APRIL 10, 2016



they all arrived wearing helmets and greaves and laced sandals

So anyway, as everyone knows there are elections coming up and more than the usual slander and gossip slinging about town like so many spitballs flung by errant schoolboys. The crowded field of Neocons has thinned out, due largely to a convention in which the principals were invited to resolve disputes in the traditional manner of Neocons down through the ages -- they all arrived wearing helmets and greaves and laced sandals and carried broadswords, pikes, morningstars and halberds.

Karina Durina looked particularly fetching in a short gladiator's skirt with brass bustier until Ronald Bump chopped her legs off with a broadaxe.

Dan Danny fell on top of Lindy Cracker and George Souvlaki in a sumo move that won points until he was dispatched by Randy Peter and Scott Trotter with machetes, which they then promptly used on each other the way NeoCons tend to do. Marco Polo strode across the field past the hapless Rick Frothystuff who bubbled out his last awash in the bodily fluids of Nick Perrier and Robert Janedoll until the limbless torso of Mike Wallabee tripped him up and Ned "Red" Cross did him in an iron tea service.

Ned was decapitated by Kit Carson who bit the dust when Jed Schrubb tried to reason with him and so he fell by the wayside in intellectual exhaustion. Pieces of Jim Killmore were scattered about the hustings, leaving quite a gory spectacle and only Jon Catchit standing to face Bump, the Man with the Hair. Night fell and the survivors were put to bed by their immigrant nannies.

At home, Babar sedately put on his second pair of pants, being a true Conservative, and went out to campaign upon the unusual platform of moderation while Papoon, the Somewhat Liberal Candidate, once again assembled his own program based upon the singular slogan "Not Insane!"

It rained this past weekend, which was good news for parched California. Word from the mountains has it that we are at 50% of usual, but the locals are hoping that rain will keep the trout season going strong. So is Eugene Gallipagus, who is busy planning his annual summer excursion in search of the elusive Sierra Golden King, a fabulous trout that is storied to be larger than a full grown steelhead as they used to catch them in the old days.

No one but Eugene has actually seen a Sierra Golden King, but hope springs eternal in fishermen who have more faith than Cubs fans do in the World Series.

Zat man haff dee vacky tabacky smoken.

Eugene claims to have not only seen one of these mythical fish, but to have actually spoken with it. A matter about which Old Schmidt had this to say after removing his pipe from his whiskers.

"I haff seen ze biggest trout in Europa and therefore ze vorld. Zat man haff dee vacky tabacky smoken."

Which just goes to show that you can trust nobody; neither old Germans nor crazy fishermen.

by summer it will be safe to play flamenco

What with this wet weather we have a dank and overcast, albeit luscious, Spring. Which means the heart's ardor remains banked around here, reducing the dangers of mesalliances and explosive eroticism. The Editor has retired to his study, fortified with Michelina's and Weight Watchers frozen dinners so as to avoid going out. Denby has pulled back into the Snug of the Old Same Place Bar with his guitar and sappy Broadway show tunes. Plus a little Teresa Tudury. He figures that by summer it will be safe to play flamenco again.

the only love expressed is for warm motherboards

Jose is evading the pangs of Cupid by working, working, working, working, at his new job at the tech startup Guttersnipe where the only love expressed is for warm motherboards and hot dataports. The women there are all smart as Madam Curie and they have neither interest nor time for folderol between the sheets. The guys all still play the video game Zombie Monster Thrill Race in what little spare time they have and so it may be several decades before any of them figure out the bumping thing that sometimes happens between men and women, and no wonder in the meantime the smarter women have zero interest.

For the most part they work and when they do not work, they hang out at work and eat really unhealthy meals after working out in the workplace gym. Then they go study and practice working so they can work much better some more and return to work again. They do not take days off, not even when sick or injured, because they would not know what to do with themselves. When it comes to pasttimes, one might say, "I used to dance," or "I used to play the tuba, but not any more. There is no time for that."

The employers really like this for obvious reasons.

This is worklife in the Twenty-First century tech world and there are no carpets and no paintings on the walls. Sometimes a helpdesk guy brings a guitar into the lounge, but y'know -- he's Help Desk. . . .

It is a world Robert Heinlein would have loved, but no one reads Heinlein any more, certainly not tech people who read nothing but manuals. And Heinlein was a dick.

Meanwhile between the airy workpods and aquarium-glass conference rooms of Guttersnipe the hour approaches midnight on Saturday and Cohen sits hunched over his keyboard, the multi screen display arranged in an arc before him with the secondary screen displaying the terminal emulator up to the right and the open iPad to his left (to display the scheduling).

A human stands behind him and says, "What are you doing?"

"Working," Cohen says. "On the Mission Electric zero sum issue. Why do you ask?"

"Your problem is of interest," said the human, who was named Iota. "And I need the printer."

Cohen deliberated a moment. "Use it," he said.

"All right," she said and turned and walked away, her high heels making tapping sounds on the floor. Cohen could swear that he saw sparks.

"This could cause static discharge," he said to himself and returned to work as the printer began to chatter.

And Cohen thought to himself, o no, that means she will be back again for the output.

At midnight, the long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stood glowing with their multi-kilowatt sentry lights; it quavered across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline; it moaned through the cracked brick of the old abandoned Cannery with its ghosts and weedy railbed, and it keened between the interstices of the chainlink fences as the locomotive glided past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to parts unknown.

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