JANUARY 28, 2012



So anyway, the weather has been colder than we are used to around here. Not so cold as other parts of the country, or even the Sierra regions of the Golden State, but certainly not tee-shirt weather for the sane. A dockwalloper set in at the start of the weekend, which turned into a periodic sizzler, and reports of heavy snow slamming the Sierra came in welcome.

A drought in the breadbasket of America is nasty business; believe me no one from here to Hyannis Port wants any of that right now. So even though things are grim, everyone is suffering cutbacks and far too many people think the hideousness of Rick Santorum is attractive, it does appear that the drought is staved off for now.

Decisions about the golf course have been postponed until better weather, the hospital continues to struggle, UCB remains mum about where to place its lab extension, redevelopment is assured to continue -- whether we like it or not, at the Boatworks area and Park Street and people are discussing what kind of trees to plop on Park Street.

For the record, the Editorial Board is stridently against non-native palm trees. Palms are not endemic to this part of California, they are not especially attractive, they do not provide close shade and we do not want our Island turned into a semblance of Miami, Florida. We do not have balmy breezes, we have strong, vigorous winds here. We do not march around in flip flops; we wear birkenstocks and harness boots. We are NorCal. We don't tan as an occupation. We do not want our island turned into some ghastly imitation of Long Beach. We are the Island and we have our own history of oaks and boxwoods.

That is our choice and we stick to it.

The Editor has been pulling the remains of his white hairs after the Offices got robbed in a daylight escapade by the notorious Toshienarita Yakuza band, who all stormed in waving sharp ginsu knives. Because the Offices are largely non-profit and nobody ever has any money anyway, the gang got away with not much more than several Raybans, a chiropractic backbrace, several hundred dollars in small change from the cash drawer, and a carton of half-and-half, but not much else.

They all rushed in, screaming all sorts of obscenities in Japanese, and demanding money in English, but finding everyone poor as churchmice, left in great disgust after trashing the place.

The IPD, finding no traffic ordinances had been affected, refused to pursue the matter.

The Editor, nevertheless was incensed. His domain had been robbed, after all. This was insult and umbrage and all of that. All of these hooded ninja-heathen running wild all over the place, rummaging through his files. Ugh!

But he had stood firm, protected his reader's IP addresses, their personal information, blocking the path of the savage nipponese ninjas as they stood firing off their guns into the innocent roof.

"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country's data," he said.

And so he stood with his hands clasped, old fat man with white hair surrounding his balding pate in an aureole. Here I am, so take me now. Today is a good day to die.

"A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;
The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that man's deed and word;
"Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.

The ninjas left wreckage and disorder. Chad's java code was left strewn in a heap. The Editor stood at the window, a broken Coriolanus lamenting his fate.

Amid the mayhem, missed the last few issues of PHC emenating out of the Fitz up there on Summit Avenue. Hope the old feller is still kicking ass with common sense and Lutheran rectitude.

Down in the Old Same Place Bar everyone watched with dismay on the big screen as the last chances of the 49'ers vanished amid the kick-returns and fumbles. Consider this a rebuilding year. Next year we will trounce those Giants firmly, putting them Bostons into their rightful second place.

Talk swung again to the topics of Politics and Religion, which seem to be dismayingly interlinked these days. Babar, of the Greatly Orotund Party, held forth on the consequences of the recent South Carolina Primary escapade. It's getting into January now, and still no GOP frontrunner is in sight. Eft Gregorian seemed to have pulled ahead in the state known for savage inbreeding, where his seven wives seemed not to affect his pull on the conservative pulpit.

In that darned South people get married to their sister and their cousin six times or more, so Eft's pecadillos mattered very little at the hustings.

Fascistic lunatics like Santorum, whose very name evokes vile fluids oozing from the bumhole, are common as dirt down there, so nobody in SC stood up to say, "Y'all know this feller is a wackjob extraordinaire."

Problem is, most common folk in America just want a President who is sane. The Grody Other Party just wants a screaming extremist.

The result is that, with no clear winner in the GOP, the savage infighting will continue another several months while the Dems have all the time in the world to deal with whoever comes out on top of what everyone knows is a dungheap of ridiculousness. Chris Christie and Paul Ryan figured that one out long before everyone else.

It may come to pass that even the incompetant and boobish Dems will have no trouble at all dispatching the bloodied, battered, exhausted, repudiated GOP contender that staggers forth from the arena to call like some Monty Python knight who has had all his arms lopped off, "Come on now! Come back and I'll bite your legs off!".

