February 2017

A Great Leap Forward

Let’s take a vote.  Who wants to see Roger and Rafa as doubles partners?  Yesssssssssssssssssss!


There’s huge news on the nonpolitical level.  I’ve made a great leap forward and bought a modern phone although it wasn’t so much of a leap as being dragged, kicking and screaming.  But anyhow, now i’ve got one.  No no, not an iPhone, as my take on Apple has not changed.  Rather, an sPhone, one of those Samsung ripoffs with the exciting potential of bursting into flames.

What an adjustment to move from a little old clamshell mule to a high-strung thoroughbred!  Especially since i barely knew how to ride the mule.

And most especially since the thoroughbred is easily startled and covered with points of contact against which the slightest touch causes it buck me off into the brush.

Not to mention the itty-bitty keyboard with keys so much smaller than my fingers that i tend to touch several at once, not necessarily even including the one i was aiming at.

And options.  Omigod, the options, layers and layers of ’em, so many that i hardly know where to start.  But i have, and i’m now able to answer a call, make a call, send and receive text messages, download an app, say “OK Google”, and take photos.

Not, of course, that i’ll be using it to do any writing or even much surfing since the PC is easier because of the full keyboard and big screen, but oh my goodness is texting on it ever a vast improvement over the clamshell, especially with the sPhone’s ability to guess what word i want to type next, sometimes even before i’ve typed a single letter.

I’m already in the habit of carrying it around with me much more than i did the clamshell since it’s great for quick Internet inquiries about addresses, opening times, and such.

Best of all, i’m basking in the warm glow of not being the very last person in Petaluma to get one.

The phone number, you ask?  Oh please.  It’s the same number i had for the clamshell, but it’s for my convenience.  If more people had the number, they might disturb my peace by calling it.

Meanwhile, to prove that i’ve learned how to take photos, here’s a shot on the riverbank.  Yes, in Petaluma the truffles grow on trees.

Truffles grow on trees


Ummm, not that i’ve bit into one yet to make sure they’re truffles.


Late note:  Yeah yeah, i know they’re oak galls rather than truffles.

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Crab Feed

I lived in San Francisco for over forty years and never heard of a crab feed, but up here in Petaluma they’re quite popular as fundraisers.

So what’s a crab feed?  Well, there’s some variability, but the basic crab feed seems to consist of selling tickets to benefit some charity by offering people an opportunity to gorge on crab and not much else in a convivial setting at which the entertainment consists of an auction and a raffle for donated items.  Well, and socializing at long tables with fellow feasters.

JoAnn took me to one at the Petaluma Woman’s Club that had the simple menu of fresh green salad, crusty French bread, and constantly replenished tubs of cold, perfectly cooked and cracked crab accompanied by bowls of melted butter and an excellent remoulade for dipping.  Beer and wine to drink.  They brought out servings of a rich chocolate cake afterwards, but i was too stuffed to eat mine.  Well, a few bites.  OK, half.

I fell in love with Dungeness crab the first time i tasted it back in the early seventies.  I’ve boiled it myself and eaten it in restaurants as a main course cracked and in various dishes, most especially cioppino, but i’d never actually gorged on it by itself.

Afterwards, i realized that i had, in my youth, done something similar.  In the west Texas oilfields in the fifties, the companies would truck in large quantities of fish and throw fish fries for their employees.  All the employees in a certain area would gather in a park to feast on cornmeal-battered fried catfish and fried potatoes.  There’d be tubs of iced beer for the adults and soda pops for the kids.  The adults were more abstemious, as it wouldn’t do to get drunk at a company picnic, but the kids seized the opportunity to drink soda after soda since all our mothers limited us to one a day at home, but there was no way they could keep track of how many we were drinking as we ran wild in the park.  Naturally, everyone ate as much fish as he could hold, especially since fish was a treat out in the desert.

Our ancestors on the savanna of course gorged when they’d managed to kill something large, but i imagine the social aspect didn’t develop until after agriculture and the harvest festival made it possible to simultaneously feast on food and social interaction, such a wonderful combination that i need to find another crab feed to attend before the season ends.

Meanwhile, here’s a shot of the crab feed inside the Woman’s Club.

Petaluma Woman's Club crab feed

Love those craftsman beams.

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Bearing Arms

I remember when it was mostly in third world kleptocracies that the president of the country enriched himself and his family.


The Constitution enshrines the right to bear arms, and nowhere does it specify what kind of arms.  Thus, the NRA is outraged that California now bans high capacity magazines for semiautomatic rifles, arguing that this is blatantly discriminatory against hunters who are poor shots and need to keep blasting away at that deer until finally, after a couple dozen rounds, they hit it.

But ah, now that we have a new regime, citizens will no longer be crushed under such onerous restrictions.  No, indeed. There’s nothing in the Constitution that bans high capacity magazines.  For that matter, there’s nothing that would prevent responsible citizens from owning and operating fifty caliber machine guns.

And why stop there?

It’s just a short step up to a 20mm cannon, which has much greater striking power.  These were originally deployed against aircraft, but they are highly effective against other targets when mounted on an aircraft or a Toyota Land Cruiser.

Not everyone can afford his own M67 Recoilless Rifle, but i can imagine their becoming very popular with patriotic groups since, with the M590 antipersonnel round, they’d be highly effective against herds of deer or protest marches.

The only problem i can see is that our new government might fret over the possibility of these weapons falling into the hands of blue state populations.

Or worse yet, that heavily armed red staters might become disillusioned with the current government.  Naw, surely not.  And besides, the government still has a monopoly on tanks, heavy artillery, and fighter aircraft.

Meanwhile, a frosty winter sunrise on the banks of the Petaluma.

Petaluma River sunrise


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Hitler had the Jews, Putin has the gays, and Trump has the Muslims.


Jetzt, etwas aus Deutschland.  My German friends are aghast, squealing, “Did you learn nothing from us?”

America First


Thanks to my friend Ian, here’s a link to an editorial on that cover by the editor-in-chief of Der Spiegel.

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