NOVEMBER 8, 2009


Lately the weather has been properly overcast and the nights have chilled to the point of requiring those down comforters be brought out of the attic. We have gotten some disturbing news from messengers up to Lake Wobegon about our efforts to achieve Sister City status, and those messages have been far from encouraging.

Some of us have been concerned about the health of the Man in the Red Shoes enough to create Care Packages filled with things like turkey soup and such. Not a few of us feel his illness was caused by bad peppers from Arizona, so a whole passle of us wanted to ship out a box of decent jalapenos to rectify the situation.

It may be that a dour Norwegian bachelor farmer looks askance at a messenger hamster from California armed with jalapenos, but persevere we shall. A Mighty Fortress is our God and all of that. Hooha!

While Office staffers begin work on the annual Island-Life CD, others are hard at work preparing for the annual Island Poodleshoot and BBQ. Denby has been gathering up the stray members of the Island Homeless Men's Choir for yet more execrable musical treats. Another Holiday Season appears well on the way to misery and destruction as per custom and good old Tradition.

Down at the Old Same Place Bar, things are still in an uproar ever since Suzie got back from Italy. Turns out her prospective beau, Jorge, had been a member of the notorious Red Guard, which had kidnapped General Aldo Mori years ago and terrorized all of the country. It seemed likely that he would be in jail quite a long time.

Just why an Argentinian would become a member of an ultra-left nationalistic Italian terrorist group is anybody's guess. While Dawn blubbered and Suzi sat in tearful silence Padraic let loose after holding it in for several days.

"What on earth gets into you girl with these boyfriends? Can't ya foind a daycent Islander to get in thruble wit?"

"Well, there was Aisling," she said and then burst into tears over that bad memory.

"Leave the girl alone ya omadhaun, ya! said Dawn.

There was yet more of the same until a voice piped up at the end of the bar.

"Hey! Can I have a Fat Tire and a shot?" It was Eugene Gallipagus, fortifying himself early for the Poodleshoot. "This is still a bar, aint it?"

"Right!" said Padraic. "Get to work you two. Work is best for broken hearts. Work, work, work."

Pretty soon the regulars streamed in and things were moving along as usual.

Fat Tire is an ale made up in Berzerkeley by the New Belgium company where the staff there are more than usually fanatical about bicycles, which is not nearly as hazardous as being rave about firearms or skydiving so they are all right. Bicycles are peaceful machines, and if anything need be mechanized it might as well be a bicycle, for no bicycle ever wiped out in a snowstorm to kill a busload of nuns and no classroom of children was ever found buried inside of a bicycle. One will note that terrorist bombers never employ bicycles, for they would feel quite ridiculous. No, bicycles are all right in our estimation.

In any case, the beers of New Belgium are a staple at the Old Same Place and many a customer has stated emphatically "I'll have a Fat Tire" to have another say, "That's too bad. I have a pump in my trunk."

Over at the Almeida household things are considerably calmer, for now that the crab and oyster seasons have started there is food on the table and things are plush, as Pedro comes steaming in each day fully loaded to the gunwales with those eager snappers destined for the kettle abord his merry boat El Borracho Perdido. His black lab, Tugboat, bounds down to the dock to help tie up by grabbing the line in his jaws and carrying it over to the post there while the passing Father Guimon waves at Pedro, who is a member of his flock at the Church of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint. Ah yes, all God's children. And the humble fisherman at his trade. And he, the Fisher of Souls. The world full of symbolism with the week's earlier overcast drizzly situation now gone in favor of California sunshine.

"Woof!" says Tugboat.

Woof, indeed. And the good Father walks on thinking these thoughts, composing Sunday's sermon and trying to figure out how he can manage to snag a few sopranos from Pastor Inquist's choir for the Holiday Banquet. The Lutherans really sing much better than any of us, he thinks ruefully. We could maybe loan a few tables for their own banquet in exchange. Just for an evening.

He did not plan on sharing any of these ideas with the Bishop.

Night has fallen now, and as the nights have gone chill, well chill for the Island, which is a bit more temperate than upstate Minnesotta, folks have largely gone indoors. The machines of the Island-Life Offices hum in their corners, and the copyboys have all gone home leaving little pools of light at their desks.

From far across the way now comes the long wail of the throughpassing train as it wends its way through the dark and shuttered warehouses that border Jack London Square, heading from the Port to places unknown.

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