The Great Plotnik

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Of Course He or She LOVED the Review!

Plotnik received his first Japanese SF Theater Blog comment this morning:

moncler has left a new comment on your post ""My Fair Lady" ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ Woo Hoo": 

モンクル ダウンは女性が憧れた大人気なファッションモノです。大胆なデザイン、おしゃれな色使いで今、ファッション世界を導いています。モダンとエレガントな意思を元に、デザイナーがどんどん新作を提出してきました。その中で、人気が高いピンクカラーの財布がいっぱいあります。同じシリーズレール Mayaとともに使ったら、ブランド品の感覚がきゅっと高まります。 

Plottie can read enough Japanese to know that this is most likely not a comment but in fact a spam come on for a website that sells clothing. 

People with clothing stores ALWAYS comment on theater blogs, right?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Samba and Basketball

Plot and Duck have been wanting to try Canto do Brasil since before it burned down, then got built back up. What a lovely, little restaurant, with a tropical vibe and really good food. The feijoada was the best Plot has ever tasted.

There's lots of colorful art on the walls and then you see headdresses coming up the stairs from below, and the music gets really loud. Samba!

Soon everyone is dancing, though probably more so when you aren't staring down a luscious plate of food right in front of you. Plot chose to eat rather than dance, but he and Duck were just about the only ones not up on the floor.

OK, the samba is a little cheesy.

Mmmm, Passion Fruit Mousse and surprisingly delicious chocolate cake.

And then, this morning: B-Ball! The old codgers gathered in the gym on Treasure Island. It was a perfect morning, with the expected hamstring (LeBan), calf cramp (Ira), back spasm (Kevin) and just plain Tired (Andy). It was nice to see Nya again -- she used to play with us at James Lick and is still the only woman who has ever lasted more than one game. She's a little bigger now too and just as fast as ever.

The guy in the top row with the towel on his shoulder, between Nya and Kevin, is Young Mike, who we all met this morning. There is a fantastic training facility on Treasure Island, funded by the Department of Labor, where kids at the very end of their chances can go to learn trades. Most of them have blown through whatever opportunities they had and have no place to live. They can live on the island now in the old Coast Guard housing (ages 16-24) and can learn trades -- culinary, plaster, masonry and so on. Mike just showed up when he heard the ball bouncing and then those young legs showed us all how it used to be.

Everyone knows if Romney is elected all these programs will be eliminated. Everyone is registered to vote. Many of the guys think Barack has a secret he's going to unveil on Romney in the debates. Plot is less optimistic.

Top row: Nya, Young Mike, Kevin, Orlando, Andy, Plottie, Sherlock.
Bottom row: Adili, Maurice (holding ball), Laban, Ira and Joe.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Plotnik Responds to A Letter from Barack




Dear Plotnik --

I want to thank you for all you're doing for this campaign.


If we get to continue this work, it's going to be because of you.


Next week I'm meeting up with President Clinton on the campaign trail, and we both want to thank you in person.


Donate $5 or whatever you can today to be automatically entered to fly out to join us.


This Sunday is the biggest fundraising deadline of this campaign so far.


There's no billionaire donor or lobbyist waiting around to write a $10 million check.


How you respond right now determines if we move into the final stretch of this election with the resources we need, ready to close this out, or if we're struggling to keep up with the other side.


And that's the way it's been from the beginning.



If we had listened to the pundits and the critics and the powers that be inside Washington...


...whenever they tried to stand in our way, we would have given up a long time ago.


You've played a valuable role in moving this campaign forward 


-- now, I hope you'll help make sure we finish September stronger than we've ever been. 


Donate $5 or whatever you can today:








Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thanks, Big O

Orlando got us the gym on Treasure Island. So we're playing this Saturday and hopefully more Saturdays after that. Playing inside is S O O O O much easier on the joints, cartilage, bones, muscles and fat than outside on that evil concrete with the potholes in it. Plottie is excited.

Orlando was probably the best player of all, back in the day -- so smooth, never excited, and also unstoppable. If you were open, he got you the ball in the perfect spot at the exact moment you wanted it.

Now, after a few surgeries and plain old Father Time, no one moves like they used to. But you still can't stop Orlando when he puts his mind to it.

Plotnik, on the other hand, is not only stoppable but he's hard to start. Once he gets going, though, anything can happen. Well, not anything -- a few things. A very few things. He can make some good passes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Her First Rock Concert

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Great PD Day!

Happy Birthday to the big guy on the left. He hasn't lost his looks, or his hair. Maybe some of that baby fat.