It will all be just like a fantasy vision of Paul Wolfowitz or a Peter Jackson version of a battle with Orcs. Just wack their heads off and you are done. So easy. Democracy will bloom with a thousand flowers.

Although Babar really prefers Stephen Colbert, he does recognize that realities will lead to the Mormon taking the brass ring. After that, since folks are wise now to electronic tomfoolery and ballot shenanigans, anything goes. Because of those darned complicated computers, they can't stuff ballot boxes like they used to.

Suzie stepped out back to the yard with the trash bins and the high fence. A slight rain fell down under the half moon scudding among the sea-wrack clouds. Denby, also disgusted by all the political talk which never ever seemed to go anywhere people really cared about came out and sat under the eves, strumming a Neal Young song. It was an old-fashioned waltz-time.

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away.

Dawn came out and stood there with a washrag in her hand while the clouds rushed across the yellow-lit sky. The spoken-vomit of politics had driven her to seek the clean night air.

But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night.

Suzie grabbed Dawn's hand and hauled the big woman into the yard where the two began to dance under the pelting rain as Denby sang in his keening, off-tune voice.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

Somewhere on the Island a dreamy girl's arm reached up to turn out the light, all savage greed of landholders and atavistic savagery of powerbrokers forgotten in the night of love.

Down on Santa Clara Mr. Sanchez rolled over to embrace the former Ms. Morales, his new wife. Even in the deepest night of the Captain's authority, the rule of the General's mirror-sunglasses above his proud uniform with epaulets, during the hardest of hard times, the cruelest gray-hearted regime with its stamp of jackboots and savage religion, the moon floats transcendent.

Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon.


The pogonip has been heavy in the mornings, indicating a change of season is coming on, and the recent storm clouds have yielded to moderately striated horizons in the evening. Temps have hovered in the comfortable for San Franciscans 60's while the Sierra seems to have revived with a series of blizzards to hearten all the snowbunnies and such that really like to jump up from a warm stove to go scooting around in the snow and ice with hardly any brakes on.

Madness, but what can you expect from Golden Staters gamboling up there on the slopes where god had no plan for such shenanigans.

Here on the Island we have our outdoor ski rink all set up where the Good Toyota saleslot used to be, and on 1/29/12 that whole thing gets taken down and that will be the end of Winter. We don't take chances with parking a car out on the lake ice and taking bets. The Island is far too conservative for that kind of daring. We schedule the end of winter by the calendar, and by god, we will adhere to that design. Will he or nil He.

Fun needs to have some kind of regimentation in this district.

The temps being mild, no one here has any "pump-handle phobia", a peculiar syndrome that affects much of the industrial Northeast and Minnesota in particular.

Day in, day out you would find youngsters licking pump handles with abandon, however as the man said, those items -- pump handles are few to find around these parts.

In fact, on the Island there are no more than two houses left which pull their water from wells, however that anyone does so at all in the Bay area speaks volumes about what we are all about.

If any of you are lost on this issue and all these references, please let us inform and educate, often two very different things.

Once upon a time, when the plains were dotted with nodding "horse-heads", the winters were colder everywhere. Hard to imagine, but it's true. In Winnipeg, an herd of horses escaping a stable fire, ran into the river and froze there in mid-flight, all of them solid as rocks with their gaping mouths fixed in solid terror for months. Local society groups held excursions out onto the ice of the river to marvel and take photographs among these subzero statues plunging in tableaux, and many a union was trothed -- and consummated -- among those heads until the breaking of the ice-dam in May carried all of it away forever.

Yes children, cold was really cold in those days. You could spit and your noogie would tinkle as it hit the ground. Few dared to mark their names in the yellow snow, for the fear of It freezing solid permeated all of the males.

"What happened here?" says the doctor. "Whoops! Looks like it just kinda broke off... "!

So it goes with the pump handle phobia. There were many pump handles then, and the great fear was that one's tongue would become fixed by the terrific minus forty cold to the bare metal, either by compulsion or by . . . strange desire.

Yes, if a man were to apply his tongue to a metal pump handle under subzero conditions, the consequences would surely be terrifically horrific.

We have queried any number of our gayer friends about pump handles and their response is always the same.

"Dude, you are really weird."

It is that kind of world when your gay friends find you, a perfectly red-blooded American, quite odd.

Californians tend to suffer different phobias and entertain other crotchets. When the native son was late getting out of bed to milk the cows, the pump handle was used to gush a sufficiently cold amount of water into a pail, which the native father emptied upon said native son in his formerly warm and dry bed.

Now you may begin to understand what drove that feller in East of Eden and Giant to be such a cussed animal.

