NOVEMBER 29, 2015



As per Tradition, on the day of the 17th Annual Poodleshoot, rosy-fingered Dawn arose from the horizon's dark bed 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 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 reared back with her rosy fists upraised and brought them down heavily to smite Padraic 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.

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, which had cleared from the storm clouds for the day, 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. A great battle had been fought there between the orkish forces of GSA and the noble greensleeve battalions of EBRPD and there a tremendous victory had been won, turning thre Enemy to rout and so this season would be the occasion of much celebration.

The ceremonies 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.

This was followed by the devilish meisterwerk composed by PDQ Bach entitled, "Die Sieg der Satanische Landentwickler", an adaptable work which allows insertion of alta-contemporary chorales at the whim of the Conductor.

The ensemble group which has made something of a name for itself by inventing entirely new parts for voice, consisted of Mayor Marie as Conductor and Izzy as soprano alla triste in the Doloroso segment. Councilperson Oddie as Loki with his distinctive rubato tenor, and Tony Daysog as mezzo soprano mournful did a fair version of "A Man of Constant Sorrow", with Councilperson Frank in his basso triumphale reprising last year's performance in the esoteric work La Chambre à l'arrière Enfumee Boogie.

Mayor Trish Spencer appeared, together with Jim Oddie en masque, performing El Mysterioso Surprise, which evoked tonalities of The Phantom of the Opera. Frank Matarrese thoroughly nailed his role an Black Sabbath's "Land Pigs.".

Former Councilperson Rob Bonta appeared in cameo basso infernal as Iago from the Doubtful Friend.

Many reviewers have called this piece amazingly impossible to accomplish, and quite a pastiche. 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. Is theatre truely dead?"

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 Bay Guardian emitted a sort of rattle of breath, trembled in its bed, and was still for eternity.

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 Smashed Manager Organ were Carol Taylor and Rachel Linzer of St. Charles.

Brian Kring and Toshie of Park Avenue performed upon the Mendacious Dieben and Sneaky Pete while Little Nichtnutz executed the Shoplifter with Stolen Keys.

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

Jessica was joined this year by her newlywed husband, Sean, who pounded vigorously upon the Bald Curate's Pate.

Jeannemarie Coulter contributed her skills upon the Wooden Horsie Flailing Flange with great effect and Shannon Ramsey sounded affectingly sweet on the Mugwhump Twinkie-Smasher with Airhose.

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

Antimacassars and doilies were supplied, as usual, by James Hargis, who also performed the Effexor Waltz.

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!" before 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.

cries of "Poodle there!"

After the ritual pouring of Wild Turkey libations, the Official bugles were blown by Pat Kitson of Mountain View and Tally of Marin, upon 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 John Kerry and Dept. of Defence Ashton Carter. Jerry brought his military issue carbine and a 1911-style sidearm, stating "I am a gun owner, I have always been a gun owner, and those who claim I want to take their guns are full of North Korean noodles."

The change in political realities being what they are, and the 'Shoot being such a popular event, representatives from the Pee Tardy and Republican parties also sent representatives. A specific request to exclude Sarah Palin due to past taste and rule violations was received with great relief and appreciation on all sides.

Also forming a largish contingent were all the candidates for the GOP nomination to run for President in the upcoming election.

Indeed the Poodleshoot, now into its 17th year had acquired the august status of Tradition in America. There is much that is thoroughly American about the entire celebration, which conflates love of firearms, sanguinivorousness, rebellious behavior, ecstatic jumping up and down, questionable music, and gleeful destruction. One is hard put to imagine the genteel -- genteel save for people from Marseilles -- or the logical Germans engaging in any such activity. Certainly not the pothead Dutch or the sensible Italians with their meatballs and pizza. Even the dog-loving Thais, along with the Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese would not engage in such pursuits, as extreme as any of those peoples may be from time to time, for they have been around for thousands of years and so already have their own traditions.

The Japanese have their Kanamara Matsuri, and the Chinese have their jook and Gum Lung. The Indians of India have curry and vegetarianism, which precludes Poodleshoots along with BBQ, and they have their seemingly interminable conflict with the Pakistanis to provide national venting, while the Burmese still need to outlive Yul Brenner.

