NOVEMBER 27, 2016

18th ISLAND POODLESHOOT & BBQ

he remained held fast in the soft, wooly folds of Morpheus

As per Tradition, on the day of the 18th Annual Poodleshoot, rosy-fingered Dawn arose from the horizon's dark bed and pushed back the shutters of night to allow Phoebus to mount his golden chariot and so, preceding the day, she trailed her gauzy banners across the firmament, traveling across the yard from the battered old half-moon privy hard by the weeds to the house back porch, leaving behind a sort of dew after her passage. Gently, she flushed, and gently she tugged upon the coverlet, and gently she kissed the eyelids of the sleeping Padraic, but he stirred not. Gently she nudged the man, who only mumbled and snorted as he remained held fast in the soft, wooly folds of Morpheus. Playfully, she noodged him once again, but he remained walking in that shadow kingdom of the somnolent God.

Her fingers becoming rays of sunlight, turned the dial so as to allow the sweet strains of muse Calliope to thrum the air as guided by the goddess Rosalie Howarth of KFOG, but Padriac snored and stirred not.

Then Dawn reared back with her rosy fists upraised and brought them down heavily to smite Padraic a mighty thwack, and that got him up all right, for Dawn O'Reilly was not a woman to be trifled with at any time of the day. And so Padraic bestirred himself to make ready for the Annual Island Poodleshoot and BBQ.

servants of the Dark Lord had been plotting

So it was that Padraic rolled out the barrels of the Water of Life and set up the Pit for this year's festivities under bright, chill skies, which had cleared from the storm clouds for the day, once again down by the disputed Crab Cove where servants of the Dark Lord had been plotting to seize the land so as to build yet another series of Dark Fortresses not unlike Cirith Ungol.

The ceremonies began with the traditional playing of the Paraguay National Anthem, as arranged by Terry Gilliam, and performed by the Island Hoophole Orchestra accompanied by the Brickbat Targets chorale ensemble.

This was followed by the devilish meisterwerk composed by PDQ Bach entitled, "Die Sieg der Satanische Landentwickler", an adaptable work which allows insertion of alta-contemporary chorales at the whim of the Conductor.

Councilperson Izzy as soprano alla triste

The ensemble group which has made something of a name for itself by inventing entirely new parts for voice, consisted of Mayor Marie as Conductor and Councilperson Izzy as soprano alla triste in the Misericordia segment and Councilperson Daysog as mezzo soprano mournful did a fair version of Iago's treacherous soliloquy, with Councilperson Frank in his basso triumphale reprising last year's performance in the esoteric work La Chambre à l'arrière Enfumee Boogie.

Mayor Trish Spencer appeared en masque, performing the aria "The Hapless Burgermeister" with Councilperson Jim Oddie following in the role of Flip-Flop.

Frank Matarrese thoroughly nailed his role on Black Sabbath's "Land Pigs", but flubbed the Eroica segment which features the "Young Man Taking a Stand" soliloquy.

the most dreadful rubbish since the last time...

Many reviewers have called this piece amazingly impossible to accomplish, and quite a pastiche. The East Bay Express found "this game of smoky backrooms is too much to believe." Karen D'Souza of the Contra Costa Times has called it "devilishly complicated" and "hard to believe it goes on. And on. And on still more," while Jim Harrington has called this performance, "the most dreadful rubbish since the last time I wrote a mixed review. I never fully approve of anything but this gave badness a new name."

We were confused the entire time

The Chronicle, always more reserved due to the heavy influence of conservative ACT in the City, has commented, "It should be interesting to see how well this thing floats in the future amid this stormy time for companies. We almost were convinced Trish Spencer was really a City Mayor. Is her portion supposed to be farce or tragedy? We were confused the entire time."

Of course, their theatre/music review got mixed up for that issue with the economic report and the elections special, so the meaning of that is up to interpretation.

The East Bay Express got the dates wrong on its Calendar section, so they had no review.

The Examiner, as usual, ignored Reality and talked about the batboy who had been abducted by space aliens.

In any case, after spirits had been revived with a sloshing round from the kegs, the Hoophole Orchestra launched the proceedings with spirited instrumentals. The elaborate instrumental section performed Sousa marches and works by Debussy in true Island tradition, and featured vocals as well as strings, horns, thorns, woodwinds, and bloodhounds.

