed.

As it turned out, the ride involved a planned staying awake from Saturday 5:00 am to Sunday, 6:30pm when Alvin fell down in his hotel room and slept the sleep of a thousand Brahmins.

First, the team brought down the network equipment, then unracked the equipment amounting to some 1,000 pounds and a 50U rack. If you do not know what a 50U rack is, just understand it is really, really big. Then the equipment was loaded into a truck and then transported 50 miles south from Berzerkeley to Santa Clara where CORESITE maintains an immaculate, pristine, sterile, and garishly lit facility of the most severe security and utmost seriousness where nobody ever has thought to put up a Jimmy Hendriks or Patti Smith poster despite acres of whitewashed walls.

Denby had to be photographed, fingerprinted and issued a badge so that he could ride the elevator to the proper floor. Even the Breakroom with vending machines required a badge swipe.

He asked why this was all necessary as he did not want past infractions with the law to come into play and was told that if he wanted to use the lavatory, he needed a badge to get access and so that was that.

So this is America in the here and now. They get you by the bladder, not by the balls which they find unnecessary and will remove eventually anyway. Then and only then will they own your hearts and minds. The bladder, well that is something you absolutely have to have function so as to be a productive servant. How else are you going to pitch in to the kitty for the coffee and pastries? Think about it.

Denby worked with Smarmish Dickenson, the Network Engineer, in the old Admin building to frantically chase down errant routes and devices with the old network still binding them to the LAN, including a massive Konica Minolta buried somewhere in the building behind locked doors where they had no access. Then, around 2:00am Denby was driven back to the San Geronimo Valley where he fell into bed after having a ham sandwich.

Before Alvin fell down at 6:30 am, he called Denby at 6:00am to ask that he fix 41 routers at all the sites remotely. Then and only then did Alvin fall down.

Alvin had his first meal in 42 hours sometime around noon on Sunday when Denby returned from Berzerkeley, dog-tired, to the Valley to sleep a few hours and then get ready for Monday, when all hell would break loose as all of Richmond lost their phones. The errant Konica printer turned out to be owned by the HR department. Another printer turned out to be owned by a doctor. Everyone was upset and the entire week went like that for Smarmish.

The boys sat out on the deck on Friday after a miserable week was not enjoyed by all and skunk weed roaches were passed around along with the 99 cent bottle of gallon wine. It was ruled that tech was not worth the wreck and citronella candles drove off the West Nile Mosquitos as the sun set behind the ridge and the coyotes started their howling. So that was the July 4th weekend for the Household, which turned out to be not so celebratory.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

JUNE 09, 2019

EXCELLENT BIRDS

Last time we sported a picture of Oaktown cranes. Here are cranes of another type. Storks actually. By artist Carol Taylor who lives in the Gold Coast area.

GOUDY KIMBLE

So anyway. The unruly weather has led to a season of hot spells and the unavoidable annual commemoration of Javier's birthday.

Javier, who stems from Mexico City, always has wanted a Big City celebration, but since relocation to Silvan Acres his style has been crimped in so many ways. He has always lived life in a grand urban style which the Bay Area had previously provided all access, but Marin is not quite Bay Area. Marin, although cheek by jowl with 8 mllion residents of neighboring counties, inhabits a mind zone that features a very provincial concept of itself. A series of isolated rural towns that have no knowledge or experience with the Pacific Rim from which so many residents derive their income.

Jose decided to have Javier's birthday located at the San Geronimo Community Center, which is about the most conservative and laid-back sort of place to hold any event one could imagine, but about as urban as a place surrounded by elk and trees can get. Jose figured that surely a group of recidivist hippies would provide a safe environment for Javier's 61st birthday.

Javier, although turning 61, had not abandoned a single one of his bad habits of drinking, smoking, womanizing, gambling, womanizing some more, running fast and loose and womanizing to the third degree, and these habits have generally led to discomfiture, disarray, dismay and injury on the part of his close companions.

He felt it was his duty as a native son of Mexico City to preserve the image and honor of the hot-blooded Latino and so he was constantly getting into scrapes and difficult situations, while Jose and Jesus act as good, well-behaved boys who were well instructed by their honest abueltas.

Andre's band, The Monkey Spankers, performed on stage, alternating with a local band called Tiny Television and it was pretty much an all day affair with dancing and music and food made by the Household women and drink concocted by Denby and Pahrump and Occasional Quentin, who dumped an additional fifth of vodka into the punch that was well laced with absinthe that had fallen of the trunk on the Island. Several kegs of Fat Tire ale appeared although no one knew who had paid for them.

Martini rigged up disco lights and some pyrotechnics for when Javier was to blow out the candles on an amazing cherry chocolate cake topped by a miniature toreador. There was to be a candle for each decade of Javier's life plus one, which is very symbolic and everything.

The day was merry with feasting and jovial jumping up and down and Javier's presents were quite the thing. From Marlene Javier got a silver dagger that was quite the letter-opener. From Denby he got a hand-carved buddha about a foot high. Beatrice gave him a serpentine chain with a pewter skull on it -- Beatrice was soft that way. From Sarah he got a miniature Hitachi Wand and from Suan he got a box of flavored condoms.

"Are they edible?" Javier asked, as he was most intrigued by the latter item.

"O I do not think you want her to bite down while you are wearing them," Suan said.

As the sun set behind the ridgeline and the cake was brought out on a rolling server, Melisandre strode in carrying an assegai. She was followed by Carmen and Miranda. Carmen, leaning on what looked like a cane, was dressed in a blue dress and Miranda was dressed in a red outfit so tight you could read the label on what little underwear she had on underneath. She was a size 6 and she carried a pistol, size 38.

Javier was known to attract girlfriends who all bore reputations for excitement. When repeatedly asked by trauma unit teams just why Javier always chose such extraordinarily dangerous women, Javier would reply that he found them interesting.

"Why were we not invited last year?" shouted Melisandre.

James, the Center superintendent and event planner stepped out with his right hand up. "Keep it chill; we practice peace and mindfulness here!"

"That's good," said Miranda. "Mind your business and practice your piece." Then she shot him in the leg.

James, a large man, went down in a heap in front of the three women which hampered Melisandre's charge at Javier with the short spear.

The lights abruptly cut out and everything degenerated into a an atavistic melee of screaming and thuds and gunshots by the light of the seven birthday cake candles.

Jose started yelling, "Stop beating me! I am Jose not Javier!"

"I don't care; you are his friend and I will beat ALL of you!" Carmen said.

One of the gunshots punctured a beer keg and stuff started foaming across the floor among the writhing bodies. Pahrump and Denby were trying to wrestle the pistol out of Miranda's grip and the thing kept discharging at random as she tried to kill them. Finally the gun clicked empty and she let go of it to take out something that glimmered in the half-light; it was a short-bladed knife.

"Where the heck did you keep that!" exclaimed Pahrump.

"Hah! You'll never see where!" crowed Miranda as she drove it into Denby's thigh.

"Yaaaahhhhh!" said Denby, somewhat dramatically and at high volume

Occasional Quentin, percieving by sound and moisture what had happened to the beer keg tried to save the glass bowl of punch, which must have contained some ten gallons of liquid. Naturally he slipped in the darkness causing Quentin and the bowl to crash to the floor, adding a muddled idiot and shards of broken glass to the mix.

Everyone stayed low as Carmen swung her cudgel wildly in the darkness and Melisandre chased at shadowy forms to stab them with her assegai until Carmen accidently clipped her on the ear and she went down in a heap with the others on the floor until Carmen was the only one standing in the middle of some kind of scene from a movie by Quentin Tarantino.

The sound of distant sirens approached, drew nigh, and stopped outside as flashing red and blue lights came through the windows.

That is when Martini's timed pyrotechnics went off.

"Come out with your hands up!" barked a voice.

Those who were still ambulatory ran out the back, as had Javier long ago. Denby leaning against Pahrump, who was wheezing, hobbled to the door.

"What's up with you?"

"I think she broke one of my ribs," Pahrump said. He then fell down face first outside the door, causing Denby to fall over and lay there on his side.

"I did not tell you to lie down! Yet." The voice barked. "Get up! Now! Then lie down when I tell you!"

"We can't," Denby said, as he thought reasonably. "We are hurt."

So the sheriff tased both of them and bundled them into the car to be taken to the hoosegow.

It was at the County hoosegow that they had to remove the knife still embedded in Denby's leg as no one was allowed to bring those kinds of things into the jail under any conditions.

Denby commented that he was bleeding and the Sheriff gave him a bandaid before locking him up, commenting, "You smell like a distillery."

While lying on his cot in his cell Denby promised himself that next year he was going a road trip at this time of year.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

MAY 19, 2019

THE CRANE WIFE

So okay all the songs that feature Cranes point at the bird. Not even the Boss has written a song that features this mechanical thing that so importantly occupies everyone's horizion, no matter where they live.

These guys are part of the Oaktown port, one of the busiest in the world, and they hover over the Estuary where massive ships come in from all over the world to unload boxcars of junk you and me are gonna buy. Those cranes inspired a local boy named Lucas to create a fantasy transport\fighting machine for one of his Star Wars movies.

SEA CHANGE

So anyway, the weather turned unruly for this time of year. When normally we have dry temps in the 70's, we had storms come marching in with very cool weather to swell the streams and send cars sliding on the freeway because Californians just cannot handle any kind of precipitation on the road, North or South.

Fire, earthquake, mass murder, general foolishness, that we can handle better than anyone from New Jersey or Chicago, but rain on the road, that is such a rare commodity nobody here has learned to deal with it properly.

Sometimes they get snow in the mountains and that too we can handle. We do not run around with our hair on fire and close all the schools because of a few inches of snow like they do in Baltimore. We just handle it and if the snow gets like fifteen feet deep we just close the passes over the Sierra Crest and that is that. No big deal.

The Editor charged Pahrump and Jose with a singular task. They were to deliver a cow to Mr. Gruffman's barn and there was a lot of mysterious shuffling of cards about this particular transaction.

For one thing, the two of them went out to a field on the edge of Dickson Ranch and none of the Dickson Ranch would admit any knowledge of this transaction for the Dickson ranch is a ranch that features horses, and save for a couple that are unduly overweight none of them can be called cows. For another the cow was tethered in a field with a rope and nothing more formal other than a notice attached to a post in that field that this cow was "D feed source". And there were many signatures and writs involved that looked highly financial and official in all regards making this deal a fully bona fide sanction to sell a cow for some kind of purpose not yet divined but the papers were all in order and in this modern age it is most important to have your papers in order.

Generally speaking as mentioned previously the Dickson Ranch was devoted to horses so this introduction of a cow was an odd bargain.

So the guys took the rope halter and commenced to leading the cow out of the ranch and onto the road outside and the guys started talking about what to name this particular cow because all the paperwork just referred to her by numbers. The guys are going down the road with the cow in tow and various names were suggested, some obvious like Bessie and some not so obvious like Coliform and Sweetie Methane Pump and Midden Heap. Eventually they agreed upon the name Trillium for the flower that erupts so energetically in the area.

They arrived at Mr. Gruffman's yard and Mr. Gruffman said it was okay if they left at that point but they did not want to leave for curiosity and it was curiosity that revised their lives going forward forever.

"Moooooor!" exclaimed the doomed Trillium.

