April 23, 2009

It's been an uncertain week on the Island, our hometown, set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.

The weather has been moody, with threats of thunder and Michelangelo clouds boiling overhead as if the last days of Sauron and the Lord of the Rings were at hand. Sudden bursts of sunshine alternate with spatters of raindrops from isolated showers as the cloud wrack moves high to the East where all the final decisions are made.

Our messenger hamsters are gearing up and training for another emissary visit to find the Mayor of Lake Wobegon so as to proffer the eagerly sought Sister City status. We have some insider dope here that points to a Kirk or Curt Bunsen as Former Mayor, so we have high hopes of success this time after the terrible disappointment following the Bloom County Affair.

Some of us are still a bit dubious about how a dour Norwegian Lutheran in a cold country is likely to greet a gabbling rodent from California wearing a tiny backpack with offers of bureaucratic entanglements, however nevermind. Perhaps a Swede would be better off as a recipient, for the Swedes are known for warmer emotional temperment, however we must take what is given or go without.

Jose, who is great with the Internet, thinks he has found the address for this Curt Bunsen up in Minnesota, or at least four options outside of St. Paul, and so there is great optimism for this latest effort.

We are not San Francisco. We do not just rush blindly into things, engage in frippary, or fashion Performance Art out of the mess. We procede carefully and methodically and pay the local Mafia all the necessary fees, including such expenses in the Budget.

Islanders are basically yet another rung down from East Bay folks by nature and design. For the longest time, the Island was not really a desireable place to live, hence folks who actually own homes here bought them at close to their real value as opposed to the wildly inflated prices found from the 1970's through the 1990's to the Housing Collapse.

Modern Muse blogger just reported how she went over and sold about $1000 worth of jewelry to get about $100 worth of cash. There is something there in that story, but she keeps it all light and lively. These are hard, hard times.

Over at Marlene and Andre's place, they are having that estimable platillo so often found during times like these: bread soup.


· Two cans diced tomatoes (at least)

· One leftover bread loaf, stale and dried to crunch, chopped into cubes

· Fistfuls of basil

· Whatever to add that can be found

· Directions: add it all, boil it, eat it.

This is bread soup. Cheap and nutritious. Sort of nutritious, anyway.

You can put in chicken stock from boiled bones, you can add sausage, you can add celery from the Dollar Store. It all fits. Bread soup. Remember that and think of Bush.

This is the Island and we eat bread soup. Day old bread is left at Mastic's Senior Center every day. Its gone before noon.

We recommend a diet of bread soup for the Silly Hall Council and the Mayor. Learn what its like to survive. Then make your decisions. And develop a bit of spine against that Ratto fellow.

Might be good to develop some character. Be able to look yourself in the mirror each day with pride for once.

Bread soup. Try it. You for whom diet is an option.

Around the hungry table at Marlene and Andre's they gather, all of the tenants. Someone brought garlic. Someone brought sausage pieces. Someone found a whole chicken - an incredible treasure. Someone else pulls a bunch of celery beneath an old tattered overcoat. Its a feast of bread soup tonight on the Island during the Great Recession of '09.

And as Marlene ladles out the bowls, from far across the estuary comes the keening of the throughpassing train as it winds its way through the Jack London Waterfront, past trains that have no name and old Black men who still haven't heard the news: This train's got the disappearing revenue . . . And the eerie ululation of its far gone call of a whistle goes echoing across the water and the mutinous, punk waves of the estuary.

Thats just the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.

And those of you who have not had it, make some bread soup. Its good for you.