Performing on the Pushy Manager Organ were Carol Taylor and Rachel Linzer of St. Charles.

Brian King and Toshie of Park Avenue performed upon the Mendacious Dieben and Sneaky Pete while Little Nichtnutz executed the Shoplifter with Stolen Keys until the Tac Squad entered with fanfare and removed them for questioning.

Neal of St. Charles noodled on the Meyer Lansky Kazoo and stamped his tiny feet for percussion while The Henchmen crooned Barbershop Quartet style behind bars.

Paul Ryan (R) of Washington DC did a standup job upon the Howling Organ Stroker, while Barbara Boxer (D) wowed everyone with the Swan Song Flammable Pedalpushing Accordion with broken boards. This complemented Kristin SweetMarie Coomber (ENG) and Jessica McGowan-Vanderbeck (USA), both with Incendiary Bustier Spritzers. Nice pair, those gals.

Jessica was joined this year by her newlywed husband, Sean, who pounded vigorously upon the Bald Curate's Pate.

Antimacassars and doilies were supplied, as usual, by James Hargis, who also performed the Effexor Waltz a la stumble from Der Rosenkavalier.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice performed a nice duet with Colin Powell entitled "What's 'A Matter Wich You All?"

Once this essay at musical endeavor was done to everyone's great relief, the Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor 34 1/2, gathered in a circle for their Invocation, led by Doyle McGowan of San Francisco, and chanted in the language of E Clampus Vitus.

The men, wearing their ceremonial robes and colorful fezzes, moved in a circle with their pinkies interlocked, first clockwise, then anti-clockwise, before intoning, "Heep heep Hepzibah!" before all jumping into the air simultaneously. They then sang their parlor charter song, "Die Launische Forelle," After they had done this, they moved again in a circle as before, concluding by bowing deeply, dropping their drawers and thence emitting a sort of 21 gun salute.

After the ritual pouring of Wild Turkey libations, the Official bugles were blown by Pat Kitson of Mountain View and Tally of Marin, upon which the hunters moved out into the field. Soon the air was filled with the gleeful holiday sounds of AK-47s, the cracks of freshly oiled Winchester rifles, the occasional crump of percussion grenades, cries of "Poodle there!", and the homey whoosh-bang of old-fashioned home-made bazookas and modern RPG's. In short it was a jolly, fine beginning for a Poodleshoot with splendid weather combined with Ultra-Violence to do any droogie from A Clockwork Orange proud.

This year, the White House representation was headed by John Podeski and Loretta Lynch. Donald Trump could not attend, although he did send as representatives David Duke, Rocky Suhayda, and Cabinet appointee Kim Jong-Un.

Vladimir Putin expressed his great disappointment in not being able to attend, however he repeated his admiration for the Electoral Appointee Mr. Trump, sending a number of Cossacks to represent for him before heading on to Miami to the SOA for Special Training in Information and Toenail Extraction.

Mr. Charles Taylor of Liberia sent a telegram praising both Trump and the Poodleshoot and expressing his disappointment in not being able to attend as he was detained for the time being with pressing legal matters.

Some expressed surprise at the International Flavor of the Poodleshoot this year, as well as its great popularity.

Indeed the Poodleshoot, now into its 18th year had acquired the august status of Tradition in America. There is much that is thoroughly American about the entire celebration, which conflates love of firearms, sanguinivorousness, rebellious behavior, ecstatic jumping up and down, questionable music, and gleeful destruction. One is hard put to imagine the genteel French -- genteel save for people from Marseilles -- or the logical Germans engaging in any such activity. Certainly not the pothead Dutch or the sensible Italians with their meatballs and pizza. Even the dog-loving Thais, along with the Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese would not engage in such pursuits, as extreme as any of those peoples may be from time to time, for they have been around for thousands of years and so already have their own traditions.

The Japanese have their Kanamara Matsuri, and the Chinese have their jook and Gum Lung. The Indians of India have curry and vegetarianism, which precludes Poodleshoots along with BBQ, and they have their seemingly interminable conflict with the Pakistanis to provide national venting, while the Burmese still need to outlive Yul Brenner.