Mr. Gruffman threw open the barn doors and then emerged Hubert the dragon and then occured the end of Trillium rather violently and Jose was sick in the bushes amid the savage, atavistic crunching of bone and blood and viscera.

"I told you," Mr. Gruffman said before locking Hubert back into the barn.

"For Pete's sake what are you doing with a live dragon in a barn?" exclaimed Pahrump.

"O I do not think you would want Hubert flying about unfettered," Mr. Gruffman said.

"That thing can fly!?"

"Of course. He is a genuine dragon."

"What else have you around here?" Pahrump asked carefully.

"O the usual sort of stuff left behind by the hippies. Unicorns, faeries, a number of witches, elfs and elves -- that sort of thing."

"I should like to meet an elf," Denby said.

"No you wouldn't," Mr. Gruffman said. "The elfs of Marin are all bad tempered because of the wretched parking."

On the march back to the Household it was agreed between Pahrump and Jose they would never name a cow ever again for they had just witnessed something which no amount of cheap jug wine could be made unseen again.

It was up to Denby to report to the Editor while the others got seriously drunk that the cow had been delivered as charged.

"Good," said the Editor. "There will be another due in a month if we cannot capture a wild deer."

"Good lord, this is aweful!"

"The good Lord has nothing to do with it," said the Editor. "This is the Trump Era and the dragons must be fed."

"This sounds like a terrible political metaphor."

"Political metaphors are like farting in a crowded room. Social realities must be acknowledged while the place still stinks to high heaven during which everyone denies everything. Now get back to work making the media look like it is still useful."

The Editor turned to his desk as the others completed their tasks in the converted barn which had become the new Island-Life offices after the terrible Night of Shattered Fires which had pushed the persecuted people outward from their home of many decades to wander the earth. A story that has been told before and should sound familiar and which is perhaps another metaphor.

From some barn somewhere a person started practicing the drums. From another location another person started noodling upon an electric guitar. All the night was filled with sound.

As Spring returned to stir dull roots with rain, stimulating life to erupt from the dead land, metaphors flocked on furry wings through the gathering night to bang onto window screens. This land which has been so beaten down by adversity, by fire and flood, shall live again while in the darkness drummers were sending messages to distant listeners, musicians were communicating via secret code to one another. All around the area was fraught with messages being sent from unknown senders to unknown recipients.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

MAY 12, 2019

GATHER YE ROSEBUDS WHILE YE MAY

This week, contrary to the spirit of Spring and the renewal of Life have a memento mori. This is the hand of Jessica holding the ashes of her father, Doyle McGowan, shortly before they are distributed over the Grand Canyon.

Doyle shall be sorely missed as he was a spark of life, one who seized adventure and life at every opportunity and provided reams of material for novels, stories and music by his adventures throughout his lifelong journey. At the end one has an handful of ashes, so one one might as well gallop madly across the fields with your hair flying, might as well dive down into the blue-green depths in pursuit of that shimmering prey, keep the neighbors up all night with loud lovemaking that makes the bricks shed dandruff by the vibrations.

Think about what people are going to say about you when someone holds your ashes in their hands after all is said and done. Doyle built a real estate empire out of nothing after getting out of prison for a manufactured offence that is no longer illegal. He fathered a beautiful child and he continued to adhere to the core values of the 60's. Now what have you been doing with your life all this time?

WILL YOU PLEASE REMEMBER ME

So anyway. The days have presented milder temps, softened light. Early mornings are packed with pogonip, the Ohlone word for fog. The afternoons have been bright with sunshine. The nights have been cool with the howling of coyotes approaching near dawn.

The girls still living on the Island and their exiled friends living in Silvan Acres reunited with their moms at Momma's Royal Cafe in Oaktown for the annual celebration of motherhood.

It has been 17 months since that terrible February of 2018 and the night of Shattered Fires when all that had been the Island had changed forever due to the evil actions of the Taikeff "Angry Elf" gang. Many things had happened not unlike the adventurous Game of Thrones now obsessing so many people with fantasy.

Marsha was there. So were Tipitina, Suan, and Sarah, all of whom had relocated to Silvan Acres. With them was their new friend Barbara who had always lived in the San Geronimo Valley. Rachel showed up, along with Malice Green, Latrena Brown, and Ms. Larch who was thinking of relocating to Marin, and all of them were there with their mothers save for Rachel, whose mother had passed away in 2008.

It was quite the Hen party there at the Royal Cafe with everyone talking at once and everyone getting caught up with the news.

Sarah's mother wanted to know if there were any Stores in Silvan Acres. You know so that a girl could get herself set up appropriately, but no, the San Geronimo Valley has no big box stores and it did not look like it would get them any time too soon. It had skunks and deer and coyote and raccoons but no Macy's.

This seemed a dreadful impediment to obtaining and keeping a man, as Sarah's mother saw it, but the others chimed in that there was always "going down the hill" to San Rafael where they had civilized things like salons and suppliers of fine linen and lace.

At the end of the day, all the mothers were satisfied that their children were on the right track and that the San Geronimo Valley, albeit somewhat barbarous and remote, did have potential for sophistication and marital possibilities on account of there being so many millionaires in residence in the neighborhood.

"Tell me again about the Town of Ross," Tipitinia's mother asked. "I hear the servants pay people to wax their Caddilacs!"

In the Valley, the Editor had a conversation with the neighbor, Mr. Gruffman, who was in need of a cow.

The Editor did not have a cow in his back pocket at the moment, but Mr. Gruffman felt that now was the time to clue the newcomers into a few of the differences that affected Marin County as seperate from the rest of the world.

"Come around back and meet Melisandre," said Mr. Gruffman, who turned and stumped along a ratty path bordered by wild poppies and thistle along a wall that led to a small open space.

The Editor followed the man and discovered there in that small open space a white horse, some eight hands high, with blue eyes and a knurled horn extending from its forehead about 28 inches in length.

"That is a unicorn!" said the Editor.

"I admire your perspicuity and directness of observation," said Mr. Gruffman. "That is indeed a unicorn which is found, to the best of my knowledge, nowhere but Marin County and parts of Minnesotta I have not yet explored."

"I thought you must employ a Virgin to capture a unicorn," the Editor said.

"Silly man! This is not a captured animal, but one that is free to roam at will. It comes here freely because I am an old man with no pretensions to contest, I have been through Hell and High Water, I have lost more than anyone will ever own, I have no more claim to ownership or dominance of anything, and so Melisandre is safe here with me."

"I see."

"You probably do not, but here we have an example of one thing that makes Marin County different from other places. And I am in urgent need of a cow so I must introduce you to Hubert."

"Hubert?"

"Yes, yes. Hubert. Everyone is talking about Tolkein and Game of Thrones and all this fantasy that is a distraction from the dreadful realities of mass shootings and all that comprises the execrable Donald Trump, the most detestable vermin to inhabit the White House since Richard Nixon. No one pays attention to the San Geronimo Valley because we are off the grid, so to speak. I can see that you are having troubles with Island-Life because your people are real. They have been abused, discarded, treated barbarously -- just like everyone else. Who wants to read about themselves when that is what they suffer all day long. Come along and meet Hubert and my problem."

The two of them walked around the field with Melisandre and came to a barn where Mr. Gruffman threw open the bolts and drew back a long plank to let the big doors open to reveal what was inside.

"Arrrouggheghhh!"

"Good god in heaven!" said the Editor. "You have a dragon in this barn!"

"I doubt the god in heaven had anything to do with the creation of Hubert," Mr. Gruffman said. "But here he is. All thirty feet and 1.5 tons of him. Once again I admire your ownership of statements of the obvious."

"Schnarrrrf!"

"Does he breath fire?"

"Of course not! That is a silly superstition and entirely impossible as energy consumption would be off the charts. This is a physical animal living in the real world of Marin County and it must have a cow."

"What happens if it does not have a cow?"

"Hubert starts eating people. Can you find me a cow rather soon?"

"I will see what I can do," The Editor said.

"Thank you," said Mr. Gruffman. "Welcome to Marin. We are different from other people." He then shut the barn door and the Editor returned to the offices, attended with the following offer from Mr. Gruffman.

"I see you have a readership problem. Everyone wants to see movies with flying wizards and dragons and pseudo-medieval gamesmanship with dragons and sex and ultra-violence and exotic magic. We have all that already in Marin. So I offer a unicorn and a dragon. Handle the sex and violence yourself. You just manage to get me a cow once a month and we have a deal. Capiche?"

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

APRIL 21, 2019

POPPIES! POPPIES!

Spring has arrived in California and the State flower is in bloom everywhere. This image is from the fence at the San Geronimo Church.

EID MA CLACKSHAW

So anyway, the vigorous breezes of March usher in the outrageous blooms of April. Already we have seen the fog banks announce a change in seasons and the Most Dangerous Season is upon us (see last week below).

As if cued by some hidden occult sign of the Masons, burly men with pickups and lithe women wearing sun visors and old lumberjack shirts appear in their driveways unload bags of fertilizer, soil, chemicals of dubious origin, all to return to tilling the soil in an annual ritual as predictable as the migration of monarch butterflies and the swallows at Capistrano.

Mr. Spline, the CIA operative who has been keeping tabs on the Greek Orthodox chapel next to the Mormon Temple on the hill, has become worried. As a person who considers it a patriotic duty to keep an eye on where that traitorous whistleblower Joshua is supposedly holed up and who leaves that place only to engage in highly secret stuff that would compel him to kill you if you knew about it, has pursued Security as a lifelong profession.

As an expert in security he is concerned about this Wall that the Carrot-topped One has been promoting. As every security expert knows, relying on a single hardened perimeter is a disaster waiting to . . . well, become a disaster. Nobody in their right mind in Security every relies on something so basic as a wall. You need multiple physical shells, a strong and diffused surveillance system over soft target areas, martial law extending 20 to 50 miles from the border, standing shoot on sight orders, a corps of trusted plainclothes IDS police on 24 x 7 alert, and continuous and vigorous roundup of suspicious persons for processing in suitable cleansing centers away from media scrutiny.

That would be a reasonable start, Mr. Spline thinks.

But Mr. Spline does not see any movement in that direction, only a desire and he sighs. The problem with politicians is that they seldom go far enough. Mr. Spline envisions an America that is totally controlled and terrorism impossible because the Right People control everything.

Barbara is a 6th level Tunt in the Maccab Corporation, working on the 11th floor of 101 California. She has recently been promoted and so she is feeling pretty good as she rides home on the Caltrans bus to her home in Silvan Acres. As with any corporate promotion there are risks and there are benefits. The main benefit, besides more money is a good helping of responsibility and greater visibility to VIPs. The downside is the possibility that her head might explode. That happened to her predecessor, who had slacked a bit on reporting and been caught making un-positive comments. So right there beside the water cooler his head exploded and Facilities had come and clean it up.

Once you sign on with Maccab as an Exempt they own you and everybody knew that.

There was some speculation as to whether that proprietorship extended to family members. Jason Tilde had shirked going to the Family Picnic and then the Family Founder's Day Banquet and it was right there in line at the cafeteria that his head exploded. The line crew had to replace the entire lasagna tray and the soups on account of the mess.

Barbara got off the bus and walked up the way to her in-law apartment where she greeted her cat John Galt with relief. Wifi coverage was terrible in the valley and she somehow felt that the tracking microchip implanted in her skull worked less or not at all.