You are down there in the pillows of dreams, riding the haywagon with Valerie of the golden suntan, just jouncing along in a surrey with a fringe on top, or riding Valerie on the sunned and jouncing wagon with a tanned fringe on top, or . . . whatever. Then this abrupt ice-cold shower yanks you up out of that better place of dreams to a place of sodden bedding and cow's udders and no breakfast, which on a working farm is serious departure. No breakfast on a working farm in California in those days and you have lost 1/3rd of the benefits.

No wonder patricide was so common in the old days. Sons went about popping their sires in the heads with any old sort of thing: shotguns, the deer rifle, crossbows. Slaughtered patriarchs were left littered across the bloody landscape. It was ghastly.

Ah yes, the good old days. When the weather behaved itself and murder was commonly accepted. You would think the Republicans would embrace this idea instead of their fantastical fiction of ersatz history which is no more real and no more remembered than anything else here. It is far more realistic and closer to the truth.

On his boat, El Borracho Perdido, Mr. Almeida paid scant head to the Conservative babble. He could not, for times were hard and he had to work for a living, unlike most of the conservatives around these parts who lived off of government supply in a number of ways,

He turned the dial of the radio and listened to this week's broadcast of his favorite radio program, Pastor Rotshue's Lutheran Variety Hour while waiting for the nets to spool out.

At the end of it, he thought the show was not bad. It could have been better but it was not bad. The piano player certainly had some gift in him, but Pedro liked the guitar player very much and there was very little for Pat to do this week. Fortunately, that gospel woman had cut loose with some promise. Yes, it did seem that gal would go far.

At the Pampered Pup, Arthur was enthused by the same show and there to talk all about it.

"Man, that gospel gal sure got something going about loving it up" Arthur said. "That there old time religion is really all about Love and Love."

"Arthur," Lionel said, "You need to get over that crush on entertainers from Minnesota. She is just a voice on the radio."

"No man, I can tell she got soul! It just shines on through. What about you and that Jacqueline? You going to the Valentine's Ball this year?"

Lionel said he wasn't sure. He was thinking about it.

"You think about it long enough both of youse be ninety feeding at pigeons in the park on opposite benches, man"

"You don't know nothing about it."

Down at the Old Same Place Bar, Babar still has been holding forth as the True Conservative Candidate in the Greatly Orotund Party against Nick Vilespew, of the National Association of Zenophobic Issues. Vilespew, originally out of Pennsylvania, until the good people rode him out one dark night tarred and feathered upon a rail, has enlisted all the surviving members of Howard "Doomsday" Campion's church and a few adherents of Reverend Rectumrod's 1st Church of Very Severe Baptists.

Vilespew maintains that since all homosexuals and illegal aliens are going to hell, they have nothing to live for, therefore they should all pay for everyone else's medical bills. This is Nick Vilespew's idea of reforming healthcare.

"After they pay into the system, we send them off in containers provided by the railroads to locations where they will be kept separate, but equal, from the general populace and there fully cared for without contaminating our sacred youth. I call this the District IX Single Payer Final Solution!"

Babar objects to this scheme upon solid constructionist grounds. The scheme is clearly unconstitutional for it expects and demands private industry to provide resources to Government in the form of cattlecars, gratis. That is clearly a no-no.

"They could be repaid by means of gold-fillings extraction," offers Vilespew. "We also have a Soylent Green option in our plan . . .".

"No, no, no," Babar says. "Any compulsion of private industry to do anything is anathema in my book."

"O drat!" said Vilespew in a snit. "You are such a silly!"

It must be said that both candidates seemed to lag far behind in the Primaries, while Eft Gregorian and Bud Rummy seemed to be dueling neck and neck for Most Conservative Dingus.

Old Schmidt came trundling in the way he always did, plotzed there on a bar stool and ordered a Fat Tire and a bump.

"So Schmidt, you gotta date for that Native Son's Valentine's Day Ball," Dawn O'Reilly asked from behind the bar, with her bar rag and her look.

Old Schmidt did not answer at first but drank deep of his draught and smacked his lips behind his beard before speaking.

"About zeese luff sings, I know nossingk, nossingk, nossingk!" Ja!"

Meanwhile the lovely Suzie mooned out the window at the brand-new crescent moon below which burned sharp a single bright star, brighter and better than all the rest, but for her, so far away.

The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated across the rain-dappled waters of the estuary before wavering over the sensual moonlit grasses of the Buena Vista flats stroked smoothly by the wind as the locomotive wended its way from the tall gantries of the Port past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, heading off on its journey to romantic parts unknown.