APRIL 21, 2013



So anyway, Spring has suddenly hit the Island with a solid whallop. Its coming to the end of crabbing season and anyone who buys an oyster now starts taking their chances. Drakes Estero oyster farm may close -- after all they are sitting on federal parkland and their 100 year lease exception just came up.

Generations of NorCal families have driven out that road on Point Reyes that is well paved with shattered oyster shells to fetch back dripping bags of living molluscs for celebrations of all kinds, but this one seems one destined for the dustbin of history. The rule of law is against renewal for another special interest exception and as the local waters warm due to global changes, it may prove to become unfeasible to retain the enterprise there much longer anyway.

This weekend, the clouds finally broke apart to let Mssr. Soleil remind all the fair-skinned just why Black is beautiful and there was a great run on aloe vera and lotion at the Sabroso Pharmacy.

Furthermore the birds have started doing things

The bird-of-paradise plants have all started erupting with their fabulous floral arrangements, the bougainvillea's are going to town and the Aphrodite Amaryllis, which around here grows into bushes some seven feet tall, has been getting all the buzzing insects excited about something. Furthermore the birds have started doing things to remind parents they better have That Special Talk with the younger member of the household before he or she starts getting curious in the backseat of the family Dodge Dart on Snoffish Valley Road.

Oaktown never gets a break, even in Springtime

Little darlin', its been a long cold lonely Winter. But here comes the sun. Over in Oaktown, the swallows come to dip and swirl in the millions over the rooftop garden of the Kaiser building. Once, long ago perhaps they had learned to settle in a grove beside Lake Merritt, but that grove is long gone for several hundred years now, and so the swallows swoop and dive in solid arabesques as if an immense creature coiled and danced above that postagestamp of green which exists there now. People always talk about Capistrano, but Oakland has no charming church steeple there, and of course, Oaktown never gets a break, even in Springtime.

Spring is the Most Dangerous Season.

Spring has indeed arrived. And around here let it be known, Spring is the Most Dangerous Season.

Yes, Spring is the most dangerous season. Maybe it is different in other places, but here, wise men remain indoors and order pizza for dinner, hunker down by the TV to watch endless reruns of Monster Truck Destruction and Terminator I, II, III and IV. Its safer cuddled there in the dark lit only by the blackout curtain blocked TV set glow.

Bees dive-bombing the clover, hummingbirds bayoneting the jasmine that keeps throwing out punches this way and that while sending wafts of chemical weapons of mass disruption. Army ants on the march and squirrels conducting reconnaissance forays add to the mayhem, while raccoons begin nightly raids. The daisy bush bursts with yellow ack-ack blooms while the poppies erupt with tiny explosions across the fields. Squadrons of swallows, duck sorties, and Canadian geese streak overhead and then, worst of all, there are the girls in their summer dresses.

women and girls bursting into majorityhood stroll on patrol

Meanwhile, somewhere overhead, flying in stealth mode -- that naked, blindfolded, fat boy keeps firing off at random his erring arrows of wanton mishap, those IEDs (Improvised Erotic Designs), wreaking chaos in a wide swath more terrifying that Sherman's March to the Sea. Squadrons of women and girls bursting into majorityhood stroll on patrol, their smooth lithe legs flashing beneath their uniforms: thin summer dresses, haltertops, daisy-dukes, and god knows what else underneath that armor. If anything. Its all agitprop left to the imagination.

Observe Johnnie, happy and carefree as a lark, striding with ruddy cheeks and full confidence. But after him comes Jane, armed with those sharpshooter eyes, that flippy short skirt, and strappy high heels. Now Johnnie is down! His face wan and his appetite poor, his breath coming out in ragged gasps as Jane cradles his head among the wildly blooming, victorious daisies. Right in the heart, poor lad. A goner for sure.

Yes, Spring is the most dangerous Season.

When the fog rolls back and feminine panzer divisions cruise the Uptown district in search of some likely target holding his pinsel in his hand at the galleries, when the leggy Joanne strides forth into the night on six-inch stilleto heels and Danielle puts on that short black dress and a European accent spoken with a sultry je ne sais quoi wafting pheromones among the randy artisans, that is when Don Giovanni and Lola Lola stalk the Salons for luscious prey.

That is also when The Editor, avoiding the leggy Joanne, stocks up on Redbox flicks (Netflix now passe), and a fridge filled with Mrs. Callender frozen dinners so as to avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, especially those arrows sent by that obstreperous hoodlum, Cupid. For the artsbeat he sends his representative, the hapless Jose who safely has no more a clue about eros than Faber's Euphonia, and Javier, who knows a good deal more about eros than someone in his position ought to and nothing at all about Art save for ogling the odlalesque.

Spring means nothing to Javier, who just uses the season for a more vigorous application to his campaign of jolly roger than during the winter. To Javier, there is nothing more savory than an Art Student in the Spring. Bright then glows his personal Kunstpinsel.

Indeed, Spring is the the Most dangerous Season.

