MAY 3, 2009


It's been a quiet week on the Island, our hometown, set here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. A real dockwalloper set in here, just before the weekend, sending all the gulls scurrying over the grocery parking lots and drenching the place well enough to convince EBMUD to halt water rationing for the time being.

Sad to say for folks east of here, you have about four days to get ready for another round of Severe Weather, if history proves right. This is a big storm, and we see another drop of an inch or more happening during the beginning of next week, which means a lot more than that happening further east from here.

Fargo, we feel for you.

Everyone is hunkering down as the skies let loose here and the Most Dangerous Season advances with its usual victims. The Editor has bunkered himself into his office with a packed freezer of Lean Ones TV dinners and a number of DVDs. Everytime a pretty girl walks by in a short skirt he just shouts out through the door, "Nobody here but couch potatoes and slobs watching Pro Wrestling and Monster Truck rallies!"

Actually, he rented Wuthering Heights and several foreign language films, but don't tell anyone.

Javier is back to chasing ambulances and covering the house fire circuit and he seems well engaged with that. Plenty of hunky firemen and women to deflect attention there. Meanwhile Denby got drunk and missed the Oakland Art Murmur, so he stayed safe through the weekend. Hung over but safe.

Chad has spent his time indoors designing a new website called, so he is also staying out of trouble.

Down at the Old Same Place, while the weather is misbehaving, Suzie is serving up the usual assortment of Gaelic Coffees, so called because Padraic insists the Irish would never mix the Water of Life with something so base as coffee. In any case, she keeps herself busy, slinging sloe gin fizzes, Irish coffees and the occasional highball interspersed with goodly amounts of Fat Tire ale. Fat tire ale is a local brew made by a group of bicycle enthusiasts who feel the bicycle is the resolution to all social ills and they just may be right about that.

In any case,the beer is pretty good, so its not uncommon to hear a fellow walk in and say they'll have a bump and a fat tire in such a way that inevitably someone at the bar exclaims, "Oh that's too bad. Want me to call Triple A?"

Suzie serves them up and watches the dramas unfold from behind the bar, the silent bartender with no hint of a past herself save for the golden knickers Dawn hung up there with the Bar mementos. Photos of Padraic and Dawn's cottage in Wicklow, (a place they have not visited in well over thirty years), the autographed photos of Bono, Luka Bloom, The Chieftains (not Irish but close enough), Sinead O'Connor and Gerry Adams, a football jersey, a flag of the Republic (of course), a Bridget's cross, and a crumbling brick of peat.

Don't talk to Suzie about what Schmidt calls "die luff sings", for she will have none of it. Not after that boy Aisling broke her heart a while ago. So night after night she soldiers on, tending the bar and watching the mating dances of that curious species, Rugitus Americana. She's seen them come, she's seen them pair off, she's seen them go, and she's seen them return as singles only to do it all over again.

After a really busy night, Padraic called for one on the house as Suzie plotzed down at a table after the neon sign had been switched off. Someone had commented to her as she worked, "You aren't still mooning after that Aisling are ya?" and Padraic very nearly brained the fellow with his Kerrystick behind the bar, a nasty piece of thornwood three feet long, for Padraic was very protective of those under his charge.

But Suzie would have no violence done on her part and for something so trifling. So Padraic offered a Fat Tire on the house and the two women, she and Dawn, got off of their sore legs. And there the three friends sat over a quiet one for a while. For let it be said that the Irish are a naturally great-hearted people and not at all a bunch of bloodthirsty buffoons as recently depicted. And given a chance, if only given a chance, Irish and Arab would choose to live in peace with any and all.

As they sat there, the long wail of the train passing through Jack London Waterfront ululated across the water with its mournful memento mori.

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