On The Pondering Pig’s Unexplained and Really Quite Mysterious Disappearance.

For a long time I thought the Pondering Pig might be sort of like King Arthur. If I looked, eventually I’d find him in a cave over in Cornwall somewhere, thinking deep thoughts for two thousand years, and then he would come out and explain everything to everyone, including the whereabouts of the cheese.

So I waited around until one day it occurred to me he might just be taking a very long afternoon nap up on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais, while his readers waited hopefully, and those snooty little dwarfs pitched their bowling balls down the mountainside.

So I decided to go looking for him.

It didn’t take long. I knew all his haunts from the old days. I figured he’d be over on the west side of the mountain, where it’s sunny and breezy and you can look out over the Pacific as you doze off. But he wasn’t around anyplace, so I wandered up Bootjack Creek toward Laurel Dell and those jolly camping spots above the fog line.

1974 05 SF fr Mt. Tam_edited-1

Being as it was a warm day, I sort of sat down to think some deep thoughts myself, and, when I awoke, I distinctly heard the sound of typing nearby. Somebody was using an old-fashioned manual typewriter and was going blue blazes, except for the occasional shout of "Oh Fiddle!"

Ponderpig has built a little cabin in a clearing up there, or, more likely, he moved into one that happened to be available, and he is up there even now, working on everything he always wanted to write. He’s writing longer pieces that won’t fit on the blog, and, as I figured, they will finally explain everything about everything to everybody.

While I was sitting there he knocked off 11,000 words about his old friend Solveig Rimkeit, and her adventures in the American South during the freedom rider era, and how she hitchhiked across America in 1962 and how Piggo used to sit around and eat pickles with her when he wasn’t moaning on and on about his mean girl friend, Carmen O’Shaugnessy.

He actually gave me a copy.  I have it here in front of me and I’ve been wondering who might publish it, because it explains exactly what it was like to be young in San Francisco in 1962. Pig calls it "Solveig Hitches Home."

Then he showed me the novel he’s been working on.  It’s about three Haight-Ashbury kids in 1965 who find an old-fashioned kitchen radio in a dumpster at the corner of Page and Clayton Streets and when they turn it on to see if it works, well, the results are unexpected, to say the least.

I scanned it while the Pig was out rooting up his dinner. It’s already 35 chapters long and it’s funny and exciting and really deep, but the Pig said I couldn’t tell anybody about the details until he’s finished it.

So he is actually working on a lot of projects, none of which he is yet is ready to publish. The next time I go up to Mt. Tam, I will ask him if I can post a few pages from “Solveig Hitches Home,” so you guys can take a peek at it.

Oh, that reminds me. He also asked me to say thanks to his readers, who continue to log thousands of views each month at his site, even though it has been untouched by porcine hands for quite a while. And a special thanks to all the fans of Grace Slick, who refuse to believe that was really Linda Ronstadt up there with the Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock.


Pig’s Going On Sabbatical

I was checking over the terms of my contract last night and I noticed that, after writing the blog for three years, I am now eligible for an all-expense paid trip to Kerguelen Island.  I think we’ll go.  Of course it does get a little cold down there but – hey – it gets a little cold up here.

Besides, Patrushka wants to go somewhere where she can wear her furs.  Don’t worry, they’re all heritage furs.  The original ermines were accidentally shot by Prince Kropotkin one morning in 1911 while he was out as usual  trying to trying to assassinate the Czar.  The Czar, riding by in his sleigh,  noticed the little guys lying in the snow and brought them home for his little daughter to play with.  My Princess Patrushka inherited them along with all the other truck – the Faberge eggs and stuff she leaves lying around the house right where I’ll stumble over them when I go out for a glass of chocolate milk.

So, where was I?  Oh yes, my sabbatical.  I want to focus more on my novel-in-progress, The Syndicate of Eternal Friendship, which had been proceeding at a snail’s pace lately.  Plus I want to organize my autobiographical pieces on the blog and see if they might hold together as a book.