Marvin, of Mervin's Merkins (Put a Merkin in your Firkin!) is particularly suseptible. He has a thing for gamines, truth be told. He has images of Audrey Hepburn all around the house, especially from the motion picture Breakfast at Tiffany's. Spring is especially hard on poor Marvin, and Sunday evening found him tucked up in the snug of the Old Same Place Bar relating the facts of his life to strangers and to Suzie, who had her own problems with the lovelife.

Recently he had been smitten by a chanteuse from Texas by the name of Kat Edmonson. For all his faults, Marvin remained a steadfast supporter of National Public Radio.

"I thought it was Heather Masse you were after. And before that Aoife O'Donovan." Suzie said.

They grew their hair long, complained Marvin. And Heather turned out to be disgustingly and happily married.

"O you men!" Dawn exclaimed. "You would hump an oak tree so long as it wore a short, red dress."

"Who is that guy over there?"

Marvin indicated a handsome man with a silver mane and ghotee who sat at a table with three absolutely stunning women, whom he kept enthralled with stunning repartee in three or four languages.

his copilot was a baboon

"Ah!" said Javier, who had overheard this exchange. "That man there, well, when he visits friends in Cordoba, the Bishop of Seville is compelled to come and acknowledge he has arrived in the town. When he attends someone's wedding, a band of wandering gypsies shows up to perform Hungarian dances for free, and all the maids of honor depart the following day, enciente."


"It is true," said the Man from Minot. "He broke the record for the luge in Switzerland, but was denied the gold medal as his copilot was a baboon, and therefore not a human according to the rules."

"Aye, laddies," said Angus McMayhem. "I seen him toss the caber with the biggest and best of them. I seen him once toss a caber while dining on a scone, competin' against the Giant of Ballyfergus while tightrope walking acrost the parapets, hopping with his caber over the crenellations. Furthermore he knows how to play the pipes like real music, he does! And the tales he tells about his days wrestling lions in Africa and setting the poor child soldiers there free. Och begorrah!"

"Africa? Scotland? Spain? How does this fellow get around?"

"In his own private piper cub airplane of course," Denby said. "He taught himself how to fly so he could practice skydiving and rescue fabulous women in distress, or at least entertain them with barrelrolls."

"Uhh . . . now wait a minute!" Mervin said. "O for pete's sake. Who is he then?"

"Ahhhhh!" Padraic said. "That there is none other than The Most Interesting Man in the World!"

It goes without saying the man had before him a bottle of that dark beer marked with the two X's.

In the wee hours of Sunday leading to Monday, Pedro motored his fishing boat, El Borracho Perdido, out beyond the Golden Gate. Spring arrives on the ocean in subtle manner, often detected only by the patterns of fish which migrate much as birds do from place to place. Plankton and algae bloom and attracts certain fish to take advantage of Nature's brief plenty. Sun-warmed currents reverse direction and the legal periods for certain take come to a close while others open up. There is a quality to the air that tells of changes coming on, big changes headed for the mainland. In the interzone that lies between the silver sunlit surface and the place where light shades down to dark purples before entering the fathomless compressed depths beyond the shelf, kelps and algaes wake from a long sleep to nourish with their long chains amid the dancing bubbles the nutrient rich universe that they say was the mother of all life long ago.

Spring is not kind to everyone. The rumor had it, and the rumor was true that Marina Moego-ada had broken up with her lover of some years and in a snap of revenge had dumped all of his clothing out into the driveway, including his faded bluejeans. He had already taken off with that blowsy Texas blonde from the bowling alley, taking the car keys and his shoes, so what was left sat there like a sad pile of reminders of better days, just getting moldy and old and more useless as time passed.

Over at the the Belle Canto Ranch, Oscar came around looking to beat up somebody for having offended a woman who had known a friend of his sister in some manner he could not recall some thirty years ago, but as he could remember neither the man's name nor the woman's he got drunk on a bottle of tequila instead out on Snoffish Valley Road while all the teenagers were having a good time all around him. Perhaps in the end it was better for Oscar and everyone else once concerned after all.

Pahrump gave a good talk to little Adam about putting aside grudges, for little Adam had been getting into scraps at school again.

It is said, Pahrump went on, about two monks passing along the road and coming to a stream that there stood a woman on the bank lamenting the force of the current and the lack of a bridge. The older monk picked up the woman and carried her across the stream to safety while his companion plashed on behind.

After many miles further on, drawing on to nightfall and time to rest, the younger monk suddenly burst out with great agitation about the monk having violated his vows of chastity in not only touching but lifting up the woman in defiance of all their strictures.

The older monk looked calmly at his upset brother and said, "I set that woman down many miles ago. Why are you still carrying her?"

As with our dear Marina, Spring may bring some heartaches, but then, like the ancient Chinese symbol for disaster, there remains the other side. Indeed, there always will be the Other Side. Spring can always be a time to start all over again. Get on over to Target and fetch some decent tightfittin' booty-huggers, gal. Do a little of that Texas bootstomp and shuffle.

The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water, across the dark green waves of the estuary brushing the rip-rap and wavered across the rustling grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the old Beltline as the locomotive glided past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its romantic journey to parts unknown.

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