In the offices of Island-Life the Editor scanned the week's news and shook his head. How on earth could he write about anything when the world was so crazy and people took crazy ideas with utter seriousness. He stood on the deck out back under the half-moon with his hands clasped behind his back, his cigar clamped in his jaws.

Deer moved carefully through the foliage. The natural world continued, indifferent to the follies of Man.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

APRIL 14, 2019

TANGLED UP IN BLUE

This week we have a shot of the outside of the San Geronimo Pre-School.

NEW TIMES! NEW TIMES! NEW, NEW NEW TIMES!

It seems very likely that Measure A will pass, given the County ROV numbers as of Friday.

The Alameda Country Registrar of Voters posted updated results from the April 9 special election on Thursday, April 11.

It shows "yes" votes for Measure A still has a sizable lead, but the gap did shrink slightly. Currently 10,732 voted their approval of Measure A's passage as of Friday, April 12. There are currently 9,614 "no" votes. "Yes" votes account for 52.75 percent of the votes that have been tallied. "No" votes have just 47.25 percent of the vote. In the previous update on April 10, "yes" votes had 53.36 percent of the 14,241 votes tallied.

Measure B's continues to look like a long shot after the recent update. Currently, 56.12 percent of voters (11,304) chose to vote against the measure's passage. Just 43.88 percent (8,838) chose to vote "yes" on Measure B. In the previous update 43.61 percent voted for Measure B.

Less than half of the 48,793 registered Alameda voters had been tallied. The passage of Measure A will allow Alameda Point Collaborative to move forward with its plans to develop the Alameda Wellness Center, a facility for medically fragile Alameda County seniors who lack housing.

Now this measure brought to light an host of issues blocking effective tackling of the homeless problems in all the ABAG regions. The virulence of people opposed to Measure A displayed a harsh NIMBYism that is prevalent everywhere. Everyone wants a solution to homelessness, but nobody wants to take on the responsiblity for action because getting the homeless into places to live means these homeless will then be living among us in stable environments.

It is headbanging why people think keeping people living in sidwalk tents, being eyesores, defecating in the streets, raving madly with insanity in public, and fostering the drug trade is better than putting those same people in housing units in or near the same location but defecating in toilets and being overseen by supervisors skilled in stopping prostitution and drugs and handling mental illness. But that is the way people are.

People do not always choose the sane path -- just look at Donald Trump.

Another look at the benefits to the land use that the APC intends reveals that no traffic stats will be seriously impacted. Homeless mentally ill seniors do not drive cars, so such a residency. So the Island will get a facility that will bring jobs, do seriously good work, partially resolve the homeless problem and still not contribute to traffic congestion.

We note that the residence on Lincoln near the Tibetan temple has caused no problems in the area, and we are surprised nobody has looked at where such plans have already been implemented on the Island to see the effects.

In Marin we hear complaints about potential "low income housing" coming in and to tell the truth, people who oppose such projects do not have a leg to stand on. Marin has poor people, it has mentally ill, and it has homeless people and pretending they do not exist is numbskull ludicrous and savagely cruel as well as obnoxiously indifferent to surrounding counties who really dislike Marin foisting its problems onto them.

Berkeley and Oakland have large homeless encampments and these are due largely to neighboring municipalities practicing that NIMBYism.

WOKE UP DREAMING I WAS GONNA DIE

So anyway. The torrential monsoons have given way to drier weather with skies mottled with dabs of cloud and cool air that occasionally becomes warm when the sun hits for a time. The nights hover around 47 degrees and the morning fogs dissipate quickly.

We are seeing golden poppies bursting out during this early Spring. Everyone talks about the cherry blossoms in DC, that wierd city east of Chicago, but we have an entire cherry blossom orchard in Mariner Square Village blooming madly each year over acres of parkinglot. It is not something special we go to a special place to gawk at; it is part of our daily lives. How parched must be the lives of Washingtonians who do not have this every day of the year while we enjoy live music from multiple venues all over our metropolitan area, birds of paradise blooming in the most remote corners, scads of golden poppies, tulips and gladiolas and yard after yard of extraordinary roses that have yet to erupt amid the abutilon and bluebells.

Spring is the most dangerous season.

Yes, Spring is the most dangerous season. Maybe it is different in other places, but here, wise men remain indoors and order pizza for dinner, hunker down by the TV to watch endless reruns of Monster Truck Destruction and Terminator I, II, III and IV. It's safer cuddled there in the dark lit only by the blackout curtain blocked TV set glow.

Bees dive-bombing the clover, hummingbirds bayoneting the jasmine that keeps throwing out punches this way and that while sending wafts of chemical weapons of mass disruption. Army ants on the march in great phalanxes and squirrels conducting reconnaissance forays add to the mayhem, while raccoons begin nightly raids. The daisy bush bursts with yellow ack-ack blooms while the poppies erupt with tiny explosions across the fields. Squadrons of swallows swooping and diving, ducks performing sorties, Canadian geese streaking overhead in formation and then, worst of all, there are the girls in their summer dresses.

Meanwhile, somewhere overhead, flying in stealth mode -- that naked, blindfolded, fat boy keeps firing off at random his erring arrows of wanton mishap, those IEDs (Improvised Erotic Designs), wreaking chaos in a wide swath more terrifying that Sherman's March to the Sea. Squadrons of women and girls swelling with fatal charms stroll on patrol, their smooth lithe legs flashing beneath their uniforms: thin summer dresses, haltertops, daisy-dukes, and god knows what else underneath that armor. If anything. It's all agitprop left to the imagination.

Save us all from Spring's violent terrors.

Observe Johnnie, happy and carefree as a lark, striding with ruddy cheeks and full confidence. But after him comes Jane, armed with those sharpshooter eyes, that flippy short skirt, and strappy high heels. Now Johnnie is down! His face wan and his appetite poor, his breath coming out in ragged gasps as Jane cradles his head among the wildly blooming, victorious daisies. Right in the heart, poor lad. A goner for sure.

Yes, Spring is the most dangerous Season.

A while ago Denby went back East for a wedding and went down to ask the Front Desk where was a good place to hear music and was rewarded with the comment, "Is the room radio not working? Are you talking about going to a disco?"

"No," Denby corrected. "I mean live music. Live bands with live people in them. Not canned music."

"I dunno. I suppose you have to drive to Georgetown where they have a university and maybe there they have clubs and things like that."

"There is no music in this county at all? You have to drive to another city?"

"Sir I am afraid I cannot help you. Next . . . !"

Poor, impoverished people. They have cherry blossoms once a year and no idea about music to enrich their lives.

Yet it is Spring and Mr. Twicket has engaged an army of laborers to clean up the grounds and prepare the roses. He has some annoying problems with electrical lighting in the house which the electrictian has told him needs to be addressed, but the cost seems exhorbitant for that kind of thing which does not beautify the landscape.

John Gaack saw Milton leave his car in the parkinglot of the Costco to go shopping. Gaack snarled and tried the door of Milton's car, finding it unlocked and reached into to shove the air condition temp controls all lthe way to hot. He then closed the door and went in with his two ugly daughters to get some things for the house and keep an eye on Milton, whom he detested for no other reason than Milton came from Alameda and did not Play the Game, the game in which the Gaack family and similar families were entitled to all that floated into their comfortable mouths.

Jason Arrabiata stepped up to deliver another sermon in Silvan Acres at his new CFSM chapel, a charming one-room shed surrounded by willow trees.

These families are the Grumpies of San Anselmo, but every town has Grumpies just like the Gaacks. Whenever something goes wrong or modern life interposes some new harsh reality, it is always the people from somewhere else at fault.

"Ramen!" said the congregation.

Let us pity the Grumpies, so self-entited and never destined for true happiness, Jason preached. They came here long ago to kill the Natives and steal their land and although they have gained the title rights to Paradise, they shall not enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven.

"Ramen!"

Let us now join in the Lord's Prayer and then eat heartily and drink lustily.

"Ramen!"

Our pasta, who art in a colander, draining be your noodles.
Thy noodle come, Thy sauce be yum,
on top some grated Parmesan.
Give us this day our garlic bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trample on our lawns.
And lead us not into vegetarianism, but deliver us some pizza,
for thine is the meatball, the noodle, and the sauce,
forever and ever. RAmen.

"Ramen!"

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

APRIL 7, 2019

BOYS OF SUMMER

Few images are more iconic than scenes like this played out across America in Spring. Here we have the Little Leaguers, not a one above three feet in height, gathering for the annual ritual at Warner Field in Woodacre.


WE PRINT ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS

Preliminary election results from the Special Election in Alameda show Measure A passing and Measure B failing by slim margins. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, there were 7599 "Yes" votes for Measure A, garnering 53.36 percent of the vote. "No" votes were 6642, or 46.64 percent.

For Measure B, the tally was 7956 "No", or 56.39 percent of the vote. "Yes" votes were 6152 or 43.61 percent.

The contentious election has pitted present and former elected officials against one another, and sparked a social media battle between supporters for each side.

Voters are deciding the fate of vacant former federal offices on a 3.65-acre parcel on McKay Avenue across from Crab Cove. Measure A calls for a $40 million project to convert the property, which is near Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, into 90 units of senior permanent supportive housing, a 50-bed respite center for homeless adults and a daytime resource center for seniors.

Measure B would declare the land to be open space.

The election has been typical of many efforts to handle the many-headed hydra of homelessness, aging population, and the rental crisis, which has all the NIMBYS pitted against activists and lawmakers trying to hack through a gordian knot of problems. The Island is one place where you hear people decrying efforts to create affordable housing because affordable housing will bring in people that the NIMBYS find icky.

Meanwhile Oaktown admins are getting really peeved at all the surrounding municipalities shoving homeless populations and other problems onto their doorstep by NIMBYS and officials only too willing to kick the can down the road to stay elected. Meanwhile Alameda has stuck to absurd resolutions like what happened along the Bayside shore which has been made ridiculous, impossible to navigate, dangerous for pedestrians and car traffic and a general fiasco with concrete barriers and confusing green paint that are more reminiscent of the old East\West Berlin divide than a passageway. The whole thing from Washington Park to the breakwater has been turned into a congested, urbanized, Manhattanized wreck. Correct that: Manhattan is better organized for high volume traffic. The current arrangement is just citified stupid. You want to rub our noses in the fact that we are a densely packed city? Ok fine.

APRIL IS THE CRUELEST MONTH

So anyway. March really sucked around here. Several Island-Lifers died. The Chief reporter contracted pneumonia and nearly went over the pearly gates himself. Work has been insane with impossible people demanding impossible things. Issues have been slow to get out because of these and other problems.

So anyway again. The rains have stopped and the days have been overcast but largely dry with winds whipping through the trees and tossing cars here and there on the freeway. People have been out and about under the sometimes sun-streaming lanes while the creeks of Silvan Acres continue to burble with water wealth.

Traffic on San Pablo was halted in the early morning as a covey of wild turkey's strutted across the road from greenery in the Albany district.

People have been stopping by the Herrick campus of Alta Bates to photograph the magnificent cherry blossom tree there on the corner of Milvia and Dwight.

News has it that Trump has not passed any new legislation since in office, that most of his early supporters are in jail or facing indictment, that most of his grand plans to shove obnoxious orders on the Nation have been shunted aside, and that even the GOP is beginning to see the light about this ne'er do well. And we hear they have cherry blossoms turning in DC as well.

