NOVEMBER 28, 2013




So anyway, it is hardly to be believed that this year marks the 15th Anniversary of the Annual Thanksgiving Island Poodleshoot and BBQ. Yes, its been 15 years of 49'er Spirit in blazing away with all sorts of firepower with red-blooded American zest on a day that makes every decent breed of hound thankful to high heaven he or she is not a member of that atrociously barbered breed of dingle-balls and yaps called "poodle".

"If god does exist, why does he or she allow poodles?"

One may ask the question "Why poodles?" Indeed the question has been asked many times, and not only about the Poodleshoot, oftentimes descending to theological argument, featuring the Primary query: "If god does exist, why does he or she allow poodles?" and "If poodles exist, does this presuppose the existence of Satan? If Satan exists because of poodles, does then this presuppose that god does, in fact, exist?" as well as numerous Secondary Queries coupled with Propositions and Conundrums enough to puzzle Pope and Curate for the next one thousand years long after the poodle and Man are both extinct, and at the end of it you just know the disputation will continue, no doubt among the higher lifeforms as in the chimpanzee, the cockroach, and the Welsh Rarebit of Hibernia.

The current pope is a feisty fellow with much on his plate to repair or devour and he has been jetting about fixing up all the problems caused by those impish Cardinals having elected a stodgy German last time against all good common sense. One of his encyclicals, which is a sort of paper composed by popes while riding the official Papal Bicycle -- hence its name -- is titled "Divinity and the Poodle -- A Call for Investigation", so something may come of all this theocratic folderol after all. Give or take 500 years.

This may have all began with the ancient Romans who presented the poser, "Viaduct?" Vy a duck? I dunno vy not a horse. I am all right myself, how about you?

Even Pastor Nyquist has gotten into the fray, having written a paper to the Collected Lutheran Bishops entitled, "Canine Manicure and Simplicity". As for the folks in red robes who hang out at the Tibetan temple on Santa Clara, let us quote the Buddha from his book of Five Ways. "Wisdom lies in the abnegation of Yappiness. The tranquil mind attains Nirvana."

Still comes the question, "Why poodles?"

Still comes the question, "Why poodles?" In a world fraught with immense tragedy rife with Newtown massacres, pestilence and ebola, child soldiers of Sierra Leone, Somalian pirates, kidnapped girls chained for years in shipping cartons, imbecilic Tea Partiers, Sarah Palin, wretched mental health, loud people who drive SUV's, Klaus Barbie and all his kind, Hitler inventing the baby-kissing photo op, and even worse, how can one spend any time being concerned about a miserably coddled Fifi shaved to look like a large trout lure?

Indeed, within the question resides the answer, an answer worth pondering.

As per Tradition, on the day of the 15th Annual 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 across the firmament, traveling across the yard from the battered old half-moon privy hard by the weeds to the house back porch, leaving behind a sort of dew after her passage. Gently, she flushed, and gently she tugged upon the coverlet, 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.

Her fingers becoming rays of sunlight, turned the dial so as to allow the sweet strains of muse Calliope to thrum the air as guided by the goddess Rosalie Howarth of KFOG, but Padriac snored and stirred not.

Then Dawn gave him a mighty thwack, 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.

servants of the Dark Lord had been plotting to seize the land

So it was that Padraic rolled out the barrels of the Water of Life and set up the Pit for this year's festivities under bright, chill skies once again down by the disputed Crab Cove where servants of the Dark Lord had been plotting to seize the land so as to build yet another series of Dark Fortresses not unlike Cirith Ungol. Yea, the place known as Neptune Pointe (sic) was entangled in the multifaceted eye of the Developer of the Spider.

The affair began with the traditional playing of the Paraguay National Anthem, as arranged by Terry Gilliam, and performed by the Island Hoophole Orchestra accompanied by the Brickbat Targets chorale ensemble.

