October 20, 2006

It's been a quiet week on the Island, ironic sister city to Lake Woebegon, ironic in that a place loaded with Catholic Hispanics and dour Caucasian Baptists should have any affiliation with the Nordic Lutherans of Minnesota, but a thorough examination shows that the two places are far closer in spirit than would appear on cursory examination.

There is no time to go into all of that right now. Election time has lept upon us with onwonted ferocity, this being a time of "midterm" elections. This past week the Island wound up on the editorial pages for all of the nasty mudslinging now going on here. Somebody dragged a PAC that supported the Challenger Slate for Council and Mayorship into Court for failure to report expenses by deadline, only to find that the PAC had simply been lied to about the actual deadlines to begin with. A number of people are no longer speaking with a number of people and some people are no longer returning phone calls. It's all going to get very nasty before its over and chances are that the nastiness will continue in other forms no matter who wins.

On the lighter side, Mick and Co. return to the East Bay for a show at the Coluseum tomorrow. Since, according to our calculations, the last run managed to rope in some 1.5 million viewers, not including those who bought tix at the obscene prices for more than one show, over the course of some five or six shows and two tours here. You might say that "the fellow with the tire-tread lips" came out ahead of his decision to remain with the band when executives encouraged him to depart some thirty years ago.

On the mellower side the Island PTA recently got together with that of a neighboring city so as to plan out how next year's girls' sporting events are to execute without parental interference of the dangerously physical kind that results in injuries to the referees. Tasers have been proposed so as to temper unruly on-field displays of protective fatherhood. Well, we shall see what comes of all that.

The Svenquist family has left town, and typically this serves as warning to all that the Annual Lutefisk Dinner will be held at the Lutheran Hall across from the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint. The Svenquist family, unlike the vast majority of Lutherans here, really do hail from Norway and so have an intimate acquaintance with Lutefisk, its history, its preparation, and its questionable consumption. The rest of the Lutherans here stem from lapsed Baptists, and so comprise a physically striking group of people of uncommon beauty. Don't question that; its simply a fact and one of which the Lutherans are quite proud.

In any case, lutefisk for those who do not know, was something invented during the Viking raids of the early Middle Ages, for the villagers needed to come up with something what with to repel these invaders, force of arms having long since failed against rovers who barely would acknowledge a limb being hacked off, let alone a few pin pricks of the broadsword. As a result, the people of coastal England devised a food substance of such distaste they thought the invaders would surely depart in search of better far. The enterprising folk took week-old cod from the bottom of the barrel, dried it, buried it in wormy loam and covered it over with drano, ie the caustic stuff people use to clear stopped up toilets. After a month of this sort of treatment, the people hung the result out on washing lines to really get the smell to mix about and harden the stuff to brick-like consistency. It would then be packed away in layers of salt, earth, and roadkill. When set to table, the folk soaked the brick in water and doused themselves liberally with aquavit, resulting in a kind of odiferous mush on the plate and between the ears. To their horror, the Vikings, long inured to the detestable, really liked the stuff and so imported the recipe with some modifications to their home countries. It is not now made anywhere in Norway, Sweden or Denmark, but there exist a few manufacturers in the United States, to the bafflement of the Scandanavians, who just shake their heads whenever an American tries to say "Yashur Jonit" in connection with the stuff.

Here in California, we don't have much lutefisk, but we do have the "1000 year" Chinese eggs, which are gelatinous, deeply brown in color and smelling faintly of vinegar. And atole, which the Native Americans made and lived off of for some 10,000 years. It is gelatinous, off-white in color and tastes something like library paste and it is required of every schoolchild to sample this concoction of pounded acorns so as to truely appreciate things like hamburgers and Snickers bars.

After a fit of warm weather, the skies pale gradually each morning with that late-remaining fog overhead and the ground is all beaded with dew. Mr. Peepers, singed but alive after his encounter a few weeks ago with a tasty powerline, still is scampering about collecting his hoard. The 24 hour period when the Dead walk again among us has passed, and Monday arrives with inevitablity and its coffee in the morning and its commute and its familiar drudgery.

Wonder if its not too late to take up skydiving.

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