Island Life: Jan. - June, 2018

Vol. 20 Weekly News, Reviews, Music and Satire Sunday 2018


Welcome to the first half of year 2018. The year's content is split into two parts to allow easier page loading for slower browsers. Each year tends to approach the equivalent of 380 typewritten pages.

To go to the present time, click on this hyperlink: NOW!




JANUARY 7, 2017


This week's image comes from Tammy in recognition of the rains that have returned.


Hard to imagine 20 years ago when Island-Life began that we would still be at it with weekly updates two decades later. What began as an HTML project morphed into an e-zine reporting news and providing event reviews as well as multimedia entertainment, some of which can be accessed via the sidebar and also from our youtube channel.

At various times we have made some unfortunate design modifications, such as the infamously detested "floating radio", but generally we have not tampered much with the look and feel for about twelve years or so. Still Time does what it does and all things are fated to mutation, like it or not. The parents get grey, enfeebled, and find it difficult to get around anymore. The children that scampered after the yellow school bus get jobs, lives of their own, families of their own.

At the holiday dinner, there are empty seats now where people we used to know laughed and told stories. New faces appear with stories of their own. The new year came and went and all up and down the block the xmas trees, some still clinging to ribbons of tinsel, wait beside the blue and green pickup-bins.

Come to think of it, we did not hear anything about our Island tap-dancing Xmas trees which have been visiting the White House each year for a while. Perhaps the present incumbent does not appreciate such frivolity.

So it goes with Island-Life. Time wounds all heals, and the stool at the bar where Old Schmidt used to sit is now vacant and will not be occupied by the old guy ever again. Changes are coming and Chad has been down in the subterranean lab bustling about with modifications to the masthead.

Have no fear; there will not be another version of the floating radio and most of the characters will soldier on. Ms. Morales will continue to teach the poetry of Emily Dickenson, Percy will continue to pilot his magnificent two-toned brown and beige 1929 Mandeville coupe with Madeline by his side, Marvin's Merkins (put a merkin in your firkin!) will not declare bancruptcy, Wootie Kanootie will tend his moose herd forever more, Suan will continue to work the pole at the Crazy Horse, and Denby will most likely never ever get lucky on Valentine's Day, while Mr. Howitzer will continue to raise the rents on everybody.

The sound of the train horn far across the water keened across the estuary and died between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

JUNE 24, 2018




The Island-Life sabbatical will take place next week so there will be no issue. If sufficient staff survive the exercise, then we will pick up again in July after the American Independence Day.

Of course, given the troubles with the Mafia and general bad luck, anything can happen.

Marin and Sonoma are famous for many things. Petaluma is also famous for being the arm-wrestling capitol for the world, put on the map by none other than Charles Schulz who until the recent fires owned a home there, and also hosting the annual Ugliest Dog in the World contest. Many have tried, but few are chosen.

An English bulldog from Minnesota noted for her low-hanging tongue and spectacular underbite is the world's ugliest dog. Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old rescue from Anoka, won the 30th annual "World's Ugliest Dog" contest Saturday night in Petaluma, California.

Her owners, Megan and Jesse Brainard, won a massive pink trophy, $1,500, and a donated prize match for Underdog Rescue.

Zsa Zsa defeated 13 other dogs in this year's contest. Each contestant received a gift basket and a custom pet tag for their efforts.

In our heart of hearts, we always felt Minnesota has held something special. Now we know for sure.

Both Marin and Novato sent out Nixle alerts for a Red Flag Warning about the temperatures as we slid into the weekend. For Pride Weekend, temps hovered in the 90's in the City and spiked to 98 across the Bay, while triple digits were felt in the Valley, but even tho humidity remained about 15% the heat was less than anticipated and soon gave way on Sunday to moderate temps and cool breezes. Roving patrols kept tabs on the Oakland Hills and the ever vigilant CalFire monitored Sonoma and Marin grasslands.

Grass fires popped up all over the East Bay, but were contained after each consumed 40 acres a piece in Contra Costa, Livermore, San Ramon, and Sonoma.

If you think it is hot where you live, you just might be right.

A new report says several of the hottest cities in America — reside right here in the Golden State. With parts of California seeing temperatures reach the 90s and 100s this week, it was only appropriate that five of them were listed among the nation's 50 warmest cities, according to the financial news and opinion site 24/7 Wall St.

The report said Sacramento, Stockton, Redding, Fresno and Bakersfield are some of the hottest cities, with Bakersfield being the warmest in California. All cities reported average temps over 73 degrees and highs above 115.

The ranking of "city" was not discussed, for we are aware that towns in the Imperial valley regularly experience above ground temperatures exceeding 130 degrees, not including Death Valley.



No comedy or satire this issue. Just straightforward angry reporting. There will be no Island-Life issue next week. It is once again time for the annual Islandlife sabbatical and some needed medical procedures.



So anyway. Once Denby got out of the San Rafael jail where he had been sent on account of taking part in Javier's birthday once again, he rested a while and then travelled by bus and ferry over to the Island to visit his old friend Edwin who had taken ill. Edwin had been one to contend with the Angry Elf some time ago, as Edwin had felt, perhaps foolishly, that the Island should not harbor drug dealers and thugs as a matter of course.

The Angry Elf had tried to enlist Edwin in his gang of thieves so as to take advantage of his computer expertise, but Edwin had recoiled with revulsion when he had learned of the Elf's true objectives.

As a result of Edwin's rejection, the Angry Elf had responded according to his character and absence of humanity. He had sworn that he would "make Edwin sorry," and had stomped off to make his plans.

The Angry Elf is a name that developed out of a movie starring Will Farrell, featuring a cameo performance by Richard Dinklater, an Oscar winner for his performance in The Station Agent.

In that movie with Will Farrell, Richard Dinklater had performed as an abusive children's book author who beats up the sweetly innocent character presented by Farrell.

The man called The Angry Elf, although not a true dwarf, is a man of diminiture stature and nasty disposition who freely confessed to running drugs for the Mob in Brooklyn and informing on a number of former friends whom he considered extremely stupid. He is subject to rages similar to that portrayed by Dinklater in the movie, hence his nickname.

His real name is Neal and he operates a loose affiliation of thugs, shoplifters, racketeers, arsonists, drug runners, and ID theft processors in the East Bay where he wound up after the Mob made it hot for him in Brooklyn.

He still owns a three story brownstone in Brooklyn, purchased with drug money.

When Denby arrived at Edwin's new apartment on the Island he found a place that was scattered with the signs of someone dealing with injury and ill health. An ice machine for bathing wounds was on the counter. Bottles of Percocet and Morphone littered the banquet.

Edwin was laid up with his leg in an immobilizer brace. He had gained by the look of him some 80 pounds.

The Angry Elf gang had made good on the promise to hurt him by breaking into his old apartment every single day for about nine months. They had ransacked his carefully tended file cabinets, run through all his personal dresser drawers, raided the refridgerator, and thoroughly upended every privat space, cabinet, drawer and cabinet they could find.

During this process, Edwin began gaining weight, his blood pressure went to 160/110 on a permanent basis, he began having spells of violent vomiting and extreme agitation, and his physician scratched his head as his CBC test results indicated wild liver abnormalities.

Because of extreme mood swings his 20 year relationship with a woman came to an end. He could not stand to hurt her any more, so he told her he was sleeping with someone else even though he wasn't.

People around him thought he was going crazy, but no.

When the Building Manager did an inspection of the Angry Elf's apartment while looking for the cause of leak that turned out to be coming from the unit next door on the third floor, he noticed large mason jars of powder and pills that turned out to be prednisone.

He had been healthy as a horse until after the Angry Elf swore he would make Edwin sorry.

The Angry Elf had wanted Edwin to be part of his gang on account of Edwin's skillset.

Gonna move into the numbers business, personal numbers like social security and credit cards. Nobody can trace where they go. No goods to be found on you if you get searched. I need a guy who knows computers. Capeche?

Edwin had told Neal in no uncertain terms to go eff himself.

You better not say that again, Neal had said.

Eff off. And eff off some more, Edwin said.

All right I know some nasty, cruel people. I am gonna make you sorry, Neal said, sounding more and more like James Cagney in the movie Public Enemy Number One.

Thats when the mysterious break-ins started occurring, day after day, going on for months. All of his filing cabinets and drawers were repeatedly ransacked. The bank started calling about strange charges in other states and he noticed wierd charges on the credit cards. Edwin started getting sick, vomiting, sweating, unable to sleep and then getting alternatively excessively drowsy, listless. His emotions roller-coastered to extreme highs followed by radical depression. He figured there was something wrong with the food in the fridge so he threw it all out, but still kept milk and some condiments in the trays.

He started eating only stuff out of cans and ramen noodles, and started gaining weight even though he was eating less. Sometimes he did not finish the canned stew and put the leftovers in the fridge, but this did not seem to work and he got sick again. His doc at Kaiser put him through a number of blood tests and found liver function abnormalities as well as kidney problems. His doc wanted to know if he was drinking hard liquor but he wasn't.

All this time he was getting wierd hang-up phone calls night and day so he turned off the ringer and stopped answering the phone, letting the machine take the calls.

That is when the door started opening around the corner as he sat in the reading chair. He would stand up and shout, "who is there!" and the door would slam shut.

Basically, the Angry Evil was systematically terrorizing and poisoning Edwin to death; drugs remained Neal's final recourse to revenge. Terror was his main weapon in all dealings with all people.

Edwin did go to the police, but each time he called and each time he visited, cops on the Angry Elf's payroll intercepted the contacts.

"I thought he hated you because you are German," said Denby.

"I am not German," said Edwin. "Exclusively."

"Everybody thought you were," said Denby.

"Because I spoke Deutsch? Wo schua putong whya," said Edwin. "Je parle aussi Francaise. Does this make me Chinese? Or Canadian? Just because I speak a language? People are stupid and looking for another Guy Falkes effigy to burn all the time. They are just looking for demons on which to offload their own guilt. Just look at the current rage against refugees."

"So what are you?"

"I am hyphenated like the majority of America. My grandmother came out of Germany as a sole survivor Jew."

"You are Jewish?!"

"A genuine German-Jew. One whose family fought against Hitler from the beginning until only my Oma was left alive."

"Neal does not know this. . . ".

"Of course not. He is a sociopath filled with rage against all of humanity and is looking to blame any convenient article in his path for his own failures as a human being. And he has many failures, I can say that. Criminals like Meyer Lansky always feel personally victimized by society at large for some vague affront. And so Lansky and John Wayne Gacy go about taking "revenge" on the rest of us. And all the while people say "what a nice guy he is! He donates to the charity!"."

"What about that Japanese woman to whom Neal gave your apartment keys?"

"She was just a distraction looking for personal info they could sell on the Dark Web. Its his style to get a flunky to do the obvious work so that if ever there was an investigation, she would be the one to take the hit. "

"So are you sorry about saying "eff you" to this scumbag?"."

"Not a bit. So many people came up to me afterwards to say thank you. They said T------f needs to be told 'eff you' more often."

"So why don't they do it? Did you not ask them?"

"Of course. They said they are afraid of T------f."

"I am surprised to hear you mention his name. Usually we just call him the Angry Elf."

"I am a dead man. The poison he has given me will kill me. He has broken the one promise he made to everybody -- he has committed murder. There is nothing else he can do to me. Soon I will be dead and this curse will fall upon his family: may nothing they plant ever flower. May all his family's seeds wither and his line pass into oblivion with only the soiled family name to echo after him."

"You know in this industry of Art we do not mention names. Ever. That is a crime with us. We do not do that."

"I hear so much about law and crime and nothing about the crimes done to me. Fuck T------f's name. He soiled his family's name when he first went into dealing drugs in Brooklyn and he destroyed it by way of murder. Murder is supposed to be the Capital crime, never mind the crimes of which I supposedly was accused by nameless accusers, vague accusations that had no basis. This man has committed murder many times over. I die pronouncing it."

Denby left his friend's apartment in the East End, knowing that he would not come back again to this haunted place. The Island had become dangerous, reptilian. An overpopulated place fraught with danger. It had ceased being a refuge long ago and he looked back at the Golden City from the windows of the ferry, longing for a home that was long lost, not so much different from any refugee fleeing destruction in the land that had once been his home.

Once he descended from the bus in Silvan Acres, he saw fawns bounding off into the murky shadows, jackrabbits and scurrying things that harbored no evil. He was returned to the new place that was now home. The old one had been destroyed by an angry spirit and there is no going home again. Home is a river, always flowing, changing, undergoing mutations. You can look through the windows, but there is no egress or ingress. Home is a place enclosed by the spherical prison of Time.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay'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, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and the old Beltline property that is now a park, and die between the Edwardian house-rows while the living locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


JUNE 17, 2018


This week's image, appropriate for Father's Day, is courtesy of long-time Island Lifer CBTaylor, who is quite a talented artist living in the Gold Coast area on a street with a bunch of lunatics, a small island of sanity in herself. Some of us would like to see her do an exhibit of her work, so show the gal some love if you happen to pass through the Gold Coast in the vicinity of where Vines and the old Pagano's Hardware used to be.


A fellow died offshore here recently. A kite surfer smacked into the shallow water off shore and was pulled out by a fellow surfer who noticed something amiss. A bystander performed CPR until the ambulance arrived, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

The deceased kite surfer has been identified as Andres Caicedo, of Walnut Creek, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Office. He was 72 years young.



So anyway. It was Father's Day, or something like it. Mother's Day is sacrosanct and Kid's Day is everyday as we all know. Or have been told. Fathers get short shrift on most days and do not really have any sort of Tradition that preserves the idea of fatherhood in this country. Probably due to the Patriarchal Hegemony or something like that, which obviates any special day. Go figure.

This year the Island-Life community has been fractured by the triple duplicity of the Night of Shattered Fires, the Angry Elf gang's Nasty triumphalism, and the general divisiveness of the Country.

It was difficult to get the traditional brunch together with people now scattered from the Island, so each family handled the day according to its lights. Little Adam made a breakfast in bed, with some help from Marlene, for Andre, who had become his foster father. Together they went out for a walk in the woods of Silvan Acres, as taking a walk is pretty much all there is to do in Western Marin. There is a movie theatre in Fairfax and about two restaurants in the San Geronimo valley, and that is pretty much all there is to do for entertainment.

After lights had gone down, Andre and Little Adam sat out on the porch and listened to the coyotes come up close across the street, yipping and howling where the wild turkeys had formerly been hanging out.

Bonkers and Wickiwup barked with great enthusiasm, but the fence was kept closed against the depredations of deer and racoon, as far as such defences could suffice.

Deer in Silvan Acres were considered to be pretty much rats with antlers for they could decimate a garden in short time. Wild turkeys tore up the landscaping and so whatever the coyotes found to satisfy themselves was all right for most folks in the area. You could not shoot them, for they were considered Protected, same as the damn turkeys. But everybody wanted to.

Andre and Little Adam had a discussion about these creatures, about which the urban punk Andre knew nothing but promised to learn via Google as soon as possible. The conversation about coyotes between Adam and Andre pretty much followed the template about fathers and sons discussing mysterious things established since time immemorial.

How come they howl like that, dad?

I guess they got something to say and have no other way to say it.

I guess they must be happy or something . . .

I guess so. They are certainly happy howling like that.

Well ... what they be howling about all the time? Did they just kill a turkey?

I don't know, Adam. Coyotes just do that. Maybe out of celebration. I don't know.

I sure would like to know exactly.

You may find just walking up to a group of them and asking is not going to get you very far. Pretty much the same in the city for the same kind of folks. Which reminds me; you cannot be going about with your business about slip knives and dirty fighting here in Marin. These people are not used to that kind of thing.

Awww Andreeeeey. . . .

This place is different from West Oakland. You gotta behave around here. No more flick knives now. And no more talk about ho's and gangbangers and freaks. That has to stop. These people don't know about any of that where we come from.

Ok Andre.

In a sense, we are immigrants, come from some place pretty different. We got to blend in somehow to survive. Do better than just survival is what it is all about.

Ok Andre. Pause. You be the best dad ever.

You know I am not your real dad, Adam. But I care for you just the same.

My real dad was a skank. He threw me from the car.

Sorry about that my friend. But you know you got a home with me and Marlene wherever we go.


Adam got up and gave Andre a hug. You be the best dad ever! he said.

The sun went down and all the twilight creatures came out to wander the road and the meadow beyond. The moon was a silver sharp crescent and a single bright star burned high above it.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay'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, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and the old Beltline property that is now a park, and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the living locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


JUNE 9, 2018


This image courtesy of Carol from up north around Willits as she was taking a walk. She mentioned the lion had cubs with her, and was as a result, circumspect.

Glad all parties came out of the encounter unharmed


So anyway, Rolf has been listening to old songs on his iPod shuffle while at work and during the long arduous process of getting there by way of bicycle to bus to SF and back by bus each day. He downloaded entire concerts by Nena, Peter Maffay and Udo Lindenberg in an effort to capture some sense of positivity, for those guys in the sixties and seventies and eighties strove to find a core of happiness and centeredness amid the ruins of what had been a nation harnessed by an evil power governing long enough to cause total destruction to rain down for several generations.

Now, after the terrible Night of Shattered Fires on the Island, Rolf was living with the Household of Marlene and Andre in the north county of Marin, a foreign land with strange peoples and strange language once again a refugee. Rolph had seen his best friend shot down by the Grenzepolizei Vopos and his mother commit suicide off the Speebruecke, and had survived by his own wits as an orphaned child on the streets in the massive city of Berlin for years, so he was no stranger to hard times. Now, living in Marin, he had a chance to breath and look around him and see what was there.

Marin, it must be said, was nothing like Berlin, for Berlin housed more than five times as many people within its fabled "walls".

There is a place along the Nicasio Road where a memorial stands under the shade of an acacia tree and there Rolph was wont to go and climb up from that place where a trail passed on behind a gate to the top of the hill and look out onto what is the San Geronimo Valley and a golf course that is in much dispute, just like the bicycle bridge back home, home on the Island as he thought of it, and he would sit there and ponder things the way people do. Time was passing and he had seen much death and disarray and had nothing to show for it but memories.

He wondered about that Suan and if she was worth the effort, or even if he had any effort left in him after so many years. And so far away Suan was having similar thoughts. What if daddy found out I was taking up with a White? And a German at that. A German! Hell we fought against them and gave our lives because those Germans were worse than the Ofay at home! Hell, girl what are you thinking?!

I haves problems enough without worrying about some boy with blue eyes.

And of course all of us, wonder each day how to manage. Is not Love trouble enough with all the troubles it brings? For Pete's sake, let us consider.

That is right; we will just rationally decide what to do about Love and come to some very reasonable decisions. And it will all be decided. Yes, you just go ahead and do that.

Now that is decided, let's get on to Javier's birthday celebration.

It was early June and Javier was due for a birthday: his sixtieth. No one in Marin knew what to expect. On the Island and the East Bay, hospitals for miles in all directions stocked up on gauze, burn ointment, sutures, and made sure telemetry nurses would be available for overtime.

Meanwhile, the local ERs and hospitals had no warning something was about to happen. Something serious.

Sweet Marin had not a fucking clue what was to happen.

The gang all gathered out in the meadow with the Editor's Tree to celebrate, cautiously, Javier's birthday, for it would be today he turned sixty. It is difficult to imagine how such a rake who spent most of his life acting like a child could turn sixty quite suddenly, for it seemed only yesterday he was gamboling about like a young goat.

The Household gathered at the meadow with the Editor Tree to have a picnic to celebrate Javier's sixtieth. It is difficult to comprehend how the old guy managed to keep on galloping around like a young centaur, but here was one in whom the Latin blood remained hot as the hell to which he undoubtedly would go some day for all his sins. Just the opposite in temperament was Xavier, a good, devout, hard-working boy from Sinaloa. Then there was Jose, a well-meaning fellow who variously saved the day at times with cost to himself and variously got into trouble for no good reason because of Javier.

Occasional Quentin was there, still Occasional because he occasionally slept underneath the coffeetable when not sleeping outside. Snuffles the Bum completed the male side with the dark-haired Melinda, who was now one of Javier's girlfriends, attending as the distaff side of things. Missy Moonbeam, a neighbor who lived in one of the flatboard farmhouse-style places on the flats came over and joined them, dancing around with a swirling tie-dye skirt and long hair in braids. And Constance Washburn, coming from Lagunitas to visit her friend Beatrice got out of her car and showed them all the Solstice Dance of Stonehenge, which she had of late visited, and she got back in her car and drove away.

Martini appeared and set off some carefully tended homemade fireworks.

Jose brought out a jug of soapwater and started blowing bubbles that wafted above and through the trees and among the hummingbirds which began to flock all around with iridescent wings. Even Denby came down to play a set with his guitar before shoving off to visit a sick friend. And they were all there enjoying themselves with gallons of jug wine and grooving to the mixtapes on the boombox and generally having all of themselves a very fine time and it seemed this year nothing bad could happen with the sun shining and the trees waving and the birds doing their birdland songs and life in Marin-land did not seem so bad as usual despite its aggravations of which there are many.