This photo must have been taken right after the small Plotnik family arrived in Stiletto City from the farm in Cat's Whiskers, when they moved in for a few weeks with Mummy P. and the Chief, until they could find a place of their own to rent, which turned out to be the little house on California Street in Glendale.

Ducknik hasn't lost her looks or her hair either.

Happy Birthday Young Punk. You're the best. Plotnik is a lucky man to have such amazing kids.


Monday, September 24, 2012

The Tribe Bribe

Plotnik has had his attention piqued this morning. The above photo seems to suggest that a woman in a newish, shiny car is offering a bribe to the helmetless-and-uniformless traffic cop next to her and that, for his part, he is ecstatic to receive, in lieu of cash, a copy of DAK's classic Happy Hanukkah My Friend CD.

Or perhaps, the man in the blue shirt just recited the entire lyrics to "That's What Grandma Says" to a stranger and she has been running to her car trying to get away. He seems to be on the "no kishke, no kugel" part and is about to rhyme "pickles" with "pumpernickels."

I's probably Number One. We're calling it the Tribe Bribe. It's a great one, but the cop has to be Plotnikkish.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Neighborhood of Grunge

Went to use up our Groupon at Palace Steak House last night. Has anyone ever been in that dump? We knew when we saw the mop and the bucket in the dining room and smelled the garbage. Out we went.

Which gave us a chance to go back to Old Jersualem where we hadn't been in awhile. It was better than ever. Still have half the shawarma left over for lunch.

But the neighborhood -- it seems like the whole city is gentrifying except for Mission Street, especially up near all the construction near Cesar Chavez.

Carl Nolte's article in this morning's Birdcage Wrap was right on the money: we live in a schizoid city that needs therapy. So much wealth, so many young jillionaires, willing to live right next door to miserable homeless squalor. When did we take on the Latin America model? When did we decide it's OK to get ours and pretend the other side doesn't exist?

We used to be a working class city. OK, that is no longer true. So what are we, then?

Our government seems powerless to do anything about it. Every homeless person has an advocate living behind a gate in Marin County. We can't force them to receive the treatment that is available, so they end up defecating in BART elevators and selling dope on the sidewalk, while we look on.

Plottie lived in Manhattan in the '70s. That was the model there then. But it isn't anymore.

Yes, The Great Plotnik understands we are a blue state. We are supposed to be empathetic to the plight of the needy. The question is: when does needy become just stupid? We are not talking about moms with little kids. We are referring to chronic alcoholism, drug abuse and mental illness. How can total neglect benefit anyone at all in the equation? Red, blue, who cares? How about all the rest of us?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Two Queens versus The Tower of Plotnik

At The Great Plotnik World Headquarters Royal Citrus and Avocado Grove. the lemon tree is bursting at the seams, and has been since April. Plottie can't STAND not to use up all the fruit. He has made preserved lemons twice already this year and in August he made Lemon Marmalade with Vanilla Bean.  It came out so delicious that yesterday he picked more lemons and made a second batch.

In the picture above Block Two (second batch) is on the left and Block One (is on the right). You will notice the different colors.

The Tower of Plotnik (brand) was made before he knew exactly what he was doing. When you make jams or marmalades without pectin, you have to cook the fruit-sugar mix until it gets to the gel stage (around 225 degrees F) before you ladle it into the jars and process it.

There are several ways to tell if you're at the gel stage. One way is to take a plate, freeze it, then keep sampling tiny spoonfuls of cooking fruit by pulling the plate out of the freezer and dropping the hot mix onto it. If it sheets instead of drips: you're done.

Or, you could get a candy thermometer. Plotnik didn't have one, so he just cooked and cooked and cooked the mix until he couldn't stand it anymore, and then he put it into jars. The reason it is so much darker is the flavor concentrated so much more. It's absolutely delicious -- full of vanilla.

The Two Queens Kitchen (brand), made yesterday, was done with the aid of a candy thermometer which simplifies the process greatly. However, the mix comes up to the gel stage faster on a warm day (yesterday) and if you follow what the thermometer says you will stop cooking after around twenty minutes. The jam jels. 

But it doesn't cook as long, so the flavor is deliciously sweet but not concentrated to the point of really being able to taste that vanilla bean.

So now the Large Larder in the Grand Pantry in the Royal Kitchen at Great Plotnik World Headquarters has quite a few jars of both Tower of Plotnik and Two Queens Kitchen Lemon Marmalade with Vanilla Bean. One is sweeter, one is vanilla-ier. Both are really good with peanut butter on a Snacker cracker from Trader Joe's.

