August 24, 2007

Photos from Harold Ave

I know everyone with a Mac has worn this photo tool to exhaustion, but this was my first venture to these waters.

"In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnation without government permission."

-Newsweek, Aug 20

If you abhor the occasional foires into the biographical of this webloggist, than avert yourself before this paragraph, I'm going to dissect several Coincidences. First of all, yesterday morning I had a comical but scary dream about an immense thirty-car pile-up, an over-the-top highway disaster. I was woken up early by my ride to work, this older black guy named (changed to) Jacob, who tells me stories of his car-salesman past & gesticulates about politics while changing lanes, shouting over NPR. We hear on the radio that there were several bad car crashes, on the 101 & 880, so he took us this strange route, West to Hayward, then over the San Mateo Bridge, accidentally South towards Palo Alto, but finally arriving after two hours at the Country Club on time (we were freelance serving at an 80th Birthday Party.) The freeways in California really do vacillate unpredictably from parking lots & road-rage to 80-mile-per-hour madness. The point is, crazy driving & thinking about car accidents early morning right after a vivid dream about car accidents, was strange & eerie. (Of course, this is a reality most American's face daily, but there's more...) Public Radio was doing a special on Zimbabwe, & I made an offhand comment that Robert Mugabe should be defenestrated, & Jacob delivers me the longest lecture about how America shouldn't be policing the world, & that I shouldn't believe what I hear on news radio - I mean, does he honestly believe he needs to preach to a 25-year-old Berkeley resident?

Anyway, at work, another co-worker was dying to tell everyone twice about a car he saw flip over "at least seven times in five seconds". I told him my statistics about how cars kill more than wars. Meanwhile, Jacob was sneaking white wine from the party, at least several glasses. I decided, after all the omens about wreckage, I didn't want two more hours with an intoxicated political
analyst, so I contrived to have him drop me in San Francisco, where we find our Next Coincidence.

The other day, right after finishing Michael Pollan's book, I picked up Berkhard Bilger's cool article about mushroom hunters. Pollan had described gathering morels & chanterelles in Northern California, & spends some time waxing the mysteries of mycelium growth. As part of his hunting/gathering dinner,
he even collected yeast (which is an airborne fungal spore) in his windowsill! & made a delicious bread with local flavors! (The bay area is kind of sour-doughy.) Virtue & I were talking about this while we walked around trying to find a bottle of Old Potrero Whiskey (recently released by Anchor Steam) for less than a hundred dollars (unsuccessful). We watched most of R. Kelly's Hip-Hopera before being interrupted by her friend just arriving from Belarus. Miss Ylena Zhelazov had brought as house-warming gifts some Eastern European stencils, one of which was of different varieties of edible mushrooms! The first thing I did was trace them & made a collage of "Mushroom Blowjobs", which had the truffles & matsutakes with comic faces, & extended lips & phalli. I guess you had to see it. But, the Coincidence is, Virtue brought out a series of drawings she had recently made of Mushrooms with Mushroom penises! One has a mushroom-headed man startled to find he has a mushroom penis. Then there is a comic with a mushroom finding his feet, learning to walk, then, when he sees a lizard, growing his mushroom penis, & copulating ecstatically with the lizard (that last frame is priceless.) I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as when we were comparing our illustrations. Why two friends would independently come up with mushrooms with phalli will remain a Jungian paradox, like airborne mold spores.

"In 'Mr Bloomfield's Orchard,' published in 2002, the mycologist Nicholas Money recalls seeing 'photographs of ink-cap mushrooms growing in a patient's throat, a little bracket-forming basidiomycete in a gentleman's nose, dead babies covered in yeast, vaginal thrush gone wild, & a moldy penis that infected my nightmares for a month.'"

-Burkhard Bilger, "The Mushroom Hunters",
The New Yorker, Aug. 20, 2007

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