The Koreans enjoy their kim chee with boshintang, which serves to infuriate French actresses who cannot abide the sauces.

The entire Middle East is bat-wacky insane at the moment, providing plenty of opportunity for sport killing of each other, which allows a form of protection for the dogs that live there. No one has seen a poodle in the vicinity of Dar es Salaam for well over two thousand years.

As for South America, the Uruguayans exuberantly BBQ guinea pigs during their festivals, dressing them up first in cute, adorable costumes before quickly gutting them, so there is sensibility here of caring which is quite touching. In Brazil, no gaucho worth his salt would waste his riata upon something so lowly as a poodle. Heavens no. And as for the United States of Mexico, dear, beloved, benighted Mexico with its drug lord problems and Jesus on a tortilla, well, the Mexicans have enough problems without creating another by means of a poodleshoot. Besides, most Mexicans possess common sense, gnoshing upon sensible pupusas and ceviche accompanied with Modelo.

People south of the border do not drink beer every day, but when they do . . . well, that is another story.

But you did not come here to read about them furriners and their furrin ways. You red-blooded Americuns came here to hear about to the most famous 18th august and most distintuished traditional Island Poodleshoot Bar-B-Que and Massacree in three part harmony amid these most distressing times in which a most ferocious hairpiece set upon a savage mouth of immensely loud proportions has seized the body politic in its teeth so as to worry and shake and punish the Democracy that used to be.

You came here to forget all that nonsense and engage in some red-blooded seriously rambunctious poodleshootin' and charcoal grilled Fifi dripping with savory Southern Dixie barbeque sauce.

Things began to get a bit wonky when Carlos Tunt IV, came around the corner at Wood Middle school and let loose a surprise blast from his modified Mossberg loaded with explosive-tipped slugs. He saw some motion and some fur and teeth and responded with gut reflex

"Pow! Pow! KerPow!"

There was a sort of flash and a smoking bundle of bloody fur shreds flew up and then down through the air, landing near the revolving playset.

Wally, an official Scorer, came over to view the kill and became immediately distraught.

"This aint no poodle!" said Wally.

Carlos begged to differ.

"It's got the breed right here on the tags," Wally said. "You gonna be fined, dude!"

"What the heck," said Carlos. "I saw motion on the field."

"Looks to be a terrier, dude!"

Several hunters ran past with a brace of bleeding Russian Blues strung up on a pole, all heading for the BBQ pit.

"I didn't mean nothin'," Carlos said.

"You just slaughtered somebody's pet; you oughta be ashamed! Look at this here mess that once was an honorable dog!"

"Aw mannnn!" Carlos said. "Give a feller a break for once."

"Carlos, you are a vile, disgusting, pernicious, deceitful, immoral, peripatetic scumbag," Wally said. " You are lower than a whorehouse toilet scrubber and worse character than an alt-Right Neo-Con which is about the same quality. And just wait until I get to listing your worse features."

"Wally, give me a break. My job don't pay, Jennie needs an operation, Rachel needs glasses. Lori needs a Bat Mitzvah. Furthermore, Bobby thinks he is really a girl and he wants a Bat Mitzvah too. I am about to lose my health coverage from Obamacare just when the intestinal polyps are overwhelming my esophagus and the car needs new tires. I didn't mean to shoot the little feller. Now now, little guy . . .".

Carlos bent down to pet the lifeless carcass. "Really sorry about blowing yer snout off like that. What's yer name little feller?"

He turned over the tag still attached to the collar. "Weewee?"

"His name was Weewee?" asked Wally.

"His name was Weewee," said Carlos. "Says right here."

"Weewee."

"Yeah. Weewee."

"Who the hell names their terrier Weewee?!" Walter said. "Throw what's left of him on the barbee and get your asshole putrid self out of my sight."

Marie Kane was seen wielding a morning star

Over by Littlejohn Park a contingent of Big Property folks mixed it up with Common Renters in a melee that distracted from the main goings on as many of the Big Prop folks were also notorious poodle walkers. There was all sorts of nose-bashing, nasty name calling, rent control sorts of things and not a body was left unscarred by the apparatus of dismay and disrespect all around. Marie Kane was seen wielding a morning star all about her, causing real estate agents and clerks to flee in all directions from the deadly circle of her wrath as she strode wearing a breastplate of brass and a sturdy helm of horns and steel.

