SEPTEMBER 02, 2020



So anyway. Bay Area fires were more than 75 percent contained as of Wednesday night, and a third was nearing the halfway mark, according to the California Deartment of Forestry and Fire Protection. As of 7 p.m., the SCU Lightning Complex Fire had consumed 391,578 acres in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties, and was 76 percent contained, Cal Fire said. Five injuries have been reported. In addition, the fire, the second-largest in state history, has destroyed 105 structures and damaged 17 others.

Containment of the 375,209-acre LNU Lightning Complex Fire, meanwhile, rose to 78 percent, according to Cal Fire. Five deaths and four injuries have been reported. The fire, the third-largest on record, has also destroyed 1,464 structures and damaged 231 others.

Finally, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire had scorched 85,467 acres in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, and was 46 percent contained as of 7 p.m. Wednesday, Cal Fire said. One death and one injury have been reported. In addition, the fire has destroyed 1,490 structures, including 925 single-family homes, and damaged 140 others.

The Woodward fire in West Marin is 25% contained with the novel help of drones. The San GeronimoValley is filled with an haze of smoke.


So anyway again. The Editor stepped out on the back porch after another nightmare day of grey pall concealing the blood orange sun and veils of smoke shrouding the surrounding hills and the continuing Pandemic. A day ago after 120 days of record Spare the Air days the air smelled durable if not sweet again.

Now the air is superheated by flaming belches of lava heat pouring down upon the sere California countryside. It hit 105 in Santa Rosa. The temps jumped 110 in the East Bay Valley. The San Geronimo Valley registered 115 degrees. An angry God was come striding through this countryside with a flaming sword, bringing down arrows and slashes of violent heat even as more intense fires erupted across the scortched body of California, writhing under this torture of flames.

In this time the Angry Elf gang has been stewing for lack of opportunity to torture other people, save for the obvious and unsophisticated method of starting fires here and there. Right now starting fires, whether they be car fires or dumpster ignitiions has a high degree of risk due to increased vigilance and this irks the noisome crew.

"How can we frighten the goobs with all these cell cams and surveillance going on," complained the Cackler. "Its not like the good old days of terrifying the accountant."

Pity the poor petite mafiosos. They are so self-limited.

"Spike the tires and do the usual home invasion," Neal the Angry Elf said. "I don't care so long as the money flows. We will get back to fire and the fun stuff when all this COVID crap is all done. Meyer Lansky, now there was a gent who knew how to get things done when things got tight. Never got caught that Lansky. God blessed man and idol of mine!"

Mr. Howitzer on the Island has seen a retrenchment in property sales -- seems fewer people from Urbana are wanting to buy land in a place that smells like a rubber factory and has the high potential of erupting in sheets of flame. Those people much prefer the quixotic behavior of tornados when it comes down to this climate change thing.

"Dodd! I want the monthly report on my desk by noon!" shouted Mr. Howitzer, who had the money to install an intercom system in his mansion, but preferred to resort to old-fashioned bellowing in the house to get things properly communicated. What was good for the liege of King George was good enough for the modern age.

Right at this moment it seems the Nation and the Golden State have entered their Darkest Hour. A fiend howls imprecations against all that is holy in our country from the White Tower in the East. He denigrates the valor of the men and women more valorous than himself in times past. He insults the leaders of any number of members of the Free World while defending tinpot dictators and cruel tyrants. He shrieks division among us to inflame the worst who uphold cruel and inhuman ideologies that result in death and destruction far and wide, and so by doing weaken our Nation at home and Abroad. In the West the Balrog is marching in legions across the land with no restraint bearing whips of fire, causing fire and grief and loss of life and property far and wide.

Out on the shipping lanes to which Pedro has returned with his boat El Borracho Perdido and his trusty mate Ferryboat, the early pre-dawn hours merge into the day with their usual seasonal pattern at this time of year.