And the neighbors peered from between their curtains and people chose to walk their dogs so as to have an excuse to trot on by for a good gawk at these newcomers and some thought, "It is just some old Hippie thing." They are coming back because of the same reasons they came in the firstplace - pervasive national idiocy, foolish wars with guns, and cheap drugs and encouragement to foolishness, both peaceful and otherwise. And some said, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and some younger folks groaned and said, "O, no, no, no!", feeling the whole Hippie thing had been overwrought and foisted on succeeding generations far too long, so it became a general symbol of America in these times, this Javier's Birthday, with contention and disagreement and division starting up in the livingrooms and bedrooms of the tiny hamlet of Silvan Acres.

For a long time Marin-Land has been a place where the Hippie concept has persisted in the minds and souls of many individuals who are sheltered from the economic and social realties of the world outside. The same must be said for those dour, sour, grasping individuals who have acquired too much wealth too quickly and easily such that they are able, by way of being sheltered, to infest the County with their mugwump, self-inflated opinions.

The rest of Marin-Land consists of average people just trying to pay the rent or the mortgage and see their kids survive to an age where they can fend for themselves and seek a better life elsewhere. And hopefully return to the old homestead.

Among these are scads of dog walkers -- more dogs per capita than anywhere else -- and of these dogs there are big dogs, middle dogs, small dogs, miniscule dogs, and an unfortunate number of poodles.

In short, Marin-Land is pretty much like small-town America, but with an infection of Millionaires and Billionaires.

So anyway, everybody was having a good time when a black sedan pulled up in the round-about near the willow-draped busstop and out strode a fierce-looking woman with red hair, a red tube top, a short black skirt and high heels, waving a pistol in hands well bedecked with red laquer fingernails.

"O no, it is Roxanne!" Javier said.

The first bullet wanged off of the BBQ, sending sparks into the dry grass, and the next neatly parted Jose's hair as Javier dove down and Raquel continued to shoot wildly, perforating tree limbs, chairs, ice chests, and the windows of cars parked across the street until one bullet smashed the wine jug in the hand of Snuffles, who grabbed up a branch and, this hapless, peaceable, destroyed human being, smashed the hand of Raquel to cause the gun to fly off into the grass where Jose retrieved it only to accidentally shoot himself in the foot.

Fortunately it was a .22 caliber.

"How the hell could you have enraged women in Marin so quickly?" asked Martini.

"Things just happen," Javier said, underneath a table.

Meanwhile a small grass fire had started to smolder, sending black plumes upward.

"Tu la Puta!" shouted Raquel in the face of Melinda, who responded by grabbing the hair of Raquel and kneeing her in the stomach. This resulted in Raquel throwing a number of roundhouse punches to the side of Melinda and the entire affair soon descending into an atavistic orgy of violence. Missy Moonbeam, in protest of this horrid violence, tore off all of her clothes. Mavis Mudge, stopped to exclaim, "All of you are interfering with my Bliss!" She then called the Sheriff, among a number of others, who soon arrived in several cars with flashing lights for this being the greatest crime that had ever happened in Silvan Acres, and everyone was promptly arrested for indecent exposure, arson, and reckless endangerment.

The Island-Life Editor came out and saw his entire staff being loaded into paddy wagons and ambulances and realized that once again, due to Javier's birthday, the issue would be delayed.

The sun sank behind the hills as a local cold front moved on to assail other states to the East and cause a different sort of misery. The new Editor faced out into the hillside of his place where wild turkeys moved in the faded light. "Lord, how did I ever wind up in such a charmed and benighted placed?" But God says nothing back; I told you so.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay'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, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and the old Beltline property that is now a park, and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the living locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


JUNE 3, 2018


This mural is is the Gold Coast and is supplied by the artist named Carol. Actually the wall presents Korean, not Japanese, but we suspect the sentiment is similar. There is a big Falun Gong collection of expatriots that live on the Island. As will all Dissenters of Peace, they are most welcome to our community.


Tuesday is Primary election day in eight states around the Union, which feels less and less unionized than fractured and divided these days. California has a smattering of Statewide Propositions plus a few regional measures, but we suspect serious proponents are reserving efforts for the big Kahuna in November. Feinstein refuses to retire, so we have her once again in a position difficult to dislodge because her seniority grants the State a lot of perks in Congress. Newsome seems a shoe-in if it were not for the plethora of Democratic idiots who plan on splitting the vote to a dangerous extreme that just might result in two lousy Republicans running against each other because of the wacky ranked-choice voting system here. If that happens, pity the fool that wins in a solidly Blue state. He will be pilloried unmercifully until he creeps home each day to cry in his stale beer.

There is no Arnold to step up to the plate this time. Cox is a fool and frankly we cannot remember the other guy's name. It really is up to Newsome or that guy from LA, which makes more sense as a sort of North\South contest, which has been the hallmark of politics in the Golden State for some 500 years. Certainly before the Americans came and pretended to know about everything.

We are not going to present a cheat sheet or a roster of recommendations this time, as we hope to be better prepared in November. For the Big Kahuna.

Voters head to the polls in California, Montana, Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota on Tuesday.

We will say that organizers to whom we have spoken feel there is a new energy in places that were consider ed hopeless losses with no possiblity of an ice cube in hell of anything progressive happening now showing promise. Continuous murders of children in schoolrooms seems to have had a large effect as well as the grandiose manner of the Commander in Thief.


So anyway, all the schools held graduations, ejecting the youth into the damaged environment ruled by their elders. At Island High, Mr. Lithgow stood there during the entire ceremony with a garden hose, a bucket, and gloves, ready for any Senior prank that may announce the memorable qualities of the Class of 2018. He also had the foresight to arrange a switch that would cut electrical power to the entire area. As in years past he and Sister Profundity from the Church and Pastor Milque 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.

Lisa Cornatis was the Valedictorian and the class let her get through the majority of her speech which began something like, "I am Lisa, chosen to be the Valedictorian for the Class of 2018. Valedictorian comes from the Latin Vale, which can be both a greeting and a farewell. It is fitting that today, as we bid farewell to comrades, teachers, the school that housed us, lovers and friends, we also welcome the new life that awaits. Vale to this new life, new jobs and new friends and new careers, I say with lifting hope that soars like a bird above our trouble land . . . ".

It was quite a nice speech, but towards the end, as Lisa said, "So my fellow students, as this commencement ends, curious reversal of meanings, yes?, let us welcome our new lives by saying 'vale civitatus, vale . . .". Suddenly from among the bleachers arose flocks of pigeons, doves, starlings, and balloons. They appeared out of nowhere, as it seemed, coming from underneath hundreds of gowns. Someone opened a cage beneath the bleachers, letting loose a flock of thousands of bats among the audience, which cause a fair amount of consternation. As the Director asked that grads please refrain from tossing their caps into the air, the grads all to a man, woman and animal did exactly that.

The affair dissolved into cacophany quickly after that.

In the Old Same Place Bar there was some consternation and mixed joy. People celebrated at Ireland's Dublin Castle on Saturday, May 26, after it was announced that voters in the country had decided to repeal the Eighth Amendment, which bans abortion unless there is a "real and substantial risk" to the mother's life. Naturally there were divisions of opinion on the subject, for this concerned Ireland and Ireland is never considered without divisions of opinon.

Padraic stomped around in great disgust and Dawn stomped around in great joy for all the liberation that was in it and it fell to Suzie to say, for goodness sake would you please.

Well, that is how it was and so we shall leave that untender scene to further developments.

"The pope now, the pope if he came would be horrified," said Padraic.

"Ah you oughta hold on to them two engines between your legs," Dawn said. "Govern what belongs to ya or cut it away!"

"For goodness sake and goodness sake," Suzie said. "Please hold the peace."

Papoon, the Somewhat Liberal candidate was sitting at the bar with Babar, the Highly Conservative candidate who always wore two pairs of pants. "It is not like the old days, my friend," Babar said sadly.

"No, it is not," agreed Papoon. "We do not have two parties any more, but a plethora of idiots in contention."

The two of them looked over to where Billy Felcher of the Pee Tardy Party was pounding the table for emphasis. "Everyone must pay their own way!" he shouted. "No more entitlements!"

"What do you think of that fellow," Papoon said.

"I find his style jejune," Babar said. "And his general behavior reprehensible."

"As for the immigrant kids," Felcher said. "Bring back waterboarding. Then send them back on their own dime! Put them in a factory workhouse making parts for American cars like Ford, GM and Audi!"

The moon arose and poll workers at ROV slaved into the wee hours.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay's well-matriculated hills and slid over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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

MAY 28, 2018


Now is the season when the Golden State flower erupts everywhere. Here is part of an entire hillside strewn with golden poppies announcing the Summer with fanfare.


Latterly the discussion among folks who care how the news media that used to be the goto place for what is going on has turned into a compendium of relentless obsessives insisting on telling us what the news means.

Fox News, of course, has always been a heavily slanted network oriented to pushing a message or messages in support of what used to be called Conservative causes. CNN has shifted from the org that used to provided dispassionate reportage to a place that worries the Trump whatever like a terrier refusing to let go of a favorite bone, letting real and important stories swirl down the drain. Other news is out there besides Trump, and even though this would surprise Trump and even though his spirit might have engendered the shocking deficiencies in Federal government now outstanding, the world is not all about Trump and Russia.

Trump is clearly at war with truth and news media reportage in particular. One way to parry that thrust is to shove aside reporting every single shocking tweet the man sends. Just ignore him and he will vaporize like bee pee on cigarette paper. He is going to be outrageous. He will continue to say loud outrageous things. But these things do not matter. Get to the Russian thing when the thing has something to report and stop obsessing.

Fox has successfully turned CNN into the anti-FOX network which now issues homilies that are just as stuffed pious as the Fox excreta to the point that people now say, "well it looks like they are all a devil's bargain with the truth and we can trust nobody now". Which is precisely the agenda FOX has in mind.

In local news, it is interesting to note that Marin officials were "clearing out" a homeless encampment recently because of reports of attacks along a hiking trail, an encampment which already had been "cleared out" from another location. At the same time we observe dispassionately the "clearing out" once again of another encampment at the Union Point Park. Lauren Do has a blog entry on the subject and the curious hypocrisy involved wherein people who otherwise would consider themselves "liberal" enthusiastically support eviction of hapless individuals.

Now the housing situation has gotten to obscene proportions, with the rents the way they are exceeding all boundaries of humanity, forcing people to live in tent cities, resulting in numerous shoving piles of humanity around without finding any resolution to the problem.


So anyway. The Season advanced with a profusion of poppies everywhere. On every corner, every plot, scads of golden poppies waved their crowns. Up on Bear Lake in Minnesota, the Cadillac parked on the ice had broken through amid many wagers. No one was sure what happened to these cars that year after year had been left out on the frozen lake surface only to plunge into the murky depths when the weather had warmed enough to soften the crust. Some said that it was Karl Krepsbach of Karl's Pretty Good Garage that used a tow truck and cables to haul them out to be disposed of properly, ever mindful of environmental concerns, but then, few people cared and for all we know there exists a pile of decades worth of Cadillacs and coupe de villes that sit there on the lake bottom, ready to proffer some kind of puzzle to archeology students thousands of years hence.


It got windy on the Island this past week, which led to some sultry air as the weekend approached. Reports of chill temps, rain and overcast skies coming from Tahoe kept people home this Memorial Day weekend.

The usual lot gathered out at the toy airplane field near Mt. Trashmore on Bay Farm Island. The WWII vets wore their caps announcing this or that ship which had sailed. The Choisin Few wore their jackets. Nammies wore their rags provided as was the manner of discharge.

Gulf war vets wore clean and neatly pressed camo fatigues.

Each age has its warriors because each age suffers the indignity of politicians starting another conflict that vainly promises to end all wars. Meanwhile our sons and daughters, friends and neighbors march off to die for another cause determined by people who have nothing to lose. Then, in the last days of May, the flags all fly at half mast to celebrate the ones who died and preserve the Past. Taps blew and guys made speeches. In the end, nothing would bring back those who had been found fallen where they lay. Some intact and some not. And no stupid speech of false gratitude from people who never risked anything at all in their lives will recompense those losses.

The Editor's brother did not go to any of these for the male bonding and the camaraderie. He had never felt a part of the Navy, but some kind of lugnut stuck in a vast apparatus that had its own creaky momentum, an apparatus stuffed with stupid orders and rules and nonsensical procedures to follow. He remembered the '67 fire that killed so many as a FUBAR operation. All that live ordinance, massive disorganization, and the pilots flying 150 missions in a matter of hours meant something was bound to happen.

Denby stood out in the yard as night fell, thinking about Johnny and Joe who both signed up underage. Joe got discovered and sent back with a summary discharge with no recognition after seeing combat and surviving. No recognition meant no wall, no pension, no acknowledgment of having served in the Corps.

Johnny was not so lucky. He went out on point at Ap Ba and was gunned down after calling out "VC on the trail!".

Raymond, who lived across the street, existed in a bureaucratic limbo after being killed in Vietnam, until family pressure earned his name placement on the Memorial Wall.

That is the nature of that Vietnam conflict, that families have to argue and pressure and persuade to have their fallen sons memorialized.

Then came the last days of May. The Editor's son remembers. So does Denby. The Editor himself remains absent for comment. Parades and flags and salutes happen everywhere and there is always so much gratitude. When it's peace it is we, we, we, but when the bullets fly, it becomes me, me, me. So quoth the officer who drove Admiral Nimitz around in a limo as the man went slowly mad. And that officer now reclines with bones dissolving because of being made to stand on watch as the Bikini A-bomb exploded.

Next time you pick a war to resolve political issues, send your own family into the morass and sure enough, it will turn out different.

As the nearly full moon rose, Denby stood in the glade with the Editor Tree while all around him swirled the images of memory that were now History. These images, however were those of people he had known. The fog crept over the ridge beyond and he recalled Johnny saying how he wanted to be respected as a super hero. So that is why he volunteered that fateful day to go out on point at Ap Ba. Now after years and years and conflict after conflict there still was war in all of its ugliness and greed. And the mist rose up around Denby's feet as if to embrace him by some power that still possessed empathy.

This is really the thing to think about each Decoration Day: how can we stop the old ones from starting another foolish war so that we can grieve without interruption our losses from the last one that was finished only a short while ago. Until then we must tell our children, "Do not heed the call-up."

It's up to you, not to heed the call up
And you must not act, the way you were brought up
Who knows the reasons, why you have grown up?
Who knows the plans or why they were drawn up?

It's up to you, not to heed the call up
I don't want to die
It's up to you, not to hear the call up
I don't want to kill

For he who will die
Is he who will kill?
Maybe I want to see the wheatfields
Over Kiev and down to the sea

(Chorus 2)

All the young people down the ages
They gladly marched off to die
Proud city father used to watch them
Tears in their eyes

(Chorus 2)

For he who will die
Is he who will kill?

There is a rose, that I want to live for
Although, God knows, I may not have met her
There is a dance and I should be with her
There is a town, unlike any other

It's up to you not to hear the call up
And you must not act, the way you were brought up
Who gives you work, why should you do it?
At fifty five minutes past eleven, there is a rose

It's up to you not to hear the call up (x2)
I don't want to die
There is a rose, that I want to live for
It's up to you not to hear the call up

The Clash

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay's well-matriculated hills and slid over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


MAY 20, 2018


Actually this image is of a sunset along the Strand as captured by our Island-Life photog Tammy. The masts of ships moored in the Marina beyond Crab Cove can be seen clearly outlined in front of the famous fogbank.


Some of you may know there is a Primary election coming up. VBM folks already got theirs so if you want yours on June 5, start checking out the voter guides out there. One good one was drawn up by the folks in Lala land Hollywood. Do not laugh. That place hosts now some 32 million folks so there are definitely power brokers in action. Go to
to get some help on explaining things.

What is our take on the Propositions? Pretty much yes on all of them. Either there is no argument against any one of them or the people opposed are the usual cranks who would obstruct anything simply on principle. Hate to summarize a log of verbiage, but really that is what it all amounts to. All of the Props are good ideas and most of them bipartisan agreements.

As for State and district offices, the way the country is now, it is all decided anyway. Why argue? We do not personally like Feinstein, but look at what is facing her in this day and age. There remains the big cahuna the main election in November, so Gavin can coast up to that contest for Governator.

Hey, remember the last time we elected a Republican Gropenator? Did not go over so well did it. He had to go hat in hand begging to DC which snubbed him royally. Then there was forgettable Pete Wilson before him. Do not forget these things, people of the Golden State.

One driver was arrested and another 21 drivers were cited during a DUI checkpoint in Marin County. The checkpoint, which took place on De Long Avenue and Redwood Boulevard, also nabbed a Petaluma resident wanted on an outstanding warrant, police said.

Police said more than 1,600 vehicles went through the checkpoint.

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, other expenses that can exceed $10,000.

In Novato Police responded to reports of gunshots only to discover that the noise was produced by a fellow trying to tune the carburetors in his truck which began to backfire. Clearly these folks have not lived in the East Bay.

NOTICE: we have started getting Nixle alerts so expect to get more reportage in succeeding issues of Island-Life.


So anyway. Denby got called to the new Island-Life offices in Silvan Acres and the new Editor was wroth.

What is up with all this stuff, Mister! Poodleshoots and crossings to Hell and back, this Percy running about in an expensive antique car with a naked woman, and some character named Euphonia who apparently drowned in the Bay amid most strange circumstances and nobody went to look for her!

Ah, yes Euphonia, I remember her well, poor soul. Everyone treated here just like a machine . . . .

She WAS a machine! Nevermind. That was in 2013. Now we have this thing called Javier's Birthday coming up and I am worried about Liability issues here. It seems people always get severely injured on this event.

That is correct. If I were you I would consider a brief visit to Tenerife, the Canary Islands, or someplace equally as remote. For your health.

Bosh and poppycock! This is all rubbish! I have to rebuild some kind of news organization here and what do I have to work with, but a bunch of nincompoops, incompetents, ne'er do wells and punks!

That about sums it up, I would agree, Denby said amiably.

This is insupportable and I will enforce discipline upon this motley crew!

You know, you are a lot like your brother . . . .

Nonsense! I hate you!. That is what they said back then, but there is one important difference -- my brother was a Marine and I shall be Navy until the day they drag my rotten carcass into some kind of rotten grave. We are different, no matter what my mother ever said. Or anybody else. Where is the scotch kept around here?

Uh, whatever, Denby said. I think I would look in the lower left hand drawer of that desk. . . .

After this experience Denby went out into the Glad to face the Editor Tree. It was a breezy evening with all the branches stirring and the air getting chill. Mists began their descent through the vales and ravines that surrounded the valley that enclosed Silvan Acres.

Pahrump joined him along with Javier and Martini with a jug of cheap wine. They all sat there in the glade as the sun went down behind the ridgetop.

Denby stood up and approached the tree.

Any chance of you coming back? Like sometime in the future maybe?

The wind blew and the branches tossed, but other than the sound of wind there was no audible response. It was hard to tell if the agitation of the tree was caused by the wind or something else and Denby did not know what it meant, if anything.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay's well-matriculated hills and slid over the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


MAY 13, 2018


Marin is full of roadside curiosities. Here we have a simple memorial arranged beside someone's driveway. No idea who John T. Pell was, but we do know he served 4 years in the Air Force and was originally from Clinton, IA. You could do worse than have a memorial that refreshes the local kids on a hot day.


So anyway. The transplanted Household of Marlene and Andre, which had relocated to Marin, got together with residents of the Island who still held on against the filty stream of greed and venality at the old Mama's Royal Cafe in Oaktown.

Suzie with Dawn, along with Amy Holliday, Gilberto Ameida with with his mother, Marvin of Marvin's Merkins (Put a Merkin in your Firkin!) with his mother, Ms.Light who worked with Larry Larch as part of Pushy People Anonymous (PPA) was there with Rolfy the terrier and her mother, and from the transplanted community there appeared Tipitina alone, Sally, Marlene with Andre, and Sarah, who had children but none of whom showed up. Marlene got breakfast in bed, served by Little Adam because she pretty much fills the mother role for the guy these days, but she showed up with Andre and Little Adam.

The gals at Mama's shoved a couple tables together to accomodate them all and they promised to be quick in and out on account of the special day that was Mother's Day all over the place and the line to get in went almost around the block. But brunch at Mama's Royal Cafe is a kind of Oaktown Tradition and been so since 1974.

LIttle Adam was all amazed about the attention being paid to Mothers everywhere.

That's because she is the one that brought you into the world, Mrs. Light said over her elegant pince nez. Her silver hair had a touch of blue tint.

O heck no, LIttle Adam said. My real mom be a skanky ho' doin' meth and X all the time and bein' crunk. Marlene be the best.

Adam, don't talk about your old mom, Andre said.

Awww. She be crackhead threw me in the street. And you be dope more than that wanksta. Glad he gone bye bye Felicia.

Let's change the subject, Marlene said.

And so how is school, said Mrs. Light, with the understanding there were a few issues here.

He is doing very well, Marlene said proudly. He has been tutoring some of the kids in math.

That is a sign of strength and high intelligence, said Mrs. Light.

