Saturday, March 07, 2009

Joe's gift......

My friend Joe Ortman is a prickly sort of a guy.

Boston Irish probably says it all. One minute you want to strangle him.....the next minute he shows up with tools when the compressor breaks on your walk-in.

Joe is living history in my strange literary world. Joe was the EMT on the call when Richard Farina crashed on the motorcycle at The Bucket the day "Been Down So Long" was released. The same day as Richard's wife, Mimi's, 21st birthday.

Richard died in Joe's iconic moment in 20th century music, literature and culture.....and tragedy.

Anyway....Joe lives up at the top of Tassajara Road. Well, not the top top.....but pretty far up. He lives at the This Way part of the road at the This Way That Way sign.....or maybe it is That Way. Everyone up there spends half their time pissed off at me for writing something indiscreet about them.....and the other half of the time laughing their asses off because I wrote something indiscreet about the other guy on the other ridge.

Joe and I go way back. I remember one time when some random passer-by.....JJ, in fact....dosed me with something I didn't want and didn't expect.....Joe followed me to Dr. Tocchet's and stayed with me in the room while we all debated on calling the ambulance I couldn't afford. Joe produced a raw emerald from Colombia and laid it on my chest and assured me that the stone would bring my pulse back down below 300.

It worked.....I guess. I got out of there, and still pulled off the party we had that day.

Anyway, Joe lives way up on Tassajara I said. The view from his property is all the way across the bay to Santa Cruz. We have done experiments with fire and explosives.....and you can see Joe's house from the David Bruce winery in the mountains above Santa Cruz. The statute of limitations has not yet run out on that one, so I will say no more.....but no one was hurt.

Well, badly.

Joe is also famous for being an obsessive flute guy. If you were ever at a party, or Mass in the Village or the Mission....and there was a flute guy, it was probably Joe.

Joe also has been obsessively keeping rainfall records on his property for thirty years now. I have been researching the whole rainfall vs. prosperity thing in Monterey County for a while.....and Joe has some of the best records around, and he has shared them with me and therefore you.

My early training as an electrical engineer at Cornell causes me to freak out in the presence of numbers....and roll around on the carpet and drool like Roman Polanski at a Hannah Montana slumber party in the presence of thirty years worth of data.

More later, but here is the quick take.

Our average rainfall in Cachagua... shit, I mean about 35 inches.

In the last thirty years, there have been nine years with more rain than the average, three pretty much bang-on average....and 28 below average.

When it pours.

In the last ten years, two years have been over average. Two years ago was half.

Here....thanks to the Kiddy part of the NCES website are some graphs of this year vs. the average.
This is an area graph. The deficit is the distance between the green and the blue mountains.

And here is the March history.

We are already over the average of 5.44 inches......


So......enjoy the sunshine....

Pray for rain.


Blogger Ho Go said...

I'm wondering if you can help me out. I came across your blog searching for Carol Orton, Joe's ex-wife. I'm an old friend who lived in Palo Colorado Canyon and Carmel Valley from 67-73. I knew Carol quite well but have lost contact with her over the years. I believe she is re-married. Me, I live half way around the world, but have fond memories of that time in my (our) life. I would love to say hello to Carol. You could say I was an old Bernadelli buddy. And, also mention Carl Brown, whom I discovered had passed on a few years back. We were very close. If you respond, I will give you my email. Interesting blog you have.


12:46 AM  

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