Why two different labels?

Because Plotnik loves last year's photo of Belly Bone with Mummy P. playing with each other's noses. Also, he can't find the original label for Tower of Plotnik (brand).

Friday, September 21, 2012

There He Is!

It was absolutely amazing. Plot and Duck had seen the route of the Space Shuttle piggypacking on the back of the 747 for this morning's final fly-by, so they hiked up to Billy Goat Hill and waited by the fence under the old swing. It was hazy, but warm. Nothing happened. Someone said "I just heard on the radio he's flying over Sacramento now."

Another half an hour passed, during which there was plenty of conversation from the others gathered to observe.

All right, not conversation but mono-versation -- one guy telling stories about different people in the neighborhood that nobody else knew.

Still, we waited.

"There he is!" someone said, and we turned to see, in the distance, an airplane, flying in and out of the fogbank. You could tell it was the shuttle with binoculars but it was very barely visible. Then he turned, flew over the bay, in back of the TransAmerica Tower and the Banker's Heart, and disappeared out of our view as he headed for the Golden Gate.

"Well, that wasn't all that much, was it?" someone said. Someone else, who may have been Plotnik, said "That's the essence of Saint Plotniko right there. Great things happen here and half the time you can't see them."

And then he heard a low rumble.
Which got louder.

And louder.

And then, in the heart of an enormous roar of engines, the 747 rose right out of the sky behind Billy Goat Hill and passed practically over our heads. It took up the entire sky.

 What a sight, what an experience. What a town!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thoughts on the Plotzers

It's good that the Plotzer season will end today when they're swept by the Nats. At least we'll be able to put away any thoughts of grandeur. OK, we gave up on grandeur a month ago. It was 'hopes of slipping through unnoticed" at best.

The Plotzers have an all star lineup. The problem is the year is 2006. They've traded away all their young players and young pitchers. They are as much fun to watch as the Republican National Convention.

So, tomorrow we can start talking about rugby, ice hockey and women's college bowling. 

It used to be beer and trucks during TV baseball games. Now it's erectile dysfunction, investment advice and Japanese SUVs.

Vin Scully has dementia. "That's his 89th pitch." That's his 90th pitch." That's his 91st pitch."

Matt Kemp is scared. Oh, Melky, I hope I'm wrong. It doesn't look like it.

"That's his 92nd pitch." "That's his 93rd pitch." "Ooops. There's number 94."

Every team but us has young fastballers. We have old junk pitchers and one young guy with the hip problems of an old Jew.

"95!" 96!" "That was his 97th pitch! Here comes the manager! There goes the game! There goes the year! Wanna buy some erectile dysfunction or bad investments or a crappy car?"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dumb and Scary

Mitt Romney is doing what people expected him to do. When he speaks his mind, his true soul comes to the surface and we get to see the tall, pampered twit who thinks he is entitled to say anything he wishes.

Imagine! People who vote Democratic are all on public handouts and don't know how to think for themselves. Women can avoid getting pregnant when they are raped simply by closing their eyes and concentrating. Jews are wonderful because they know how to make money.

George Bush was less intelligent than Romney, but at least GWB never said (out loud) this kind of heinous, insensitive and calculating elitist rubbish.

But don't forget Bush won twice. Don't ever forget that. There are many people in America who do not hear a word Romney says. They don't love him, but they hate the other guy so much that they will vote Republican in spite of the candidate.

I said earlier that Romney and Ryan are Dumb and Dumber. I need to amend that, because it's even worse.

Romney and Ryan: Dumb and Scary.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Luis! Luis! Luis!

There's nothing like a last second win. Ducknik sat down on the sofa last night next to TGP and Bang, Boom, Bang! The game was over.

In an up and down season that appears to be ending down instead of up, it felt good to see Plotnik's favorite Plotzer be the hero two nights in a row. Luis Cruz, whose father was a Mexican League superstar, has never been one himself. He toiled in the minor leagues for eleven years, never earning a tryout with the big club. This year, the Dodger shortstop got hurt and they called up everybody they could from the minors. When all these guys failed they reached down even further and brought up Luis for probably his only shot.

Guess what? "Luis! Luis! Luis!"chants the Plotzer crowd as the kid with the buck teeth, who still looks like a teenager, takes his unexpected curtain call from the dugout. The crowd is crazy for him because he has been a hero since he got here, at age...what, 30?