Yeah, I got Nilo to stop punching the walls of his room, Adam said.

Must be hard on the furnishings, said Mrs. Light.

Nah, his room walls be cinderblock. But he wasn't paying no attention. And he kept beating up the other kids; he was gonna get throwed out. I said, Nilo you like going from school to school all the time? What about the friends you never see again? You gotta stop that. Its no fun always bein' on the outside.

The best education is to be a good example, said Mrs. Light. That is, she said in a creaky voice, the real OC.

What? said Adam, Marlene and Andre simultaneously.

I mean, said Mrs. Light, you gave him the four one one. That is good. Now then, what about the Almeida family? What is going on my dear Gilberto and how are the chickens about whom I have heard so much . . . ?

The chickens were going great guns, but as it turned out during conversation many who had lived all their lives on the Island were finding the changes and the land greed becoming more and more onerous. Then there was the problem of the Angry Elf gang causing intermittent misery. Families who had maintained businesses for three generations were packing up and leaving. The ones who still remained asked about life in the country of Chief Marin and were told it was not so great on account of high prices, higher rents, unreasonable people, ill-stocked stores and few advantages other than Beauty. There, the Northern counties held a clear advantage.

On the Island the Disputed Bicycle Bridge had faded in memory in favor of the Disputed Bicycle Paths, which provided sufficient acrimony and entertainment for all those who observed the shenanigans. The road along the Strand had become so congested with obstacles by way of favoring bicycles and pedestrians with concrete-guarded impediments that many figured it was all part of the master plan to make it impossible to drive at all down there, and so force the fast-moving yuppies to move away and everyone else to take to two wheels.

Well, said Mrs. Light, I shall have to dust off my old Raleigh with the training wheels to get about. Perhaps I can also get a terrier to pull me along with the basket loaded with groceries.

Rolphy, laying under the table, barked at this notion.

Mrs. Almeida thought that an intriguing idea, but perhaps with her children set in harness instead of a terrier.

Finally a good use for children before they can earn their keep, said Mrs. Light.

The brunch was a great success and the gang was happy to be reunited with old friends and catch up on what had been happening since the terrible Night of Broken Fire on the Island.

So anyway the phone rang at Denby's place. He had found lodgings apart from the others underneath the house of a woman who specialized in clearing houses and landscapes of vermin by way of humane, organic means.

Denby? Denby? This is your mother Denby. I am surprised you picked up the phone. You are not well? That is not surprising. I remember how you used to spit out your oatmeal when you were smaller. You used to be a lot smaller, Denby. Now look at you. Have you weighed yourself recently? Have you talked to your doctor about the things I mentioned. Of course you have not. You never payed the slightest attention to my good advice, And I have given you much of it.

I know mom. You gave me a lot.

Well you do not sound very grateful. After all I carried you for nine months and six days and then there was the labor lasting 12 hours. It was almost like you did not want to leave!

Mom you told me that story before.

It is so nice and warm up in there where you were and I held you so safe protected from gangsters and all the trouble you seem to have found since leaving my nice warm, furry . . . .

Mom, okay now. It is a little wierd.

A little wierd? Sonny I am your mother. I wiped your chin chinny chin and I wiped your popo while your father . . .

Okay mom.

Okay mom! Okay is not okay. You were not even going to call me I can just feel it.

Mom it is nearly midnight here.

Okay so it is a bit early the day beforemaybe for you. But not for me. Denby I am not getting any younger you know. I will not be around forever. One day I will be dead and under the ground and the leaves will blow across my unkempt plot there in Colma and I am sure no one will come to visit or call and I will be the loneliest dead mother that ever there was . . .

Mom stop crying, I will come visit you.

O! And when will that be . . .

I meant when you are dead . . .

WHAT?!?! My son refuses to see me until I am dead and gone?! Aaahhhhhhhhh!!!

Okay mom, what is this really about?

Well, since you mentioned it, there was the mysterious shadow on the xray the doctor did recently and then there is Abigail -- remember Abigail? - is having a potluck and she is having the Halvorsens over -- remember the Halvorsens from Minnesotta? and their darling daughter Ruby who got a degree from either Stanford or Midwestern I cannot remember which, but she was always so cute with that haircut . . .

Now that you mention it, Denby said, I think Ruby does not care so much for men.

What do you mean by that Denby?

I mean that Ruby prefers the company of women, mom.

Well okay be that way. Just throw a monkeywrech into the obstruction why don't you. Here I am trying to work up something with the help of Ruby's mom for her and you and there you go as you always do causing some kind of monkeywrench and here I am having worked my fingers to the bone providing for you and wiping your popo and you going out in your halloween costume with no clothes on underneath -- don't you find that embarassing?

Now that you bring it up again, yes. You had my pants in the washer at the time as I recall.

Now don't go changing the subject. It was embarrassing and that is what is important. Anyway I want you to come to the potluck and see your cousins.

And see Ruby, I guess.

Denby, I feel you can change her heart.

Mom, Ruby is what she is. She is not going to change herself because of me.

O yeah, go ahead and destroy all my dreams and visions. You are a hard case, Denby. I wonder how you got so hard. You are killing your mother, your poor mother . . .

Mom, did anyone ever ask Ruby what she thinks?

Who cares? She will come around. Believe me, I know her mother; we talk all the time at Jaqueline's Salon. Ruby can change. In these times a woman has to be adaptable. And all of us have engaged in a bit of ... experimentation. That is entirely all right. See how broadminded I am . . . ?

Mom! Are you saying you have . . .

Now Denby before I met your father I was a lost soul. Nevermind about that. I need you to come to the potluck on the 30th. And attend the wedding for Lucas and Chantra afterwards. Kill two birds. I have you down for the 27th arrival.

Mom . . .

Of course your poor mother, who is about to die of something because of a mysterious shadow on the xray and nobody cares about this poor woman wasting away whom nobody ever calls and no one ever visits because she is a castaway old shrew . . . .

Mom . . .

And me the one who carried you and wiped away your popo and here I am fated to wither on the vine like a . . . a dried up fig nobody wants and nobody calling and all alone I will fall down and reach for that electric locket thing and it will fall from my feeble grasp as my last breath goes and nobody caring they are all out cavorting with harlots or something and me dying alone and Mr. Peepers, the cat, will come all hungry and bugs will feed on me in the hallway the way I heard they do on Discovery Channel . . . Oooooooooooohhhhhhhhaaaaaaaahhhhhhh . . . the cat . . . the bugs . . . !

Okay mom, stop crying.I will come out.

O thank you thank you Denby my mostly only son, save for Sanford, I will be so happy to see you and Ruby together. It is all settled. You make a mother so happy!

Okay mom.

Let us part from this tender scene between a mother and her mostly only son.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay's well-matriculated hills and the sleeping bulk of Princess Tamalpais, as it also traversed the estuary to cross the Island and die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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

MAY 6, 2018




So anyway. Birds twittered in the trees and flew here and there. Sunlight dappled the path and occasionally a squirrel's tail flicked in the air near a tree bole. The air, as yet, remained cool in the shade as the land prepared for the on-coming onslaught of dry heat. Denby walked with Marlene and Pahrump and Little Adam through Silvan Acres. Silvan Acres consisted of a scattering of houses off of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, itself a sort of two-lane highway beset with the steely eyes and hands gripping the steering wheel as people who styled themselves individuals careened at high speed from the population centers towards the still virgin coast. There was a small sign indicating the one way into the unincorporated landholding. Turning left off of the highway, one drives a long Alameda to the intersection where the lone market sits to offer exotic wines and notions, along with potato salad and antifreeze. There is spam.

You pass to the left of this bustling center of bicyclists families buying ice to pass the bus stop -- there is only one in Silvan Acres -- and proceed either right to the Post Office or left to the Improvement Center which boasts an outdoor heated pool that features a buckled subsurface and lap swimming enough and a ramshackled weight gym which is missing a few weight categories and where nothing is bolted down.

The statue of the Unknown 49'er Miner stands on a rocky pedestal next to the fire station that is the main call center for all of western Marin.

Other than the houses where people live, this is the entire description of Silvan Acres, where our Household has found itself after many travels.

Much further down the road was the Independent Hospital where Denby found himself after the the Angry Elf gang had poisoned him near unto death. The Angry Elf had been a courier for the Mob in Brooklyn and had long possessed access to the most dreadful chemicals known to man, for he had sold these powders to school children in New York, to hapless junkies on the streets and to well-heeled yuppies looking for easy highs as well as any number of strung-out people inhabiting smoky dens and filthy mattress apartments along the Brooklyn-Bronx Divide.

The Angry Elf had retained the apartment house keys after working nominally as a House Superintendent, so he had full access to everyone's lodgings, including kitchens and refridgerators.

Denby had fled that bad abode, but the consequences of having lived there had followed him and he had taken ill in a grevious manner due to the chemicals introduced to him as he had lived on the Island and all the members of the Household of Marlene and Andre were worried. "I am gonna make you sorry!" said the Angry Elf back then. It was a statement that would stick with the dwarvish thug until the day the little con-man finally eased this sweet earth with his departure.

Pahrump and Marlene had come to fetch Denby from the ER after he had spent a long day and most of the night there getting blood drawn and fluids pumped in to handle his compromised situation.

How you doing, Martini said.

I been left for dead before, but I still fight on. Don't wait up leave the light on. I'll be home soon," Denby said.

They sat beneath the shade of the tree they now called The Editor. A seasonal front had swept in and the branches all stirred with the wind.

Out on the fishing lanes a radio signal indicated that some former friend to Pedro was still active. For the past few months Pedro had been piloting his boat, El Borracho Perdido, with radio silence since his favorite radio host, Pastor Rotschue had fallen victim to the #Metoo movement as accusations of sexual impropriety had driven his former friend from the airwaves. Working the dark hours in his boatcabin with no solace of a like mind for hours on end, bumping along in his cab like any midwestern farmer coursing along in an iHarvester through the furrows of green waves, he had felt bereft of a presence that had accompanied him for some three decades of harvesting the ocean.

Pedro had been thinking about the next big thing. He was getting old and the life of a working fisherman was not an easy one. He had been thinking about going north, taking the family, to the old haunts of his family around Sausalito where surely there might remain something of the old ways. Or maybe just a place to settle his anchor.The night approached and drew its coverlet over the land with soft breezes that stirred the yellow iris blooms announcing Spring had arrived.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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

APRIL 30, 2018


This week's harbinger of Spring needs no explanation.


The California State-wide primary election is slated for June 5th. We are looking at 5 propositions, two of which are Bond measures, three of which are Constitutional amendments. The general election will be held November 6th.

Up for grabs is the Senate office currently held by Dianne Feinstein. Jerry Brown will not run for governor due to term limits. House candidates for District 2, which includes Central Marin, include Andy Caffrey (D), Jared Huffman (D) and Dale Mensing (R).

There are no Republican candidates for State Senate or Assembly.

District 13 includes the Island and parts of Oaktown.

There is only one candidate for House and that is incumbent Barbara Lee.

State Assembly seat will feature Rob Bonta (D) squaring off against Stephen Slauson (R).

We will be looking at the issues in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned.

Sausalito police officers recovered a vehicle stolen in San Jose and arrested the driver after they were tipped off by the city's license plate recognition cameras Friday, police said.

Around 8:43 p.m., officers got the alert from the cameras that an allegedly stolen vehicle had entered Sausalito from the 4000 block of Bridgeway, according to police. The 1996 Honda Accord was stolen in San Jose on Thursday, police said.

Officers stopped the stolen vehicle in the 100 block of Buchanan Drive. According to police, the driver, a 16-year-old girl from San Jose, was arrested on suspicion of possession of the stolen vehicle and released on a citation to her parents.

A 15-year-old girl who was a passenger in the car turned out to be a missing person out of San Jose, and she was reunited with her parents, police said.

Albany police are asking for the public's help after a man was shot and killed on the Ohlone Greenway on Sunday morning, police said.

According to police, officers reported to a call of a man injured on a bench of the greenway around the 600 block of Masonic Ave. near 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Officers found the victim suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital where he died of his injuries.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Albany police at (510) 525-7300. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (800) 222-TIPS.

On the Island, the streets are getting meaner. Two Alameda waitresses were robbed by a group of four to six young suspects on Tuesday night just after they finished their shifts at a nearby restaurant, police said.

The two women were walking to their cars in the 700 block of Pacific Avenue at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday when they were confronted by the suspects, who pulled up in two vehicles, according to police spokesman Lt.
Wayland Gee.

One of the women, who's 59, was struck in the face by a hard object and was knocked to the ground and had her purse stolen, Gee said. The other woman, who's 62, was pushed to the ground and also had her purse stolen, according to Gee.

The woman who was struck in the face suffered minor injuries but didn't need to be treated and the other woman wasn't injured, Gee said.

The robbery comes weeks after a violent attempted robbery in front of the Pho Anh Dao restaurant at 1919 Webster St., about two blocks away, at about 11 p.m. on April 6 that led to the death of 61-year-old Cindy Le several days later. No one has been arrested for that homicide.

In a survey by an independent non-profit of hospitals across the State, both Marin General and Kaiser earned A grades for safety while Highland Hospital, San Leandro Kaiser and our Island Hospital earned D grades. Alta Bates and Summit both earned C's.

Leapfrog has found that 71 hospitals in California received an "A" grade for preventing medical errors, accidents, injuries and infections, which collectively are the third leading cause of death in America. On the flip side, 19 hospitals received a "D" or worse.

The Leapfrog Group released its bi-yearly hospital safety grades on Tuesday, finding that hospitals overall have improved in reducing the number of avoidable deaths. The group assessed roughly 2,500 hospitals. Of those, 30 percent earned an "A," 28 percent earned a "B," 35 percent a "C," 6 percent a "D" and 1 percent an "F."

The assessment system assigns school-style letter grades to general acute-care hospitals. The hope is to determine a patient's risk of further injury or infection if they visit a certain hospital.

Go to this Analysis page to see how your local hospital fared.


Caught Harvey Mandel at the Fenix the other night. Mandel was the goto man for when you wanted to lite up a blunt and explore the cosmos back in the day. His unique jazz style on the fretboard heavily laced with right-hand tapping has galvenized a legion of followers and his version of Cristo Redentor with operatic female voices undoubtedly influenced Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1945 and raised in Chicago, Harvey had a brief stint playing bongos before switching to guitar. Mandel became the original guitarist with Charlie Musselwhite, releasing the debut album Stand Back! in 1966. In Chicago he performed with Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, Albert King, and Buddy Guy.

Effortless sustain, multi–string bends, a slightly distorted tone always bordering on feedback and herky-jerky stuttering phrases balanced with long, melodic line characterize Mandel's sound.

Harvey Mandel relocated to the Bay Area, performing often at a club called The Matrix, where local favorites like Jerry Garcia and Elvin Bishop would sit in and jam. He then met up with renowned producer Abe ‘Voco’ Kesh, releasing his first solo album for Phillips/Mercury Records titled, Cristo Redentor in 1968, which included his extra-terrestrial version of “Wade in the Water,” still a classic to this day. Then the news arrived that Harvey Mandel had replaced Henry Vestine as lead guitarist of the legendary Californian R & B band Canned Heat. Mike Bloomfield joined for a set at the Fillmore and Harvey took the second set.

Harvey’s third gig with the band Canned Heat was the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Harvey remained with Canned Heat for over a year.

After several tours, he was recruited by British blues man John Mayall to be a member of the Bluesbreakers, recording the adventurous album, titled USA Union. He left in 1972 and teamed up with Sugarcane Harris, forming the band Pure Food and Drug Act, which lasted a year before he went solo. He recorded three albums in which he employed 2-handed fretboard tapping. Mandel was one of the first rock guitarists to utilize this technique.

One of Mandel’s most significant session credits was his participation on Black and Blue, the 1976 LP from The Rolling Stones and he subsequently became a much sought after "heavy" session man.

Mandel, who is 72, has beaten back a rare form of cancer and is gigging now to pay the medical bills. Happy to say he was in fine form the other night, performing with a hip-hop father and son team on keyboards and percussion. Each version he did was extended to the right length, remaining tight and disciplined throughout the two set concert.


So anyway, things have been chaotic ever since the real President Ronald Rump, Chief Executive of the Bums, has left Sacremento for Russia, as pretty much everyone expected him to do. He took with him his two odious children, his trophy wife from the Balkans, and the briefcase of Special Codes. In his place he left a Dummy Rump, a person hired to look like him and attract assassin's bullets. That the real Rump has long since left town and that a dummy is sitting in his place, pretending to give orders explains a lot. Many people felt that had been the situation all along ever since that disastrous November.

After all, who else but an hired dummy would claim that a wall between California and Nevada will help the Golden State in any way, especially since Nevada will pay for its construction.


And when gently suggested that the idea is a tad preposterous, the Dummy only gets infuriated.


Since the dummy inhabiting the Oval Seat of Porcelein is not the real President, we can all relax, get through the midterms that promise to correct some of the worst abuses and advance to the next General Election when Ronald Rump, running his campaign from his Moscow dacha, is sure to lose to just about anybody or anything that runs, whether it be Donald Duck or Mason Reese, both of who are slated for big come-backs.

On more local news, there was a minor contretemps at the new Homestead run by Marlene and Andre when Pahrump innocently parked his scooter on the gravel in front of the house. A man across the street ran out of his house, jumped into his truck parked in the entrance to an immense concrete pad up in front of his own house and screamed out to slam on his brakes and howl down at Pahrump, still on his scooter taking off his gloves.

"That thar spot be mine buddy! You people go away and die and be never born and I hate you with all my middle fingers you hippie types go park in your driveway. WE WAS HERE FOR ALL TIME AND JUST ABOUT FOREVER!"

Pahrump, a native Modoc, stood there confused.

The angry fellow, not getting an immediate response, backed up his truck to block the house front gate behind the scooter and jumped out to run up to his yard and fire up a chainsaw.

A neighbor named Dave ambled up the road at this point, taking his ratdog for a walk. "Hoddy." said neighbor Dave.

"What gives with this jerk?" Pahrump asked.

"O them Smellings. They bought that house in 1987 for about $175,000 and been pests ever since. Old timers, some call them although that is hardly an excuse. Sure got a whale of self-entitlement for sure. I think the old lady got something wrong with her head."

"I never seen anything like this," Pahrump said.

"Welcome to Marin," said Dave. "We got a load of it here. Ya oughta bring yer missus down for tea some time. My old lady makes honey from the bees she has going out back. We are not like the Smellings; we prefer to get along."

"No old lady any more," Pahrump said. "But thanks."

"I advise you to move your scooter. No telling what them Smellings will do to it. They imagine they own the whole mountain here."

Pahrump decided there is virtue in non-contention and moved his scooter with difficulty down into the steep cut that passed for a driveway and right away the chainsaw stopped and the Smelling boy ran over to move his large pickup truck into the spot he considered his own.

That night the Household discussed the Smellings -- Martini found they had misdemeanors for weapons charges on them and punative liens owed off of property they owned elsewhere.

Pedro talked about how he had gone over to be friendly and they had slammed the door in his face, ordering him off the property there.

Tipitina said the old woman had threatened that her car might get hit if she parked anywhere near the property, no matter they were on the opposite side.

"I think these people are to be avoided," Andre said. "Keep away from them. If their house burns, let it burn. We keep a distance and they seem to want a large perimeter for some reason."

After dinner, a group of the Household took a walk in the bright moonlight -- it was a full moon and all the glades were silver and black and deer moved with assuredness through the trees. They paused before a house where Missy Moonbeam twirled and leapt and flung her long hair while her phonograph inside the house played a jazz tune. She appeared to be celebrated the lunar cycle. Or something.

"Dad, that lady gots no clothes on," little Adam said.

"That is right," Andre said. "Pay her no mind; she is a freak just like us."

"Okay," Little Adam said.

A pair of black-tail deer bounded across the road at that point.

"Marin sure is a mixture of things," Pahrump said.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


APRIL 22, 2018




Oakland PD had some fun with this news item: a native of Oaktown got drunk and decided to sleep it off in the place he imagined to be the safest in town: the OPD parking lot. This did not go over well with the Boys in Blue who arrested the resident for DUI.

The Central Marin Police have announced to the Community: RX Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28th.

It's time for Spring Cleaning and the perfect opportunity to safely dispose of expired or unnecessary RX drugs. Drop them off on Saturday, April 28th between 10a and 2p at either of our stations -- 250 Doherty Drive, Larkspur or 525 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo.

If you miss this date, most main Marin Fire Departments and Police Stations have dropoff bins. Even Mill Valley has one in its lobby.

Earth Day events took place all over the Bay Area this weekend. The fourteenth annual Earth Day Stinson Beach celebration, began at 10 a.m. and included beach cleanup and sculptures made from washed-up debris.

In the South Bay, volunteers worked on cleanup and other Earth Day projects from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., then enjoyed an Earth Day celebration at Alum Rock Park, 15350 Penitencia Creek Road, in San Jose.

The City held an Earth Day celebration on Saturday under clear skies and warming temps at Washington Park, with information booths, coastal cleanup of litter by volunteers, BBQ, and water distribution by the Water Monster.