Further to the East, Batallions of Alt-Right NeoCons arose not unlike the demons arisen from the dragon's teeth sown by Jason in times of old. They were armed with megaphones and spiked clubs and water cannons and with them were the Mouth Trolls that were large lipped creatures with great mouths and gullets and teeth and tongues that wagged devilshly and they confronted the Bernies who had their organics and Truth.

But the Post-Truth Era had arrived.

And the noble Bernies were driven back and they fell in the marshes, swallowed up and the rest went into the mountains which became their homes, although their homes had been in the flatlands, valleys and farms, and in the mountains they continued their defiance against the Loud-Mouths, who initiated pogroms and purges and evil cattle cars trundling to smoking destinations as in the heathen days of old. Among them were raving Russian bears of immense size that slavered and ravened with gleaming teeth.

At Standing Rock drivers sicced ravenous poodles on human beings and the water cannons attempted to douse the homefires of the Lenapi, which in the oldest language means, The People.

And so it was that the Shoot became all of the Country and the Goddess wept to see her beloved Democracy so much abused by rude and unlovely hands.

All across the Island the bonfires of Evil lit the dancing, triumphant Trumpers with their poodles celebrating their great victories over the decent and the good.

Down by Crab Cove the Wiccans made a last desperate stand to call upon the Goddess in their hour of need. And the need of the Country, for Democracy wept. Not since the dark days of 1864 had she wept such bitter tears, for her death was in the balance and life is desired by all.

On the Night of Shattered Stars, the night of mist and rain and cloud that divided the heavens, the Goddess extended her hand and those of false sentiment, the poodle walkers and the brown shirts and the false toupees were driven back and a time was allowed for a short while for the People to attend to their families and heal the wounded and help those in need.

Because if the Country is great, then great means taking care of its own. That has always been called 'Great heartedness'. Any country which cannot is not great at all. That country is a pitiful thing.

And from beneath the surface of the Estuary the periscope of El Chadoor observed all of these things. And the Captain of the Iranian spy submarine sent decades ago to spy upon the Port of Oaktown wondered, "Is this the end of the American Experiment of 400 years?"

All was dark and a murk spewed out from the East, which affrighted the humble folk of the Island and heartened the savage NeoCons with their double-headed axes and their double-speak that confused the most devout and the Island was laid waste from East End to West as they marched with their foul fellowship of KKK and Brownshirt facists leading hideous poodles beside and all of them adorned with pink ribbons, bobbed haircuts, and mauve furbelows.

The Brownshirts had on black armbands to go with snappy caps, leatherboots, and fetching handbags -- it was really quite chic -- and their ensembles were complete with lace doilies.

O the horror. O the aesthetics.

All seemed lost as the unholy crew crossed Grand Street between the lights when there was a wailing and a flashing of colored strobes and the Enemy was halted by Officer O'Madhauen who began writing all of them up for violations of the anti-Jay walking statute.

The Enemy was thrown into confused consternation by the Law long enough for the heros of the Island to regroup and form a committee and devise strict leash laws and a trap at the fenced Dog Park where life-sized images of Liberace and Elvis and Ronald Reagan were erected and there Javier slammed shut the gate to hold a goodly part of the Dogwalker Association while members of the Press were led by the ghost of Edward R. Murrow who arose from the ground to rally the Fourth Estate and so put the Shouters and the Howlers and the Disinformation Specialists to route.

Furthermore an legion of high school science teachers pursued the Dissemblers and Confusionists so that Science prevailed at last over ignorance and foolishness.

The victorious heros gathered at the Pit and there was much rejoycing and raising of glasses and Padraic threw another ahi on the barbee for the meat had all been ruined.

So this is how the 18th Poodleshoot did end.

From far across the water the faint sound of the train ululated in waves as the locomotive trundled from beneath the light-studded gantries of the Port of Oaktown, letting its cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, through the cracked brick of the Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading dock and its weedy railbed and interstices of its chainlink fence, dropping slowly over the basketball hoops of Littlejohn Park as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, trundling out of shadows on the edge of town past the Ohlone burial mounds to parts unknown.

Good night and good luck to all.

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