We have passed beyond the longest day and are heading steadily, COVID or fire or not, towards the longest night. The next full moon, always a moment of joy for Pedro, is scheduled for October 1, with the darkest night slated for September 17. These passages were always noted by the farmers in the heartland and by the fishermen upon the sea, although they did not often converse much amoung themselves.

Perhaps it is time now that the Norwegian farmer up north come down to converse with the fisherman of the south so as to find and determine some commonalities here, for the Nation is grieving by its division and wants some reconciliation. Let us remember that Founding Fathers did say at one time, "A divided house must fall." and "We surely must hang together for otherwise we surely will hang seperately."

The Editor walked through the aisles of computers laid idle by the COVID distancing, and stood at the end of the porch. Island Life will continue after this episode. We have survived many fights. We shall continue after this one and will continue to uphold and support the underserved in this Golden State.

So help us God.

The past few days featured blistering temperatures and early morning pyrotechnics as thunderstorms lit up the skyline in NorCal. Novato saw temps hit 110, a record that has not been seen by anyone in memory. Grim visaged Moloch bearing a fiery hammer stomped across the land to slam the earth with heavey metal heat. Flaming spears rained down upon Alta California causing the electrical grid to spark, short and fry out for hours Saturday.

"Got the COVID lockdown blues. Just about everybody I know gots the same thing too."

This came from Sunnyside Fats Ferguson, who was holding forth outside the Good Earth grocery where they have a bench there on the sidewalk. But when the heat wave struck people scattered like beetles to any place with shade or AC. The heat just might be the one thing that forces all the rationalizing, mask refusing, deniers into self-quarantine and so causes the First Phase to finally end.

"Its all a conspiracy to rob us of our rights!

Mr. Blatt was out there in the Fair-Anselm parking lot, irritated at the closures in the Mall there and refusing to wear a mask and declaiming, "Its all a conspiracy to rob us of our rights! There aint no proof that masks work! You are all a lot of silly worryworts anxious about something no different than the flu!"

Mrs. Standish, walking her dalmation Decameron, pointed her finger and spoke succinctly for many people passing by in a voice rendered rough by 72 years of drinking Tom's Hard Lemonade, "You, sir, are an ignorant ass!"

"Old biddy!" shouted Mr. Blatt as CMP pulled into the lot in a Ford Charger with lights.

"Citizen, where is your mask?" snarked the loudspeaker.

"I don't need no mask.," said Mr. Blatt. "The mask gives me 90% hypoxia."

"Put on a mask immediately," said the loudspeaker.

"Hell no! You have no right to tell me what to do! I am a free citizen of the United States of America!"

"Not anymore. You are arrested and fined," said the loudspeaker as cops boiled out of the Charger to cuff the protesting Mr. Blatt,who unfortunately did not immediately submit as so many White People demand of Black people in similar circumstances. In this circumstance, the results were bloody in outcome.

in Marin it is now a crime to go about without a mask

For it is true; in Marin it is now a crime to go about without a mask, and that law is for good reason. And everyone, without exception, needs to treat the Central Marin Police with respect, whether you agree or not.

This whole COVID thing has certainly made people creative with their adaptations, especially given the lack of Federal guidance.

The country is divided about as bad, or worse, as the time of the Vietnam conflict. Race relations are in a tailspin. Respect for the police is in the dumps. Immigrants and seasonal workers are being savaged. There is an international health crisis which is the worst seen since 1918 and many people choose to ignore the simplest precautions against it for themselves and others.

In the Waifsay Grocery downtown Fairfax the Editor heard the following exchange between a maskless shopper and an employee.

"You say there is a store policy that all shoppers must wear a mask. How can you enforce a policy that is against the law?"

"Ma'am, wearing a mask IS the law in Fairfax. You can be fined. Wear a mask or get out of my store. NOW! Ma'am!"

A little while later the maskless individual who insisted on her personal rights over collective safety was seen walking to her car with no groceries in hand.