Dozens of Island students walked out of school at 10 a.m. on the Island on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, joining thousands of other students around the country. They were protesting gun violence in schools.

There were more than 2,600 walkouts planned across the country – at least one in every state. Starting at 10 a.m., students had 13 seconds of silence to honor the 13 people killed at Columbine High School.

In March, one month after the tragic Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead, students in Marin walked out of class as part of the ENOUGH National School Walkout, a nationwide effort to protest gun violence, push lawmakers to strengthen gun control laws and remember the victims.

A week later, Marin students participated in the Novato March For Our Lives Vigil, which coincided with various rallies and other events held around the San Francisco Bay Area and across the country.

Students at several schools in Marin plan to take part in Friday's walkout, according to the National Student Walkout website.

White Hill Middle School in Fairfax, Mill Valley Middle School and Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, Novato High School in Novato, and San Domenico High School in San Anselmo are among those participating. An estimated 75-100 Novato High students participated in the protest.

The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States south of Denver. In addition to the shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and car bombs. The perpetrators, senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. After exchanging gunfire with responding police officers, the pair subsequently committed suicide.

The episode caused a change in police response tactics and a nationwide panic over bullying, Goth culture and certain types of music, including that of Marilyn Manson, although it was later found that the perpetrators were not fans of Manson. Although gun laws and availability came under scrutiny, no legislation of any consequence was passed anywhere.


So anyway. The recent Pineapple Express has done with blowing through, leaving the skies bright blue and the land superheated with warm weather. The past week was blowing cold with a couple late dockwallopers, so people kept indoors when they could, but after the last burst of winter left Grizzley Peak knee deep in so much hail people thought it was snow, forcing the County to bring out deicing machines, the air warmed up, bringing out out the hang gliders and the windsurfers almost as if the temperature caused these things to emerge like bugs from hidden crevasses and people forgot all about how they had to snowplow 17 as they went to the beach and the pool

Earth Day people frolicked and gamboled on the Strand and there was all sorts of sand castle Frisbee tossing dog jumping bar-bee-queing info-table splashing and jumping up and down sorts of things and nobody got lost or punched in the face, which is remarkably nice when you think about it.

Pimenta Strife's house got foreclosed

Pimenta Strife's house got foreclosed on account of the bank being pissy about variable rate mortgages - a sort of scam imposed towards the end of Bubble on the Strife family, and so the Strifes became one of the last casualties of that perverse Semi-Free Market economy that wound up favoring only a handful of savvy speculators in the end as the regulations seemed to be a hindrance only upon normal people. So it was that Pimenta looked to the north counties for a place to live, the Island having become jacked by way of Fahrad and his evil property management cronies. So Pimenta went up to the little burg of San Rafael and saw clearly right away there were plenty of guys walking around with things between their legs and scarcely a thought upstairs with more money than they knew what to do with whom she felt she could utilize well and so she plunked down some cash on a place near the Mission and set out hunting as soon as she had a mattress on the bare wood floors.

The entire Island was in an uproar over Fahrad and his friends and some people banded together to create difficult to navigate "bicycle lanes" painted bright green and with concrete berms guaranteed to subtract driving space from automobiles. It was a good plan and traffic snarled right away soon as the lanes were installed, which made many people decide to leave the Island, which had been the main intention all along.

Fahrad was all right with that plan -- people leaving meant increased overturn of property that would earn higher and higher income for himself with each sale and perhaps provide more space to subdivide and develop more square inches, and if it became impossible to travel about the Island, that was fine; let them earn their money elsewhere and spend it elsewhere also. The local businesses would collapse and he could turn their lots into pricey condos.

Silvan Acres had only its Country Store with $20 wine

Meanwhile, the Household of Marlene and Andre were getting used to living in the country after so many years of urban living. On the Island you walked down the street and you got your groceries, your hardware, your clothing, and your incidentals within 40 minutes of walking the block or riding a bicycle. Silvan Acres had only its Country Store with $20 wine that sold for a dollar in other places. Then, for anything else, it was a hike over White's Hill to get anything like bread and milk at something other than usurious prices.

Even then, on the first trip to the Fairfax Market, Pahrump and Martini stood there incredulous while gawking at the lavish display of parity vegetable display where food was arranged not so much for commerce as for aesthetic presentation. Everything seemed arranged for that vacuous concept called "lifestyle" instead of just living. Martini did not make any friends when he went up to somebody to ask where the normal people bought groceries.

Normal people?

Not everybody drove a European car

You know. Moms piloting station wagons loaded with screaming kids during their few hours off from working their crappy third job. Guys saddled with alimony debt and high rent and shitty jobs. The kind of people that inhabit the middle of the country, the East Bay and just about everywhere. People with rough calluses on their hands and pickup trucks that actually do real work hauling concrete and stumps and lumber for jobs done by the people who own the trucks. Normal people who did work that did shit like move water and earth and electricity and pipes and who fixed things that were broken. Normal people. He knew some of them were around because he could see the signs. Not everybody drove a European car and there were abandoned shopping carts at the bus stops and there was at least one 7-11. In what passed for downtown in San Rafael he saw unkempt guys walking around mumbling in their beards, their clothes clearly not purchased any time too soon from the Sharper Image. He noticed some people walking around with brown shoes, looking down instead of drifting in a stupid miasma of Bliss. And there was a cobbler. A cobbler indicates reality. You gotta have shoes and buying new ones is out of the question so you get the ones you got fixed. Then they discovered the numerous food banks, which provided the food that normal people could not afford. So normal people did exist in Marin. The trouble was how to find them and learn how they survived.

Over the next few weeks Pahrump, Martini, Denby and the rest of the gang came to learn the people of Marin -- all about the people who had been there going back to the 1800's and those who were newbies and what a difference it made in all the changes over time, with the Sixties playing a large part in Marin life as it is as well as the invasion of the Well to Do.

And they were to learn that making assumptions and pre-judgements was always a bad idea.

Yes, normal people still live in Marin, although day by day fewer of them continue to do so for normal people get tired of continuous pretension and foolishness.

"Not County maintained."

Out in Silvan Acres, normal people were hard to find, if only that there was no center to the town. Pahrump motored all over the place which had been created ex nihilo out of the wilderness along the old railroad that once went up over the ridge to Point Reyes some miles distant. All traces of the railroad were gone, save for some ditches and sudden flat places deep in the woods. Hear and there roads suddenly ended with the sign, "Not County maintained." There was no center to the town where people would meet save for the Silvan Acres Improvement Club, a ramshackle assembly of buildings around a buckled pool and a battered gym much the worse for wear and run by Carol Lauterbach who considered the enterprise a part time gig in favor of her primary avocation of raising prize-winning blueblood dogs.

Next to this facility stood a Pop Warner baseball field that provided the local urchins a green field of dreams. Anyone standing over four feet in height could easily have lofted a line drive over the fence into the County fire department dispatch parking lot across the way.

A tumulus of rock stood there on the edge of the parking lot and on top of this tumulus someone had long ago erected a bronze statue that was entitled The Unknown Gold-digger. A family of swallows had established residence underneath the man's bronze hat for several generations.

As it turned out, this was the perfect place for our Household to wind up in Marin, for had they landed anywhere else some busybody would have announced the news and it would soon have gotten impossible to live with all the intervention and influence. People in Silvan Acres moved there because they did not give a rats ass for anything and it was good so.

The sun set and deer moved out onto the slopes that bordered the houses, looking for ways to raid tasty gardens.

That night, the Household gathered around the fireplace, which in this house actually worked, and they enjoyed a fine repast of Marlene's bread soup. As Jose tucked in to his sleeping bag, obtained from the Salvation Army place in San Rafael, he heard the coyotes howling closer and closer until it sounded like they circled the house, inspecting its occupants by smell so as to determine who was worthy to survive and who otherwise.

As he drifted off to sleep, the sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


APRIL 15, 2018


In some parts of the country they call these things Blue Flags, for they arrive as if advancing the army of Spring.


The ACT group that has been fighting for Renter's rights has decided tilting at windmills at the present rate will result in precisely the same result it provided for Don Quixote. April 25 the group is going to present the formation of a PAC to combat Big Land interests on the Island, which would be a first, both for the Island and Nationally. If they succeed, the land managers will finally confront an entity as large as themselves in terms of power, influence and money.

Here is the press release info:

Alameda Citizens Task Force
Vigilance, Truth, Civility



WORRIED ABOUT ISLAND EMERGENCIES—fire, earthquake, tsunami, gas main breaks, loss of water and/or electricity—AND ISLAND EGRESS


• Doesn’t provide enough affordable housing, especially for low and very low income people;
• Isn’t affordable to most people currently living in Alameda or the East Bay;
• Utilizes the space that would/could be available for future affordable housing, making such future housing impossible to build;
• Eliminates space that is currently utilized by long-term, locally-owned, successful, and well-paying commercial enterprises, forcing them to move off the island or go out of business;
• Doesn’t provide enough parking spaces for the units built, thereby further congesting streets, neighborhoods, and traffic




We hereby invite all like-minded people and organizations to join us for a discussion and planning session. We seek to form a PAC that is separate from ACT and broad enough to include all people who support candidates in the November City Council and Mayoral elections who support our goals and refuse to accept donations from either public employee unions or developers.

ACT is a city-wide and neighborhood task force. As such, we watch, analyze, comment, and act. We have a proven, successful, political track record, supporting arts funding, opposing the building of a hotel at Bay Farm Island, demanding traffic mitigation studies, resisting Sun-Cal’s plan to build 5,000 houses at Alameda Point, leading the fight to make Crab Cove public park land, and stopping the City from trading the Mif Albright Golf Course to Ron Cowan, a private developer. We stand for community involvement and fiscal responsibility. We believe in honest, effective, representative, and transparent government. Come and join the discussion.

Where: Alameda Hospital, 2nd floor Conference Room

When: Wednesday, April 25, from 7:00 – 9:00, p.m.

It should be interesting to see what comes of this effort. If a PAC is formed successfully, the most evil powers that have been destroying the Island's way of life will be forced to come to the bargaining table on any number of issues.

Even if it does not succeed here, the effort and experience generated will surely result in a successful PAC formation elsewhere in the Bay Area, resulting in a final and decisive resolution to the problematic "rent control" initiatives that have failed to accomplish what was intended.

Sonoma County Sheriffs have been busy, what with a plane crash and various shenanigans in Santa Rosa.

The Sonoma County Coroner's Office has made a positive identification of Carleton Henry Morrison, 75-years-old of Fallbrook, CA, as the victim of the Petaluma plane crash on Friday night, April 6th. He was believed to be piloting his plane from Petaluma to San Diego County during bad weather when it crashed in a field in the 3600 block of Manor Ln.

The cause of the collision is still being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.

On 4/8/2018 at 12:30 AM, officers responded to a local hospital for a man that had been stabbed several times. Officers contacted a 33-year-old male victim who was transported to the hospital by family members. The incident occurred around midnight, in the 1000 block of Sunset Av, Santa Rosa. The victim was admitted to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The case is still being investigation and officers are seeking anyone who may have witnessed the stabbing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Santa Rosa Police Department at 707-528-5222.

In Novato the City PD can pat themselves on the back for halting a rash of auto burglaries.

Recently there has been an increase in reports of auto burglaries and thefts from vehicles near Hamilton Marketplace. As a result, Novato special Units conducted a series of surveillance operations near the Hamilton Marketplace and Courtyard Marriott over the past several weeks. As a result, PD arrested 35 year old Karrell Morgan of Vallejo for Auto Burglary, Destruction of Evidence and Evading the Police. Here’s how it all went down.

Last night around 1:00 AM, officers observed a dark sedan with paper plates enter the parking lot of the Courtyard Marriott. The vehicle was driven by Karrell Morgan. Morgan exited his vehicle and began peering into the windows of vehicles with a flashlight. Morgan then smashed the window of one of the vehicles parked in the lot and removed a laptop computer and briefcase from inside. He then returned to his vehicle and began to leave the area. A traffic stop was made on the vehicle near McDonald’s on Nave Drive. Morgan did not stop and entered the freeway, driving N/B on Highway 101 at a high rate of speed. Morgan threw the victim’s property out of the vehicle and onto the freeway in an attempt to discard evidence of the burglary. A vehicle description was provided to responding patrol officers. An officer near Hwy 37 and Black Point caught up with the vehicle and stopped it. The driver was placed under arrest for the listed charges and booked at the Marin County Jail.

Reviewing Nixle reports we see a pattern of high speed pursuit incidents occurring every week since the wine country fires. You can run but you cannot hide.


Now that we know Der Trump plans on leaving the US for Russia once he has savaged the country sufficiently by firing all capable personnel, hiring total incompetent nincompoops, disrupted all relations with foreign allies, completely destroyed the basis of international trade, wrecked the local manufacturing and agribusiness economies for the Nation, all that he has done now makes sense. He never had any intention of "making America great again." That was all a sop for people he considers idiots. When he boards that Aeroflot jet with the briefcase of codes he will leave America so crippled with bad policy, a tanking economy, an enfeebled military, virtually every position of prominence held by dolts that Russia and China will easily assume world dominance as he laughs and laughs in his hot tub dacha, surrounded by vapid beauties.


So anyway. Jose and Festus were hanging out waiting for Pahrump at the San Rafael bus station coffee shop when Officers Patpong and Harsh arrived to arrest them. They were waiting for Pahrump to get a ride back to Silvan Acres. They would have taken the bus but they had no money. So they waited in the coffee shop there off to the side and of course, since they had no money, they did not buy a coffee or a roll. Because they did not buy a coffee or a roll on account of having no money and having no money is a sort of a misdemeanor in this part of the world the manager called the cops and the two were arrested for hanging out in a coffee shop and not buying anything, which is something that apparently can happen in other parts of the country as well.

So Pahrump arrived just as they were being carted off, arresting having taken a while on account of the difficulty with the pat down for Festus. Officer Patpong had never arrested a rodent before, least never one that talked English, and he was much put out on how to pat down the little feller. Officer Harsh asked him what was wrong and Officer Patpong said he wasn't going to pat down no marsupial and had to be corrected as hamsters are not marsupials and just do his duty, but Patpong was damned if he would be accused of bestiality and crimes against nature feeling up a hamster, marsupial or not.

Of what on earth could you possibly be accused demanded his colleague and the Officer said he didn't know the terminology exactly and maybe it was felching, but no that was not it. Felching was something else entirely from molesting hamsters. Officer Harsh said he thought it was gerbilling about which Officer Patpong was thinking and even so both of them were extra careful doing the write up in their books, not wanting any grammar problems to spoil the case even as Festus sternly insisted he was no gerbil and he had nothing to hide.

Then there was the issue of how to put Festus in the car, let alone what should happen should they need to put cuffs on him and that is when Festus said, heck I'll just put him in my pocketbag which you just upended here all over the sidewalk and he bent down to scoop up his friend which apparently was a little too quick for the cops for when he straightened up he was staring down the barrels of two pistols (1911 style semiautomatics, .45 caliber) held in the sweaty hands of two suddenly amped officers, which just goes to show you what the problem in America happens to be.

You got a fairly calm and normal situation of two burly, well-armed officers making an arrest of a skinny rope of brown pathos named Jose and his hamster friend, both of whom no more dangerous than gnats, when suddenly everything changes. As it does from time to time in this country. The taste of fear is metallic and in everybody's mouth and everything is happening too fast. A slight move and someone dies. For a broken taillight traffic stop, or jaywalking, or standing in your grandma's backyard holding a cell phone.

In this case Festus squeaked, "Man, I got no nuts!" and that broke the tension and the two boys were properly arrested and taken over to the jail where they cooled their heels and got let out after an hour when the manager declined to press charges. He had thought they were from the Canal District, a place of which neither Festus nor Jose had ever heard, but when he heard they were headed for Silvan Acres then he imagined they might be all right.

On the Island, a dockwalloper set in, driving everybody indoors. For those who had a place large enough, they went there. For others seeking company and solace, they sought those snubby little nooks where people gather in times like this to talk about the weather, politics and other people's family problems.

The rental crisis has come to such a pass that many are talking about "getting out" in the same way people used to talk about escaping New York. Even the Cribbages, people not exactly without means, have not rebuilt their burnt out mansion, but repaired to their former summer abode in Belvedere which is now their main residence. The Blathers are talking about joining them because of the insolence of the "bicycle people" and what seems like their accumulated political power. Belvedere seemed to hold the right sort of attitude they liked.

All of this talk about relocation has made Mr. Howitzer look northward to the northern counties where his family has scant holdings. Perhaps the time had come to invest in Marin and after the fires, Sonoma begins to look attractive to people like Mr. Howitzer who like the concept of fewer dwellings and increased demand. Mr. Howitzer's eyes begin to glow at the prospect.

Then again other folks are feeling the pinch of the Rental Crisis. If you remember, on the Night of Fire Wootie Kanootie's moose herd broke loose with Eunice leading the way into the cooling water of the Bay. Many hours and many days passed before the herd emerged dripping from the far shores of Tiburon where Wootie was able to round them up again and drive them westward to a place where nobody might notice a sizable herd of Canadian moose. Wootie himself found an abode in a place near Silvan Acres called Two Bird.

In The Old Same Place Bar people were talking about need to "get out" and the most recent scandals involving the President nobody likes.

Tommy and Toby, Lynette and Susan had all been served with outrageous rent increases designed to encourage leaving town. Businesses too were affected. Borg's Touch of Wonder massage parlor got hit with a hefty rent increase. So did Marvin of Marvin's Merkins (Put a merkin in your firkin!). Both of them began looking to relocate. The rental crisis produced a drifting cloud of darkness that was choking the life out of the little island, a miasma of hopelessness that crept into corners everywhere. People tried to adapt -- members of the Angry Elf gang got jobs working for property management companies and Realtors, who were the sort of people that appreciated a certain level of savagery in their dealings.

In the Old Same Place Bar, Padraic and Dawn wondered how long they could hold out. They, too, had been slammed with a134% rent increase. The letter sat there on the bar through the night as the regulars came and went. Inside the bar it was warm and convivial as the remnants of the latest storm lashed the street and the windows with cold rain.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


APRIL 8, 2018


Image taken at the edge of someone's driveway. Always nice to dive into a good book.


So anyway, we have enjoyed a couple late season dockwallopers bringing 3 inches of rain in a matter of hours in some places, but reports from the Dweebers and High Sierra say that these storms did not make much of a dent in the meager snowpack up there which stands at 50% of normal. What normal is, or was, may change as we get used to these new normal conditions caused by global climate change.

There's a lot of fake news running around in this Post Truth Era. We will have none of that. Sean Hannity was found roistering in a hot tub with several underage girls from a Washington DC high school. People did not pay much attention to Ann Coulter getting stark naked with Steve Bannon and a terrified pig in a hotel room. People did not pay attention because Ann Coulter is hideous when naked, but because Donald Trump finally showed his true colors after replacing every capable person in Washington with ineffectual bozos, savaging international trade, wrecking the relationship with both NATO and the UN, destroying every positive relationship the US has ever had with each one of its allies, and castrating the Intelligence community with mass firings, the Trump boarded a Russian SUV with the code briefcase to abandon the US for Russia where a lavish dacha had been prepared for his lavish retirement by his friend Vladimir Putin. La Puta, as he called, welcomed Trump with open arms and Trump was heard to say, "Americans are so stupid. They are all losers and their really big loss in the coming war is gonna be the greatest thing. Russians know how to treat good people and I am absolutely the best, if I say so myself."

Shoulda seen it coming, folks. We tell only the Truth around here. Never ever told a lie.

The bus arrived at Silvan Acres, stopped and a single figure stepped down, carrying only a small, brown, leather valise. He was not tall, but not short and his hair was thinning up top and his visage looked familiar to Pahrump who observed him from the Arbor Bench which had been placed by well-meaning individuals at a spot that they had anticipated would be the bus stop, but which, due to government bureaucracy and the vagaries of bureaucratic decisions wound up off the map as a nice place to sit but no place to wait for a bus that would never arrive.

Such is the nature of Silvan Acres, where often the goal is attempted but seldom achieved. There is a statue in what would pass for a downtown, had Silvan Acres ever developed such a thing. It is the Statue of The Unknown Miner, who stands in bronze with his shovel lifted and a look on his face some say is that of bewilderment instead of discovery. No matter. A family of swallows have established abode beneath his broadbrimmed hat and the glade is always mowed, although no one seems to know whose responsibility it happens to be. No gold was ever found in these parts, which is just as well, for gold has seldom brought prosperity or good luck to any community in which it has been discovered.

When residents want goods and services they "go down the hill", which means ascending over Whites Hill on the Sir Francis Drake Freeway and then dropping down into Fairfax, which itself is not that populous or sophisticated. Fairfax features an excellent ice cream shop, a couple fairly good and overpriced restaurants, a decent bicycle repair place, a hole-in-the-wall gym made in the old style that is above reproach, a thoroughly incompetent automobile garage with gas pumps, and a couple thousand inhabitants entirely dissatisfied with the state of Progress. There is also an overpriced market that is patroned by yuppies on the go and people lacking ambition to drive further to the somewhat more reasonable Safeway the next town over.