He may not know it yet, but he's Rocky. Look out all you Apollo Creeds out there. The little man has jumped off his seat on the bench clapping.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Thanks PK1. Meet PK2.

Plottie did not cheap out. He didn't buy the Specialized Sirrus Elite, but instead paid $50 more to buy the White Giant, to replace the Red Giant, aka Plotkicycle 1.

This morning Plotnik took PK2 for its maiden voyage up Liberty Hill and down to the bagel shop.

It's lighter and therefore somewhat easier to take a hill with, but you also get buffeted more by the wind. Red Giant was like riding a sofa. It had shocks, so the Saint Plotniko potholes were less tooth-crunching.

PK2 is a bicycle! Its gears don't slip, the brakes don't screech, it's a lot faster and Ducknik is no longer worried about metal fatigue on a 15 year old bike.

Don't worry about the 'faster' part. Plottie always has Ralphie in his head. There really isn't that much of a hurry.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy BZ-Day

Why does every Dad think his daughter is perfect, when there is really only one perfect BZWZ? Too bad, other dudes.

Happy Birthday sweetheart. That Burt Reynolds thing, you know, maybe just forget we ever told you about it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Two Names of Justice

Only in the Superior Court building would the fancy phone booth have the phone missing.

But Plotnik is done for the year with Jury Duty. He had postponed it until this week due to the Family Reunion/Glacier trip. The first three days he didn't have to go in. But today they got him.

The judge announced it would be a two week trial. She asked if people had reasons they would not wish to serve on a two-week trial.

Plotnik gave her a compelling reason. Having gray hair helped. He's done for the year.

But he does want to know why Duck and he get called every year, while so many other people he knows never get called at all.

When they called the roll there actually was someone named Tom King Kong.

Also, since they call the names alphabetically, two names that got called in a row were WONG and WRIGHT.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


The world is divided into these groups:

Those who like soup and those who don't like soup.

Those who love to travel and those who would rather stay home.

Those who think the earth is round, and Republicans.

Those who mistrust politicians and...wait, that's everybody.

Those who need more sleep and...wait, that's also everybody.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The DMV like 1,2,3...

"Dog GONE it! WHY didn't Plotnik write this chorus?

You can count on me like 1, 2, 3
I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like 4, 3, 2
You'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do, oh yeah
Ooooooh, oooohhh yeah, yeah

It's the perfect chorus. Bruno Mars? Who's Bruno Mars? How old is this song? Did all of you know about it before Plottie? Why didn't you tell him that this generation's "That's What Friends Are For" had already been written? 

Shoooooooot. You go to school to learn prosody -- the way words and music fit together -- and here's your example.

Anyway, there he was, in the DMV, having discovered the secret to renewing a driver's license, which is to get an early morning appointment at a DMV sub-office. Plot's appointment was at 8:10am at the Daly City office and by 8:12 he was done and out the door. He kids you not.  Plot had allotted the whole morning to sitting at the DMV, so now he had extra time. He drove over to the Westlake Trader Joe's, walked in and was cruising the cereals when...

"You can count on me like 1, 2, 3..." came over the Muzac. It stopped Plotnik in his tracks.

The thing is, everybody thinks writing a SIM-PLE chorus like this is...simple. It's not. Trust Plottie on this. True, it probably took Bruno Mars 15 seconds to write, but don't forget his hundreds of other songs, that you'll never hear, that took a lot longer because they're not nearly as good, but still he had to write them all to get 'em out of the way for this one.

So it's a good day, because The Great Plotnik has the DMV out of the way, but it's a kind-of wistful day because he keeps asking himself:

"You can count on me like 1,2,3..."  --- how hard was that? Why didn't HE do it? Sheeesh.

Also, it's g'bye to the old driver's license photo. He'd gotten fond of it. See ya, young Plottie.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Man Versus Fish

Religion. The Great Plotnik and The Great Ducknik, each of whom was raised with a degree of religion stuffed down their throats, unwillingly in Plotnik's case, less so in Ducknik's, made the decision early on not to tell their kids what to do about God. If they wanted to investigate their spiritual relationship with Him later on, they could.

In Plotnik's case, the deck was stacked, because The Great BZWZ and The Great PD grew up in Stiletto City, home of Plottie's family. These were the days before the advent of Plotnikkism, so the family celebrated the old fashioned holidays, everybody's holidays. Thanksgiving was big. They searched for Easter eggs (well, a little bit) and they exchanged gifts on Christmas day. New Testament God's name never came up.

