NOVEMBER 26, 2009

Listen Muse, as we grant orisons to you, Glaucous Athena. O grey-eyed goddess of hunters and the wild things of the woods, grant us wisdom and keen sight to descry thine companion, the farseeing owl, and perceive also festive fox, orotund opossum, reckless raccoon, vapid vole, and scampering squirrel, he of bushy-tail and nuts.

Anoint the tongues of the Sacred Sons and Daughters of the Golden West so that we may speak of the Poodleshoot as it was in the Days Gone By of 2009. Give us breath to praise brave deeds, heroic battles and tremendous feats of honor. Let us sing of arms and men, they who never were at a loss. They who traveled far after the sack of Crab Cove and saw the City of Man and learned its ways. They who endured many troubles and hardships in the struggle to save their own lives and so bring back the homes of the Island to poodle-free safety. They did their best, but could not save themselves, for they consumed the swine of Mr. Howitzer, the real-estate developer, which is considered trafe. Verily, even the pigs-in-a-blanket is anathema. And so the Developer, who considers himself a god, had them all arrested.

On The day of the Poodleshoot, rosy-fingered Dawn arose and pushed back the shutters of night to allow Phoebus to mount his golden chariot and so, preceding the day, she trailed her gauzy banners of cloud and mist, leaving behind a sort of dew upon place after her passage. Gently, she flushed, and gently she kissed the eyelids of the sleeping Padraic, but he stirred not. Gently she nudged the man, who only mumbled and snorted as he remained held fast in the soft wooly folds of Morpheus. Playfully, she noodged him once again, but he remained walking in that shadow kingdom of the most somnolent God.

Then she gave him a mighty whack, and that got him up all right, for Dawn O'Reilly was not a woman to be trifled with at any time of the day. And so Padraic bestirred himself to make ready for the Annual Island Poodleshoot and BBQ.

So it was that Padraic rolled out the barrels of the Water of Life and set up the Pit for this year's festivities.

The affair began with the traditional playing of the Paraguay National Anthem, as arranged by Terry Gilliam, and performed by the Island Hoophole Orchestra, with Denby on the Verpflixtemusikwappenguitar, Karen Rega on tenor tuba, Ken Collins upon the Hardart Banjobandsaw Anomaly, Pat Aston on tea and scone, and a pennywhistle section including Suzie, Aisling, Rachel Linzer, Carol Taylor, and Beth Turnbull, with Oscar Kring on drums. Sean and Nancy Grey contributed their part on Hazmat Tube-shriekers while Pat Rodriguez put in a particularly illuminating performance of Aida in high C. Hanford-Freund added a choral portion with Mumble and Threat in various low thirteenth keys too numerous to mention.

The Island Times reported that the performance was "highly unusual", and "extraordinarily provocative", among other things. Jazz Weekly reported "not since the sonic walls of cacophony produced by Pharaoh Sanders during his heroin phase have we heard such amazing sound." The Island Gerbil more modestly reported that "the performance often approached something akin to music with astonishing unpredictability."

The critic for the Contra Costa Times succinctly reported pretty much as he always does for anything other than Ibsen, Shaw, and Mahler, "Simply appalling."

Once this was done, the Native Sons of the Golden West gathered in a circle for their Invocation, chanted in the language of E Clampus Vitus. The men moved in a circle with their pinkies interlocked, first clockwise, then anti-clockwise, before chanting, "Heep heep Hepzibah!" and all jumping into the air simultaneously. They then sang their parlor charter song, "Die Launische Forelle," At the conclusion of which, each emitted a delicate fart.

After the ritual pouring of libations, the Official bugle was blown by Susan Laing and the hunters moved out into the field. Soon the air was filled with the gleeful holiday sounds of AK-47s, the cracks of freshly oiled Winchester rifles, the occasional crump of percussion grenades, cries of "Poodle there!", and the homey whoosh-bang of bazookas and RPG's. In short it was a jolly, sunny day for a Poodleshoot.

Soon enough Mark Peters of Santa Clara brought in the first batch for the barbie in the form of a neat pile of fajita-ready poodle on a plate.

The Official Ruleskeeper, MaryBeth of Marin, inquired as to the authenticity of what patently was no longer recognizable as canine, let alone breed of dog.

"Here ya go," Mark said. "Pre-shot digital pix of poodles in motion with the hits duly recorded. Did that with a mini-cam mounted on the turret."

"On the Turret?"

"Hell yeah. Right above the 50-cal. Great home movie aint it?"

"Fajita poodle ready to go. Okaaaaaay . . . ".

"50-cal will do that. Hoo-ya!"

Things were going swimmingly until a group of hunters ran into a passle of poodles on punts piloted by a parade of Teabaggers, who clearly were flaunting the rules by bringing in a load of fifi's with their pelts dyed pink, blue and white and holding them just offshore but within the municipal boundaries of the Island. As is usual for Teabaggers, the party refused to reason, but instead sent several mortar salvos to the Strand before defiantly raising their rally flag -- a picture of Fred Phelps bearing a sign that said, "God Hates You." Which caused Rev. Sarah Freethought of the First Organized Unitarian Church of the Island much grief.