In any case, Pahrump approached the man, who seemed to recognize him.

"Where is my brother," said the man.

Pahrump inhaled. Then he exhaled a long breath. He turned to look at a tree standing in the middle of the glade bounded by a rustic log fence. "Your brother has experienced a change. You are now the Editor."

"I do not understand," said the new Editor. "There is much to explain."

"Welcome to Silvan Acres," Pahrump said.

"I got this letter," the Editor said. "Very little made any sense."

"Welcome to Marin," Pahrump said. "You will learn not much makes sense here."

A man pedaling a recumbent bicycle and wearing a furry Dr. Seuss top hat passed them. Several people going to some kind of party arrived to board the waiting bus. Each of them wore full length body costumes covered in neon pink, green, red and blue fur. Only their faces were exposed.

"Right," said the Editor.

The two of them went to the new Island-Life offices, which were as yet unfurnished. It was just a bare room with an area in the back accessed by a short set of stairs.

For the rest of the day Pahrump and Martini collected abandoned shelves, chairs, desks that had been put out beside the road with "Free" signs taped to them. They used a rusty Flexible Flyer children's wagon and Pahrump's scooter to fetch the things which became the furnishings for the new Offices.

"One good thing about Marin," Martini said. "The trash is high quality."

Back on the Island, Padraic was compelled to refurbish the jukebox since Denby no longer provided music. He tried at first to get various acoustic replacements, but most were more well-intentioned than accomplished. In the Old Same Place Bar, things hummed along quietly. An amorous couple occupied the Snug where Denby used to sit, looking like they were getting set to produce a blue movie. Where Old Schmidt had occupied a stool for years, various patrons came and went. Eugene Gallipagus occupied his end of the bar with a Fat Tire ale as usual. Outside it was chill and damp -- the Most Dangerous Season had not yet begun although there were signs. Freesias had erupted all over the place, filling the air with heady scent.

During the lulls, Suzie sat behind the bar, reading her Anthropology book and the chapter on the cheerful and friendly Bonobo and their mating rituals while the Man from Minot chatted up Latreena Brown.

It was a quiet night on the Island. No sirens rent the air and nobody got shot and nobody got stabbed.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


APRIL 1, 2018


This week's image comes courtesy of Carol Taylor, an artist living in the Gold Coast district of the Island. She says about this image, "Some days need flowers more than others."


What has gotten into the kids lately.

A sixth-grade student was arrested Thursday after allegedly threatening two San Rafael schools, authorities said.

Staff at James B. Davidson Middle School at 280 Woodland Ave. notified resource officer Michael Mathis Thursday that a student made threatening statements on a school bus Wednesday afternoon regarding a shooting at two schools, San Rafael police Sgt. Lisa Holton said.

"Several witnesses reported the incident to their parents, who then notified school officials," Holton said.

Mathis and school administrators investigated the threat, interviewed the 12-year-old boy and contacted his parents.

We have to wonder about the "safe and legal" component referenced in this news item. There are just too many provoking details about this story to let it pass without mention. If only the victim's name was "Rambo."

A Napa man who died while drag racing Wednesday night at Sonoma Raceway was publicly identified by the Sonoma County Sheriff-Coroner's Office Thursday morning as 75-year-old James Kenneth Rambo. Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said deputies responded to the scene to investigate Rambo's death, which occurred at about 6 p.m. at the raceway located at 29355 Arnold Drive in Sonoma.

"Rambo had been drag racing his 1976 customized Ford Pinto in an organized contest," Crum said. "At the conclusion of the drag race, after he crossed the finish line, it appears he braked but his vehicle pulled to the left and he hit a k-rail at over 100 mph."

An ambulance crew responded and made life-saving efforts but Rambo died from his injuries, Crum said.

When the fatal incident occurred, Rambo was participating in Wednesday Night Drags, also known as Sonoma Drags & Drifts. The program gives people including teenagers and working professionals a place to race their vehicles in a safe, legal and controlled environment rather than on city streets.

And a Pinto? A PINTO?! WTF!

The funding for local support of the anti-terrorism initiative called Urban Shield was kiboshed in Alameda County, but the Supes did an about face recently.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 at the end of a contentious hearing today to fund the sheriff's office's controversial "Urban Shield" first-responder training exercise this year but not in future years in its current format.

The vast majority of the more than 100 public speakers at the four-hour hearing on the training exercise the sheriff's office has hosted every September since 2007 alleged that it is racist and xenophobic and has a negative impact on communities of color and immigrants.

The motion that was approved by four of the board's five members calls for the exercise format in 2019 and future years to focus more on training for natural disasters and less on terrorism and on weapons vendors. Supervisor Keith Carson, who authored the motion, said, "The term 'urban shield' is volatile."

Carson said 2018 "is the last year for Urban Shield going forward" and "Urban Shield as we know it ends after this year."

Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who wanted the exercise to continue in its current format as long as Sheriff Gregory Ahern agreed to several reforms, was the lone board member to vote against Carson's motion.

The board's vote means that the county will accept $5.5 million in Urban Shield Area Security Initiative funds so the sheriff can host the training exercise again this September at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

Those funds originate from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The reason that many community leaders are against this program had to do with the increasingly militarization of the police and the separation of the police from the Communities it serves.

After the public comment portion of the meeting concluded, Supervisor Nate Miley said, "Some people's opinions were a bit inflammatory." Ahern said afterward that the meeting was "very emotional".

Supervisor Wilma Chan said the relationship between the community and law enforcement goes up and down over time and "the problem is a lot of stuff has happened" in recent years to make the community wary of law enforcement and shows of force.

Mill Valley Library sends us notices of events from time to time, so we will begin adding these items to the Calendar. This week will feature aeronautical adventures.

Join MVL for a night of hair-raising aeronautical adventure as Betty Goerke shares the story of America's first transcontinental air race from her new book: A Broken Propeller.

In Oct 1919, fifty-nine pilots flying in open cockpits and with no parachutes, competed in a long distance round trip air race that began simultaneously in San Francisco and Long Island. What began as an ill-advised scheme to promote the future of flight turned into an endless fight for survival amidst crashes, emergency landings, extreme weather, and faulty machinery. Goerke brings a special knowledge to this story as her father, 1st Lt. Ralph (Baz) Bagby, was one of only eight pilots who actually completed the race.

Registration recommended.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the San Anselmo Public Library invites you to its 15th annual community poetry reading, Night of the Poets, on Thursday April 26 at 7pm. Poetry is meant to be read aloud and we invite community members of all ages to join in the fun by sharing a poem or listening to others recite.
The evening will include readings by celebrated local poets Prartho Sereno and Janet Jennings. Registration begins on Monday, April 2. If you would like to share a poem (in 2 minutes or less) at Night of the Poets, sign up at the reference desk or email


So anyway. The settlement of Silvan Acres is an unicorporated state of mind that resides west of Fairfax and off the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, that now functions as a sort of rural freeway in the area. Because the speedlimit wicks up to 55 right there at the entrance to the place, most people entirely ignore the presence of this hamlet .

If you were to irritate drivers behind you and slow down to take the entrance there between the trees, you would travel a good half mile of road hemmed in by overarching oaks and redwoods before arriving at the hub of Silvan Acres, a country store with overpriced Quesadillas and bottles of cheep wine and the usual deli offerings. Nobody residing in Silvan Acres ever goes there. It is frequented by the bicyclists that swarm this area of the country.

Up the road the County maintains its Western County call center for fire response in a forest clearing. At this facility, several water rescue craft are kept for lake rescues. A water treatment plant resides on San Geronimo Road and there is a bland electrical substation. Other than that, there are no official buildings. There is no City Hall and no general meeting place. There is the Silvan Acres Improvement Club, which features a swimming pool, a fairly useless weightroom, a meeting hall, and a very useful parking lot that is more important than all of the above. Next to the SIC extends Warner Field, the storied Field of Dreams.

There is not much in Silvan Acres other than people and dogs. There are poodles from time to time, but they do not last long for the coyotes ranging freely dispatch useless animals with quick efficiency.

Jose stepped out from the rattletrap porch to see a faun grazing upon the foliage. At that time, Martini had not yet completed the Fortress Wall with the help of Pahrump, Denby, Tipitina, Sarah and Suan. So the faun stood there, doe-eyed as they are wont to do as Martini walked up to it surrounded by the Disney fog of his imagination. Perhaps he wanted to pet the wild creature. No one knows, for a very large, muscular female deer appeared with rage in its eyes and a clear look of "keep away from MY baby!"

Bonkers and Wickiwup ran out to join the fun and, fortunately for Martini but not so much for Bonkers, the doe launched a savage kick that lifted the thirty-pound dog into the air and tossed him some ten feet.

Mr. Gruffman, their neighbor came hauling around the corner, shouting and carrying a baseball bat.

"Keep away from them damn things!" Mr. Gruffman shouted. "They are wild and mean and they be dangerous as all hell!"

Martini backed off as the mom-deer came at him with flying hooves. A nasty kick caught Wickiwup in the head so that he staggered back and wandered in a circle with his mouth foaming in a daze.

The faun, meanwhile had scampered off to safety, but mom-deer felt a need to provide rearguard coverage, apparently, and as Martini tripped to fall on his ass, she prepared to destroy her enemy utterly. She launched a kick that would have shattered Martini's skull, but Mr. Gruffman intercepted her with the baseball bat, delivering a full shoulder swing which cracked on the deer's head with a solid report that echoed through the woods.

The deer sort of staggered back and wobbled as Mr. Gruffman grabbed Martini to haul him up the porch steps and into the house, closing the door just as the deer recovered and launched a fusillade of kicks on the solid core oak portal. One razor-sharp hoof snicked cleanly right through one and a half inches of solid oak panel. Martini and Mr. Guffman panted on the other side until the doe, satisfied with the damage it had wrought, went off to see about its precious baby.

"Them things kill a thousand Canadians a year," Mr. Guffman said. "This aint no Disneyland. Them deer travel in packs around here and carry switchblades, I am certain."

Such was Martini's introduction to living in the countryside.

On the Island, gorgeous weather brought out the wind surfers and the sailboarders, scudding just offshore like exotic birds or flamboyant insects. Newly empowered bicyclists roamed in droves, wearing their tight pants and neon-colored tops, animals donning plumage to initiate the Spring Season about to arrive. Freesias bloomed in profusion. Tulips had already erupted. The buckeyes had sprouted green shoots and everywhere acacia drooped yellow treasures, ephemeral and beautiful.

Even though a deplorable man-baby sullies the White House, even though those people attempt to drive out Nature with a pitchfork, it always comes roaring back.

Out on the sea-lanes, Pedro's boat coursed its way to the fishing grounds through the changing air. Yes, the Sea has Seasons, just like on land. Some of this is enforced by regulation. You take crab and shellfish during the cold water months. After that you shift to mackerel and then to albacore. But even without regulations, Pedro as an old salt can sniff the air and sense in a thousand undetermined ways that go back thousands of years the subtle changes that announce seasonal change. Maybe the algae blooms start to occur. Maybe certain fish have migratory patterns and start to appear or disappear around this time. Maybe it is the dolphins appearing and maybe the migration of the Leviathan, the Great humpback whales. All Pedro knew is that from year to year the seasons manifested themselves as natural and subtle changes.

The radio crackled and at times produced some sounds, but the program he loved that was produced by the Lutheran Pastor Rotschue had gone off the air. The man had been driven off by some sort of "Me Too" scandal and the network had decided to cut him loose rather than risk any sort of lengthy battle that would surely cost ratings and advertising.

So now Pedro was left alone out on the sea lanes where the radio had been his only companion, save perhaps for his Second Mate, who once had been Tugboat and now was Ferryboat with a woof.

Tugboat had been a greathearted dog for many years and he had fought the Great White that had started to destroy the ship with ferocity and so died as greathearted dogs will do, throwing all towards defense of the Pack and the Master.

Now, getting older and pretty certain now none of the kids were going to follow the path of the sea, Pedro shifted his creaking bones as the Seasons revolved. Maybe it was that sense of being invisibly accompanied on each voyage. He was composing the story of himself as a fisherman by doing it from day to day. A story that some absent Creator might read some day. Now, alone on the sea, he was doing all for Company and he hoped that his fisherman's story would help the one who was troubled.

In a sense, Pedro realized, he had become a fisher of men and that perhaps he should devise his own radio program, so as to aid lost souls out there in the darkness.

The time was coming when he would no longer be able to man the winch that hauled up tons of albacore. He would have to find a way to keep his hand in the game. But he could become a lighthouse man.

And the game was set long ago at the foot of a cross as men threw dice for a hanged man's last belongings. Three days later something arose from the tomb.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


MARCH 25, 2018


This past Saturday saw nationwide protests about the gun violence against children. As 340,000 people converged on the Mall in Washington DC, a few hundred gathered in Santa Rosa. At the close of the protest march this stunning omen appeared above the church where the marchers had left their signs.


As noted above, protest marches occured nationwide in all major cities with hundreds of thousands of people gathering in Washington, Portland, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and other places.

We must be avaunt on the Island, for our students did their thing Wednesday, March 14th, when hundreds of Island students marched through the rain Wednesday, March 14, as part of a national movement calling for gun reform and improved safety measures in schools. Students marched down Central Avenue to a rally at Lower Washington Park.

On related news, a common thread was noticed on the Island and up in Marin where schools when into lockdown modes due to reports of threats of violence and/or police activity.

Smash and grab crimes have skyrocketed across the water in Babylon which is now seeing 13 car break-ins a day. That is 13x365 if you want to do the math to get the annual total.

Now that sort of crime is happening here on the Island and in Marin with increasing frequency. In Marin, thieves do not go to mall parking lots monitored with cameras. They smash the windows of cars parked in home driveways and run off.

Check out the blog post at about the missing monkey stolen from a car parked at the Target parking lot March 2. No thieves do not have a heart; they are jerks.

Latest news has the Sierra snowpack now at 50% of normal, which is not especially good, but a lot better than it was before the last few storms. We and the Dweeb Report expect the next storms to drop very "wet" snow and mixed rain and sleet at elevation, which when accompanied by warm temps does not lead to any serious accumulation.

Ski lifts are operating, but expect the snow to get slushy pretty soon and pretty fast. High avalanche danger in the high elevations, so stay away from cornices. You know what to do if you are up there.


So anyway. Some people may wonder that since the Island-Life Offices burned down on the Night of Fire, two issues remain outstanding. Firstly, how is it the enterprise continues to put out its content. Because it is clear you are reading this sentence right now and the masthead indicates an unbroken continuum. Secondly, what on earth became of Chad, the coder?

To deal with the more insignificant issue first, let us say that the morning after the Night of Fire, Chad pushed open the trapdoor that lead down to the HTML Hell dungeon and was amazed to see the entire place destroyed.

All the desks were gone. The lamps and computers had been rendered into piles of molten plastic and slag. The wind blew across the cindered landscape and a pile of charred timbers stood where the jalousie had bulwarcked the Editorial Offices.

Where the Editor's cube had once stood, there remained only piles of shattered glass in this new Kristalnacht.

Chad wandered down the aisles that had been destroyed by the wrath of the Angry Elf and, as was his nature, wandered off to his bungalow on Bungalow Court where he took up his computer and surfed the web.

Tammy, his patient and loving consort of many years entered to find him alive, to her mixed pleasure as he had missed two dinners already, and said, "Chad, you stink."

"I love you, dear," said Chad, who was always politic.

"I mean you stink of smoke and ash and burning. Take off your clothes now!"

When one's mate demands that one disrobe immediately, one does not question, for anything eruptive may follow.

Let us depart this delicate familial scene and consider how Island-Life continues although its main offices have been destroyed.

In truth, like all responsible businesses, Island-Life had paid lots of money to a high-priced consultant for an IDR Plan.

What is an IDR plan, you ask?

A good IDR plan produces the results that AMEX experienced when its nerve center in the World Trade Center was destroyed by maniacs on 9/11.

Did you miss a payment or fail to pay a bill because of that? No you did not. That is the result of a good IDR plan. Do not ask us what the letters stand for -- no one now remembers. The fact is, it works due to the magic of IT.

The Island-Life IDR was unconventional. It involved a network of hamsters and hedghogs carrying flashdrives that held backup data. It was the distributed backup schema of course. When the Household of Marlene and Andre established foothold, they had Festus, the messenger hamster. Mainly, they needed to rebuild the large Habitot that had once occupied some 600 square feet. This would take some doing. Fortunately in Marin there is no dearth of tubing due to the local mania for irrigation. Why construct elaborate irrigation systems in the only place in California that does not suffer from want of water is anyone's guess. It is not like people are maintaining Subsistence Gardens in large numbers for most of the foliage is entirely for show with no edible qualities whatsoever. Go figure.

On a grey, foggy day in Silvan Acres a grizzled man stepped off of the bus and looked around. He was the Editor's unacknowledged son who had answered the IDR summons, which he did not understand, but it promised in the text a free drink.

The Editor's unacknowledged son was a complete alcoholic for various reasons, but the IDR plan had all of this built-in.

The Editor's son set up shop in a Silvan Acres shed which he filled with filched and borrowed equipment. Martini was very instrumental, as the man ported over his skills as a scavenger from the East Bay with great effect. As soon as he had his internet up, Chad sent a message saying he would be happy to continue at his usual fee, but physically coming to Silvan Acres presented a problem. He would have to remain a Road Warrior Remote Worker. Something about carting his oxygen tanks and his COPD.

Rachel sent a message, saying that she was also available for remote work, but she would be damned if she ever got on a ship without a decent telephone ever again.

These past few days have seen drenching downpours and as the son of the Editor puttered about the new offices of Silvan Acres, putting things into place, setting the paper cutter properly in the Xerox room, although few people ever use a Xerox anymore, aligning the hole punch machine and the MFP thingie with its supplies as the MFP thingie is an insatiable beast, things started to fall into place.

What was the Island is becoming Silvan Acres. And in the late hours, the mists swelled in the vale and drifted through the trees and the coyotes appeared, howling and yipping just outside the door as if to welcome the enterprise to this wildness that was part of Old California, the part of California that remained a Republic despite hundreds of years of isolation.

As he stood there, a sphinx moth banged against the screen of the window. His father used to wander the sandy paths with a net and although he was gone, transformed into some other shape which is all we know of death, tonight was a good night for mothing.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

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


MARCH 18, 2018


Bus Stop was the first hit single by the Hollies in 1966. The song was written by UK songwriter and future 10cc member Graham Gouldman. In a 1976 interview Gouldman said the idea for the song had come while he was riding home from work on a bus. The opening lines were written by his father, playwright Hyme Gouldman who often assisted his son with word choice in song writing. It is a sweetly innocent song that is quite different in tone and origins than what came later in the 1960's

This week's image, which clearly shows the effects of the recent rains, comes courtesy of Cathy who lives in Woodacre.

Bus stop, wet day
She's there, I say
Please share my umbrella

Bus stops, bus goes
She stays, love grows
Under my umbrella

All that summer we enjoyed it
Wind and rain and shine
That umbrella we employed it
By August she was mine

Every morning I would see her
Waiting at the stop
Sometimes she'd shop
And she would show me what she'd bought

Other people stared
As if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers
Are going to be the same

That's the way the whole thing started
Silly but it's true
Thinking of our sweet romance
Beginning in a Queue

Came the sun
The ice was melting
No more sheltering now
Nice to think that that umbrella
Led me to avow

Every morning I would see her
Waiting at the stop
Sometimes she'd shop
And she would show me what she'd bought

Other people stared
As if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers
Are going to be the same

Came the sun
The ice was melting
No more sheltering now
Nice to think that that umbrella
Led me to a vow


We will not harp on it, but the late Lil Arnerich could have taught the current crop of rowdy rascals inhabiting Silly Council and the Mayor's office a thing or two about reasoned discourse, level-headedness, and responsibility as public servants. Okay on with the news . . . .

Our irrepressible Council put the City Manager on hold for -- what? -- complaining about undue pressure from Council members with regards to the hiring process of current of the new Alameda Fire Department (AFD) Fire Chief. Turns out an independent investigative report from investigator Michael Jenkins from the California law firm Jenkins & Hogin, revealed just that. Undue influence was exercised. Talk about killing the messenger ....

13 people were put on 5150 three day hold for psychiatric evaluation last week. O our sweet, sick, little Island!


Up north, to where we are shifting our focus, we note that David Donery, Town Manager for San Anselmo, reported in the recent Council News report that April has been designated "Fair Housing Month". Yeah. We will see what comes of that sentiment among the well-matriculated and well-endowed hills of Marin.

This one really caught our eye: "- Approved Resolution Conditionally Accepting the Offer of Street Dedication for a Segment of The Alameda (from east of Arroyo Avenue to east of Berkeley Avenue) and Approve the ‘The Alameda Improvements Project’ and Authorize Staff to Advertise for Bids."

Turns out The Alameda is a street that sort of meanders behind the Ross Valley Fire Station until it suddenly turns into a fractured roadway of ruts and ruined pavement just past a sign that reads "Not maintained by Town". Why not maintained by Town is anybody's guess. Maybe the people who live there do not pay property taxes, although we suspect that is not true.

