Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Irish Terrorism II

From the archives....

My friend Keith just found fotos of this old adventure in the archives......

In his barn in Sonoma.

Here is Keith.....our financial and legal adviser....

In the early eighties, my friends and I had a business called The Arroyo Seco Wild Irish Pig Company......

We raised wild boar at the Howard Ranch the other side of the Cahoon Grade..... almost to Arroyo Seco.

Chris Herrold from The Aquarium owns it now.

Being Irish.....we used our pigs as part time political statement.....and part time food source.....and part time sentimental source of sweet pets and friends. Very confusing......

So, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas: We were carefree and green.... and famous among the barns....And famous among the crazy Irish (redundant?) in San Francisco with our whole taking the pig to the Princess adventure.

We actually had to avoid Irish bars for years because of all the rounds people would buy us when we walked in the door….

”Oh, Jaysus…..Fer Fook’s Sake!! It’s the lads!!! They took the fookin’ pig to the fookin’ Princess!!”

We added to our ignominy by becoming a fixture at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade: parading our baby Wild Irish Pigs in the Parade through the Streets of San Francisco. The 1982 parade was our denouement…..

My partner in Pigdom was Michael MacKenzie Monckton.

Here is Michael in a typical Arroyo Seco moment. Which could be now a typical Cachagua moment. Note the super strong Neptun Golden Ale....the Ruger Mini-14 with the short clip....and perhaps some investigation into local herbiculture.

Also, Michael's family motto: Rub It Easy, Make It Hard.

We moved our pigs from Garrapata Canyon in Big Sur to the Howard Ranch in Carmel Valley, on the Arroyo Seco watershed. The Howard Ranch was 1400 acres on the hillside, 35 miles from town. Monckton and my brother Rob lived in an old stage house on the flats, and we had all our pigs as well as tons of organic tomatoes growing on the ranch. Rob somehow managed to write two novels at the Ranch, while surviving the constant gunfire, the second-hand smoke..... and the two hour drive to town every day in his Dodge Omni for his real job as Telephone Operator at The Lodge at Pebble Beach.


Michael’s nickname was Trips…..Both for the three M’s….Michael MacKenzie Monckton (everyone in his family are Triple M’s) as well as his penchant for certain stimulants.

The flats at the ranch were really flat. You could land a small plane. In fact, certain small planes landed frequently. An LSD base smuggler would leave his dog at the ranch for Rob and Trips to watch while he flew to Holland for the base. On his return to the ranch, he would give Monckton film cans full of the shavings from the gel sheets of super-pure, super strong acid. Open a can, lick your finger, stick it in, lick it………good for at least a day.

Michael was working construction at the Aquarium, which was just being built……Rob was writing his first novel. A long drive: early wakeup; strong coffee, Kahlua and Bailey’s; a little lick from a jar…….If the sun was up, maybe a clip from the Mini-14 at the ground squirrels on the flats…..Bob’s your uncle…..

That December, we were the hottest caterer in San Francisco. We worked everyday: up at 5am; shop and prep; pack and drive; do the party, clean up and drive back; unload at 2 or 3 am…..sleep, sort of. We would stack folding tables in the van, bungee cord them to the sides for bunkbeds, and bungee cord guys to the tables on the ride back. Still, we ran out of steam after a week. Caffeine stopped working: we couldn’t afford cocaine; we were too fragile and too smart for meth, plus we couldn’t afford the down time. We turned to the film cans…..Hey, it was just a month we had to be awake……

After sleeping through January and February, we were ready for March.

Monckton prepared his truck for the parade by taking a SawzAll and cutting out the roof: Redneck Moonroof. He lined the jagged edges with duct tape to cut down on tetanus shots. He drove wooden 2x2’s into the rack supports and wired on hog wire and barb wire. He added a steel ice chest (not a red Coleman!), a couple of cases of Green Rooster beer, some bales of hay, six baby wild boar….and we were ready. We had roasted a whole pig for a fella, and saved the head. Michael jury-rigged a pole through the front suspension, and we jammed the roasted pig head on it as our figurehead and totem. Me, Monckton, Brendan at 18 months, Jane, sister Annie and our friend Keith from Sonoma….off to St. Paddy’s.