They also celebrated Passover. Old-Testament God was everywhere. The point was to thank Him. It was all good, as long as you didn't think too much about the Egyptians.

By the way, did you know that Egyptian Jews don't blame the Egyptians? At their seders, the enemy was Ramses II, country unmentioned.

But Plotnik is being glib. He has always been glib about God with his kids, but the truth is everybody has to come to an understanding about his or her purpose or lack of purpose on this planet. Either God did it, or the stars aligned and you made it.

Christians are the dominant force in this country. Some are very nice people. They tend to go out of their way to let Plotnik understand that his tradition is all right with them. It is generally really, really awkward. Plotnik smiles and nods a lot during these moments. He is thinking: "If it were really OK with you, you wouldn't think about it. You wouldn't have to mention it. I wish you wouldn't." But he knows they mean well. So he smiles and nods.

This is what religion always does to him. He's either not religious enough or he's got the wrong religion or he's got the right one but doesn't observe it in the proper way or his yarmulke falls off his head into the brisket.

There ought to be a blessing for the Falling of the Yarmulke. There probably is. But it might be in the Methodist Church.

He's being glib again. God, I hate that.


All The Great Plotnik is trying to say is this: The search for one's own personal God is a lifelong one. Most people go in and out. When you feel great you are part of God's plan and everywhere you look there are glaciers, mountain lakes and mama bears. When you feel less than great your purpose is harder to figure out. Homelessness. Murder. Disease.

Plot wonders what a geologist does when she comes up against people whose religion denies the existence of science.

Or what you say to a child who wants to know where a dear, elderly neighbor went and why she doesn't come over any more?

We've all been there. There are many fish.  If there's a fish out there for you, catch it. Or don't. It's all about being happy with whatever gets you through the night, because only half your life takes place in the sunlight.

Don't ask the fish. In his religion, the Great Satan wears a short sleeved, red shirt with black lines on it.


Saturday, September 08, 2012

You Can't Have My Mole

Mummy P. is doing well with her two wonderful caretakers. Two nights in Stiletto are not easy for Plottie any more, but he realizes how lucky he is to have his Mom still able to go down to Grand Central Market and walk around by the smoked chile counter.

True, she tied her record going to Burbank airport: Seven (7) "I just hate it when you leave" and "But I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that you came down to see me." If we were driving to LAX there is no telling what her score would be.

Plottie laughs about it but it always hits him hard. He knows she's in a lonely and isolated part of her life. He also knows he can't do anything about it. He wishes she could see better. But she can't. He wishes she could hear better. But she won't. And he wishes she could remember what she said ten minutes before. Sometimes she can.

He'll be there too, if he's lucky. He hopes his kids have more patience with him than he sometimes does with Mummy P. None of this is her fault. Well, the hearing.

Plot and Duck are home now. The TSA would not allow him to bring home his two containers of mole in his carry-0n.

"What is this?" said the officer.

"Mole," said Plotnik.

"Mole's good," said the officer.

"Yes," said Plotik.

"Sorry it's got to go in the trash." said the officer.

"No way," said Plotnik, so he had the officer walk him out of the secure area, where he walked back through the airport to the check in area, checked his bag with the mole, white beans and smoked peppers in it, and now it's sitting in the kitchen, ready to go.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Back Twenty Years

Fun day in Saint Plotniko. The Grand Central Market in the incredibly spiffed-up Downtown, where Plotnik bought recados (Mexican spice pastes) of green mole and red mole, and smoked chiles, and several pounds of tiny white beans.

Next, they drove to the old neighborhood, where Plot and Duck bought and renovated a tiny house at the bottom of a hill in the early nineties. The people who bought the house are still there, and when Plot stuck his head over the fence Francois saw him and said "Great Plotnik! Come on in!"

So Plot, Duck, Lillian and Mummy P. walked in to what had been a tiny, ancient bungalow and has been renovated into a gracious Japanese style country home. It's still tiny, but less than it was and way prettier.

How nice it was to go back twenty years and remember buying the little house at the probate sale, tearing most of it down, then building it back and selling it to the Chows.

The empty hillside across the street: still empty. There is a lot for sale on the corner...oooh, the idea is tempting. But Plot's not going to call and find out the price. Nope, he's not gonna do it.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

It's Hot. She's Cold.

Her hearing has gotten worse and her memory has slipped a little bit in the six weeks since Plot and Duck were here last. Tonight we watched Joe Biden and President Obama but she had the sound up so loud it hurt our ears to be in the same room. And she still couldn't make out what they were saying.