We would guess the "dedication" concerns that part east of the sign. Stay tuned for more Marin County weirdness and jarring disconnects.

Residents of Marin from Larkspur to Woodacre were treated to several showers of hail these past two weeks. Temps have been dipping to near freezing at night and hovering in the low forties while the fogs have been steaming.

A number of towns have banded together to unify police services under the Central Marin Police Department. The CMPD, a fairly new organization to this area which used to feature a number of fractured independent municipal forces, has the following helpful advice.

How do I get a copy of a police or traffic accident report?
Please call the Records Section at 415-927-5150 to confirm the report is available. Reports are usually ready for pick up in about 7-10 business days. Report cost: $10.00, Log Entry cost: $3.00. Certain offense reports may not be released if the case is active or under investigation. No juvenile information will be released.

I will be out of town for a week. Will the police watch my home?
Yes. This is what we call a "Vacation Watch." Please call, 415-927-5150 to request a Vacation Watch. Please have trip dates and emergency contact numbers available when you call. We may ask additional questions about the vacancy of your home.

When does the police department do public fingerprinting?
We do not do public fingerprinting. You may contact the Marin County Sheriff's Office at 415-479-2311.

How can I check on the status of my criminal investigation?
Contact the specific investigative unit at 415-927-5150 or the Marin County District Attorney's Office at 415-499-6450.

How do I find out if someone has been arrested?
Please call CMPA Dispatch at 415-927-5150.

How do I get my car out of impound?
First, you will need to provide us with the vehicle license plate number or the vehicle identification number. If you are the owner, you must have a valid California Driver license. If the vehicle is currently registered, you need to call the Traffic Unit at 415-927-5150 for a Tow Hearing. You will be responsible for towing and storage fees to the tow company. You may also be responsible for administrative fees to CMPA. There are vehicle codes and municipal codes that allow CMPA to charge up to $314.00. If your vehicle was impounded for driving without a license and has been previously towed for the same violation, it may be held up to 30 days. You will have to contact the Traffic Unit at 415-927-5150. You will have to contact the Records Section to obtain a release at 415-927-5150.

How do I get a police employee to speak to my group?
You can call the Watch Commander at 415-927-5150

Let It Rain, Let it Pour, Let it Rain a whole lot more

Last report from the State watershed folks revealed that before the recent storms we had an average snowpack of 39% percent of normal, indicating that drought conditions will continue. We expect this recent storm and the one coming Tuesday may push the average to a shade below 50% - still not enough to kill the drought.

Further south we note the Mill Valley Public Library hosts events, of which we will dutifully notify you.


So anyway, Mr. Howitzer got over his dismay at losing the lucrative property on Otis that had housed Marlene and Andre's Household for so many years. He was not concerned that most of the former inhabitants had disappeared -- that just meant he had fewer issues with retaining the security deposit as well as last month's rent. No, Mr. Howitzer had in mind a plan to build up a nine story condo complex where the cottage once stood. He felt that getting around the City height restrictions with a variance should be a piece of cake with the present Council composed as it was, of ne'er do wells.

He still remained peeved about the loss of his yacht, the Indomitable, which had vanished one dark and stormy night. If he had known the truth, that the corrupt DePuglia brothers had not built their dry dock scaffold high enough above the tide mark to compensate for a neep tide plus a storm swell along with their usual cutting of corners he would have been even more furious.

The day after the storms other boats properly dry-docked all around the place had survived quite well. The Harbormaster had only one pithy thing to say about it: "Cheap-ass SOB! Serves him right!"

This Saturday being St. Patrick's Day, a day more celebrated outside of the Old Sod than within, and often for good reasons, the Old Same Place Bar made ready for a gangbuster weekend.

All the gang was there, save for some conspicuous absences. The talk around the bar was about what had happened to any number of people who had disappeared on the Night of Fire. Denby had not been seen for three weeks now. Nor had the Editor.

Midweek a violent dockwalloper had set in with hail and wind and all sorts of mischief. Hard ice pellets had pounded the docks for hours and the Bann Se had wailed about the chimney as they are wont to do when someone is about to die, for the Se come from Tir nan Og, the fairyland where time and all appearances are sent in a whirlwind. Late at night Dawn heard the Bann Se and she prodded the slumbering Padraic.

"Some-what is about to happen!" said Dawn.

"If you keep poking me, some-what will happen for sure," Padraic said.

"I don't mean that," Dawn said. "But somat is aboot ta happen."

"Sure enough," Padraic said out of his somnolence."Go back to sleep."

Along came time for the annual celebration of the Irish and the wearing of the Green by wannabees and the usual fol de rol about coffee mixed with the Water of Life, which they never do back on the Old Sod. All the tables out in the round had candles to light the night.

And all the usual crowd was in the Old Same Place Bar with a cheerful clatter and chatter within, when Suzie realized after serving Eugene on his usual stool she never would see Denby or the Editor again and she never would pass her exams to get out of there and was stuck there in that bar working the night shift until dawn for ages to come and it was clear she could not go on as before and she started to cry.

Then the door was open and the wind appeared. The candles blew and then disappeared. The curtains flew and then he appeared... Saying don't be afraid. . .

The Wee Man had returned after long absence.

He 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.

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.

Dear friends it seems there are fewer here around the bar than in years past. We cannot account for that for time must have its math which consists largely of subtractions. I have this to say.

When things go wrong and will not come right
Though you do the best you can
When life looks black as the hour of night
A pint of plain is your only man

When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran
When all you have is a heap of debt
A pint of plain is your only man

When health is bad and your heart feels strange
And your face is pale and wan
When doctors say you need a change
A pint of plain is your only man

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan
When hunger grows as your meals are rare
A pint of plain is your only man

In time of trouble and lousey strife
You have still got a darling plan
You still can turn to a brighter life
A pint of plain is your only man

"Naow!" exclaimed the Wee Man. "Where be my friends, the daft musician and the darlint rodent named Festus and the Editor and all those I have loved over the years where are they now? I do not see them here!"

It came to Padraic to explain that they were gone to the far north and would not come here again for fear of the Angry Elf gang and fire and the shards of broken glass left after the Night of Fire.

"I see you have not taken care of your own full well," said the Wee Man. "It was said, 'Wnen I was hungry, you gave me food. When I was naked you gave me clothing. When I was in need, you provided', yet this scripture you have not followed so I ask of you when the time came to stand up and be counted what did you do?"

When the Wee Man struck the table lightning bolts flew out across the room.

"Good heavens and bananas!" said Larry Larch, he of the almost nonprofit Pushy People Anonymous organization (PPA). "Who or what are you?"

"What am I?" said the Wee Man, reflecting. "Well I have been myself all day."

"Well I most humbly apologize sir," Larry said.

"Apology accepted," said the Wee Man. "What then are you, pray tell?"

"Me?" said Larry Larch. "I am the proprietor of the East Bay chapter of the PPA. We take on known cases of pushy people hopelessly addicted to obnoxiousness and attempt to cure them."

"O!" said the Wee Man. "And just how do you do that?"

"Group therapy and a service animal."

"A service animal indeed!?"

"Yes. A service animal. Usually a dog. Sometimes a badger."

"And what does the service animal do for the afflicted? Teach them warmth and compassion?"

"O goodness no! That is impossible. We seek to retrain behavior that will gently guide the obnoxious soul back within the boundaries of conventional, polite society. The service animal watches for bad behavior and if perceived -- things like browbeating, over-assertion of parking places, asserting ridiculous opinions about minorities, talking loudly in restaurants -- the animal bites them."

"Well," said the Wee Man. "As I see you pursue an honorable trade and are besides a bit daft, I shall not kill you."

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 therefore a sort of faery, but with some disreputable attributions, including cigar smoking and farting.

A faery fart is something about which to contemplate at a later time.
The door opened and two of the Angry Elf gang slunk into the bar. It was the Cackler and Bryan Gump. Gump traded in stolen bank account numbers from his fake print shop in Oaktown while the Cackler engaged mostly in minor acts of terrorism -- usually blowing up cars and setting them on fire in front of certain recalcitrant businesses.
He was fond of kicking housecats across the room like footballs wherever he went. Both he and Gump were quite odious.

"What have we here?" said the Cackler.

"A weed not quite grown," said Bryan.

The gang members had become quite emboldened since the Night of Fire, for they had gotten away yet again with so much evil and many of their enemies had left town.

"Well, lets encourage the weed to grow!" said the Cackler, who took up a water pitcher and made as if to pour it on the head of the Wee Man. As was his nature, he lacked the courage to actually perform the act, but threatened to do so.

To his astonishment the pitcher rose up despite his strength and poured the contents upon his head, then magically refilled to dump on the head of Bryan Gump before refilling again somehow to repeat the action on the Cackler to the astonishment of everybody. A small terrier dog that was with Larry Larch went over and bit both men upon the ankles.

Meanwhile the Wee Man calmly sipped his Guinness for Guinness is good for you.

The two drenched gang members left the bar, pursued by the inexhaustible pitcher.

Having finished his Guinness the Wee Man stood up upon the bar, saying, ""Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the hell, whither thou hasten."

"That was Ecclesiastes," said Suzie aloud. "Verse 9:10."

"Young lady, this year I predict you shall finally find a man worth your time," and the Wee Man pointed at her.

"O nuts!" Suzie said. "All the men that is are not worth a load of rock salt."

"We shall see!" said the Wee Man. "You have been unlucky in love, and we could talk about it at length, but I must now return to Tir nan Og." And with that the Wee Man clapped his hands and there was a flash and the lights went out. When the lights came back on with Padraic throwing the breaker switch the Wee Man had disappeared.

"O heavens!" Dawn said looking past her waistband. "The Wee Man has done it yet again!"

Padraic strode off to the restroom with a red face and Suzie sat down on her stool abruptly crossing her legs and placed her anthropology book on her lap.

The Man from Minot whispered in the ear of a fetching gal sitting at the tables and the two of them went out giggling. "Cant wait to get them off ya," someone heard the gal say.

Larry's terrier ran around in circles -- it was wearing a charming set of mini-boxers.

When Padraic came back he said, "The man's a sodding pervert!"

"Are ya meaning to go around the rest of the night commando, so to speak, Padraic?" said Dawn coyly.

"Humph!" was all Padraic said.

Once again, the Wee Man had transformed everyone's knickers into unmentionables the nature of which matched each person's secret disposition. Or fantasy.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

MARCH 12, 2018


So you have had it with somber skies and rain and snow in some places and cold, dank days. Signs are appearing everywhere that something is about to change, as this image of a Japanese plum tree attests.

Take heart my friends. Winter will not last forever, nor will Trump and his ilk. You can drive Nature out with a pitchfork, as a friend used to say, but it always comes roaring back.


So anyway. The fogs returned to the Bay, which is the one thing, weather-wise, that has not changed, for when the fogs return, that means the seasons are about to change.

All along the narrow lanes of old town, the gardens are starting to produce tender shoots.
Up along the winding roads of Marin, the buckeyes, barren for so long, now start to erupt new green florets. Up through the ashes that extend for miles along highway 29, small green buds appear.

Up in the snow country, the first arrows announcing tulips have pierced the crusty cover.

Small events are taking place down there beneath the snow. Something definitely is going on down there.

Ms. Ameida's chickens have started to venture from their warm, dry roost in this time, running the risk of enticing the racoons and other predatory creatures.

The students of Ms. Morales have started preparing green shamrocks for the Irish Day in expectation that Easter is not far behind.

Much on the Island has not changed at all, despite recent events. The Island will always be an island, with its own idiosyncracies and peculiar attachments no matter how hard the developers and landlords seek to destroy it. Eventually the Island will become just like Manhattan, a sort of insular idea of itself that contains many contradictions, but nevertheless retains character.

Overhead, the wheel of stars has brought the figure of Orion around to the full view of anyone who looks up.

Out on the sea-lanes, Pedro piloted his boat, El Borracho Perdido, with his first mate Ferryboat in the cabin giving woof to the wave.

He missed the old radio program once hosted by Pastor Rotschue, for the newer fellow felt although very ernest and young, not quite the same sort of avuncular voice that had helped guide Pedro on the sea-lanes for some thirty years.

Yet change is something to be expected. Old friends die and old traditions morph into other practices. You cannot fossilize, for there you die and sit there like a prune in a dish and who wants that in their bed!

The other night he thought he had seen a yacht on radar, perhaps in distress and drifting north without power, but no hail or flare was responded, so he had let it go. Maybe a smuggler or something into which he should not pry. Had he known that he had witnessed the final hours of the Indomitable he would have certainly done something. But as it stood, it was two ships in the night, passing with no notice of one another and these days so much of what used to be was now something strange.

The prow of the boat pounded the waves until it soon was time to drop the nets and begin the work that would last well past dawn. Some things never change, despite global climate and peculiar politics.

On the Island, the Old Same Place felt oddly empty as Padraic and Dawn prepared for the busy St. Paddy's day thing. Cardboard shamrocks went up and rainbows with pots of gold and glitter and, in anticipation of a return of the Wee Man, Dawn wisely set aside a store of comfy knickers, for that Wee Man was known for his naughty tricks over the years.

Indeed some things would not change after the Night of Fire.

Yet, as the sun faded behind the hills, Pahrump puttered on his scooter up the long alameda that led into Silvan Acres to arrive at the decrepit house that now sheltered the old Household of Marlene and Andre. With Pahrump was Martini, who had been much distressed to find his former home reduced to ashes and all his electronic projects utterly destroyed.

"This place looks like crap," Martini said.

Marlene came out on the porch wiping her hands with a dishrag.

"Hi Martini," Marlene said. "Welcome to your new home."

Right then the sound of the old ghost train, which only some innocents could hear, echoed across the hills and vales of Marin as it trundled its way along the path of the old railbed, passing through Yolanda Station and San Geronimo before cutting up through Silvan Acres over the ridge to vanish in the mists of time.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.


MARCH 4, 2018


This image comes from a former train station depot that sat along the line that extended along what is now Sir Francis Drake Blvd out from San Rafael to the coast. Nothing of the old railbed remains save for a few of these relics scattered along the way.

As Island-Lifers will know we have a special fondness for old trains and train-lore. So here is the San Geronomo Depot. At the moment it is preserved as a museum and is closed for most of the year.


Island-life is shifting focus at the moment from Babylon, which has less and less of value to report these days, to East Bay and North Bay events. We continue to get PR's from the Alameda Rent Control people who have not stopped the good fight against greed and the destructive effects of the Rental Crisis. So stay tuned as we re-organize the offices.


So anyway. In a glade on the edge of the tiny hamlet that turned out to be called Silvan Acres, various members of Marlene and Andre's Household made their goodbyes. Not far was an infrequently visited bus stop, which the girls Aisling and Jasmine told them would take one or all of them to San Rafael.

To their great astonishment, when the bus arrived, out stepped Marlene, Andre, Rolf, Suan and Snuffles, who told the shipwreck survivors that there was no going back as the old house had been entirely destroyed by fire when the old furnace had exploded. Destroyed, too, was the pink eviction notice sent by the greedy Mr. Howitzer, which had propelled Rolf and Suan to go looking for a new place over the past few weeks.

Mr. Howitzer had thought to capitalize upon the Air BnB craze and turn the place into a sort of high-priced hotel, but of course that plan would have to wait for some sort of reconstruction.

"Howsh go BOOM!" said Snuffles. "All gone! Eben my wine!" He looke disconsolate about that last fact.

The crew told Rolf and Suan all about how they had gotten on board Mr. Howitzer's dry-docked yacht with The Editor and how the boat had broken away from its moorings because Mr. Howitzer had gone cheap with N.Eptitude Construction and the hopelessly incompetant Depuglia Brothers and how the ship had drifted until it foundered and it was a miracle they had all survived.

Rolf and Suan had found a sort of ramshackle place in the woods rented by a squat man named Walter Nachhall. It leaked, it creaked, and it was infested with mice and scorpions lived in the attic, but it was something.

Rachel, who still had her apartment on the third floor of the St. Charles Lunatic Asylum, decided to return on the bus with Pahrump, who wanted to fetch his scooter. So they all hugged each other and said goodbye and Rachel climbed aboard and the little bus took off down the road to disappear down a long avenue of trees, perhaps never to see The Editor or her friends again.

"Speaking of whom", asked Marlene. "Where is the Editor?"

The castaways all looked at a tree growing in the middle of the glade.

"Tell you later," Javier said. "Let's go look at the house."

They all trooped up there over the warped boards of the porch and Rolph shoved the creaky door open with his shoulder.
A startled pigeon flew through the exposed rafters, allowing a fair amount of dusk to descend. Some kind of animal skittered in the fireplace chimney.

"It does need some fixup," Suan said. "But it's all we could afford."

Meanwhile, far away and across the Bay, Mr. Howitzer snarled to Dodd as he chauffeured the magnate from the ashes of his former rental property on Otis to the Marina, "I'll be damned if they get one penny from the security deposit! If there are any survivors that is!"

When they got to the marina where Mr. Howitzer went to check on the status of the yacht repainting, Mr. Howitzer was further incensed to discover instead of a freshly painted yacht a forest of broken timbers that had been the drydock frame.

"Where the hell is my boat?" shouted Mr. Howitzer.

Back at the former Household Martini and Tipitina stared in disbelief at the place where they had lived for years. The ironmongery garden still stood there and there stood Pahrump's scooter, a bit worse for wear with scorch marks on its frame, but the house was gone save for a pile of charred rubble.

"Where IS everybody?" Martini said.

As evening drew on and the air became chill, a solitary figure, somewhat bedraggled but yet walking with the statuesque stride of a dancer, descended the OX bus on Santa Clara to make her way down the street and up the steps of the St. Charles Lunatic Asylum, and then climb the weary three flights of stairs to the top floor and down the hall where someone had been waiting impatiently for dinner many hours.

The sound of heavy cat feet landing on the floor thumped through the apartment and there came the sound next of a hungry mewing.

"Hello Henry," said Rachel. "Back home again!"


The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and wended its way through the fog-shrouded Northbay, as it also traversed the Island to die between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.


FEBRUARY 25, 2018


If you head east out along the Tiburon peninsula you will find that the roadway makes an exaggerated bend around a large meadow and what appears to be a park before cutting up over the rise and down to Tiburon itself and the tony neighborhoods of Belvedere, NorCal's response to BonAir Heights and exclusive Beverly Hills. Most travelers bypass this cirque to get to their destinations, but centered in this park is a 3/4 sized bronze statue of a horse, who apparently, by nearby plaques, is named Blackie. So this entire meadow, causing the main thoroughfare to swing widely out of its way, is Blackie's Meadow.

Okay then. A Marin curiosity fixed upon the landscape as if it were some memorial without supporting history. Go figure. Kids like it so it cannot be all that bad.



Heard some quiet powerhouses are slipping into the Bay Area in March. Chris Smither, the go-to man for fingerpicking Appalachian style acoustic country blues -- now that Cephas and Wiggins are gone -- will be performing around the Bay at various venues, but most notably the new Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. The New Orleans born Native Son seems to be finally hitting his stride in his sixties after winning a battle against some personal demons.

In a very rare West Coast appearance, Richard Shindell will revivify his collaboration with Lucy Kaplansky and Dar Williams on Sunday, April 15. Richard left the US during the Bush Error to live as an expat in Rio de Janeiro and when he travels, tends to hug the Eastern Seaboard. He is a seeker, like Leonard Cohen was, attending a Catholic seminary before departing to attend a Zen Buddhist monastery. His lyrics are poetic, insightful, and packed with social conscience.

You may have noticed the sound of firecrackers and smelled the smoke. No, its not another shoot-out among the gangstas and the gangbangers. It is Chinese New Year! The Lunar New Year celebration began 02/16 and more or less ended on the 24th with parades everywhere, with notably the one in San Francisco featuring Gum Lung, the 268 foot-long Golden Dragon chasing the evasive ball. This is the Year of the Dog.

The Dog occupies the eleventh position in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac . You are a “Dog Chinese zodiac animal” if you are born in one of these years: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018.

People born in the Year of the Dog are usually independent, sincere, loyal and decisive according to Chinese zodiac analysis. They are not afraid of difficulties in daily life. These shining characteristics make them have harmonious relationships with people around them.

Valiant, loyal, responsible, clever, courageous, lively
Sensitive, conservative, stubborn, emotional, critical

The element associated with this year is Earth. A survey of Horoscopes indicates a few things in common for Dog people -- uncertainty, stress, and change. 2018 will be a year in which Dog people need to find the balance between work and health more than any other time. Lovelife might take a beating, unless a Dog can find a good Rabbit, who also is forecast for an iffy year of troubles. Good fortune is not guaranteed and the year may end up with much frustration, especially regarding health while wealth might increase, with a big emphasize on maybe\might. This is a year to be mindful of changes, especially in lifestyle. Perhaps a good year to stop smoking and get exercise.

There is one notable person born under the dog sign we simply must mention, if only because of a first for this man.

According to Ivana Trump, the current United States president is not a dog lover. Donald Trump is the 4th American president born under the Dog Year (born on June 14, 1946), but is the first American president to hold presidency in the Year of the Dog and the only President to own no dog.