Soon, the Strand was littered with anti-tax initiatives and leaflets bearing Teabagger slogans released from cluster-bomblets. Slogans such as "Death to Sick People!" and "Don't you touch my Premium toot-toot!"

Our boys dug in there on the Strand near the outhouses as the Teabaggers beached their LTO's and thence ensued a great deal of argumenting and screaming back and forth in which the hunters called for honest debate and the Teabaggers vituperated and cursed "Get sick and die you Commie Socialists!" with great redundancy.

While this was going on, the day grew long with little to show for it at the barbie on account of the boys being pinned down on the beach, so Eugene went with some scouts to the East End and found there a brace of porkers grunting and uprooting the native bunchgrass near the disputed bicycle/pedestrian bridge, long an article of contention here.

The pigs being outside of a pen, it was deemed salubrious for all concerned to get them inside of something or somebody, preferably well soaked with a spicy sauce from Everett and Jones, so they shot a couple of them and were stringing them up there for to be made into chops and ribs when along came Mr. Howitzer, the Developer, to whom the swine belonged. They had gotten loose from Harbor Bay Isle, where a lot of pigs like to keep themselves, although not these particular ones, for they had a mind to wander and uproot and alter the landscape, much as Developer animals are wont to do frequently.

So Paul ran to get up a tripod for hoisting engine blocks and they all got together to tie up one of them porkers and the pig looked Eugene in the eye and Eugene looked this pig back and the pig said, "Please don't take my life."

And they all stood back amazed for few if any of them ever heard a pig speak intellible before.

But Eugene said, "Nevermind. I am bound to take your life.

That's when the pig began to sing, "Please don't take my life -- I got two little babies and a darlin' lovin' wife. Oh you bad man, you cruel Stack 'O Lee."

Well Leonard there said, "Heck this pig sings better than any of you."

Police Officer, how can it be?
You can 'rest everybody but cruel Stack O'Lee
That bad man, That cruel Stack 'O Lee

"If you call that singin," said Paul. "Sounds like a lot of gruntin' and moanin' to me."

"That be the blues," said Lionel, he of the Pampered Pup. "Its all grunting' and moanin'."

So that is when Eugene began singing his own song.

Pigmeat is taken today. Something I do crave.
Now Pigmeat is taken today. Something I do crave.
Ashes to Ashes and dust to dust
Show me a poodle that a man can trust
Pigmeat is taken today. Something I do crave.
I mean it
Something I do crave.

So there they all were, just about to do the deed on the singing pig when up popped Mr. Howitzer.

Howitzer, having with him his blunderbuss and his trusty pigdog, Eisenhower, had him round up the hunters who all surrendered as it was violently against the rules to kill a non-poodle breed on this day, and so they were all brought to the courthouse on Shoreline where the weapons were impounded and all arrested. That's when the Commissioner there started singing the blues on account of his Thanksgiving dinner being so rudely interrupted there in the courthouse.

Gentlemens of the jury, what do you think of that?
Stack O' Lee almost killed Howitzer's pig about a five dollar mess of rash
That bad man, that cruel Stack O' Lee.

"My name aint Lee," said Eugene, quite reasonably. And the pig is gonna be fine soon as you cut him down.

But, because of budget cutbacks, there was no longer any trial for criminal matters at the courthouse -- which may seem odd to non-islanders, but all must understand as we own an hospital which does no geriatric, no obstetric, and no trauma treatment, it makes sense we would also have a courthouse where nobody can be tried for crimes. Nor is our jail any great shakes either. And as it turned out, keeping livestock on the Island is a misdemeanor covered by the traffic enforcement division, so Mr. Howitzer was fined fifty dollars for keeping his pets plus the kidnapping of honest poodle hunters, who were all of fined for atonality and public rumpus and given a lecture to never to be seen hog hunting on the island again and to keep well within the statutes of the pentonic scale and so released while the commissioner and the police returned to their thanksgiving dinners with tears in their eyes on account of no longer being able to try anybody at all for committing their special crimes in the courthouse.

So Eugene and the crew, which consisted of Lionel Washington, Paul of Marin (who happily would have shot Eisenhower and the rules be damned but for a clear line of sight), Steve Vender, Doyle of San Francisco, and Jim Cassell, all returned to the Pit, bypassing the Strand where a most contentious and long-winded filibuster was in progress.

When Padraic saw everybody returning empty-handed with tears in their eyes and the day gone and all the fajitas long since consumed, he broke open the emergency freezer and threw several flanks of ahi on the barbie.

Eventually the folks down at the Strand got away by putting up cardboard cutouts and a tapeplayer that looped the phrase, "Let me just say one thing . . .". through a loudspeaker so that the Teabaggers, never ever ones to allow anyone else to get in a word edgewise were consumed with imprecations, defamations and vitriol of the most debate-nixing kind. Discuss anything? We'll have none of that! And so on.

And so the sun set on the Island Rev. Freethought said grace over the tuna burgers and gave thanks that this year, at least this year, her church building was spared extensive damage during 11th Annual Islandlife Poodleshoot and BBQ. They then set to and all had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat before going to bed and not waking up until the next morning.

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