The entire Middle East is bat-wacky insane at the moment, providing plenty of opportunity for sport killing of each other, which allows a form of protection for the dogs that live there. No one has seen a poodle in the vicinity of Dar es Salaam for well over two thousand years.

the Uruguayans exuberantly BBQ guinea pigs

As for South America, the Uruguayans exuberantly BBQ guinea pigs during their festivals, dressing them up first in cute, adorable costumes before quickly gutting them, so there is sensibility here of caring. In Brazil, no gaucho worth his salt would waste his riata upon something so lowly as a poodle. Heavens no. And as for the United States of Mexico, dear, beloved, benighted Mexico with its drug lord problems and Jesus on a tortilla, well, the Mexicans have enough problems without creating another by means of a poodleshoot. Besides, most Mexicans possess common sense.

The Poodleshoot has run for 17 consecutive years on the Island and this year the line of GOP contenders for President moved out in a scattered line into the field and soon the air was filled with the cheery all-American sounds of winchester cracks and the crump of grenades, punctuated by the pleasant swoosh of RPG's. Far across the island, the occasional boom from the 188 given to Javier for his birthday by the Narcos of Sinaloa boomed with sonority.

Ben Carson blew off Trump's toupee

Trouble ensued when around Washington Middle School the GOP contingent members began shooting at each other instead of at the preferred targets due to a terrible misunderstanding. Ben Carson blew off Trump's toupee and the Donald let loose a double shotgun blast that winged Megyn Kelly's purse. Trump denied he had aimed deliberately at the Fox News commentator.

"Honestly, Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry," Trump told the anchor. "I've been very nice to you, although I could probably not be based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn't do that. If you just took off your dress it would make me feel better."

One of the more contentious moments came when Kelly bluntly asked Trump: “When did you actually be­come a Republican?”

Trump, perhaps slightly exasperated, told the crowd: “I don’t think they like me very much.”

Clearly, the questioning got to him.

There ensued a brief exchange between Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee on entitlement reform. FBN, on the other hand, conducted a meaty melee during which a tomato or two was occasionally tossed. John Kasich came itching for a fight, and in fact produced a set of boxing gloves for the purpose in challenging Der Donald. Donald Trump pitched back with his usual high-mindedness, tossing a bare-knuckle right and a left with great zest and responding at one point to Kasich with: “I’ve built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don’t have to hear from this man.”

In the bullpen, Carly Fiorina swung a medieval battle-ax with telling effect, which earned high marks from the independent judges. A melee between the Island Dog-Walker Association and the hunters took place at Crab Cove and there was much altercation amid a thrashing of impermeables and umbrellas and leashes and the Cabela's hardware. All vigorous was the fight as seen from a distance as a dust cloud arose to partially conceal the dubious contest as the fur flew and the teeth flashed.

The US of A was attacked by the notorious DAESS

It was then that something happened which completely turned around the entire jovial tone of the Poodleshoot: The US of A was attacked by the notorious DAESS and they picked the Island to be their main beachhead foothold Omaha warfighting kind of major boots on the ground kind of mean thing. They swarmed across the water in light skiffs like beetles to take the sands of Robert Crown Memorial beach, capturing the importance locus of the restrooms right away, driving back Eugene Gallipagus who was armed only with his special .50 cal Remington Poodlegun. DAESS warriors, dressed in their habitual black scarves and hoodies with black jackets and bloomers with high heel boots -- rather chic, actually -- stomped along the disputed bicycle path, kicking over signs and wastebaskets and old ladies right and left, practicing all their stomping warfighting women hating decapitating puppy raping kidnapping ancient artifact smashing sorts of mean old nasty sorts of things and not a single kid was left with a Tickle Me Elmo for comfort in their path for they smashed up all the kids toys as well.

And they came to the cove where they ran up their flags on the basketball hoops their and showing no mercy slew a fair number of dogwalkers there and quite contrary to the rules of the poodleshoot, a few afgan hounds as well and they advanced upon the holy keg of Padraic bearing the sacred ichor of Uisce qe Bah, the Water of Life that was the official libation of the 'Shoot with the intention of destroying and stomping on that as well with only Padraic armed with his blackthorn stick and Dawn beside him armed with the weight of her tongue and the DAESS armed with scimitars that did flash in the grey gloom as if in emulation of the pall cast from the Dark Tower of Barad Dur during the Wars of the Rings. Padraic raised up his stick and cried out for he was fey and of a mind to die where he stood, fighting like a true Gael.