We arrived in San Francisco at 9am at The Dovre Club, Paddy Nolan’s bar on 18th off the Mission……

The bar was on Clarion Alley, on the ground floor of The Women’s Building. It was a former Norwegian seaman’s union hall and tavern, highjacked by Nolan and turned into the slightly alcoholic organizing center for Irish Northern Aid (read: IRA). It was dark, spare…..grim, even. I later spent a terrifying World Series there with Hunter Thompson and Warren Hinckle, and various actual gunmen. The jukebox: “Armoured Cars and Tanks and Guns……Came to take away our Sons……But every Man must stand behind…..The Men Behind the Wire!”

The front of the bar doubled as the urinal. Saved time.

First order of business: ”Oh, Jaysus…..Fer Fook’s Sake!! It’s the lads!!! Bring oos some whisky!! These lads took the fookin’ pig to the fookin’ princess!!!” In fact, we had actual pigs, and in honor of Hinckle and his basset hound, Bentley…..both of whom wore eye patches, our piglets wore eyepatches. The happy drunks (keep in mind, this is 9am…..) joined in the first round or so. Then some of the gunmen insisted on a couple of rounds……You don’t just say “No.” Nancy Reagan please take note.

We emerged from the gloom of the bar into a pissing rain for the short trip to the mustering site for the parade. We were positioned just behind a black drum majorette high school group from Oakland, and in front of a lesbian marching band. Our plan was to march with the pigs on leashes, behind our banner: Arroyo Seco Wild Irish Pigs. I think this was conceived as a business expense: we even had a checking account……Unfortunately, when we put the piggies in their harnesses, clipped on the leashes, and set them on the ground the piggies just squealed like banshees and spun in circles. No amount of coddling could them to go in any straight line. We attempted to gently dribble them along the street like soccer balls, and had both the majorettes and the lesbians menacing us with batons and wind instruments.

Plan B: We turned the truck into a float. We perched on the wire with the cute little piggies while the girls stood on the seats and waved through the moonroof…..just like the Rose Bowl. Well, there was that roasted pig head out front…..I think the Chronicle referred to us as “drunken collegiate trailer trash….” Accuracy in journalism for a change!

It was a miserable, pathetic parade in freezing, drenching rain. The only good thing was when the pigs pissed on us, it was warm for a few seconds. Did I mention that the Green Rooster beer runs 10% alcohol? Monckton was at the wheel, and was soon nodding off…..imperiling majorettes and bystanders alike.

Finally, exactly in front of the reviewing stand at City Hall (the Fire Chief was Irish, and the Parade Grand Marshal; Dianne Feinstein was there as Mayor), Monckton jammed on the brakes, shoved the girls out of the way, hung his head out the roof and projectile vomited all over the reviewing stand.....and DiFi's shoes.

Irish charm….

We were able to wrestle him out of the truck, and using the 4 wheel attributes of the old wreck, parked in the Plaza on the grass. We laid him out on the grass, and got the girls and babies into a warm bar. Several Irish coffees later we were almost warm and almost dry. When we finally emerged, we immediately realized that someone had stolen the roasted pig head.

Only in San Francisco would someone steal a roasted pig head with 200 wet road miles on it from the front of a beater truck. Who would do this? Some crackhead Hmong refugee, recognizing a home-grown delicacy? A weird Satanist or sexual fetishist?

Probably a crackhead Hmong Satanist sexual fetishist that had missed lunch…..

Meanwhile, no Monckton.

He was nowhere to be found. We searched the Plaza for half an hour, getting wet again in the process.

Finally we just gave up and walked to the truck, figuring he had drifted drunkenly away.

Oh well, and no real loss in the scope of things.

A huge flock of pigeons was sitting next to the truck, feeding. When we approached they flew off, revealing: Monckton…….

Damn: where are those Hmong Satanist sexual fetishists when you really need them?


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1:21 AM  
Blogger Mike Mosher said...

Dovre wasn't on Clarion though, it was a block from there, on 18th & Lapidge.

I frequented it when I lived on Clarion 1981-84 though.

5:59 AM  

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