Among the hillocks of snow, there are dips and divots at the bottom of which bright color is beginning to show. Whorls of yellow and red and green shoots. You look into these pits and you can see activity involving color. Young men are starting to stare at the rear ends of young women as they pass in their yoga pants. Yes, something is going on down there.

Yes there are signs that things are about to change. As bad as he is, Trump cannot go on forever, and there will be an end to his particular brand of lunacy.

Back at the Homestead John C. Smelling was marching around his property wearing a bright red Maggot hat, making sure no one parked on his side of the road and also the opposite side, which his family had claimed some time ago. Curious odors come from that side of the road, a sort of rotten smell, and the Smellings are extremely defensive about protecting what they see as parking rights. John was spraying Roundup on all the weeds sprouting on the edges of his large parking platform while his son, Charles, worked off his personal demons by firing up the chainsaw and destroying things made of wood. Chrissie Felling, his mother, came out with her hair all disarranged and James could see she was in a state again.

"I just want everyone to know the National Observatory is at it again. They are sending microwaves into people's brains." Her blouse was buttoned up wrong and her left foot sported a sock with stripes while the other displayed black polka dots.

"All right ma," Charles said. A flurry of wood chips sailed in all directions.

"I am talking with my attorney, just so you know. Everyone is against me, but I have important friends. I know everything that is going on."

"All right ma."

Chrissie spotted a lizard and went over to stamp it dead, shouting, "I know you are spying on me! All of you creatures, talking with your lizard tongues!"

Down the hill Missy Moonbeam returned from her job as a barista in San Rafael as the sun set behind the valley ridgeline. She took off all of her clothes, lit some sandalwood incense before sitting in meditation. At the end of her meditation she put on a Kate Wolf CD and went into the yard to dance as the moon rose above the trees.

Jason Arrabiatta, CFSM was walking by with Denby who commented on how crazy Marin was.

"Denby there are two kinds of crazy," Jason said.

"You are going to deliver another preacher sermon, aren't you?" Denby said.

"Yes I am. Because I am a preacher and it is good for your soul. Now listen up. There are two kinds of crazy in this world. There is the harmless, gentle kind like the guy who believes he is Jesus Christ, Elon Musk, and this Missy dancing over there. They do not hurt anybody and often they have jobs useful to society. Then there are the sociopaths, psychopaths and true dangerous nut cases that hurt people, like Hannibal Lecter, Richard Speck, most Nazis, the Angry Elf kingpin, and Donald Trump. Be sure to keep them seperate for I am quite concerned and worried as well as afraid of so-called normal people who pretend rationality. Those people are just as dangerous as John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy. They will rationalize everything to death, including you and me. Just look at Standard Oil and Exxon."

"Most profound words." Denby said. "Ramen."

"People say I am crazy because I profess a belief in the Flying Spahetti Monster, but my God never inspired a Crusade, never burned witches at the stake, never held an Inquisition, and never allowed rationalization of cruelty in His name. Besides my heaven features a volcano that spouts beer."

"Spring! It is Spring!" Missy said and did a grande jete across the yard.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

MARCH 30, 2019

TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS

Here they are, with crocuses the harbingers of Spring.


WINTER IS THE CURTAIN, BUT SPRING TAKES THE BOW

So anyway. The Editor sat with a box on the floor and his bottle of Glenfiddich on the table with a glass and a pitcher of ice. The box contained the culled photographs, proofs, negatives and slides from Chad's lifetime of photography. The Editor had driven the ancient Volvo down to the Island to sort through the last effects of his website designer who had suffered a massive heart attack three weeks ago, while his widow moved through the scene that the Editor had seen many times before. The Editor was an old soldier and death was a familiar acquaintance.

The Widow moved aimlessly among the scattered detritus of a man's life, each movement generating a different sort of new pain. The ornate urn of ashes there next to the wooden Buddha. Useless wires, bookshelves, lamps, end-tables, objets de arts, books, paintings, and loads upon loads of photographs done by a man who had practiced art photography for years with his own b/w darkroom. There were thousands upon thousands of images taken from 1962 onwards.

Here a photo of a painting, but without attribution. There, a picture of a wharf in Boston or Philadelphia. Trees and foliage from anywhere - the man had travelled across the country and to Scotland and Tahiti where apparantly he had done scuba diving. There were pictures of that, too.

All the slides and negatives were unmarked and without dates save for a series of negatives and proofs of art nudes marked Roberta, 1982.

Where was Roberta now and what did she look like now when those images had captured her in the bloom of twenty-something youth more than thirty years ago? What was the meaning of her standing on a table in a cluttered room, naked and holding a wind chime?

Outside the windows of the new Island-Life newsroom that had yet to dry from wood preservative and rehab, the air had turned soft with the suggestion of Spring. The Japanese plum trees were blooming as were the cherry blossoms. Tulips and irises had announced that life would return to this earth so savaged by indifferent drones seeking money.

You can thrust Nature out with a pitchfork, but it always come roaring back.

Pictures of people of people, old and young, babies and elderly. Pictures of people at street faires and happenings, concerts and festivals. All of whom by now had led entire lifetimes of their own. In some rare cases he had composed indices, which were as densely useless as hierogrphics composed in long forgotten languages. Ken and Esther/ kitchen (harsh sun) 1982. Bill Bodie. smiling dog / coffee house/ - 1982. Gene Oldfield w/ renegade robots 1981. hippotomous / . girrafe. cassovaries/ Sacto City zoo 1982.

It was an entire life, but the key which had provided reference meaning had left the stage and was not going to return. The Editor found it impossible to infuse any of this with a sense of order or meaning. Each image now belonged to the world of public knowledge, without reference as if presented to an alzheimer's patient without an attached memory. That memory was now gone.

The Editor took the box out to the dumpster and dropped it in, inhaling the combined scent of refuse and of new lilacs. He then went back inside to have a drink and deal with his grief. There would be other ways to preserve memory.

But for now, the lilacs were in bloom again.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

MARCH 20, 2019

AND HER NAME IS G.L.O.R.I.A

This image says it all. And you should look up the lyrics of Gloria by Patti Smith to find the reference to the parking meter.

WE PRINT ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS

You know the news already. Most of you have formed your opinions in molds of lead. Trump is either a crass, disgusting, egotistical, total shit lacking decency, truth, empathy and American values, or he is your Strongman really sticking it to the obnoxious "elitist" tree-huggers and Liberals, dousing the welfare-moms with gasoline, exalting the White Right to true justice that they deserve and showing the World that the USA is not to be pushed around.

We heard Lyndon Larouche has died. Good riddance. He and his group were asshats in drag.

The McKay Avenue property continues to be a bone of contention to some people who did not get the memo. Seems some people are endorsing Measure B in the next election out of some wierd orientation we cannot figure. The land was federal and the land will go to federal purposes that appear quite sane for the area. As in all cases, we ask that people follow the money to find out just why some entities are endorsing Measure B against sane usage that excludes private monatization in favor of high rent commodities.

TOO MANY MYTHS

So anyway. The rain let up for a bit, with grumbling skies yielding to splashes of sunshine. The Japanese plums are blossoming all over the place and the parkinglot of Mariner Square is redolent with cherry blossoms.

The night fell on St. Patrick's Day as the Supermoon arose in glory, occasionally obscured by cloudwrack. In the Old Same Place Bar Padraic and Dawn whipped up the Gaelic Coffees, which are so-called by Padraic because, according to his opinion, no "daycent lad of the auld sod" would ever concoct such a travesty upon the usce-que-bah, the Water of Life. It is known that the beverage consisting of whiskey, coffee, brown sugar, whipped cream (horrors!) and other ingredients was designed first in America and Padraic is fine with that story.

As usual, Suzie was made to wear a green miniskirt and a cap and the entire joint roistered with great enthusiasm as the jukebox cranked out Van Morrison, Luka Bloom, U2, the Pogues, Damien Rice, and the like.

All was going great and there was no fear of the Angry Elf gang showing up for all the grief they suffered in past years trying to threaten and abuse the gentle people, but it came late and a rock was thrown against the window, breaking the glass, followed by the evil ound of The Cackler as they sped off in the small time Napoleon's red Miata. This caused some dismay as Suzie and Dawn bent to work to sweep up the shattered glass and offer words of consolation and a drink on the House to Latreena Brown who got some of it in her hair.

It was then the door opened and the wind appeared. The candles blew then disappeared. The curtains flew then He appeared, saying "Don't be afraid."
It was He, the Wee Man returned again.

Then he observed the broken glass and said with a stern voice, "What's all this then?"

Padraic shook in his boots and Dawn and Suzie clutched the hems of their skirts.

"Its only a few vandals, omadhauens throwing stones," Padraic said, lapsing into his Western accent. "We are daycent folk and we're wantin' na' throuble."

"I believe you," said the Wee Man. "Carry on." He waved to Dawn and Suzie with their broom and scoop. He then strode up to the bar and climbed up upon the stool and ordered a Guinness and a shot and a Fat Tire while waiting for the Guinness to stack.

This is the proper way to order a Guinness for a Guinness is good for you and it takes time for a Guinness to properly stack in the glass when done right and proper.

When the Wee Man had his glass at last he made his pronouncements, swiping his sleeve across his frothy mustache.

What did he look like? For a start he wore a twill newsboy cap on a head of bright red hair. Red, too was his full beard and cobalt blue his eyes. He wore a green checked waistcoat which sported a gold chain that went into the side pocket and green checked pants. And on his feet a set of green suede brogans with tassels and toe tips that curled up and about in a merry way. He stood all of three feet in height.

The Wee Man downed his shot of Jamison's with satisfaction and produced a small derringer pistol which he discharged into the ceiling without so much as looking before putting the weapon away into his waistcoat. A bit of faery dust rained down and everyone remained quiet.

As to what the Wee Man really was, besides himself all day, which most of us can claim at nearly the same rate, the matter was open to speculation and never-ending discussion. Some say he came from the Spanish Armada that sank off the coast and others say he was of the legendary Firbolg that harried the ancient Romans loose from the Emerald Isle thousands of years before. Some say despite his stature he was related to the mythic giant Finn ni Cuchulain, Finn McCool, whose body extended the length of Howth, and that his apparent manifest physical size was merely a kind of trick, and some say that he was of the tribe of the Bann Sé that howl about the chimneys at night and cause the tree branches to toss about and wave by way of their long hair as they fly among the trees and so therefore a sort of faery, but with some disreputable attributions, including cigar smoking and farting.

"I have been to the Post Office," said the Wee Man.

"Not the Post Office of 1916," said Padraic.

"Nao," said the Wee Man. Well, yes I was there in 1916 and I did what I could, saving the lads from the cannons, without being able to save them from English hangman's nooses afterwards, but I mean the Post Office down the way where I recently spied a brace of omadhauens in a red Miata."

"The Angry Elf gang!" Everyone exclaimed.

"If you know about these nasty people, why do you not do anything about them?" The Wee Man said reasonably.

"We are afraid of them," people said. "And the police do nothing."

"Good people you need to learn that someone has power over you only if you give it to them. If you refuse to empower evil people, the reverse is true. And I will now show you just as I showed the Pakhistanis who once feared the powerful General Muschariff."

The Wee Man picked up the rock on the floor and threw it out of the open doorway, saying, "Come here!"