The ensemble group which has made something of a name for itself by inventing entirely new parts for voice, consisted of Mayor Marie and Councilperson Lena as soprano alla pique, Councilperson Chen as Loki with his distinctive rubato tenor, and Tony Daysog as mezzo soprano mournful, with Councilperson Marilyn in her reprising alto triumphale in the esoteric work La Chambre à l'arrière Enfumee Boogie. Former Councilperson Rob Bonta appeared in cameo basso infernal as Iago from the Doubtful Friend.

"the most dreadful rubbish since the last time I wrote a mixed review . . .".

Many reviewers have called this piece amazingly impossible to accomplish. The East Bay Express found "this game of smoky backrooms is too much to believe." Karen D'Souza of the Contra Costa Times has called it "devilishly complicated" and "hard to believe it goes on. And on. And on still more," while Jim Harrington has called this performance, "the most dreadful rubbish since the last time I wrote a mixed review. I never fully approve of anything but this gave badness a new name."

The Chronicle, always more reserved due to the heavy influence of conservative ACT in the City, has commented, "It should be interesting to see how well this thing floats in the future amid this stormy time for companies. Please, we cannot afford another Phaedra."

Of course, their theatre/music review got mixed up for that issue with the economic report and the elections special, so the meaning of that is up to interpretation.

The Examiner, as usual, ignored Reality and talked about the batboy who had been abducted by space aliens.

In any case, after spirits had been revived with a sloshing round from the kegs, the Hoophole Orchestra launched the proceedings with spirited instrumentals. The elaborate instrumental section performed Sousa marches and works by Debussy in true Island tradition, and featured vocals as well as strings, horns, thorns, woodwinds, and bloodhounds.

Performing on the Retroviral Trumpet and Smashed Manager were Carol Taylor and Pat Aston of St. Charles.

Tommy and Timmy of Park Avenue performed upon the Eviserated Mudhen and the African zebra-fellator with defibrillation device.

Lou Cadme did a standup job upon the Howling Organ Stroker, while Carolyn Masters wowed everyone with the Flammable Pedalpushing Accordion. This complemented Kristin SweetMarie Coomber and Jessica McGowan-Vanderbeck, both with Incendiary Bustier Shriekerspritzers. Nice pair, those gals.

Jeannemarie Coulter contributed her skills upon the Tin Blathermouse with great effect and Jodet Paloma Ghougassian sounded affectingly sweet with the Mugwhump Twinkie-smasher upon Persian Carpet.

Jade of San Franciso performed upon the Inflateable Cross with Crossbow Zinger and the Crawford Makeup Mirror Shriller.

Antimacassars and doilies were supplied by James Hargis.

Once this essay at musical endeavor was done to everyone's great relief, the Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor 34 1/2, gathered in a circle for their Invocation,led by Doyle McGowan of San Francisco, and chanted in the language of E Clampus Vitus. The men, wearing their ceremonial robes and colorful fezzes, moved in a circle with their pinkies interlocked, first clockwise, then anti-clockwise, before intoning, "Heep heep Hepzibah!" and all jumping into the air simultaneously. They then sang their parlor charter song, "Die Launische Forelle," After they had done this, they moved again in a circle as before, concluding by bowing deeply, dropping their drawers and thence emitting a sort of 21 gun salute.

After the ritual pouring of Wild Turkey libations, the Official bugles were blown by Pat Kitson of Mountain View and Tally of Marin, after which 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 old-fashioned bazookas and modern RPG's. In short it was a jolly, fine beginning for a Poodleshoot.

This year, the White House representation was headed by Mrs. Clinton, who never really has left the White House and who still has one of her vanity tables there in a small room. She was accompanied by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who stated that although she was not a fan of hunting per se, she did feel a need to get out of DC for a while to get some rest.

The Conservative Party, which always seems to enjoy gratuitous violence and bloodletting, especially when it involves someone elses children, sent Ted Cruz, while the Pee Tardy folks sent Bernhardt Stoor.

