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codgertations #25

Rain, rain go away. The last two months’ downpour has definitely killed any fantasies I had about moving to Portland. I have no statistics on the increase in local outbreaks of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but cabin fever is an issue. As is safety. When I drive around I see banged up cars all over town. Drivers can’t handle this weather or the resulting potholes. On TV residents are being interviewed and saying, “At least the drought is over” as their carports wash away in the distance. Every week the weathermen and women repeat robotically, “Four more storms are lined up ready to hit tomorrow”. The garden is out of control, a sea of happy weeds. Our reward, if Spring ever comes, is a floral explosion of historic proportions.

Speak of this cold wet winter I’m still in shock. My last two PG&E bills have been as much as a Warriors courtside ticket. The staggering rate increase is apparently needed to pay for the lawyers representing the pipeline disaster in San Bruno seven years ago.

Do you know any millennials? If you don’t you’re apparently lucky. Word is that they are so entitled and arrogant that businesses hire consultants to handle their sulks. According to the Wall Street Journal these consultants are charging up to $20,000 per millenial.

Inevitably everyone over 60 turns into unlicensed medical specialists. The ailments of friends, neighbors and people we don’t know become fodder of our conversations as we banter about treatments for insomnia, torn rotator cuffs, arthritis, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, shingles, cataracts, back pain, atrio-fibrillation, bunions, hearing loss, constipation, incontinence, etc. Like discussions of grandchildren I limit this therapeutic sharing to 10 minutes.

Even with more spare time that we know what to do with it’s impossible to keep up with the news. You could easily spend a couple of hours each night watching the puzzled pundits on TV. Every day Krasny and Teri Gross offer required radio listening. I feel guilty about tossing the Sunday Times in the recycle if have not read that 10,000-word article about alcoholism in Siberia. And what do we do with all this vital information? We talk about it with our friends and family who have all read the exact same articles and listened to the same opinionators we have.

I would rather not think about the homeless. How are they bearing this soggy season? Wouldn’t even those who reject shelters because of their curfews and rules want to get out of their cold, wet tents? I know their sense of independence is prized (I volunteered at a program for homeless youth) but couldn’t they rally together like a bona fide community and police their campsites, reporting knife wielding neighbors and public defecators? If we can come up with driverless cars you’d think we could remedy this depressing situation. After all, aren’t we the richest and most powerful country in the world?

I have one final word to say about drivers who don’t use their turn signals. But I am too much of a gentleman to print it.


ready, aim….

It couldn’t hurt to check the bullets are blanks when you sign up for the Pistol Dueling Class this Sunday in Daly City. Appropriately the lecture and hands-on class is taking place near the site of the historic Broderick-Terry Duel of 1859. Emphasis will be on stance, demeanor and protocol rather than shooting. Pistols provided. Wear your black overcoat if you have one. Free.



slavic frolic

No affection for Vladimir Putin is required to attend the 29th annual Russian Festival on Feb 17,18,19 at the Russian Center in the city. The flavored vodkas will be cold and the samovars will be warm as will the borscht and the piroshkis. Serious folk dancing, ballet and nonstop performances by singers and musicians fill the bill. Shop for Baltic amber, amber boxes and matryosha dols. Seniors 522 rubles. ($9)


fido fest

Expect a good part of the audience at the Lark Theater in Marin this Monday afternoon February 20 to get restless and excited, even start barking. It’s double screenings at 1 and 3 of the New York Dog Film Festival, two completely different 75-minute programs of shorts focused on canines. You and your pooch are both invited. $10 per person, $5 per dog. Benefits the Marin Humane Society.


stone cold crazy

Who would be insane enough to risk hypothermia in the 53 degree waters of the Bay? You can see a thousand of these nutcases at noon this Saturday during the 2017 Polar Plunge at Aquatic Park in the City. If you are deranged enough to join in the fee is $100. Anyone who changes their mind at the last minute and turns back are sent to the “Chicken Coop” to be heartlessly mocked. It’s a benefit for Special Olympics of Northern California. Free to gape at the madness.


the hills are alive

The soil may be slipping, the underground liquefying from the biblical drenching we’ve gotten so far this winter but the Bay Area slopes are now a thousand dazzling shades of green. I doubt even Ireland can match our verdant visuals. A lovely place to check out this retinal feast is along Lucas Valley Road in West Marin, where the rainfall totals have been historic. Of course you’ll want to stop by Rancho Nicasio and raise a glass and say a heartfelt farewell to the drought.


love potion

If you’ve already tried champagne, roses and Viagra to restore your romantic life, may I suggest a visit to the Conservatory of Flowers in the City from 6 to 10 this Tuesday, February 14. Their galleries will be hosting an exploration of “Aphrodisiacs of the Tropics” – familiar ones like hibiscus and many that you already have in your larder like cacao, cashews, bananas, cinnamon and cardomon. A cash bar will be dispensing aphrodisiac inspired cocktails. $30.


dark debauchery

If, as Oscar Wilde wrote, you can resist anything but temptation be advised to stop by Kollar Chocolates  on your way to or from a Valentine’s Day meal in Napa. This Yountville store is the Tiffany’s of chocolate with truffles like Grand Marnier and Fennel Pollen, Red Wine and Esplette, plus a selection of barks and rochers including Macadamia as well as novelties like chocolate “sushi” and chocolate in toothpaste and lipstick tubes. All made instore and available online as well.


spring strings

For swinging, swooning, hypnotically romantic music this Valentine’s Day, consider a night in Redwood City with the Aurora Mandolin Orchestra. This venerable 30-member group has been around over 70 years with musicians playing mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, string bass, accordians and flutes, specializing in classics and European folk songs. On Friday you’re invited to get up and get moving to tangos, rhumbas and swing. $7. You’ll find them fiddling at other locales on Monday February 20, March 26 and April 23.


vintage valentines

Why rely on Hallmark to express your heartfelt feelings when you (and your grandkids) can make your own valentines at the California Historical Society on Saturday February 11 at 11am? Using stickers stencils, silhouettes and classic sentimental images, staff from the Museum of Craft and Design will help you create your own cards, even flowers, as well as decorative vases. All supplies included. Reservations encouraged.