A wobbling Brian Kring wandered through the door, holding the rock and rubbing his noggin which now sported a lump, exclaiming, "G--d d---m! I was just at the Fireside Lounge!"

"Lie down!" commanded the Wee Man.

"Wahh!" And Kring was compelled to lie face down on the floor.

"And now Nasty Narita," commanded the Wee Man. He again threw the rock out the door and crooked his finger and a dazed Asian woman came through the door, holding the rock. "Lie down!" commanded the Wee Man. The woman fell heavily to the floor, scattering dozens of keys.

"My keys!" Narita shrieked. "My precious keys!"

"Yes the keys you used to sneak into poor people's apartments and rob them," said the Wee Man. "Now your power is all gone, spread across the floor."

"Now you, evil spirit of rumor, spreading lies about people and injuring reputations and spreading fear through threats," the Wee Man said. "Extortion, theft, threats, rock throwing, and destruction of reputation. Come here now, I command you!" With that, the Wee Man hurled the rock through the open door again.

Next the Cackler reeled through the door and was made to lay down on the beer-soaked tiles.

"I wish I could bring the Angry Elf here now, but he is so evil that it would be destructive," said the Wee Man. "But I assure you all that I will make him sorry."

The Wee Man then began to walk across the backs of the gang who lay there on the floor, causing much anguish.

"You who have caused so much pain to others, complaining now about my light step that serves to fix your posture," said the Wee Man, " Have only yourselves to blame. You hurt people and laughed at their pain, and so how do you feel now? Are you not sorry for your misdeeds?"

"Ow! Oww! Ow!" said Kring and the Cackler while Narita groped in vain for her keys, weeping.

The Wee Man stood with one foot on Kring and one on the Cackler with his fists balled up on his hips, looking down. O he was fierce! "I command you three to leave and never come back to bother these people again with your homegrown terrorism." He then got off of them and caused them to get up and wander out the door as the rock bounced mysteriously from one head to the other, propelling them out just as it started to rain again. Thunk, thunk, thunk, went the rock no matter how much they tried to avoid it.

"Well," said the Wee Man. "I see my work here is done for the nonce. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of the just suffereth violence, and the violent shall bear it away upon themselves."

With that the Wee Man climbed up upon a stool, clapped his hands once and there was a brilliant flash of light, followed by the room being thrust into darkness. Padraic ran to the back to flip the breakers by flashlight and the warm barlight returned. All the candles had magically relit and many gasped to peer past their waistbands.

"O for Pete's sake," said Dawn. "The Wee Man has once again transformed me knickers!"

Suzie turned very red and pressed down her skirt.

"The man's a soddin' pervert!" Padraic said. "But I am grateful he fixed the window." Indeed it was true. The broken glass had been replaced.

Knowing what happened each St. Patrick's day, Padraic had prepared for the eventuality and so he went to the restroom armed witih a new package of boxer shorts from Macy's, returning to drop a nearly transparent, green thong upon the bar. Pimenta Strife sidled up to the Man from Minot and said, "Wanna see what I am wearing?"

When everyone had calmed down. Suzie returned to her place behind the bar with her Anthropology book. It was a dark night on an Island that knows how to keep its secrets, but in the Old Same Place Bar there sat one bartender pondering Life's Persistent Questions. . . .

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

MARCH 10, 2019

DINER

This iconic image was snapped by Carol in the Gold Coast area off of Webster and is one of those last vestiges of Old Tyme Alameda when the streets were lined with shops that sported big neon signs like this one.

NEW TIMES! NEW TIMES! NEW, NEW, NEW TIMES!

Ok the Island is set to vote on Measure A to apportion the McKay Avenue parcel that was used and disused by the Feds via GSA to either make the place a Senior wellness center cum support services for homeless or not. Pretty much everybody with serious influence is in favor and the anti group consists of a disparate group of unfunded individuals whose argument the development would cost taxpayers is entirely erroneous.

Given that this project replaces the previous one that would have jacked the traffic situation six ways to Sunday down there, we would have to say this is a no-brainer yes.

Look, in this era of land-greed somebody is going to build something down there and there is no way of avoiding that save hand the place over to the Parks as was attempted initially. We think what would have been the best outcome. Well, that is not going to fly, so people get real with what is.

The Black Brothers will hold forth at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, Sunday, St. Patrick's Day. Brothers Michael and Shay Black play an exciting mix of Dublin street songs, music hall songs, and historical ballads, as well as songs from the Irish, English, and Scottish traditions. Singing in close harmony, telling funny stories, and even dancing occasionally, Michael and Shay draw people in with their energy, wit, and superb musicianship

It is Late Winter season, so there is a lot of chancy newnames appearing at the Fox and the Paramount in Oaktown. If you missed Black Ladysmith Mambazo at the Freight and Yoshi's, well, too bad. They are gone now. And Judy Collins is sold out, but you can still get Elvin Bishop at the end of the month and he is always worth the price of admission.


LET IT RAIN, LET IT POUR

So anyway. This past week the rain came down with a vengeance. It poured down in monsoon strength, giving us record-breaking numbers. The rain pounded Santa Cruz and it drenched Santa Rose with levels more appropriate for places like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana. Hillsides slid down taken houses with them. Roads were obliterated. Creeks normally inches deep swelled to 8, 12, 15 feet. Chunks of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge dropped down to wreck cars, closing the entire bridge for hours.

Then it all subsided to intermittent showers, steady winds. The engineers put a steel plate into the bridge. The workers shored up the hillsides and shoved the dirt and rocks to the side to open up the roads.

Power went out of course all over the place. The Household of Marlene and Andre made do with a fire in the stone fireplace providing heat and rations of bread soup for everyone by the light of scattered candles, electric lanterns, flashlights.

On the Island, Mr. Howitzter had Dodd distribute octopus cocktail canapes by candlelight in his mansion during his annual midwinter soiree while the band sawed through a number of acoustic waltzes. At the Old Same Place Bar, Suzie and Dawn served up traditional cocktails and highballs by the light of electric hurricane lanterns. Everyone got by until the lights came back on and everyone stared at one another with astonishment in the bright new light as if they had never seen before.

The sudden light caught Pimenta Strife with her hand down inside some guy's pants.

In the Island-Life offices the Editor continued to scribble by the light of a desklamp that never went out while outside the San Geronimo Creek gurgled and plashed. The word had arrived that the Sierra snowpack was 120% above normal, and so there would be skiiing well into April this year, and another year of drought pushed away. For now.

And so the Editor continued to work, the remaining white hairs on his head flying about in an aureole.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

March 3, 2019

Issue cancelled due to illness

 

FEBRUARY 24, 2019

WHEN THE MUSIC' S OVER

This week's image is of our Chad's banjo. In the guitar case there was a frailing pick and two playing cards. No idea what significance the cards, silent relics of an untold story.

NEWS

News is Gung Hay Fat Choi for the Chinese New Year and the year of the Pig, which seems appropriate in these Trumpian\Weinstein times. Every year Mei Mei goes to the annual Chinatown Parade to see Gum Lung, the dragon, which seemed so enormous when she was so small, but with each passing year, as things changed with Mei Mei, the dragon seemed to get smaller.

Now she had children of her own and they pointed up in fear, "O the dragon is so big! So big!"

Baby Blunt is having his Emergency reviewed and somebody somewhere won an Oscar award.

FOR A DANCER

So anyway, Baby Blunt is still on a rampage about getting his wall between his property and that belonging to Brown People. Largely because he was denied during the last election of a majority supporting his enterprise and also being sued by a number of Me**Too** folks and under investigation of collaborating with the Enemies of the Island in the form of Russian Collusionists, Baby Blunt has in his own mind a State of Emergency, which generally is the last resort of tin-pot dictators who wear mirror sunglasses and epaulets.

We see how much this sort of image helped Musharrif and Idi Amin and Ghaddafi. And the Berlin Wall is a good example of how effective these things are in reality. But nevertheless, Baby Blunt wants his wall to protect his garden vegetables and in his mind he has an emergency because nobody takes him seriously and that is a problem.

Denby got let out of jail after the latest Valentine's day Massacree Disaster and headed wearily home after a long discussion with the desk sergeant who felt that Denby should stop engaging in illegal activity and doubtful circumstances every year.

Denby protested that it was not he, but the circumstances at fault all the time.

Then how is it you wound up in the women's restroom of the movie theatre without your pants that time?

That was children's bubblegum, Denby tried to explain.

Last I heard bubblegum has neither intoxicating nor aphrodesiac qualities. If it does turn out to possess such powers, please let me know and I will purchase a case. But I suspect you were under the influence by other means, so do not blame Double Bubble.

And so it went. It is impossible to prove innocence, as many a one falsely charged can attest, while guilt is easy to suppose.

Please do not come into my jail during Valentine's time or any other time for that matter, as I find you a troublesome sort and a blot upon the honor of my District. Go away and come no more, said the Sergeant.

So it was, Denby got on the bus and returned to Silvan Acres even as the rains began again to flail the sweet earth and the trees. As the bus pulled up to the willow-hung bus-stop Jose and Javier were there to greet him and give him the news about Doyle who had suffered a stroke up north at the River and was now in Napa, comotose.

The three walked in the rain without umbrellas, using only their fedoras and long coats for protection while the tree branches whipped angrily in the rough wind above them and the cold, cold pellets gathered like ravens, fell down like bombs.

In the Island-Life offices, now a converted barn in Silvan Acres because of the criminal elements that had forced everyone out, the Editor remained in the cavernous space pounded by the weather, all alone and doing his work at the desk lit by a single pool of light. It was mostly dark in that space, save for the occasional desklamp left on, the occasional computer screensaver flickering in the dark pool of shadows. All around hung the muttering curtains of night, while beyond this pale, beyond the circle of dark, somewhere out there gleamed the spirit of a like mind.

At one time he had imagined he had found such a spirit in the flesh, but now that light was extinguished forever. Departed, leaving behind some website code, a banjo and a guitar once held by a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane to add distinction to its humble trash guiltar origins.

Now we hear talk of yet another of the Karass leaving this life.

And what the hell is all this talk about bubblegum and Denby's pants? Ribald comedy interrupts our grief.

Maybe that is the way is should be. Our grief and our trouble is just hysterically funny to other people who take comfort in our pain.

That is just the way it is. That is just the way it has always been and playground bullies have always been there and succeeded in the end.

We have only ourselves and our sense of humanity as sword and shield against those dark forces that burn crosses.

Gum Lung grows and shrinks with our age, always pursuing that glowing, fiery ball down through all the corridors of Time. Perhaps the Dragon, too, pursues Company in all the thousands of years of chasing that evasive sphere. What would happen if the Dragon would catch that sphere and become one with it?

In the cold space of the Island-life offices, the Editor sat in the pool of light shed by the single desklamp, his white hair flying about his head in a corolla, searching and doing all for Company.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

FEBRUARY 17, 2019

SHOCK THE MONKEY

The recent storms have caused havoc on many streets. Here is a shot of where powerlines were brought low in Woodacre.

This Global Climate Change has consequences, as some of us understand.

PINK MOON

So anyway. This Valentine's day proved to be no different than all the others for members of Marlene and Andre's household.

But before we get into that romantic stuff, all the latest flap in Silly Hall was about Baby Blunt's hissy fit over not getting his wall approved. For those of you just catching up, Baby Blunt owns a big construction company and was set to block City Hall's entrance with a couple of his five ton loader rigs.