Padraic raised up his blackthorn stick

Well now friends, this situation was serious and it seemed that all was lost as the high tide brought ever more of the nefarious DAESS, they that call themselves betimes ISIL or ISIS, besmirching the name of that holy Goddess with their foul blasphemy. And Padraic raised up his blackthorn stick to cry out again, for he was fey and full of life and today was a good day, a good day to die as any other with Dawn standing beside him as the Enemy approached.

a company of feline warriors led by Rumsey

But Lo! A light did appear in the northwest, the land of Marin, from which did sally forth an noble host of hounds, all born upon the ships made by the magical woodsmiths of Woodacre. Upon these ships were the Amazons, Beatrice and Toni and they had with them the bounding anti-terrorists terrier Toto and the mighty Dakota who bounded upon the Main with a coat that shone verily of gold like the sun himself. Molly came forth with her pen, Isdradil, sharper and more bright than any sword, and Paul and Marybeth were among them bringing a company of feline warriors led by Rumsey, slaughterer of the great Lizards of Anselmo. Among them also were the Phipps Family, each armed with laser ablation devices that glittered. All of these came ashore to do battle upon the sands of Crown Beach and joining with them were the Dog Walkers who turned to side with their former enemies and the homeboys were heartened by this glad sight.

Tammy and Chad emerged from the fastness of their Park Avenue Keep and Chad wrought great destruction upon the DAESS by crushing their toes with the wheels of his chariot and bonking upon their pates with his oxygen bottles and Tammy called forth much magic for she is a Wiccan and was joined by yet another company led by Tony Savage, she of the Island Coven of Witches and they caused the DAESS to be much confused by manner of spells so the warriors saw two, ten, twenty opponents before them and so they hewed at empty air repeatedly in their confusion.

This way and that the battle raged upon the green and the holy Earth, our mother, was much abused by this treatment as the pitched battled descended into an atavistic tangle of savage tearing and rending and barking and noise and mean nasty old warfighting kinds of things down there in Crab Cove and there was not much the law could do about it because there was no violation of traffic ordinances during this epic contest save a couple DAESS did offend the eyes of Officer O'Madauen who promptly arrested them for jaywalking on a weekday and took them to jail where they were much contrite sufficient to read their Korans, which none of them had ever done before.

Still the battle raged on a day and through the night and on to the next day when a great burbling was heard and the water was rent by a visitation and the periscopes and antennae of the Iranian spy ship El Chadoor emerged from the waters offshore and there issued the sailors let by First Mate Mohammed and they fell upon the DAESS whom they loved not and the First Mate was heard to exclaim, "You know as much of Islam as I am a banana sundae you heathen dogs!"

Verily, the Enemy host bent before this onslaught from the sea as leaves of grass before a great wind and they were scattered and put utterly to rout and there was great rejoycing as the favor of battle turned and gods of Hunter Thompson and Chief Blackhawk and the true Isis, the Great Goddess, looked down with approval and blessing and all the Island Host were touched by the noodle of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and so all were blessed and their various hurts charmed back into health.

That night there was a great feast among the former enemies, consisting of the Iranian sailors, the Dog Walkers, the Island Hunters and even Patti St. John of the Bicycle Coalition, all reveling in their common victory and instead of Boshintang, the Marinites brought sprouts and arugula and sweet pomegranates and Padraic and Dawn brought out the Ahi and threw it on the Barbie so there was plenty to be had for all.

And so ended the 17th Annual Poodleshoot and BBQ in feasting and rejoycing.

Denby, bearing his lute, came across Beatrice there who sat with Toto at her feet. He laid his hand upon hers to thank her for her noble office in defence of the Island, but Toto, ever vigilant did make a most protective and convincing growl, so he quickly removed his hand and they sat and talked about a great many things, about warfighting DAESS stomping artifact smashing kinds of things and of birds and roses as well.

Little David Phipps held his laser-powered Tickle-Me-Elmo toy, rescued from DAESS, and pushed the button to cause an ablation on a satellite high above in space so that it arced a modified perihelion and descended to burn up as another shooting star.

"Again! Again! Do it again!" said Elmo.

The train ululated from far across the water as the locomotive trundled from beneath the gantries of the Port of Oaktown with their 1000 watt lamps, letting its cry keen across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, through the cracked brick of the Cannery with its leaf-scattered loading dock and its weedy railbed and interstices of its chainlink fence, dropping slowly over the basketball hoops of Littlejohn Park as the locomotive click-clacked in front of the shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, trundling out of shadows on the edge of town past the Ohlone burial mounds to parts unknown.

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