If we still had crowded movie theaters you never had the right to stand up and shout "FIRE!" in the middle of a showing. There have always been restrictions on personal rights for the good of all. Why is this event suddenly different?

Kids used to grab those things so as to power go-karts

At the Household folks were dealing with the heat by playing a form of dry land water polo that involved running through streams of water diverted from San Geronimo Creek by Martini via ingenious pipes and troughs that ferried water up to the backyard and then down again. For pumps, Martini used discarded lawnmower engines which are the same units used in your expensive power generators. Kids used to grab those things so as to power go-karts they built out of old bedframes and hand-cart wheels with rudimentary brakes made of crowbars and blocks of wood. It is amazing how few of us killed ourselves in those days, racing around on city streets in vehicles that had not one iota of approval from any DMV or NHTSA agency. In Marin, however, the kids get hobby kits or pre-assembled units powered with low-torque electric motors that are deemed safe by Concerned Parents.

Concerning power generators. Everyone who has a truck has been seen filling up these five gallon jugs at gas stations all over the place since the power went out for a few hours. Now seemingly everyone has a Honda or a Predator generator ready to keep grandma's lasagna frozen and the internet Netflix producing more zombie apocalypse movies to get us through quarantine.

many people felt that killing a few PGE people might be a really good thing

Mr. Cribbage had N. Eptitood Contractors hook up a fully engaged generator to his mansion to supply emergency power via a large unit sitting in a sort of gazebo to make it look nice and less utilitarian. Combined with this enterprise, an enterprise scaled transformer was installed, which involved shutting down power to the neighborhood for blocks all around. Many people will know this is not a trivial project, but Mr. Cribbage had many connections in local and State government entities. Nick and his crew did hook everything up well enough with a shunt so as to avoid killing PGE workers, even though many people felt that killing a few PGE people might be a really good thing right now, as they have killed any number of us citizens, and so getting even is really much on people's minds.

the ungrounded house-end anode ...took on charge over the course of an hour

But Nick is not really an electrician; neither are any of his crew. He and his crew are primarily sheet metal fabricators and so not all the rules for proper grounding were followed. When the shunt was thrown - that part had to be inspected and certified by the City, so it was done properly -- the ungrounded house-end anode of the transformer took on charge over the course of an hour until it abruptly discharged, blowing out most of the circuit breakers - where a number of cost-cutting measures had unfortunately been implemented, power strips and the Smart House Closet in showers of sparks. The distal end of the transformer did the same, for many cost-cutting measures had been applied there as well, as people scrambled to assess what had happened without shutting down the generator. Since the house side of things had no way to relieve the potential built up, the far side exploded out the side of the gazebo, sending parts and carbon out over the pool.

Nick shut down the $10,000 generator and said, "This must be a defective unit."

Mrs. Blather, visiting for scones and tea, commented, "The garden looks fabulous; I see you put a lot of resources and effort into it, and the gazebo -- other than the hole in the side -- looks divine! All the Visuals are just perfect! Too bad about the electrical, but who seriously looks at that tedious stuff?"

Knob and tube is perfectly fine, " Nick said. "The lamps come on and that proves it is all alright."

Still, there is the problem of the blown subpanel and the damage, indicating that is not all alright.

As night fell, bringing scant relief from the oppressive heat, the Editor took a walk out back where the "water polo" games had taken place during the day. People needed a relief from the anxiety of the continuing CORONAVIRUS pandemic which showed no signs of letting up. The insanity of the current Presidency unfolding. In the wee hours of the night with the Editor still at work, he pleaded to Company for connection. Always a plea in vain. We are here in this pool of darkness surrounded by the muttering curtains of black night with only a pool of light as our only link to consciousness. And still we do all for Company. In some wan hope that in one monad, all shall be healed. All shall be healed, including Racism.

Moths banged against the screen for a while then gave up, leaving all a humid silence lit by distant lightning flashes and the following rolling thunder.