The rain weather which had been forcast turned itself around into a gorgeous set of days of clear skies just perfect for popping doggies on the run. Mrs. Clinton, ever much the hawk, overflowed with exhuberant excitement of the chase after a brace of Russian Blues, and managed to declare war on Iran, Russia, China, both Koreas, San Leandro and Newark within two hours, quite forgetting that she was not yet elected President.

When reminded of that fact by her companion, she expostulated, "Not elected?! That did not stop George Bush!"

Down by the Crab Cove playground the Angry Elf gang set up their base of operations and they had a great deal of fun firing off 1950's era Thompson submachineguns. The Angry Elf was greatly enamored of the old gangsters, especially Meyer Lansky and he loved to emulate that man, even to the brown suit the mobster had worn. His gang did not do any hunting so much as fire indiscriminately at any sort of likely target, whether it be palm trees, lavatories, kiddie slides or other hunters and so everyone soon learned to stay well away from there until they had gotten deeper into Padriac's home brew which significantly worsened their aim.

The Angry Elf was there with Brian Grump, Toshie Fan, and the Toad and they were a fell lot with their guns and primitive torture devices. There's always some in the crowd who ruin the joy of things by way of their earnestness. There in the middle of their camp they builded an hearth of human skulls and fueled with foul tinder so as to produce a billowing reek that clogged the once pristine sky.

Over on Otis Drive Officer O'Madhauen had caused a massive pileup at the intersection of Grand and Otis when he had tried to vigorously enforce the speed limit, the turn signal ordinance and the jaywalking ordinance, which morphed into enforcing the traffic light itself, the crosswalks, and the vehicular equipment advisory, not to mention the driving with a cell phone law that no one else seems to enforce. The officer had such a time scampering back and forth across the street, detaining vehicles and pedestrians right and left that he had to call for back up and have Officer Popinjay go commandeer one of those nasty metermaid cabs so as to round up malefactors like a sheepdog, for it required time to write up all those citations properly and he could not simply let them go with a warning and finish off the paperwork later.

Besides, the City gets 17% at least from every citation fine.

He walked up and down the rows, idly pepper spraying the people who sat there compliantly

Eventually, the two officers, by dint of zeal and obtuseness, had detained some 150 people, whom they corralled into a space on the lawn of Wood Middle School and somebody asked if it was alright to enjoy a bite to eat and get some drink while arrested and Officer O'Madhauen could find no entry about that in the big green CVC book so everybody there had a fine time being arrested and noshing on turkey schmier on bagel toast and drinking champagne until Officer Popinjay did what California police are sometimes known to do. He walked up and down the rows, idly pepper spraying the people who sat there compliantly and waiting for something to happen. He did this because he was bored and because he had the power to do so. And this really put a big damper on things and there was no more turkey schmier or schmier of any kind to be enjoyed and the errand boys ran away on their bicycles, weeping uncontrollably.

Elsewhere, the day proceeded with only the usual joyous mayhem. AK Glass armed with a crossbow firing explosive darts managed to nail a fine catch estimated at five pounds prior to dispatch down at the windsurfer clubhouse. Not much was left of the carcass for the BBQ however, and size was estimated by the length of the ears so the points earned were recorded by the scorekeeper. Clebia, formerly of Brazil and now San Francisco, managed to catch two miniature toys in a soup kettle fitted with a sieve, which made for easy dispatch and immediate paella stew, plus some left over in a doggie bag for the little terrier at home.

an IED-DP (Insanely Evil Doggie-Doo Pinata) that exploded

The Native Sons of the Golden West party, led by Doyle and Susan Laing prowled carefully in the vicinity of the bicycle bridge upon reports of Sympathizers. Sure enough a squad of dog walkers dressed in pink and lavendar with green pumps clashed with our boys after setting off an IED-DP (Insanely Evil Doggie-Doo Pinata) that exploded with a terrific stench, knocking Eugene Gallipagus flat on his back. The resulting TBI and PTSD would affect the boy for years to come. The squad was pinned down there at the trestle as the poodliers assailed them with missle weapons not unlike the Persians against the Spartans at Thermopylae.The Angry Elf Gang, seeking gain and notoriety, had made secret pacts with the Evil One Eyed Poodle and so had instituted machinations, deviltry and all sorts of nasty mayhem, chiefly featuring this assault. The air filled with the reek of poodle, obscuring the sun and simultaneous attacks were launched, seemingly at random all over the Island.