Other famous dogs include Elvis Presley, Dame Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Steven Spielberg, both Prince William and Kate Middleton, Justin Bieber, Madonna and Mother Teresa.

You dog you.


So anyway, to recap what has happened over the past few weeks, should you, Dear Reader, just be returning to these pages now, inhabitants of Marlene and Andre's Household had to flee for their lives when the old furnace beneath the house, aging and decaying for years, wiring gnawed by rats, suddenly exploded on the night that the Angry Elf gang accidentally blew up their warehouse when a gang member lit a cigarette inside the building packed with incendiary material intended for arson attacks. The ensuing conflagration spread to several other buildings, including the Offices of Island-Life, forcing the Editor to flee with his laptop and a few items tossed into a haversack and slung over the oar given him as a present on his birthday a few years ago. With him went Rachel, the AA, and Festus, the hamster. They took refuge in Mr. Howitzer's dry docked yacht, not knowing that it had been the incompetent Depuglia brothers who had built the support trestle. The explosions of propane tanks along the shore shook the structure so much the boat slid back, powerless, into the water and drifted out into the Bay where they encountered Jose and Javier, and Pahrump in a dingy which had lost its power by way of running out of gas.

Denby, seeking to escape murderous members of the Angry Elf gang, first hit in the reeds by the shore, then poled out on a raft, intending to keep to the area that remained three feet deep for about one hundred yards, but he could not control the raft and so he, too drifted into the Bay until, caught by the same currents that had snagged the other two craft he came upon Mr. Howitzer's yacht adrift and sculled over to climb on board with the others.

We last left Mr. Howitzer's Indomitable drifting in a storm directly for the reefs at Sir Francis Drake Estuary when the keel of the doomed ship breaks upon the rocks and the cabin windows shatter.


The Editor trudged with his haversack and oar. He felt, in retrospect, that had he known what was to come, he would have done many things differently, but still wound up in the same place, the same time, the same situation. He was a man who had traveled far after the fall of Saigon. He had seen the cities of man and learned their ways and had many adventures. He had suffered much, due to the sadistic intransigence of the Angry Elf, and he had tried to save his companions, but he could not. They had devoured the cattle of the son of a Californian King who owned the Hyperion Ranch. Now they were kept in thrall under his harsh domain and prevented from going home.

Now begins this new story of a man who was never at a loss and the story of his people who became wanderers far from their Island home.

The morning after the Indomitable foundered on the reef, they were amazed to find each other alive, sodden and bedraggled on the shore of Drake's Estuary where once a thriving oyster farm had existed, but now was no more, so no sign of human life was there, but themselves as they pulled out of the sand, the Editor heaving up like Manannán, rising with rivulets of seagreen water pouring down.

Many were the ships that had foundered there on those reefs during the Spanish Colonial days. Drake, a more practiced and astute seaman than most, had escaped such a fate by deliberately careening his ship on the sand during known high tide. Others who followed, like Cermeno and Vizcaino had not been so practiced.

The main thing was that they survived. The next thing was how to proceed in an apparent un-peopled wilderness to continue to survive. Although none of them were thinking philosophically about this, but their condition was a classic California problem: you have encountered disaster and lost everything. What next?

This experience, among all others, unites Californians with something in common.

The mouth of Drake Estuary sits far out to the west, emitting tidal flow from various sloughs that congregate into a narrow inlet bounded by high rocky cliffs and a sort of gentle admittance on the east end where the oyster beds used to drape long strings of seed oysters into the brackish water.

The land is owned by the US Government as part of the National Park system, but a family had retained a 100 year lease to operate private industry there and the lease had recently expired, so now there remained only the country road paved with oyster shells and abandoned wood-frame buildings slated for either demolition or preservation as a museum, for the ways of the USNPS were mysterious and deep ever since the days of the Water Wars.

The Water Wars: that is another story told at another time.

So any way, it was up that dusty shellmound road the émigrés trudged, led by the Editor.

Eventually, after many adventures, they arrived at Point Reyes Station where they all boarded the bus. All seemed to bode well for returning home until a woman with a shi tzu began to yap about the Editor's oar threatening her wiffle wuffle dingus schweetie.

Dogs have always held a special place in Island-Life, but the crew found themselves in foreign parts where the attitudes of self-deception towards some dogs overwhelm the dictates of common decency and common sense.

The entire crew was put off in what seemed the middle of a forested nowhere, surrounded by tall trees and lush overgrowth and were told they were "fairly near Lagunitas", which meant nothing to any of them as the bus with its entitled rider with her shi tzu continued onward undisturbed.

"Go back to where you came from you hippies!" shouted the woman through the window.

The Editor, normally well dressed in button-down shirt, vest, slacks and docksiders, felt aggrieved by the state of their bedraggled, shipwrecked dress, but nothing was to be done. The troupe soldiered on

Along they marched until they came to a field on the right and, footsore and hungry and tired, they fanned out in that glade and two girls came upon them. One, with the biggest brown eyes you had ever seen looked at the Editor with his burden and said, "What is that?"

The Editor set down his rucksack. "Hello Missy. What is your name?"

As it turned out her name was Jasmine and her sister's name was Aisling.

"So what is that thing you carrying?" repeated Jasmine.

"So you really do not know what this is?" asked the Editor.

"We never seen nothing like that in Silvan Acres," Jasmine said.

"Then this must be the place," the Editor said. And with that he lifted the ship's oar high and brought it down to drive deep into the earth.

The trees trembled and the ground shook and the oar swelled with a cracking and sprouted branches and leaves and took root there and the branches enveloped the Editor as he stood until his body could not be seen anymore and where there had been a man and an oar suddenly stood there a tree.

They all stood there in shock.

"For Pete's sake," Javier said. "Now what do we do?"

Far from the sea, in a land where some people did not know the purpose of an oar, the sound of the ghost train that had once travelled the length of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard echoed in a wavery note as the train cut up the hill through unincorporated Silvan Acres, riding over the crest of the fog shrouded hills as it headed to a mysterious unknown destination in the dense forests of the north, leaving behind only the sound of nightbirds, farmyard dogs, and coyotes

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


FEBRUARY 18, 2018



This week we have an image done by Carol Balding Taylor who is an artist living in the Gold Coast area of the Island. Carol has been rendering images for quite a while and we are always pleased to present her work.


From time to time we come across information important to us in NorCal which we share in the form of PSA's. From reader Thomas Hodge we have some important information which is going into the Sidebar.

As all of us know the past year has seen catastrophic fires succeeded by horrific slides as rains loosened fire denuded soil. Up along Sir Francis Drake we observed White's Hill come down with tons of earth onto the roadway and Highway 1 was blocked for months by the same sort of events north and south.

We are grateful to Mr. Hodge for supplying links to sites that describe what to do and how to do it regarding mudslide danger.

Mudslide Safety for the Home: How to Assess Your Risk and Take Preventative Action

Red Cross: Landslide Safety Checklist

Landslide & Mudslide Safety

Weather Wiz Kids: Landslides


On a similar vein, a casual foray in the hardware store brought to our attention a commonly observed safety device called Emergency Hammer. The Emergency Hammer concept is obtained in two forms: a sort of dual spike hammer with a small razor built into the handle, which is meant to be mounted somewhere in the cab of the car\truck within easy reach, and a keychain device with a spring-loaded spike combined with a large razor edge that is protected by a plastic guard until ready for use.

Living on an Island, we get stories every year about cars driving off of bridges or docks only to be found weeks later with the occupants still inside, so this is not a minor matter for us. Just about everybody here pays attention to the problem of what to do if the car becomes submerged. Then again, you do not have to live on an Island. Marin County has been subject to flooding which has cost lives of people driving in automobiles through flooded zones.

To skip past about 100 Youtube videos we can say that if you own a late model car newer than 2016 you can toss both devices away in the garbage -- they will not work.

In fact, as of 2013, the NHSTA has mandated a change in auto manufacturer windshield glass from tempered glass to laminated glass. Tempered glass is designed to shatter into tiny pieces that do not injure the car occupants or First Responders with dangerous shards.

Laminated glass is designed to resist all shattering to prevent a body from exiting the vehicle upon impact.

Furthermore, extensive testing has shown that most versions of the Emergency Hammer require extensive practice with yards of seat-belt material before the user can find the precise angle at which the razor will slice the belt and often no one can ever find this angle no matter how much they try.

So you are submerged in the Estuary with the water rising above your neck and now must PRACTICE how to escape?!

The other thing is that there is a common myth that if you wait until the water level in the car is the same as outside the car, you can then open the door.

Sorry to say, this also does not work; do not ask how we know this -- we just know and accept it. The reason you cannot open the door when the water outside appears to be the same level as in the car is that water continues to enter the car through the trunk while the care nose dives long after the driver's compartment is filled, causing an imbalance of pressure. The only way out is via the window.

If you have not opened the window before the computer beneath your feet under the floorboards is shorted out, you will certainly die.

There are several devices on the market that primarily appeal to the Survivalist types as those things consist of large fixed-blade knives with hooks that are most certainly never going to be found in your average family sedan, and which may cause problems with the Law if discovered in your vehicle during a traffic stop even though they do work on the older glass type.

So, if you own an older model car, then the Rescue-Me device is your best bet, as the spring-loaded carbide-tip will shatter tempered glass easily and the larger surface area of the razor provides better chances for slicing through seat-belt material which must meet DOT standards for toughness unlike paracord or any other binding material.

Hopefully this information is useful to you. You can see what type of glass was used in your vehicle if made between 2013 and 2017 by looking into the corner where the DOT specs are listed. It will say Laminated if the glass is of that type.


So anyway. The Old Same Place was bustling and there was a clatter and a chatter from within. The fires had been put out and the First Responders had found no bodies and yet Certain Individuals were unaccounted for. The body-sniffing dogs were brought in from the Sheriff's Office and a company started sifting thorough the ashes of Marlene & Andre's Place for bone fragments as Marlene and Suan and Rolf stood there holding hands. This is the kind of reality to which we in NorCal have become accustomed. Late in the news was the information that Mr. Howitzer's yacht was no longer in dry dock and was also missing.

The Coast Guard was called. Nobody knows who called the Coast Guard as land-sea rescues have always been a problem on the Island due to jurisdictional language confusions, according to the report on the last disaster in which human lives were lost.

Seems folks in the PD do not know how to talk to the folks in the FD and neither one knows how to talk to the CG and all three have a confusion on how to talk to anybody with their wits about them in just about any agency you can name.

So people die. It's a problem and nobody seems to have an answer but the PD did get more money to play with for their Rescue Boat. Which has yet to be employed. And they seem to be happy with the situation as it stands.

The FD is much put out about this favoritism, as they see it, in which the PD got something out of someone's death and they did not. The CG is much put out on being called to rescue someone standing in three feet of water, which certainly obviated use of their impressive Cutter with a draft of some 20 feet at the keel.

"Please do not call us again for such stupid things," said the CG commander and both the island PD and FD shifted their feet with embarrassment before going back to business as usual.

Perhaps someone should convene a Commission, but nobody is accepting responsibility for doing so even years after the event.

In any case, certain individuals are missing and there is much discussion about this in the Old Same Place Bar.

As the Angry Elf gang drove past the entrance, Suzie bolted out the door to throw a bottle at their red truck, screaming, " You ASSHOLES! YOU ARE THE CAUSE OF ALL OF THIS EVIL! GOD DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!" Which she continued to yell until Padraic and Dawn brought her back inside, the lovely woman in tears for the loss of her dear friends.

Meanwhile, far to the North, Denby cooled his heels through another V-Day, glad for his circumstances for there was no way that he could now get in worse trouble than any time before. He sat with Rachel in the Galley after both of them had scoured for scraps of anything edible without finding much more than a tin of water crackers, which they shared.

"Well," said Rachel. "You could stand to lose some weight anyway."

"Happy V-day," Denby said. "I love you."

"You do not," Rachel said indignantly. "You love someone else and I know it."

Denby sighed. "That is true. But I love everybody more or less in some way if not shunted aside."

The entire ship groaned with agonized sounds of tortured metal and breaking timbers above.

"Are you Jewish?" Rachel said after a while.

"That is the first time anyone has asked me that question while I was still wearing my pants, Denby said.

"O! Really!"

Upstairs, or above ships, or whatever you call it, Festus was talking to the Editor.

"Frankly I find this situation to be extreme," Festus said as the ship shuddered after striking something beneath.

"You are always free to quit at any time," said The Editor, his employer.

"That right there is the epitome of California's labor market and perhaps that of the Nation. The ship is about to founder and the only thing you have is the obscenely named Right to Work Law. This is just a perfect example."

"You are free to leave at any time." The Editor said, while all around the angry sea tossed and churned with whitecap waves among the jagged rocks.

The entire ship shuddered again, followed by the sound of splintering and tortured metal.

"I suspect it is already too late," Festus said.

"You know I have always loved all of you," said the Editor.

"Still," said Festus on the pitching deck, hanging on to a halyard. "That is all too late if it ever meant anything at all."

Right then the cabin window burst and in rushed the cold, salt sea.

The sound of foghorns and the train clarion rippled in waves across the Bay and died over the smoldering embers of the humble Edwardian cottage that had been the Household of Marlene and Andre as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds through the gloom to an unknown destination.

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


FEBRUARY 11, 2018


This week, to mark the start of Island-Life's transition we present a shot of a bird sanctuary located on an island set in an archipelago of ponds near the Bay up in one of the North Counties not far from the areas affected by the recent Sonoma fires. We will always carry an affection for the Island, our former Hometown, from which we were driven like refugees by the actions of gangsters. There will always be an Island in the heart.


So anyway. The morning arrived with a semi-bright luminescence as the boot drifted on swells. The sky appeared gray but light and on all horizons around the bright lit boat not a smidgen of land could be seen. Apparently they had drifted beneath the Golden Gate and were now far a-sea. with only the Farralones rocks to be expected next. The iPhones and other devices they had with them had all failed due to lack of charge and the ship remained without lights, electricity, or power of any kind. There was a radio, but it did not work.

What I would give for a decent, working telephone, said Rachel. I miss my ivory handset rotary with gold appointments. She wailed.

In the distance those on board discerned a voluble complaint and familiar voices. The voices belonged to Javier and the others on the powerless skiff that had swept out at the same time as the Indomitable.

The Editor shouted out to them and Javier responded they had no idea where they were and what to do about it.

The Editor responded that had been the case for Javier all his life and so nothing had changed.

A number of calls across the water were made and contact was established with the lost party, which employed its oars none to soon as the little dingy had started to take on water several hours previously. The dingy survivors threw a rope and were soon attached to the hapless Indomitable and all fatigued, hungry, and sodden residents of the dingy soon climbed aboard the Indomitable only to encounter yet more fatigued, hungry and chilled individuals. As for the dingy, they attached cables from the powerless winch but were unable to lift it so that it could drain.

Meanwhile on the Island, the fires had been put out and Mr.Howizter was wroth for the loss of an income source and the lack of tenants upon whom to blame his misfortune. As far as he knew, all had perished and this was bad because that meant there was no one to sue for damages.

Officer O'Madhauen had a great deal to do with routing traffic around the various fire zones so as to prevent looting, snooping, and improper lane changes and speed infractions around the destruction.

Nothing was worse and more damaging to the social fabric than moving violations during a time of disaster, so Officer O'Madauen applied himself with a will.

The Almeida family, awakening to a morning of smoke and ashes in the air, seeing the chickens all distressed and even the noxious raccoons in retreat, noting the increasing rents that offered nothing as reward, made plans to relocate to a berth that might genuinely call itself a small town, instead of a fake metropolis with walls lined with Mafioso and greedy property management firms. They had old family connections up north in the old Portuguese fishing village that abutted the Land of the Shark.

Chiton Souvlaki, Wilmer Titrake, MD (air surgeon), Borg Busby Rubbitsum - the proprietor of A Touch of Wonder, and Marvin of Marvin's Merkins, all had gotten exorbitant rent increases from Mr. Howitzer's firm and were looking to relocate to more inviting environments.

Wootie Kanootie's herd continued to thrash across the Bay until they reached the temporary harbor of Angel Island, and there took momentary refuge, startling the deer that already lived there.

It seemed everyone was on the move and all the chatter in the Old Same Place Bar was about where to go and what to do next. Denby had not played in the snug for days, and seemed to have disappeared somewhere god only knows and so Padraic reconnected the old jukebox, hoping some locally retired jazz player would drop in and offer services on the cheap without expecting much other than a single free beer and a plate of food as pay. The right to practice his art should be enough, said the always frugal Padraic.

Meanwhile the Indomitable continued to drift out beyond the Golden Gate. Currents had fortunately brought her back towards the coast away from the sharp, jaggy Farralones and the lost crew began to hear the crash of breakers again after six days at sea. They did not know it, but they were approaching the mouth of Drake's Estuary with its imposing cliffs that some said resembled the slate colored escarpments of Dover.

And which were just as dangerous, for the bottom of the estuary was littered with the fragments of lost Spanish colonial ships.

The sun arose in a red ball and as the day progressed, the wind began to thrum the guywires of Mr. Howitzer's wayward yacht. As the day proceeded to an early night, winds whipped the decks and sent a salt spray everywhere on board, sending everyone into the cabins. The seas became unruly and began to pound the craft around like a kitten batting a ball of twine. Things flew off of the shelves and tables. What was not bolted down skidded across the floor, including Festus, who cried out with indignation until Rachel took him up and wrapped him in a towel.

The crashing of the surf became louder although they could not see through the pitch dark of the cloud-shrouded heavens.

Steadily, the Indomitable marched like a true Conservative towards the uncertain doom that awaited all aboard.

The sound of foghorns and the train clarion rippled in waves across the Bay and died over the smoldering embers of the humble Edwardian cottage that had been the Household of Marlene and Andre as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds through the gloom to an unknown destination.

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


February 4, 2018


The new year was ushered in by a gorgeous full moon, which has evolved into a super blue moon for the month of February. Here is a shot taken by Island-Lifer Tammy over the PBC in the East End.


So anyway. All around the grey pall sealed them into their private world aboard the powerless dingy, riding upon the swells and drifting through a dense fog. The morning came and they scarcely knew it for they could not see the sun piercing the heavy cover overhead and all around them. Pahrump, Jose, Javier, and Martini sat with Denby in the dingy that had belonged to Mr. Howitzer. They had a pair of oars, but knew not what to do with them as there was no inkling of where and in what direction lay the safe harbor of land. For all they knew they had been pulled out by the tide under the Golden Gate and were miles now at sea with only the Farallones present to dash their craft into pieces on its sharp crags.

The day's somber glow continued as the minutes passed into hours. They heard the sound of fog horns, but could not tell from which direction was the source and what the nature, if lighthouse or moving ship equipped with radar. If one of them could know in which direction to swim, he could set out in the chill waters, hoping to reach land and call for support before hypothermia sank all their hopes.

Meanwhile the massive yacht named The Indomitable, also an erstwhile Howitzer possession, twirled in this same murk with the Editor, Rachel and Festus aboard for crew. Mr. Howitzer, always the classic cheapskate landlord he was, had refused to pay for a full hauling of the vessel to dry dock as was customary -- he had paid to have the ship beached and lifted on shoreline trestles down the way from the main repair facility so as to avoid paying storage fees. Because of this, the ship had broken loose during high tide when the extra weight had clambered aboard, along with substantial repair material Mr. Howitzer had obtained cheap from China in container loads, intending to sell off much of it to recoup his expenses.

So now this massive ship was twirling in the middle of the San Francisco Bay with some of our beloved Island-Life personalities aboard. They had climbed onto the ship as the most likely refuge as the Offices of the Island LIfe newsroom burned due to malicious activities and some basic stupidities performed by the Angry Elf Gang. The Angry Elf gang had amassed a fair quantity of incendiary devices in the cellar, in the former living room and in the former bedrooms of a Painted Lady Edwardian that stood a couple housefronts down from the Offices. When the Household of Marlene and Andre exploded due to the faulty wiring of the furnace that had been the domain of, again Mr. Howitzer, the embers had fallen upon the Angry Elf firetrap, packed cheek by jowl with arsonist delights. Molotov cocktails, pipebombs, car incendiaries, plastique, IEDs, C4 military explosive, and all sorts of things the gang utilized during their day to day and nightly operations along with countless racks of pills and powders derived substantially from the poppy flower as well as crystal methamphetamine cooking in brass kettles.

It was a Devil's warehouse and when it went up it went up in quite a spectacular fashion.

So it was The Indomitable drifted from shore with our friends aboard, watching as the fog closed in and turned the distant infernos, of which there were several, into dim glowing blobs in the mist.

At first, there was a well stocked bar with scotch of decent quality, and a freezer with some remnants of a party. A cheese plate and sandwiches gone a bit stale and Evian water. A package of crackers was a glorious find. Finding a way to activate lights and electricity turned out to be more of a problem and so the group sat there largely in the dark, and the Editor retired to a sort of stateroom, while Rachel found another cabin with a bed and coverlets and there she slept until the sun rose with the same effect it had upon the other castaways. Piedro found a cot somewhere in the galley. They had no idea where they were and no idea where they were going and no idea what to do when they got there, if ever they did safely.