These rigs are all bigger than anything you have seen on the Teevee program Highway Through Hell. Blunt was going to set down a series of concrete freeway dividers in addition so as to totally block government, but Silly Council came through -- for once -- and all voted to keep the government open, especially as the entrance is shared with the Police Department and we couldn't have no Baby Blunt, no matter how rich and famous and all those things, blocking the Police and Officer O'Madhauen was right on it, for obstructing the passage of official police cars was all kinds of mean, nasty, lawbreaking kinds of things and if Blunt dared become a perpetrator of such heinous anti-traffic statutes, he was gonna make darn sure this alleged perpetrator of all kinds of mean, nasty kinds of things would be hauled off into a tiny, dark room in the newly re-aquired jail where Blunt would be interrogated, irrigated, dissipated, irradiated, syncopated, and further remediated by a number of Boys in Blue who like to play with Babys like Mr. Blunt.

Yes, they have ways of making bad boys behave. And we call that all Supreme Justice.

So Baby Blunt acted as mature as he always does. He pitched a fit, rolling on the ground, screaming, crying and shaking his rattle at the sky in the most severe of anguish that he wanted his wall so bad the original reason for the Wall had gotten lost in all the tantrums and screaming and accusations.

So Baby Blunt, most mature and adult-like, swiped the treasure-chest savings that were supposed to go to the Crossing Guard Program, claiming, that because he was President of Protection and Discourse, as well as General of Bums, he had the legal right to do so on account of it being a Declared State of Emergency.

And the State of Emergency was that for the first time in History a lot of people united and said NO to Baby Blunt for once.

This, of course, stimulated a legal furor of Olympic proportions, which Baby Blunt enjoys, for he has always done well by chaos and disorder, even though the majority of people do not.

So now we have armies of attornies arrayed in lines of battle over Baby Blunt's declaration of Emergency. Which makes us wonder, just when did this Emergency begin? For it was not referenced at the start of the man's Presidency. It only seems to have become important after the Midterm elections.

Ponder that timing, will you.

As for what is happening along McKay Avenue, we can say that good intentions will not prevail, for the entire progress as been one of irrational greed and pumping more people down that narrow strait than the physical environment can support. Every plan has been like that and the current one is no exception. The region is infected with landgreed fever and that spit is not unaffected. Yes, we can see what you are doing and we can see it still from afar.

Meanwhile, in the San Geronimo Valley, the cold front set in to make the nights stiff with frost. The House residents huddled close in the decrepit buildings there as the rains and hail pounded the acres. Power went out and creeks flooded over the roads. The winds flung huge branches down.

In such an isolated place and in such weather, Denby felt confident and assured that this year would pass with no contretemps upon the dreaded V-day that so many others adore.

That night he went out with the gang to the Saloon where a band played old school blues and everyone had a few beers and all was groovy because the place was filled with Blues and good music and the band was good and everyone was having a good time and Denby danced mostly with Marsha from New Jersey, save for a few rounds with a willow-haired gal from Lagunitas, whose name turned out to be, unsurpisingly, Willow. There was no Trouble anywhere to be seen at all. Then everyone went back home after last call and everything was fine until a rude light shone in Denby's eyes before dawn.

Turned out he was under arrest for consorting with somebody under the Me-too-movement and there was nothing to be done about it. Until it all got cleared up.

In the San Rafael jail, Denby looked up at the moonlight of the new Snow Moon streaming through and asked just why this sort of thing always happened to him and god answered, because Denby, I really love you.

Thanks alot, Denby said.

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 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 ridgetops through the drifts of fog to an unknown destination.

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

 

 

FEBRUARY 10, 2019

DEER ON THE PARKWAY

When you are at loss for a headline foto, there are always images of deer creeping around the place.


HE WAS A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE

This is one of the more difficult issues to write. Life is a vale of tears, full of suffering with only the the scant consolation that it does not go on forever. There is a guaranteed end to all of this, and that is all the guarantee we get. Not even Reincarnation is a guaranteed delivery.

When the body fails while the soul and mind are still in drive, we call that Tragedy, as in the case of Stephen Hawking during his lifetime. When the body fails entirely, halting the mind and allowing the soul to leave the body, we call that Finality, which is Death. After that, there is no going forward; we have only memories.

As of a few hours ago, Chad Chadwick, our in-house web developer and friend of many decades passed away due to a massive heart attack.

The legacy left by his work on Island-Life shall remain preserved for years to come; his personal touch remains on every page and is stamped in many lines of code and we are going to make sure his legacy remains preserved for years to come on the Internet.

We first worked together in a dark place underneath the freeway overpasses in San Francisco in the late 1980's. On the steps of that hardware supplier to contractors Chad attempted to teach us how to play the banjo.

Chad had always been a sharp and astute observer of events from the 1960's onward. He played music in livingroom sessions with founders of the Jefferson Airplane and soon became disillusioned with the music industry's lack of soul. He often had sharp words for Paul Kantner, with whom we attempted briefly a late rapprochement that collapsed due to the distances created between Fame and Normality. Chad felt that Kantner had unfairly stolen his girlfriend at the time.

A multi-instrumentalist, Chad could play banjo, guitar, harmonica and sing quite capably before his lung disease. While I would tune a guitar with a modern electronic tuner, he would call out the pitch on the dot with each adjustment. "Too sharp! Okay . . . a hair flat. . . Bingo! Aye natural!"

Chad was no stranger to this disjunct between Fame and the ocean of average-ness. His grandfather, Charles Nordhoff, wrote the book called Mutiny on the Bounty, that became made into a rather famous movie.

Nordhoff had three daughters and two sons with a half-Danish Titian wife named Christianne Tua Tearae Schmidt, sometimes referred to by the Titian word for "woman", Vahine. After the 2nd son died shortly after childbirth, Nordhoff divorced Vahine and either married or took as a mistress with whom he had three sons.

Marguerite moved eventually to the US, married John Chadwick, and had six children, with one child dying before birth.

Chad lived through the damaged generation that was the 60's and emerged with an acerbic, biting view of life, politics, culture, and American Life that was vividly presented with his savage commentary on the way things are -- the horrific and inevitable consequences of horrific, inhumane policies expressed domestically and abroad the consequences of which we see clearly played out in the present day, including a range of obscenities ranging from what happened to Victor Jara to Trump's porno bimbos.

We met in the late 1980's when both of us worked as slavey's for a contractor hardware-supply company called MacMurray Pacific underneath the freeway overpass at 7th street in San Francisco. There across the street from the 7th Street City Jail where the hookers kept in cells overnight were let out onto the street in the early morning, dressed in red negligee's and high heels, Chad attempted to teach us the banjo.

He had many stories of growing up in Sacramento and moving to San Francisco during the Hippie Era. Although not a Hippie exactly, for he always believed in working for a living, he embodied many of the best ideals of the Sixties Counterculture movements. He quickly realized the world was not going to change save by incremental bits as represented by individuals doing their small bit parts on behalf of peace, kindness and sanity. Other than tobacco and booze, he refrained from hard drugs after seeing what that stuff could do to people. Demonstrations were fine things, but the real work was done by each person acting morally responsible with and to other people around them. Not surprisingly Kurt Vonnegut was a favorite author.

For several years we lost touch until in the late 1990's we arranged for a visit at his lodgings and were shocked to see this once hale and hearty man hooked up to oxygen tanks.

After his diagnosis of COPD and attendant emphysema, Chad retreated from the world, attached to it by the narrow lifeline of the Internet, while still attempting to get out with the help of friends to public arenas.

Chad fought with the heart of a warrior of peace against the effects of his disease. He told us he had dreams of running, running uphill for miles and miles.

He suffered much as his COPD progressed, until he could not leave the house without an oxygen tank. Inside the house, he had to remain hooked to a machine that delivered air to his lungs 24 hours a day. Nevertheless, he remained feisty and pugnacious, challenging ignorant Internet trolls on message boards, posting acid comments on Facebook, and remaining continuously on tap with local as well as national news by way of all the outlets the Internet can provide.

Although he could be severe on self-maintained ignorance and outright boorishness, Chad also preserved the 60's ethic of love for all those who do not bully others. He was possessed of a kind heart that put him in the Aristocracy of the Heart, a level way above most of us who have to play catch-up with someone so magnanimous, so emotionally generous. He found beauty in the most obscure of places in people who had a hard time finding the beauty in themselves.

Well he is out of it now. We lost a great heart and a great soul filled with wisdom. His suffering is now over and now the pain is left to the survivors. Sisters Shannon and Tina both passed away last year, leaving Shelly of who we can find not a trace. As far as we know , Chad is the last of the direct line engendered by the author of the Mutiny on the Bounty save for grandchildren.

Chad is survived by his loving wife, Tammy Chadwick, who lives in Alameda.

As said in the beginning, Life is a vale of tears, full of sorrow and suffering. There is no escape from suffering, not even for Donald Trump; it may be that your time has not yet arrived, or you are particularly obtuse and unobservant -- these things do happen and probably so for Der Donald. Generally those people who have no feelings at all are called Sociopaths.

Again, there is some comfort, a scant comfort at that, there is an end to all of this. The suffering does not go on forever. And now Chad no longer suffers. He is gone and we remain with fond memories of having known him and the legacy left by his work on the Island-life web code shall persist for years.

LET IT RAIN LET IT POUR

So anyway, the rain fell and nourished the sweet earth these past few days. All the hillsides trickled with incidental rivulets that had been dry cuts for years until now and down south people reported snow upon the Santa Cruz mountains.

A kind of concrete rain fell upon the sad Richmond-San Rafael Bridge that was built so long ago as an afterthought with sparse funding and enforced deadlines by tight-assed managers demanding last-minute results from overworked underlings who had always been pushed to the limit even before the project had been initiated. The result is a limp, failure-prone structure that crumbles over time and the result stands before our eyes as an example of bad management.

On the day that the bridge was closed last week, Pahrump turned his scooter around and headed back through the stalled traffic, postponing a provisions run for the Household. Stores and suppliers so bad in Marin that Pahrump was compelled to head over to the East Bay to fetch basic necessities for the House on his scooter, meant that vital necessities would have to be delayed until he could cross again.

Meanwhile I.N.Eptitood contractors spent two days putting in flower plants around the sign in Fairfax for the Rhino gas station, although everyone in their right mind avoided the station for any sort of service other than gas, for the place had a bad reputation for extremely bad service on anything resembling a gas powered internal combustible engine.

Skateboards and bicycles they could fix well enough. Lawnmowers, perhaps. Cars, not so much. With cars they had big problems understanding things like carburetion, exhaust, ignition and spark. Otherwise they were fine, those boys.

The night fell from scattered clouds to another night of frost. The Editor sat at his desk as the Nation prepared for yet another snitty Government shutdown, initiated by the Baby in Chief who wanted his Wall and would have no truck about it.

Unfortunately, there was a great deal about which to write and so little time. He had thought on taking this small-town gig he would be compressed to find things about which to write and found that in the reality there were too few hours in the day to cover it all.

Now, night had fallen and all around the glassed cubicle the muttering voices, the gazing eyes.. Beyond all that, somewhere out in the darkness a like mind. Recently he had lost one of his own and so now was even more alone without Chadwick, his coder.

