It is with the greatest sorrow and respect we heard the news of Herb Caen's passing...
A fine gentleman who was generous with his time and interest in the author. He can never be taken from his readers... so no mourning, just a celebration of his life and humor.

But first, before a pretend Herb Caen Column:
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Herb Caen is a wonder, style-setter and agent provacateur of Newspaper City Beat Reporters...He coined the phrase "Beat-nik" so it must be...There's a San Francisco County Fair. It has its competitions. Parking, Waiter races and most dearly regarded...The Herb Caen Write-Alike Contest!
Well...I can't remember if this was ever sent to the judges or not...
I know I didn't even get a postcard back...



Seventh Day Events Mess
or
Some Faux-Caen Sunday Column

Ah Sunday, we receive thee with Joy and Picnics. Libation and comrades surround such the most restful of days. Best perhaps if the furthest (remember Ken Kesey's Wonder Bus Further ?) one sallies forth to dally is the backyard, back-patio, back rumpus room floor. Some, however, point the hood ornament cross-hairs of the upwardly mobile auto to unknown targets. Who knows where for the cross hairs. It's Sunday! Sunday, Bloody good show eh-what Sunday

* * *

Actually Wednesday for me, upon this writings d'eadline, but what the hay, I gotta try to fit the mood of today's once and future readers, or should I say in more modern phrasing, The Visually Grazing. Sunday paper stoppers-by, Bodega Landscape Architect Al Willis (and a mean Horn-Player) says he's been reading me too long to care and too long to quit. This space may well last forever and may certainly seem so and bore the rest of you to Sonoma County, which I've heard many describe as just a notch above Marin.

* * *

Inadvertently angling through a foggy Marina, hitting deli's like a Politician stopping to shake hands for the varied carried-out outrageously delicious salads and pates (where's that accent?),and lusciously fresh sourdough wrapped in ware-mongers' (not war-mongers) confusion, stories and in some cases the Sunday Hearst first city edition. Without design, one crosses the fog supported trestle north. If you leave at an uncivilized hour, one generally encounters civilized motor routes. North! Other than Tahoe or the more distant thoughts of Carmelized Monterey Jackson depleting bills south, who would think of leaving The City without finding them motoring North. Onward Over Our Ethereal Golden Compass Needle!

* * *

Sunday! In The City, Hispanic soccer in various parks near multi-cultural'd loving couples making absolutely no sense in acrobatic embraces. Baseball contested more hotly than the smooching and groping, if however impossible. Reading this word-thumper fodder in bed wishing there was a significant other hogging the funnies and playing footsie.

* * *

North. Don't get me wrong, it's not necessarily better...just different from the rest of our, oh so urbane urban-dwellers week-day milieu. If we need perspective try Western Marin or Sonoma County. Someone with a boot full of bull/horse shit will tell you're in the same shape, if it becomes appropriate. One way or t'other there may be a trusted friend under the camouflaged odiferous honesty. Forgo those three-star places from home where you "do" things. Usually done with self-conscious whimsy while lacking Sir Peter's je ne sai quoi, (excuse me Doroth Sayers fans!). Here, savor the less pretentious clutter. Bump into pool tables, gazing above in astonishment at so many deer heads. Enjoy the hand lettered V.F.D.-B.B.Q. signs and pull out the dough to buy Quilt raffle tickets with local barns as it's theme.

* * *

Back in The Valley as a kid, I had a hero I haven't talked too much about, Dr. Underwood Banger, a completely mythical and crotchety old journalism professor I never had and will never forget. Now long dead, as is today's meander, he, in my day-dreams always told me, "If you get stuck in a rut, get the hell out for Pete's sake!" That's sake not socky wine. As many of you have noted in letters, that is usually the way I try to extricate myself from this rambling Seventh-Day Events Mess. Well...tough! I'm gonna keep doing it. Dr. Banger hasn't been with me quite a bit longer than any of you so I'll gamble you'll stick around for more as this drivel still gambols North.

* * *

Stinson Beach...Smiley's Bar in Bolinas, Point Reyes Station. Buy raw Oysters and Mussels on your way up Tomales Bay for a sea snack courtesy of a strong bladed shellfish knife. If you're with a wimpy sort of companion, gross'em out by slurpin' the oysters down the hatch (love that sea-farin' lingo) right out of the shell. Hard to tell what's more enjoyable; the slimey briny or the look on the side-kick's visage. Now there's a word we need to hear more...Sidekick. Plenty of pull-offs along the way to enjoy the packed-in victuals. The ride to The Point Reyes Lighthouse is long and well worth the pretty ride. Reports from those that use it as a night-lite or midnight bedroom navigational aid (takes a sweet view, moo cows mostly), say it completes it's turn every five and a half seconds or so. The Rangers must know exactly. Especially on The Coast, The Ranger is your friend. Average of a life a month is lost off The North Coast.

* * *

Remember a few years back about this time of year, "The Mirage", "Atlantis" or "Emerald City" was sighted south of Bodega Head. They say it happens every now and then...not every year. Appears to be a few miles west of Point Reyes, shifts from spires and minarets to geometric forms. At times it seems as though bluffs reach out a mile or two to the west, five or six hundred feet above Sonoma County's own optical delusion, The Pacific. Last year a fascinated Ranger pointed it out to a more land-locked visitor saying, with the best Gertrude Stein in cheek, "It's not there. there." Disappointed, bluish knees under climate inappropriate Bermuda Shorts, the disc camera clogged larynx asked then when Point Reyes appears...Ranger checked his vest-pocket tide tables, scratched his mustache, put a wettened finger to the wind and calculated quarter to three, tomorrow afternoon. Sigh of relief as they were staying in Occidental that night to eat and wait for the deer to come out.

* * *

Tourists are fair game. As I laugh at myself when I'm out of my familiar waters and watering holes. (That makes me sound like a Republican!) While a vacationer buys the fashionable shield of sun-shade, a pretty young woman with two happy kids in coveralls buys the last two miles of irrigation pipe the hardware store has, climbs into a large 4-wheel drive '58 International that purrs like a kitten, leaving a trail of C-notes as payment. Different cultures, different shopping list, different martini farmer.

* * *

Local Cafes (no!, Not Kayffs), mixing Bodega Harbour (why don't they learn to spell and integrate with the real people in that town?) Jaguars with Sea Ranch Route One Porsches and The Fishing Men and Women who all too frequently get run down on The Sea by Ships. A definition heard by me on the docks of Bodega Bay (Bodega's a different town. Slip and you'll be set straight) is that in California, "The North is a Coast...The South is a Beach".

***

Tomorrow: Further!...Into the wilds of Western Sonoma County!


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