So we’re heading for dear old Kerguelen.  The French Navy says they’ll have a launch waiting for us on Reunion Island, so we just have to figure out how to get there.  It’s going to be great.  No more distractions.  Just Kerguelen cabbages as far as the eye can see.  And the rabbits of course.  And the scientists dropping by every five minutes for coffee with the Princess.

Oh well, you just can’t find perfect solitude any more.  When it gets too noisy in our Quonset hut I’ll just go  for a walk and watch the albatrosses carousing up in the grey sky.


Odetta Done Gone


Odetta died in New York City on Tuesday.  That big, rich, powerful voice will thrill us live no more.  She was a mighty rod and an inspiration.  She could turn simple words into an epic declaration of insufferable injustice and give us some spirit to fight it. She made me want to sing the big kind of folk music.  May sweet Jesus ease her passage.  Her like won’t be seen again.

Another man done gone
Another man done gone
Another man done gone
From the country farm
Another man done gone.

He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
He had a long chain on
From the country farm
Another man done gone.

I didn’t know his name
I didn’t know his name
I didn’t know his name
They did him just the same
Another man done gone.

Here’s the link to her obituary in the Los Angeles Times:

Odetta Holmes dies at 77; folk singer championed black history, civil rights

Thanks to If Charlie Parker was a Gunslinger, Ther’d Be A Whole Lot of Dead Copycats for the heads up and photo.

Yea for Paul Volcker!


In an exciting development, President-elect Barack Obama today announced, “At this defining moment for our nation, the old ways of thinking and acting just won’t do. They call for us to seek fresh thinking and bold new ideas from the leading minds across America.”  That’s why he’s decided to hire 81 year old new thinker Paul Volcker to honcho his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  Paul joined the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 1952, so he’s had a lot of time to use up his old thinking and come up with new ideas.

He’s already been an under-secretary of the Treasury, a vice-president at Chase Manhattan Bank, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve under both Jimmy Carter and his successor Ronnie Reagan –  when, and I quote Wikipedia, “Volcker’s Fed also elicited the strongest political attacks and most wide-spread protests in the history of the Federal Reserve (unlike any protests experienced since 1922), due to the effects of the high interest rates on the construction and farming sectors, culminating in indebted farmers driving their tractors onto C Street NW and blockading the Eccles Building.”

Good luck, Paul.  I’m hope you’re the guy who can figure out how to get the bailout bucks from Citibank down to our neighborhood hardware stores and delicatessans.

Big Grateful Dead Auction October 5

Here’s your opportunity to pick up the flight case the Grateful Dead used to carry their cash payroll around. Estimated going price: $3000-5000. If you don’t like flight cases with stickers all over them, there 72 other items up for bid.

Full story from the Marin Independent Journal here: Dealing with the Grateful Dead

Auction web site here: Bonhams Skeleton In The Closet Auction

I hope the Pig isn’t devolving into an all-things Sixties sort of blog. We’ve always tried to maintain a higher tone here at the Pigsty. But thanks anyway to Radman at The Sixties aggregator for the tip.

Paul: “John Lennon NOT Gay!”

We interrupt this blog for important news.  Turns out John Lennon wasn’t gay after all.

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting to lap up Phillip Norman’s new book, John Lennon: A Life when it becomes available in the States.   It’s the one that claims John had a gay crush on his pal Paul.  Well, that got Paul hot under the collar, I can tell you!   Here’s his official statement:

“I slept with him a million times (on tour) I’ve seen him on tour roaring drunk, out of his mind in the early days before he sobered up and went to rehab. Roaring drunk and it was always with a female, never once [with a man]. If you’ve got a little gay tendency and you’re roaring drunk, I’d have caught him once.”

So ease your fears, or hopes as the case may be.  And thanks to the folks at Powerline for this incredibly important factoid.

Now, back to our scheduled programming…