But somehow Nohow On. Out there must exist a like mind and all was toward unified contemplation. Union with another Creator. Perhaps the One. The Editor persisted in his meditation. Stripping all intervention between himself and Him. Doing all for Company.

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.

 

 

FEBRUARY 3, 2019

BABYLON

 

Here is an image of Babylon shot from the verdant hills of Marin. Such a metropolis and so far away.


WE PRINT ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS

Heard the LII something Pooper Soul was to take place. None of us own TeeVees and so much of the Ballyhoo was overblown, as it usually is regardless.
Heard that NE with tom brady vs. LA rams was the ticket.

In more important news, we note that Tracy K. Smith is the current Poet Laureate Consultant to the US. She is currently serving as the 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, an office she assumed in 2017. She was nominated for an unprecedented 2nd term in 2018. She has published four collections of poetry, winning the Pulitzer Prize for her 2011 volume Life on Mars.

In his review of the collection, Joel Brouwer also quoted at length from this poem, writing that "for Smith the abyss seems as much a space of possibility as of oblivion:"

Perhaps the great error is believing we’re alone,
That the others have come and gone — a momentary blip —
When all along, space might be choc-full of traffic,
Bursting at the seams with energy we neither feel
Nor see, flush against us, living, dying, deciding,
...

Dan Chiasson writes of another aspect of the collection: "The issues of power and paternalism suggest the deep ways in which this is a book about race. Smith’s deadpan title is itself racially freighted: we can’t think about one set of fifties images, of Martians and sci-fi comics, without conjuring another, of black kids in the segregated South. Those two image files are situated uncannily close to each other in the cultural cortex, but it took this book to connect them."

We look forward eagerly to who shall assume the laurel wreath for 2019.

Now what if we held a Super Bowl of Poetry? Would not that be something to celebrate and truly Make America Great Also? Well, if America really wants to be Great Also with the likes of China, which cannot conduct any sort of industrial enterprise without stealing, as it seems, or the Russian Empire, which does not seem to be able to make anything great without also stealing and blocking the advance of foreigners in a sort of native Californian style,

Dweeb report on weather - Pineapple express coming in lead by a cold front that is the mother of all cold fronts.

LAND OF THE BOTTOM LINE

So anyway. The Pooper Soul LIII happened. Somebody won, the unpopular guy at the prom, we guess by all the noise.

Oh well. Somebody had to win for somebody to lose or vice versa. Thats the way it goes.

A few dockwallopers set in this past week to drench the Island and environs, causing all activities to hustle indoors. The Old Same Place Bar has been a-bustle with Padraic and Dawn serving up those famous Gaelic Coffees, infused with Jameson's and other mysterious ingredients, while the busstop midway around the circle has seen Reverend Inquist and Pastor Danyluk and Rebbi Mendelnusse collecting for confabs on the failings of the faithful and the difficulties of the clergy in times like these, fraught with lunatic Creationists and Anti-Scientists selling false pardons to Global Warming Parties as was done in the old Medieval days of ignorance and deceit called The Dark Ages.

Mr. "Baby" Blunt was made to unblock the City Hall government by more mature adults, but he is still threatening to do the same again if he does not get his "beautiful wall", installed and paid for by his neighbors, whom he detests.

A number of people have been talking about this wall and commenting that building a wall around an Island seems really foolish and stupid and a waste of tax dollars better spent on running the government that after the blockade now everybody realizes is terribly necessary.

This realization has caused the Radical Right some concern, for their main issue was that less government is better and now people have realized they need more govenment, not less after doing without much of it for 36 days.

It all sucked while Baby Blunt had his tantrum and so now people know that goverment workers actually do something for the money.

To oversimplify, if you want a toilet when you go to the seashore, you need to pay for it. You want someone to rush in and defend the coastline with something like the Coast Guard when the Chinese invade, you gotta pay for it. Nobody gonna risk their lives for your sorry ass for free.

Meanwhile, a cold front is coming in to superchill the Bay Area that is not used to frozen temperatures.

Nevermind that the Midwest just got itself unstuck from minus 40 degrees.

Clearly, the climate has gone wacko and we hope you Bushian denialists, and other climate-denialists are enjoying the weather now caused by carbon emissions, all repleate with floods, fires, and freezes, because there will be political repercussions come Spring. Yes, you Assholes.Yes, you, who will be remembered.

The recent storms swept the San Geronimo Valley undisturbed. All the trees that were to fall, did fall in the last storm, and the heavy branches still held above the powerlines. Toto had a tumor removed from one of his anal glands and so he ran about in the rain with a swollen, red butt, pooping at will and pissing as usual upon the usual suspects, save for he wore for the nonce a plastic cone that prevented him disturbing his stitches. This resulted in some bonking upon the walls where he was used to sniff, but otherwise he was fine.

In the Offices of Island Life, now become Silvan Acres, the Editor arranged his papers. Stories about Toto were placed here in this corner, and stories about San Geronimo Presbyterian were placed in this other corner and stories about the rain and floods and the creeks were placed here . . .

The Editor realized that because of the expectation of weather and its unruliness, all was left in a state of stasis. Not much could happen until all this weather was done with, for anything could happen at any time due to rain and flood. And after a season, anything could happen due to fire and drought.

What can one do in such times save persist and go on.

“I don’t know: perhaps it’s a dream, all a dream. (That would surprise me.) I’ll wake, in the silence, and never sleep again. (It will be I?) Or dream (dream again), dream of a silence, a dream silence, full of murmurs (I don’t know, that’s all words), never wake (all words, there’s nothing else).

You must go on, that’s all I know.

They’re going to stop, I know that well: I can feel it. They’re going to abandon me. It will be the silence, for a moment (a good few moments). Or it will be mine? The lasting one, that didn’t last, that still lasts? It will be I?

You must go on.

I can’t go on.

You must go on.

I’ll go on. You must say words, as long as there are any - until they find me, until they say me. (Strange pain, strange sin!) You must go on. Perhaps it’s done already. Perhaps they have said me already. Perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story. (That would surprise me, if it opens.)

It will be I? It will be the silence, where I am? I don’t know, I’ll never know: in the silence you don’t know.

"You must go on.

I can’t go on.

I’ll go on.”

The Editor sits at his table in the Offices after all the staff have gone home and the cold rain beats now upon the saggy roof and tired windowpanes.

His desk is lit by the pool of a single desklamp and the dim light of the monitor in front of him. A notepad sits to the left and a mouse sits below that on the keyboard platform that extends from the old cherrywood desk that once was a schooldesk in Iowa in the late 1800's.

Tonight he does all for Company. As usual. Nohow on, ill seen, ill said. A voice comes to one in the dark . . . Imagine.

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.

 

FEBRUARY 17, 2019

SHOCK THE MONKEY

The recent storms have caused havoc on many streets. Here is a shot of where powerlines were brought low in Woodacre.

This Global Climate Change has consequences, as some of us understand.

PINK MOON

So anyway. This Valentine's day proved to be no different than all the others for members of Marlene and Andre's household.

But before we get into that romantic stuff, all the latest flap in Silly Hall was about Baby Blunt's hissy fit over not getting his wall approved. For those of you just catching up, Baby Blunt owns a big construction company and was set to block City Hall's entrance with a couple of his five ton loader rigs.

These rigs are all bigger than anything you have seen on the Teevee program Highway Through Hell. Blunt was going to set down a series of concrete freeway dividers in addition so as to totally block government, but Silly Council came through -- for once -- and all voted to keep the government open, especially as the entrance is shared with the Police Department and we couldn't have no Baby Blunt, no matter how rich and famous and all those things, blocking the Police and Officer O'Madhauen was right on it, for obstructing the passage of official police cars was all kinds of mean, nasty, lawbreaking kinds of things and if Blunt dared become a perpetrator of such heinous anti-traffic statutes, he was gonna make darn sure this alleged perpetrator of all kinds of mean, nasty kinds of things would be hauled off into a tiny, dark room in the newly re-aquired jail where Blunt would be interrogated, irrigated, dissipated, irradiated, syncopated, and further remediated by a number of Boys in Blue who like to play with Babys like Mr. Blunt.

Yes, they have ways of making bad boys behave. And we call that all Supreme Justice.

So Baby Blunt acted as mature as he always does. He pitched a fit, rolling on the ground, screaming, crying and shaking his rattle at the sky in the most severe of anguish that he wanted his wall so bad the original reason for the Wall had gotten lost in all the tantrums and screaming and accusations.

So Baby Blunt, most mature and adult-like, swiped the treasure-chest savings that were supposed to go to the Crossing Guard Program, claiming, that because he was President of Protection and Discourse, as well as General of Bums, he had the legal right to do so on account of it being a Declared State of Emergency.

And the State of Emergency was that for the first time in History a lot of people united and said NO to Baby Blunt for once.

This, of course, stimulated a legal furor of Olympic proportions, which Baby Blunt enjoys, for he has always done well by chaos and disorder, even though the majority of people do not.

So now we have armies of attornies arrayed in lines of battle over Baby Blunt's declaration of Emergency. Which makes us wonder, just when did this Emergency begin? For it was not referenced at the start of the man's Presidency. It only seems to have become important after the Midterm elections.

Ponder that timing, will you.

As for what is happening along McKay Avenue, we can say that good intentions will not prevail, for the entire progress as been one of irrational greed and pumping more people down that narrow strait than the physical environment can support. Every plan has been like that and the current one is no exception. The region is infected with landgreed fever and that spit is not unaffected. Yes, we can see what you are doing and we can see it still from afar.

Meanwhile, in the San Geronimo Valley, the cold front set in to make the nights stiff with frost. The House residents huddled close in the decrepit buildings there as the rains and hail pounded the acres. Power went out and creeks flooded over the roads. The winds flung huge branches down.

In such an isolated place and in such weather, Denby felt confident and assured that this year would pass with no contretemps upon the dreaded V-day that so many others adore.

That night he went out with the gang to the Saloon where a band played old school blues and everyone had a few beers and all was groovy because the place was filled with Blues and good music and the band was good and everyone was having a good time and Denby danced mostly with Marsha from New Jersey, save for a few rounds with a willow-haired gal from Lagunitas. Then everyone went back home after last call and everything was fine until a rude light shone in Denby's eyes before dawn.

Turned out he was under arrest for consorting with somebody under the Me-Too-movement and there was nothing to be done about it. Until it all got cleared up.

In the San Rafael jail, Denby looked up at the moonlight of the new Snow Moon streaming through and asked just why this sort of thing always happened to him and god answered, because Denby, I really love you.

Thanks alot, Denby said.

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.

 

JANUARY 27, 2019

EASY RIDER

Marin can be pretty strange at times, and sometimes in a good way. It has a lot of strange things in it, and one strange thing is the bicycle museum in Fairfax where this 8-foot high item sits in the parking lot. Every weekend this area teems with packs of bicyclists taking advantage of scenic country roads and challenging hills.


LIKE THE WEATHER

Got the latest report from Howard The Dweeb, who runs a ham meteorological service from Mammoth. Seems the Sierra snowpack is 120% above normal, so the drought is done for now. He sees some storms rolling in in early February, so do not put away your impermeables quite yet. Howard also forecast some bitter cold weather for the East and Central regions. Warn your children not to put their tongues on the iron waterpump handle.