They had no electricity and so nothing in the captain's wheelhouse worked. There was no radio, only the dense fog and the maddening fog horns that did none of them any good.

Thus passed the first day for all those adrift on the Bay. Little did they know others had taken to the water on rafts and rowboats so as to escape the firey devestation and the final triumph of the Angry Elf gang that went from house to house to plunder the belongings of the escapees. This has always been the way. The Vichy government, collaborators, and looters: all the same, extracting gold from the teeth of the dead.

The Editor stood on the deck of the helpless Indomitable and listened to the water until the sun obviously had vanished. Everyone had retired to those places aboard ship seemed to be most safe. The Island was finished, as far as he was concerned. There was no going back now. The Editor had seen the cities of man and encountered the savage nature of War. He had tried to save his companions, but he could not, for they must have eaten the carrion of the Sun and so inflamed an old enemy. In any case he had wandered far after the Vietnam War and the sack of Saigon and had learned the ways of Humanity and all the cities of kings. He had thought he would bring this lesson to the Island, now riven by the land curse, but the Island would not have it for they were a stiff-necked people, infected with greed. Now the birds were passing overhead -- he could hear them through the dense fog cover. It was the time now for going, and he must now follow the birds.

Yet still, Neptune hated him for his insouciance and bore an infantile grudge, causing the helpless ship to spin in an eddy there in the Bay, to cause grief and longing among its survivors who slept as best they could by the dim, guttering light of failing AA batteries and Apple appliances.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the Bay and died over the smoldering embers of the once stately Edwardian cottage that had been the Household of Marlene and Andre as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds through the gloom to an unknown destination.

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


JANUARY 28, 2018



So anyway. The entire Strand famed up in ruins. The beachhouse that housed the sailboarder's club was a pile of embers. The meeting hall for the Parlor 33 1/3 of the Native Sons of the Golden West was laid into ashes and the Angry Elf's gang ran hither and thither stealing and looting from the burning buildings, entirely at liberty to do so since the call had gone out to collect all able-bodied citizens to assist with the common disaster. And of course, the Angry Elf gang took this golden opportunity to torch businesses that were wonting in payments, aided with flagons of kerosene. They laughed as they destroyed lives.

The Native Sons parlor collapsed in flames. Next was the Old Same Place Bar with its leather snug as Dawn and Padraic ran out with such things as they could save. The beloved bar with its stained glass windows and its plush stools and the long redwood bartop that had withstood centuries of drams and pints burned before the eyes of the helpless Padraic.

The old man box elder erupted into a tornado of flames, igniting the Island-Life offices and creating a firestorm whirlwind. Rats fled hither and yon. All was being destroyed by fire.

Don Erizo and Dame Herrisson fled from the flaming shrubbery near the College and were smashed flat by automobiles on the road, as was to be expected.

But that is not what happened.

Such destruction is characteristic of an hack, a ne'er do well. An aesthetic simpleton who does not care about his readership.

What happened was far more elegant.

The Angry Elf gang did in fact ignite a fire, but this was not the cause of the mass migration that took place

Remember that some citizens of the Household of Marlene and Andre had been mucking about the Howitzer yacht with its dingy that normally was kept hung in the ship's hoist crane, but during dry dock was set down into the marina, which allowed the boys all sorts of hijinks and capers, using up gas as they piloted the small craft all around the Bay when done with chipping and sanding and painting the larger vessel's hull.

One day Pahrump, Jose, Javier, and Martini and Denby were down in the dingy, making plans for a foray out to Angel Island.

Down below the floorboards of the Household the rats scurried around the old, decrepit furnace that had been let to decay during the Howitzer's possession of the property. On this evening, one brother rat ran across the wires near the igniter and caused an arc that killed him instantly and also started a small fire among the bodies of all his bretheran who had died a similar way for years, and who had dessicated over time into flammable tinder.

Meanwhile the boys set out on their skiff towards Angel Island and were dismayed when the engine cut out, leaving them to drift in the middle of the Bay. No one had thought to fill the gas tanks during their various shenanigans over the the past month. The day faded into night as they drifted, nibbling on crackers and swilling cheap jug wine until the sun sank behind the Golden Gate in flaming rooster tails. The night filled with stars and the moon was swelling to the first full moon of the year, a moon that was destined to be both a Blue Moon and a Blood Moon, which is a rare occurance indeed.

Up in the bedroom Marlene and Andre together examined the letter from Howitzer and Marley LLC, which stated the rent was to rise another impossible fifteen hundred dollars starting next month. This was disaster for the small community packed into the one bedroom cottage. There was no way they could pay that.
"Where the heck is everybody, " Andre said even as both he and Marlene smelled smoke and burning. He and Marlene ran out with little Adam and Snuffles and watched as the house seemed to come alive, begin to breath, expanding with an inhale, then contracting with the sound of cracking boards. The house swelled out again, then, abruptly exploded. The three ran to the Marina along with Sarah and Tipitina and Piedro. There they climbed into Mr. Howitzer's yacht which abruptly detached itself and slid backwards into the water. Festus came scampering along and lept with a super-hamster leap onto the decks, crying out, "Don't leave me guys!"

Even as the Editor looked at his own rent increase, which was as obscene as all those experienced all around the island, the Angry Elf, who was named Neal, set fire to an Audi outside a recalcitrant business on Park Street. The Audi burned with calculated intensity meant to intimidate and cause fear, but suddenly popped with an explosion that sent embers into the row houses there near the narrow alleys named after tree varieties. Houses along Willow caught fire, followed by Elm and then Walnut, where the old majestic box elder ignited.

The Editor sat at his desk, the Offices strangely empty. Where had everyone gone? He felt the old war wounds, relived the firefight. He closed his eyes and leaned back as if to sleep a while, despite this pain in his chest. He was a new recruit standing on a train station about to go somewhere. This could also be a possible ending. The eyes close and the heart simply stops and then one is done with this life. They would find him slumped over his desk the followihng morning, his lips blue and eyes wide open. But then a loud pop awoke him from this reverie. Outside the windows, an orange glow and embers flying. His people were in trouble and he had to save them.

The Editor grabbed a bag and stuffed it with backup hard drives and paraphernalia and slung that over the ship's oar that had been given him by the staff as a birthday present. He ran outside and down to the water with Rachel and Festus. There they found a rowboat and set out from the Marina as the flames rose higher behind them.

Wootie Kanootie's moose herd, frightened by the commotion and the sirens broke loose from their pen and ran about as the sirens wailed and the sparks flew up into the heavens. The herd found themselves hemmed in by the fire engines and the fire itself so they plunged into the Bay en masse and set out to cross it to some sort of unknown safety.

All of this took place as the moon swelled. The various small boats floated without direction and the moose herd, led by the always wayward Eunice, swam for dear life as the fog rolled in over the Bay, heading for some imaginary refuge in the mist as the powerful tides carried them toward the Golden Gate and the shipping lanes.

Pedro awoke in the early hours to see the horizon to the West aglow and the sound of sirens. He roused the entire Almeida family and told them to get ready to evacuate the place. Racoons, who had been circling the chicken pens scampered away in terror.

Mr. Sanchez went to the window to see flashing lights and ambulances and firetrucks rushing past down below on Santa Clara and went to away Ms. Morales.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and died between the smoldering embers of the once stately Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds through the murk to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

JANUARY 21, 2018



So anyway. We do not have Garrison Keillor to kick around anymore and all branches of government are marshalled, supposedly, lockstep into common agreement. Nevertheless we have a government shutdown because of ... what? Republicans, who are in clear majority, blaming Democrats, who never could accomplish anything unless a Black man or woman initiated the enterprise.

"The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things. Of ships and sealing wax and whether pigs have wings."

That is the way the master of the absurd, Lewis Carroll, introduced the idea of a beginning or the end in medias res. Here we stand with such a similar situation. How can we just turn little Adam, he of the Household of Marlene and Andre, who already has suffered so much, out onto the street? Anyone who would suggest such a thing would have to be quite cold hearted. And then there is the newborn baby to Ms. Morales and Mr. Sanchez. Observe the little tyke there in his cradlebed on the second floor of that apartment in a subdivided Victorian on Central Avenue. He is helpless. How could you abandon this innocent child, you cads you!

Yet, such callous sentiment seems to be the rule for our times. We used to care about the children, their nourishment and their education, but we guess this is just all relics of times gone by and the triumph of hard, cold, money-oriented Trumpism.

Well. We are shocked. Simply shocked.

Here is this Island child, born of course at Summit because due to mishandling of public funds, gross mismanagment of resources and foolishness beyond belief no children are allowed to be born in the Island hospital anymore, unless it is in the taxi going across the water.

Some of you may recall how only a short time ago the neonatal unit and the geropsych units were close because old people and babies don't make money for the hospital.

Well. We cannot allow this to settle.

It is rude. It is ungainly. It is terrifically bad for our reputation as an Island with human and humane concerns. So we would have to wonder how a hack writer would bring an end to 19 years of work. Well, an untalented hack, and savage golem straight out of Brooklyn's ugly tin pan alley would end the opus of Island Life as follows:

On a bleak and windy night striated with dry winds, the Cackler and the Gump went to the secret store of fireworks and flammables that was used to torch the "suggestion cars" in front of troublesome businesses. It was the business of the Angry Elf gang to pursuade individuals and businesses to contribute to the Common Kitty, a percentage of which wound up by devious means in the pockets of the Angry Elf gang.

While this contingent visited the incendiary storage, another group of thugs paid a visit to Denby at his lodgings at the top of the lunatic asylum of St Charles.

They brought with them knives, baseball bats, and a fruitcake left over from last year.

Denby opened the door to encounter this ugly crew and said, "Here you are at last. I have been expecting you."

Other members of the gang gathered outside the Old Same Place Bar where the Angry Elf had experienced much rebuttal to his violent and intolerant ways.

Those gang members began with an hail of stones against the windows of the bar, which were followed by bottles of gasoline stuffed with flaming rags.

This was the night, decreed by the Angry Elf, to be the Night of Flaming Shattered Glass.

Patrons in the bar scattered here and there as the stones blew open the windows in a storm of destruction. Then followed the molotov cocktails, devised with sardonic glee by the Angry Elf, who said "I' serve the bartender a cocktail he will not forget!"

In vain Padraic and Dawn and Suzie ran here and there with spritzers and extinguishers as the demonic hail flew into the bar, driving them out to watch helplessly as their life's work was consumed by the flames. The old oaken snug went up in a fury and the broad redwood bartop glowed as a cinder and bottles exploded with the fury of the evil fire. The stools toppled as their steel supports melted, and the propane tanks supplying the kitchen erupted into geysers of fire.

Over at the place where the gang warehoused its materials, the gang stood around and laughed about how they were disconcerting certain individuals with their break-ins and rifling of personal documents. The thug named Squeaker tossed his partially expended cigarette carelessly out at the door opening, but the butt rebounded and returned inside to vanish in the pile of trash and cast off parts from wagons and machinery. No one paid any mind to this event as they talked about revenge and punishing certain people until a smell of burn and smoke began to swell in the area and the crew began to look for its source. By the time they found it, the fire had ignited the walls of the house itself and was rapidly consuming fuel towards the boxes of incendiaries.

Meanwhile the tiki torches for Mr. Howitzer's Hawaiian theme party had started to burn low after all the patrons had passed out from the double strength zombies served up by Dodd, who left the premises to care for his child sick with influenza even as the somnolent guests snored and the tiki torches guttered and sparked until one of them ignited the poolside palm.

After that, it was all drama at the Howitzer residence.

The entire neighborhood awoke to smoke and flames. The Howitzer mansion was burning. Skyrockets and explosions erupted down by the Strand where the former warehouse for the Angry Elf gang exploded and the gang members scattered like rats rather than fight the furious fire even as it took hold on the entire row of houses along Otis, including the Household of Marlene and Andre. Meanwhile the Old Same Place Bar collapsed into glowing embers as the houses all around also took on fire in a savage eruption of demonic fury.

The Island was ablaze with the disaster that Californio's know only too well and all that was good and holy was being destroyed.

The Editor came out from his den to see the world aflame and all being destroyed. He grabbed what he could of the Island-Life records and went down to the Strand with the Island-Life Offices aflame and the old box elder sending up glowing embers into the sky with the Angry Elf gang whooping and hollaring, down to the Bayshore as the ancient Greeks did to the sea, for it is written, "After the defeat at Thermopylea the Greeks descended to the sea in ships."

The roof of the Native Sons of the Golden West Parlor 33 and 1/3 began to alight from the rain of hot embers from other places on the Island. All along the Strand the row houses exploded and the Disputed Bicycle Bridge groaned, bent, swayed and collapsed into the Estuary.

Fire in California is a terrifying force. When a Firestorm swells in all its monstrous fury, nothing can stop it and its destruction is both capricious and total as well as horrifying. There are few natural events in this country which can compare with its totality and its enormity. We have seen what happens and it is true and real and terrifying in its absolute and implacable ferocity.

The firestorm swept over the Household of Marlene and Andre and the old stove beneath the house exploded with violence, killing Snuffles and the opossum family and the racoons and Piedro as he slept an exhausted sleep from working all day and causing falling timbers to trap Martini after his long day at the valve factory in Richmond and breaking the legs of Wickiwup the sheepdog who cried in agony. The scanty possessions of the Household were destroyed, including Suan's favorite chemise and Tipitina's sand dollar collection, assembled from the days when they really had serious sand dollars to be found along the Strand and many more personal photographs and things besides.

For days the firey contagion swept the little town, charring Lincoln Park with its once elegant gazebo, Washington Park with its baseball diamond and clapper stork palms, each going up like Roman candles, the newly created Jean Sweeney Open Space Preserve and all its carefully preserved vegetation, sending the humble hedgehog families scurrying amid the black ashes. The facade of the old brick cannery collapsed into ruins. The home of the ducks at Mariner Square Village became nothing but cinders and who knows what became of the ducks themselves. Wootie Kanootie's herd of moose scattered in terror and plunged into the estuary to escape as their stockade burned to the ground. Mastic Senior Center's big entrance sculpture toppled in firey sparks to the ground and all the churches along church row submitted to fire, the devil's only friend.

The rectory of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint dropped its roof upon Father Danyluk, trapping him beneath the Sacristy as Pastor Nyquist attempted to save his friend with a garden hose even as the buildings of Immanuel Lutheran slumped in embers behind him.

In a second floor apartment, charged for rent far too dear, the baby belonging to Ms. Morales wailed as the smoke swelled denser and closer to their humble abode and Ms. Morales stood there determined to fight to the end as Mr. Sanchez valiantly swung his pulaski with the firemen outside, doomed, yet indomitable, their shadows huge against the huge fire that was destroying all they loved.

The bridge from Park Street dropped into the water, followed by the Fruitvale bridge tumbling in flaming gouts that spurted here and there. The monument to "All my Dumb friends" split apart in the heat. Houses all along the lagoon tumbled into the water. The Cribbages and the Blathers piled into helicopters and fast speed boats to escape the destruction, leaving everyone else to their respective fates.

All of this is what would have happened were a hack in charge and a pseudo-artiste like the Angry Elf in charge. The Angry Elf is a fake artist, pretending with glass what others committ with flesh and blood. The Angry Elf is an artist only of pain and discordance. So this is not what happened.

For what really happened, you will have to come back next week and read all about it.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and died between the smoldering embers of the once stately Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds through the smoky murk to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

JANUARY 14, 2018



The time comes for every artist who has constructed an opus that creates its own virtual reality over an extended period of time and effort to find a way to resolve the entire project or find a way to make it self perpetuating.

Different artists have done or not done things to wind up the whole affair. Every Trilogy has a resolving chapter. Every Symphonic sequence has a resolve. Literary opi have presented variegated resolutions. Some, like Berk Breathed, have written simple exits for its characters. One character becomes a eunuch living in Tibet. Another goes to jail. A final frame is presented with a vacant office and scattered papers blowing in the wind.

Done with that, says the creator. Or not, as in the seemingly endless recursion of Star Wars.

In the Odyssey, Homer presents a possible future for our wandering hero who has wandered through so many stories.

William Faulkner kept his unpronounceable Mississippi county alive so that he could milk its content until he died and so that fictional reality remains with us.

No one knows what Garrisson Keillor had in mind for disposition of his Lake Woebegon. He pulled out from major involvement with the radio show, but external events caused him to pull back even further. Ironically, these events resembled stories he himself had created, almost as if he had written his own disgrace. Keillor will remain a solid rock in American letters as a storytelling genius long past the memories of all who now recall him fondly, and Lake Wobegon will persist in the imagination in a sort of stasis, which is, come to think of it, entirely appropriate for the Town that Time forgot.

JRR Tolkein wrote quite an extensive epilogue in footnote form, detailing the fates of all the adventurers and how and when they died and how some passed on to the West to the Undying Lands. His books have been translated into many languages and are as widely read as the Bible.

As for those nasty orcs left running around in bands, the less said the better.

Berk Breathed decided to suddenly empty his Bloom County and send various characters off to bizarre fates. Frankly we feel what happened to Binky was entirely too severe, even as we understand Breathed wanted to make this finish absolute with no possibility of return.

In movie-dom, we have Avatar slyly suggesting a continuation of the story. The Godfather lived on through three murderous films until finally laid to rest as in the original book. And so on.

So now we come to our dear, dear Island. Circumstances have caused us to consider a serious artistic shift, while we are loth to let it all go. There are stories in these folk yet, my friends. They came to life, sometimes against our best wishes, and insist on living on.

Just as it is difficult to imagine the room without us sitting there, we must face the future. One day will come when neither you nor I am here to occupy the chair in the room filled with people. All our inventions will have to stand on their own merit. Yet there remains in any artist, no matter how trivial, the desire that things continue in the world without them. This is the simple desire to have children, but in the form of art, which is normally by nature static.

So it is. We will present two possible endings for the Island. One ending shall be the imagined consequence of a hack who seeks only flamboyant novelty, violence for the sake of entertainment for jaded viewers, cheap tugs on the heartstrings with canned emotions. The sort of easy writing you find in the aisles of the grocery store while waiting for the cashier to bring down the total cost of what you bought without thinking.

And then there will be the other ending, the transcendent one. As in the Life of Pi, where the insurance agents are given an option to pick which sequence of events really did occur, we will provide just such a choice and the choice will determine who you are.

So it is with God. You can believe one thing or another. God is supposedly the ultimate artist. Maybe all that was made is not free of valid criticism, but then, this is all we have. This is the only Reality we have, and I am not so sure there is even a Reality.


So anyway, the boys got work fixing up Mr. Howitzer's yacht that sat in dry dock at the marina. While scraping and painting the hull and fixing hardware issues that had occurred during the crab pot debacle last year, Javier and Jose and Pahrump would take the dingy out for spins on the water. The dingy, which had been a Boston whaler type of craft in its heyday, moved like an SUV through butter, which meant it had the maneuverability of a tank but without so much power from its single Evinrude motor.

The boys managed to beach the heavy thing twice, forcing Jose to sleep in the sodden hull until high tide floated it free again, yet nevertheless the jolly crew continued to cavort with the boat with gallons of dollar wine aboard to fuel their mad energy.

The New Year had come and gone and the air was latterly heavy with sodden quality, missing the sharp, incisiveness of Winter proper. Each day the sun arose through high cloud, which in normal years indicated that the change of seasons was already underway. Perhaps it was. But much had become uncertain after the fires and the mudslides, claimed by Governor Moonbeam to be the new normal.

Climate change had arrived and not a single George Bush had a thing to say about it.

The Angry Elf gang continued to assemble explosive material in that house off of Santa Clara Avenue and most businesses continued about their business so long as they could still afford the usurious rents.

MLK day was a moderate Holiday, with all government buildings closed and most businesses pretending.

Little Adam asked Marlene about Martin Luther King Jr., for MLK looked a lot like him and he wanted to know. A program about Django Reinhart played on the miniature TV while Marlene cleaned up the kitchen.

Marlene, with her black hair swirling about in a nest, said MLK had been a great man even though he had not wanted to be one, which is to say he was even greater because of it. His dream was to set people free from fear of one another, had been murdered for his pains, and his legacy had nevertheless improved the lot of millions in a society, in a nation, that was not much better than Stalinist Russia to a large portion of the population, and Adam had much to thank for all that.

And yet there was a lot more work to do, as evidenced by the disgraceful utterances spewing from the White House, so Adam had some work cut out for him.

Adam mused on this for a while.

"I wish everybody loved each other like we do in the Household," Adam said. "But I know for a fact that aint gonna happen."

At that moment the red Toyota loaded with members of the Angry Elf gang drove past outside, whooping and cackling their evil laughs. They were headed off to burn someone's car in the street.

"We are like the Roma," Marlene said. "We endure and provide example by the way we live."

"Fur shizzle," Adam said.

The sound of the train horn keened from Oaktown across the estuary and died between the Edwardian house-rows as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shadow-shuttered Jack London Waterfront, trundling past the Ohlone burial mounds to an unknown destination.

That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.


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