Things would have gone exceedingly bad for the squad with Doyle getting the majority of his clothes torn from his body and Susan getting more of an eyeful than any proper lady of her age should enjoy, but she laid upon him his wounds such unguents found in the Houses of Healing as in Kingsbane and Thriftfoil and Hunkythane which art known to produce visions. And she laid upon him her body so as to warm his cockles proper and undulated not unlike the healing sea.

"M'lady," said Doyle. "We are being attacked at present! We are at war!"

So much is written in the Annals of the 15th Poodleshoot of the Island.

Things would have gone severely ill for our patriotic squad outposted on the edge of the frontier, but save that Beatrice, glowing in robes of white came leading a pack of noble reinforcements. Among them terriers in the foreguard, followed by dashing golden collies. Next up in the phalanx appeared the strutting Great Danes on the left flank and the wooly sheepdogs on the right. Up the middle charged the Shepards with a tremendous bark! Following these came the leaping basenji's, they of the curly tails and silent attack, and among them the swift whippit along with the much misunderstood and maligned pit bull

All these and more fell upon the enemy and they were vanquished in dismay, even among the picnic tables, and they scattered like leaves before the joyous wind. Thus was the party at the bicycle bridge rescued and avenged.

All around the Island, the dismal fogs roiled against the sun as pitched battles ensued on this formerly sacrosanct holiday. The Lady of Jackson Park, Tammy Chadwick, held forth her ring of power and invoked her Elvish powers to hold back the legions of grim visaged Wargs. To the North, the Wiccan power of Tony Savage beat back battalions of fell hog riders seeking to impose the will of their Dark Lord.

And lo! It was come unto the third day of destruction when the skies filled with the children of Gwaihir, mentioned elsewhere in the chronicles, and so the julu, the hummingbirds, descended in large flocks to cause confusion among the rampant orc-like poodle-lovers. The dank mists fostered by the Angry Elf gang which sought to exploit the dissension caused by excessive development rolled back to reveal gorgeous heavens.

The iridescent wings of julu and his clan descended among the rabble of the Angry Elf and caused confusion and dissension and so the Angry Elf gang was disbursed from that bad camp which celebrated Development and Building upon every square inch and the gang ran through the streets all undone with their shoe laces untied.

The battle at Crab Cove thus being resolved, the battle at the Boatworks settled down and the Wargs withdrew and the battle at the Pointe (sic) settled down to a truce. Then it was come time for peace, blessed Peace to take hold of the Island and all who had wounds were assuaged at the Houses of Healing, thanks to Brother Obama who granted that no preconditions should interfere and all who were with no income nor recompense were allowed to be healed for now the word of Law held sway.

We have fought well against false sentiment and artificial emotions and the lathered coverall of fascism

And was come unto the time that the last trump was blown and the last rack of Fifi laid upon the barbi well slathered with sauce of Everett and Jones and the final speech was given unto Padraic who said, "Brothers and sisters, today we are well met. We have fought well against false sentiment and artificial emotions and the lathered coverall of fascism, and we say on the occasion of the fifteenth Poodleshoot and BBQ, here, here! To all a grand year and next year best of luck at the Annual Island Poodleshoot and BBQ! Drink up me laddies, for last call is now upon us!"

The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water where the gantries of the Port of Oaktown stood glowing with their multi-kilowatt sentry lights; it quavered across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grateful grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline; it moaned through the cracked brick of the old abandoned Cannery with its ghosts and weedy railbed, it keened between the interstices of the chainlink fences as the locomotive glided past the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to thankful parts unknown.

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