Nor that she missed much. The Pres and Vice Pres paled before the master stroke of Bill Clinton last night, by far one of the best convention speeches ever.

On the phone, Plot listened to his brother tell him why Schmeckl would be voting for Romney. He doesn't like him but he'll vote for him. It makes no sense.

Plot doesn't want to have a beer or go to dinner with Barack Obama. But Plottie gets him. And he agrees with him. Romney feels like Bush -- yesterday's man with yesterday's solutions for yesterday's world.

Plot thinks the country has made up its mind. The election may not even be close. Either one of these guys could swamp the other.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Dog

It's Labor Day, which means the Devil Dog in back of World Headquarters has been barking since dawn. It must be some kind of terrier. He sounds just like Bailey, Plotnik's brother's dog, a yip crossed with a yap amplified over a 25 cent speaker with a blown cone.

At least Bailey only barks when she wants something, or she's frightened, or surprised, or when Schmeckl puts her down, which doesn't happen all that often.

Neighbor Devil Dog barks at wind. Sun. Anything.

The Great Ducknik and The Great Plotnik have somewhat different theories on how to deal with this little f___er. Ducknik doesn't want Plottie to say anything, or complain, or do anything that might be seen as rude.

What could be ruder than letting your sweet little Annoyance Machine keep barking? You think she's cute. She's not cute. You're just deaf.

Now, Plot and Duck have 30 people coming over in a few hours. So Plottie decided to deal with it his way. He slipped downstairs, walked over to the fence that separates Doggie Hell from World Headquarters, and with love in his heart, preached -- ok, shouted -- a short sermon. It went like this:

"Hey dog! It's Labor Day! Take the day off!"

A human voice answered: "Sorry."

The dog hasn't barked since.

The moral to this story, my children, is that people who own yappy dogs stop hearing the yap. They hear "love," where everybody they know hears fingernails on chalkboards. This lady was sitting right there as the dog was going bonkers. She probably didn't even notice.

Thus endeth today's lesson.

Let us turn to Page 37 of the Immortal Songbook and sing to the departed and wonderful Hal David:

"Raindrops keep falling on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Crying's not for me
Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothing's worrying me."

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Clan Douglas

As many of you already know, when the Plotniks first left their small but humble hut, in a tiny but miserable village, in a weakly-lit section of an undereducated country full of Republicans (in those days they were called "Cossacks"), they were required, for reasons of safety, to form clans.

The Douglas Clan is only one of many such clans. In most of the world, nobody gives a hoot, but it became a big deal in Scotland. 

So yesterday at the Scottish Fair, which Mush and S.B. invited Plottie and Ducknik to attend, which is held a BART ride away out in Pleasanton, where Scotsmen gather to drink whiskey, throw around large, heavy objects, drink beer, parade their American values, dance like stiff-kneed white people, listen to bagpipe music, which is fun to hear -- the first three times -- Plottie hied immediately to the Clan Douglas tent, where he purchased the above-pictured shirt from his clanmate. 

The man behind the counter, wearing a kilt, asked Plotnik which part of the country his family had come from. He told them Poland. The man looked at his wife and said "Well, the Douglases do get around."

There appears to be no Clan Plotnik. Stuart, Giles, MacDougall, MacFergus, MacIntosh, MacRosoft, MacNCheese, MacAdamia, yes. But Clan Plotnik, no.

"A Douglas a Douglas" means "Go Douglas! Go Douglas!"

Praise Dog, they do dance funny.

Scotswomen have large shoulders and exhibit great strength. They toss telephone poles around. You can tell the men from the women by the beards and the pony tails.

The horses are beautiful, walking Bud commercials. Their clippety cloppety is delightfully musical.

The sheepdogs (border collies) chase sheep around a course, and try to get them to go through gates, which sheep, being sheep, will not do unless somebody else does it first. The dogs are exceptionally fast runners, while the sheep mostly want to get this thing over with.

Ooooh, the cars. Morgans and MGs. Plottie's teenage dream car was right there, lacking only the leather strap across the hood. The British racing green Morgan.

The best part of the fair was the falconry exhibit. Who knew there were so many kinds of hawks?

Speaking of hawks, Plotnik saw his first Romney/Ryan bumper sticker in front of the fair.

It was a grand day, but it is hot at Pleasanton Fair Grounds. Good as that feels, it was a relief to get out of BART and plunge straight back into the ol' Saint Plotniko fog.