BABYLON

So anyway, "Baby" Bobby Blunt did not get his wall and was persuaded to unblock the City government parkinglot when Ms. Morales came up to him and said she needed to get into City Hall to file papers on behalf of her Teacher's Foundation for kids with special needs. Many of these kids and their caregivers were suffering because of the lack of services.

Baby Blunt, of course, summarily dismissed Ms. Morales and her tender charges, saying, "Some people may feel a little pain, but the security of this City is Paramount and in the best interest of all Islanders. We need to be strong together like wooden dowels bound around the handle of an ax to make it stronger. Suck it up buttercup. I alone can solve every problem known to man and child and dog. That is why I appreciate your wholehearted support. Not supporting me is being a Loser. Loser!"

"My children are not losers, sir. They struggle hard and with support they succeed."

"You have an accent. Are you American?"

"I was born on Mandanao in the Philippines," said Ms. Morales honestly. "But today I am as American as anyone and all of my charges were born in the US and they deserve the same protections as any citizen." Ms. Morales stood there, small with her handbag and dowdy black shoes, but yet defiant.

At this point Officer O'Madhauen made an unaccustomed intervention outside his purview of traffic enforcement, for he had listened to all that had transpired.

"Mr. Blunt I urge you to move this 3 ton grader immediately and unblock Government, or I will have it towed and dumped into the Bay, much as that distresses the Environmentalist Clan. I will then have you arrested and taken to Santa Rita where I will inform certain swarthy, biker types that you are a fellow that likes to diddle children. Get this thing out of here within an hour or else."

"You cannot do that. I am exempt, because I am the President of the Lion's Club! And President of many other things besides!"

"Mr. President, I would be honored to haul your cherry-red ass to Santa Rita, for frankly, I do not give a shit and you were elected by a minority besides. The majority will cheer as you encounter your special welcome in the Santa Rita showers. Move the grader. Now!"

The grader got moved and government on the Island was unblocked even as Baby Blunt shouted, "I can do this again if I do not get my beautiful wall!"

Meanwhile experts are looking at Blunt's plan to wall off not just his property, but the entire Island from Oaktown. Most are saying this enterprise is impossible and foolish, but Blunts, as his followers are called, insist this is the Final Solution. Others have said the racial overtones here, plus the term "Final Solution", feel uncomfortable.

Of course, Blunts and Blunt followers see no connections here and say that a little pain on the part of Little People of inconsequence is a small price to pay for Security and Missy Whitesyrup feeling safe in her bed.

Outside of the political arena, where most Americans live, like it or not, folks gathered at the end of a long working day at the Old Same Place Bar to unwind with a bump and a shot. And in a few cases, a bit more than that.

Of course there was some discussion about the Superbowl and how the Saints were robbed, robbed in full sight of everybody save the judges, but the Superbowl shall proceed, checkered and marred with objectionable detritus.

We shall see what transpires SBS, realizing that the Saints should have been there. All else is sheer masquerade. Like the rest of American politics, the Superbowl has become derelict of value. Let us rather look at women's volleyball and World Cup Soccer. The Raiders have abandoned their home city for a foreign place. For this Superbowl is a land leased out; we die pronouncing it.

Meanwhile the last week has been sunny and chill with dappled clouds over both the Island and the San Geronimo Valley. After the MLK holiday and any number of commemorations that still do not much to fix the situation going on in this country for about 400 years since Slavery, everybody went back to work, pursuing their personal lives of quiet desperation, misery, failed marriages, and sometimes momentary joy while traveling the same labyrinth channels they have pursued day after day, year after year, following that one learned path from entrance to the Place of Cheese.

The Editor, back at work after his hiatus as a tree, leaned back in his chair lit by the single desklamp and reflected that he was just like a lab rat following the same path as everyone else, only he was always looking now for the triangle lines of escape, the portholes that defied the assertion that Time is a prison.

The new Island-Life offices were more rustic than the rooms on the densely populated Island. The interior walls consisted of roughhewn boards and redwood beams. The wood floor was unpolished fir and redwood plank. Images of the time when the railway went along SFD Boulevard hung on the walls.

The Editor had lately been perusing through chronicles of the Valley and was pleased to find a rich trove of material. Time began, after the Miwok, who had occupied and taken care of the Valley for some 10,000 years had been decimated, with the Mexican Occupation. "Rafael Cacho, a military officer and friend of General Mariano Vallejo, was the first person to hold title to the San Geronimo Valley. On February 12, 1844, he was granted the 8,800-acre Rancho Cañada de San Geronimo (The Valley of Saint Jerome) by the Mexican government, in acknowledgment of his loyal service as a Mexican citizen."

And what of the railroad and of the plans to develop the place with a superhighway and interchanges and what became of the Master Plan of 1961? The place was rife with delicious History. Things had happened here. Things that reflected what America had been doing.

Renewed with vigor the Editor bent to the task of uncovering the history of Silvan Acres and the San Geronimo Valley.

Out beyond the shroud of darkness the eyes of various creatures gleamed, but inside he was alone, a man working diligently by the light of the desklamp. Outside there may be a like intelligence, somewhere remote and abstracted, some entity longing for contact, while for now he operated in a vacuum of soul. Somewhere out there beyond the dark curtains of night there was a like soul.

But for now, all he did, he did for Company.

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.

 

JANUARY 20, 2019

DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS

This week's image is of a dumpster sitting in the lot of the County Fire Department in Woodacre and is a poignant memento mori with xmas trees. Woodacre FD is the main call center for Marin and also is the place where a lot of the heavy equipment for the County is housed.

The song "Day after Christmas" by Matthew West begins as follows:

Here comes the letdown Christmas is over
Here comes the meltdown, there goes the cheer
But before we have a breakdown, let us remember
The light of the world is still here


CH. CH. CH. CHANGES

As you will notice the masthead has changed. This is to reflect the shift enforced by our response to illegal activity practiced by the Taikeff Gang in Alameda, which activity was not moderated, controlled, or otherwise deflected by the inadequate police force of the Island.

We are now Sylvan Acres although the primary url will remain Island-life.net and there will always be a place for Island adventures, as we retain a love for many of our characters who remain there, despite the horrible Rent Crisis.

THAT DEVIL MUSIC

So anyway, Bobby Blunt, aka to associates as "Baby Bobby", has gotten into a terrible wax with his neighbors over building a wall between his property. Baby Bobby wants a wall because the skateboarders keep cutting across the far corner to get to the Griddle out in the West End and his house has been broken into several times.

The presence White Supremacy and Dixie flags in his windows may have had something to do with the latter.

The hitch is that BB wants his neighbors to pay for the wall, a reinforced concrete construction some 20 feet high and topped with rollers and barbed wire like was employed for the Berlin Wall that was so successful back in the day.

When the City refused permits for such construction (a neighbor called Building and Planning, who sent inspector Chuck Schaefer) Bobby acted as mature as he usually does when frustrated. He threw a tantrum and began rolling on the ground and then parked his 3 ton grader across the entrance to the City Hall parkinglot, thus obstructing City Government and trapping Councilperson Nancy Pelotron's car inside the lot.

The Police Department did what they usually do, they booted the offending vehicle when they found there was no tow truck available that could move the thing and Officer Popinjay went to speak with the man.

"Now Bobby, please stop blocking the Government," said the officer.

"I WANT MY WALL AND I AM PREPARED TO BLOCK GOVERNMENT FOR MONTHS. FOR YEARS EVEN! AND FURTHERMORE I AM GOING TO HOLD MY BREATH UNTIL I TURN BLUE!"

"Hold your breath, I do not care, but people are suffering. Mrs. Grimoire cannot get to the restroom. We can't get equipment to tow this thing for a week; all the big haulers are up in Butte County right now."

"I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS. I WANT MY BIG BEAUTIFUL WALL AND I WANT IT NOW. THOSE MEXICANS CAN PAY FOR IT, TOO!"

"I was born in this country, as was my father," Mr. Oliveira said. "And my grandfather came from Venezuela, not Mexico."

"SAME DIFFERENCE!", shouted Baby Bobby.

"Ahhh, tu ese loco y sucio!" said Mr. Oliveira.

And so it went, degenerating into an atavistic melee of recriminations and epithets until Officer Popinjay stomped away in disgust.

On the weekend before Martin Luther King's birthday, Pahrump and Little Adam planned to take a walk up White's Hill, but the heavens opened up and they took the bus to Fairfax where the Scoop had opened up after the holidays. The Scoop had been serving home-made ice cream since the 1960's under the paper mache cow and it was the best ice cream in the entire Bay Area. There were only a few customers on that cold, rainy day, so Pahrump and Adam sat inside and ate their lavendar mint ice cream while watching people hurry by in the period downpours.

"You remember that Brother, Mr. King?" Adam asked Pahrump.

"'deed I do," Pahrump said. "Those were mighty days."

"What was he like?"

Pahrump thought for a bit, licking his spoon.

"Well, he was a hero who did not want to be a hero. He was a man of god, but not a man of doctrine. He led millions, but avoided pride. And I am afraid we shall not see his like again."

"He do much for your people?"

"Who? People on the Rez? Pyramid Lake?"

"All the Indians."

"My friend, anybody who speaks out against injustice and in the name of love speaks for all men, all peoples. Red, Black, White and Yellow. Nobody is free until the last slave walks in the sun."

And so the two sat there, the Native American and the young Black man, watching as all the White people rushed by outside the windows.

On the Island there was a Block Party held on Grand Street and everybody came except for Mr. Howitzer who ordered Dodd to close drapes as Mrs. Stinson stepped to the middle of the road where the yellow lines were and shook the hand of Luther, owner of the Pampered Pup, for it was symbolic in that each remembered back in the day when a Black was not allowed to cross Grand Street to the East End. If anyone did so, if only to go to the Paramount for a movie, the police would collect them and bring them back to the West End. And so it had been for years until the days of the Civil Rights Movement and Rev. Martin Luther King.

The surviving members of the band The Monkey Spankers kicked up and Luther danced in the street with Jacqueline until another rain squall hit and the children scattered around them like multicolored petals from a flower bouquet to the tents. Yes there is much work still to be done, but much work had been done already and at the cost of much blood. Much by a man who had been afraid of death, but not afraid of becoming a martyr.

...

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.

 


JANUARY 6, 2019

LET IT RAIN, LET IT POUR, LET IT RAIN A WHOLE LOT MORE

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.

WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS

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.

NOTHING CHANGES ON NEW YEARS DAY

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

WANDER THIS WORLD

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.

WHATS GOING ON

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.

IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER

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.

 

 

 

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Past Poodleshoots


The Sierras
CAMPING IN THE HIGH SIERRA


Audio & Podcasts

NEWS FROM THE ISLAND
NYE 2013

NEWS FROM THE ISLAND
NYE 2010



Blast Off!
FLYOVER PODCAST

Part 1- Take Off

Part 2-The Red Lever


santa (21K)
2008 Holiday Podcast

Part One

Part Two


2006 Shoot
2006 Poodleshoot Audio Clip


City Arts
& Lectures

hippo (4K)
Le Hippo Enragee

smallcar (2K)
The Stealth Turn


Local People

Jim Kitson
Jim Kitson Memorial

high sierra org
Mike's Found Box of Rare Photos @ High Sierra Org

scrawl

modmuse (9K)

BLOGGING BAYPORT
Lauren Do

ALAMEDA PATCH

 

carport (9K)
The Carport Orchestra


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